Moses was leading a pagan group of ex-slaves who knew nothing about God. They did not understand what it meant to love God, obey Him or serve Him and others with their lives. They needed to be shown how to apply and walk in God’s laws in daily practical life. This type of discipling accomplishes several important things:

1) As people live in ways that please God, their obedience helps them draw closer to God. God draws near to them in return, and is pleased by their actions (see James 4:8).

2) As people learn to live by the principles of God’s Word, they are kept from sin and disobedience. They no longer participate in behavior that is destructive to them or to others. Their lives become better and they grow wiser. They do not need to go to a leader for every little dispute or question that arose.

3) As people begin to be doers of the Word and not just hearers (Jas 1:22), they live more fruitful lives. They begin to align themselves with God’s purpose for them and His Church. They learn to evangelize, minister and serve others through acts of mercy and kindness.


There are two parts to properly teaching God’s Word.

  1. The first is to teach exactly what is in the Word of God.
  2. The second is to help people understand how the Word of God is to be applied in their daily lives.

Let us now look at an example of how this can be done.


Matthew 5:48 says, “Therefore you shall be perfect just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” At first glance, this verse spoken by Jesus seems impossible to fulfill, and thus can seem condemning.

God knows that we, as human beings, are not capable of sinless perfection in this life. But what then is meant by the word “perfect” in this verse of Scripture?

The original Greek word translated as “perfect” in this text is “teleios”. This word means to be completed or fully mature, like a grown adult compared to a child. But it also carries meaning from its root word “telos”, which means an end, purpose, aim or goal.

The Greek ideal for perfection also involved function, or how something could be useful. It is like a tool that fits perfectly into our hand and is perfectly useful to fulfill what it was designed to do.

So we can understand Matthew 5:48 to mean that we are to press toward the goal of being fully mature in Christ and useful in God’s hands to fulfill the purpose for which He created us!

Our Father in heaven is fully complete. We see from other Scripture references that God is committed to assisting us to be more complete – more Christlike – and to help us fulfill our purpose in Him (Heb 12:3-11; Phil 1:6; 2Cor 3:18; Rom 8:27-30)!

For more insight into Matthew 5:48, we can look at the surrounding verses in Matthew 5 as well. Jesus reminds us to be fully mature and function in our purpose in regard to loving others, even those who are cruel or spiteful or who treat us badly (Matt 5:38-48).