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Matthew 5:48

Be Perfect!

48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Why does mankind need a Savior? From verse 17 through verse 47 of this chapter we have seen Jesus emphasize the validity of the O. T. law, clarify the law, and expand it to reach beyond actions and into the very hearts and thoughts of men. We have seen that a man or woman cannot worship, God if they are not at peace with their neighbors, and we were told to love even our enemies.

Strict obedience to His commandments is the highest form of worship. "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." (John 14:23) Obedience is the most important aspect of our relationship with Him. God builds the relationship. When we obey, He comes and lives within us and loves us.

"Be ye, therefore,perfect..." can first be applied to everything that has come before it in this sermon. By "perfect", Jesus meant "complete" or"mature" in our observance of God's laws. To be as perfect as God would seem impossible for anyone who was willing to admit the truth of his own sinful nature. Yet to be anything less puts us in danger of the hell fires that Jesus mentioned in earlier verses, makes us unfit to worship, and prevents us from being God's children.

Some commentators give this a narrower meaning, claiming that it applies only to what Jesus taught when He commanded us to love our enemies. But this is just as difficult. There is no one who has perfect love for everyone he knows. Everyone of us strains at maintaining relationships with certain types of individuals. Only God's love is perfect. Only God could love enough to sacrifice His only begotten Son for people who had rebelled against Him and hated Him.

Jesus' listeners must have been hanging on His every word at this point. He had told them that they needed to be more righteous than the Pharisees, that their understanding of the law fell far short of its intended truths, that each of them was in danger of the hell fires, that their broken relationships made them unfit to worship, and now, that they must be as perfect as their Father in heaven. How could they possibly do that?

We know, of course, that we can only do it by receiving Christ as our Savior. He is the mediator of the covenant between God and man, conveying His perfection and righteousness onto us. But, the great genius of our Savior is demonstrated here as He allows the suspense to build. He offers no answer, but moves on to teach them about worship.

We must stop and ask ourselves where our perfection comes from? Are we good in and of ourselves? Are we fit to worship because of our own perfection, or do we seek God's righteousness through Jesus Christ?

Our sermons, our prayers, and our music do not serve God when we rely on our own perfection, our own righteousness. Do not think that, because you have spent many hours preparing a worship service or a Bible class, you now have something to offer to your Father in worship. Only by first offering yourself as a living sacrifice to God can your worship have any meaning. Our perfection comes only through Jesus Christ. Without Him we are very incomplete.

Before The Throne:

Commit yourself to Him totally. Ask for His perfection and for His righteousness. Ask to be allowed to walk in His love constantly. Be as perfect as your Father through your Mediator Jesus Christ. Ask Him to forgive you for all of the times that you have failed in your reliance upon Christ. Pray for greater understanding of what God has planned for your life.

For Further Study:

** ye. Gen 17:1; Lev 11:44; Lev 19:2; Lev 20:26; Deut 18:13; Job 1:1-3; Ps 37:37; Luke 6:36, 40; 2Cor 7:1; 2Cor 13:9; 2Cor 13:11; Phil 3:12-15; Col 1:28; Col 4:12; Jas 1:4; 1Pet 1:15-16; ** even. Eph 3:1; Eph 5:1-2; 1John 3:3;


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