Big Apple Chapel is a New Testament based church in New York City, modeled after the pattern of the early church, with a strong emphasis on following Christ as a community of His disciples.

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  • 520 8th Ave, 16th floor
    New York, NY
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BAC Sermons

Perfection And Perfectionism

2000-02-01 Hebrews 7:11-19


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For the law made nothing perfect but the bringing in of a better hope did, by the which we draw nigh to God - - Heb 7:19

1.  God’s Law Guides toward Perfection; Our Inner Law Goads toward Perfectionism

The Law does not make anything perfect, any more than a stake makes a tree grow.

The law shows the path and points out faults (off the path) and outlines correctives (how to get back and stay on the path) (2Tim 3:16&17)

Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Gal 2:16 a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Gal 3:24 Therefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

II.      Perfection is growth in Christlikeness; from the process of mind/value/action transformation...

[getting your act together (Renewal-sanctification), through the auditions (Relationships), and on the road (Responsibility-ministry)]; ...to benefit God, others and ourselves;...that results in maturity, blessing and reward.

A. Possible Job 1:8 the LORD said to Satan, considered my servant Job, there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil? (Gen 6:9 Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, Noah walked with God.

2Ki 20:3 LORD, remember now how I have walked before you in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done good in your sight.

B.  Commanded Gen 17:1 LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him,! am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be you perfect.

Mt 5:48 Be therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Mt 19:21 Jesus said to him, If you will be perfect, go and sell that you have, and give to the poor. and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

Result of Applying Scripture in QT 2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works.

C.  Process

1. Php 3:12 No...attained...already perfect but I follow after, that I may take hold of that for which also ram taken hold of by Christ

2.  I Ki 8:61 Let your heart be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments as today.

3.  Ps 101:2 will behave myself wisely in a perfect way... I will walk within my house with a perfect heart

4.  2Ch 19:9 And he commanded them, saying, "Thus you shall act in the fear of the LORD, faithfully and with a perfect heart:

5. 2Ch 25:2 he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.

6. 1Ki 11:4 Solomon wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD as was heart of David

7.  Ps 101:6 My eves shall he on We faithful of the land, they may dwell with mc: he that walks in a perfect way, he shall serve mc.

8.  Php 3:15 as many as be perfect:, be thus minded: and if in any thing you be otherwise minded. God shall reveal even this to you.

9.  God’s Effort Gal 3:3 Arc you so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?

Heb 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus.

1Pt 5:10 God of all grace...called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus. after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect

10.  Our Effort Js 1:25 looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues, not a forgetful hearer, doer of the work, blessed in deed.

In Faith Jas 2:22 See how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

In Works Rev 3:2 Be watchful and strengthen what remains. That are ready to die: for I have not found your works perfect before God

In Speech Jas 3:2 If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body

In Love 1Jn 4:17 our love made perfect that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear involves torment, he that fears is not made perfect in love.

11. Other’s Effort Col 4:12 Fpaphras. laboring fervently for you in prayer, you may stand pence’ and complete in all the will of God 1Co 2:6 we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world

1Tim 3:10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?

1Co 2:6 we preach. warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom: that we may present every man perfect in Christ

12. Corporate aspect John 17:23 I in them, you in me, that they may be made perfect in unity; that the world may know...

2Co 13:11 brethren be perfect be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

Eph 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to measure of stature...

D.  Blessed  2Ch 16:9 eyes of the LORD...whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.

Product of endurance Jas 1:4 let patience have her pen> work, that you may be perLe’ and entire, wanting nothing.

Not free from enemies Ps 64:4 That they may shoot in secret at the per; c:: suddenly do they shoot at him, and I> ...± not.

III. Perfectionism is deriving our worth/value from accomplishments in the temporal rather than the eternal spiritual realm...  

         [selectively and overly obeying cur choice of commands to the exclusion (disobedience) of other weightier commands

...to impress ourselves, others and even God (doing temporal and even spiritual activities for looking good in the sight of men);

...that results in paralysis, obsessiveness, hypocrisy, discontent, frustration and failure.

A. Perfectionism arises from a lack of genuine accomplishment (especially in God’s sight) and/or (parental/self) approval.

A poor self image stems from a lack of parental approval/attention in childhood, and failure to achieve and recognize real success/competency in adulthood. Frequently perfectionists are accomplished but still driven, and unhappy.

A perfectionist covers up failure and guilt in other realms by overcompensating in a less significant realm. God designed guilt to make us feel badly when sinning. It is impossible to have a clear conscience while engaging in sinful thoughts/attitudes/behavior.

We try to cover up our inadequacy with fig leaves of overachievement in usually insignificant areas where we feel we have an easy advantage. This backfires on two accounts: 1) failure to deal with the real problem to gain God’s approbation,

and 2) a hollow victory which we “achieved” in an insignificant area or by cheating.

B. Symptoms we have seen: lack of joyful contentment

1.  Failure to recognize and enjoy (partial) accomplishments (belittle achievements): I wouldn’t join any club that would accept me.

2.  All or nothing approach which comes from either a poor self image that can’t risk failure or a pride that says. “If! can’t do it “well” I won’t do it at all” which really says: “If I can’t indulge my carnal desire to do it my way. I won’t play at all.”

3.  Unrealistic goals. Procrastination for rationalization. Hypercritical Self talk or escapism when one fails.

4.  Lack of Receptivity to help/input because it undermines alleged competence; Reject suggestions if didn’t think of it themselves

5.  Put on a show: Care more about your plan for impressing with perfection than the other person

6.  Enslaved to expectations of others; or faulty view of self; ego driven; No perseverance/endurance = Sluggard.

7. Defensive/Aggressive when cover blown; Must blame others for lack of achievement.

C.  Help and Hope

1. When we tire of wasting our lives unsuccessfully trying to cover-up alleged or real failure, there’s hope.

Need humility to admit (recognize and claim responsibility/ownership) for our faults. Without it we stay stupid.

Pr 12:1 Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge: but he that hates reproof is stupid.

Need a willingness to learn and grow from mistakes; a perspective that we are imperfect people in process. PPGINFWMY

2. Instead of all or nothing, it’s better to have risked and lost, than never to have tried.

God judges us on our faithfulness, not our outward accomplishment - perfection.

Need minimum standards, consistently achieved. “What about Bob” baby steps.

lf it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly (at first) and might be worth keeping at below average to achieve higher goals.

3. Reparent Yourself        

Accept Reality (you’re damaged);
Blame appropriately (parent’s fault);
Consider causes (ancestral curse; damaged parents beget damaged kids; end it with your generation)

Decide to forgive (to free from bitterness and open up channel of Gods grace-power):

Emphasize positive (you need for God’s grace has been enhanced; you can better relate to others who hurt, etc.):

GROW by Godly GOALS that earn the pleasure and approval of Cod, the only source of real and enduring worth:

Find Friends (for Support in achieving your goals {Body}):

Help others through same process.

Ingrain (and imagine) a new value system. Suggestions: My worth comes from daily decision to deny self to obey and please God:

Process is more important than product; A little effort consistently expended will beat the hare; By the yard it’s hard, by the inch it’s a cinch: The Spiritual and Eternal supersede the Material and Temporal: Who I am is more important that what I do; I’d rather be a failure in a cause that ultimately succeeds than a success in a cause that ultimately fails; What God (who looks at the heart) thinks of me is more important than what others (who look at temporal appearances) think of me; All who will live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer grief from others and discouragement from Satan; I can’t please all the people all the time, nor even myself; A failed attempt to obey is better than success at disobedience: If I fail and learn from my failure, I’m farther along the road to success than if I don’t try, don’t learn, or don’t get up; This world is not all there is, there’s a new world coming in which God rewards righteousness, and God will give me all I need to do His righteous will. Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly (at first).

Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:

1. Why does the law fail to perfect? What does Christ offer that’s superior? Is the law of benefit to NT believers?

2. If perfectionists appear successful, what’s wrong? Is it wrong to get your worth from what you do? What are other sources of worth?

3. Are men and women different in exhibiting perfectionism? How do women/mothers commonly exhibit perfectionism? Men?

4. How would a commitment to Biblical obedience “solve” perfectionism?

5. Does everyone need to reparent themselves? Where do people get hung-up in the reparenting process?