Summary: Be Perfect series presents selected topics from Matthew 5-8 containing Jesus’ call to maturity for those who follow Him.
BE A TELEIOS! (MATURE)
A mature person is a follower of Christ who through persistent study of the Word, backed up by a completely surrendered life, and transformed by the amazing empowerment of the Holy Spirit, has learned to respond to life’s challenges in ways that are good and right and honoring to God. A mature disciple lives in truth, gives up his or her right to retaliate, and loves his or her enemies.
We just finished our series on faith. That was a challenging and difficult series at least from my end. I hope you got the key points of faith.
Today I want us to reflect about our lives with God. How we are doing. Are we growing in the Lord? Are we being transformed? Are we becoming more God-like? Are we learning the ways of the Lord to replace wrongly held beliefs, values that fall short of people redeemed God, mindsets and worldviews that are less reflecting this sinful and ungodly world and looking more like those of our Father in heaven? Are we developing social skills that enable us to forgive, to let go, to not hold too much on what people owe us, to be understanding, to be accepting, to be loving enough to confront, to be humble enough to be restored, to be teachable, to be in a position to learn.
Are our lives – spiritual gifts, financial resources – being more submitted to God? Are we more open to help others in need? Are we becoming more less self-centred and more others centred and especially God-centered? Are we maturing in the Lord?
We exist as a church to make mature disciples! Mature disciples that is the kind of product we want to produce in this church.
Children looking like their parents. Daniel Villa has got to be your dad!” This is a case where the son resembles the father.
I share all this because today, as we pick up our study of the Sermon on the Mount, we come to a well-known passage of Scripture in which Jesus lists several Godly qualities, attitudes and behaviors that combine to make us recognizable as children of our Heavenly Father. Take your Bibles and read this text with me and listen for these God-like traits. We’re looking at Matthew 5:33-48 and Jesus is delivering His sermon of sermons to that crowd sitting on the mountainside on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
Okay, how many specific Godly attitudes and actions did you count? It’s packed full of them isn’t it?! As verse 45 puts it, when we embrace these Godly character traits, then in the same way that my brother is clearly recognizable as the son of Fernando E. Villa, we become clearly recognizable as “sons of our Father in Heaven.” Verse 48 emphasizes this even further and says when we live life according to these Godly principles, we are then, “perfect, as our Heavenly Father is perfect.”
I want to make sure you don’t misunderstand this phrase. The word we translate as “perfect” is “teleios” and it is a word that referred to functional perfection. In other words, in the New Testament era a thing was considered “teleios” when it fully realized the purpose for which it was planned, and designed, and made.
Let me share a personal illustration to help you see what I mean. A few weeks ago I took home one of the wireless mikes so I could dry it up with a dryer. The challenge came with the screw driver. I had a big one, but it won’t turn the small screw. That screw driver always reliable did not fit. I had to look for a smaller screw – those cheap ones. It may be cheap and does not look impressive, but it was the perfect fit. It was a teleios.
Is it not amusing that when we miss or fail we say, “I screwed up.” Now I know this is often used as a cuss word – and I am not using it that way. I use it here only to say that a perfect fit – a perfect instrument for a job to be done, for a mission to be accomplish.
I hope this helps you to see that as Jesus’ disciples we will be “teleios”—we will be perfect—if we fulfill the purpose for which we were created. Now, think about that a moment. What exactly is our purpose as human beings? In Genesis 1:26 God speaks to the other two members of the Trinity and says mankind was “… made after Our image and after Our likeness.” In other words we were created to be like God—to act like God—to look at people and treat people and respond to people in a Godly way. That is our intended purpose. As Jesus puts it later in this sermon, people are to see our good works, and praise our Father, Who is in Heaven. Of course, none of us succeed in this perfectly all the time. To borrow from my repair venture, many times in life we “screw up” but nevertheless this is to be our goal. We are to always strive to become this kind of person.