Sermons and Talks, vol. 2


Chapter 15—The Leaven of Truth

Manuscript 82, 1898

The kingdom of heaven can be felt, but not seen. The inward working of the Spirit of God is compared to leaven. Said Christ, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened” [Matthew 13:33]. And again, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” [Matthew 18:3]. 2SAT 115.1

The leaven of truth, hidden in the heart, will not produce the spirit of rivalry, the love of ambition, the desire to be first. Thousands upon thousands of those to whom God has entrusted talents to be improved and increased that they may bring all their consecrated ability into the kingdom of God, become slaves to gold and silver and earthly possessions. They abuse their entrusted capabilities, and scheme and plan to obtain those things which have no value with God. They buy and sell and get gain, but they neglect to secure those precious things which are placed within their reach—the bread of life, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 2SAT 115.2

“Whatever ye ask the Father in My name believing,” Christ says, “ye shall receive.” Money is of value only as it is used as the Lord's entrusted means [only] if, as the Lord's stewards we hold it in trust as a precious gift of heaven with which we can bless humanity. But if it is used to indulge and glorify self, it is a curse and an encumbrance and a constant temptation. It becomes a stumbling block over which thousands of souls fall into temptation and all manner of iniquity. 2SAT 115.3

The sixth chapter of First Timothy speaks of a class of people who dishonor God. In the place of seeking for purity of heart, for love and unity, thus revealing that the leaven of truth has been hidden in their souls, they give evidence that they know not what it means to have the leaven of truth in the heart, molding the affections and sanctifying the soul. They are proud, “knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings. Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness” [verses 4, 5]. “From such” the apostle warns Timothy, “withdraw thyself.” [Verses 6-10, quoted.] 2SAT 115.4

A true, practical Christian will show himself a believer in sanctification, and his works will testify of him that he is born of God. The apostle continues, “Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses” [verses 11, 12]. 2SAT 115.5

The lesson given is for every human being. Christ by this parable illustrates the human heart. The leaven of truth, working inwardly, will be revealed in the life. The heart must be cleansed from all impurity. Man must be fitted with traits of character that will enable him to do service for God in any line. The process is invisible by which the leaven changes the mass of meal into which it has been introduced, but it works until the meal is converted into bread. So must the Spirit of God work a radical change. New faculties are not supplied, but a thorough change is made in the employment of those faculties. The natural inclinations are softened and subdued. New thoughts, new feelings, new motives, are implanted. But while every faculty is regenerated, man does not lose his identity. 2SAT 116.1

The apostle Paul says: [Ephesians 2:1-8, quoted]. 2SAT 116.2

Here is brought to view the change that must take place in the heart. And “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The Scriptures are the great agency in this transformation. Christ prayed, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth” [John 17:17]. In this great work we are laborers together with God. With the divine agency there is to be the cooperation of the human instrument. To each of His followers Christ says, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” [Matthew 28:18-20]. 2SAT 116.3

The meal in which the leaven has been hid represents the heart that believes and receives Jesus. Christ works out the principles which He alone can work in. The world looks upon this class as a mystery which they cannot solve. The selfish, money-loving man lives to eat and drink and enjoy his worldly goods. But he does not keep eternity in view. He loses the eternal world from his reckoning. But those who receive and believe the truth have that faith which works by love and purifies the soul from everything sensual. 2SAT 116.4

The world cannot know them, for they are keeping in view eternal realities. A motive power is working within to transform the character. A constraining influence received from heaven is working like the leaven hid in the meal. The love of Jesus has come into the heart with its redeeming power to conquer the entire being, soul, body, and spirit. When counter influences work to conflict the grace of Christ which bringeth salvation, the love of Christ masters every other motive, and raises the human agent above the corrupting influences of the world. 2SAT 116.5

Because he clings to Jesus in faith and prayer, because he looks unto Him who died that he might have all the power that Christ has to bestow, the believing soul enters into fellowship with Christ. His life is hid with Christ in God. This class is widely separated from the motives which move and control the world, and therefore the world knows them not. 2SAT 117.1

With the follower of Christ the love of money is not all absorbing. For Christ's sake he will labor for it, deny self for it, cut off every superfluous want, bind about every needless expenditure, that the means which come into his possession may be used in the great work of saving souls who are without Christ and without hope in the world. Thus he cooperates with the world's Redeemer, who for our sakes became poor that we through His poverty might be made rich. 2SAT 117.2

He, our great Deliverer, left the royal courts of heaven. The Commander of all the angelic hosts laid aside His royal robes, His crown of honor. He clothed His divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity, and that divinity might lay hold of the divine power of God in behalf of the fallen race. 2SAT 117.3

The love of ease and pleasure and self-exaltation did not characterize His life. He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed. And all who make an unreserved surrender to God will from the heart say, “I will follow Thee, my Saviour.” They will have fellowship with Christ in His sufferings. 2SAT 117.4

Has the truth we profess to believe sanctified the soul? If it has, the result will be manifest. As the penetrating power of the leaven produces an entire change in the meal, so the power of the Word of God through His grace will work a transformation in the soul. The truth which is contained in the Scriptures must not be received merely as a theory. It is to work a change upon human hearts. 2SAT 117.5

But the question arises, Why are there so many who claim to believe the truth in whom we do not see a reformation in words, in spirit, and in character. They cannot bear any opposition of their purposes and plans. They manifest an unholy temper, and their words are harsh, overbearing, passionate. 2SAT 117.6

The Lord has not made us judges, but we have to meet these difficulties in the churches. These persons are not converted. They need to be born again. The truth has not had the privilege of doing its work upon the human heart. The sunshine of Christ's righteousness has not been permitted to shine into the soul temple. The natural and cultivated tendencies to evil are not worked upon by the transforming power of the truth, and preconceived opinions are retained as precious gems. All this reveals the absence of the grace of Christ. It reveals an unbelief in Christ's power to transform the character. 2SAT 118.1

It is a mistake for one who has some defects of character, and whom the Lord has placed in connection with others who have a religious experience, to think that the little things in connection with his work, in the methods and plans and modes of thinking and acting, should be passed by without opposition. The Lord places persons in such positions that they may have an opportunity to become acquainted with themselves and learn to take heed to themselves. They are not to change their position, for this is appointed by God to bring them into connection with other minds, that they may discover the imperfections in themselves, and that they themselves need to make a decided change. 2SAT 118.2

They need to learn that the leaven of truth has not entered into the heart's affections, habits, and practices, and made a reformation in them. They have let the habits and practices of a lifetime have free course, because they have entertained the idea that they were right. They have refused to be corrected, because they have been in the habit of shutting their eyes to their own defects. They have thought that their habits and practices did not need to be changed, and they have held fast to their own ideas, which in their own eyes are perfection. 2SAT 118.3

They have not possessed the faith which works by love. The leaven of truth has not acted upon their hearts as the leaven upon the meal. They will not have their minds directed into any other channel, and the result is that the Spirit of God cannot work for them. This is the cause of so much disaffection and lack of harmonious action. 2SAT 118.4

The people of God must strive to be one, as Christ is one with the Father. Each one may say, “That is just what we want,” but each considers that his own course of action, his words, and reasoning are right, and without any need of modification. How can these be of the same mind and the same judgment? Let all seek to be of one mind, at the same time remembering that any one worker's judgment is not to be deferred to without question. 2SAT 118.5

The religion of Jesus Christ can only bless when it works and influences as the leaven works the meal. Says the apostle: [Philippians 2:1-5; Colossians 3:12-16; Romans 12:3-10; 15:1-7; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Romans 12:16; Galatians 5:22-26, quoted]. The apostle James in writing of this, says: [James 3:13-18, quoted]. And Christ declares: [John 15:8-14; 13:34, 35, quoted]. 2SAT 119.1

How broad, how full is this love. The new part of that commandment the disciples did not understand. They were to love one another as Christ had loved them. These were their credentials that Christ was formed within, the hope of glory. After the sufferings of Christ, after His crucifixion and resurrection and proclamation over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, “I am the resurrection and the life,” after His words to the five hundred who assembled to see Him in Galilee, and after His ascension to heaven, the disciples had some idea of what the love of God comprehended, and of the love they were to exercise one toward another. When the Holy Spirit rested on them on the day of Pentecost, that love was revealed. John could say to his brother disciples: [1 John 3:16-18; 4:16-21, quoted]. 2SAT 119.2

Here is faithfully portrayed our religious obligations to one another. The test and measurement of genuine religious experience and sanctification through the truth is clearly defined. Our course of action on all occasions must be fashioned after the divine pattern. The teaching of the Word is clear and explicit in regard to the love we should cultivate one for another. The love of Christ in the heart will be like the leaven. The grand truths of the Bible are to be our bread for spiritual life. The leaven of truth, through its life-giving power, brings all that there is of mind and soul and strength into complete harmony with the divine life. 2SAT 119.3

There are grand principles set before us in the Word of God, but these are not to be considered too pure and holy to be brought into the business life. Through the reception of Christ as our personal Saviour, the precious gems which that Word contains become to us threads of gold that bind us to Christ and to each other. In loving one another as Christ has loved humanity, we receive sanctification of the soul and obtain that faith which works by love and purifies the soul. When the leaven of truth is implanted in the heart, it absorbs to itself all the capabilities of mind and soul and strength. It implants in the human being a new nature, and the grace of Christ is more and more developed. 2SAT 119.4

The twelfth and thirteenth chapters of 1 Corinthians should be committed to memory, written in the mind and heart. Through His servant Paul, the Lord has placed before us these subjects for our consideration, and those who have the privilege of being brought together in church capacity will be united, understandingly and intelligently. The figure of the members which compose the body represents the church of God and the relation its members should sustain to one another. 2SAT 119.5

Is this chapter studied and digested or is it ignored by the professed people of God who are brought together in church capacity? The one grand necessity of church members is to walk humbly with God in the path of obedience. Says the apostle: [1 Corinthians 11:16-19, quoted]: [Matthew 18:1-6, quoted.] 2SAT 120.1

When the leaven of truth is hidden in the heart it becomes a vital working power to bring into conformity to itself all the capabilities of the being. The mind, the affections, the motives—all the powers—become converted through the truth. And all are worked by the same Spirit. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. The truths of the Word of God meet in one grand practical necessity—the conversion of the soul through faith. 2SAT 120.2

When the believer is united with Christ, that faith is manifested in holiness of character, in consistent obedience to every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. The truths which we receive from the Word of God are truths which reach to heaven and compass eternity, and yet the vital influence of those truths may be woven into the human life. The influence of the Word of God is to have a sanctifying effect on our speech, our actions, our association with every member of the family, and with strangers. The leaven of truth must bring under control the temper and the voice. In the home and in the church there are matters which are termed “little things,” but all these little things have great results. It is the “little things” that discipline the soul and prepare men to act with lowly-mindedness in large responsibilities. 2SAT 120.3

As members of the royal family we are in solemn covenant with God to uplift and promote piety in the church. The evil thinking and evil speaking indulged in are the tares sown among the wheat. There are persons who have become church members who are constantly at work weighing characters. They think they can measure accurately the motives of others and discern many things which are untrue. They pronounce their judgment, but their near eyesight is defective. They are entirely ignorant as to their own defects. 2SAT 120.4

These are to learn the lesson that the Lord has not given them their talents for the purpose of dissecting the character of others. They each have an individual “I” over which to have supervision. They are to take heed that the leaven of envy, of jealousy, of faultfinding does not take possession of the soul and work the whole being. To all who have devoted their lives to this line of work, be they ministers or people, the words spoken by Christ to Nicodemus are applicable, “Ye must be born again.” It is as though a smoked glass were placed before the mind's eye, and they view all things accordingly. 2SAT 121.1

The leaven of truth must have life in itself, or it will not work out of the heart the deadly errors that are there. The Word of God enjoins upon believers: “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in Me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” [Philippians 4:8, 9]. If every member of the church would practice the truth as it is presented before him, how much pain would be saved to himself and others. 2SAT 121.2

The truth must exercise an influence over the practical life. The large and the small things are always linked together. The fact that the little things are not seen and linked with the great and higher interests is the cause of the failure of many church members. There are great defects in the professedly Christian life. Their words are not leavened by the truth. There are many whose characters are now being weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, and they are pronounced “wanting” because they do not bring the truth into practice. 2SAT 121.3

The leaven of truth is a living principle, and it is to be exercised in the little things and exert an influence over the daily life. But many act as if the truths of God's Word did not exist. The same love of self, the same selfish indulgence, the same temper and hasty speech is seen in their lives as in the worldling. The same sensitive pride, the same yielding to natural inclination, the same perversities of character are seen as if the truth were totally unknown by them. They have closed the windows and drawn the blinds of the soul, and shut out the sunshine of the righteousness of Christ, and then complain that they have no sweet joy, no assurance and happiness in believing the truth. But the sin lies at their own door. They have not hidden the leaven of truth in the heart. 2SAT 121.4

When the waters of life flow in pure, sweet currents to the parched soil of the heart, there will be a development of fruit to the glory of God. Then the truth will not be brought into disrepute by the perverse disposition, the defective hereditary and cultivated tendencies now revealed in word and action. 2SAT 121.5

Oh, that all of our people would understand the harm they do by little acts of inconsistency. There are some who have a burden for the souls of their friends. They try to bring the truth before them, to soften their hearts, but there are inconsistencies in their own words and spirit, and their influence pulls down that which they really desire to build up. It may be that bitterness is revealed in the voice, that severity is manifested in the judgment. Remember that the manner is the unspoken language of the feelings, and all this works away from Christ and daily witnesses against you, hardening the hearts you wish to save. 2SAT 122.1

Should not the consideration of these matters arouse every Christian to the solemn resolution to be more faithful? Should not the words of the apostle have weight with us: “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ”? This Scripture is given to us to heed and to practice. The apostle continues, “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” [1 Peter 1:13-16]. 2SAT 122.2

As men and women who profess godliness, are we obeying the Word of God? Is the leaven of truth hidden in the heart, working in the character, and conforming the entire being to the will and ways of God? Our churches need the converting power of God. The leaven of evil which works in disobedience and denial of the truth must be eradicated, and the leaven of the word of God [must be] implanted in the heart. This will work with its vital properties, restoring the lost image of God in man. 2SAT 122.3

And the transformation having taken place through the leaven of truth, a work is entrusted to us. Christ commissions us, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”—Ms 82, 1898 (MR 900.49). 2SAT 122.4