How Perfect Should a Christian Be?

Scripture: Matthew 5:48, 1 John 1:9, John 13:15
Date: 01/16/2016 
How perfect must a Christian be? How much will God forgive? We need sincere repentance and truly changed lives, progressing in our growth.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

I picked a sermon title this morning that may be a little bit troubling or even provocative in some ways, but that was deliberate, asking sort of a rhetorical question. How perfect should a Christian be?

I remember one time when I was on the road traveling and I was in just another hotel room, I don’t remember all the circumstances, I just know I had a hard time sleeping. Sometimes when you change time zones and you’re in a room that you’re not familiar with, once or twice I’ve been put in rooms that were not non-smoking rooms and it’s just tobacco smoke kept me up or sneezing through the night. For whatever reason, I couldn’t sleep. And it was one of those nights, I don’t remember, the air conditioner wasn’t working or something but I just tossed and turned all night. You ever had a real rough night so you wake up in the morning and you almost look like a mummy because you’re all wrapped up in the sheets? And sometimes the hotel sheets, they don’t make them big enough to completely tuck in around the edges because they’re trying to save money. It’s real easy to un-tuck them.

But it was a rough night and I finally sat up, a little bleary-eyed and all the sheets were disheveled and I had actually pulled the sheet off so that it exposed the corner of the mattress and there it said, Serta Perfect Sleeper. As a matter of fact, I have a picture of it here. And as tired as I was, I had to laugh to myself and I thought Perfect Sleeper. May have been nothing wrong with the mattress itself but I had anything but a perfect night’s sleep. So just having the perfect mattress doesn’t guarantee you’re going to have the perfect night’s sleep.

Now, when do we think about perfection in connection with Christianity? There are a lot of misconceptions and some people have a lot of fear. What does that mean? You’ve got statements where Jesus says in Matthew 5:48, especially in the King James version, it reads, ‘Be therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.’ If a Christian is a follower of Jesus and Jesus was sinless and perfect and we’re supposed to be perfect as our Father in Heaven and Christ is a reflection of our Father in Heaven, are we supposed to be godlike in our perfection? I don’t know if anybody here is ready to claim that but I’m not.

So what does the Lord want from us? What does Jesus mean by ‘be perfect?’ It might be good to start with a dictionary definition. What does perfect mean? We’ll look at it in English, Hebrew and Greek. First of all, and this is just according to the online dictionary: Confirming absolutely to a definition of an ideal type, excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement. How would you like to be beyond improvement? Three: Exactly fitting the need of a certain situation for a certain purpose. Four: Entirely without any flaws, defects or shortcoming. Does anyone know someone like that? Entirely without any flaws, defects or shortcomings. Five: Accurate, exact or correct in every detail.

So when you hear the words ‘perfect Christian,’ probably none of us feel like we qualify. And then you read other verses that tell us that so many in the bible, the bible heroes, even they had their mistakes and then there are statements that tell us that really nobody is perfect in the bible or it sounds that way. There is none good.

Job 5:7, it says, ‘Yet man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.’ We’re all kind of bent towards trouble. I remember once talking to a ranch rope in the hills and we were having some bear problems and he said there’s two kinds of bears. He said you’ve got a bear that’s on his way to trouble and you’ve got a bear that’s coming from trouble. Those are the two different kinds of bears. They’re just always trouble, and sometimes we feel like we’re that way too. We’re either on our way or coming from trouble. Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.

Isaiah 53, ‘All of we, like sheep, have gone astray.’ We’ve turned everyone to his own way.’ Not God’s will, our own will. Our own way. David said the same thing in Psalm 119:176. I’m going fast and I’m not putting all the scriptures on the screen and I’m not giving you time to turn to them all, so you might jot some of these down. I’ll try and post the notes for this at the central website. Psalm 119:176, David says, ‘I have gone astray like a lost sheep.’ Psalm 14:2-3, ‘The Lord looked down from Heaven upon the children of men to see if there are any who understand who see God. They’ve all turned aside. They’ve all together become corrupt. There is none who does good; no not one.’

Ecclesiastes 7:20, ‘For there is not a just man on the earth that does good and does not sin.’ Well, that would be discouraging. The Lord is calling us to be perfect as his Father in Heaven is perfect. I actually read a commentary one time writing about Ecclesiastes and it basically said, don’t take what Solomon is saying here too seriously. He was depressed when he wrote it. I think it’s inspired.

Jeremiah 13:23, ‘Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.’ And then, of course, Romans 3:23, ‘For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.’ Well, if we left you there it would seem like none of us could ever do God’s will, we’re all doomed to lives of perpetual disobedience and rebellion and waywardness. So when Jesus calls us to be perfect, what does that mean? Is he calling us to be some sort of angelic android or a stainless steel saint?

Now, after what I read about the bible saying that all have sinned, I now want you to know you don’t have to stay in that condition. There are examples in the bible of people that God calls perfect and godly. Genesis 6:9, the start of Genesis, these are some examples of godliness, ‘Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.’ Now, we know there was that episode where he planted a vineyard and drank too much and wandered around drunk in his teepee.

Genesis 5:24, not only Noah walked with God, Enoch walked with God. Now he must have been doing something right because God took Enoch to Heaven, right? I want that. Don’t you? Genesis 17:1, god said to Abram, ‘I am the Almighty God, walk before me and be thou perfect.’ What are you supposed to do when God says be perfect? How perfect exactly are we supposed to be? Are we supposed to be partially perfect? Partially imperfect, is that perfect?

I’m sorry, one more on Abraham. Genesis 26:5, ‘Because Abraham obeyed my voice, kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes and my laws.’ It seems like Abraham was pretty obedient. Now, that must be with the exception of the time that he took too many wives and then called his wife his sister. So he made some mistakes but the trend of Abraham’s life was one of obedience because this is what God said.

Deuteronomy 18, Moses said, ‘God said thou shall be perfect with the Lord thy God.’ As a matter of fact, it’s believed when Jesus and Matthew 5 said ‘be thou perfect,’ he is actually quoting this statement from Moses. ‘Thou shall be perfect with the Lord thy God.’ Now you can sort of understand why a perfect God would say that. How can a perfect God ask you to be anything other than perfect? Because he’s perfect. His standard is perfect. He’s calling us to follow a perfect standard.

When we were originally made, did Adam have a factory defect or was he perfect? Let me ask, how many think Adam was perfect when he was made? Or was there some wiring crossed? How could he sin if he was perfect? I mean, obviously he did something wrong so there must have been something wrong in the original design. No. He was made with the free will. He made a choice. He was made perfect. Everything God said was good, good, very good in the beginning, right? And God wants to recreate his image in us.

Job, what does it say about him? Chapter 2, Verse 3, ‘And then the Lord said to Satan, have you considered my servant Job. There is none like him in the earth, a blameless and an upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil.’ Now that word ‘blameless’ there, it also is perfect. I was reading the New King James version. Now one thing we notice there from reading about Job is that kind of godly perfection is rare. What did God say to the Devil? None like him in the earth. It is not common.

In Hebrew, when you read the word ‘perfect,’ it comes from the word ‘Thammim.’ And that means entire, integrity, truth without blemish, complete, full, perfectly, sincere, sound, without spot, undefiled, upright, whole. That sounds pretty good. Sounds like the dictionary definition. In Greek, in the New Testament, the word for perfect is ‘Teleios.’ It’s found about 42 times. And it means complete in labor, notice this, growth, mental and moral character or full age. Two terms there for perfect seem to indicate something that is in progress or it’s in a process of growing.

Jesus said in his dedication prayer, John 17, we’ll probably read a little more from that in a moment, 17:23, ‘I in them, thou in me that they may be perfect in one.’ How can we be perfect? I think there’s a clue here. As we are in Christ and Christ in God, we can be perfect in him. So only those who abide in him, whoever abides in him. John says, ‘Sinneth not.’ It’s through continually consistently abiding in Christ that we grow and we become what God wants us to be.

Some other New Testament examples, Zacharias and Elizabeth, parents of John the Baptist. You remember what happened to Zacharias? He couldn’t talk for nine months until John was born because he did not believe the promise of the angel that he and Elizabeth were going to have a son. He should have known better. I mean, he worked in the temple. He knew about Abraham. If God says he’s going to do it, you need to believe it and a miracle happens. But what does it say about Zacharias and Elizabeth? Luke 1:6, ‘They were both righteous before God.’ That’s all I want. If God can say, Doug, you’re righteous before me. Would you like that?

So is it possible for a human to have that experience? If it’s possible, that’s what we want. I’m not done. ‘They were righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.’ But was Zacharias perfect? Not in the way sometimes we think of it and that’s what frightens us. He was consistently following the Lord. It didn’t mean he had episodes or moments where his faith questioned. And then again, Paul said, Philippians 3:15, ‘Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded.’ He said many of us as be perfect? Would anyone raise their hand here?

James 3:2, ‘If any man offend not in word the same as a perfect man.’ Now I believe that. My problem is offending in word. But he said if someone can bridle their tongue, and since out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, if you could be perfect in what you say, you might have a perfect heart. If any man cannot offend in word the same as a perfect man.

You see, there’s a big lie that the Devil has perpetrated out there and that lie is that you cannot have Christian perfection, that you can’t have that experience where you are blameless, that you have perfect love, perfect mercy. Before the Lord comes, God wants us to be over-comers. He wants us to be victorious. Praise God who gives us the victory. Why would Paul say stuff like that? Why would Jesus say, ‘To him that overcomes’ if it wasn’t possible for us to overcome. The lie of the Devil is, he wants to get us to where we are content and don’t even expect that we should have growth and sanctification and victory in our lives.

Now, if there’s one sermon that any preacher worth his salt is going to preach a couple times a year, it’s going to be dealing with salvation from sin because this is why Jesus came to save us from our sins. And I don’t know about you but the biggest problem in my life is me. It’s sin. And the problem that you see in the world, I can almost always narrow it down to sin in some way or another. Problems in our culture, problems in our church, problems in our families is almost always going to point back to sin and selfishness in some way.

Jesus came to save us from our sins. First words out of John the Baptist’s mouth when he started preaching was repent. Repent of what? Of sin. When Jesus began his ministry, he started out by saying, ‘Repent of sin. The kingdom of God is at hand.’ So the main problem we all wrestle with is sin. We like to couch the gospel. In other terms we call it a mistake and we love to talk about, and I do too, love, grace, mercy. Those are very important components but if we’re going to be biblically faithful we also need to talk about what Jesus talks about and that’s sin.

What is sin? It’s the transgression of his law. It’s not doing God’s will. What is the law? Well, of course it’s summarized in loving the Lord and loving his neighbor. More carefully it’s the Ten Commandments. We have them on the wall here. It’s the will of God. Psalm 119:46, it says, ‘I love to do your will. Your law is within my heart. I’ll walk in liberty for I seek thy precepts.’ The will of God is the law of God. And so in any area where we are breaking God’s law, that’s sin. All in righteousness, a sin. Anything that’s not a faith is sin. These are bible definitions. And so we struggle with sin in our lives. You know when sin happens? When we’re not abiding in Christ.

If we don’t have the love of God then the only other motive left is selfishness and we will sin. Whether it manifests itself in the lust of the flesh or the lust of the eyes or the pride of life or any other form of selfishness, we will be gravitating towards selfishness and that’s where you have problems in your relationships with each other, we have problems in our relationship with God and even your relationship with you, that you have with you. It’s going to be contaminated and infected and damaged by sin.

God wants to save us from our sins. Here’s the point, he doesn’t want to save us from some of our sins. What woman would accept a proposal that sounded something like this, I’d like you to marry and I will be dedicated to you 358 days a year, only you. There will be some other days that, I do have some old girlfriends, man will be a man. And we know you understand that. I mean, let’s not be extreme. Are you really expecting your spouse 365 days a year to just love you? And I’m a bachelor and she still expects it. But isn’t that legalistic? Is that perfect? I mean, what wife wants her husband to be perfect in that respect? One hundred percent of the wives, right? You are fanatics, legalistic Faroese women. When you have love, you want 100 percent commitment. Now why would you expect less from God when he said I love you, no, I don’t want you to listen to the Devil. I don’t want you to sell out to him. I don’t want you to sin. Zero, nada, none, gone, caput, stop.

It’s like that story about the man who was driving a convertible and he just had 500 horsepower and he really wanted to get going and a policeman started watching him. He didn’t know. And he had come up to a stop sign and he’d roar. He’d just slow down a little bit, look right and left and he’d roar on through. And he’d come to another one, he’d roar on through. Pretty soon the policeman turned on his lights and he pulled him over. And he said, you know, I saw you pull up to those stop signs. He said, you didn’t stop. And the man said, come on, officer. Give a guy a break. He said, I got this new car here. I’m just trying it out. He said, you’d do the same thing. He said, I slowed down. It’s the same thing. I slowed down. I don’t know, something snapped with the police officer and he took out his Billy-club and he started whacking him over the head. And he said, what are you doing? He said, is there a difference? Do you want me to slow down or stop? And so Jesus doesn’t want us to just slow down.

It’s like those bumper stickers that say Christians are not perfect, they’re just forgiven. No, we’re not just forgiven. We’re supposed to strive for holiness. God said, ‘Be ye holy even how as I am holy. Be perfect Jesus. Christ is our example. We should strive for that. The Devil has told a big lie and most even Christians have taken it hook, line and sinker that God doesn’t really expect us to be godly. That is not true. And you know, the Devil is not afraid of your going to church. As a matter of fact, he would just assume you stay in church. As long as you stay in church, if you continue to hear lies that lead you to think that God is going to save you in and with your sin as opposed to from your sin. So how perfect does he want us to be?

Jesus said Matthew 7:21, ‘Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom, but he that does the will of my Father.’ And then he goes on and explains there’s going to be a very large deceived category in the last days. Many will come to me in that day saying, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesized in your name and in your name cast out Devils and in your name done many wonders?’ Gone to church, paid our time. ‘I’ll declare to them I never knew you, depart from you who practice lawlessness.’ Inequity in some versions, same word, lawlessness. What is lawlessness? I John 3:4-6, ‘Whoever commits sin commits lawlessness.’ Now I’m using the New King James version there. Sin is lawlessness. It means living outside the law, meaning the commandments of God.

So there are people who go to church and they’re doing wonders and working for the Lord and God says, I don’t know you. We’re not abiding in Christ, if that’s the pattern of our lives. He wants us to be in him.

One of the things that’s so dangerous about this concept that God saves us in our sin, we’re falling for the Devil’s original deception. What is the Devil’s accusation against God? You’re unfair. Your law is unfair. You’re arbitrary. You’re a despot. You’re asking these creatures on earth to do something they cannot do. They’re born with these sinful, selfish tendencies and you’re saying you’re going to punish them if they disobey. You have no right to punish them for doing what they can’t help but do. And Jesus is saying, no, they can be different. They can obey. The Devil says, no, they can’t.

And so when we in the churches begin to become comfortable with the idea that we are just destined and resigned to being defeated, it really says the Devil is big enough to tempt you to sin but God is not big enough to keep you from sin. That’s at the core of that teaching. You can’t escape it, friends. If we are resigned to the idea that we are destined to continue living in sin until Jesus comes, then what you’re really saying is I don’t believe God can sanctify me because I think that the Devil is more powerful than God is. That is totally against what Jesus teaches.

The bible says, ‘Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.’ The Lord can give you victory. You can’t name a sin that God can’t give you victory over. You name a sin, maybe you haven’t gotten victory but I can point to somebody that has. And so if he did it for them, he can do it for you if you believe. That’s what righteousness by faith is. If you believe, all things are possible. God does things after we believe that he doesn’t do until we believe.

And so if you don’t believe that you can make it to the Promised Land, like those ten spies that first explored Canaan, ten of the twelve did not believe they could make it. They didn’t. Two of them believed they could make it. They said, he is able to bring us in, let’s go. They did make it. It’s that simple. And there are a lot of false prophets, even in the church that are coming back from Canaan saying the giants are too big, you can’t make it. And we’ve got to decide, who are we going to believe. Yes, Caleb and Joshua were the minority report. Just a couple of them came back and said, we can do it, we can do it. God is with us, we can do it. And the other ten said no. They wondered 40 years because they didn’t believe they could make it to the Promised Land. They didn’t believe they could conquer the giants.

Most people don’t believe they can conquer the giants. That’s why it takes a David to come along every now and then and say, yes, you can. And did God bless them? So the Lord is looking for the people who believe. The eyes of the Lord run to and fro through the earth, looking for someone through whom he can show himself mighty. Those who believe that he can change me, that he can give me victory.

Now the question is, how much sin can we still cling to and be saved deliberately? Jesus said, ‘Sin no more.’ You remember the story, John 5:14, he goes to the pool of Bethesda, heals that man that hasn’t walked in 38 years and later he runs into him. John 5:14, ‘And Jesus found him in the temple.’ Right after you heal, you want to go to church. The first thing he did after he could walk is he went to church. Good idea. ‘Jesus says, see, you have been made well.’ Notice the words of Jesus. If you got a red letter edition, it’s in red. If you’re angry with what I’m saying this morning, be angry with Jesus. You talk to him later. Don’t take it out on me. Jesus said, ‘Sin no more less a worse thing come upon you.’ He did not say you’re going to have to just kind of cut back a little bit. You’ve got to slow down, he said stop.

John 8:10, you know the woman caught in adultery, also in the temple, ‘We all know Jesus did not come to condemn us. We’re already condemned. He came to save us from our sin.’ After all that woman’s accusers went out, Jesus said, woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you? She said, no one Lord, as if to say but what about you. He said, neither do I condemn you. And the last thing he said is, ‘Sin no more. Go and sin no more.’ Now obviously he’s talking about what she specifically had a problem with in her life.

So how do you get the victory over sin? The first words Jesus spoke when he began preaching, repent. Repentance is actually a gift of God. You may not have to wait until you feel it, but as soon as you become aware that you are doing something that is not God’s will, confess it to God. Tell him. One of the first things you’ve got to deal with, if you’re struggling with alcohol, anybody here who’s struggled with alcohol, if you go to an AA meeting one of the first things they want you to do is you’ve got to confront it and be real with yourself. You can’t get over anything that you don’t admit. Say, Lord, this is something in my life I know you don’t approve of it, but I can’t do anything without you. But I am sorry. I repent. I confess my sin. Save me from it. And as soon as you come to the Lord and you ask him for help, then he can do something. Proverbs 28:13, ‘He that covers his sin will not prosper, but whoever confesses and,’ do you know the rest of that verse, ‘forsakes it will have mercy.’ It’s not just confessing. It’s being willing to turn away from it.

I John 1:9, ‘If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from 50 percent unrighteousness.’ 75 percent because we’ve got his cutbacks. No, he’ll cleanse us from how much unrighteousness? He cleanses us from all. Not only does he give us credit for his son’s righteousness, he then gives us power to live new lives. See, what you hear in the churches is only justification. A lot of churches, you can hear really good sermons on justification and I would say amen through all those sermons. But they stop with the part where you come to Jesus and he covers you and gives you credit for his righteousness and that they don’t go on with the other aspect, which is called sanctification. Another very clear bible teaching where then you are transformed and you live a new life. This is what real repentance is, when we turn from our sins.

So here’s the question. If you’re a Christian, does that mean that you’ll never fall, you’ll never sin, you’ll never make a mistake, that if you sin once then you aren’t perfect enough? No? It’s who’s in charge. Who rules in your life? Who is your Lord? Who do you live for? By what do you define your life?

Now, I’m going to give you three verses. Romans 6:12, the very fact he’s saying do not let it means that you have a choice, ‘Do not allow sin to reign.’ Reign is like in a kingdom. It means it’s ruling in your life. If there’s any area where sin is ruling in your life, then you’re not safe. Christ wants to have victory. That doesn’t mean Christians don’t fall. That’s different.

If it has dominion, and that’s my next verse, Romans 6:14, just going down two verses, ‘Sin shall not have dominion over you.’ Two people can be involved in a fight. You know how they get points in wrestling? When someone throws the other person and they have control, they’re on top. The other party is subdued. They don’t have dominion. The one on top has dominion. You might be wrestling with sin and temptation and the Devil all the time. Jesus was tempted. We’re all tempted. That’s different from does sin have dominion. Is it winning in your life or is Jesus winning in your life? Do you see the difference?

Let me give you another one. I Thessalonians 4:3-5, ‘For this is the will of God, your sanctification that you should abstain from sexual immorality, that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel,’ that means your body, ‘in sanctification and honor not in passion of lust like the gentiles that don’t know God.’ God’s will is that we should be sanctified, that we should be made holy. Sanctified, it’s a process. It’s a process where you’re growing. You’re becoming more like Christ and he’s cleansing you and you’re being transformed and you’re being cleaned.

When Jesus first called Peter, James, John, Andrew, Matthew, take your pick, did he cut them loose preaching about Christianity the next day or was there three years where they were learning sometimes by trial and error in slipping and falling, what to do, what not to do by watching Jesus and saying, that’s how you do it, I’ve been doing that wrong? He discipled them. They were being sanctified. And even after Jesus ascended to Heaven, I can think of two or three places where Peter in particular made some bad calls, but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t a Christian.

Even at the end of following Jesus for three years, three and a half years, he took his eyes off Christ and denied him three times. Jesus did not let go of him. Don’t get discouraged if you’re following the Lord and you fall, but don’t become complacent in sin. That is fatal. If you become comfortable in your sin, that’s exactly what the Devil wants.

Now, how do you find a balance between having peace, can you have peace and not be totally sanctified? Let me tell you a quick story. Early when I was a young pastor, I went to visit one of the families. It was a mother, she had four children. Father wasn’t at home at the time. When I went to visit, the yard was sort of a disaster. She was a believer, husband was not. It was a tough situation. She came to the door. I did not call in advance and announce I was coming, I think sometimes good pastors will make pop visits. You learn a lot that way. You don’t appreciate that, do you? But you’ll use caller ID on the phones though. I just may as well come over.

And she kind of cracked the door and I said, hi, sister, Pastor Doug, came to visit. I won’t take long. And I can tell she was crying when she came to the door. And she said, I’m embarrassed to let you. I said, don’t worry about, just let me take a minute. I just want to have prayer with you. She reluctantly opened the door. That house was a disaster. She had little trails going through the key rooms with toys and laundry and you name it, all books and stuff all piled up. And she led me through the trail in the living room. We found some seats at the kitchen table, dishes and pots and pans and leftovers just all around the kitchen and stacks on the stacks on the stacks. And it wasn’t that she was a hoarder necessarily, it’s that housekeeping had gone totally wrong.

And I visited for a little bit and she said, I’m so embarrassed, Pastor. She just sobbed and she cried. And she said, I don’t know what happened, it just got out of control and this child was sick and it took so much time and I just let the house go and it got worse and worse and worse and every time I look at it, I just discouraged and I can’t do anything. And she started to cry again. I sat there feeling really awkward. I said, let me call a couple of the ladies in the church, let them come and help. I said, we can change this. I said, let’s come in. Oh no, I’d be so embarrassed. I don’t want them to talk if they saw.

And I know what to do, I wanted to help her. I said, look. I said, here’s what I would do if I were in your shoes. I said, you pick a corner. I said, I know it’s overwhelming when you look at the whole landscape of what’s happened here. And I only saw a couple of rooms. I don’t know what it was like in the back. I said, you pick a corner. I said, take that corner right there. I said, about eight feet by eight feet, do you think you could clean that? Yeah. I said, okay, then clean it. I said, and after you get that eight feet clean, I said, take dominion of it and do not let clutter take dominion of that corner. I said, then go from there and take another eight feet and claim it. I said, how do you think an ant eats an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you become like Christ? Day by day. Now, here’s the amazing thing. She began to look a little happier right there. I had prayer with her and I said, you can do it. I said, start right there. I probably should have told her to start in the kitchen. Anyway, we picked a corner. And you know what? She immediately started feeling better.

Next time I saw her, she was smiling at church. She said, I got a ways to go but, you know what, I’m making progress. Her peace and her happiness immediately came, even though there was a lot of rooms in the house that still needed attention because she could see that it was changing and she was taking dominion over the different segments in her house one room at a time. We sometimes are overwhelmed because Jesus said, ‘Be perfect.’ Such a mess. And the Lord is saying, I want you to follow me. Follow me to something that’s done with steps.

You know, the bible tells us in Isaiah 1 that when you make up your mind to follow Jesus, Isaiah 1:16-17, this is sanctification and growth. He says, ‘Wash yourselves. Make yourselves clean. Put away the evil of your doings.’ No question God wants us to be holy. ‘Cease to do evil.’ He doesn’t say slow down, he says cease. But then he says, ‘Learn to do good.’ Our objective is ceasing. There is a learning process in that. Do you see what I’m saying?

Does anyone here know how to play an instrument? Were you a prodigy? Did you learn the first day? There’s a process in learning. Do we all know that? The Lord is wanting us to learn a new way of living. The only way you can do that is if Christ is in your life. Friends, I don’t want you to be discouraged.

Let me read something to you, and this is a very encouraging quote from a classic book, Steps to Christ. This is page 64, "There are those who have known the pardoning love of Christ and really desire to be children of God, yet they realize that their character is imperfect. Their life is faulting. They’re ready to doubt whether their hearts have been renewed by the Holy Spirit. To such I would say do not draw back in despair. We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and our mistakes, but we’re not to be discouraged. Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God. No, Christ is at the right hand of God, who also make intersession for us. He said to the beloved John, ‘These things I write unto you that you sin not and if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And do not forget the words of Christ. The Father himself loves you.’ John 16:27. He desires to restore you to himself to see his own purity and holiness reflected in you. If you will but yield yourself to him, he that has begun a good work in you will carry it forward to the day of Jesus Christ." Yielding yourself to him, surrendering to him, he can give you the victory.

Would you pay everything you own for something you didn’t think you could actually purchase? Every now and then you hear these stories about people who pay for something and they were swindled. They didn’t get anything. It’s kind of sad. Would Jesus pay, would they Father pay the life of his son to save you? That would be an awful big price to pay for something that couldn’t be acquired. The very fact that Jesus paid so much is the strongest evidence that it is possible for you to be what he paid for you to be. Does that make sense?

If you come to Christ and you surrender to him, you can be a new creature. Don’t be discouraged because of your past failures. Just say, Lord, by your grace I want to walk with you like Noah and Enoch. I want to have the experience of Abraham. I want to be like Daniel, where I love you so much I’m going to leave my windows open even though I might die because I’m caught praying. Your relationship to me is the most important thing and by your grace, Lord, I want to be perfect in Christ. I want to be holy. I want to like Jesus. I want to be so lost to myself that all people see when they look at me is you. Is that your desire, friends? Is that your prayer?

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