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Women World Leaders' Podcast

Oct 11, 2023

God calls us to reflect His perfection. What does that mean and how can we possibly be perfect? Let’s learn together as we walk through Matthew 5:33-48 and Luke 6:27-36 on today’s episode of Walking in the Word.


Welcome to Walking in the Word, the biblical teaching arm of the Women World Leader’s podcast. I'm your host, Julie Jenkins. And I'm so glad you've joined us. We at Women World Leaders seek to empower you to walk in your God-given purpose. We do this by listening to and obediently following God's call to action. We are thrilled that you're listening to our podcasts and pray that they are helping you grow in Christ.

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On this our Wednesday edition of the women world leaders podcast we have the opportunity to delve into God's Word. We are currently walking through the Gospels chronologically and trusting that God will illuminate his words for us as He guides us.

This week, we continue to enjoy Jesus' teaching to His disciples, known as the Sermon on the Mount, as primarily written about in the Gospel of Matthew. Our scripture, today is Matthew five, verses 33 through 48, and Luke chapter six, verses 27 through 36. And it includes Jesus teaching to us to reflect the perfection of God.

Allow me to pray before we begin…

Dear most holy God. Today, we are reminded of your perfection, which is so impossible for us to grasp with our feeble minds. And yet we read that you call us to be perfect. God, we confess to you that we don't even completely understand perfection. So we fall before you and ask you to teach us, guide us, and open our hearts to understand what you want us to know today. Thank you for meeting us where we are and loving us purely and completely. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Well, let's begin at the end of our Scripture teaching for today. Matthew five verse 48. From the New Living Translation, it quotes Jesus words,

But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

I begin here because this is the subject sentence, the climax of Jesus teaching to his disciples and to us. Everything Jesus says before, leads up to this one sentence. God our Father is perfect. He is holy, sinless, He does no wrong. Everything he does is praiseworthy, and as his children made in His image, we are to emulate and reflect that quality of perfection. We are made to be perfect as our Father is perfect. And that can only be accomplished by our ongoing willingness to submit to His will and to allow his power to work within us.

To do this. We must put ourselves aside and trust God. And we must learn, continually learn, what it means to be perfect.


I'm assuming that you are listening today because you are seeking to follow God's will. If you are, here is his call to you. Be perfect. Simple, right? Simple, but not easy.

Let's back up to Matthew 5:33, to begin to see what God's perfection looks like.

Jesus teaches.

You have also heard that our ancestors were told you must not break your vows. You must carry the vows you make to the Lord.

This original law comes from Numbers 30 Verse 2 which says, A man who makes a vow to the Lord or makes a pledge under oath must never break it, he must do exactly what he said he would do.

The word translated as a vow here is nadair, meaning a promise to God. The Bible tells us that when we vow to God, when we promise or commit to him, perfection requires that we fulfill that vow.

But the Pharisees complicated this, they made loopholes in this biblical teaching. When making an oath that they were not serious about keeping, instead of sealing it with the Lord's name, they sealed it with something else, swearing by heaven, or Jerusalem, or even the Earth.

None of those things were binding by God's teaching. But they sounded pretty good. They in essence, were making people read the fine print of their vow.

I can remember as a kid on the playground learning that if I crossed my fingers behind my back, I could lie. And it wouldn't count as a lie. I have no idea where that came from. But I'm guessing the Pharisees might have approved of my playground law.

Jesus, however, is pretty straightforward, and He is not at all about loopholes. So He continues in verse 34. But I say, do not make any vows do not say by heaven, because heaven is God's throne. And do not say by the Earth, because the Earth is his footstool. And do not say by Jerusalem for Jerusalem is the city of the great king. Do not even say by my head for you can't turn one hair white or black. Just say a simple yes, I will. or No I won't. Anything beyond this is from the evil one.

Perfection is holding to your word. Your simple Yes. And your simple No.

A deep study into God's Word reveals that God will always do what he says He will do. No ifs, ands, or buts. That is part of God's perfection. And as his followers, we are called to be perfect. We are called to keep our word.

The practical side of this is that keeping our word builds trust within relationships and makes commitment possible.

The reality is that keeping our word can be downright difficult. It can be tempting to go back on our commitments when the going gets tough to want to step away from the work of a situation and to not trust God's provision to help us finish well.

Well, next Jesus teaches about the imperfection of revenge. Verse 38, you have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

This teaching comes from several places in the Old Testament, including Exodus 21:24, Leviticus 24:20 and Deuteronomy 19:21. Biblical scholars will tell you that this law was originally written in brutal times to protect the guilty. It kept people from forcing an offender to pay a price greater than the offense warranted from seeking Revenge.

This was our merciful, perfect God, protecting even offenders from undue harm. This law was meant to be used by civil authorities and civil courts as a means of maintaining public order. And it was never intended for the rationalization of privately enforced judgment.

Jesus speaks to the disciples in verse 39, He says, But I say do not resist an evil person. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.

This statement was less about being physically injured by someone and more about being insulted as slapping someone in the face was considered an insult to one's honor. Jesus is saying, don't put yourself on so high of a pedestal that you turn and walk away when someone insults you. No. We are called to be the light of the world to show the love of Jesus. And we can't show someone anything. If we turn and walk away.

Verse 40, if you are sued in court, and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat too.

Today, most of us have a closet of clothes. If someone takes my shirt, I might be mad. But truthfully, I can just go grab another one. That wasn't necessarily the case in Jesus day. In fact, if someone gave their coat to someone as a pledge, by law, it had to be returned by sunset, as a coat often doubled as a person's only blanket.

Jesus says if someone takes your shirt, likely your only shirt, give them your coat as well. likely your only coat. Okay, so now you are naked.

But as a Christian, that's okay. Because we can trust that God will provide and care for us. He is perfect. And we have His Word.

Verse 41. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles.

This was a normal occurrence. These people lived in the heart of oppression that many of us can't even begin to understand. We balk at being asked to wear a mask. They on a dime could be forced to carry a soldier's gear, deliver official correspondence, build a road or a public building, or like Simon of Cyrene carry across for a man sentenced to death who was too weak to carry it himself.

Jesus says to the oppressed, go the extra mile.

We've all heard of the phrase that actions speak louder than words or even kill them with kindness. I think Jesus would have liked these sayings.

This leads us to verse 42. Give to those who ask and don't turn away from those who want to borrow.

Perfection and generosity go hand in hand. That's a concept that doesn't need a lot of explanation.

Jesus continues in verse 43. You have heard the law that says Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. Okay, I note here, love your neighbor is a central teaching of the Old Testament, but nowhere does it say to hate your enemy. In fact, it says the opposite and Exodus 23 verses four and five, we read. If you come upon your enemy’s ox or donkey that is straight away, take it back to its owner. If you see that the donkey of someone who hates you has collapsed under its load. Do not walk by instead, stop and help.

Jesus here is giving us a perfect example of how man can warp God's teachings, reminding us that we must always go to Scripture ourselves to hear from God. The Bible is not a book intended only for preachers and teachers. It's intended for all of us.

Well, Jesus sets the record straight. You have heard the law that says love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say, Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you. In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.

And Jesus reminds us that our perfect God does not play favorites and neither should we.

He says, For he gives sunlight to both the evil and the good. And he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much? If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that?

Luke records the same teachings in chapter six but writes it this way. Even sinners love those who love them. Even sinners do good to those who do good to them. And even sinners, lend to other centers for a full return.

Luke records a succinct directive beginning in Luke chapter six, verse 35. Love your enemies, do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid, then your reward from heaven will be very great and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for He is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.

Ah Yes, I for 1am thankful that God is kind to those who are on thankful and wicked. Because otherwise, how would I have ever been drawn to him? How would any of us?

We are made in God's image and as his children, we are called to reflect His attributes.

Luke records You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate,

And Matthew records, But you are to be perfect. even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Perfection isn't easy. Holding to your word and your commitment isn't easy. Standing strong and showing the love of Christ as you are disrespected is not easy. Trusting God for complete provision when you are left naked, is not easy. Being kind and going the extra mile when you're oppressed is not easy. Being generous and praying for your enemies is not easy.

No one ever said being a Christian and swimming upstream against an evil world would be easy.

But as you strive to reflect the perfection of God, you can be assured that God Himself will empower you, protect you, and guide you, and that your reward in heaven will be very great.

Let's pray.

God we want to please you. We want to reflect your love, compassion and grace to a hurting world. God thank you for reminding us today that our reward is not here on this earth but is waiting for us in heaven and is far greater than we can ask or imagine. God I asked you right now that you infused each listener with a shot of holy adrenaline as only you can empowering her to walk powerfully in the path that you have put her on to walk in your perfection and grace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


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