Progress to Perfection – Our Journey #2

Progress to perfection – Our Journey Series#2

 

Progress means getting nearer and nearer to the place God wants you to be.

God met you as you were; but does not leave you as you were.

John 15:2&5 (NIV) – 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

5”I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.”

 

By Pastor George Lehman

 

This word digs deep into our core as disciples.

C.S. Lewis says:

If you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer.  If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.

You may not be where you need to be, but far better than you use to be.

Every child of God needs to live everyday with a goal, an aim, a target to ensure they are on the road to perfection.  It won’t just happen!

 

Steps to progress toward perfection. (The Journey)

2 Peter 1:3-10 (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;14 and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.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, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall

*divine nature = Jesus said be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect

-Matthew 5:48(NIV)

 

The steps.  Add to your faith:

Goodness (excellence)
Knowledge (not intellect or man’s wisdom – Revelation knowledge)
Self control
Perseverance
Godliness
Brotherly kindness
Love

 

#3 Self control

Salvation is from God.  BUT as we progress, He requires our co-operation with Him.

 

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) – 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

 

Philippians 2:12-13 (LB) – 12 Dearest friends, when I was there with you, you were always so careful to follow my instructions. And now that I am away you must be even more careful to do the good things that result from being saved, obeying God with deep reverence, shrinking back from all that might displease him. 13 For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants.

 

We see 2 sides Paul talks about.

God works “IN” so far as we…
Work “OUT”

If we stop working OUT we give God no more opportunity to work IN.

Self control is a part of our working out.  It takes strict training.

 

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (LB) – 24 In a race everyone runs, but only one person gets first prize. So run your race to win. 25 To win the contest you must deny yourselves many things that would keep you from doing your best. An athlete goes to all this trouble just to win a blue ribbon or a silver cup, but we do it for a heavenly reward that never disappears. 26 So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I fight to win. I’m not just shadow-boxing or playing around. 27 Like an athlete I punish my body, treating it roughly, training it to do what it should, not what it wants to. Otherwise I fear that after enlisting others for the race, I myself might be declared unfit and ordered to stand aside.

 

3 areas we need to have self-control:

How will others know I have self-control? By my actions!

 

A:  Physical appetites.

What feeds you Spiritually. What do you hunger for – is it more of God?

Your priorities will tell you.

 

Philippians 3:17-19 (LB) – 17 Dear brothers, pattern your lives after mine, and notice who else lives up to my example. 18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again now with tears in my eyes, there are many who walk along the Christian Road who are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their future is eternal loss, for their god is their appetite: they are proud of what they should be ashamed of; and all they think about is this life here on earth.

Our ways are clear to others; Good or Bad.

 

B:  Thoughts

Everybody seeks real happiness and there’s one sure way of finding it: That is by controlling your thoughts.  Happiness doesn’t depend on outward conditions.  It depends on inner conditions.  Dale Carnegi

 

Philippians 4:7-9 (LB) – 7 If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.  8 And now, brothers, as I close this letter, let me say this one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.

 

C:  Tongue

James 1:26 (LB) – Anyone who says he is a Christian but doesn’t control his sharp tongue is just fooling himself, and his religion isn’t worth much.

 

If you claim to be a Christian, you have to have self control of your tongue.

The only one who controls your tongue is you.

 

#4 Perseverance or(endurance. Patience) It has got to be active and working in your life

Possibly the least attractive step to progress to perfection.

Firstly, it’s because you’ll need self control.  No self control – no real perseverance.

You’ll always fail at your point of weakness. You are as strong as your weakest link.

However, if you will persevere; your strength grows out of your weakness.

 

Romans 5:1-5 (NIV) – 1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.  5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

*also rejoice in our sufferings = We persevere and endure and press on no matter how hard things become – we remain joyful and faithful.

 

This hope builds our character which is built on (endurance) perseverance.  (No perseverance, no character.)

How important then is perseverance to make progress to perfection?

To achieve perfection, we cannot bypass perseverance. (Add to your faith perserverance)

It’s easy to make big bold statements about wanting to please God and grow in your relationship with Him.

 

But are you willing to go through tough stuff? “Suffering produces perseverance” – Romans 5:3

 

James 1:2-4 (LB) – 2 Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy,3 for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.

Patience = perseverance, endurance

 

Please notice again the goal is that we may be perfect, lacking nothing.

Jesus said, “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect”.

– Matthew 5:48 (NIV)

Paul said, “Aim for perfection”. – 2 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)

That is why you need to make sure you always have the goal in mind and your aim on the target to progress to perfection.

This will supply your motivation when things are not so easy.

James says, “Count it all joy” and yet most of us complain, give up and accuse God – “why did You let this happen?”

You see, there’s only one route to perfection and that’s the Bible route.

We cannot bypass these steps.  God cannot promote you from Grade 4 to Grade 5 until you’ve passed Grade 4.

May God come and stir our hearts to stay focused on the end result for our lives – “Perfection” in Him.

Keep making progress to perfection, after all its part of our journey.

 

Let me remind you:

John 15:2&5 (NIV) – 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

5”I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.”