Sermon: Perfection for Saints
Scripture: Matthew 5:48
In this week’s lessons, we learn what it means to be perfect as God is perfect, that it is a work of God that involves the past, the present, and the future.
Theme: Until the Day of Jesus Christ
The third thing that Philippians 1:6 means is that God will not give up in His purpose of making you like Jesus Christ, even though you may want Him to give up. And there are times when you will. The day will come in your Christian experience when you will sin and find that you like it. You will say to yourself, “I think I would just like to keep on sinning this way.” What will happen then? The answer is that God will begin to work on you. He will begin to poke you and to prod you and to whittle you, even to knock you around a bit if necessary, until you get out of your sin and back into the way that He has marked out for you.
Moreover, the prodding will get rougher and rougher as long as you persist in your own way. Why? Because God must be true to His own nature, and His nature is set against sin. He loves you, but He must lead you aright. He must be true to His own purposes, and His great purpose is to make you like the Lord Jesus.
As far back as in the book of Hosea there is a picture of how God did this with the Jewish people in Hosea’s day. The people had been disobedient, and God had been forced to judge them for their sin. Yet He continued to love them. So He says that He is going to come to them like a moth, gently, in order to get them back to Himself. He says, “Therefore will I be unto Ephraim like a moth, and to the house of Judah like rottenness” (Hos. 5:12).
However, says God, if Israel will not repent, then “I will be unto Ephraim like a lion, and like a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him” (v. 14). It is a great principle. God is determined to lead you in righteousness. Thus, when you sin, He will deal gently if He can. But He will also deal roughly if He must. In fact, He will even break your life in little pieces if He is forced to do it.
Oh Christian, learn this lesson, and do not force God to come to you as a roaring and ravaging lion. Learn to recognize the flutterings of the moth—those slight inconveniences, those little failures, that restlessness, that miscarriage of your plans—that warn you of God’s displeasure at your present course of action and of His desire to turn you back to Himself. If you learn that, you will go on from strength to strength, and you will rejoice that He who hath begun a good work in you will keep on perfecting it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Why is it necessary that God does not give up on making us like the Lord Jesus Christ?
How does our sin seek to interfere with God’s purposes for us? What will the Lord do in response to our rebellion?
Reflection: Give examples of how God may deal with us as a fluttering moth, and also as a roaring lion.
For Further Study: Download and listen for free to Donald Barnhouse’s message, “Perfect Salvation.”