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Strive For Godly Perfection      Matt. 5:20-26,38-48       Sept. 16, 2007

Any human being on this earth who desires to reach Godly perfection must depend entirely on Christ righteousness, and follow His teachings. We must diligently work with the Lord as His Spirit guides, and encourages us to trust in the Lord. In so doing we will properly Strive For Godly Perfection..

1. Godly Perfection . . Displays Jesus' Righteousness.

  A. Displays That Jesus' Righteousness . . Surpasses Human Righteousness. 5:20
    20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

B. Displays That Jesus' Righteousness . . Supersedes Ancestral Righteousness. 5:21-22
    21 "You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever
murders will be subject to judgment. 22 But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Fool!' will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, 'You moron!' will be subject to hellfire.

C. Displays That Jesus' Righteousness . . Settles Adversarial Righteousness. 5:23-26
23 So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother
has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Reach a settlement quickly with your adversary while you're on the way with him, or your adversary will hand you over to the judge, the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 I assure you: You will never get out of there until you have paid the last penny!

    The Godly Perfection that Christ gives surpasses the righteousness of the Pharisees, and any other man made system of godliness.
Any group who thinks they must set standards for hairstyles, dress, etc. bothers me. I like to direct a person to depend upon the Holy Spirit to guide them, and if necessary ask a more mature Christian to help the less mature to interpret the Spirit's direction, and scripture. The godly perfection Christ gives will also supersede a so called ancestral righteousness. Following the Old Testament will be beneficial
as we understand Jesus fulfilled many Old Testament requirements. The godly perfection Christ gives also settles adversarial matters
that limit ones desires for Godly perfection.

2. Godly Perfection . . Depends On Jesus' Teachings. 5:38-42

A. Depends On Jesus' Teachings Related To . . Turning Your Cheek. 5:38-39
    38 "You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. 39 But I tell you, don't resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

B. Depends On Jesus' Teachings Related To . . Taking Your Shirt. 5:40
40 As for the one who wants to sue you and take away your shirt, let him have your coat as well.

C. Depends On Jesus' Teachings Related To . . Traveling A Second Mile. 5:41
41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two.

D. Depends On Jesus' Teachings Related To . . Tenderness In Giving. 5:42
    42 Give to the one who asks you, and don't turn away from the one who wants to borrow
from you.
When any Christian fully participates with the Lord in accepting His perfection, they will seek the leading of the Holy Spirit. They will desire to follow His teachings toward turning the other cheek, taking your shirt, traveling a second mile, and tenderness in giving. Does this passage ask us to give money to those that ask? No, it does not mention money; it may very well be speaking to many kinds of help we might give. Does it demand we loan to every individual? I think not; but it does promote a tender concern for a person with a legitimate need. The kind of attitude we display could be illustrated in the way a tamed horse is submissive. No one doubts the strength of the animal, but they understand that it has yielded in obedience. The horse gains qualities that reach perfection by yielding to the master. That analogy shares how you and I may reach a type of perfection by yielding to the control of Christ.

3. Godly Perfection . . Displays Jesus' Love. 5:43-48

 A. Display Jesus' Love For . . Enemies. 5:43-45
43 "You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good,
and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.<>

B. Display Jesus' Love For . . Everyone. 5:46-48

46 For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don't even the tax
collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don't even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your
heavenly Father is perfect. HCSB

    A Christian growing in godly perfection will demonstrate a love even for their enemies. Let me ask you to really think. What does the Lord hate? Does the Bible ever say He hates His enemy Satan? We know Christ while on the cross asked for forgiveness for those crucifying Him. Did He know Satan was behind the crucifixion? Of course He did and he still forgave. We are very much like Christ when we forgive, and it moves us more toward godly perfection. Christians must be different than the worldly person. Their expressions of love may be very meaningful, but the Christian must demonstrate love in areas above and beyond those of the lost person. We must allow Christ love to direct us to love everyone, and this is just part of Striving For Godly Perfection. Amen? Amen!