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The Hebrew words ' shalem ' and 'tamim' translated 'perfect' in the King James Bible mean finished, complete and whole. The word 'perfect ' is often used in Scripture to describe a believer's motives as well as his/her actions. Is perfection in this sense possible? The answer is yes.
|Genesis 6:||9: These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with Elohim.|
|Job 1:||1: There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared Elohim and eschewed evil.|
|1 Kings 15:||14: ... Nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with YaHuWaH all the days of his life.|
|Isaiah 38:||3: Remember now O YaHuWaH, I (Hezekiah) beseech thee, how I have walked before thee with a perfect heart and have done that which is good in thy sight.|
From these texts we can see that perfection, albeit in a limited sense, is possible. Just as a flower bud or a small green apple is perfect at that particular stage of development, though not perfectly matured; in the same way a person can be perfect before YaHuWaH at his/her stage of development.
There are many who say that perfection is totally beyond man's reach; and so they make little effort to improve. What's worse, they appear to glory in their imperfections and sins. They harp on and on about how sinful they were before they were converted; or how sinful they still are. These souls miss the point of salvation. For the truth is this: the Most High wants His followers to be perfect. That is His ultimate goal - the perfection of His children. Did not the Master command us to be perfect?
|Matthew 5:||48: Be ye therefore perfect even as your heavenly Father is perfect.|
Oh yes, perfection is possible and it should be the goal of all true believers in Messiah.
Sad to say, however, the church is far from perfect; and few - if any - believers would claim to be perfect. Indeed it is often the case that the very ones who imagine they are next to being perfect are the farthest from it.
The Split Church
The church is split. Almost every opinion, no matter how right or wrong, is guaranteed to cause division. All the weighty, spiritual qualities like faith, patience, meekness, common courtesy and brotherly-love are somehow set aside when a difference of opinion arises. Instead, arguments rage, suspicion and slander take over and separations inevitably follow. Oh yes, the church is split into hundreds - yea thousands - of groups.
Still worse are the sectarian battles; the hatred, the persecution and the murder. Sectarian battles are commonplace these days, between Protestants and Catholics and between denominations; each totally convinced that it alone has the truth. Divisions in the church are not a new phenomenon, they existed in the early church and will no doubt continue till the Savior returns.
4. The True Church
Are you looking for the true church, the perfect church? If so these are the signs you should look for:
In the perfect congregation all the members will be practicing the truth. They will all be faithful, pure, kind, happy,generous, hospitable, industrious, clean, respectable, obedient and holy people. Can we hope to find such a congregation - anywhere on earth? My answer is No, not yet. As you look over the thousands of Christian congregations, they all appear to have the same spiritual problems: unbelief, divided families and sin-sick members.
To be sure some denominations know more, or think they know more, than others. They understand Bible prophecy. They give more in tithes and offerings. They have better choirs and musicians etc. But, sad to say, in their behavior, there is often little difference between those who know much and those who know little. Hatred, jealousy, suspicion, back-biting, faithlessness, apathy and outright sin exists in all denominations. In other words, the performance of the membership in all the denominations is far from perfect, no matter what they know or possess. I would go so far as to say that believers only know as much they put into practice.
In other words 'theoretical knowledge' if it is not put into practice is not real knowledge. In the Scriptural sense 'to know' means 'to have an 'intimate relationship with' rather than just to theoretically accept as fact. Spiritual knowledge which is not put into practice is not true knowledge. It is just so much counter-productive, mental baggage. Believers who do not practice the truth they profess are clouds without rain, wells without water, trees without fruit. Keep away from such individuals. They will weary you.
It means that at the moment (2010)
You may travel the world and visit hundreds of religious groups and you will not find the perfect congregation. Simply because, right now, it does not exist! To be sure one day - and I believe soon - the perfect church will become a reality; but right now (2012) it doesn't exist as a public body.
6. Is Perfection Possible at Group Level?
Yes perfection is possible: not only in isolated instances, but in tens of thousands of cases. We see a picture of a perfect group in this passage:
|Revelation 14:||1: And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father's Name written in their foreheads.
2: And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
3: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
4: These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto YaHuWaH and to the Lamb.
5: And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of YaHuWaH.
In other words: some day soon, when the sealing work mentioned in Revelation chapter 7 is finished, we shall see the perfect group, the ones who " are without fault before the throne of YaHuWaH."
7. Meanwhile Look Within
So what should the average believer aim for at this present moment in time? Short of spending a lifetime traveling about looking for the perfect group what can he/she do now? A lot. If you want to improve matters in your own life, your own family or group, address these questions:
8. True Perfection
A believer's aim must be to allow the Holy Spirit to produce SPIRITUAL FRUIT in his/her life: faith, love, joy, peace, honesty, purity, mercy, kindness, generosity, hospitality, patience, meekness and contentment etc. These are the things which identify the true believer from the false. Perfection is having these qualities in abundance. How does one attain to this sublime state? The answer, in my view, is through YAHUSHUA the Messiah. He is the route to perfection. Perfection is not attainable through study, knowledge or human effort. Perfection is only possible through the life-giving presence and power of the Son of YaHuWaH.
The Almighty divides mankind into two classes.
Looking through the Bible you will see scores of stories about believers and what they did through faith.
To be sure man cannot weigh faith in an ordinary balance or measure its length, breadth and volume as one would a physical substance. Nevertheless faith is a substance: a spiritual substance which in varying quantities exists in the mind of every true believer. YaHuWaH is able to measure that faith and He assesses people by it. He can weigh a man's faith in a balance just as we can measure the weight of a grain of sand or a pound of sugar. We humans assess each other by human standards: intelligence, knowledge, appearance, talents, presentation etc . But the Almighty looks deep into the human mind and weighs our faith, our motives and our thoughts. We humans cannot do this.
That is why we cannot be certain that our assessment of others is correct. Those we think are good, knowledgeable Christians, might well be as chaff by YaHuWaH 's measure: and those we dismiss as ignorant, may well be of great weight and stature in His sight.
|1 Samuel 16:||7: But YaHuWaH said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but YaHuWaH looketh on the heart.|
It was not so much what they knew that mattered - for some knew much whilst others knew very little - but what they did. Their actions proved that they had living faith. They comprise the True Church of YaHuWaH.
10. Spiritual Tools
To be sure besides FAITH we believers are anxious to possess:
But these are merely gifts given by the Most High to perfect the church and to produce in its members the Fruit of the Spirit. Spiritual gifts are, of course, important and very useful; but, like gardening tools they are not the end product. The produce of the garden is the end product. It is absolutely essential to recognize this difference between gifts, talents, knowledge, or whatever, and their ultimate purpose. Failure to recognize this difference will lead to the barren wilderness. The true believer will bear spiritual fruit, the false will not. It's as simple as that.
11. The Judgment
We humans are going to be judged by our faith, that spiritual substance in the mind, and also by our performance, works - not by our talents, qualifications, knowledge or wealth. To be sure on the great Day of Judgment our talents will be taken into account. For example when assessing a man's life YaHuWaH will take into account:
All these contributing factors will be taken into account. But over and above these things we will be judged according to our willingness to believe (faith) and our works!
|Revelation 20:||11: And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the Earth and the Heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12: And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before YaHuWaH ; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13: And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
See the article Works, Are they Important? for information on the importance of works.
12. With Whom then, do I Worship?
If there is currently no perfect church, congregation or person, who, then, do I worship with? My answer is as follows:
In summary we may say that the Perfect Church doesn't exist in public view at this moment in time (2012). Nonetheless, when looking for a congregation to worship with, we should not look for the congregation which is outwardly attractive, i.e. is the largest, knows the most, sings the best etc. These are surface attractions, they mean little. Look for faith, obedience and a praying group, believers who are happy and at peace with themselves and each other! Regrettably most people will be attracted to larger groups, those with learning, talent, possessions, fame and wealth; and having found them will suppose that they have found the perfect church. But I can assure you that in the course of time if you pay undue attention to these things, disappointment will surely follow. If on the other hand you look for Truth, Obedience and the Fruit of the Holy Spirit you will not go astray.
|Matthew 7:||15: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16: Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17: Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18: A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19: Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20: Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21: Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in Heaven.
22: Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy Name? and in Thy Name have cast out devils? and in Thy Name done many wonderful works?
23: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.
When the Savior evaluated the various churches mentioned in the book of Revelation chapters 2 and 3 you will note that He looked for good character and performance.
When you have found the group which is closest to these standards; that is, the group which teaches and obeys the truth and also exhibits the fruit of the Holy Spirit, then worship with that group every Sabbath day. You may be sure, however, that in the course of time you will discover that it has many faults, almost as many as you yourself have. But do not be discouraged.
You attend church services, not to meet with perfect people, or even to hear perfect sermons about absolute truth. No, you should attend Sabbath services to worship YaHuWaH the Almighty Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: the Father of our Savior YAHUSHUA the Messiah. And as you worship Him you will benefit greatly from His presence. The Almighty YaHuWaH will be with you in Spirit and in Truth. You will be greatly blessed over and above anything you can remotely imagine.