Sunday, August 20, 2006

August 20, 2006--Counting the Cost

Note: Post is taken from loose outline notes of the pastor. Actual delivered sermon may have varied. No audio or video available, sorry!

Text: Matthew 5:48; John 14:16-18

Many people are bothered by our Lord's words, "be perfect." Some take this to mean He won't help you unless you are perfect. If He meant that, then we are without hope. I don't think he meant that. I think He meant that the only help I will give you is to help you become perfect. We want far less than that, but Christ will give us nothing less.

Our Lord is like a doctor. We go and ask for help with a little this or a little that, an ache or a pain. However, every time we go in, we get a full exam. We get the thermometer, the stethoscope, the blood pressure cuff, the whole deal. Like the doctor, God doesn't stop at just what we want, but he gives us the full treatment, seeking to make us perfect. Once, He's been called in, it is time for the full treatment.

That is why He warned us about counting the cost. He is telling us, Make no mistake, I will make you perfect if you let me. The moment you put yourself in my hands, that is what you are in for. You have, will and can push me away, but if you don't I am going to see the job through, whatever it takes. Whatever suffering it may cost you in your earthly life, whatever inconceivable purification it may cost youi after death, whatever it costs Me, I will never rest nor let you rest until you are literally perfect--until My Father can say without reservation that He is well pleased wwith you, as He said He was pleased with Me. This I can do and will do, but I will not do anything less.

Now look at that other verse in John. Christ is going to send us a Helper, something to minister, to advise, and drive us to the goal of perfection. This Helper, of course, is the Holy Spirit, the Counselor. Here is the other and equally important side of it--this Helper if part of the Godhead who will, in the long run, be satisfied with nothing less than absolute perfection, butg will also be delighted with the first feeble stumbling effort you make tomorrow to do the simplest duty. Think about a parent with their child taking their first steps. A father wants his son to have a manly walk, with a good gait when grown up, but every father is pleased with their baby's first attempt to walk. Likewise, as we spiritually learn to walk, God is pleased with every stumbling attempt. God is pleased with even the smallest progress we make. Dad's want their sons to have a great swing, but every time we make contact, they are pleased. Moms want their girls to be good cooks, but they rejoice even in the production of mudpies or that burning mass that was supposed to be a cake. Good parents are pleased with these efforts, but not satisfied. In the same way, God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy.

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