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The Strange Mystery of the Sneaky Housewife

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers
The Truth Network Radio
June 21, 2024 4:00 am

The Strange Mystery of the Sneaky Housewife

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers

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June 21, 2024 4:00 am

The Parable of the Unleavened Bread is one of Jesus’ most misunderstood parables; if we read it incorrectly, we may find ourselves discouraged by it. In this message, Adrian Rogers explains the strange mystery of the sneaky housewife, and warns us against the corruption of false teachings.

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Pastor, teacher, and author Adrian Rogers has introduced people all over the world to the love of Jesus Christ and has impacted untold numbers of lives by presenting profound truth, simply stated. Thanks for joining us for this message.

Here's Adrian Rogers. Verse 33, if you will look at it, it's a very short parable. Another parable spake ye unto them, the kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven. Now ladies, what is leaven? Yeast is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, that's flour, until the whole was leaven. Now this is a mystery that we're going to entitle the strange case of the sneaky housewife.

Now what is all of this about? I suppose this parable, this earthly story with a heavenly meaning, is one of the most misunderstood parables of all of these seven. Now remember that yeast or leaven is what you put into bread to cause bread to rise. Now the normal, usual interpretation of this parable is wrong. The normal, usual interpretation of this is that the leaven is the gospel. The woman is the church, the three measures of meal are the world, and we're to take the gospel and put it into the world until all of the world knows about the Lord Jesus Christ, until the entire loaf has been leavened or permeated with the leaven. That is, it is our job, our duty, our joy, our responsibility to just touch the whole world with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and one of these days that will be done.

Now that interpretation is wrong, and it is obviously wrong for these reasons. First of all, the Bible does not teach that the whole world is going to be reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, the Bible teaches just the opposite, that in the last days there's going to be much, much wickedness and much rebellion. Now you're in Matthew 13. Why don't you just fast forward to Matthew 24 and see what the Lord Jesus says the last days are going to be like in verse 3. ...and shall deceive many, and ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, see that ye be not troubled, for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet, for nations shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in diverse places.

All these are the beginnings of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you, and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake, and then shall many be offended, and shall shall betray one another, and they shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise and deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved, and this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached unto all the world for a witness to all nations, and then shall the end come." Now, the gospel is going to be preached around the world, but the loaf is not going to be changed, the whole thing, by the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As a matter of fact, the apostle Paul said, in the last days, perilous time shall come. Now, we know it's wrong, because the Bible does not teach that the leaven is the gospel, and that the woman is the church, and that the three measures of meal are the world. The Bible doesn't teach it, and experience doesn't teach it. I mean, after 2,000 years of the preaching of the gospel, we see a tidal wave of hatred, and war, and violence, and unbelief, and false cults. Now, if you don't know your Bible, if you thought that this parable taught that ultimately that we were going to Christianize the world, you'd get discouraged.

You'd say something is wrong. The Bible is not true. But our Lord doesn't want us to be discouraged, because when we get discouraged, then we begin to doubt, and then we go into despair. But our Lord is telling us in this parable that nothing has gone wrong.

This is not the normal, natural teaching. And if you would think of the other parables that we've already talked about, the parable of the sower and the seed, what did our Lord clearly tell us? There's nothing wrong with the sower, and nothing wrong with the seed, but there's something desperately wrong with the ground, and not all the ground is going to bear fruit. Not everybody is going to believe the gospel, or for example, the parable of the tares, that up until the end of time, the wheat will grow, and false Christianity, the seeds of the devil, the weeds, the wicked weeds will be right in there with God's wonderful wheat.

And then in the parable of the mustard seed, that became a tree, represents a corrupt form of Christianity, and the devil's dirty birds are sitting, roosting in the branches of that tree. It does not teach that the gospel is going to permeate the whole world. As a matter of fact, we are a little flock. We are the faithful few.

We are the master's minority, and we need to keep that in mind. The gospel was never given to save civilization from wreckage. The gospel is given to save men from the wreckage of civilization. I don't want you to have the wrong interpretation of this parable, because so many people do, and when they have it, they get confused. Now, there are three basic things in this parable I want you to understand.

If you'll understand these, I think you'll understand the whole thing. Now, this woman is going to bake some bread. So I want you to think, first of all, about the bread that is baked. And then there's leaven that's put in the bread, yeast. And so think of the bread that is baked, and think of the leaven that is latent.

She puts it in there, and it begins to work. And then think of the woman that is wicked. Now, remember, the bread that's baked, the leaven that's latent, and the woman that's wicked.

And then you're going to understand what our Lord is teaching us and what we can look for in these last days. Now, the bread that is baked. Now, we're in verse 33. What is the meaning of three measures of meal? Our Lord doesn't give us the meaning. He explains the other parables, but He doesn't explain this one, nor did He really explain the parable of the mustard seed. He just gave us a running start, and then gave us some way, some measure by which we might bring our minds and engage our minds to find out what the rest of these parables do mean. So what is the bread that was baked?

What is the meaning of three measures of meal? Well, if you know your Old Testament history, as these Jews would have known, immediately they would have recognized three measures of meal. Abraham, who was the father of the faithful, the brightest star in the Hebrew heavens, was one day under a place called the Oaks of Mamre.

I visited this spot as I visited the Holy Land. And there were three angels that came to visit Abraham, to talk with him. And God was going to make a covenant with Abraham. And when Abraham realized that he had three angel guests, He said to Sarah, Genesis 18 and verse 6, and Abraham hasted into the tent unto Sarah. Now Sarah was his wife, and said, make ready three measures of fine meal, knead it, that is, do what women do when they squeeze it together, and make cakes upon the hearth. That is, Sarah, we've got angels for our guests. And I want you to take three measures of meal. I want you to make three cakes for these.

Now the word unleavened is not mentioned here, but just simply three measures of meal. There was again a man who had an angel for a guest. His name was Gideon.

Turn to Judges chapter 6 and verse 19. In Judges chapter 6 and verse 19, the Bible says, and Gideon, when he saw this angel, this angel said to him, hail thou mighty man of valor. Gideon was hiding from the Midianites. And when he realized he had an angel, that he was host to an angel, the Bible says, and Gideon went in and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah for flour. So here is Gideon again baking bread for angels.

Now with Abraham, it was three measures. With Gideon, it was unleavened bread. In the Old Testament, in the Levitical law, the Jews made an offering to the Lord. And the offering to the Lord was made of three measures. For example, Numbers 15 verse 9, it speaks there of a meat offering.

And the word meat does not mean flesh, but it means food. A food offering of 3 10th deals of flour mingled with half a hen of oil. Oil is an emblem of the Holy Spirit. But they take three measures to offer to the Lord. And these three measures that are to be offered to the Lord are unleavened bread. Put also Leviticus chapter 2, verses 4 and 5. And if thou bring an oblation of meat offering, bacon in the oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mingled with oil.

Now what are we getting here? We're getting that this blessed bread is something to satisfy the heart, the mind of God. And when Jesus is talking to these Jews about three measures of meal, immediately they would go back to Abraham as he entertained guests from heaven. They would go back to the meal offering that is in the Old Testament that is three measures of meal. And I think Jesus picked this same thing up when in the New Testament. Remember the parable of the man who had a visitor?

They came at nighttime, and he didn't have anything to set before him. And so he went next door to his friend and said, friend, lend me what? Three loaves.

I need three loaves of bread because I have a guest that's set before me. And what did those three loaves of bread represent? They represented the Holy Spirit. He says later on in that same parable, if you know, being evil, how to give good gifts unto your people, how much more shall God give the Holy Ghost to them that ask Him?

If you know how to give good gifts unto your children, it is. How much more shall God give the Holy Ghost to them that ask Him? So the idea of this bread is this bread is blessed bread. This bread represents that which satisfies the heart and mind of God. And what it really speaks of is communion and fellowship with God and man because the breaking of bread, unleavened bread, has been an emblem of fellowship with God from the Passover feast right on down to the Lord's Supper.

And when we get to the Lord's Supper, put this verse down, 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 7. Here's what the Bible says of all of us. All for we, being many, are one bread.

He's talking about all of us. We're many, but we're one bread and one body, for we are all partakers of that one bread. We feast on that bread, and we are that bread.

We feast on Him, and He feasts on us. It speaks of communion, whether it be angel food or whether it be us as that which is consumed by heaven. How is bread made? Remember in the parable of the wheat and the tares? The wheat is what?

The children of God, the good seed. Well, what is bread? It's just wheat. It's wheat that has gone through death. It is wheat that has gone through brokenness.

It is wheat that has gone through fire. And it is wheat that has been mingled together with every other grain of wheat until it makes one loaf. That's, we're one loaf. We are God's wheat. We are God's seed. We have been harvested, we've died, we've been crushed, we've been broken, we've been through the fire, we're fused together.

We are one loaf. So think first of all about the three measures, and just put in your mind bread that is baked, blessed bread. It pictures the church. It pictures fellowship with God. It pictures communion with God in so many symbols.

Now let's move to the second thing. Here in verse 33. There's the bread that is baked, three measures. There is also the leaven that is latent. Now it is hidden there.

This sneaky housewife comes into the kitchen, and she just slips in. The Bible says she hides leaven in these three measures. Now leaven in the Bible is not a symbol of that which is good. Leaven is a symbol in the Bible of that which is evil. It stands for evil, that which is hidden, that which is latent, that which works slowly, that which works surely. You see, leaven works quietly.

It's undetected. It's symbolic of evil. What leaven really does, what yeast really does, it causes fermentation. It causes corruption. It causes things to swell up, things to puff up, and therefore it's a symbol of evil.

And by the way, it works best in lukewarm conditions. That's what leaven is. The ordinary hearer of Jesus, when he heard Jesus talk about three measures of meal, he would think about Abraham's offering. He would think about the meal offering in the Old Testament. When the ordinary hearer heard Jesus talk about leaven, he would think of that which was evil and that which corrupts.

Why? Because they knew about the Passover. And how was the Passover to be taken? Put in your margin, Exodus 12 and verse 8, and they shall eat flesh that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread. The Passover feast was to be with unleavened bread.

Why? Because leaven is an emblem, a symbol of evil. As a matter of fact, from that time on, the Jews began to go through a ritual before they would have the Passover feast. The mother would go through the house and remove every bit of leaven from the house. She would go into the cabinets and look in the crannies of the kitchen cabinets and anywhere in the utensils before the Passover would be kept and take away any leaven. As a matter of fact, the little Jewish children, as a part of the ceremony, would get a feather and a dustbin and to go through the house to try to find some leaven, to get the leaven out of the house because they were going to keep the Passover. Now, remember again that the meal offering in the Old Testament was to be without leaven. Leviticus 2, verses 4 and 5, and if thou bring an oblation of meat offering, bacon in the oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour. Now, you might understand with this in mind why the Apostle Paul was speaking to a very worldly church, the church at Corinth.

They had allowed sin in the church and they were kind of proud about the fact that they were one of these kind of open-minded churches and that they were glorying in that fact. And here's what Paul said in 1 Corinthians, chapter 5, verses 6 and 8. He said to these carnal Corinthians, Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast.

He's talking to Christians now. Not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Unleavened bread stands for sincerity and truth. Leavened bread speaks of malice and wickedness. And that helps us to understand 1 Corinthians, chapter 5 and verse 2, and he says, And ye are puffed up, and not rather have mourned.

What does leaven do? It just puffs you up. Jesus humbles us. Sin puffs us up.

And so a little sin had puffed them up. Now, I want to say that I personally believe that every time leaven is used in the Bible is used as an emblem of sin. Now, some say, Oh, no, there are one or two incidences where leaven is not spoken of as that which is evil. And the classic one, and I want to give you this just for your information, is Amos 4, verses 4 and 5, where it seems like that leaven is an emblem of that which is good, but a careful looking at this text will show just the opposite. Here's what Amos says, Come to Bethel and transgress. At Gilgal, multiply transgression, and bring your sacrifices every morning and your tithes after three years, and offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings.

For this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord God. And they say, There it is, pastor, offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven. For in this is bitter irony.

This is bitter sarcasm. He's not praising them for offering a sacrifice with leaven. Listen to it.

Listen to what he's saying. He's saying to these worldly people who were trying to have one foot in the world and the other in the service of God, come to Bethel and transgress. Now, Bethel is where the house of the Lord was. He says, You come there, but you sin.

At Gilgal, multiply transgressions, bring your sacrifices every morning and your tithe after three years, and offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven. He's saying all of that is sin. You're hypocrites.

He's not saying that's good. He says you're transgressing. You're sinning. Your worship is corrupt.

That's what he's saying. When you understand this text, folks, the bread that is baked is blessed bread. But the leaven that is latent corrupts that which is good and that which is wonderful and that which is holy.

It comes in, it works quietly, stealthily, and it begins to infuse the whole thing and puff it up. And today we have the church, rather than being unleavened, we have a church in modern society that is full of legalism, liberalism, and license. Now, Jesus warned against leaven. If you want to understand what Jesus thought about leaven, Jesus warned about three kinds of leaven. Now, you're in Matthew 13. Just turn over to Matthew 16 for a moment. And look, if you will, in verse 11. Matthew 16, Jesus said to them, how is it that you do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?

Now, he's saying, it's not just literal bread that I'm talking about. There is leaven. Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

Now, I want us to think about leaven. Actually, Jesus warned about three types of leaven. He warned about the leaven of the Pharisees. Well, the Pharisees were very religious people. They had heads full of scripture, but they had hearts full of sin. Their religion was external, not internal. They had profession, but they didn't have possession.

They had laws, but they didn't have life. Now, you're in Matthew 16. Just turn to Matthew 23 and see how Jesus describes these Pharisees. And you have to ask yourself, is there some Phariseeism in you? Look, if you will, in Matthew chapter 23, verse 13.

Look at it. Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men. For ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer them that are entering to go in. In verse 13, they pretend to be gatekeepers, but what they really are are roadblocks. And then look in verse 14.

They pretend to be intercessors, but they're extortioners. Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. For ye devour widows' houses, and for pretense ye make long prayer. Therefore ye shall receive greater damnation or greater condemnation. Look, if you will, in verse 15. They pretend to be converters, but they're really corruptors. Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.

For ye can pass sea and land to make one proselyte. And when he is made, you make him twofold more, the child of hell than yourself. Every one of their converts is doubly damned.

And why is this? Because the legalist, who's never been born again, the religionist, doesn't think he needs Jesus. The hardest people to win are self-righteous Pharisees. Look, if you will, in verses 16 and 17. They pretend to be guides, but they're blind. Woe unto you, you blind guides, which say, whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing. But whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor. Do you see how carefully they use their words?

Remind you of anyone? Ye fools and blind, for whether is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifieth the gold. They claim to be guides, but they were blind.

They pretend to be givers, but they were takers. Look, if you will, in verses 23 and 24. The Bible says, woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye pay tithe of mint, anise, and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.

These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. They were selfish and self-centered, devouring wittest houses, and yet they were so careful to tithe. Look in verses 25 through 28. They pretend to cleanse, but they themselves were filthy. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye may clean the outside of the cup and of the platter.

But within, they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which that's graves.

They would whitewash their graves, lest they touch them back in that time. He says, you're like a whitewashed tomb, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones and of all uncleanness. They pretend to cleanse, but they themselves, look in verse 28, even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men. But within, you're full of hypocrisy and iniquity. They pretended to cleanse, but they were filthy.

They pretended to be mourners, but they were murderers. Look, if you will, in verse 29 through 32. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because ye build the tombs of the prophets and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous, and say, if we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore be ye witnesses unto yourself that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.

Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. We could spend a month here just talking about what Phariseeism is. But I'm trying to give you some idea of what leaven is. Jesus said, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. What was the leaven of the Pharisees?

It was legalism. But Jesus also said, go back to Matthew 16, verse 11. Jesus also said, beware of the leaven of the Sadducees. Now, if the leaven of the Pharisees was legalism, the leaven of the Sadducees was liberalism.

May I tell you that liberalism and legalism are heads and tails of the same false religion. Put this in your margin, Acts 23, verse 8. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel nor spirit. But the Pharisees confess both. Now, the Pharisees were the fundamentalists.

And the Sadducees were the liberals. But neither one of them had the true Spirit of God in their hearts. The Sadducees said, we don't believe in angels. We don't believe in spirits. And we sure don't believe in the resurrection.

They were the sophisticated crowd. And Jesus said, beware of that. Because not only is legalism going to penetrate God's loaf.

Remember, the church is the loaf, the bread. Not only is legalism going to penetrate the loaf like leaven, but also liberalism. I don't know which I'm more afraid of, liberalism or legalism.

Both are deadly. By the way, you want me to give you a recipe for a liberal? Do you know what a liberal is? I'm talking about a theological liberal. Well, you're in the book of Matthew. Go to Matthew 22, and look at your will in verse 23. The same day there came unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection, and asked him, saying, Master, Moses said, if a man die having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren. And the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and having no issue, left his wife unto his brother. Likewise, the second also, and the third unto the seventh. And at last, all of the women died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife shall she be of the seven?

For they all had her. Now watch this. Jesus answered and said unto them, here's what makes a liberal right here.

Watch it. You do err, that is, you make a mistake, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God. That's the recipe for a liberal right there. They did not understand the works and the word of God. And Jesus said, beware of legalism.

Beware of liberalism. Now there's another kind of leaven that Jesus said to beware of. And you find that in Mark chapter 8 and verse 15. And he charged them saying, take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.

Now watch this. And the leaven of Herod. Now what was the leaven of Herod? The leaven of the Pharisees was what? Legalism. The leaven of the Sadducees was what?

Liberalism. And the leaven of Herod was licentiousness or license. You see, Herod was a pleasure mad king. He lived in opulence.

He didn't really care much for legalism or liberalism. He just simply cared for himself. He was living in pleasure. He was a lover of pleasure more than lovers of God. Now I want to ask you a question. Has not the devil today injected those three things into the church?

Legalism, liberalism, and license. Has he not? Those are the things that Jesus said beware of. Beware of. And when he said there was a woman who hid a leaven, yeast, in three measures of meal, he went on in his further teaching so there would be no misunderstanding to teach them what leaven stood for. Remember that Paul said purge out the leaven. Now get it out of the church.

A little leaven will leaven the whole lump. So let's move on to the final and third thing now as we're coming into the home stretch. We think about the bread that's baked. That represents fellowship with God and man. We are that loaf, and we keep the feast with unleavened bread. Then we think about the leaven that is latent.

It comes in, it works quietly, stealthily, and it begins to infuse the whole thing and puff it up. And today we have the church, rather than being unleavened, we have a church in modern society that is full of legalism, liberalism, and license. Now here's the third thing. And let's talk about the woman that is wicked. Here was a woman that hid in three measures of meal, leaven. Now she represents devilish deception.

Now you say, why is that? Well, first of all, notice what she did. It was a deliberate act.

Go back, if you will, to Matthew 13, and look in verse 33, if you will. It's not done accidentally. He says, the kingdom of heaven is likened to a woman which took and hid three measures of meal. That is, she knows exactly what she is doing. She took it. She's not doing it by chance. This woman, who is doing this dastardly act, does it of her own volition. It is a deliberate act. And may I say that Satan knows what he is doing.

Satan is out to sabotage the work of God. But not only was it a deliberate act, it was a deceitful act. Notice it says she hid it. She's not doing this openly.

This is something that is done stealthily. Now Jesus said, I've done nothing in secret. And we're not out to hide the gospel. Don't try to make this leaven the gospel and these three loaves the world. We're not out to hide the gospel. We're out to make the gospel known.

We're out to shout it from the rooftops. But it is Satan who is working beneath the surface. He is a master of deception. And so it is a deliberate act.

She took it. It is a deceitful act. And because it was deliberate and deceitful, it was a devilish act.

It doesn't take much to see the power of Satan behind all of this, putting that leaven in that which is to be unleavened. Now you say, pastor, why was this a woman? Well, because the church, the bride of Christ, is called a woman. We are the church. We are the bride of Christ. Now all you ladies that are sick and tired of all the male references in the Bible, the most classic and grand reference to mankind, the most ennobling, is we're all a bride.

So you're having your day right now. I'm going to tell you, ladies, the church is a bride. And the Bible speaks of the church as the bride of Christ. But what does the Bible speak of the false churches being?

A harlot, a harlot. Whenever you see a woman doing something wrong, something wicked in the Bible, that speaks of that which is wicked and deleterious and harmful and hurtful. As over in the book of the Revelation, God now suffers that woman, Jezebel, to teach and to seduce my servants to do things that are evil. You see, this woman, this woman in the kitchen, this sneaky housewife, is the bride of the devil. She represents the false church, not the true church.

She is representing Satan's work in these last days to infiltrate the church of the Lord God with legalism, liberalism, and license. So therefore, friend, before you go to church to worship, it'd be good to check out the kitchen. It'd be good to see who's in the kitchen. And don't go by the taste test alone.

Read the ingredients. And see what is there, because the devil wants to infiltrate, and he does it in many ways. The devil doesn't just have one way to work. Remember there in the parable of the sower? How does he work there? He catches away the seed.

Remember there in the parable of the tares? How does he work there? He imitates the seed. Remember in the parable of the mustard seed?

How does he work there? He corrupts the seed. In the parable of the leaven, he infiltrates the church. How is the Lord doing this? Folks, what the Lord is doing is showing us what is going to happen. And these parables go from the time when Jesus began to sow the seed until the end of the world at the final judgment, as we're going to see, when he separates the wheat and the tares.

And when they're finished, do you know what you're going to do? You're going to sit back and say, you know, the Bible is a wonderful book. Everything is tracking exactly precisely as God said it would. You're not going to have false expectations. Therefore, you're not going to be discouraged. And therefore, you're not going to doubt. And therefore, you're not going to be in despair. But you're going to say hallelujah because our same God who's taught us all of these things has also taught there is a true church. And the Lord Jesus said, I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Amen and amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-21 07:45:11 / 2024-06-21 07:59:18 / 14

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