A Short Study of Matthew 16:6
“Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”
I readily admit I am no baker. However, I do know that for bread to rise, leaven (yeast) must be added to the dough. When a baker prepares his bread, he doesn’t bake leaven alone, for none would eat it; his finished product would be without the delicious taste of grain. Leaven, therefore, must be added to the flour in a skillful way, so as not to overshadow the flavour of the bread. The only way that men will consume the leaven is if it is wisely mixed with grain.
When our Lord Jesus referred to “the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees,” He was speaking of their doctrine. This is clearly stated in verses 11-12 of the same chapter. “How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”
What did the Pharisees and Sadducees do? They mixed their religious lies with Biblical truths. Certainly they did not proclaim all error, for then their doctrines would not have been well received by the multitudes. Rather, they cleverly added a little leaven to the truth so that their unsuspecting hearers would swallow the entire deadly mixture.
Satan has many deceitful religious bakers today. They are very skillful in blending their leaven with truth and so make their false gospel very palatable to the natural man. They generally do not come forth blatantly denying the Word of God, else most people would refuse them and their teaching. What they do is blend a small amount of man-made teaching with the holy Scriptures. They talk about salvation by grace, but then mix in works so as to deceive the uninformed. They declare that Christ died on the cross, then blend in their leaven by saying His death is only beneficial if sinners add their faith to what He did. They preach the necessity of the Holy Spirit’s power and then make His work to be subject to and dependent upon the free-will of the sinner. How much leaven does it take to modify truth and turn it into error? Paul said to those who were swallowing the false doctrine of the legalists, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” (Galatians 5:9)