Chardon church of Christ

Sermons from the Chardon church of Christ

The Shaping of Your Life

Posted by Chardon in Proverbs 14

The Shaping Of Your Life
Proverbs 14:12

INTRO:
Good morning. Good to see everyone this morning. I guess it’s that time of the year when it just seems like the weather can't make its mind up, one day it'll be cold and the next day it'll be warm. When you go back and forth like that you're going to have a lot of people getting sick.

It is through God that we live, that we move, that we have our very being. It is God who gives us life. I believe in the providence of God I believe that the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. I believe when I pray as a Christian, there are other Christians that are praying for me as I pray for others.

I'm a firm believer that the hand of God is indeed shaping and molding my life; however, we are freewill beings with the power of choice. We need to recognize that it is the choices that we make in our life that quite often are going to affect the shaping of our life and how it turns out.

Sometimes I run across people or information about people that I have known since I was a child. At times I’m absolutely amazed that some of them have got their lives completely, totally, messed up. Then I turn around I see other individuals that seem to have so much joy, so much peace, and so much happiness in their life in spite of a rocky start, or difficulties, and heartaches.

I strongly suspect that it is not all providence that makes these people’s lives turn out as they have. To the contrary I think a great deal of the reason we see people at such different extremes, where some will be totally at peace and happy and joyful and others in complete desperation, is because of the choices that they made in their life.

The sermon today is on the subject of the shaping of your life. We need to recognize that a great deal of how our life turns out is in our own hands. Proverbs 14:12 says; “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” As we travel through our life we're going to come to various crossroads and decisions that we're going to have to make. Sometimes there may be a direction where we may think, you know this seems like a good direction for me to take, it seems like the right way for me to go. Yet, if we choose that direction it will lead to our destruction. It will lead to our death—physical sometimes and spiritual others.

These crossroads are points were we could use some guidance, some instruction. Young people are especially in need of instruction because they do not even have the wisdom gained from mistakes yet. It is so important that our young people receive grounding in the Lord and His word so they have some understanding of where they can go for guidance. Today I would like to take a look as some of these crossroads and what we might teach others about them.

I. The first thing I will look at with you this morning in our journey of life is our friends. When you get to that crossroad you're going to have to choose wisely about your friends. First Corinthians 15:33 – “Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits.''” I want you to notice the beginning of the verse. Do not be deceived. From the beginning of this verse we get the idea that an individual sometimes may think to themselves, I can handle this. These people are not going to drag me down. They are not going to affect me, I'm stronger than that.
A. If you think that way about your companions and your friends, think that they are not going to affect you, you have deceived yourself. Evil company corrupts good habits and that is a reality of life. We recognize that the friends that we associate with, the companions we have, are going to play a major role in the shaping of our life.
B. Again in Proverbs, this time 22:24-25 – “24. Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, 25. lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul.” Look at the end of this. It tells us we're setting a snare for our soul because of who we chose to be our friends. If we chose someone that is an angry person, a furious person, by being around this angry, this furious person—we learn their bad habits. Then we start acting like them and we suffer the consequences for our actions. Don't you recall the old cliché birds of a feather flock together?
C. In our life we're going to have to make choices about who our friends are going to be. This is a continual process. It’s not just teenagers that have to choose their friends. As adults we have to choose who our friends are also. We need to recognize that these individuals are going to have an influence on us.
1. If they are walking in darkness and living in sin we need to recognize that our friendship with them will pull us into their world. Don't think it won't, even though you're an adult.
2. Who we choose to be our friends is going to impact how our life is going to be shaped and the ultimate nature of that life.
D. Look at this again. Proverbs 13:20 – “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.”
1. There are two possibilities for our life. We can have a life of wisdom and all the fruits and benefits and blessings that come from living a life of wisdom, because we walk with wise men and we learn from them. Or... we can be a companion to fools. Your friends can be fools and a consequence of that... will be your destruction.
2. Do we see the choice that we have? The choice is whether we're going to be destroyed or have a life of peace. The choice that is going to determine which direction we take may very well be who our friends are.
3. Think about it this way. People who use drugs like to be around others who use drugs. Everybody knows that people who like to drink want to be around others that like to drink. Drinking buddies they say. Homosexuals want to be around other homosexuals. People involved in any kind of sexual immorality want to be around others that will participate in the same activities.
4. Any kind of sin you can think of that someone is walking in—what is their lifestyle? They want to be around others who will participate in the same sin. When we think that we can be friends with someone that is walking in darkness and not get pulled into the darkness... we have deceived ourselves. By so doing we will set a snare for our soul.
II. Another major decision we make is in the choice, and this is a very big one, the choice of who we marry. Who is going to be your husband? Who is going to be your wife?
A. I am amazed sometimes with how little thought some people put into this choice. Who are they going to court? Who they're going to marry? Who is going to be their husband or their wife? If we think about this at all, what criteria do we apply?
B. Our society today gives us the wrong picture of what love is. It concentrates on lust and says that is love. It almost seems as though the criteria is; “you smiled at me”, you think I'm pretty, marry me, Ok? You like me? OK let's get married. If it doesn't work out we’ll just get a divorce.
C. That is not what love is and not what marriage is for. It is not just passing ships in the night. It is for the rest of your life. The individual who you choose to be your spouse is going to affect your life more than any other human being; you are going to become one with this person.
1. You do not want to become one with someone who is going to drag you down and ruin your life. There are people out there who have absolutely wonderful lives until they get married. The person they marry and choose to be their spouse totally ruins it.
2. Look at this in Proverbs 21:19 – “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.” If I were talking to young ladies and men who are not married I would say; if you fight like cats and dogs now, breakup. If you are being mistreated now, breakup. A lot of people think when we get married it'll get better. Really? No, it doesn't. If you cannot get along now, don't think getting married is going to solve the problem.
3. Do you know what a contentious and angry person is? I'll try to explain it to you. If you go right, you should have gone left, and you go left, you should have gone right. If you're moving you should be standing still and if you're standing still you should be moving. It really doesn't matter what you're doing - it's wrong. You can't do anything right and you stink.
4. Continual put down, put down, put down, nothing is done right, nothing is good. Life stinks.
5. OK, do you know what’s worse than the contentious and angry woman mentioned in Proverbs? A contentious and angry man who does the same thing. He puts down his wife, and everything she does is no good. She can't do anything right. She’s stupid, she stinks. Life stinks. He just continues to put down, put down, put down.
6. Let me give you another picture of how this affects you. Have you ever been lying in bed at night and the faucet in the bath starts to drip? All of a sudden you hear drip. You think OK it's not gonna do it again. – Drip. Maybe it'll stop now. – Drip. You think; oh I can handle this, I’ll just doze off. – Drip
7. After about 30 seconds of this you just scream and get out of bed and run in there and tighten the faucet. The Chinese call it water torture. It's for real. Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, to where eventually it just drives you crazy. Contention is like a continual dripping on a very rainy day.
8. If you marry a person like this you are going to be driven mad because you can't turn it off. They will make your life miserable. There are people who exist that are just like this. They look at the world through black glasses and everything is terrible and everything is bad and nothing is good.
9. If you marry this person you're bound to them till death do you part. It's your life buddy. You made a bad choice. You better choose wisely and not marry a contentious and angry person.
D. Proverbs again chapter 23:29-30 – “29. Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? 30. Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine. 31. Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; 32. at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. 33. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things. 34. Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: 35. "They have struck me, but I was not hurt; They have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?''”
1. What we’re talking about here in the text is someone who likes to drink. If you court or date a man or a woman who likes to drink or use drugs—stop. Go the other way.
2. If you marry a man or a woman who likes to drink or use drugs the life you've got coming will be a life of sorrow, you're going to have a life of wounds, and you're going to have a life of contention. If you don't believe this it would be good for you to go and talk to the men and women at Al Anon. Do you know what Al Anon is? These are the spouses of alcoholics. Talk to them about their life. Talk to them about their spouse. Talk to them about their wounds.
3. You don't want to marry a person like this. You don't want this in your life. It's not something to be snickered at. Some people might think it's cool in high school or cool in college, but I'm telling you it's not cool in life. It's not cool in a real world of day to day living as husband and wife.
4. Choose your spouse wisely. If they like to use drugs or drink get away from them now before you’re married.
E. I’m going to read something from Ezekiel 16:44 – “Indeed everyone who quotes proverbs will use this proverb against you: 'Like mother, like daughter!'” The “proverb” used here is what we might call a cliché. We have this same cliché today though we usually hear it as – like father like son. We understand exactly what is being talked about. Generally speaking if you look at the mother and the father, the children quite often are going to be a great deal like them, but not always. We know there are times when children go the exact opposite way of their mother and father. They saw how their parent’s life was affected and they say to themselves “not me”, nope. I'm not going that way.
1. When you date someone look at their family. See how they talk to each other. See how they behave and how their family behaves as a unit because quite often your family is going to be a mirror image or very close to that.
2. If you see a father and mother that are honoring one another and the children honor and love one another, that's a pretty good indication that the person you date knows what a good environment is.
3. The cliché “as is the mother so is the daughter” as a general rule is true, but not always. It is not always true because you will find the people who have learned from the mistakes of their parents and have chosen to go in another direction.
F. Let’s look at Deuteronomy 7:3-4 – “3. "Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. 4. "For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the Lord will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly.” This text points out an important element to consider and one which our society rejects. When you look into the heart of the person that you consider marrying, a very important element is this: Does this person love the Lord?
1. We need to realize how a person views God is going to affect our relationship in life with them more than anything. If you marry a virtuous person their price is far above rubies. You ask any man who's married to a Christian woman, a God fearing woman; he'll tell you she's the greatest treasure of his life. The same applies to marrying a God fearing man.
2. This is important because whoever you marry is going to change. I know that is not conventional wisdom but it is true. I don't care who you marry they're going to change. The question is change into what. Christianity is about change, continual change.
3. Ask a marriage counselor and they will tell you one of the most frequent comments they hear is; “He’s changed” or “She’s changed”, they are not the person I married. A counselor will tell you that sometimes it is hard to tell if there was real change or if perception was what changed.
4. We realize that a person who is not grounded with the anchor of faith and hope and love in their relationship with God is going to be like the leaves in the wind. It will be difficult to know what to expect in ten years, what they're going to be like.
5. On the other hand, if what drew you to a person is their character and their love for the Lord, that person usually will only change for the better. Unfortunately, though a good yardstick, even that is not always true. Sometimes even a God fearing man or woman loses their love for the Lord and leaves, but generally speaking a God fearing person just grows stronger in their relationship with God.
6. What drew you to them in the first place just gets better. That's the beauty of a really good marriage. A lot of folks think it's really wonderful in the beginning when you're falling in love and that giddy stage. That's nice but I'm here to tell you that when you are with the right person it just gets better. It matures and the love grows deeper and deeper and deeper. The person that you marry is going to affect and shape your life.
III. Let’s continue in Genesis 13:10-12, and take a look at the influence of where you live. Here we see where a man has a choice. He has to make the choice of where he is going to live. Where are you going to move yourself and your family? It says; “10. And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. 11. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. 12. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom.”
A. Lot saw a land that was good for his flocks and he made his choice based on what the land could do for him. It was bountiful and would increase his wealth. The next verse tells us the condition of Sodom; “But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord.” Yet, Lot seems to have ignored the reputation of this place.
1. I wonder if Lot’s decision would have been different if he had known what would happen.
2. What if you could have said to him; Lot do you want me to show you a preview of coming attractions, do you want me to tell you what's coming in your life? You're going to lose all of your herds. You're going to lose all your family and your wife and you're going to commit incest with your two daughters. Do you like that Lot?
3. Do you think Lot would have gone to Sodom if you could've told him what's at the end of his journey? I would say no, he wouldn't go that way. What man would choose a life like that?
B. There comes a time in your life when you have to make choices of what you're going to do for a living and where you're going live.
1. Consider the spiritual ramifications. Don't stick it down at the bottom of the list thinking we'll just make do, we'll just survive even though there's no congregation of the Lord’s church around. Don’t think even though it's a totally ungodly, immoral environment, we'll still go ahead and move there because it's a good job and I’ll make a lot of money.
2. Do not make choices based on wealth alone like Lot. Consider always the spiritual ramifications of any choice you make, the effects upon yourself and upon the future of your family. When you move to the new area hopefully there is a congregation there.
C. I also recommend you choose wisely where you're going to worship. Revelation 2:5 - says; “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place unless you repent.”
1. Here we're talking about the church in Ephesus. The church in Ephesus had left its first love. As a consequence of leaving their first love, their love for God and Jesus Christ, they had left the first works.
2. They are told very plainly unless they repent and go back and do the first works their lamp stand will be removed. How many of you would want to be a member in Ephesus if they refused to repent?
D. Revelation 3:15-16 - “15. "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16. "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth.” How many of you would want to be a member of this congregation at Laodicea?
E. What about the congregation at Sardis? Revelation 3:1-2 – “1. "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, 'These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2. "Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.”
F. The point is there are congregations that may have issues which could negatively impact you and your family’s walk with God. People do not always spend their life in one spot. Circumstances can create a need to move elsewhere. If and when that happens be picky, selective, about the congregation that you attend.
1. Do not automatically be drawn to numbers thinking the numbers indicate faithfulness.
2. Remember Laodicea. They thought that they didn’t need anything. They had plenty of money and everything was great. That’s the congregation the Lord said was wretched, miserable.
3. Whenever people move to this area, quite often they will come by and they'll say “we're looking around”. Good. Look.
4. Come back and examine this congregation and see whether or not we're teaching the truth and living the truth or whether we are a dead congregation spiritually or whether we've left the first love, the first works.
G. You need to examine the congregation that you consider attending.
1. Make sure they're teaching the truth and doing the best they can to live it. You don't want to join yourself to a congregation that’s dead in spirit or a congregation has left the first love or left the first works.
2. Who you choose as your friends; who you choose to marry; what you choose to do for a living; where you choose to live and where you choose to worship are all actions that are within your control.
3. You have the power within you to choose wisely every single one of these—to choose God fearing friends, to choose a God fearing spouse, to choose a place that's going to be good for you spiritually and your family spiritually and a congregation that is truly a God fearing congregation trying to serve the Lord faithfully.
4. You'll find when you make wise choices the outcome of your life will be greatly affected.

CONCLUSION:
Going back to the start of the message today, Proverbs 14:12 says; “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

This is guidance and a warning. Keep your relationship with God at the center of your life. Make all your decisions on the things that will shape your life with your relationship to God in mind. We have that power.

Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Romans 8:31 – “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.

Ephesians 3:20 – “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,”.

I would hope and pray that everybody here this morning, and those that we teach have lives filled with joy, lives filled with peace, with the maximum happiness, fulfillment and contentment that a human being can experience in this life.
For that to be the case, you need to take control of your life and make it the way you want it to be. You have that power in your choices.

Maybe there is somebody here this morning who is not a member of the body of Christ.
If you believe in your heart that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and you're willing to confess your faith and repent of your sins, we’ll be glad to assist you and baptize you into the body of Christ.

If you're a child of God and you've sinned and gone into the world, our God is gracious, you know this, He is willing to forgive. Come home, come back to the Father. We'll pray for you and pray with you.

We will do the very best we can as your brothers and sisters to encourage you.
If you are subject to the Gospel call in any way let us know as we stand and sing the song selected.

Invitation song: ???

Reference sermon: Wayne Fancher

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