EPHESIANS 4:13 – Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect (telios) man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. (KJV)
God gives us many pictures that illustrate to His people the hope He has for them. I meet so many Christians who run this race without aim. They do not know what the finishing line is let alone where the finishing line is. Therefore, let the Spirit of God reveal to us the hope of what and where we are destined to be.
God speaks about a life of pressing towards perfection but not the perfection that man devises. The word perfect in the King James New Testament and our English word perfect do not convey the same thought in an accurate manner. Consequently, our natural minds do not accept certain verses in the Bible pertaining to God’s desire for a perfect people. At times, it is pertinent to examine the Greek text to understand scripture.
TELEIOS (TEL’-I-OS) ADJ.
–brought to its end, finished (literal meaning)
–wanting nothing necessary to completeness
–consummate human integrity and virtue
–used of men, full grown, adult, of full age, mature
The revelation of God’s plan for the completeness of the temple of God is important for the entire church to understand. Understanding this picture enables us to comprehend God’s desire for us. Seeing this building project enables us to view the finishing line. Man may build a physical temple in physical Jerusalem one day, but God’s plan and purpose is to build the true temple in us, as evidenced in our daily walk and activities. God will never dwell in a physical temple again. Additionally, as Hebrews says, the first covenant temple was only a copy of the true one in heaven. The first covenant temple was a tangible prophecy of the Temple that was to come. The first covenant temple prophesied of Jesus the Temple and His assembly of saints.
We must remember: God builds His temple in us; His temple will be a completed temple, not a half-built temple, and not a defiled temple.
This will become our Christian experience just as it was the experience of the believers in the early church. There will be a completeness found at the end of the last generation of believers, a completeness that the first generations of believers did not achieve. As the first covenant believers were forerunners not apprehending the promise concerning Jesus—the early church believers did apprehend the promise. The early church had a hope from promise as well that was not apprehended—a promise to see Jesus return as King for a church who has made herself ready. Whereas the early church walked in maturity exceeding our present maturity, I see the last generation of believers walking in a maturity fulfilling the promise “Till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” There will be a generation of believers fulfilling the promise—making herself ready—a promise to see Jesus return in the same manner He went; it is a promise we will apprehend.
In this present day I am not a witness of unity of the faith except in small measure. In this present day I am not a witness of true knowledge in wisdom in the church that I perceive as the Son of God except in fragments. I cannot say that I bear witness to those who are of mature faith as measured to Jesus’ Own height. Finally, I have not witnessed a bride who has made herself ready for the great feast of the Lord. In fact, most Christians are confused about the promises of God altogether. In spite of this lack, I have a promise God spoke and I look to it with faith, believing I will inherit it, even as those who preceded me believed it. I also know that a cloud of witnesses surround me, and they believe all these things with me—the promise of a fully built temple!
There is a reason why we have not witnessed the promise today. Most Christians maintain hope of spiritually progressing but they do not accept, in faith, an attainable level of maturity that the early church and apostles walked. We are naturally content with a life in the Outer Court of God’s House, maybe even a life in the Holy Place, but we make distant a life walking in the Most Holy Place of God. God’s plan and purpose for His church is to attain a walk in the Holy of Holies, and it will happen whether we choose to walk in it or not. God has spoken about a church without spot or blemish. What happens if we do not accept the plan? It will still happen! God is seeking after the hearts saying yes to Him. Simply, we are talking about a people like Christ, attaining the maturity level found in the early church apostles, elders, and other saints of faith.
We must make our language plain because there are many using our vocabulary—vocabulary such as perfection yet meaning something different. Just as people interpret scripture out of context, others interpret our term perfection out of context. Being perfect is scriptural!
DO YOU AGREE WITH THIS SCRIPTURE?
ISAIAH 55:11 – So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (KJV)
WHAT ABOUT THIS SCRIPTURE?
MATT 5:48 – Be ye therefore perfect (telios), even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (KJV)
If indeed God desires us to be perfect, surely He will be the One performing it. You may say, “what about all those in the church who do not believe what Jesus said in Mathew 5:48?” You must believe God instead of man. There is a saying, “Gods says it; I believe it; that settles it.” However, more accurate to this scripture would be, “God says it; that settles it; it does not matter whether you believe or not.” There is a great story in I Kings teaching this very thing, and the consequences a man of God experienced for not heeding God’s instructions.
I KINGS 13:1–5 – …there came a man of God from Judah to Bethel by the word of the LORD while King Jeroboam was standing by the altar to burn incense. He cried against the altar by the word of the LORD… “O al-tar, altar, thus says the LORD: Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name; on you he shall sacrifice the priests…who burn incense on you…this is the sign which the LORD has spo-ken. Behold, the altar shall split, and the ashes poured out.” When the king heard the saying of the man of God…, He stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, “Seize him.” But, his hand, which he stretched out against him, dried up, so that he could not draw it back to himself. The altar split apart, and the ashes poured out from the altar—according to the sign the man of God gave by the word of the LORD. (Edited for brevity)
We see here a prophet who has no problem hearing from heaven and then speaking the word of the Lord. Even when the enemy (Jeroboam) comes against him—no problem, the enemy’s hand withers. The word spoken comes to pass and God is glorified, even as the false gods are destroyed. We do not even know his name, but there is a reason for that, as we shall soon see, for we shall see a message from heaven we should not ignore.
I KINGS 13:6–15 – The king said to the man of God, “Please entreat the LORD your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me.” So the man of God entreated the LORD, and the king’s hand was res-tored…Then the king said to the man of God, “Come home with me and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.” But the man of God said to the king, “If you were to give me half your house I would not go with you, nor would I eat bread or drink water in this place. For so it was commanded me by the word of the LORD, saying, “You shall eat no bread, nor drink water, nor return by the way which you came.’” So he went another way and did not return by the way which he came to Bethel. Now an old prophet was living in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the deeds which the man of God had done that day in Bethel;….So, the old prophet went after the man of God and found him sitting under an oak; and he said to him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” And he said, “I am.” Then he said to him, “Come home with me and eat bread.”
Even though God uses us mightily, this does not release us from the responsibility of obeying His instructions that we have heard from heaven. After you have heard from heaven, do not be persuaded to disobey.
I KINGS 13:16–19 – He said, “I cannot return with you, nor go with you, nor will I eat bread or drink water with you in this place. For a command came to me by the word of the LORD, “You shall eat no bread, nor drink water there; do not return by going the way which you came.’” He said to him, “I also am a prophet like you, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, “Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’” But he lied to him. So, the man of God went back with the old prophet, and ate bread in his house and drank water.
One might be older, considered wiser, maybe more famous, more recognized; no matter, we must obey only the instructions that God’s Spirit teaches us. How did the man of God finish His course? He was met by a lion and slain.
God does not record the man of God’s name because of his disobedience. He could have been destined to be a greater prophet than Elijah; consequently, he changed his course based on the word of a lying prophet. It is very important to obey God’s instructions, and it has devastating consequences when we obey instructions from a lying prophet. God may have spoken to you concerning giving up something in the secular world. God may be calling you to some type of specific ministry, or God might have given you instructions that are unique, as He did with this man of God. These unique instructions are as much from heaven as the instructions the man of God received.
The king of Israel (Jeroboam) could not persuade the man of God but a false prophet could. Likewise, we must obey specific instructions that make no natural sense, even as they pertain to our daily walk. Relating to this message of perfection, we must obey God’s instructions we see in scripture, for certainly God has a plan for our growth and
Jonah also received instructions from the Lord and refused God’s way. Jonah ran from God. How many of us run from God when He speaks? Jonah fled to a ship and caused a storm for everyone aboard. When we do not heed God’s instructions, we may become responsible for storms in those around us.
An excerpt from “Temple Builders: The High Calling”
John Robert Lucas