YEAST: A Catalyst and a Hinderance to Movements

Is NEW FORMS Enough?

When considering what is needed to change things, whether that is, to change or turn around a business, organisation or church…most of us focus on the externals we think are needed for change…

We seek to change the forms, structures, or systems of organisation, simply rearranging the furniture so to speak (or the deck chairs on the titanic)…

Whilst it’s true that in the process of changing systems and structures, new forms (new wineskins/skins) are needed. I’ve written several articles already about this need for new forms of church and new forms in other Spheres of Influence (like the need for new forms of art, new forms of media, new forms of politics and so forth)

In this article, I want to focus on something that is far more intrinsic to the process of change; a far more potent ingredient that can spread or hinder movements that Jesus is wants to initiate…

What Are You Yeasted With?

The Bible speaks of the metaphor of yeast in a number of ways, in both a positive light and in negative ways. Wether for good or bad, it all depends on what kind of yeast you are spreading or allowing to spread through the movement you are a part of

For example, the ancient Israelites were instructed by God to make Unleavened Bread (bread without yeast); a metaphor for sin (see Exodus 12:14-15 and 13:3). They were not to consume bread with yeast (sin) in, they were not allowed to mix sin into their dough

Whereas, Jesus describes the Kingdom Movement and the way it spreads as also being like ‘Yeast’

‘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)

Notice the impact just a little yeast can have. A little yeast is enough to spread throughout a whole batch of people and across many places and spheres of society. Wether for good or bad…


YOU ONLY NEED A LITTLE YEAST…it has the power to permeate EVERY PART of the dough

Jesus spreads the yeast of His Kingdom…

But Satan also spreads his yeast, an altogether different type of yeast, but with similar potent catalytic properties…

Jesus warns us toWatch out! Beware of the Yeast of the Pharisees and Herod’ (Mark 8:15)

But just what is this yeast of the Pharisees and what is this yeast of Herod?

Jesus’ disciples didn’t understand at the time what he was on about (see Mark 8:11-21), but do we, his modern day disciples, understand what he means by ‘Yeast of Pharisees and Herod’ 2000 years later?

‘Meanwhile, the crowds grew until thousands were milling about and stepping on each other. Jesus turned first to his disciples and warned them, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees- their hypocrisy. The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!‘ (Luke 12:1-3)

The Yeast of the Pharisees is HYPOCRISY

It’s appearing one way in public and a different way in private, or when no-one else is watching or looking….

It’s when you say one thing in public but another in private, or even in your heart; when you are hiding something or covering up the truth about yourself or a situation…

But no matter how hard we might try to hide something or keep it secret, one day ALL WILL BE REVEALED and MADE KNOWN TO ALL…

Jesus also instructs us to ‘Watch Out! Beware of the Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees’ (Matthew 16:5-12)

We’ve already seen that the Yeast of the Pharisees is their hypocrisy…

But What is the Yeast of the Pharisees AND Sadducees?

Jesus reveals this in Matthew 16:12 and the disciples FINALLY understand;

‘Then at last they understood that he [Jesus] wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread, but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees’

So as well as hypocrisy, what is this Sadducees yeast we are to BEWARE of?

In the context of these stories, Jesus was recounting the miracles that had taken place in feeding the crowds miraculously, however the Pharisees, Sadducess and Herodians didn’t believe in Jesus or the words he spoke by the Spirit, they constantly DEMANDED proof and signs…they simply wouldn’t believe anything Jesus said to them and they couldn’t perceive properly anything that he did amongst them…

They were constantly filled with UNBELIEF, DOUBT, CYNICISM and NEGATIVITY

Jesus warns his disciples (then and now) not to let that kind of yeast enter them, their conversation or contaminate the true teaching that comes from the Spirit. The Spirits’ teaching fills us with faith, boldness, courage and faith. It brings LIFE to those who receive and build their lives on it.

It was that sort of yeast of unbelief and fear that stopped the Israelites who left Egypt from entering the Promise Land. That generation ALL died in the desert grumbling and complaining and wishing they’d never left Egypt!

As the writer to the Hebrews says, ‘For we have also had the good news preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed/who listened to God’ (Hebrews 4:2)

For those who hear Jesus’ words, and then don’t build their lives on it, for them, it is deception. Deceptive teaching is teaching we’ve heard but we don’t live by as Jesus’ brother James warns us in James 1:22-25. It’s hypocrisy. It’s spreading a form of godliness (2 Tim 3:5), a kind of teaching or yeast that is filled with and fills others with negativity, cynicism and fear…

It’s that kind of teaching that spreads UNBELIEF in people, raising doubts, fears and general negativity…
Thus going against the VERY WORDS OF GOD

As Jesus responds, when he himself was tempted to doubt God’s word, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’

What ‘word’ are you living by? Words that come directly from the Spirit and Truth? And if not, what and whose teaching are you living?

Jesus also instructs us to ‘Beware of the Yeast of Herod’ (Mark 8:15)

Could the yeast of Herod be whatever the compromising teaching of the Political establishment is that opposes or nullifies the word of God in the present day?

The yeast of religion from the Pharisees mixed with the potent yeast of the political establishment is a powerful concoction that sets out to literally kill Christ and all all he stands for. It seeks to stamp out his seed, to try to contaminate the pure yeast of the Kingdom of God

Political Correctness is perhaps one such yeast (of the Pharisees and Herod) that is so potent, it is currently filling the whole of Western Society and being exported around the world…this yeast has entered the Church and every other Sphere of Influence in our Society


So no matter how many new forms of church are created (whether they be Missional Communities, Fresh Expressions, Organic Churches, Simple Churches, House Churches, Movemental. Churches and the like) and no matter how many new forms of organisation we seek to create or develop (whether that be new forms of education or school, new forms of social change through social enterprises or co-operatives or new forms of business, art and entertainment or mission agency…)

If we are still operating from the OLD YEAST, or allowing the teaching of the old yeast to permeate us and our people and our work, it will simply NOT WORK (see 1 Corinthians 4:6-8 and Galatians 5:9-10).

We cannot get to Kingdom Movements whilst retaining the old contaminated yeast of deceptive teaching, unbelief and fear

IF We Change The Structures and The Forms, But Don’t Change What We ARE Consuming Or What We Are Being Consumed By…


The Israelites Came Out Of Egypt (systems and form of the World) BUT THEY DIDN’T CHANGE THEMSELVES



Your Whole Life, and The Life of Your Movement…Depends on It!

(If This Article Has Spoken To You, Get In Touch And Leave a Comment)


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