Jentezen Franklin - The Spirit Of Excellence
Open your Bibles with me to Daniel 6. "It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; and over these three governors of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them so that the king would suffer no loss". Notice that, "so the king would suffer no loss. Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and the satraps because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. So the governors and the satraps sought to find some charge", they got jealous because he was promoted over all of them.
"And the governors and the satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom, but they could find no charge or fault because he was faithful. Nor was there any error of fault found in him. Then these men said 'We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God'".
I want to talk to you particularly from verse 3. "This Daniel distinguished himself above the others because an excellent spirit was in him". I preached many times through the years, there's certain themes that I guess every ministry feels an affinity with, and when I first came to Free Chapel, I guess it's been 26 years now. I came and this particular chapter and this particular verse, to be specific, in the first year of my pastoring this great church, the Holy Spirit lit it up in my soul. Lit it up in my spirit. I don't know why it stood out so strong to me, and God gave me this desire to research and search, and look into that.
What does it mean? Daniel distinguished himself among his brothers because he had an excellent spirit. And I began to preach and teach a lot on this subject in the beginning years of this church, because I believe that we need an excellent spirit. In our Christian character, we need to ask God for an excellent spirit. An excellent spirit literally means an excellent attitude. It exemplifies Christ. When we have an excellent spirit we exemplify Jesus Christ. Daniel, the Bible said, was flawless in his character. He was impeccable in his willingness to be great for God. He existed in a terrible setting, he had been taken captive into a secular idol worshiping Babylon culture.
The Bible said to build his kingdom that Nebuchadnezzar used the smartest, the most gifted, he gave them and made them learn a new language, the Chaldean language. No longer were they allowed to speak Hebrew. He changed their names from Hebrew names to Babylonian names. He even changed their diet, and all of those things were fine, but then he recognized, Nebuchadnezzar, I'll never really change these people until I change their worship. As long as they're worshiping in my culture, their God, their worship that connects them to their God is more powerful than my culture.
And so, I didn't have time to read it, he built an idol, a statue and he made a command that when the music plays, it's what it said, when the music starts playing, when you start hearing the music play, everybody in Babylon is to bow down and worship the statue. I couldn't help but think, you know, if we're not careful, we just like that generation, the Bible said that everybody bowed down but Daniel. He would not bow down when he heard the sound of the music. If we're not careful, music can have a powerful influence on our lives for the negative. If you're listening to music that disconnects you from God, notice that when the music played, then you had to bow down.
And Daniel said, I'm not going to let the music of this culture cause me to disconnect from my worship to God and start worshipping idols. I can't help but believe that some of the most filthy music that's being put out with profanity, with pornography, it's musical pornography. I don't understand how Christians, particularly young people, think that they can listen to that, pour that into their spirit hour after hour, day after day, week after week. Pouring profanity, pouring musical pornography and filth into your spirit and not think that it won't disconnect you from God.
Something as seemingly innocent as rhythm and raps and songs and lyrics can absolutely cause you to bow down to idols and disconnect from God. It matters what we listen to, what we listen to matters. The enemy is thrilled when he can manipulate your thinking. When he can cause you to break your relationship with God, and just as Daniel had to make a decision in a secular culture, he was away from his mother, away from his father, away from his pastor, away from everybody, and he had to make a decision.
I know everybody here listens to it, I know everybody responds to this music, but I have a higher call. I must stay committed and connected to my God no matter where I am. I don't just praise Him in youth group, I don't just praise Him when I go to church around church folks. I am who I am in the college dorm. I am who I am wherever I go, and nothing is going to be more powerful in my life than Jesus Christ. I worship Him, I don't worship the idols of this world, especially the music.
Come on and clap your hands, I'm preaching the truth. I'm preaching the truth. Daniel was a spiritual young man. He had the ability to interpret dreams. He had the ability to have visions and operated in the gifts of interpretation of dreams, but the thing that impressed people more than anything else was the way that he carried himself. He caught, listen carefully, he caught the eye of leadership because he distinguished himself with an excellent spirit. There was something about the way that he conducted himself. There was something about the way that he did what he did that distinguished him from everybody else.
Your Bible said that there were 120, we would call them governors, over 120 provinces, and then out of those were three presidents, and then on top of the triangle was the king. So you had 120 powerful politicians, then you had three presidents, Daniel was one of the three, and then the Bible said that the king watched those three and decided to put Daniel over all of them, including the other two that were supposed to be his equal. What was Daniel like? I believe that if you gave Daniel a vacuum cleaner, he wouldn't just vacuum clean, he would take the dust buster and go in between the cracks of the seat and make sure that everything looked right. He didn't just do a get by, get over job. He had an excellent spirit.
The church today needs an excellent spirit. When an excellent spirit comes on you, you become excellent in what you do. You do it with diligence, you do it with professionalism. People look at the way you work, people look at the way you succeed, and they say, you've got it together. That brings glory to the God that we serve, that causes His Kingdom to suffer no damage when we live excellent lives. We have excellent marriages, we have excellent lives and lifestyles because we want to bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ.
I'm tired of the innuendos about Christians. Some people make fun of Christians and say, they're only just a bunch of emotional people who go to church and cry and shout, and they're mental pygmies. All we can do is dance and cry and praise God a little bit, and play some music, but we can't work. We can't start businesses. We can't have success in life. I hate to tell you this, but you're a old school somebody. The new Christian doesn't look like that anymore. We've come to a place where we understand we're the head and not the tail. We're above only and not beneath. We belong in politics, we belong in every aspect of our society. We belong in government, we belong in entertainment, we belong in medicine, we belong in law, we belong in Hollywood. We belong wherever we go. We don't bow down, we influence the culture for the glory of Jesus Christ, and we'll do it with excellence.
Excellence affects every aspect of our life, every part of our life ought to be excellent. If an excellent spirit is on you, we should be excellent in our hygiene. Whew. You know, it don't take a lot of money to be clean. It don't take a lot of money to make yourself look presentable and nice. You're never gonna get out of poverty until you get a job opportunity and you show up looking like a winner. It don't take a lot of money to press your pants. It don't take a lot of money to comb your hair. It don't take a lot of money, be excellent, and brush your teeth. I'm gonna preach like I feel like, because this is what built a great church.
I just started getting up and preaching just like it is. You know, tell your neighbor, if you're excellent, come on tell 'em. Say, if you're excellent it'll show up in your armpits, you'll put some deodorant on. It'll show up in your breath, you'll get a breath mint. It's the truth. We need a excellent spirit. When you're excellent you won't be slack on your job. Just throw it together on the spur of the moment. That's what we do.
You know, when I came up in church I guess they did the best they could, but they'd get up and the guy, old brother Joe, or whatever his name was would bring his guitar. He didn't come to practice, he didn't believe in practice. He believed that he just relied on the anointing. He'd come in and hook his guitar up and you'd hear him just as dad would be getting up to open, and back then they used to read a scripture or something to open. And dad would be reading, he'd be over there tuning his guitar.
Somebody else would come in late and sit on the drums and start hitting the cymbals, and just, you know, PA sets blurring out. Didn't get there early to make sure everything's good. That stuff drives me crazy. We ain't gonna have it around here. God deserves the best. Oh we're just Christians. No, we are just Christians, therefore we don't go by, get by, slack by. I don't believe in just showing up and you know, people gonna come in here, it ought to be this good all the time. We don't just do this, we didn't just know you were coming today and made this look like this, this is what we do, this is who we are.
We don't have to do a lot of stuff when somebody real special, some big shot governor, or if the President were coming in here today we wouldn't do anything different, this is what we do, because He deserves the best. Jesus Christ, the one that we represent. All of you listening to me right now, you ought to have an excellent spirit on the jobsite, clean up after you did your work. Fix things up, do excellent, do excellent. Don't just get by and leave stuff. I can't stand for somebody to come into my house or whatever and do something, and I'm paying them to do it, and then they leave the mess for me to clean up.
We need an excellent spirit, because, notice that the king was watching 123 leaders, and out of the 123, out of the 120 there was three on the top, and the king noticed how Daniel distinguished himself, because he had an excellent spirit. Get an excellent spirit, because your competitor has one. Go clean up your closet. Go wash your car. Go clean out the trash from your car. I'm bad, I eat in the car. I'm bad about living basically out of the car, but at some point, I really believe what I'm telling you, at some point the Holy Spirit will convict you and say, your car is nasty, clean the car up. Come on. Is this too strong? You okay?
Be excellent on your jobsite. Clean your truck up, wash it. You got bumper stickers all about Jesus, and the thing hasn't been washed in four months. At least, I'm not saying, it don't matter what kind of car or how old, just make sure what you got is clean. If you've got one pair of jeans and two shirts, make sure they're clean, and kept, and go, you go like, whatever God's given you, do it with excellence. And if it's got a hole in it, wear that hole with excellence. Rip it a little more and it'll be better in style. I love it because he didn't have a just get over attitude. Do enough to look like I'm doing it. Oh, are you one of those employees? That you do enough to look like you're doing it? Find something on him, his colleagues said. We've gotta find something on him and sabotage his success.
And I love this, this is my last point. They started checking his record, they started checking his work, they started checking his integrity, they started looking, you know, let's find him in a lie. Let's find him stealing something. Let's find him cheating. Let's find him having an affair. Let's find him sleeping with somebody, and let's leak it to the king and then he'll lose his power because he ain't all that, he doesn't really have that kind of excellence in every aspect of his life.
But when you have an excellent spirit it also hits your character. It hits your integrity. You carry yourself in a way that you understand, I am to be who God has called me to be no matter where I am. No matter what setting I'm in, and I don't have secrets. And they tried to find a lie, they tried to find a theft, they tried to find him cheating, but notice that when the Holy Spirit really gets ahold of you, He'll make you dependable. He'll make you trustworthy. He'll make you faithful. The Bible said they could not find a lie, they could not find thievery, they could not find sexual affairs, they could not find things that were, you know, there that they could attack his character with. He was what he was because he had an excellent spirit.
And I'm telling you today, that this little sermon may not be about miracles, signs and wonders in the third realm of the angel band of the seventh horn of the book of Revelation, but boy I tell you what, if you get an excellent spirit, just like 26 or 27 years ago the Lord said, preach that into this church, preach it. And I've preached it over and over in different ways. I've preached it over and over in different ways, but I kept going back to the theme, we need an excellent spirit, we need excellent ushers, we need excellent choir, we need excellent music, we didn't have but one camera up in the balcony, a VCR camera and a cassette tape ministry, and one that did three tapes at a time and you had to go to a little table out in the lobby and get a cassette tape.
But we did it with excellence, we bought little t-shirts for the video man. We bought little t-shirts for the girls that were selling the tapes, and they did it. And we got some little stickers and put 'em on there and put: Church on Fire, that's what we called it back then, Church on Fire. And we were selling those little, you know it's just a little thing but we got excellent with it. One camera, now we got I don't know, how many six, seven, eight, nine? I don't know how many, big 'ole cameras, expensive cameras. And we go to 200 nations around the world, but we were excellent with one little camera. We did the best we could, we took it serious. We would pray, and get together and hold hands.
Lord, we're sending out 25 VCR tapes this week, cause we're getting orders from all over the world, 25. Basically from ball grounds, somebody ordered one in Tacoma, Cleveland, but we were excellent. Now, I don't care who walks in here, now, I'm never embarrassed at anybody coming in here, cause I know we prayed, I know we fasted, I know we've sought God's face. I know our teams are excellent, I know our worship is excellent, and we do it with an excellent spirit. We're not here to glorify us, our name, we're not even here to glorify Free Chapel, who cares. We're here to glorify Jesus Christ. We must be excellent.
Come on and shout amen somebody. I don't want you to leave, I want you to stand to your feet at every campus, all over this room, and all of our rooms. Just stand to your feet. Every head bowed, every eye closed. If you would say, Pastor Jentezen, I'm not living an excellent life for Jesus Christ. Pastor pray for me, I know I'm not right with God, but I want to be, pray for me. If that's you, boldly raise your hand right where you're standing. I want to see it. That's fantastic, that's amazing. It's fantastic. They're going up.
Every campus lift your hand, right here, lift your hand high. If you're in overflow lift your hand if God's speaking to you. Every one of you that have your hand high, I want you to get out of the seat where you're standing right now, and I want you to come down front just as quick as you can come. Come on, just as quick as you can come. You're so close to it. You're so close to it. You're so close to it. You know you were born for greater things. You know you were not born for mediocracy. You know you were not born for common life. You know you were not born just to be ordinary. Let's pray this prayer. Pray it from your heart, everybody in this room under the sound of my voice. Every campus, say these words.
Lord Jesus, I surrender. I give my life to You. I believe in You. I thank You that the chains that have bound me have been severed by the truth of Your word, and I know there's an excellent life. There's an excellent life that You have called me to. I receive it, I thank You Lord that You bled and died, and rose on the third day to give me a brand new life, and today I embrace it, and today I receive it, and today I declare Jesus Christ is my Lord and my savior, and I will live for Him, and I will be excellent for Him in Jesus' name.