Philippians 1:10 - April 18, 2015

Philippians 1:10—That you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.

It’s God’s will for you to achieve excellence!

David wrote of “the saints that are in the earth…the excellent” (Psalm 16:3).  God considers you, his saints, the excellent ones.  Peer instructed the early church to “add to your faith virtue” (2 Peter 1:5).  Virtue is excellence.  The point Peter is making here is that we should add excellence to our faith.  God is saying to the saints, “I want you to grow…stretch…reach for new horizons.”  There’s more to being a Christian than going to church on Sunday.  There’s more to being a Christian than just going to heaven.  There is the dimension of adding to your faith excellence and being all you can be by the grace of God.

There’s an appalling lack of excellence in America.  Our industrial leadership has been lost because we have abandoned our commitment to excellence.  Our schools are producing graduates who can’t read, can’t write and can’t spell, because excellence is no longer our goal.  If a foreign government had done to our educational system what America’s educators have done, we would consider it an act of war.

There’s an appalling lack of excellence in moral standards.  We have gone from love to lust.  We have gone from covenant to convenience.  We have gone from fidelity to fornication.  It’s time for America to return to the excellence of the word of God in preserving and protecting family values.

There’s an appalling lack of excellence in the body of Christ.  Sloppy agape is a fact, not fiction.  Church leaders have stopped using words like duty and discipline and discipleship.  But excellence in you life remains a basic form of Christian witnessing.  Every job is the portrait of the man or the woman who does it.  Whether you paint houses or preach sermons, whether you sell steamships or shoelaces, your job performance is a reflection of your Christian belief.  If you try to witness to your neighbor across the fence while your unmowed yard is filled with junk and trash, do God a favor and tell your neighbor you’re an atheist!  Don’t tell them you’re with God, because junk and trash are not what God is all about.  Paul said in Colossians 3, “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (v. 17) and “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (v. 23).  “Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).  The message is this:  either do it with excellence or don’t do it at all.

What is it that God has given you to do?  To be a home minister?  Then do it with excellence, or don’t do it at all.  To sing in the choir?  Then do it with excellence Sunday after Sunday.  To be a Sunday school teacher, and usher, a greeter, a telephone counselor, an attorney, a doctor, a salesman, a housewife, an educator?  Whatever you do, do it with excellence.  Don’t wish for your job to be easier.  If it was, everybody would be doing it and you would be employed.  Ask God to kill that prairie chicken attitude you’ve got, that sloppy, slovenly attitude that allows you to accept mediocrity instead of the best.  If you’re going fishing for Moby Dick, take the tartar sauce with you!

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