The crazy idea of being perfect



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Sermon Outline

First United Methodist Church of Sanford

“The crazy idea of being perfect”

April 28, 2013




Scripture
Philippians 3:12-14

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. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.


Matthew 5:48

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


Core Idea, Challenge & Summary
Core Idea: Christian perfection is about becoming the person God wants you to be. This means being solely motivated by an unselfish love for God, neighbor & self.
Challenge: To exhort people to pursue perfection with faith that God will carry them along towards perfection.
Summary: Perfection is often thought of as an unobtainable ideal. For this reason, many people never attempt to become a perfect person and, consequently, become content with something far less than perfection. They become content with sin and mediocrity.
Jesus clearly tells us that we are to be content with nothing less than perfection. In Matthew 5:48, Jesus states, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This causes many people to think, “What?!! How can I be perfect like God the Father?!! That’s impossible!” However, once we gain a Biblical understanding of perfection, we realize that God’s grace makes it possible.
Christian perfection is not about never making a mistake. Our limited intelligence & wisdom will ensure we make mistakes from time to time. Christian perfection is about becoming the people God created us to be. The Scripture passage preceding Matthew 5:48 tells us that God wants us to love people with the same type of love God has for us. This is an unconditional love that includes our enemies. So, we know we are reaching Christian perfection when we find ourselves being solely motivated by an unselfish love for God, neighbor, and self.
Philippians 3:12 makes it clear that, as Christians, we are in the process of becoming perfect. We strive to become perfect knowing that the Holy Spirit is changing our hearts so that we can come closer and closer to perfection. We cooperate with the Spirit through Bible study, prayer, fasting, worship, and service trusting that the Holy Spirit will use these means of grace to bring us closer and closer to perfection.

Are you on your way to perfection? Can you look at your life and find evidence that you are growing towards perfection? Are you becoming the person God created you to be? Are you more motivated by an unselfish love than you were a few years ago? If you answer no to these questions, then go to God right now!! Ask God to reveal what is keeping you from going towards perfection. Repent of whatever it is and receive God’s transforming grace.


Let’s encourage one another on this journey towards perfection.
The Sermon


  1. Introduction: Pet names between me and my wife

  1. ‘My blessing’: my pet name for my wife, Donna

  • On presents, cards and letters, I’ll often write, “To my blessing”

  • As a wonderful wife & mother, she is a blessing to me and my son, Joshua. God has blessed us with her.

  1. ‘My perfect hubby’: Donna’s pet name or me

  • I knew I didn’t always say or do the right thing.

  • As a husband, I often messed up

  • One day I asked her why she called me her perfect hubby.

  • She was quick to agree that I do mess up at times

  • She explained that I am the perfect husband for her. I am perfect because I am what she needs for a husband.

  • In a similar way, we become perfect by becoming the people God created us to be.

  1. Being the perfect people for God

  1. God knows what type of person He wants each of us to be. (Psalm 139:13; Jeremiah 1:5)

  2. We reach perfection when we become the person God created us to be.

  • I am David L. Charlton. There is no one else who can be David L. Charlton. I am not, however, the David L. Charlton God wants me to be. I have some character flaws. When I become the David L. Charlton that God wants me to be, I will have reached perfection.

  • I am [your name]. There is no one else who can be [your name] I am not, however, the [your name] God wants me to be. I have some character flaws. When I become the [your name] that God wants me to be, I will have reached perfection.

  1. Jesus commands us to be perfect: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

  1. Jesus commands us to be the people God created us to be.

  2. We often reject this command because…

  • It appears to be an unobtainable ideal

  • How can any of us be perfect like God the Father?

  • How can I be the person God created me to be? That’s too hard!!!!

  1. However, once we gain a better Biblical understanding of perfection, we realize that God’s grace makes it possible.

  1. A full and Biblical understanding of perfection

  1. As previously stated, perfection is becoming the person God created you to be.

  2. God created us all to be solely motivated by an unselfish love for God, neighbor, and self

  • Mathew 22:37-40: “Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

  • The passage preceding Matthew 5:48 (Verses 43-47) makes it clear that this is an unconditional love that even includes our enemies.

  1. Christian perfection is being the person God created you to be, which is a person solely motivated by an unselfish love for God, neighbor, and self.

  • If you’re a police officer, then perfection occurs when you perform your duties as a police officer in a manner that reflects love for God, neighbor, and self.

  • If you’re a soldier, then perfection occurs when you perform your duties as a soldier in a manner that reflects love for God, neighbor, and self.

  • If you’re a teacher, then perfection occurs when you perform your duties as a teacher in a manner that reflects love for God, neighbor, and self.

  • If you’re a short order cook, then perfection occurs when you perform your duties as a short order cook in a manner that reflects love for God, neighbor, and self.

  • If you’re a parent, then perfection occurs when you perform your duties as a parent in a manner that reflects love for God, neighbor, and self.

  • If you’re a husband/wife, then perfection occurs when you perform your duties as a husband/wife in a manner that reflects love for God, neighbor, and self.

  • If you’re a [whatever you are], then perfection occurs when you perform your duties as a [whatever you are] in a manner that reflects love for God, neighbor, and self.

  1. Obtaining Christian Perfection is a long difficult process

  1. Consider Philippians 3:12: “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.”

  2. Perfection is the goal every Christian should strive for. Every Christian should strive to be the person God created him/her to be. This means being a person that is solely motivated by an unselfish love for God, neighbor, and self.

  3. We, cannot, however, make progress towards this goal on our own. Our sinful nature will stop us.

  • As we walk in relationship with God, the Holy Spirit changes our hearts so that we can become more and more motivated by an unselfish love for God, neighbor, and self.

  • We must cooperate with the Holy Spirit, so that the Holy Spirit can change our hearts. We do this through…

  • Prayer & fasting

  • Bible study

  • Worship

  • Fellowship w/ fellow believers – Along with social events, this also includes confessing sins to one another and holding each other accountable – very important

  • Sacrificial service and sacrificial giving

  1. Conclusion

  1. Imagine if every Christian was making solid and rapid progress towards perfection

  • Everyone would be primarily motivated by love. That means no gossiping, glory seeking, and self-assertion. Everyone would be submitting themselves to each other.

  • What would the local church look like?

  • What would our community look like as Christians going on to perfection impacted the non-believers around them?

  1. Are you progressing towards perfection?

  • Can you look at your life and find evidence that you are growing towards perfection?

  • Are you becoming the person God created you to be?

  • Are you more motivated by an unselfish love than you were a few years ago?

  • If you answer no to these questions, then go to God right now!! Ask God to reveal what is keeping you from going towards perfection. Repent of whatever it is and receive God’s transforming grace.


LET’S SUPPORT EACH OTHER IN OUR JOURNEY TOWARDS PERFECTION




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