Common Mistakes to Avoid!

Sun, Feb 09, 2020
Teacher: Mark Hull
Duration:27 mins 34 secs

Message text

Common Mistakes to Avoid!

 Psalms 31:1-20Genesis 12:10-13

 A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity – boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?”

Are you the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity wilts, becomes soft, and loses strength? Are you the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Does your shell look the same, but on the inside are you bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or are you the coffee bean? Actually changing the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?”

Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean? How do you reacted to adversity?

INTRO: Have you ever heard someone say, "That’s the first mistake I’ve made today?" Or, someone who is a little arrogant might say, "That’s the first mistake I made this year." And, of course, someone who is really obnoxious would say, "Well, that’s the first mistake I’ve ever made."

We tend to joke about our mistakes because we all make mistakes! We might make them because we have poor information, or because we have bad judgment, or just because we are making the wrong choices.

Mistakes aren’t necessarily sin, but they can become sin, because of the domino effect. One mistake often leads to another as we try to excuse or cover up our mistakes. Soon we are getting in deeper & deeper, & a chain reaction has begun.

Now, I am not an expert in most things, but I am very nearly an expert when it comes to mistakes. I have made enough mistakes in my lifetime to pretty much make me an expert. Maybe you have too!

So this morning I have taken some of my mistakes, & added some of yours mixed them all together & have reached the conclusion that there are at least 4 major categories of mistakes, & all 4 of them are found in the Bible. Listen carefully, & I think we will see ourselves in each of these 4 areas.


  1. First, there are panic prompted mistakes… mistakes that are made because we are in too great a hurry, or because we are afraid that something is going to happen. So we take quick action to try to keep it from happening.

We are worried about something & we are hesitant about letting God take control. So we handle it ourselves & the result is that we make mistakes.

ILL. You remember the story of Abraham. God told Abraham to leave his homeland & go to a land that God would show him, where he & his family would be greatly blessed. Abraham would become the father of a great nation, & all the nations of the earth would be blessed through him.

When Abraham finally got there he built an altar to God.

Time passes, & Genesis 12:10 tells us, "Now there was a famine in the land, & Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while, because the famine was severe."

Now that is a panic prompted mistake.  When a famine arose, Abraham was afraid that he & his family would starve.

So he panicked & packed his bags & family & moved down to Egypt. The first domino fell.

The 2nd domino is found in vs’s 11-13, "As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, ’I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ’This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live.

“Say that you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake & my life will be spared because of you."

That was mistake #2, & the dominoes are beginning to fall. One mistake led to another, & the first thing you know Abraham & Sarai were in a dangerous situation in Egypt, & only the direct intervention of God saved them.

  1. Now let’s bring it down to today. People make panic prompted mistakes, & they make them primarily in two areas of life. First, in the area of romance, & second, in the area of finance.
  1. How many times have we met people nearing the mystical age of 30, who haven’t met that "right someone" yet, & they are about to panic? "I am going to be a bachelor, or old maid the rest of my life. No one will ever marry me!"

So, in panic, they grab the first one they find. They get married, or they throw away their morals in the hope of catching someone, anyone. The result is a domino chain reaction that makes the situation worse, & not better.

I know people who have been there. They made mistakes back when they were 20 or 30, & now they wish they could go back & do it right. Oftentimes in the area of romance, whether it is 20, 30, or 50, people panic.

  1. It can happen in the area of our finances, too. It is so easy today to get into a financial bind. MasterCard works. Visa works. Stores urge us to use their "easy payment" plans.

And the first thing we know, the bills start coming in & we suddenly realize that we just don’t have enough money to pay all our bills.

So we panic. We run down to the "quick loan" place & get a "bill consolidation loan" at lower monthly payments. But the problem is that we now have a little breathing room, so we often start charging all over again. It soon becomes worse than ever, & the dominoes are falling.

SUM: You see, panic prompted mistakes often start out as simple mistakes, but like falling dominoes, the momentum gets out of hand, & the result can be disastrous.


  1. Secondly, we make mistakes because of our neglect. One very clear example of this is King David. David, as you know, was a very special person. He is called a "man after God’s own heart."

But King David made just as many mistakes as we are capable of making. For example, David had 18 wives, & that is a lot of mistakes right there!

But notice 1 Kings 1:5 6 where it tells about David & Adonijah, one of his sons. "Adonijah exalted himself, saying, ’I will be king,’ so he prepared for himself chariots & horsemen & 50 men to run before him."

Now listen to this, "And his father (that’s David) had never crossed him at any time." Actually, the Hebrew word is "never pained him." What it means is that David had never physically punished him, had never spanked him had never disciplined him at any time!

The result was that Adonijah developed a selfish & rebellious nature that one day led him to say, "I want to be king, & I want to be king now! I can take the throne away from my father, & I’m going to do it!” And one reason that he was that kind of son was because of David’s neglect.

David made the same mistake that many have made, & maybe are still making. He became so busy being King, being important, being an administrator, that he neglected his family.

  1. Neglect is not limited just to family, either. It can affect our spiritual lives, too.

As I mentioned last Sunday, the writer of Hebrews wrote, "Neglect not the assembling of yourselves together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25)

We gather together to remember Jesus, to examine our own lives in the light of His Word, to rededicate ourselves to what God wants us to be, & to encourage one another.

That is why today, the Lord’s Day, is an important day. That is why gathering around the Lord’s table is such an important event.

As I talk to people I have often been told, "It is so easy to get out of the habit of going to church." That is true, isn’t it? We have all kinds of groups to help us quit drinking, or quit smoking, or to lose weight but we don’t need an organization to help us quit going to church!

It is so easy to get involved with other things & completely neglect our spiritual life, & the "assembling of ourselves together" with fellow Christians. Spiritual neglect is a mistake that leads to sin, too.

So welcome home, child of God. I pray that God & His people will make you feel so needed & wanted here that you will never, ever, drift away again.


  1. Thirdly, unrestrained, disobedient curiosity can be a mistake that leads to sin.

ILL. In 1 Samuel 28, King Saul is beginning to lose all confidence in himself. He has disobeyed God time & time again, & God is no longer with him. The battles are going against him, & he feels a desperate need to talk with Samuel, the prophet of God who once was his closest advisor.

But Samuel is dead. So what does Saul do? On the basis of bad advice, he disobeys God’s clear command & consults a spirit medium who claims that she can communicate with the dead.

The result is shocking, & King Saul himself is dead within 24 hours. His unrestrained, disobedient curiosity resulted in his death.

  1. Unrestrained, disobedient curiosity could very well be the primary sin of many young people today, but it is not exclusive to young people.

In the teen age world, & even younger, there is so much emphasis on that which is evil & satanic & unrestrained, disobedient curiosity can suck you in. It may begin as a foolish mistake, but it can become a sin that will rob you of your soul.

I believe with all my heart that much of the drug scene is satanic influenced & controlled by Satan. And if you are playing with that, you are playing with a spiritual world that can grip your soul & squeeze it to death.

Unrestrained, disobedient curiosity. Sure, others may do it & tell you that it is perfectly okay. But I caution you to be aware of the dangers that are there, & to avoid the evils that can result from unrestrained, disobedient curiosity.


Fourthly, there are “blind spot” mistakes… mistakes that we make because we are unable to see ourselves & the situation as it really is.

ILL. At one time the Apostle Peter had a blind spot. When he was with Paul & among Gentile Christians in Antioch he was just one of the group. Jews & Gentiles were fellow Christians worshiping together.

But when ultra-orthodox Jews who had become Christians came to Antioch, they still had their own Jewish prejudice against Gentiles. So they wouldn’t even associate with the Gentiles who had become Christians too.

Sadly, Peter, in his eagerness to welcome the new Jewish Christians into the church at Antioch began meeting exclusively with them, & no longer had anything to do with the Gentile Christians there.

Evidently Peter had a blind spot about what he was doing. He didn’t realize the hurt that this was causing in the church.

When Paul saw the division that this was creating, he confronted Peter & said, "What you are doing is wrong!" Suddenly Peter realized the result of what he had been doing & immediately made it right in the church.

Don’t we all make “blind spot” mistakes? It is so easy to see the mistakes that others make.

We go out of church on Sunday mornings saying to ourselves, "I sure hope so & so paid attention to that sermon," or "I wish that so & so had been here. He (or she) really needed to hear that."

Blind spots! The sermon may have been speaking right to you or me, & we weren’t listening because we have a blind spot. We need to open our eyes & realize that there can be blind spots in our lives, too!


Folks, we could go on with this sermon because we make all kinds of mistakes. But the important question is, "What are we going to do about them?"

Turn with me to PSALM 31. This Psalm must have been written by David after he had made a bunch of mistakes. So David pours out his heart to God in this Psalm.

In vs. 2 David pleads with God, “Turn Your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.”

And in vs’s 4 & 5 he says, “Free me from the trap that is set for me, for You are my refuge. Into Your hands I commit my spirit."

Then in vs’s 9 & 10 he says, "Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul & my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish, & my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my sins."

Do you hear that? David is saying, "I am laying it open to you, Lord. Here it is all the scars & scabs & ugly sores that are there. Here are the sins I have committed. I can fool others, but I can’t fool you, Lord. So here it all is."

And God sees the neglect & immorality in the life of David, but He doesn’t say, "Well, that’s it for you, David. If that is what you really are like inside, then you are no longer a man after my heart. I don’t want anything more to do with you."

But David realizes that God isn’t doing that. So in vs. 8 David praises Him, “You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.”

Have you ever felt claustrophobic - when you feel as if your sins have dropped you into a pit? David says that "God picked him up & put his feet in a spacious place" where there was room to move again, to flex his muscles, & to be the kind of person God always wanted him to be.

And in vs’s 19-20 David cries out, "How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in You. In the shelter of Your presence You hide them…” God hides, & forgives, & protects.

ILL. There used to be a bumper sticker that proclaimed, "Christians aren’t perfect just forgiven.’ I like that, & it says what I am trying to say this morning. We’re not perfect, but because of Jesus we can be forgiven!

Despite all the mistakes, & all the things we do wrong, & the times we stumble & fall God still says, "Come, I want to forgive you."

Will you come as we stand & sing?

Contributing Sermon Given By

Melvin Newland


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