Saturday, September 17, 2005

Be Ye Therefore Perfect

I love to discuss the following verse:

Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Jesus spoke these words and they were recorded at the end of Matthew 5. The beginning of chapter 5 includes the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus taught the Beatitudes; taught how we are to be 'salt and light' to the world; taught about the Law; taught about anger; taught about adultery; and about divorce, vows, revenge and love for enemies.

This last verse has always fascinated me. Do you think Jesus was telling us that we can ever be perfect in this world? Do you think that perhaps he was driving the point home that we can never be perfect (compared to the holiness and righteousness of the Father in heaven) but that it is certainly something to strive for?

I think that the second answer is correct and this post will tell you why. First, I'd like to post Ephesians 5 in two Bible versions. The NLT is easier to follow for those who may not be familiar with the Bible. Second, I will write comments on this very important chapter in Ephesians.

Ephesians 5 (KJV)

Eph 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
Eph 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
Eph 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
Eph 5:4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
Eph 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Eph 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Eph 5:7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
Eph 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
Eph 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
Eph 5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them].
Eph 5:12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
Eph 5:13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
Eph 5:14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
Eph 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Eph 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Eph 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord [is].
Eph 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Eph 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Eph 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Eph 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Eph 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Eph 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing.
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
Eph 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Eph 5:28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
Eph 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
Eph 5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. Eph 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
Eph 5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Eph 5:33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife [see] that she reverence [her] husband.

Ephesians 5 (NLT)

Living in the Light

Follow God's example in everything you do, because you are his dear children.

2 Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to him.

3 Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God's people.

4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes-these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.

5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is really an idolater who worships the things of this world.

6 Don't be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him.

7 Don't participate in the things these people do.

8 For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it!

9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

10 Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord.

11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them.

12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret.

13 But when the light shines on them, it becomes clear how evil these things are.

14 And where your light shines, it will expose their evil deeds. This is why it is said,
"Awake, O sleeper,rise up from the dead,and Christ will give you light."
Living by the Spirit's Power

15 So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise.

16 Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days.

17 Don't act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do.

18 Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.

19 Then you will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts.

20 And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Spirit-Guided Relationships: Wives and Husbands

21 And further, you will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 You wives will submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord.

23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his body, the church; he gave his life to be her Savior.

24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives must submit to your husbands in everything.

25 And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her

26 to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God's word.*

27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.

28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man is actually loving himself when he loves his wife.

29 No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his body, which is the church.

30 And we are his body.

31 As the Scriptures say, "A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one."*

32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.

33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Footnotes: 5:26 Greek having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word. 5:31 Gen 2:24.
Pay close attention to this verse:
Eph 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (KJV)

Eph 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (NLT)

Notice that it is exactly the same in both translations. As Christians, we are in the redeeming business. Knowing that "the days are evil" helps us realize that without Christ, people will be left behind within those 'days of evil' and if left to their own path(s), will not experience Christ nor inherit the Kingdom of God.

We are told what sinful activities to avoid and are told NOT to be partakers with them.

What are we to do when confronted with those who are involved in works of darkness?

Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them].

We are to reprove them. What does this mean?

11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them.

Friends, it is biblical to expose and rebuke wrongful deeds of the flesh. The current "happiness gospel" that is being shared in many churches today misses this very important point of gospel sharing. A person must have their conscience 'seared' because of their sin through exposure to God's perfect Law. It is only THEN that they will be convicted of their sin within their own conscious through the power of the Holy Spirit.

When God's holiness and righteousness is shown through the Law and the sinful lusts of the flesh inherent in each person is revealed, he/she cannot help but be convicted of his/her own sin.

This is when the forgiveness, grace, mercy and salvation of the Cross of Christ can be applied upon the person's soul. Without the conviction of breaking God's Law through personal sins, a person will see no need to confess any sin. They have the attitude, "What sin?" We can see how crucial the Law is in the presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Look at how we are warned not to dismiss the Law:

Mal 2:8 But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.

This verse tells us why we can't keep the Law:

Mal 2:9 Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.

This verse tells us that those who don't KNOW the Law are cursed!

Jhn 7:49 But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.

That means that ALL OF US ARE ALREADY CURSED, until we face the fact of the Law and how we are helpless to keep it!

Therefore, our only hope is the Savior, Jesus Christ:

Mat 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Jhn 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, [but] grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Now look at this verse:

Rom 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Here's the RSV version:

Rom 5:13 sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.

Without the Law of God, sin cannot be recognized as transgression against Holy God! This is why pagan people don't think (and usually don't care) that what they do is sin. Their conscience has been "given over" to lusts of the flesh and idolatry (worshiping things/false pagan gods) so that they will not hear the Law convicting them of their sin.

Romans 1:28 (NASB) And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,

But look at WHY they are without excuse:

Rom 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Rom 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Rom 1:22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,

Rom 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

I enlarged and colored verse 21 for emphasis. It says that even the pagan "knows God" but their futile speculations caused them NOT TO HONOR HIM AS GOD OR GIVE THANKS and thus their foolish hearts were DARKENED.

Look at the devastating effects of the darkened heart:

Rom 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.

Rom 1:25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Rom 1:26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,

Rom 1:27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

Rom 1:28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,

Rom 1:29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; {they are} gossips,

Rom 1:30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,

Rom 1:31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;

Rom 1:32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Does that verse totally describe what is happening in this day and age on a large scale or what?

I recently read about a "pagan pride parade" being celebrated in San Diego. The 'hearty approval' is so evident in parades such as this and the barrage of gay pride parades that occur endlessly with pagan parents encouraging their children to march or cheer them on. Celebrations, such as these, demonstrate their disobedience and sin in direct defiance against God is evidence of exactly what these verses in Romans refer to happening; especially in the last days.

God has given each of us free will to decide which path we will take in this life. The road to destruction is wide and the gate to eternal life is narrow.

It is corruption and deception that has taken them away. The grip is very strong is many cases. I have seen this as very evident on several pagan blogs that I have visited. It is the people who disparage, mock, ridicule and debase evangelical, born-again Christians in particular, as well as criticize and attempt to debunk the faith of Christianity in general, who are caught in this web of deception that has caused their hearts to be so darkened.

The condition of the unrepentant heart of men is subject to the wrath of God. It is THOSE who are involved in the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

Rom 1:17 For in it {the} righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS {man} SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

The question might be asked, why do unsaved people mostly hate born-again evangelical Christians? Why do they not go after the Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc.? The answer is within this next verse:

Rom 1:19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

They battle against the one true faith BECAUSE God has made it evident to them. When the heart is under the spell of satan, it rejects the truth found in God's Word. All other 'religions' don't affect them nor anger them in the same way. They don't have any interest in "suppressing false religions" in their unrighteousness.

What is the cure for a darkened heart? It is only the LIGHT of the Lord that can rescue them. This takes humbleness of spirit and recognition of the depravity of sin in man. It is not an easy thing to do. Many people struggle with it. They think, "what do I have to give up in order to come to salvation through true faith in Jesus Christ?"

The answer is EVERYTHING. Complete surrender to Him.

This is anathema to the pagan heart. It is only by the quickening of the unsaved person's spirit through the Holy Spirit knocking at the door of their hearts that they will take that first all important step of faith. They have their entire lives to make the decision for Jesus Christ, but who knows when their life will be over on this earth? Is tomorrow guaranteed?

If you are reading this and are not a born-again Christians, please go to this page to find out what you need to do.

I pray that TODAY will be your day of salvation!

In Christ,



Christinewjc said...

Test comment post

Susan Smith said...

11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them.

Paul was writing to the saints in Ephesus who were faithful in Christ Jesus (see verse 1:1).

Judgment begins in the House of God. We are to expose the evil deeds of other believers NOT necessarily the pagan. The deeds of the pagan are evident for all to see. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts one of sin. Self-righteousness is just as damnable and evil as unrighteousness.

This is a good post, Christine. I appreciate and agree about being "perfect". Christ is my righteousness. HE is my perfection. Praise HIS NAME! Have a great day in the "Land of the Free". (ss)

Stephen said...

Great post Christine. Hope all is well. I'm sure you know many of our friends are reading what you write.. keep on!

Love, Stephen and Irene

Christinewjc said...

Hi Stephen & Irene,

Thanks so much for your encouragement! I peeked over at your new blog and it is wonderful!

Things are good here. My daughter has been a bit homesick while up at college living in her own apartment so it was great that she had a chance to visit for two days. We miss her and our son so much when they are away. We are glad that they can still visit occasionally on the weekends.

Hope all is well with your family too!

Love & God bless,

Susan Smith said...

Great picture Stephen & Irene! (ss)