Paul, an apostle, wrote, “Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” Cleanse out the old leaven.
There are three old leavens that have to be dealt with in each of us. Jesus said, (1) “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.” The leaven is the rising agent for the whole lump of dough and the leaven of the Pharisees was to infect all of the people with a religion of legality and rule-keeping without any love and personal relationship and responsibility with God. It was all a show, a performance. It was “holding a form of godliness, although they have denied its power.” It was a tradition without substance. It was long robes, long prayers, long beards, long meetings, long winded, and short on life and produced dead people. They were a very self-righteous and hypocritical group. The Pharisees were a sect among the Jews that carefully obeyed the written and oral law and often with the sincerest of attitudes. In our time the word “Pharisee” has come to mean simply, a hypocrite. That is, to say one thing and do another. Or to impose on others what one will not impose on ones self. There is no other group that Jesus had such confrontation with as these religious Pharisees. Matthew 23 is a concentrated list of “the leaven” in the Pharisees as Jesus saw it. He pronounces the “seven woes” on “scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.” All of these are very old and common leavens. Pretend Christianity is no different than pretend Judaism and pretend law keeping. They are all delusion. They are all fake and man pleasing. They are all the leaven of the Pharisees.
“Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.” Jesus