How to Be Complete Christians – By Father Gabriel Alkass
Today, we look at Matthew 16:6-12, and Jesus’s warning to “beware of the teaching of the Pharisees.” When Jesus was journeying with the disciples, and they wanted to take some bread, he said something very serious and dangerous “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees.”
The disciples were puzzled and thought Jesus was referring to the physical bread, and Jesus responded – Don’t you understand and remember how I fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and 4,000 people with seven loaves of bread? Why shouldn’t you understand this is more than about bread?
He is telling us not to focus much on materialistic things because we need to think of things as Christians that are more valuable. So finally, the disciples understood.
So, what is the symbol of yeast? If you read Luke 12:1, he says, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy.” This represents a man with two different personalities, and he may pretend to have faith and be very holy, but he may be full of selfishness, pride, and jealousy. That’s why we need to be very simple.
So, the message today, my beloved, is about teaching. There is only one lord, faith, teaching, and baptism. And therefore, this is so serious.
As Paul says in Galatians 1:8-9, even if “I, Paul, give you different teaching, do not accept it. Even if an angel from heaven comes with different teaching, do not accept it.”
Any church that takes the whole teaching of the Bible, not half of it, and puts it into practice is a perfect church because that church is obeying God. But a church that only abides by half of the teaching is a church that wants God to obey them.
To understand what this means, we look for fundamental differences in those who are not fully committed to the church:
- Any teaching that denies the body and blood of our Lord. Yet, as Jesus says, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.”
- Any teaching that denies the priesthood. Jesus made the disciples New Testament stewards, and Jesus gave them the authority of the priesthood. As it says in John 20:23, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven, and if you retain the sins, they are retained.”
- If the Lord fasted for 40 days. It means two words “self-control” – you need to have self-control over food, your tongues, eyes, ears, and especially thoughts. And finally, self-control over our hearts. Jesus is a perfect man, yet he fasted, saying, “learn from me.”
- Believe that the Bible itself says the Virgin Mary is the mother of God on behalf of Elizabeth. She got filled with the Holy Spirit. Denying Mary is the mother upsets the Lord.
The last thing I want to say is about the church’s constitutions. The Bible is the salvation book, not constitutional. It gives you enough to believe Jesus is Lord and God in the flesh. And after the resurrection of the Lord, he spent 40 days with the disciples – if you go to Acts 1:3, you will find the answer, “Be seen by them during 40 days and speaking of the things belonging to the kingdom of God.” My beloved, the church is the kingdom of God.
And there is the Didascalia book, a Latin book of the teaching of the apostles – how to do liturgy, fast, deal with the poor, and contains many other examples for the whole church constitution.
That’s why they call us a traditional church, and we should be proud of it because we have all of history with our church.
Learn more from Father Gabriel’s sermon video here.
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