Abiding Perfection

Series: MasterClass | Week 4: Love in Real Life

Day Five Matthew 5:48

48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” – Matthew 5:48 (NLT)

Learn From the Word
Jesus has finished His six “you have heard it said…but I say” statements. Remember the beginning bookend in verse 20, “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” and now at the end, this verse, imploring us to be perfect. While the law is like a mirror showing us our need for a Savior, the words in the Sermon on the Mount are more than that. Jesus is inviting us into a new way of living, into a way of discipleship where we imitate Him and live lives of wholehearted pursuit of God. This kind of living is only possible through the Spirit who lives in us.

Put It Into Practice
Dallas Willard said, “Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning. Earning is an attitude. Effort is an action.” If Jesus has taught us anything in chapter five, hopefully we’ve learned that a life of following Him begins first in our hearts. If you're a follower of Jesus who has received His grace and forgiveness, you're a part of His family and His Kingdom on earth! You did nothing to earn it. Thank Him! And now, today He says go live like it. Put forth effort. You can’t do it in your own strength, but you can as you abide in Him (John 15). What is something He's asking you to do or to put away today?

For Families with Kids at Home
Sometimes it can be really hard to put into practice all the things that Jesus teaches. Telling the whole truth, loving those who are hard to love, being kind when someone has hurt you – these are hard for adults and sometimes even more so for our kids! The goal is not that we would do everything perfectly. The goal is that we would look like Jesus when we do our best to follow God.

Encourage your kids that because of what Jesus did on the cross, God already considers us to be perfect. Therefore, we don’t have to earn the right to be friends with God. God is already our friend! So we try to be like Jesus because of what He’s already done.