Summary: The pursuit of godly character requires two things: (1) put God first, and (2) remove forces that erode God’s influence

Character Counts! Diligence Matters

(Proverbs 4:20-27)

Theme: Character development is not an important part of life?it IS life!

Purpose: What do I want to happen in the hearer when I preach this sermon?

A. Increased knowledge. After I preach this sermon, the hearer should be able to state that our present crisis of character failure is essentially a failure to allow God to be God.

B. Increased insight. After I preach this sermon, the hearer should be able to understand that a godly character only comes where there is a willingness to:

1. Admit that I too have been duped into believing Satan?s lie that I am the most important thing in the universe.

2. Admit that I have forfeited my right to call the shots.

3. Pay the price for a godly character.

4. Follow Jesus Christ no matter what the cost.

C. Changed attitude. After I preach this sermon, I want the hearer to determine to admit the folly of trying to build a godly character according to human standards?even human ?religious? standards?and to submit to Jesus Christ for true transformation.

Need to be

Surfaced: If we?re honest with ourselves, we all recognize our own moral failure. We simply are not what we ought to be, what we were designed to be.

Solution to

be Offered: God is sympathetic and gracious to our moral dilemma; however, we must admit that we have a problem, that we are NOT God, and then we must be willing to submit to Him for transformation. The key is Him, not us! In order to win this battle we must (1) pursue Him, and (2) guard against forces that rob us of God?s influence in our lives.

Introduction. (Get attention, surface need, make a contract to deliver a solution.)

A. As Americans we are threatened by a crisis.

1. Osama bin Laden is still alive and threatening to strike again.

2. Sadaam Hussein is still in power and threatens world peace.

3. Al Queda is still a viable network of worldwide terror.

4. Wall Street continues to waver.

5. Our environment continues to deteriorate.

6. All crises that threaten our very existence?but none of these crises touch upon the deeper crisis upon which you and I need to focus our minds:

a) As a people we are facing a crisis of failed character.

(1) A survey of 12,000 high school students showed that 3 out of every 4 students cheated on an exam this school year.

(2) 38% admitted that they had stolen something from a store within the past 12 months.

(3) The percentage of students who admit that they lie to their teachers and parents is increasing substantially.

b) It is no longer assumed that the goal of life, the purpose of our existence, is to develop a godly character.

B. Some Quotations.

1. Character is what God and the angels know of us; reputation is what men and women think of us. Horace Mann.

2. Character is what you are in the dark. Dwight L. Moody.

C. How character manifests itself.

1. Character is returning extra change at the grocery store.

2. Character is keeping appointments, being on time, and honoring your commitments.

3. Character is choosing the harder right instead of the easier wrong.

4. Character is setting priorities that honor God, family, country and then career.

5. Character is working through the tough times of a marriage rather than throwing in the proverbial towel.

6. Character is being committed to the well being of others even if it is personally costly.

7. Character is setting a good example?even if it requires playing a difficult and unfamiliar role.

8. Character is sacrificing personal pleasures, if necessary, in order to provide for the well being of the family.

9. A person of character does not envy another?s success, but rejoices in it.

10. A person of character recognizes that lust is a second look and shuns even the appearance of evil.

11. A married person of character acts married at all times.

12. A person of character is self-disciplined and self-controlled.

13. Character requires that we do nothing to make another stumble; that we respect differing viewpoints without sacrificing our own principles.

14. Character implies the courage to stand for what is right, to oppose what is wrong, and to make the effort to discern the difference.

15. Character is being truthful in all things, while being sensitive to the fact that sometimes the truth hurts and need not be spoken.

16. Character is being selfless rather than selfish.

17. Character is being accountable for one?s actions and accepting the consequences.

18. Ultimately, true character is a willingness to do as God commanded us to do.

D. Our Failed Role Models.

1. To a large extent, character is caught rather than taught.

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