Volume. XXVI, No. 21
Sunday, 20 November 2011

Be Ye Perfect

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48)

In the 1976 summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada, a result occurred that stopped the sporting world in its tracks; even amongst many noteworthy sporting achievements during that Olympics, this one was so exceptional that it made headlines around the world. The Romanian athlete, Nadia Comaneci, scored a ‘Perfect 10’ in the gymnastics competition in the balanced beam category. At that time this was an unprecedented achievement, and even 35 years later, it is a very rare feat to achieve this ‘perfect’ score in any discipline. When we hear the word ‘perfect’, we naturally think of perfection as in this athletic accomplishment. In the text above, Jesus exhorts his disciples to “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”. But is Christian perfection possible? How do we interpret this verse, and what relevance has this to our Christian walk?

Perfection here, of course, does not mean that we as Christians never think a bad thought, say a wrong word, or do an evil deed. Such perfection is found only in Christ and is not within the realm of our human experience, although it should be a goal for each of us as we walk in Christ. Personal perfection was Paul’s goal in life. However, as he acknowledged, he never achieved this whilst he was in this early life. He states in Philippians 3:12, “not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect.” In fact, those who claim personal perfection are in serious conflict with the Scripture, which states, “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth in not in us“(1 John 1:8).

The Greek word for perfect in this command is teleios. It does not mean sinless perfection; rather it means to come to full maturity. Derivatives of this word indicate something being brought to its end, to have fruit that comes to maturity, to be full grown with character and integrity.

Scripture passages that describe the meaning of ‘perfect’
Ephesians 4:12-14: “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive”
James 1:2-4: “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”
Philippians 3:14-15: “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Let those of us who are mature be thus minded; and if in anything you are otherwise minded, God will reveal that also to you”

The word ‘perfect’ in the first 2 passages and ‘mature’ in the third passage all come from the same Greek word-Teleios and again imply ‘coming to maturity’ or ‘fully grown’. Other passages with the same meaning include John 17:23 (here our Lord Jesus is praying for his followers in His High Priestly Prayer) and Colossians 1:28.

How do we begin this perfection?
The Apostle Paul explains that the perfection of spiritual maturity cannot be obtained without the continual exercising of our consciences (sharpened by continual reading of and meditation on God’s word) to discern what is good or evil. “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:13-14). ‘Full age’ here is again teleios in the Greek. If we want the perfection of spiritual maturity, we must scrutinize everything in our lives and decide if it is of God or not. If it is not of God, we must reject it. 

The greatest enemy to spiritual perfection is a deceitful heart that does not want to give up the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2). The Bible reminds us the “heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). If we are going to have perfect hearts, we must expose all secret desires and activities to the light of God’s truth and the washing of his Word. We must pray as the Psalmist prayed: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 137:23-24)

After exposing our whole hearts to the Lord, we must wash them by saturating our minds with the word of God since he has stated, “Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3).

Another application of this command is to control our words with the love of the Lord in our hearts: “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2). The power to control our tongues and carefully evaluate our words is a high attainment of spiritual perfection because it requires the power of God to do so.

“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). May God help us as we seek to do this in his strength.

Bro Joseph Selvanayagam

More Lively Hope



Kitchen Roster: Team Leader: Sis Yvonne Kam. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Boong Atijatuporn.
*BSAG members - please assemble at front door of Nursing Home by 7:30 pm.
*Volunteers needed for dishwashing & kitchen duties after fellowship lunch.
*Hope Bookstore - open 12:30-1:45pm.
*Christmas Concert announcements - please refer to page 3.
*Next week’s Fellowship lunch is catered. $5 per person. Free under 5 years old.

Christmas Concert
*Christmas Concert 2011 will be held at Concordia College Chapel, 45 Cheltenham Street, Highgate, on Saturday, 3 December, starting at 7:30pm. This is an evangelistic event. Please invite your family, relatives & friends.
*Invitation cards are available on the literature table.  
*Christmas Concert letterboxing will take place again next Saturday, 26 November, from 10am-12pm. If you would like to help, please let Dn Wai Kin Wong or Sis Xandrea Cai know.
*Christmas Concert helpers - There will be a short briefing for all helpers today, in the Sanctuary immediately after Service.
*A3 Concert event posters are available. If you would like to put it up on the notice boards in your workplaces/social groups, please get your copy from Dn Wai Kin Wong or Sis Xandrea Cai.

Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: Elder Michael & Sis Alice Lee (Adl); Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong (Adl/KL); Bro Raphael Ng (Pt Aug/Adl); Sisters Annie D’Mello (India); Gillian Ong (S’pore); & Young Ae Choi & Bro Danny Choi (S Korea); & others who have arrived at their destinations. 
Church activities - over the past week.
Healing - Dn Tony Law.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Visitors & new worshippers.
God’s protection & guidance - those who distribute Christmas Concert invitation cards in suburbs.

Prayer Items
Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev Luke Kim (S Korea); Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser;  Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Bro Elton Law; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Myung Ki, Irena Kurek-Braden (NSW), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe (Per), & Susan Varadi; Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); Mr Tony Wong (Bro John’s father); Mrs. Chuilin Yap (Malacca); & others in affliction. 
Cambodia Missions -  Bro Sun Sokha (Phnom Penh).
Ministry in New Life BPC (London): Ps & Sis Ki.
Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry.
iSketch&Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry - Pr HS Lim (Melb).
IBPFM (USA) - Rev Keith Coleman & Board.
Ps & Sis Weng - Ministry in Hope BPC.
Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries.
Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
House of Hope, Cebu, Philippines - drug addicts: for their salvation & healing from drug addiction.
Journey mercies: Bros Raphael Ng (Pt Aug/Adl), Yick Ho Lam (S’pore), & Pirun Pech (Cambodia); Sisters Michelle Jap (Indonesia), Wendy Liang (Canada)Megan Lim & Felicia Tan (S’pore); & others who are travelling.
Logos International School (Phnom Penh) - Bro Peter Koo.
God’s comfort: Those in mourning & affliction.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin & Korean.
Christmas Concert - Speaker: Rev Edward Paauwe; participants & preparation.
Sis Clara Sim - guidance for future plans.
Year 12 & Uni students - studying for final exams.
Believers in Thailand affected by the ‘catastrophic’ floods. Sis Mariam Atijatuporn & her family.
Job - Bro Raymond Ang; Sisters Clara Sim & Melissa Chong.
Wisdom - Australian Federal & State authorities.
 Sis Gillian Ong - missions work in Laos (Dec).
 Pastors & their families under persecution in Islamic countries.
 Unity & fellowship of Australian B-P Churches.



© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041