Be Ye Perfect

March 5, 1978
Sermon - Faith Evangelical Church - Chatsworth, CA

In his sermon "Be Ye Perfect," Dallas examines the daunting yet transformative command of Jesus to be perfect as God is perfect, as detailed in Matthew 5:48. Dallas emphasizes that this biblical injunction is not a call to unattainable sinlessness but to a life of completeness in love, mirroring the nature of God. He unpacks the concept of Christian perfection, focusing on the full development of character aligned with divine qualities such as love, mercy, and generosity. Through his exposition, Dallas highlights that perfection in this sense is about embodying the character of God, particularly in how we respond to others, including our enemies.


Dallas further explores the practical implications of living out this command, discussing how such a life is free from the cycles of revenge and grudge-holding. He reflects on Jesus' teachings about loving one’s enemies and offering the other cheek, illustrating these principles with the example of Christ's own response to those who crucified him. Dallas argues that these teachings are not burdensome laws but the gateway to a liberated and joyful existence characterized by divine love. By embracing this way of life, believers are not only adhering to Christ’s words but are also experiencing spiritual transformation, leading to genuine peace and fulfillment. Through this sermon, Dallas Willard his audience to a deeper understanding and application of what it truly means to live a life perfected by and in love.

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Be Ye Perfect

Dallas plunges into the depths of Christ's command to "Be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." In this sermon, Dallas explores the true meaning of Christian perfection, emphasizing that it is not about a flawless existence but achieving completeness in love as reflected in God's character. He challenges listeners to envision a life liberated from revenge and grudges, where radical love for enemies and a heart filled with generosity become not only possible but natural. 

Be Ye Perfect

Highlights:

  • Call to Perfect Love: Dallas opens by setting the stage for a deep dive into the teachings of Christ, particularly the challenging command to "Be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." He emphasizes that perfection here is not about sinlessness but embodying the character of God, especially in terms of love and generosity.
  • True Meaning of Christian Perfection: Dallas discusses how true Christian perfection should be understood not as a flawless state but as completeness in love and character, as God is. He explains that perfection is about the full development along the lines of divine love and mercy, reflecting God’s nature in our daily interactions.
  • Living Without Revenge and Grudges: Dallas illustrates a life free from revenge and grudges, highlighting how Jesus modeled this on the cross. He stresses the possibility and beauty of a life lived in generous response to others, including those who cause us pain, through the empowering love of Christ.
  • Radical Love for Enemies: Dallas reflects on the radical nature of Jesus' command to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. He challenges listeners to understand these teachings not just as hard demands but as a vision of life that becomes possible through spiritual transformation and divine assistance.
  • Integrative Power of Love: Dallas explores how love integrates various Christian virtues and leads to holistic spiritual living. He argues that love is the fundamental attribute that connects and enhances other qualities like joy, peace, and long-suffering within the believer's life.
  • Transformative Aspects of Love: Dallas concludes with a powerful reminder of how love transforms and perfects us, pointing out that it is not about earning holiness through actions but receiving it as a gift through our openness to God's love. He ties this back to the everyday application of paying attention to those around us and actively choosing love over indifference or hate.