The Bread of Sincerity and Truth

The Bread of Sincerity and Truth

Words of Faith 5-17-17

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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1 Corinthians 5

[6] Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? [7] Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast--as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. [8] Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

Why was it so important to deal carefully and directly with these things? Why was Paul so strong in speaking to the pride of leaders and the issue of sexual immorality within the fellowship of the church?

Paul knew just how "infectious" these things can be. He used the illustration of Passover feast and the feast of unleavened bread to explain. It was an image very familiar to those of Jewish background and to anyone who every baked bread.

In Jewish homes, once a year all of the old yeast used for baking was removed down to the last speck. Removing the yeast (leaven) was a symbol of removing sin and a recognition that sin can work through the whole batch of dough, literally, overnight.

Yeast was a powerful symbol of sin because of its tendency to work its way through our lives and through the community of faith. "Leaven," or "yeast," in Scripture generally conveys the idea of evil or sin (Matt 16:6), but this is not always the case (Matt 13:33).

The point of yeast as a symbol is to understand how easily it "works through the whole batch of dough". (Jesus also taught that the yeast of the Kingdom of God will also work through the community if we recognize it and surrender to it-- Matt. 13:33.)

Allowing the sins described earlier to go undisciplined in the Corinthian church was inviting that sin to spread and affect the attitude of the entire Christian community toward sin. Paul called the church to get rid of the old yeast--"the sin that so easily entangles" (Heb 12:1). This was a call to get rid of such sin individually, and in the church, so that the believing community would be an unleavened batch of dough, a new creation in Christ, and the bread of sincerity and truth.

Sexual immorality was not the only "yeast" in the dough at Corinth. Paul had already addressed the serious sins of pride and arrogance. There was the arrogance that ignored the hurting need of those entangled in sin. There was the pride that caused members to argue about "who was greatest" while a brother slipped into a destructive state of immorality. The yeast of prideful arrogance and divisive controversy had already swept through the church at Corinth. This is why consistent and careful church discipline was so important.

Paul's call to "keep the Festival" was not a revival of Jewish festivals among a largely gentile congregation. It was a call for the church to enter into confession and repentance over these matters. Paul was very specific. He was not calling for a Festival based in a spirit of malice and wickedness. He was not calling for a time of harsh judgment but a Feast with the bread of sincerity (purity) and truth.

It would have been an easy solution for the leaders at Corinth to make the "immoral brother" a scapegoat for all their problems, expel him from the Body, and miss the fact that they all had sin to confess and repent of.

It helps to remember what Paul wrote to the church at Galatia: "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ" (6:1-2).

The word used for "restore" means to "set a bone" or put a joint back into place. If you have ever had a broken bone reset or had a shoulder put back into place, you know the absolute need for gentleness. Restoration is a painful process but the product is so very glorifying to God. "Watch yourselves," Paul cautioned. Take care not to fall into sin during the very act of dealing with sin!

The big truth here is that God calls His church to constant self-examination through the illumination of the Spirit. We are to carefully consider our lives and the degree to which we might be conformed to the world rather than to the Truth of God's Word. We are also to consider carefully and humbly our attitudes toward one another. Do we display the Mind of Christ? Are we concerned for the fallen brother and the injured sister? Are we seeking to "gently restore" those entangled in sin. Are we keeping careful watch lest we be tempted into malice or judgment? Are we seeking to carry each other's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ? Are we ready to keep the Festival with the bread of sincerity and truth?

Father God, I pray today for Your church, the Body of Christ. Work in us to make us clean by the power of Your Spirit. Remove the yeast of malice and wickedness, arrogance and pride. Remove the yeast of immorality and show us how to gently restore the fallen. Make me into the bread of sincerity and truth. In Jesus' Name.