#523 (12/1/22) THE POWER OF LITTLE THINGS
‘Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast…’
Little things are powerful. Do you realise that according to a recent study, all the Corona Virus particles in the world add up to around 10KG! (From research at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and the California Institute of Technology) All this trouble over such a little thing! Thoughts weigh nothing and they are the most positive or destructive things! A relationship, health, a community… is not usually destroyed by one event but by many harmful ‘micro’ things.
How does a church that’s passionate for Jesus and the gospel move to a place of serious God-dishonouring compromise? It’s not through a moment of revelation. It’s through a failure to recognise the little-by-little creeping effects of ungodly teaching. Paul wrote in Galatians,
‘You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty.’ (Galatians 5:7-9)
Some in Corinth were ‘boasting’ in a sinful sexual freedom. Many Christians and churches boast that they are embracing of all forms of sexuality. Some join in gay pride marches in an effort to show that God accepts everyone regardless of sexual practice. In a BBC article of June 2021 entitled, ‘Methodist Church allows same-sex marriage in 'momentous' vote’ they write,
‘The Methodist Church has become the largest religious denomination in Britain to permit same-sex marriages. A vote to change the definition of marriage at the Methodist Conference on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed by 254 in favour with 46 against. Freedom of conscience clauses mean ministers will not be forced to conduct such weddings if they oppose the move. Same-sex marriage is not allowed in the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church. However it is welcomed in the Scottish Episcopal Church, the United Reformed Church and the Quakers in Britain.’ (taken from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-57658161)
Pride in sexual sin is something that will continue to grow and put more pressure on Bible-believing Christians. None of us are immune from becoming compromised by the spreading yeast of sin of all kinds. We must be humble and be aware of our weakness. We must be alert to the first entrance of sin in our personal lives and the church.
A powerful way that our consciences become inured to (become accustomed to) sexual sin is through the media that we read and watch. Much of the entertainment that is on offer will promote sexual sin in very positive ways. It seeks to make those who hold to a conservative evangelical line on marriage and sex look mean and outdated. Our thinking will be shaped by what we allow to entertain us! Many Christians find nothing wrong with sex outside of heterosexual marriage because they are not reading God’s word or attending churches that teach God’s word. If we don’t want the culture of the world to shape us, we must be in the culture of a good Christian community.
Little things have power. The simple act of prayer, scripture and fellowship will protect you and give you the grace to stand for the name of Jesus over the 'race' of your life.
OVER TO YOU - PRAY AND WORSHIP OUT OF THE BIBLE
I’ve made a few comments. However, it’s more important that you engage with the text yourself. Take a moment to pray and listen to God’s voice out of today’s text.
'But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.' (1 Timothy 3:14-15)
I find it helpful to use the following questions which are based upon The Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13).
1. Praise - What does this text teach me about God? What can I praise Him for?
2. Petitions - What does this teach me about His will for me and others? What could I pray for from this text? This is a good time to pray for our non-believing. friends. It’s good to ask, Is the Holy Spirit leading me in any specific response?
3. Peace-making - Is the Holy Spirit convicting me of sin for which I need forgiveness? Do I need to forgive others?
4. Protection - Ask for God’s protection generally and for any specific areas of vulnerability. Am I believing lies regarding the truths in this text?
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Important - this Sunday, our service is both live in the building and on Zoom from 10:30. Please go to the website for the Zoom link.
What has been the most memorable (in a good way!) thing that has happened over Christmas and New Year?
3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
On Sunday, we continued with our series 'Becoming Love' from the book of 1 Corinthians. The Corinthians had become Christians out of a very sexually perverted culture. However, some of them were embracing the sin in their culture and going back to their old lives. Paul likens the spreading effects of sin in a church community to yeast spreading in dough - there is power in little things!
‘It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this?’ (1 Corinthians 5:1-2)
‘Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?’ (1 Corinthians 5:6)
The 'yeast' of sin that spreads is much more than sexual immorality. He also adds these things,
'But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.' (1 Corinthians 5:11)