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by Wayne Dailey
Leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, we are to go on unto perfection. We are to go deeper in the Lord.
First, we must understand the principles of the doctrine of Christ, applying them unto our lives, realizing that these are required of us. These principles were covered in the previous message: Principles of the Doctrine of Christ.
Now, what are we going to do after the foundation has been laid?
Are we going to get saved again and again, every time we hear a message on salvation? Are we going to get baptized in water every time there's a water baptism?
No, once is sufficient.
After we've done these things, having learned the simple, basic truths of the doctrine of Christ, we are to go on to perfection.
But, Brother Dailey, nobody can be perfect!
Did you ever say that? Nobody can be perfect!
Many have called God a liar, saying things contrary to what He has already spoken. God speaks the truth, and you call Him a liar when you contradict His Word. Why call God a liar because His Word clearly tells us that we must be perfect?
Many people try to say that the Sermon on the Mount is a message for the kingdom age. But it was given to us here and now. It's here and now that we need to go on to perfection.
When you get saved you receive the righteousness of Christ - but you must go on to perfect that righteousness in your life.
Now, if the Bible tells us to go on unto perfection, let's not stand on the sidelines and argue that no one can be perfect. God said it - and that's what He meant.
What does going on to perfection mean?
I always think of perfection as a goal, something to be achieved in our lifetime. No matter how perfect you become, the goal of perfection is yet greater. We are perfect when we walk in the light the Lord has given us. Anyone who is walking up-to-date in his experience is perfect in God's eyes. When more light is given him, then he is obligated to go on unto greater perfection.
was a perfect man
If God is telling us to be perfect, then He means that we can come to that place of being perfect in His eyes.
Job was considered a perfect man before he had his trial. Yet, we find that he was more perfect after the trial. He was perfect to start with, and more perfect later on. He was walking in the light that God gave him.
Paul is speaking of really coming to the place of knowing Jesus - not only as Saviour, but to know the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.
I believe this goes along with perfection. We are to be like Jesus. We are to stand up to things, taking what comes. In this, we can know Jesus in a greater way because we know Him in the fellowship of His sufferings.
Paul went on to say more in this Scripture: no matter what it took, he wanted to make the resurrection of the dead and come into the fullness of eternal life.
Notice, Paul goes on to say that he hadn't already attained. He wasn't boasting. No he wasn't running around telling everybody he was perfect. He was confessing that he wanted to go on unto perfection. He knew there was yet more to seek for. Paul didn't have it all, and he knew it. He was continually seeking after more.
What he had was good, but he wanted more of it. Where he had attained unto perfection was wonderful, but he wanted to be even more like his Master. He wanted to allow what God put into his life to work perfection in him.
This is the thing we need to do. We need to forget those things which are behind.
Don't look at your past and say, All I've ever been is a failure. How could I ever go on unto perfection? All my life has been wrecked by sin and mishaps. How could I ever get straightened out?
You don't have to worry about what's past. Get your eyes on the goal. Reach forth unto those things which are before you. There is so much to take a hold of in Christ.
Now, if you have something haunting you from your past that you've been forgiven of - if there is a feeling of guilt over past failures, forget them. If you've asked Jesus to forgive you, then count Him faithful, and accept His forgiveness - and then, press forth toward the mark for the prize.
What is that prize? The prize of eternal life. Don't you want to have such a prize? Don't you want to stand before His presence, to be received into His heavenly home?
Well, just make up your mind to go on unto perfection. Ask God to perfect the ways of Christ in you.
We are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing can be added to the experience of salvation. It is complete - a free gift from God. We are brought out of a world of sin through this grace by turning to Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith. God has done all of the work of redemption for us. All He expects us to do is believe - and even that believing faith is a gift from God.
After you are saved, you must continue to walk in the grace of God. You must begin to separate yourself, and go on unto perfection. The grace of God will teach you how to go deeper into the things of God.
Listen, if you don't want to be perfected, nobody is going to force you - not even the Holy Ghost. God will let you go your own way, until you come to the end of yourself.
But if you really want to go deeper with God, the grace of God will teach you how. The grace of God won't make up excuses for you to continue in sin. No, the grace of God brings power to be delivered from sin. It gives you power to conquer sin, to get it out of your life.
You've got to get in the place where you say, Lord, I want to go deeper. I want to get away from the shoreline, and launch out into the deep. I want to be in that place where I can enjoy the depths of living and walking in the Spirit.
This is something for now - not for when you get to heaven. No, you must live godly now if you want to make it into heaven.
I hope the desire to go on to perfection is burning in your heart today. I hope you're desiring to be as close to God as you possibly can get.
Many are in a carnal state. It's so evident in their lives. Wherever there is trouble among God's people, you'll find those who are yet carnal. The more you grow in the Spirit, the less you'll walk after the flesh. Going on to perfection will bring you to the place where you'll walk more and more, day by day after the Spirit of God.
Paul couldn't deal with the Corinthian Church as with a spiritual church. He had to deal with them as with babes in Christ, because of their carnal ways.
When you're carnal you just can't receive spiritual things. They don't register with you - or if they do, they go against the grain.
Babes in Christ must have the simple truths of the Word in order to grow. They can't feed on complicated things. They can't feed on hard things. All they can bear is the milk. But there comes a day when they have to grow out of that state. They have to go on to claim the fullness of their sonship as they grow up.
You can see, from the Word of God, how much you need to grow spiritually in order to get away from such things as envy and strife and divisions.
There was a division among the Corinthian believers. It made a big difference to them who ministered salvation, and who baptized. And this same division occurs today - with believers boasting about their denomination, boasting about their church.
The tongue -
Learn to perfect your tongue. Control it to where you speak what you really should speak - and to where you refuse to speak those things which displease God.
Of all the members in our body, the tongue is the hardest member to control. We have more problems with our tongue than with any of our other members - because if we learn to control our tongue, we'll be able to bridle the whole body. This is an area where we need a lot of perfection.
your ears clean -
You ought to control what enters your ear. If someone calls, and says, Did you hear? you should speak up. Tell him you don't want to hear any gossip - you're just not interested.
There are many who have taken preaching merely as a profession, a career. God hasn't called them. They have called themselves into the ministry. But a self-appointed calling never works. It must be of God in order to be truly effective.
Now, you have to have some common sense. You have to realize when something is a hurtful way. Those who make a business out of the ministry, trying to sell the blessing of God, aren't out to help you. They're not interested in you - they're interested in what you have!
gifts that perfect -
Yes, these ministries are for the perfecting of the saints. So don't call God a liar, and say that He doesn't expect us to be perfect - when His word declares it so plainly. Open your ears when God is ministering His Word through one of these five ministries. Let the message sink down into your heart and take a hold of your life.
There is a growing up in the faith, a going on unto perfection, a going deeper and deeper. Let's sink our teeth into this truth.
Many are unteachable. They have an attitude that says, I have the Holy Ghost. I don't need anyone else to teach me. Don't you try to tell me!
What they are doing is shorting a circuit.
The Holy Ghost is our teacher. And because He is our teacher, He will use those whom God has called to teach. He will take their anointed message, and drive it home.
Instead of shutting your ears to the message of God, you ought to be crying out: If you can tell me anything about the Lord that's going to help me, go ahead. And tell me quickly! I want to know those things that will take me deeper. I want to grow up unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
This is speaking of those whose doctrine is fleshy and carnal. They don't preach anything to edify and build up the spiritual man in the ways of God - but preach a crafty message to deceive. What good is there in having a permissive belief, making life easy to the point of doing whatever you want - sinful or not - and in the end losing out with God.