Summary: Is there such a thing?

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Philippians 3:4-14

"Christian Perfection"

By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News,


Michelangelo was once putting what appeared to be the finishing touches on a

sculpture when a friend dropped by for a visit.

Days later, the friend dropped by again and was surprised to find the artist still

working on the same statue.

"You haven’t been working on this statue all this time, have you?", asked the


"I have," said Michelangelo.

"I’ve been busy retouching this part and polishing that part; I’ve softened this

feature and brought out that muscle; I’ve given more expression to the lips and more

energy to that arm."

"But all those things are so insignificant," said the friend. "They’re mere trifles."

"That may be so," replied Michelangelo, "but trifles make perfection, and

perfection is no trifle."

Certainly, perfection is no trifle.

Or to put it in words that we use more frequently today---perfection is certainly not

something which holds little value or importance.

But no matter how hard and long Michelagelo worked on his sculptures---we can

be pretty sure that none of them were ever absolutely perfect!

Great, yes!

Breath-taking, yes!

Perfect, not likely...not in this imperfect fallen world.

But that being said, there can be no doubt about the importance of the doctrine of

perfection in the history of Methodism.

The idea of Christian perfection was enormously important for the founder of

Methodism, John Wesley spent his entire Christian life seeking an adequate definition

and understanding about it.

In verse 12 of our Epistle lesson, the Apostle Paul declares: "Not that I have

already obtained, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that

for which Christ Jesus took hold of me."

Paul followed after perfection--this was his God-given purpose.

When Christ saved Paul, that was just the beginning--not the end.

He had been saved to live for Christ and to serve Christ, and as long as he was on

this earth he was going to live for Christ and do all he could to serve Christ.

And this is what we are all called to do!

The word "press" means to follow after, to pursue just like a runner in a race.

There is no place for walking, sitting around or lying around in our faith journey...

...and there is certainly no place for complacency.

Christ had saved Paul for perfection, Christ saved John Wesley for perfection, and

Christ has saved you and me for perfection!

Notice verse 10: "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the

fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow,

to attain the resurrection from the dead."

Paul sought an eternal experience with Christ: he sought to be resurrected from

the dead.

So, we might ask ourselves: "what is so significant about the resurrection from the


What is so different about that day?

At death, all of those who have been saved go to be with the Lord...

...quicker than the eye can blink...

...when our time comes...

...we shall stand face to face with Christ!

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