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The Parable of the Yeast

    The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough. -- Matthew 13:33

Also known as the Parable of the Leaven, and told right after Christ's parable of the mustard seed, this parable is obviously designed to follow up his earlier parable. While the parable of the mustard seed spoke of the small beginnings and rapid progress of the gospel in the world, the parable of the yeast speaks of the workings of grace within the soul.

Yeast was a foreign element

  • The yeast was something materially different from the flour itself
    • Something placed in it by a living, active process
    • The yeast does not belong to the nature of the flour
    • Before man can possess it, it has to be given by the Holy Spirit
    • The resulting new nature is spiritual and from above
  • Yeast is of a moving and exciting nature.
    • No sooner is it introduced to the flour than a moving process begins
    • The soul is stirred up, the powers of the mind and the passions of the soul are excited
      • Darkness gives way to light
      • Chaos and confusion gives way to order
      • Insensibility gives way to feeling
      • Apathy gives way to desire

Yeast is of an assimilating nature

  • Transfers its own nature to the yeast with which it comes into contact
  • Does not destroy its identity, but alters its qualities
  • This process of assimilation is:
    • Holy
      • Renovates the heart
      • Extinguishes the love of sin
      • Destroys the power of sin
      • Sanctifies the understanding and fills it with divine knowledge
      • Controls the judgment and brings it under the power of truth
      • Sanctifies the affections, making them spiritual and heavenly
      • Purifies the conscience and fills it with peace
      • Subjugates the will to the authority of the Savior
    • Silent
      • Creates no noise or confusion
    • Gradual
      • First one part is leavened, and then another
      • Sin is forgiven at once, but sanctifying grace is gradual
        • Infant
        • Youth
        • Young man
        • Mature adult
    • Complete
      • Until it worked all the way through the dough
      • Contemplates the perfection of the Christian character

Application of the parable

  • The seat of true religion is the heart.
    • The yeast was hidden in the dough, as God's grace must be in the heart.
  • The essential character of Christianity is holiness.
  • True Christianity is the religion of progress.
    • We cannot be stationary, but must either advance or decline.
  • True Christianity develops to a state of future perfection
    • Philippians 3:8-15

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