The world is corrupt in all its ways and in all its thoughts, it can’t help it, that’s just the way it is. Likewise, the institutional church has become corrupt to the core. How has this happened? It has happened for one specific reason; mankind continues to eat from the wrong tree. There were two trees in that garden as you remember, and the choices given to Adam and Eve concerning those trees are still the same choices each one of us has, in every decision we make. Question: will you eat from the tree of Life? Or will you eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? What we find in the world and church, after their voluptuous appetites have been curbed, after eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, are not necessarily weak minded humanist, but well reasoned humanist, able to give a studied argument for their worldly ways, able to convince many others of the rightness of their view point. It is called “justification,” but of another sort, legalism. This appetite for justification is so well settled that the “church” has been able to build great and impressive edifices, all un-soundly based on the Word of God. Most of the congregants, who are thought to be weak minded, really don’t mind, because it allows them a certain freedom to latch onto some sacred treasure chest, chock full of all the best stuff of the world, all sanctified by their religion. The High Priest or pastors have read the commentaries and assure them that it is indeed blessed of the Lord Himself. This is all that most “Christians” require to feel secure and enjoy the festivities. All the decisions of the people are based on these false legal justifications, aided by their “knowledge of good and evil.” Jesus declares that it is evil, and that we are to “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” One of the most basic and ignored truths of God, that deals with the question of how we are to be “in the world but not of the world,” is encapsulated in the word “leaven.” How close can a person get to a trash fire and not smell like smoke? Christians need to separate themselves from people and things that represent the world. This notion of separation goes completely counter to the marketing techniques used by the Church, insisting that the world must be embraced and pandered to, so that the Good News can be preached to these lost souls. It is obvious today that this method has failed, and now the Church has become the world, imagine that, the Bible was right all along. The Church has to be separated from the world in all respects; wouldn’t you agree that this should include worship? Why would we want to worship with the world anyway? Is it so that unbelievers can see how we do it, or that it might be catching, or that pretending to worship God, before they become His children, might trigger some sort of desire in them? It has come to the point that the church is even removing all symbols of Christianity from there buildings, and have introduced worldly music and programs, so the unbeliever will feel at home. Well, it has worked, he not only feels at home, he is at home. It really matters very little any more whether or not those sitting in the pews are really Christian, as long as the boat is not rocked by questioning the leadership. Consequently, the corruption inside the Church is but a reflection of the lives of the ones attending the service. We are attracted to, and stay in an organization, not because it is rotten, or that we disagree with its teaching, but because we like it. Our humanness has an affinity for worldly things. When people ask, “what am I suppose to do?” it is simple. If you don’t want to smell like smoke, distance yourself from the source; “A little leaven leaveneth the whole loaf,” and henceforth, we understand the scope of the end day apostasy we see; we also understand Jesus’ warning of “…the leaven of the Pharisees….” The Pharisees represent all the corruption of the institutional church organizations, and the leaven represents the world, as the source and justification of their liberal, legalistic, worldly, understanding of the Bible. The whole lump has been infiltrated by this leaven. When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, i.e. out of bondage to the world, He told them very clearly that they were to remove all leaven from their lives and homes. Getting the leaven out symbolizes God’s requirement to purify ourselves, and the wilderness shadows the process of purification. The Israelites showed that it was impossible to follow God without purging the corrupting influences of Egypt out of their lives. There had to be a death to all the memories and effects of that other life, it had to die, along with all desires to return. The leaven had to be purged. Today, so called Christians come to church pulling their trailer full of the world, and think they can enter the narrow way with all the things of the world in tow, all their worldly desires to do something, to be something, to build something for God. With all their expertise and experiences they feel that they will surely be of great value to the Kingdom. There is no death that takes place, their baptism is all for show, and stands for nothing. If it were possible to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and still make it into the Kingdom, the Christians of today would surely have done it, because the leaven of these Pharisees is a replica of the highest quality, fooling millions. Nevertheless, none of their works are of faith, they are the products of a boilerplate operation, very good quality for the world, but flawed in their conception, birthed of illegitimate parents. Their desperation to find the Lord has reached a fever pitch, one saying He is over here, another saying He is over there, He is in the desert, or a sacred place, or in the monastery. Another new prescription for reaching God is to pray a certain way, with deliberateness, contemplation, quietness, and repetition, and to be especially effective burn incense and candles, and play music, and if none of these get you results, go find a Buddhist monk or a New Age guru to conjure you up a spirit guide. “In their wisdom they have become fools.” Faith and trust demand that we eat from the tree of Life, and that we walk in the way of Life, the narrow way, then we will not have to look for God, He will come to us, of His own choosing, and on His terms, simply and only because we decide to trust what He has said. That is the life that is spoken of in Scripture. The church today will just not have God on His terms, but in that case they will have their “Best Life Now,” just like Joel Osteen claims, because the hereafter will not be quite so good. It is funny how those two trees have effected our thinking, because we have gained this new insight and ability, to know both good and evil, yet it can not be trusted because it is all goofed up by sin. Our ability to reason and fathom deep things now allows us to spend great amounts of time trying to piece together a puzzle or solve a riddle, that has already been solved by a declaration from God called the Bible; we are simply called to believe it, and not trust our own goofed up reasoning. This is where the problem arises. We want to believe that we are able put together a reasonable facsimile, close enough to be of some use, of the mystery of God's mind. We think it is good enough, but He says it must be perfect, or it is not acceptable. We declare that we want our own interpretation of the "law" because it is understandable and reasonable. God has produced a beautiful thing that will endure for all of eternity, it is the very essence of who He is and what He wants, and He calls it the Law. It is that governing element that runs the moral universe, and it is something that will destroy all who come against it; it is the very Life of the tree of Life. It is something that we have been cut off from, and can neither put the pieces together nor unravel the riddle, but we need only trust and believe that it has been done for us. Is the Law bad, only if the tree of Life is bad. The question is, how do we harmonize that which kills us with that which give us life? The answer is of course faith. Just like the one law of covetousness is broken when ever any of the other laws are broken, so all the laws are kept when we keep the one law of Love. Is this not a mystery? It is kind of like when you drive on the highway and the speed limit signs say 60mph. and if we do 60.5mph we are guilty and have earned ourself a fine, regardless that it was a minor infraction. The restriction triggered in us the ability and desire to test the law. But, what if the state was to remove all of the speed limit signs and restrictions and told us to be regulated by a new law, a law of concern for others on the highway, a law of love. Many, if not most, would use this new found freedom to their own advantage (this is why God has dis-allowed access to the tree of Life), but others would be self regulated and experience a new found freedom to regulate ourselves, not because the law is bad, but because the law is good. And, if by chance you get sloppy and forget about "others" and go too fast, there is no law there to fine you, and you gain a new understanding of just how wonderful, and gracious, and merciful, and forgiving someone in the Capital has been toward you, and in that obedience, you have fulfilled the law. That is what He has done for us. Through His great Love, He has given us the ability to fulfill the dictates of His heart without fear. That is the whole picture and the answer to the riddle: LOVE, great, incomprehensible LOVE, a product of the tree of Life.