1. LIKENED TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD
a. What were some of the Bible meanings of leaven? Luke 12:1; 1 Corinthians 5:8.
“Among the Jews leaven was sometimes used as an emblem of sin. At the time of the Passover the people were directed to remove all the leaven from their houses as they were to put away sin from their hearts.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 95, 96.
b. What, however, was the application made by Jesus to the leaven used in His parable? Luke 13:20, 21.
“In the Saviour’s parable, leaven is used to represent the kingdom of heaven. It illustrates the quickening, assimilating power of the grace of God.
“None are so vile, none have fallen so low, as to be beyond the working of this power. In all who will submit themselves to the Holy Spirit a new principle of life is to be implanted; the lost image of God is to be restored in humanity.”—Ibid., p. 96.
2. CAPTIVATED BY CHRIST
a. How does God want to transform our life and for what purpose? Romans 12:2; Philippians 2:5.
“All true reformation begins with soul-cleansing. It is by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the mind through the power of the Holy Spirit, that a change is wrought in the life. . . .
“If we would permit our minds to dwell more upon Christ and the heavenly world, we should find a powerful stimulus and support in fighting the battles of the Lord. Pride and love of the world will lose their power as we contemplate the glories of that better land so soon to be our home. Beside the loveliness of Christ, all earthly attractions will seem of little worth.”—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 105.
“When we are united to Christ, we have the mind of Christ. Purity and love shine forth in the character, meekness and truth control the life. The very expression of the countenance is changed.
“Christ abiding in the soul exerts a transforming power, and the outward aspect bears witness to the peace and joy that reign within.”—Reflecting Christ, p. 104.
b. How does God want to change our thoughts? 2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2:3, 4.
“By beholding Christ we become changed. If the mind dwells upon temporal things constantly, these things become all-absorbing, affecting the character, so that God’s glory is lost sight of and forgotten. The opportunities that are within reach for them to become conversant with heavenly things, are overlooked. Spiritual life dies.”—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 105.
“By having a knowledge of Christ— His words, His habits, and His lessons of instruction—we borrow the virtues of the character we have so closely studied and become imbued with the spirit we have so much admired.”—Ibid., p. 235.
“As we make Christ our daily companion we shall feel that the powers of an unseen world are all around us; and by looking unto Jesus we shall become assimilated to His image. By beholding we become changed. The character is softened, refined, and ennobled for the heavenly kingdom.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 85.
3. A HEART TRANSPLANT
a. When does the leaven of truth begin to work? Jeremiah 29:13. Where does God start? Jeremiah 24:7; Ezekiel 11:19.
“As the leaven, when mingled with the meal, works from within outward, so it is by the renewing of the heart that the grace of God works to transform the life. No mere external change is sufficient to bring us into harmony with God. There are many who try to reform by correcting this or that bad habit, and they hope in this way to become Christians, but they are beginning in the wrong place. Our first work is with the heart.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 97.
“The whole heart must be yielded to God, or the change can never be wrought in us by which we are to be restored to His likeness.”—Steps to Christ, p. 43.
“Put your whole being into the Lord’s hands—soul, body, and
spirit—and resolve to be His loving, consecrated agency, moved by His will, controlled by His mind, infused by His Spirit.”—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 105.
b. Describe the process by which the leaven works from within the heart. John 3:3–5.
“When truth becomes an abiding principle in the life, the soul is ‘born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever’ (1 Peter 1:23). This new birth is the result of receiving Christ as the Word of God. When by the Holy Spirit divine truths are impressed upon the heart, new conceptions are awakened, and the energies hitherto dormant are aroused to cooperate with God.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 520.
“When Jesus speaks of the new heart, He means the mind, the life, the whole being. To have a change of heart is to withdraw the affections from the world and fasten them upon Christ. To have a new heart is to have a new mind, new purposes, new motives. What is the sign of a new heart?—A changed life. There is a daily, hourly dying to selfishness and pride. . . .
“In humble, grateful dependence he who has been given a new heart relies upon the help of Christ. He reveals in his life the fruit of righteousness. He once loved himself. Worldly pleasure was his delight. Now his idol is dethroned, and God reigns supreme. The sins he once loved he now hates. Firmly and resolutely he follows in the path of holiness.”—Messages to Young People, pp. 72, 74.
4. AGENTS OF CHANGE
a. What is one of the means God uses to change the character? Romans 10:17; John 17:17.
“The leaven of truth works a change in the whole man, making the coarse refined, the rough gentle, the selfish generous. By it the impure are cleansed, washed in the blood of the Lamb. Through its life-
giving power it brings all there is of mind and soul and strength into harmony with the divine life. Man with his human nature becomes a partaker of divinity. Christ is honored in excellence and perfection of character. As these changes are effected, angels break forth in rapturous song, and God and Christ rejoice over souls fashioned after the divine similitude.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 102.
“If studied and obeyed, the Word of God works in the heart, subduing every unholy attribute. The Holy Spirit comes to convict of sin, and the faith that springs up in the heart works by love to Christ, conforming us, body, soul, and spirit, to His will.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 21.
b. How does the Holy Spirit work in the life to effect change? John 3:8. How does this compare with the work of the leaven in the flour?
“The leaven hidden in the flour works invisibly to bring the whole mass under its leavening process; so the leaven of truth works secretly, silently, steadily, to transform the soul. The natural inclinations are softened and subdued. New thoughts, new feelings, new motives, are implanted. A new standard of character is set up—the life of Christ. The mind is changed; the faculties are roused to action in new lines. Man is not endowed with new faculties, but the faculties he has are sanctified. The conscience is awakened. We are endowed with traits of character that enable us to do service for God.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 98, 99.
c. What will guide our decisions in our changed life? John 8:29.
“The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer. This will lead us to do right because it is right—because right doing is pleasing to God.”—Ibid., pp. 97, 98.
5. THE LEAVEN AT WORK IN THE LIFE
a. What is a basic attribute of God’s kingdom? 1 John 4:10; John 3:16.
“In the contemplation of Christ we linger on the shore of a love that is measureless. We endeavor to tell of this love, and language fails us. We consider His life on earth, His sacrifice for us, His work in heaven as our advocate, and the mansions He is preparing for those who love Him, and we can only exclaim, O the height and depth of the love of Christ!”—The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 333, 334.
b. How will this attribute be shown in our dealings with others? John 13:34; 1 John 4:11; Colossians 3:12.
“We should be self-forgetful, ever . . . watching for opportunities to cheer others and lighten and relieve their sorrows and burdens by acts of tender kindness and little deeds of love. These thoughtful courtesies, that, commencing in our families, extend outside the family circle, help make up the sum of life’s happiness.”—My Life Today, p. 192.
“During every hour of Christ’s sojourn upon the earth, the love of God was flowing from Him in irrepressible streams. All who are imbued with His Spirit will love as He loved. The very principle that actuated Christ will actuate them in all their dealing one with another.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 678.
“If Christ dwells in us, we shall reveal His unselfish love toward all with whom we have to do.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 162.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What power is shown by the leaven in the Saviour’s parable?
2. If we fill our thoughts with Christ and heaven, what effect will this change have upon our spiritual experience?
3. Why does a genuine life change work like the leaven, from within outward?
4. What are some ways the leaven of truth change us? What happens to our natural inclinations? What does this transformation mean?
5. How can we show the love of Christ to others?