The Truth of an Excellent Life

Title: The Truth of an Excellent Life

Bible Book: 2 Peter 1 : 1-11

Author: David Cook

Subject: Christian Living; Church Membership



University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who became the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy, was honored by the Florida Senate. The Senate awarded him the Medallion of Excellence for his achievements off the field, the highest honor given by the chamber. Tebow had a 3.77 grade point average at Florida. He spent his spring break visiting orphans and sick children in the Philippines, where his parents are missionaries.

"There are a lot of role models in football, but there are not a lot of good ones," Tebow said. "People might not think they're a role model, but there are always people watching."

"We are a nation in need of character and in need of doing the right thing," the 20-year-old athlete told the state senators.

Our text today focuses on Peter as he reminds believers that God has given them precious promises that sustain them in the faith. If you and I as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ would live excellent lives we must understand what God has already given us and then make maximum effort to build our lives upon those promises and daily honor our Great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Peter was one of the great under-shepherds of the Church. He had the job of trying to keep believers unified after many dispersed following the burning of Rome by Nero.

In the first chapter, the apostle is telling us what the Christian life is all about. In the second chapter, he gives a word of warning on how to recognize and handle false teachers; and in the third chapter, he gives us a word of certainty about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the facts that underlie our faith.

When this letter was written, Peter was a prisoner, perhaps of Nero of Rome. He sensed great danger and felt his time was drawing near when he was to put off his body - to go and be with the Lord. And he says the Lord himself showed him this, as recorded for us at the close of the Gospel of John. 18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God.”

Tradition tells us that Peter was indeed crucified, that he was so humbled by the fact that he was counted worthy to die the same kind of a death that the Lord Jesus did, that he begged his captors to crucify him upside down.

God has made every believer certain unique and "precious promises" that sustain him in troublesome times. It is these promises, of life, hope, protection and salvation that have sustained believers for nearly 2,000 years and enabled them under any circumstances to live excellent lives – lives that count here and count for the kingdom of God. Don’t you want to live an excellent life for the Lord Jesus Christ?

If we want our Christian lives to shine – Peter tells us how.

I. An Excellent Life is Connected to God

How would you describe your fellowship with God the Father these days? Are you close to Him? Are you enjoying close fellowship with the Lord? Are you spending time in His Word – letting Him speak to your heart?

One way to have a great connection with the Lord is to simply have a one on one time with Him every day. This is a time of the day when you can connect best with the Lord. It’s you giving Him your best and God giving you His best.

An excellent life really begins by knowing God personally and growing in that relationship with Him. Knowing Jesus more and more ought to be the cry of every believer’s heart! “Knowing You, Jesus! Knowing you, there is no greater thing!”

Listen to what Jesus said in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You; the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Philippians 3:10, “…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings…” The Psalmist said, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for you, O God.” In the heart of every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is a passion to know Him more and more.

God has already given us His best by sending His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to live a sinless life and die a sacrificial death on the cross for our sins – He has forgiven our sins – given us the free gift of righteousness – given us undeserved favor and peace – He’s given His best to us – now it’s our turn to give our best to Him! Excellence is striving to be the best you can be for the Lord and in your daily life.

A Harvard professor with High expectations - Student handed in a paper - Professor handed back with note - Is this best you can do? - Student redid it and handed it in again, same result - Happened a couple more times - Finally, student said - "Yes, this is the best I can do." Good, said professor, Now I'll read it!”

God’s given you His best in Christ Jesus – Have you given Him your best out of love, gratitude, devotion to Him?

Jen Bond, my best friend's wife, stood out for her faith in Christ at college. One day I asked her when she came to know the Lord – while she did not have the exact date, she said, “I commit EVERY DAY to knowing Jesus Christ as my Lord.” What an excellent life for the Lord Jen lives to this day!

We don’t do this on our own power – This is God’s power. It may do some of us some good to stop and remember where we would be this morning without the love, mercy, and grace of God. God supplies us every day with the underserved gifts of grace, peace, power, promises. We cannot be godly, we cannot live up to His standards in our own strength. Jesus said, "apart from me you can do nothing."

The moment we believe we can go it alone, we’ve failed. But the good news is that once we’ve recognized that we need Him and we surrender to Him – His divine power can flow through us.

II. An Excellent Life Is Committed to Growth

Do you know what the year of 2009 is at CWBC? It’s the year of growth. My goal is to have 30 new members and 25 baptisms this year. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing God’s church grow!

How does the church grow? It grows as each individual grows! It grows as God’s power works through us to reach into our community – into Georgia – outside Georgia – and overseas to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible.

Some may say, “Our church will grow if God wants it to grow.” No – it will grow if you and I want it to grow! It will grow as we allow His power to work though us! It will grow as we practice the truth of the Word of God; forgiveness instead of revenge; compassion, mercy, and love to those who don't deserve it; joy and peace in the midst of turmoil all around you;

Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act. It is a habit." So what kind of habits have you developed in your life?

Howard Hendricks said, “I’ve never met a Christian who planned to have a mediocre life….but I’ve met plenty of mediocre Christians.”

Peter is warning us saying, “Don’t become mediocre Christians – give your best to the Lord – keep growing – if you do you will become fruitful, blessed and along the way it will “…ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:8
Peter says we start with our Faith
Goodness - & we build on that faith by increasing our goodness (actions/ tho’ts)
Knowledge - Increase our knowledge of God and His word
Self-control - controlling our emotions and our actions
Perseverance - We should stand firm and strong in difficult situations
Godliness – we try to imitate God in our lives
Brotherly kindness - you’re nice to people
Love - Learn to love others like God loves you
It’s not rocket science. You don’t need a Bible College education to grasp the substance of those terms. But Peter exhorts us to “make every effort” to add these things to our lives.

Why? If we do not grow in our faith – our spiritual vision is dimmed. We’ll become blinded by sin that prevents us from seeing things the way they really are!

Also, we’ll forget what our gracious Lord has done for us. That He has freed us to live in spiritual victory – as sons and daughters of God and not as slaves of sin! How tragic to forget all that God has done for you and to cool off in love and service to Jesus Christ!

III. Excellent Life is Crowned in Glory

As you keep your focus on Jesus – as you follow Him and continually practice the basics of the faith – you do not have to fear stumbling or falling – you are secure in the present and through all eternity through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Are you living for Jesus this morning? Have you committed all you have to Him? He’s the only One who can turn your failures to success – sadness to gladness – defeat for victory!

Perhaps you have lost sight of the goal of the Christian life – the goal of becoming more and more like Jesus. What will motivate you more to live godly in Christ Jesus? * The thought of hearing Jesus say, “Well done.” Living your life without shame and regret * Thinking of lives that have been changed by Christ as they saw Him living in you? * Bringing delight to the heart of your Heavenly Father?

Think of this promise! Peter says that if we add to our faith Christian character that we will receive an abundant, rich, and glorious welcome into God’s presence. God will roll out the red carpet for us. Why? Because we are so deserving? No, but because we took his gift of faith seriously and let Christ work in our lives.


The name Stradivarius is synonymous with fine violins. This is true because Antonius Stradivarius insisted that no instrument constructed in his shop be sold until it was as near perfection as human care and skill could make it. Stradivarius said, "God needs violins to send His music into the world, and if any violins are defective God’s music will be spoiled." His work philosophy was summed up in one sentence: "Other men will make other violins, but no man shall make a better one." Stradivarius expected his workers to do their very best in producing violins. How much more should we as Christians strive for excellence in the work assigned to us!

I see excellence in you this morning! Don’t let the enemy lie to you and say you are so far down God doesn’t care anymore! The devil thought he had Jesus defeated when he was died on the cross and was buried in the tomb – but He arose 3 days later with all power in His Name! The resurrection power of Christ in you is the power to live an excellent Christian life!

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