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Sunday, January 4, 2015 am                                Perfection Index

LET US GO ON TO PERFECTION
Introduction
Hebrews 6:1

 Last year we engaged in a study of some basic subjects.  The premise of that study was Hebrews 5:12-6:1, a text in which the writer rebuked his audience because they had not grown as they ought to.  Instead of being able to be teachers, they had need that someone teach them the first principles of the oracles of God again.   The writer then noted some dangers with not growing to maturity in the faith.  In Heb. 6:1 we read, “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,…”

Having discussed many of the basics, this year we want to address what’s next.  In our text, what is next is going on to maturity, going on to perfection.  With that as our theme, we want to address living the Christian life.  We are going to use the same format this year, addressing various topics for a month (or 2) at a time.   Because of the enormity of subjects we need to address, I intend to make this a 2 year study.  I also am considering some “breaks” as we go through this study.

Some of the topics we want to address include:

ü  What do we mean by perfection?  And the mind of a Christian. 

ü  Spiritual growth – some necessary attitudes to grow the way we ought to

ü  What does it mean to be a Christian?

ü  The need for examination – spiritual indicators

ü  What is sin and how do we deal with it?

ü  Worshipping God in spirit – proper attitudes toward worship

ü  Living a moral life – we will examine several areas of morality

ü  Discerning between good and evil

ü  Challenges we face as Christians – discouragement, disappointments, rejection, persecutions, avoiding apathy and indifference, etc.

ü  The example of a Christian – we will be reminded of the power of a proper example

ü  Relationships and our concern for others – we ought to care about our brethren, our neighbors, our community, even our enemies.

ü  We are brethren – how are we to treat each other?  What attitudes do we need?  How do we deal with brotherly conflicts?

These are some of topics we want to devote a handful of lessons to over the next year or so.

You will notice considerable emphasis on attitudes in the various areas we will address, as well as our conduct. 

 I.                    Heb. 6:1 – The text

a.        Let - a word that in English means to permit or allow; also an imperative (necessary or required) expression to a request.  The Hebrew writer is giving instructions that are NOT optional. 
This is a continuation of the rebuke of their failure to mature in Heb. 5:12-6:2.

b.       Us – all of us.  I would apply this in 2 different ways. 

                                                   i.      Each one of us – many times when an author speaks to an audience, he expects individual application for each one who reads.  For example in 2 Cor. 5:10 we read, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

                                                  ii.      All of us together as the body of Christ.  For maturity as a church we need each other.   If the church is to grow, it is dependent upon each of us doing our share (Eph. 4:16, Rom. 12:4-5)

c.        Go on to – action in a positive direction. 
An examination of the context shows concern that they had not matured the way they ought to.  The writer says, MOVE ahead! 
We need to be growing!  2 Pet. 3:18 – grow in the grace and knowledge
Colossians 1:10 of being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
Phil. 3:12-14, Paul knows that he is not yet perfected.  Therefore he presses on, forgets what is behind, reaches forward to what is ahead and presses toward the goal…
1 Cor. 9:24-27, Paul speaks of running in a race to win.  HE himself keeps moving forward. 

d.       Perfection – (τελειότης, teleiotēs) In English this word can mean either without any defect or flaw OR mature.  BOTH have their place in scripture.   Matthew 5:48 uses the root of the word in our text, (τέλειος) which speaks of the perfection of God (“Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”)
1 Cor. 13:10, “But when that which is perfect has come…” (cf. James 1:25)
In our text the word seems to mean, completeness or maturity.  A concept emphasized throughout the New Testament.
Col. 3:14, “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
1 Cor. 2:6, Paul mentions speaking “wisdom among those who are mature…”
Eph. 4:13,
till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
Heb. 5:14 speaks of “those who are of full age

e.       Our writer intends for his audience to become mature (complete, perfect). 

 

 II.                  Marks of a mature Christian –

a.        Within our context (Heb. 5:12-6:3) we find several marks of maturity

                                                   i.      You ought to be teachers – Heb. 6:12, “By this time”
Evidently enough time had passed that they should have been able to identify the error of the false teachers before them and expose that error. 
This addresses being prepared.   
We understand how not everyone can teach in every capacity, but within a reasonable length of time, we ought to possess sufficient knowledge to identify error and reject it. 
1 Peter 3:15, Eph. 4:14 – we are no longer “tossed to and fro…”
Eph. 6:11 calls for us to put on the WHOLE armor of God to withstand the wiles of the devil.

                                                  ii.      A good grasp of “first principles” (the basics, the elementary, milk, etc.) of the utterances of God – depending on how long you have been a Christian, is your level of understanding greater now than when you first obeyed?  How much has your understanding matured?
Do you understand the fundamentals we have addressed this past year? (And others)

                                                iii.      Grown up – (of full age)
Again, the indication is you have matured in your understanding.
In 1 Cor. 2:6 speak wisdom among those who are mature.
1 Pet. 2:2 calls for us to as new born babes to desire the pure milk of the word.
Eph. 4:15 notes that we strive to reach a point where “but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—

                                                iv.      Able to digest “solid food” - those who are “grown up” or “of full age” are able to eat a complete diet.  The same is true spiritually.
Paul had a similar problem in Corinth - 1 Cor. 3:1-2.

                                                  v.      The mature are “skilled” in the word of righteousness.  2 Tim. 2:15 speaks of handling the word accurately (rightly dividing the word of truth).
Rom. 6:13 calls for us to present ourselves as INSTRUMENTS (a tool) of righteousness to God.

                                                vi.      Able to discerning good and evil – Heb. 5:14,
This is the application of mature understanding.  Our senses exercised.  We know right and wrong.  And it doesn’t have to be spelled out.  We grasp attitudes and principles with which we can make due application.   As we live our lives, there are times that because of our wisdom, things just don’t seem right so we further investigate.  WE reject the impure, etc. 
Phil. 1:9-11 - approve the things that are excellent.
NOTE: This includes false doctrine – WE have learned enough that we can spot the fake (the false).  Recall the writer’s point in this letter – you have Jewish brethren considering returning to Judaism and heeding the reasoning of false teachers.

b.       There are other marks of maturity in other passages that time will not permit us to examine today, but they will surface throughout our studies.

                                                   i.      Controlling one’s tongue – James 3:2 he who controls his tongue is “a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body”

                                                  ii.      Loving your enemies – Matt. 5:44-48 (being “perfect” like God”)

                                                iii.      Realizing one’s imperfections – Phil. 3:11-15

                                                iv.      2 Pet. 1:5-11 – building upon your faith toward maturity with the various qualities mentioned in this text. 

                                                  v.      If Christ is your all! You will do whatever to keep Him first.  Cf. Matt. 19:21  - the rich, young ruler. 

 

Am I growing as a Christian?  It is my hope that in this lesson we can see a great need to go on to perfection.  Our studies this year are intended to move us in the direction of maturity.  IF we find that we are not moving forward, passages like this one call for us to repent!  So where do you stand?