Summary: Step onw on how to pursue excellence in the Christian walk
PURSUING EXCELLENCE IN YOUR WALK I
A MORE EXCELLENT WAY
1 CO 12:31
By Pastor Russ Witkowski
¡§But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.¡¨ Kata huperbole hoday!
¡§Excellent¡¨ - to throw beyond the usual mark, to surpass, a throwing beyond others, beyond (out of) measure
¡§Way¡¨ -journey, (high-) way.
Definition of Spiritual Excellence: To live the journey that requires you to go beyond the usual mark of your contemporaries.
Pr 22:29 - Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings¡K. NKJV
I. WHERE IS THE USUAL MARK?
A. Present day church is pictured in the rebuked fig tree:
Mk 11:12-21 - The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard him say it. 15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: "’My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ’a den of robbers.’"
18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. 19 When evening came, they went out of the city. 20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!"
1. The fig tree was not producing fruit, just leaves!
a. The figs are often not visible until further investigation takes place.
2 Ti 3:1-5 - But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. (Note: Denying the power ¡V not merely being powerless!)
B. The overall condition of the church is alarming:
1. Listen to some stats:
a. Divorce rate: Non-Christians 24%;Christians 27%
b. Christian Youth: 65% do not believe in Satan
60% Believe Jesus Sinned
60% Lie to peers/parents
36% cheat on exams
c. Christian voter turnout: 40% decreased in the last 10 years ¡V
Robert Ingersoll (the great agnostic) introduced the concept that religious things should be separate from secular (law, education and politics).
d. Economy ¡V 40% said the economy is more important than moral issues.
e. Church planting is at a statistical standstill. Souls are not being saved. Baptisms are down. Baptism in the HS are down.
C. Common response ¡V Let¡¦s have a revival!
1. Traditional week long revivals where you bring in an evangelist hasn¡¦t met the need ¡V because the ongoing work of the church has not followed on with the new commitments made.
a. Excitement doesn¡¦t last, emotions wane, and spiritual fervor (as good as it is) isn¡¦t consistent.
Summary: What is needed is a consistent pursuit of spiritual excellence in every one of our lives. Literally speaking we must all choose the journey of going beyond the present day mark ¡V lest we fall short of mark!
Mt 7:13-14 - "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (the wide gate and broad path is the norm ¡V the small gate and narrow path is the way of excellence)
ANYONE can take the easy path ¡V to do so means you are not any different than your contemporaries!
II. SOME GENERAL THOUGHTS ON EXCELLENCE:
A. As mentioned, it is a journey which is initiated by a decision to be our best for God and for he sake of His kingdom.
1. This often means that there is (at some time) a departure from those who choose to live a life of mediocrity.
a. Family pressure to conform to the family norm.