The parable of leaven bread reveals what we should be doing.
“He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”” (Mt 13:33)
If you are familiar with the leavening process, you know leaven is added to the dough and it is left to sit. Over time the dough rises as the leaven works through the dough. Eventually the whole bread is leavened.
In this parable, the dough represents the world. The leaven represents us — believers in Christ. Those who are already apart of the kingdom.
The parable of the leaven teaches us that while we wait for Jesus to return, we are not to wait idle. Instead, we are to spread the gospel, influencing the world and others for Christ just as leaven leavens a whole lump of bread.
This parable teaches us Christians have the ability to influence the world for Jesus.
A lot of time I think we don’t believe that because:
(1) We see how messed up the world is.
We think these people are never going to come to Christ. But you were a part of the world at one time. You came to Christ. Yes, you were actually that bad.
(2) Or we see how messed up we are.
We think God could never use me to reach someone else for Him. But that is simple not true. God’s plan is to use messed up people whom He saves and sanctifies to reach the world for Christ.
Yes, the world is messed up. There are a lot of people who will reject the Christian message, the gospel. But there are also many who will believe. God is preparing their hearts right now to hear the gospel from you. Hearing, they will believe and they will come and be a part of the kingdom.
The kingdom grows as Christians work for the kingdom in the world. While God is patient and holds off His judgment, it is our job to work for the kingdom, to influence the world for Christ.
How do we work for the kingdom?
(1) Evangelize others
We do that simply by speaking the gospel into the lives of others. That might be going door to door throughout the different communities in our city. It might be building relationships with people who you come into contact with on a regular basis with the purpose of speaking the gospel into their lives.
In the past, I spent a lot of time at coffee shops. COVID has messed that up. But in the past I spent a lot of time in coffee shops. I love coffee and the coffee shop vibe. But that wasn’t the only reason I went to the coffee shop. I went with the intention of building relationships with folks in order to talk with them about the gospel. Over the years, I have built a lot of relationships with people at the coffee shop and had a lot of good gospel conversations.
I am sure there are places you frequent. A coffee shop, donut shop, hair salon, playground, auction, cattle show. You also have people at work. People on your kids sport’s team. People that live next door. There are many ways we can meet people, build relationship and talk with them about the gospel.
But here is the point: We have to be intentional.
We have to intentionally build relationships with non-believers and talk to them about the gospel if we want to see the kingdom grow.
(2) Living for God
If we want to be an effective evangelist, we have to actually live out God’s Word. The most common critique of Christians is that they are hypocrites. They say one thing, but they actually live another way. If we want to be an effective evangelist, we must actually live out God’s Word. By living for God, we can be an influence for the kingdom because it undergirds our evangelism.
(3) Working for our City and Community
We can be an influence for the kingdom by helping out in the city and in the community.
- Serving at the homeless shelter.
- Volunteering at a school.
- Helping those in need.
- Working in government.
- And more.
We can be an influence for the kingdom by working and volunteering in our city.
(4) Discipling Others
Through the years I have had a number of people disciple me. They have been an influence on my life, helping me grow both spiritually and intellectually.
If we want to be an influence for the kingdom, we can and must disciple others as well. People need others to help them understand God’s Word. Provide them with wisdom and accountability. Encourage them to keep walking out the faith. We need others.
It is our vision here at the church that we would be a church full of disciple-making disciples. That every member would be making disciples, replicating themselves as they live in community with other members.
But I am afraid that is not going to happen unless we throw out a consumer mentality and adopt a disciple making culture. We have to make a shift from seeing the church as being about me to it being about others. We must become more other-centric rather than me-centric.
Unless we change our mentality and understand that the reason we gather together as a church is to help encourage, hold accountable, teach, and care for one another, we won’t be a disciple-making disciple church. Instead we will be like every other consumer driven church. But that is not the type of church we need to be. That is not the type of church Jesus is calling us to be. He is calling us to be a church full of disciples who are making disciples.
As we wait for the kingdom to come, we are to work for the kingdom. What are you doing to work for the kingdom? How are you influencing this world for Jesus?
There are a lot of people out there who need to hear the gospel. Who need to be encouraged, helped, and discipled.
What are you doing to influence this world for Jesus? What can you do this week to influence the world for Jesus?
- Maybe there is a neighbor or co-worker you can talk to.
- Maybe there is someone around the corner you can help out.
- Maybe you can start a discipleship relationship with a friend, co-worker, your kids, or grandkids.
What are you going to do this week to influence the world for Jesus?