Purge the Old Leaven
Last Day of Unleavened Bread 2021
(Sermon Notes) By Warren Zehrung 4/3/2021
In today’s sermon we will be looking at the various aspects of our lives that make us pleasing to God. Not everyone’s behavior is acceptable to Him. This is a very serious matter – so much so that God has made it the focus of one of His Holy Days.
The Last Day of Unleavened Bread is observed on the 21st of Abib, the first month of the year. On this day in history, Israel crossed the Red Sea and came completely out of Egypt. But they had help, didn’t they?
It was Jesus Christ, the God of the Old Testament who made it possible for them to leave Egypt. The title of today’s sermon comes from:
1Corinthians 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
1Corinthians 5:7-8 Therefore, let us keep the Feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Unleavened Bread pictures Jesus Christ – who is the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
On this day, Israel came completely out of Egypt—picturing sin and corruption.
Purge simply means remove, take away. Old Leaven is used in the Bible as a type of sin and immorality. The Bible contains a terrible list of sins in:
1Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
1Corinthians 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
1Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
The brethren of God’s Church have purged out that old leaven – before baptism.
This week of Unleavened Bread pictured that coming out of sin. But, Brethren, we are still sinners. We still come far short of the glory and righteousness of Jesus.
On the First Day of Unleavened Bread I made the statement. “With Jesus Christ in us we stop sinning.” That statement certainly needs some clarification and context. I didn’t want to say, “With Jesus Christ in us we stop sinning – as much as we did before.” That could be construed to be permissive of sin.
It is a fact. We are unable to stop sinning without the help of God’s Holy Spirit. With all of our strength and being, with Jesus Christ in us we crave and desire to stop sinning with the help of His Spirit in us.
Tonight we can go back to eating fluffy bread because the Days of Unleavened Bread will be over. BUT, we cannot put the old leaven and sin back into our lives.
We would never consider going into a world of fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, abusers, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, or extortioners (1Corinthians 6:9-11). No, we continue to go on to perfection of Christ – hating even the garment spotted by the flesh (Jude 1:23).
Hebrews 6:1 … let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
We live by the principles of the doctrine of Christ, of which, “going on unto perfection is the final and lifelong principle we live by.
Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
Brethren, it goes without saying – we never get to the perfection of Christ in these bodies. As long as we are still flesh and blood, we will never be absolutely sinless—we can never free ourselves completely and totally of sin unto the perfection of Christ—but that must be our goal. Even with God’s Holy Spirit, we are still human and we sometimes fail.
But we should not be sinning and failing to the extent that some did before God came into their lives – they were horrible sins.
The spiritual lesson of God’s command to eat unleavened bread during this Feast is that we want to continue ridding our lives of the leaven of sin and wickedness and become washed and made holy in God’s sight.
To do so, we have to fill our lives with the unleavened bread of life—Jesus Christ. That means we accept Him as the sole authority in our lives. We no longer do the things we want to do or, are tempted to do. It means we desire to become like Jesus in every aspect of our lives. It means we make His priorities our priorities. It means taking in and living by the whole of God’s Word. That is how we are “coming out of sin,” and in that way we escape the slavery to sin. With all our might, we keep God’s Law – His Commandments – His way of life. We realize we have to quit sinning – and to a great extent, we have stopped sinning as before. And as time goes on we do sin less and less. As we endeavor to put sin out of our life – we come out of sin. We grow in character with the help and motivation of God’s Spirit. But most of all we put on Christ and all of His spiritual attributes.
He was sinless – and that is our goal. In our brain and heart we have made up our mind not to sin – not ever. But experience has taught us that we will fail as long as we are in the flesh.
1John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
Jesus was tempted on all points – so He knows what we go through – even in doing our best not to sin.
Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
But, that does not mean that we let the standard of Jesus Christ go by the wayside. We know that we are never able to attain to His perfect life – but we try with all of our being to do so. We never tell ourselves that a little sinning is OK – because we know that a little sin leavens us completely (1Corinthians 5:6).
Paul clearly instructs us that the purpose of keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread is to show us of our need to continuously remove sin from our lives. In discussing the danger of sin’s malignancy, Paul uses the phrase “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” on two separate occasions (1Corinthians 5:6).
Galatians 5:9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
Brethren, we are not speaking of “Cooking and Baking” instructions.
Every young lady in her Home Economics class has learned that a little leaven leavens the whole lump, in her “bread making” lesson.
But again, Paul is not talking about the kitchen! Paul is not speaking of our physical bodies either. We understand that a little cancer — unchecked — spreads like a malignant disease in a person until he is totally consumed and destroyed.
Paul is speaking of our spiritual lives. Paul uses the phrase “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” to describe how sin spreads through a person’s life until God’s Spirit is totally extinguished. We see it happen – even to those who are closest to us. James, the brother of Jesus, puts is succinctly:
James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
James 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death. [spiritual death!]
People want to fight and compete against others — in the home — and even across church lines.
It is a game of one-upmanship – the practice of gaining a feeling of superiority over another person by seeking to put them “in their place” — it is a very widespread occurrence.
It is a subtle form of hate that has no place in God’s Church.
They think that somehow they will gain a victory in doing so.
Brethren, that is Satan’s field of play — and Satan is subtle. He makes us think that our discourteous manners are okay, and others are outside the faith, so it is proper to treat them disrespectfully — it is not! We do not allow or permit ourselves to sin even a little bit. (a little leaven leavens the whole lump – and we ourselves are the lump we do not wish to leaven)
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
We do not, and cannot sin with impunity. There is a horrible price that will be paid for all.
Let’s look at meat in due season on this Holy Day. God instructed the Israelites to put all leaven bread [fluffy bread] out of their homes during the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:15-19; 13:7).
Exodus 12:15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread [flat, not made with yeast]; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day [that is today’s instruction], that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
It is that important to God – we are spiritual Israel (Galatians 6:16).
Exodus 12:16 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.
Exodus 12:17 And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance forever.
Exodus 12:18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month [of Abib or Aviv] at even. [from sunset yesterday until sunset today]
Exodus 12:19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eats that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.
God wants to drive this point home to us.
Exodus 13:7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters.
“In all thy quarters.” We do a pretty good job of getting the bread and crumbs out of our house and car — but how good of a job do we do in getting sin out of our minds and hearts — that is certainly a part of “In all thy quarters.” It is a very serious matter to understand.
Unleavened bread typifies sin-less-ness, and symbolizes our putting away sin and putting on Christ’s righteousness and obedience to God.
Exodus 13:18 God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.
Brethren, we crossed our Red Sea on the day we were baptized. God led us also.
1Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the [Red] Sea;
1Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
Leviticus 23:6-8 On the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein… in the seventh day is [also] an holy convocation.
That seventh day is today. As Christians, we understand that Purging out the old leaven means that we must endeavor to stop sinning with all our heart, mind and being.
There is no way Israel could have escaped from Egypt and Pharaoh’s army on their own. Jesus was the principal factor in the equation. In the same way, there is no way we can escaped from sin and its death penalty by our own strength of mind and determination.
We must be saved, recovered and delivered by Faith in Jesus — our Savior — Christ in us is the hope of Glory (Colossians 1:27).
People in the Church of God are being asked if they have the faith to go without a COVID mask.
We will see in just a moment that kind of faith is an Old Testament kind of faith.
Brethren – it takes real Faith – to do what Christ says – and to live like Jesus lived by keeping all of His Ten Commandments, laws, statutes, judgments, every tittle, – not only in the letter – but in the spirit of the law.
Exodus 20:8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exodus 20:12 Honor thy father and thy mother:
Exodus 20:15 Thou shalt not steal… and all the rest of God’s laws.
Jesus is our role model. It takes real Faith – to endeavor to live a perfect life as Jesus Christ did. Are we even trying to do that?
Egypt is only a type of sin. Brethren we are facing the real thing—real sin!
Today pictures that we are coming completely out of the real thing – which is sin against God! After repenting of our sins and being forgiven by God, we must strive to come out of sin completely, just as Israel came out of Egypt completely and totally today.
Hebrews 11:29 By faith Israel passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians attempting to do were drowned.
Israel had to have the faith that the Red Sea [Gulf of Aqaba] would not come rushing in on them – and drown them. We have that kind of functional faith every time we do our best to cross a highway — knowing that we will not die until Jesus is through using us and teaching us.
Our faith must be so much more than that. Much deeper than that. More powerful than that, more meaningful than that. True Christianity’s real faith is to live a perfect life with all our might — imitating Jesus Christ’s life.
Our faith is that God the Father has made Jesus Christ to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2Corinthians 5:21).
We have been delivered from sin! Our faith is not that we will not die — but our faith is — that we will live in Christ.
1John 2:6 He that says he abides in [Christ] ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.
We ought to be walking in the perfection of Jesus Christ. That’s faith! Doing the hard things that He did and avoiding the things He eluded. All the way to dying daily for the cause of Christ – as He died once and for all for us (Romans 12:1).
Let’s look briefly at Paul’s instructions to young Timothy on how to obtain the salvation which is in Christ. Look for purging the old leaven out in these verses.
2Timothy 2:10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. [Hebrews 2:10]
2Timothy 2:11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with Him: [A key theme with Paul]
Romans 6:3-4 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore, we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of Life.
2Timothy 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
Brethren, Jesus is able to deliver us – even in our weakness.
2Timothy 2:13 If we believe not, yet He abides faithful: he cannot deny himself.
Paul tells Timothy:
2Timothy 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
2Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knows them that are his. And, Let everyone that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
Depart from iniquity – that is the same thing as purge the old leaven.
2Timothy 2:20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor.
2Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
2Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2Timothy 2:23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
2Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
2Timothy 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
You see the soft hands of God patiently working with people.
2Timothy 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
That is why we pray, “deliver us from the evil one” and place your hedge of protection about us.
True Christians continually strive to rid sin from their lives. But are we crying out to God to help us.
Israel did not exit Egypt by their own strength—they were delivered by our Savior, Jesus Christ, because He heard their cry for help.
2Samuel 22:7 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and He did hear my voice out of His Temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.
Brethren, we must admit as Paul did that we are weak and sold under sin – slaves to sin – no matter how hard we try to walk the strait and narrow path of Christianity.
Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
Paul says that he intends to never sin. But then he finds that he does sin.
Romans 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
Paul says, I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.
Romans 7:16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
God’s law tells us what is right in God’s sight.
Romans 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.
We are all still carnal people with human nature.
Paul says that with all his might he fully intends to do God’s will.
Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
I know that I miss the mark!
Romans 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Romans 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.
My human nature gets the best of me.
Romans 7:21 I find then a law, [a truism] that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
Since the fall of Adam and Eve, Human nature is evil.
Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Romans 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Here is the question we ask – and find the answer today.
Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Romans 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Paul is not living a double standard – that is not what he is saying.
When Paul says that with the flesh he serves the law of sin, he is not saying that he just yields to the lust of the flesh whenever tempted.
Quite the contrary: He tells us in:
1Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body [under control], and bring it into subjection [to the laws of God]: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
Paul is saying, “With my mind I serve the law of God. My deepest heart’s desire is to please God and walk in His paths continually – but I know that I fall.”
But, the good news is, if I continue to walk in Faith, Jesus Christ our Lord shall deliver me.
Let’s understand that the unleavened bread represents Jesus Christ.
Jesus Himself explains in John 6.
As the Feast of Unleavened Bread approached, and shortly after He performed a great miracle to feed thousands (John 6:4-13), notice what Jesus told the crowd that followed Him:
John 6:27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give unto you.
Everyone there knew that without physical bread, a person goes hungry and starves. Let’s understand a reality:
When you have two matters before you – physical and spiritual, always understand that things spiritual are the greater eternal reality. That is Jesus Christ’s point in calling Himself “the true bread from heaven,” “the bread of God” and “the bread of life.”
He’s saying that just as physical bread was essential for physical life, He as the spiritual Bread of God and the Bread from heaven and the Bread of life is essential for our spiritual and eternal life! When Jesus taught us how to pray, He said:
Matthew 6:11 Give us This Day our Daily Bread
Most of this world believes that, “Give us this day our daily bread,” is a simple request for daily physical food.
But it is clearly not an appeal for daily physical nourishment. To the contrary, Jesus taught the disciples:
Matthew 6:31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
The misunderstanding surrounding the translation of the unique Greek word ‘epiousios,’ arises from a lack of understanding of this word which was coined and used only by Jesus.
John 6:51 Jesus said: I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever:
John 6:58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eats of this bread shall live forever.
The renowned Biblical scholar, E.W. Bullinger believed that the word epiousios is a reference to Jesus Christ—speaking of Himself – the true spiritual Bread of Life that descends from heaven (Nehemiah 9:15, Revelation 2:17, Matthew 4:4, and John 6)
“Give us this day our daily bread,” is a request to our Father to have Jesus Christ, the True Bread from heaven, live His perfect life in us and provide all things necessary for salvation.
The important thing for us here is that “daily [epiousios] bread” is a reference to Jesus Christ who came down from heaven – not physical food or bread.
He alone, is the Spiritual Bread that must sustain our lives. Brethren, we are in a life-long battle. The symbolism of putting sin out of our lives successfully and entirely will not be completely fulfilled until we are resurrected, changed, and inherit eternal life in the Kingdom of God and become like God who cannot sin.
As resurrected spirit beings:
1John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for God’s [sperma] [the sowing of God’s life’s force and Spirit] are in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. [Having become fully spirit beings.]
We are in a life-long battle. We will fight Satan and sin until the day that we die.
That is the very reason Jesus tells us that we must count the cost before being baptized. It is an incredible battle we are in.
The Christian life demands that we enter into a total commitment to battle to the end, knowing the tremendous personal sacrifices that must be made. God’s Way is more important than family or security because it involves our eternal life. Jesus tells us to be sure that we will be able to finish what we begin:
Luke 14:26 If any man comes to me, and does not love-less his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:27 And whosoever does not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sits not down first, and counts the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
Christianity is the biggest project that we will ever take on – we must make sure that we are fully committed to its completion in the Kingdom of God. Knowing that our goal is eternal life; do we have the determination, mind-set and resilience it takes to stick it out to the end?
Have we thought it out? Have we made the commitment in our mind and heart that we will seek God’s will and way above everything else in life – regardless of the consequences we must endure?
In order for us to become Spirit-born members of God’s Family in the resurrection, we must prove that we will obey God here and now by striving to put the spiritual leaven of sin out of our lives and keep it out.
Paul said that we are to lay aside every sin that so easily besets us – striving against sin (Hebrews 12:1, 4).
Brethren, when we realize that we have a weakness, a sin, and that failing has been with us for a long time – it should tell us that we are not dealing with it properly. In Hebrews 11 we find a long list of faithful saints who have successfully run their course:
Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Unlike the true saints in Hebrews 11 – many who were martyred:
Hebrews 12:4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
That gives us a good idea of how diligent we must be in overcoming sin.
In the same way that God made His Son, Jesus to be ‘Sin’ for our sake, He has made us to be Righteous – the righteousness of Jesus Christ!
2Corinthians 5:21 God the Father made Jesus Christ, who never sinned, to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
Jesus took on our sin, so that we might put on His Righteousness.
Let’s renew our resolve to live in harmony with God’s Law, and rededicate our lives to continual spiritual growth and overcoming – – through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let us close with:
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
End: Purge The Old Leaven