“Religion & Relationship”
Matthew 16:1-12

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.’” – [Matthew 16:6]

Religion and relationship with God are at times diametrically opposed. When we think of religion we usually think of God, but in our passage this morning we see that religion [wrong religion] is an enemy of God.

This should not surprise us, however, because in the Bible we see that Satan comes as “an angel of light” [2 Cor 11:14], luring as many as he can away from the truth. Satan’s most effective tool is as a counterfeit, one who looks like the Real. And thus, the expressions antichrist and spirit of antichrist are connected to him and his followers in Scripture [ref. 1 Jn 2:18, 22; 1 Jn 4:3; 2 Jn 1:7].

Satan’s objective is against Christ, and he tries to achieve that objective by looking like Christ, and that is what makes religion [wrong religion] so deceitfully dangerous. Satan leads people astray through deception. He is religious, pious, and quotes Scripture. He sows tares among the wheat [ref. Matt 13:25] and they look like wheat. He is the leader of a religious movement that lures people away from God while looking religious.

That is why Jesus warned, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” At first His disciples thought He was speaking about physical leaven in physical bread, but they soon realized that He was addressing the “doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees” [v.16:12].

It is true that “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” [1 Cor 5:6; Gal 5:9; ref. Matt 13:33]. False doctrine, not removed, will permeate an entire loaf of believers. We must therefore remove false doctrine.

What is the best way to protect against false doctrine? Teach and handle true doctrine. The best way to spot counterfeit is to know [and handle] the real.

Handle God’s Word [yourself]. Because when you come to know the Word [yourself], you come to know Jesus [yourself]. Because the fact of the matter is that you cannot even fully trust another when it comes to Jesus. You need to know Jesus personally; you need to know God’s word personally.

It is imperative that we read God’s word daily because Jesus is the Word. When we come to know God’s word, we come to know Jesus. God’s word is our spiritual food, and like physical food, we need spiritual food daily.

And it is when we daily handle the Truth that we become keen to lies. It is like that old fashion bank teller who handles cash every day; counting the real daily gives them an acute awareness of counterfeit; and thus, the same principle for us when we handle God’s Word daily.

You and I need to be reading and digesting God’s word daily. It is an imperative for the child of God among the religious Pharisees and Sadducees in our day.