Summary: Excellence is defined as “possession chiefly of good qualities in an unusual degree; surpassing virtue, merit, worth, value”. To achieve excellence there must be discipline & tenacity of purpose. We are to pursue excellence in our walk, work, and worship
1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding (excelling) in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
Introduction: One definition of “Excellence” is “the possession chiefly of good qualities in an unusual degree; surpassing virtue, merit, worth, value”. One definition of the word “excel is “to be outstandingly good or proficient; to do well or better than previous personal achievement.” From a biblical standpoint what does excellence mean? The Greek word for excellence used in the New Testament comes from the word perisseu which means to have in abundance, to increase, to surpass. Biblical excellence is to your best with what God has given you. Excellence does not mean success. Brian Harbour in Rising above the Crowd commented: “Success means being the best. Excellence means being your best. Success, to many, means being better than everyone else. Excellence means being better tomorrow than you were yesterday. Success means exceeding the achievements of other people. Excellence means matching your practice with your potential.” - Leading the Way by Paul Borthwick, Navpress, 1989, Page 64. Booker T. Washington said, “Excellence is to do a common thing is an uncommon way.” To achieve excellence there must be discipline and tenacity of purpose. We are to pursue excellence in our walk, work, and worship.
I. Pursue excellence in your walk
A. 1 Thessalonians 4:1 (NASB) “Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.”
B. God hates mediocrity. God told the Laodicean church that their halfhearted, lukewarm lives disgusted Him. (Revelation 3:15) He expects us to live lives that exalt Him.
C. Colossians 1:10 (NASB) “… walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God ;”
D. Those who excel in their walk live by Biblical principles, not by emotion, by peer or familial influence and pressure, nor by personal comfort or self-gratification.
E. 2 John 1:6a “This is love that we walk according to His commandments…”
F. Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
G. We must choose to dismantle the unnecessary things in our lives that hinder our pursuit of an excellent walk in Jesus. We must learn to let go of activities, commitments, relationships, and interests that aren’t producing fruit in our lives.
H. 1 Timothy 6:11 “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness…”
I. Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
II. Pursue Excellence in your work
A. Colossians 3:23-24 “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”
B. "Excellence is taking every assignment seriously for the glory of God." --Kent Crockett
C. Proverbs 22:29 “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.”
D. "Good enough never is." – Debbi Field, founder, Mrs. Fields Cookies
E. 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding (excelling) in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
F. The following sign was posted in a farm equipment repair shop:"We do three types of jobs--Cheap, Quick, and Good. You can have any two. A good quick job won't be cheap. A good job cheap won't be quick. A cheap job quick won't be good." (Reader's Digest, February 1994, p.127)
G. 1 Samuel 12:24 “Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”
III. Pursue excellence in your worship
A. Christ deserves the very best from us.
B. 2 Chronicles 2:4-5 “Behold, I am building a temple for the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to Him, to burn before Him sweet incense, for the continual showbread, for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, on the New Moons, and on the set feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance forever to Israel. And the temple which I build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods.”