Progress to perfection – Our Journey (SERIES #1)
Don’t mistake activity for achievement. – John Wooden
by Pastor George Lehman
Every child of God needs to have a goal, an aim, a target of what you want to achieve in Him. You cannot be born again and be indecisive about your Christian life.
Achievement – so busy with God’s things but how is my life changing? Am I achieving growth?
How easily we can get sucked into believing things that sound good but aren’t even biblical.
Eg., Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing. – Harriet Brailer
(How can it be demoralizing to want to be like Jesus?)
No one is perfect, that’s why pencils have erasers. (Just an excuse to stay the same.)
There are no perfect men in this world, only perfect intentions.
– Robin Hood, Prince of thieves.
Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it. – Salvador Dali
(Stay as you are – give up.)
If there were no such ability within man, Jesus would never have said, “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” -Matthew 5:48
Psalm 138:8 (KJV) – The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.
Paul understood this:
Philippians 3:12(NIV) – Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
The apostle Peter brings great guidance and instruction to the church to aim for perfection.
Perfection is not:
Becoming better than others;
Outdoing someone else;
Being smarter or having more knowledge of the bible than others.
No, it’s about you becoming more like Jesus.
I want to start with Peter’s ending of the process to perfection before we look at what he said: Start with the end result and work our way back!
2 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV) – 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
What he taught was very profound and easy to understand but without the Holy Spirit helping us, verse 8-9 will apply to your life.
Steps to progress to perfection.
2 Peter 1:3-7 (NIV) – 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
Firstly Peter gives 2 goals:
Positive goal: Is that we can participate [deel hê] in the Divine Nature. (Jesus reminds us in Matthew 5:48 about that divine nature).
Matthew 5:48 (NIV) – Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Negative goal: To escape the corruption and ungodly ways of this world.
The truth is – the more we become partakers in His divine nature, the further we escape this world’s corruption.
Note verse 5: For this very reason, ‘MAKE EVERY EFFORT’.
Church of Jesus – it will take ‘EFFORT’.
The steps to a life of perfection:
To let love, operate as it should we need to go through a process of perfection.
It all starts with FAITH.
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV) – And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
It’s the foundation from which we build.
Galatians 5:6 (NIV) – For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
It’s about the faith that’s alive and active in us – not about doctrine faith.
It’s not WHAT you believe – it’s IN WHO you believe.
2 Timothy 1:12 (NIV) – That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
Greek word is “areté” meaning excellence.
It means excellence in any and every area which you find yourself doing something.
That’s what faith is about – you live out what you believe with excellence.
James 2:17 (NIV) – In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Real faith will always produce.
People testify but don’t produce.
Peter is saying, “add to your faith”, make it work, show people that what you believe works in your life. (How? By my excellent life.)
In your ministry, at home, at work, in your social life – in fact, everywhere!
It’s knowledge of God’s will.
It’s not achieved by education and study of books – it’s spiritual.
You can have great intellectual knowledge and zero spiritual.
Colossians 1:9-10 (NIV) – 9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding. 10And we pray this in order so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
It’s spiritual, not intellectual.
The kinds of knowledge as Pauls describes:
Knowledge – wisdom, insight, not intellectual (I understand it by revelation).
Increasing knowledge – it’s always moving forward, increasing (never stagnant).
Discernment or sensitivity towards God’s will (as you acquire His knowledge, you want to please Him).
Produces fruit in our lives which bring glory to God.
Jesus said, “let me see your good works, it will glory God”, Matthew 5:16.
This knowledge has only ONE source – God’s word (The Bible).
Psalm 119:9 (NIV) – How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.
Psalm 119:11 (NIV) – I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 119:130 (NIV) – The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
With – No plan, no strategy, no goal, no aim, no effort.
Don’t expect to ever attain any kind of perfection.
I would rather aim for perfection and miss – than aim for imperfection and hit it.