************ Sermon on 1 Corinthians 5:7 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on November 14, 2004
1 Corinthians 5
1 Corinthians 5:7
"Throw Out The Old Dough"
Today we have celebrated the Lord's Supper. Using the words of our text, we've been reminded that Jesus is the Passover lamb. What is your response to this?
In the passage in front of us the Apostle Paul makes a contrast between the old life of sin and the new life in Christ. Paul tells us that in the lives of those who have been saved the old leaven of malice and wickedness must give way to the bread of sincerity and truth. He says that because Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed we are and must live as new people.
I Christ, Our Passover Lamb, Has Been Sacrificed
A In our text Paul says, "Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed." In saying "Passover lamb" Paul wants us to think of Israel's last night in Egypt. You know what happened that night. Every household slaughtered a lamb without blemish. Its meat was cooked and eaten. Its blood was splattered on the doorframe of the house. When the angel of God came to kill the first-born of Egypt it passed over every house sprinkled with the blood.
B Paul calls Jesus a "Passover lamb." He is not alone in thinking of Jesus this way. For instance, when John the Baptist first sees Jesus he says, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn 1:29). The Apostle Peter can describe Jesus as "a lamb without blemish or defect" (1 Pt 1:19). And, in his vision of heaven, the Apostle John hears a numberless crowd singing to Jesus,
(Rev 5:12) "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!"
C Jesus is the Passover lamb. This means that He too has been slaughtered. His blood too has been splattered. Upon the cross He suffered and bled and died as the Passover lamb. And, because of this God passes over us when He brings judgment upon the earth even as He passed over the homes of Israel splattered with the blood of the lamb.
Topic: Cross of ChristIn the same way the Cross of Christ the Passover lamb has the power to liberate men and women from their bondage to sin and evil.
Title: The Cross that Frees
While taking a prisoner from a correctional center to be arraigned on charges of attempted armed robbery, an officer noticed a cross around the prisoner's neck. Knowing that the man was not religious, the officer took a closer look. The prisoner attempted to conceal something protruding from the top of the cross, saying it was a good-luck charm. But the officer thought the ornament looked like a handcuff key -- and he was right. When he took the cross, he discovered that it would open almost any set of handcuffs! That cross had the power to set a prisoner free.
We celebrated the cross and the sacrifice this morning. As we ate and as we drank at the Lord's Table we remembered and we believed that Jesus is the Passover lamb.
II We Are a New Batch Without Yeast
A In our text Paul not only tells us that Christ is the Passover lamb but he also tells us that we really are "a new batch without yeast." What does this mean? What is Paul taking about here?
Paul is referring here to an Old Testament custom or law regarding leaven or yeast. Without an understanding of the custom or law our text makes little sense.
We all know what leaven or yeast is. It is anything used to make bakery products porous by means of gas bubbles. It is leaven that makes bread dough rise and makes angel-food cake light and fluffy. It is a lack of leaven that makes pie dough flat and fruit cake heavy.
Today, bakery products are leavened in a variety of ways: either by beating air into the dough or by adding steam, yeast, baking powder, or baking soda to the dough. In Palestine bread was leavened through the use of an old piece of dough that had fermented and turned sour. This old dough mixed in with the new caused the dough to rise.
Through Moses the Lord God gave an unusual command about leaven or yeast. He commanded that no leaven was to be found in any Israelite home during the Passover Feast:
(Ex 12:15) For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. What is the reason for this command?
Leaven or yeast are not used by a people on the move. Desert nomads, for instance, don't make leavened bread because it takes too much time – the dough has to be made, the leaven has to be added, the bread has to rise, and then it has to be baked. In Egypt, Israel had the luxury of eating leavened bread because they were stationery, remaining in one place. But in the desert – and in her last night in Egypt – Israel didn't have this luxury. In Israel, then, leavened bread symbolized the slavery of Egypt. And unleavened bread symbolized the freedom of the desert.
God wanted no leaven during the Passover Feast. He wanted His people to remember how He set them free from the slavery of Egypt. Thus the custom in Israel – a custom that is still observed in many Jewish homes – was that on the night before the Passover all the old dough or leaven would be thrown out. Many Jewish parents would even hide old pieces of dough for the children to find.
B In our text Paul talks of old yeast or old leaven and the new batch. Paul sees old leaven as symbolizing the old nature of sin and wickedness. Old leaven belongs to the time before our redemption. Old leaven represents our slavery to sin and evil. And the new batch symbolizes the new man, the new nature, of righteousness and love. The new batch belongs to the time after our redemption. The new batch represents our freedom in Christ.
We used to be old leaven or old yeast but now we are a new batch. We have reached this new state because Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. After the Passover in Israel there was no old dough to be found in the house. After the Passover that is ours in Christ there is no old dough to be found in the house of God either. In Christ the old dough has been thrown out and only the new batch is to be found.
You have probably seen such signs many times. When a business or company is taken over there is often a sign placed in the window announcing, "Under New Management."This accurately summarizes what takes place at the time of conversion. When Christ takes over a life, that life is literally "under new management." The old dough of sin and wickedness has been thrown out and its place is taken by a new batch of righteousness.
Topic: ConversionThe same is true of the Christian life because Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
Subtopic: Examples of
In England there's a paper factory that makes the finest stationery in the world. One day a man touring the factory asked what it was made from. He was shown a huge pile of old rags. The rag content is what determined the quality of the paper. The man wouldn't believe it. In 6 weeks he received a package of paper from the company with his initials embossed on it. On the 1st page were written the words: "Dirty Rags Transformed."
C This does not mean that we are or can be perfect and sinless. All of us know and admit and experience the continuing power of sin in our lives. Nevertheless, in the eyes of God we are holy; in the eyes of God we are a new batch; in the eyes of God our old man is dead and our new man lives. In the eyes of God we who are Christians are first of all new rather than first of all sinners. We say this: we are new people who still happen to be sinners. We don't say this: we are sinners who happen to be new people. In the lives of Christians the emphasis falls not on the sin but on the newness. To say anything else is to deny the power of the blood; to say anything else is to deny the sacrifice of our Passover lamb.
III Get Rid of the Old Yeast
A Because Christ has been sacrificed as our Passover lamb we are a new batch. And because we are a new batch we are to "get rid of the old yeast." Paul is telling us to live out who we are. What you are must become who you are. You are a new batch so you must live the new life. You are holy so now you must live a holy life.
My brothers and sisters, the order here is crucial. Paul doesn't say, "Throw out the old dough so you become clean." Paul doesn't say, "Get rid of sin so you become holy." Rather, he says, "Because you are a new batch get rid of the old yeast." He says, "Because you are holy get rid of sin." He says, "Because you are a new man get rid of the old man."
B After the Passover lamb had been sacrificed there was no old dough to be found among the people of Israel. After the sacrifice of Christ our Passover lamb no old dough should be found among Christians as well. After becoming new people in Christ sin should no longer be with us and in us. Unfortunately, it still is. So the Apostle Paul urges us to get rid of the yeast – the old leaven – of malice and wickedness (vs 8), greed, idolatry, slander, drunkenness, and theft (vs 11). He urges us instead to put on the bread – the new batch – of sincerity and truth.
Topic: New ManThis woman is living out the words of Paul. She has thrown out the old dough and is living the new life.
A woman was contacting her high school classmates about their 35th high school reunion. Many were excited about seeing their old friends. One man wrote back to the woman, "I have the 5 Bs -- baldness, bifocals, bridgework, bulges, and bunions." A woman, referring to her weight, quipped, "I wasn't half the woman then that I am today."
But another woman said, "I can't wait to see everyone. I've changed completely. In high school I was the class 'tramp.' I had no standards and everybody knew it. But a few years after high school I received the Lord Jesus as my Savior. My life was transformed. Because of Christ, I'm not the person I was, and I want my classmates to know about it."
C Paul's words apply not only to individuals but to the church as well. There is no room in the life of the church for old leaven. We see a concrete instance of this in the Corinthian Church. In that church there was a man who slept with his step-mother. Paul says, "hand that man over to Satan ... do not associate with (him) ... with such a man do not even eat ... expel the wicked man from among you" (vs 5,11,13). The point is clear, isn't it? The church does not and cannot and must not tolerate the old dough of sin within her midst. The church must tolerate sinners but she must never tolerate sin. The church must faithfully practice discipline so that sinners will repent and their souls will be saved on the day of the Lord (vs 5).
D Both the Christian and the Church must throw out the old dough of sin – all of it. We must, says Paul, because "a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough" (vs 6). Or, a more contemporary way of putting it, "one bad apple spoils the whole bunch." Only a little bit of leaven or yeast is needed to make all of the dough rise. Only one bad apple is needed to spoil the whole bushel. Likewise, sin that is unchecked can ruin both the Christian and the Church.
Today we celebrated that Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. Because of Christ you are a new batch without yeast. Therefore, get rid of the old dough.
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