Lessons from Leaven

07 Apr

Baked bread in paper

“He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”

Wendell Winkler once told of a lighthouse keeper who worked on an extremely rocky stretch of coastline. This lighthouse keeper received a new supply of oil once a month to keep the light burning. Since he was not very far from shore, he received frequent guests.

One night a woman from the village came and begged for some oil to keep her family warm. Another time a father asked for some to use in a lamp for his son, who had to work both day and night for his degree. Another needed some to lubricate a wheel.

Since all the requests seemed legitimate, the lighthouse keeper tried to please everyone and gave them all a little oil. Toward the end of the month he noticed that his supply of oil was getting dangerously low. Soon he ran out, and the beacon light stopped burning.

That night several ships wrecked and lives were lost. When the authorities investigated, the man admitted he had given some of the oil away. To his excuses and pleading with them they replied: “You were given that oil for one purpose: to keep that light burning!”

Sometimes we lose sight of what our goal in life is: to go to heaven and bring as many people as possible along with us.

In Matthew 13:33, the Bible says, “He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” The central idea in this passage is that if we can just plant that little bit of leaven in a sinners heart, it will grow up and fill their whole heart. Here are three points I think tie into that:

The Gospel Must Be Taught
The woman had to put the leaven into the dough in order for the bread to rise. When the two were apart, the leaven could not work. As long as the gospel is hidden in the church building, Bible, or Christian’s heart, it cannot do its job. Here are five more reasons the gospel must be taught:

Jesus commands it. May I remind you of the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Love demands it. Do you love your friends and family? Teach them the gospel (1 Thessalonians 2:8)! As a side note, we are to love our enemies as much or more than our friends and family, therefore we must evangelize to them also (Matthew 5:33-38).

The world is lost without it. 1 John 5:19 says, “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” North America is the only continent where christianity in general is not growing. In fact, although about approximately 40% say they attend, only 17.7% of people actually attend any church regularly in America (1). Also, only 1% of churchgoers in the United States are members of the church of Christ (2).

It is the only power to save. Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16).

False teachers are corrupting it. In Matthew 16:6, Jesus tells us to “…“Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

The Gospel Works Secretly
Just as the woman could not see the leaven working in the bread, you probably will not have immediate results, but she could tell later, just as we can tell with a sinners decisions. In fact, “leaven”, zumē, in Matthew 13:33 is from the Greek word zeō which means to boil or seethe, just like the gospel will do in a sinners heart.

Since the gospel works secretly, don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate results (Galatians 6:9). On the flip side of that, don’t be surprised when you do see results (Acts 9:18).

The Gospel Will Affect Your Whole Life
Just as eventually the leaven affected the whole loaf of bread, the gospel should eventually change our lives in these aspects:
Our private lives (cf. Matthew 6:6).
Our family lives (cf. Proverbs 31:27).
Our public lives (cf. Matthew 5:14-16).

We all have used those little foam animals that you put in a bowl of water and come back in ten minutes and “poof”! The little foam animal isn’t so little. In fact, it often was so large you had to take it out of the bowl, right? The gospel works the same way. Once we, as Christians, place that little shred of the gospel in the sinners heart, it will grow and fill their whole heart, causing them to repent and turn to God. Is that important to you?


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Daniel Webster
is a freshman in high school. He plans to attend the Memphis School of Preaching when he graduates school and then attend Freed-Hardeman University and eventually obtain his masters degree. He loves to read, write, and spend time with friends and family. He is co-founder, co-editor, co-head of public relations, and the technology guy at TCT. – See more at:

Posted by Team Member Sharla Orren

1 Comment

Posted by on April 7, 2014 in Uncategorized


One response to “Lessons from Leaven

  1. Ashley

    April 9, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Wow!!!! This is awesome!!!!! Thank you so much! I am even more encouraged to spread God’s word!! This is great to read, because last night I was engaged in a 5.5 hour phone Bible study last night with a friend. She saw the truth, and she stated that she believes that she needs to obey the gospel, but she just wants to search the scriptures more and compare her notes, which I told her is just fine. The Bereans did it in Acts 17:11 Please pray for her that she will make that decision to obey the gospel of our Lord! And keep up the good work!!
    In Christian love,

    P.S. My husband is currently a student at MSOP!! 🙂 We just started in Jan. 2014. This is a great place to be!!


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