A Challenge to Excellence

We Need a Competitive Spirit Again!

Audio MP3


I.       Introduction (2 Kings 7:3)


A.     We all can see an apathy in Christianity


1.      A lack of passion and energy

2.      Many people are just like these four lepers - We are just too content – just sitting here while the world is falling apart


B.     We Need a Competitive Spirit – we need to strive in our Christian walk again


1.      Too much complaining, and blaming, and quitting in Christianity

2.      Too much “calming down” and not being stressed much in the ministry these days

3.      We need to stretch ourselves once again – push ourselves!

4.      We have been given a HUGE task – win our generation to Jesus Christ!

5.      God has given us our wives, and our children

6.      He has provided good health, and training, and some good friends in the ministry

7.      And yet we are failing!

8.      Paul started churches in less than a year, and was able to leave them and go on to the next cities. In Ireland, Patrick started 80 churches in less than 40 years!!!

9.      Paul did not have a complacent attitude. He had a striving attitude – he was driven!

10.  Folks, I don’t want to just “be” a Christian, I want to …


a.       Compete with the devil – press forward

b.      Contend for the truth

c.       Do my utmost for His highest as Oswald Chambers wrote

d.      Fight the good fight

e.       Strain to reach beyond my limitations

f.       Struggle against the powers of darkness instead of surrendering like most people

g.       Toil in the fields, no matter how long it takes

h.      Work while it is day because the night cometh when no man can work!

i.        I want to simply turn the world upside down – don’t just “nick” the world, or bump it – I want to thoroughly upset it!

j.        Never boasting, but just winning (Philp 2:7) – not trying to make a name, or be popular


11.  Not like Mohamed Ali! Now I’m not talking about competing like the extreme of Mohammed Ali where he said, “I am the greatest! I am the greatest.” No!

12.  Not like Martha either! And I am not wanting to wear myself out like Martha in Luke 10 just so I can explode with anger and frustration!

13.  No, I want to live a life of challenge, of reaching forth, beyond my own limits, by the grace of God, to do the will of God!


C.     Why Does It Matter?


1.      Because the devil is winning! Things are not the same from decade to decade – they are only getting worse and worse

2.      Because there are MORE people than ever who need to know the only way to escape the coming judgment of God

3.      Because Jesus saved us to succeed


D.     We were saved to succeed!


1.      Not talking about financially to succeed, but emotionally, and spiritually overcome!

2.      Listen to how the Bible talks about weak, frail, ignorant believers…


a.       Rom 8:37 “more than conquerors!”

b.      Rev 3:21 “Overcome” – Christians CAN overcome the obstacles in their life


3.      Listen to how the Bible challenges us…


a.       Jude 1:3 “earnestly contending” – maybe you have forgotten, but we are in a battle!

b.      Heb 10:25 “And so much the more” – it is getting harder and harder and we should be more and more determined to stay right and do right!

c.       “Labouring more than they all” (1Cor 15:10) More than the Methodists, the JW’s, the Mormons, Muslims, the Rugby clubs, the Political Parties, the Atheistic societies, the evolutionists, than Hollywood!


4.      When we were born again, we were given everything necessary to succeed and please God. An excellent Bible! A perfect forgiveness. The infinite Holy Spirit of God!!! And yet we don’t excel – isn’t that strange?

5.      We expect Doctors to excel as doctors – we expect sports players to excel. We expect our employees to excel. Why would we think GOD doesn’t expect Christians to excel too?


E.      Some things greatly hinder our growth and success


1.      Satan hinders us (1Thes 2:18) – but don’t blame him too much – he does deserve too much credit!

2.      Sin (Gen 49:3,4) – sin in our own hearts, in our churches

3.      Arrogance (Dt 33:29) – overconfidence - people forget Jesus is the only reason behind any success

4.      Natural Abilities (1Cor 2:1) they are a curse most of the time

5.      Ignorance of Jesus (Philp 3:10) – we think we don’t need to know Him more!!! We have got to DEPEND on Him more! The more you think you know ABOUT Jesus, the more you see just how far you have to go in knowing Him and His power!

6.      The question is, are you going to allow any of that to excuse your apathy? Not me!


II.    Message


A.     Two Main Thoughts this morning:


1.      I want to give you some AREAS of your life to strive in, and excel at – to become very good at

2.      And prod you into doing some Excellent HABITS That Help You Excel


B.     Areas of your life to strive in, and excel at:


1.      Your Love for the Son of God! Jesus (John 21:11-15; Luke 1:3 “O lover of God”) – very convicting! We don’t emphasize this enough!


a.       The reason why we quote from the Apostle Paul the most is because he loved Jesus! Yes Paul was used of the Holy Spirit to pen the deepest and strongest doctrines, but it simply was because he had such a close relationship with, as he described it, “the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal 2:20)

b.      Keep and nurture your first love! The Ephesians neglected that part of their Christianity

c.       Christianity ends up like the Laodiceans who were wrapped up in their possessions and sports and Iphones and fashions and cars!

d.      Seek not just to love Him, but to “win Christ” (Philp 3:8) – to please Him (Rev 4:11)

e.       Excel at loving God, and showing it (1Cor 8:3). Not lukewarm. Not worrying about anyone else but his own walk with God

f.        Everything you do will spring from your level of love for God


2.      Labour more than they all (1Cor 15:10)


a.       This is vital! Paul did not just sit and wait for souls to get saved, churches to get started

b.      He was NOT a Calvinist

c.       He was passionate, and aggressive, and determined to do something great for His Lord, and to do it, he knew he had to labour more, work harder, reach further than others were doing:


1)      2Cor 12:11 “for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.” – Paul kept up with the best of the apostles in his Christian efforts!

2)      2Co 11:23-30  Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.

3)      Col 1:28,29  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

4)      We were saved NOT BY works, but, saved TO work (Eph 2:8-10)


d.      As a Christian, you ought to work harder on the job than everyone else – harder than Hollywood, MTV singers, than JW’s

e.       Other families may be falling apart – we need to work harder for our Saviour, and for souls

f.       Other churches may be closing, but I have decided we are going to labour more than they all


3.      Staying Faithful – persevering – Jesus asked His closest disciples, “Will ye also go away?” (Jn 6:66,67) The question unfortunately is STILL be asked 2,000 years later! Shame!


a.       It is no good labouring, and then quitting!

b.      Half plowed fields grow no crops

c.       Jesus calls all of His followers to STAY following Him, no matter what others do (Jn 21:22)

d.      Let’s excel at staying faithful – at long-suffering if need be!

e.       We have to get back to “finishing our course” – finishing the race that God has set before us

f.       God commands us preachers to “endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ!

g.       He expects it of all believers!


4.      Excel in Your Attitude (Dan 5:12,14; 6:3; Pr 16:32) – it is your greatest testimony


a.       How is your attitude when you are attacked, mocked, persecuted, rejected, ignored?

b.      Respond as Jesus did (1Peter 3:9) “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing” – Now THAT is excellent!

c.       I don’t think we work on OUR attitude as much as we should!


1)      Our joy should be FULL! Amen?

2)      We should WALK in the Spirit, not DABBLE in it

3)      We should be FILLED with the Holy Spirit, not the spirit of anger, depression, wrath, frustration! Gentlemen, if you are not FILLED with the Holy Spirit, you will quickly become filled with every unclean spirit!

4)      We don’t have to be smiley and “happy” all the time, but children should love to be around us, and grown men should want to “hang” around men of God, and our wives should look up to us and lean on us for encouragement, and your church people should see a man of God who spends time with God and gets his COUNTENANCE changed like Moses’ was! Make sure your countenance reflects JOY!


d.      Daniel was placed in ever higher positions of authority WHY? Because he excelled in his attitude and in his learning – and because he had an EXCELLENT SPIRIT

e.       Joseph was made prince of all Egypt because of his excellent servant heart

f.       Jesus was made LORD of all because of His flat-out absolute obedience to His Father’s will!

g.       No one succeeds by accident!

h.      Excel in having a Christ-like attitude – an excellent spirit about you!


5.      Excel in your Personal Righteousness (Pr 12:26; Eph 6:14)


a.       We need to get back to getting good at overcoming personal sin, temptation, discouragement

b.      God give us men here in Europe


1)      Who do NOT mess with ANY pornography!

2)      Who don’t EVER flirt with any women – except your wife!

3)      Who will not rob money from their offering boxes!

4)      Who endeavour to pay their TAXES that the European governments demand!


c.       God give us MEN who love clean thoughts and constantly cast down every imagination against the knowledge of Christ like: Depression, and Discouragement, Anger, Bitterness, Apathy, and anything else that is contrary to the Holy Spirit in their lives!

d.      Talk to your wives about every struggle in your heart! Talk to another trusted man of God!

e.       Above all, don’t let the enemy win in your private lives!


6.      Excel in your Giving (1Cor 8:3)


a.       Christians must get back to giving beyond THEIR means!

b.      The greatest desire of a child of God is to give – to meet the need of others, and especially to invest in the local church that they are in

c.       We don’t slow down, or hold back when times get tough – Christians are givers

d.      Let’s EXCEL at our giving


7.      Lastly, Strive to Excel at Overcoming Evil with Good (Rom 12:21)


a.       Get very good at being a blessing to everybody

b.      Excel at SERVING people, and surprising them with a random act of kindness

c.       Overcoming, squashing, squelching, crushing the works of the devil in people’slives

d.      Not by my own power or fierce anger or schemes, but by doing GOOD!


1)      Mow somebody’s grass

2)      Sit and listen to someone for an hour

3)      Come along side and carry someone’s burden for a while

4)      Bless someone that hurt you


e.       Oh that we excelled at doing good (Philp 2:14,15)!

f.       Have you made any difference in the dark world around you?


C.     Some Excellent Habits That Help You Excel


1.      Pray for a whole day – all day long with a prayer list and journal – walking, praying out loud, non stop throughout a day, for everyone you can think of!

2.      Fast for a whole week – about just a few things. Don’t you yearn for God to give you some sign that he is STILL a great God, and still answers prayer?

3.      Attempt Something Marvellous – Attempt Something Impossible (John 14:12)


a.       Win an impossible soul – go after the mayor of your town, witness to a drunk, humble yourself to that mocker and set out to win that rascal to Christ!

b.      Read your Bible until you get some awesome truth that was written just for you (Mt 16:17)! I love reading and hearing other men preach, but I love it more when GOD teaches me something!

c.       Get some trophies to brag about: like victories over sin, over satan’s attacks, against major obstacles, have big accomplishments in our church, restored marriages, returned wayward sons!


4.      Read more of your Bible!


a.       Strive for 10 chapters a day

b.      Study more and challenge yourself to learn even more Bible!

c.       The more you abide in Christ’s word, the more He will be able to abide in you!!!


5.      Leave some things behind! To the point where they mean NOTHING to you anymore


a.       Like, Your past

b.      Your plans and ideas – let them die, and ask God for HIS plans for you

c.       Your backup plans

d.      Your friends

e.       Your failures – a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again!


6.      Live more for Jesus than you used to live for the devil. That is something you must choose to do daily!

7.      Do hard things quit being such a baby and only doing the least expected!


a.       Stay married – till DEATH!

b.      Get up in front of a Sunday School class and teach some children the wonderful love of Jesus

c.       Get behind this pulpit gentlemen and preach righteousness and holiness

d.      Get up earlier than you are used to and force yourself to read, and study, and listen to God

e.       Sign-up for Bible Institute

f.       Pray about absolutely everything!


8.      Become all things to all men that by all means you may win some! Are you willing to almost anything to accomplish God’s will?


III. Conclusion – Application


A.     Biblical Christianity is failing.


1.      Not because our methods are powerless, but WE are just basically sitting here and doing very little

2.      We have the tools, and the power of the Holy Spirit, and the will of God to turn our world upside down!

3.      But we are just too content – just sitting here while the world is falling apart

4.      And our children, and families are showing the results of our apathy!


B.     We were saved to succeed!


1.      Not talking about financially to succeed, but emotionally, and spiritually overcome!

2.      But not by accident, or just “automatically”

3.      It is by hard work! Labouring more than they all (1Cor 15:10)


C.     I listed some things greatly hinder our growth and success.


1.      But we cannot keep blaming those things

2.      Are you going to let those things constantly hold you back from great things? Sins? Satan’s attacks? Overconfidence and pride?


D.     We Need a Competitive Spirit – we need to strive in our Christian walk again


1.      We need to stretch ourselves once again – push ourselves!

2.      Gentlemen, I don’t want to attempt to serve God, I want to …


a.       Compete with the devil

b.      Contend for the truth

c.       Do my utmost for His highest

d.      Fight the good fight

e.       Labour for souls

f.       Strain to reach beyond my limit

g.       Work while it is day

h.      Struggle against the powers of darkness

i.        I want to simply turn the world upside down – don’t just “nick” the world – I want to thoroughly upset it!

j.        Never boasting, but just winning

k.      I want to live a life of challenge, of reaching forth, beyond my own limits, by the grace of God, to do the will of God!


3.      Will you decide to strive to be like your Master who always “went a little further”, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross?


E.      There are no failures in Christianity, only quitters

F.      What to do right now…


1.      Repent of apathy, lukewarmness – repent of how you feel right now

2.      Beg God for a passion To excel


a.       To be a BRIGHT light

b.      To be a loud voice amongst the noise of the world around you

c.       To love God and especially His Son


3.      Start today at …


a.       Labouring more than they all – more than every other Christian in this room

b.      Staying Faithful – persevering

c.       Excel at Having a Good Attitude

d.      Excel in your Personal Righteousness

e.       Excel in your Giving

f.       Lastly, Strive to Excel at Overcoming Evil with Good