Call To Worship June 10 2018

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke

J.C. Ryle Luke 13:18-21

“The parable of the leaven — is intended to show the progress of the Gospel in the heart of a believer.

The first beginnings of the work of grace in a sinner are generally exceedingly small. It is like the mixture of leaven with a lump of dough. A single sentence of a sermon, or a single verse of Holy Scripture — a word of rebuke from a friend, or a casual religious remark overheard — a tract given by a stranger, or a trifling act of kindness received from a Christian — some one of these things, is often the starting-point in the life of a soul.

The first actings of the spiritual life are often small in the extreme — so small, that for a long time they are not known except by him who is the subject of them — and even by him, they are not fully understood. A few serious thoughts and prickings of conscience — a desire to pray sincerely, and not formally — a determination to begin reading the Bible in private — a gradual drawing towards means of grace — an increasing interest in the subject of religion — a growing distaste for evil habits and bad companions — these, or some of them, are often the first symptoms of grace beginning to move the heart of man.

They are symptoms which worldly men may not perceive, and ignorant believers may despise, and even old Christians may mistake. Yet they are often the first steps in the mighty business of conversion. They are often the ‘leaven’ of grace working in a heart!

The work of grace once begun in the soul, will never stand still. It will gradually ‘leaven the whole lump.’ Like leaven once introduced — it can never be separated from that with which it is mingled. Little by little — it will influence the conscience, the affections, the mind, and the will — until the whole man is affected by its power, and a thorough conversion to God takes place.

In some cases no doubt, the progress is far quicker than in others. In some cases, the result is far more clearly marked and decided than in others. But wherever a real work of the Holy Spirit begins in the heart — the whole character is sooner or later leavened and changed. The tastes of the man are altered. The whole bent of his mind becomes different. ‘Old things pass away — and all things become new.’ (2 Corinthians 5:17.) The Lord Jesus said that it would be so — and all experience shows that so it is.

Let us learn from this parable — never to ‘despise the day of small things’ in religion. (Zechariah 4:10.) The soul must creep, before it can walk — and walk, before it can run. If we see any sign of grace beginning in a brother, however feeble — then let us thank God and be hopeful. The leaven of grace once planted in his heart, shall yet leaven the whole lump. ‘Being confident of this — that He who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 1:6.)

Let us ask ourselves whether there is any work of grace in our own hearts. Are we resting satisfied with a few vague wishes and convictions? Or do we know anything of a gradual, growing, spreading, increasing, leavening process going on in our inward man? Let nothing short of this content us. The true work of the Holy Spirit, will never stand still — it will leaven the whole lump!”