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 ̄
to exceed, excel, abound, abundance,
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.
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.
Psa 73:5: Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
What is your heart’s desire?
What do you put first in your priorities?
Aristotle said: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but is a habit.”
Punctuality is a habit; it shows an attitude.
Mediocre means less than excellent. It is being satisfied with just getting the job done.
An attitude towards God: Col 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.
“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.
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…”
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
Jas 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.
Matt 7:7 – Seek and you shall find.
D. Prepare – You need to equip yourself.
You prepare for everything of this life – Education, Career, Marriage, Sports etc
You must prepare yourself to be a servant that pleases God. 2Tim 2:15
Be like Ezra. Ezra 7:10
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 Cor 14:12(ESV) strive to excel in building up the church.
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.
The idea of striving: “metaphorically to contend, struggle, with difficulties and dangers; to endeavour with strenuous zeal” (Thayer Definition). It is hard work.
2 Pet 1: 5 – Make every effort (ESV); Giving all diligence KJV); Do your best (CEV)
Heb 4:11(ESV) - Let us therefore strive to enter that rest. (KJV) Labour; (ASV) Give diligence.
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
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.
A spirit of Excellence. Eccl 9:10
A heart of passionate love. Eg of Timothy. Phil 2:20-21
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