33 Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”
Matthew 13:33 NLT
In the scriptures, yeast, or leaven as it is called in some versions, represents sin or evil, either by false teachers, or sin itself. In this study, we’re going to talk about sin, in the context of this parable…
Have you ever bought a bag of potatoes, and had one of the potatoes go bad? Within a few days, if that bad potato isn’t removed right away, the whole bag will rot, ruining all of the potatoes, and the stench permeates the air. The same is true for sin, which is why Paul rebuked the Corinthian church, in his first letter to them. At the time, there was a man in the church, engaging in sexual immorality, and Paul confronted the church for not only allowing this sin to continue in the church, but for boasting about it…
6 Your boasting about this is terrible. Don’t you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old “yeast” by removing this wicked person from among you. Then you will be like a fresh batch of dough made without yeast, which is what you really are. Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us. 8 So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth.
1 Corinthians 5:6-8 NLT
The same is true for any sin in our lives. It starts out as a seemingly insignificant thing, but it grows at an alarming rate, often destroying not only person engaged in the sin, but many others as well. A good example of this is Adam and Eve…
When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, I’m sure they never fully comprehended the devastation that would follow. Indeed, they probably didn’t even understand the full scope of how sin and death would soon ravage, not just them, but the entire earth. I’m certain it never occurred to either of them that their relationship would be harmed, when they determined to eat the fruit God had warned them not to eat. Yet, let’s look at what happened as a result of their sin…
The very first relationship that was harmed by Adam and Eve’s determination to sin, was their relationship with God, Who came to walk with them in the cool of the day…
8 When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. 9 Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”
Genesis 3:8-10 NLT
Until that time, the man and woman had walked in the Garden of Eden naked and unashamed, but when they ate of the fruit, they immediately felt shame. In their shame, they hid from the God who created them, loved them, breathed His life-giving breath into them, and walked and talked with them. That one, seemingly insignificant sin (eating the forbidden fruit), destroyed their relationship with their Creator. Could it be that it wasn’t the act of eating the fruit, but the decision to disobey God’s command, that destroyed their relationship with Him?
When they disobeyed God, their own relationship was also spoiled. It would never be the same again…
11 “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?”
12 The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”
Genesis 3:11-12 NLT
Rather than simply answering, “Yes,” to God’s question, Adam immediately threw Eve under the bus, turning against this woman that he had recently rejoiced in, blaming her for his sin…
23 “At last!” the man exclaimed.
“This one is bone from my bone,
and flesh from my flesh!
She will be called ‘woman,’
because she was taken from ‘man.’”
Now, just one sin damaged a relationship that had been perfect up until then. How could Eve look at Adam the same way? Imagine how betrayed she must have felt. Hadn’t Adam been right there with her, when she sinned against God? Had she twisted his arm? Why had he turned against her?
Additionally, not only was their relationship with God and themselves damaged, so too, was their relationship with God’s creation…
13 Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?”
“The serpent deceived me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.”
14 Then the Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this, you are cursed
more than all animals, domestic and wild.
You will crawl on your belly,
groveling in the dust as long as you live.
15 And I will cause hostility between you and the
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike His heel.
Genesis 3:13-15 NLT
Now, not only were their relationships damaged, but that one sin damaged the entire animal kingdom. No more would the serpent walk. It would now crawl on its belly. Instead of walking in peace with mankind, there would now be enmity between the woman and the serpent…
No longer, would there be only joy in childbearing. Because of their sin against God, Eve, and every one of her daughters thereafter, would labor and experience pain in childbearing, some even to the death. Surely, Adam and Eve never thought of this, when they disobeyed God’s command…
16 To the woman He said,
“I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.”
I love how The Voice translates this verse. I think it reveals how devastating the consequences of Eve’s sin was to womankind, and the relationships of man and woman as well…
16 (to the woman) As a consequence of your actions,
I will increase your suffering—the pain of childbirth
And the sorrow of bringing forth the next generation.
You will desire your husband; but rather than a companion, He will be the dominant partner.
Genesis 3:16 VOICE
How many women, since Eve’s day, have longed for a better relationship with their husbands? How many have sought and failed to find the perfect husband, to love them unconditionally, really listen to them, understand them and treat them as an equal partner? How many women, throughout the world, must bow to their husband’s every desire, no matter how egregious? How many women have been and continue to be beaten, abused and mistreated, as a direct result of Adam and Eve’s sin against God? I’m certain that neither of them foresaw the devastating results of their one “little” sin.
Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t believe that all of the evil that has fallen on the earth is the result of God’s punishment against mankind. To be sure, they were punished, but I believe God was also describing the consequences that their sin had set in motion. Indeed, even those words didn’t share the full scope of what would soon take place, not only in their lives, but in the lives of every other human, who would follow. When we sin, we have no idea how many people or how many generations will be effected by our sin…
17 And to the man He said,
“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree
whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,
the ground is cursed because of you.
All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
18 It will grow thorns and thistles for you,
though you will eat of its grains.
19 By the sweat of your brow
will you have food to eat
until you return to the ground
from which you were made.
For you were made from dust,
and to dust you will return.”
Because of Adam’s choice, man would have to labor and sweat, to produce crops to eat. This would be no easy task for him, because now the ground was cursed. No longer would all of the soil be fertile. Now, man would have to plow and dig, hoe and weed to produce a crop. Eventually, locusts and grasshoppers would destroy crops, as well as floods and famines and other disasters. Man would have to fight the elements in order to provide food for his family, until the day he died. Then, he would return to the dust from whence he had come, and all of this, because he had chosen to eat the forbidden fruit.
Then, after clothing Adam and Eve with animal skins, they were banished from the Garden of Eden. No longer would they walk with God and talk with Him in the cool of the evening. No longer would they have access to the tree of life. Now, their lives would be filled with pain and toil, simply because they had chosen to eat the forbidden fruit…
I’m sure they never dreamed that their beloved son Cain, would kill his younger brother Abel, as a result of their sin. They never imagined that Cain’s descendants would be given to the same violence as Cain. They had no way of knowing that all of their descendants, except for Noah and his family would one day be wiped from the face of the earth, because their wickedness was so great. Because of one “little” sin, all of these things and more happened.
Look around our world today. Homosexuals are marrying one another, and brazenly displaying their sins publicly. Children rebel openly against their parents. Lies, murder, adultery, idolatry and all sorts of evil abound, as the love of mankind waxes cold, because of one little sin.
This is why Jesus and Paul compared sin to yeast. Only a little bit will spread through all of the dough. Do you have any sin in your life? Perhaps it’s just a “little” sin, but that “little” sin can have devastating consequences, and who knows how many people and generations will be effected by it.
14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT
8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
1 John 1:8-9 NLT
Despite mankind’s rebellion against Him, God hasn’t left us without hope. When He punished Adam and Eve and told them the consequences of their actions, He also made a promise…
15 And I will cause hostility between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.
Genesis 3:15 NLT
You see, because of the disobedience of one man, every generation thereafter, has suffered the consequences of his rebellion. Every single one of us has been born into sin. We all have a sinful nature, because of Adam and Eve’s one “little” sin. Yet, God, in His mercy, has given us the hope for redemption. He has made a way for us to walk with Him, and talk with Him, and to have everlasting life…
18 Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. 19 Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.
Romans 5:18-19 NLT
38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.”
Acts 2:38-39 NLT
9 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.” 12 Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on Him. 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 10:9-13 NLT
Beloved, today is the day of salvation. Don’t let sin destroy your life and the lives of who knows how many other people. Repent, and call on the name of the Lord, and you will be saved.
Cheryl A. Showers