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Striving Towards Excellence For God

January 5, 2014

Introduction:  

A. The theme: Striving Towards Excellence for God?

  • Living: To Glorify God through Right Living (1 Thess 2:12).  v Worship: To Honour  God through Excellent Worship (1 Cor 14:40) v Service : To Excel in Service to God (Heb 12:28).

  • 1 Cor 14:12 (ESV)  So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

               

B. Definition: Excellence.
Thayer Definition – Greek perisseuo ̄

  1. to exceed, excel, abound, abundance,

  2. to make abundant or excellent

Online Definition: the quality of being outstanding or extremely good.

 

C. How to achieve Excellence?

Nil Sine Labore, a Latin expression meaning "Nothing Without Labour", i.e. nothing is achieved without work.  What you put in is what you will get out.

Gal 6:7: We shall reap what we have sown.

 

D. There is a kind of Excellence which is Worldly – Education; Career; Status; Sports

 

E. Christian must strive towards Spiritual Excellence.

 

Discussion I: Why Excellence For God? 

A. God commands it. 1Thess 4:1; 2 Pet 1:5

 

B. So that we become partakers of the divine nature.  2Pet 1:3-4

 

C. So that we may be fruitful in Christ.  2 Pet 1:8

 

D. So that we do not fall back to sin.  2 Pet 1:9

 

E. So that we remain faithful.  2 Pet 1:10

 

F. To enter eternal life.  2 Pet 1:11

 

G. Maturity in Christ demands it.  Heb 5:12-14

 

H.  Perfection in Christ demands it.  Matt 5:48

 

I. We are to conform to the image of Christ.  Rom 8:29

               

Discussion II: How to Achieve Excellence For God?

A. Desire – There must first be a desire. 

  1. Psa 27:4  One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

  2. Psa 73:5: Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.

  3. What is your heart’s desire?

  4. What do you put first in your priorities?

 

B. Attitude: 

  1. Aristotle said: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but is a habit.”

  2. Punctuality is a habit; it shows an attitude.

  3. Mediocre means less than excellent. It is being satisfied with just getting the job done.

  4. An attitude towards God: Col 3:23  And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. 

  5. “Do it heartily” means with all the heart. God does not want a half-hearted service and love (Mk 12: 30).

 

C. Seek – Many have dreams, but few turn dreams to realities.

  1. Many desire to grow in knowledge, but few seek after it. Psa 27:4  “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after…”

  2. Many desire spiritual growth, but few seek after it. Psa 27:8  “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.”  Also 2 Chron 15:2

  3. Jas 4:8  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. 

  4. Matt 7:7 – Seek and you shall find.

 

D. Prepare – You need to equip yourself.

  1. You prepare for everything of this life – Education, Career, Marriage, Sports etc 

  2. You must prepare yourself to be a servant that pleases God.  2Tim 2:15

  3. Be like Ezra. Ezra 7:10

  4. You want to be a servant approved by God. Starts preparing now.

 

E. Strive - Excellence is not a gift. It must be pursued. It must be sought after. God will give you the desires, but you must cultivate what God has put within you. 

  1. 1 Cor 14:12(ESV) strive to excel in building up the church.

  2. Luke 13:24  Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 

  3. The idea of striving: “metaphorically to contend, struggle, with difficulties and dangers; to endeavour with strenuous zeal” (Thayer Definition). It is hard work.

  4. 2 Pet 1: 5 – Make every effort (ESV); Giving all diligence KJV); Do your best (CEV) 

  5. Heb 4:11(ESV) - Let us therefore strive to enter that rest. (KJV) Labour; (ASV) Give diligence. 

  6. No Pain, No Gain – Striving implies hard work; but the reward is worthwhile.

 

Discussion III : Things That Are Excellent

A. Attendance.  Heb 10:25

 

B. Bible Study.  2 Tim 2:15

 

C. Service.  Eccl 9:10

 

D. Brotherly Love.  Rom 12:10

 

E. Virtue - Moral Excellence.  2 Pet 1:5

 

F. Unity.  1 Cor 1:10

 

G. Good Works. 2 Tim 3:17

 

Discussion IV: Excellence Is Achievable

A. 2 Cor 8:7: Exhorts to excel in service to God. 

 

B. Example of prophet Daniel.  Dan 6:3

 

C. Don’t settle for mediocrity when you can be excellence.

 

D. Excellence is achievable when it is motivated by

  1. A desire to please God and fulfil His purposes.  2 Cor 5:9 (ESV): So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him.

  2. A spirit of Excellence. Eccl 9:10

  3. A heart of passionate love. Eg of Timothy.  Phil 2:20-21

  4. A genuine faith that God is my Lord. 2 Tim 4:7-8

 

Conclusion: Striving Towards Excellence For God

A. God demands that we be perfect.  Col 1:28

 

B.  God deserves our Best.

 

C. To walk worthy of the calling is to walk in Excellence for God in all things.

 

D. The Plan of Salvation              

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