Bible Baptist Church

" Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." ...... John 3:3


The Pursuit of Excellence


Ecclesiastes 9:10, Romans 2:18, Philippians 1:10


Introduction:

·         We are talking about excellence this morning.

·         There’s an old saying: If something’s not worth doing well, it’s not worth doing at all!

·         If something’s not done right, it’s not done at all!

·         Illustr- The War- Something as simple as folding gospel tracts (reflects the ministry and the message)

·         Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way. -Booker T. Washington

·         Too many Christians settle for mediocrity. As Bible believing Christians, we ought to strive for excellence in all that we do!

·         Romans 2:18, Philippians 1:10, 4:8, I Thess. 4:1- approve the things that are more excellent

·         Chevrolet used to have an advertisement: “Excellence for all!” Can you imagine if they said “Mediocrity for all!” or “We are just average!” Why do we let the world strive for excellence while we remain mediocre?

·         Why should we be excellent? Because we serve an excellent God!

o   Psalm 8:1- O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

o   Psalm 148:13- Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.

o   We have an excellent salvation! An excellent savior who is our excellent sacrifice and has shown us a more excellent way!

·         As we consider excellence, it’s a reminder that God has something to say about every part of your life!

·         The world says just worry about getting saved and leave the rest to us. No, when we got saved, every aspect of our life now belongs to God! And it all matters to God!

 

I.                    Excellence in our vocations- Eccl 9:10

a.      Each of us have different callings, professions, talents, abilities, aptitudes- but the same goal: excellence for God’s glory

b.      I Cor. 10:31- Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.- Even in mundane, daily tasks we can be excellent and glorify God. Everything for the believer can be sacred ground!

c.       So, we have a choice each day- We can be those who go each day to a job that we loathe, and we give minimal effort; or we can view each day as an opportunity to give glory to God by what we do and how we do it!

d.      Life then takes on purpose because the mundane becomes sacred!

e.      We should strive for excellence in our jobs/responsibilities- Illustr- Daniel and his friends- see Daniel 5:11-12, 6:1-3

f.        Not a quest for superiority- not the best, but your best

g.      In the typical definition of excellence competition or being better than others usually comes to mind. But when we think of the pursuit of excellence from a biblical standpoint, is that what is meant? No! Those who approach life that way usually do it for their own glory or for the applause of men.

h.      The Christian’s goal is the glory of God

i.        Biblically speaking, the pursuit of excellence refers to pursuing and doing the best we can with the gifts and abilities God gives, giving our best to the glory of God.

j.        Colossians 3:23- Giving your best

k.       The goal of our Christian life is to always be growing- excelling (See II Cor. 8:7)

l.        Without pursuing excellence, life will remain bland, very vanilla, and lukewarm (see Rev. 3:15-16). The quest for excellence fuels our fire and keeps us from just drifting downstream

m.    God wants His people to abound or excel in both what they are (inward character) and in what they do (behavior and work)

n.      Another motive for excellence: The NT teaches Christ’s imminent return. Christians rightly recognize that we only get one shot at life- so give it your best!

o.      For young people- in school- don’t just coast and get by- strive for excellence

p.      The measure of your time as a student isn’t your GPA- did you give your best?

q.      Excellence should not be limited by the nature of the task

r.       “The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.”

s.       Why don’t we strive for excellence? It’s hard!

                                                              i.      It takes hard work and diligence—research, study, time, sweat, planning, etc. It may mean swimming against the stream! It will often be exhausting and we find ourselves confronted with our weaknesses! Thus, the pursuit of excellence is something that must be pursued by God’s strength!

                                                            ii.      We need God’s enabling grace so that we may abound and excel for Him!

t.        What if this world started seeing some Christians that didn’t just want to be average, like everyone else, they wanted to be excellent!

II.                  Excellence in our homes

a.      What do we value in this life? The greatest failure is succeeding at the wrong thing. Many are quite successful in the world, but failures in the home

b.      Often excellence is choosing between the good and the best

c.       What if we decided to be an excellent husband/father? What would that look like? Wife/mom?

d.      Even if my spouse doesn’t reciprocate- I’ll be excellent for God!

e.      Son/daughter? Do things before you’re told! Proved yourself honest and trustworthy!

f.        Parents must be careful what we emphasize as good values

                                                              i.      The most important values must be spiritual

                                                            ii.      Before my child is an excellent athlete, student, looks/appearance- they better learn how to be an excellent Christian!

                                                          iii.      If your child didn’t pick up that sport, craft/hobby, or enter that certain profession does that make you a failure as a parent?

                                                           iv.      What about if your child never learns honesty/integrity, how to follow Christ and help others follow Christ, etc? Wouldn’t that be a greater failure? 

g.      Make time for family devotions, serving Christ together as a family- be excellent in the home!

III.                Excellence in our church/our ministry

a.      We have become a generation of people who worship our work… who work at our play… and who play at our worship.

b.      By faith, Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice! The role of faith- it always leads to obedience!

c.       Serve by going the extra mile- Matthew 5:41

d.      Let’s be extraordinary- Ordinary with a little “extra”

e.      Excellence in our standards, our appearance, or our speech, etc. We work for the King! Ambassadors for Christ!

f.        Music ministry, ushering, counseling, teaching, etc.

g.      If I’m not supposed to compare, how to do I know excellence or mediocrity? You just know it when you see it- illustr- many in the customer service industry

h.      God doesn’t deserve junk! He doesn’t deserve mediocrity! He deserves our best!

 

Conclusion:

·         As finite human beings, none of us ever arrive, as they say, and there will always be room for growth and improvement (see Phil. 3:12-14).

·         Because of who we are in Christ, because of our eternal hope, and because of the enabling grace of God available to all believers in Christ, seeking to do our best gives evidence of genuine spiritual growth.

·         Jesus works in the lives of those who look to Him and obey Him

·         The power for living a life of excellence is in the Person of Jesus Christ!

·         He gives us a passion, a drive to keep pressing forward to the finish line for Him!