A Life Well Lived

Speaker: Pastor Darin Browne

Jeremiah 17:5-10 (ESV)
Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
“I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

This passage is reminiscent of Psalm 1, which talks about the way we should live our lives, so that we truly prosper

Psalms 1:1-2 (ESV)
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.


Every now and then we are reminded of our mortality. When we have a loved one die, or hear about someone’s demise, many of us stop and think about our lives and ask the question, “Has my life been worthwhile?”

I want to live a life that is such a blessing to others that when I die, even the undertaker is sad.

We don’t talk about death much. You don’t get cards saying, “Merry death, happy dying.” Mankind is terrified of death and dying. Let’s be honest, most Christians are too!

Let me ask you, what’s your plan for your life, and are you hitting the mark? Have you lived the life you wanted to live, or are there regrets? Many people pursue eastern philosophy and religion because they like the idea of reincarnation and Karma. I heard about a Buddhist who knocked on a priest’s door and said, “I’m sorry I think my Karma just ran over your dogma.”

But let’s be clear…the Bible never teaches reincarnation, or Karma. It says…

Hebrews 9:27 (ESV)
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,

We are not a computer game. We cannot die, then magically resurrect and have another try. This is it; this is the only life you are given. Young people, you have most of it ahead of you, oldies, most of it is behind you. But we all only get one life!


Greek for appointed is APO-KAIMAI which means an appointment, a time reserved. All of us have a time God has reserved for us, already chosen and it’s a meeting we must attend. The Greek word for judgement is KRISIS, and it means a decision or justice rendered. Every one of us face death and then judgement, no exceptions, bar Enoch and Elijah.

Unbelievers, those who reject Jesus, face the judgement of the great White Throne, where God, with a broken heart will say,

Matthew 25:41 (ESV)
“to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

But we who are Christians also face a judgement, not for salvation, but on what we have said or done, and this is for eternal rewards…

2 Corinthians 5:10 (ESV)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

This makes me realise that we get one life, and we must maximise its effectiveness for the Lord. At my age, this weighs heavily on me, because I want to know I have lived totally for Christ as I enter the final third of my life! You may know who you are, or what you’ve done, but let me ask you, have you discovered your why?


Everybody, Christian or not, has an awareness that there is more to life than 70 or 80 years on this earth. One comedian said, “I’m going to live forever…so far, so good.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (ESV)
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

We all know this, but some sail blissfully towards oblivion, towards eternal damnation separated from God, stubbornly refusing the weight of evidence that Scripture and their conscience provides.

So, let me ask you, where are you in all this? Do you look back over your life and see a life well lived for Christ, or do you see a litany of missed opportunities, poor decisions, and regrets? Do you go forward towards your death with confidence, or with regrets because you have wasted this one life God has given you?

Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.


We refuse to even talk about or think about death, but it is inevitable (unless the rapture happens) for every single one of us. One person observed the seven ages of life…the spills, the drills, the thrills, the bills, the ills, the pills, and the wills. Every single one of us is going to die, and it’s even more inevitable than taxes!

We naturally have a fear of death, but as Christians this should not be the case. Spike Milligan said, “I don’t mind dying, I just don’t want to be there when it happens!” For the rest of the world, it’s a fearful day, but for us it’s a day of celebration, a day we can approach with confidence, trust, and joy. If you truly love Jesus, death is not your worst day, it’s your best! The sting of death is sin, and our sin is forgiven, so we have nothing to fear in dying. Paul writes…

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 (ESV)
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


The day of your death as a believer should not be sad, it’s your graduation. As the Salvos say, it’s your promotion to glory. However, even though it’s a wonderful day for us, inevitably there are some regrets. We will miss those we love, and we might look back at our lives and realise that we have not fully maximised our effectiveness for Jesus.

The saddest thing in a cemetery is not the dead people buried there, it’s the dead dreams, the unfulfilled potential that’s buried there. And this all comes down to the choices we make. Your life is the product of the decisions you make.

Proverbs 19:3 (ESV)
When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the LORD.

We make decisions, and when things don’t go as we planned, we get mad at God! But a life well lived trusts God, knowing anything that happens is in His hands. And, if we decide something against His will, we bear the consequences.


Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV)
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,

So, each of us face a choice, every day, in every situation. Look back over the last week or the last month. What kind of choices have you made? Every decision we make has consequences. Every choice brings either life and blessings, or death and cursing. And in case you can’t figure it out, and let’s face it, many of us make wrong choices, we are even told the right answer…choose life, that both you and your offspring, your ancestors, might live.

The passage about the trees that we started with was not directed at mankind in general, but at God’s people, the nation of Judah. I believe the same prophecy applies to us as believers.


Jeremiah 17:5 (ESV)
Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD.

So many people are in this group, yes, even believers, and God calls them cursed! They trust in man, in flesh, in the fleshly world. These are people who might say they are Christians, but their lives don’t really reflect Jesus.

The prophet goes on to describe what their life is like. A shrub in the desert, parched, shrivelled, alive yes, but barely alive. I’ve seen Middle Eastern deserts, there is nothing there but sand and more sand. The Hebrew word used here for desert is ARABA, which is the name of the desert south of Israel. This verse describes it as an arid, parched and an uninhabited salt land. Any life there does not prosper, it barely exists, it struggles to eke out a living.


Jeremiah 17:7-8 (ESV)
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

When you dedicate your life totally to Jesus, your decisions bring life, joy and blessing. Instead of being a desert, your life becomes a tree planted by a stream. So, if heat comes, if stress happens, if people attack, you don’t wilt away under the heat. Your leaves continue to be green; life continues to flow through your veins. And here’s the kicker, you continue to bear fruit. This is a life well lived!

There are people I know in this church who are like this blessed man, and they are ever green, regardless of the season, the heat, or the soil. Their roots go deep into the river of the Holy Spirit, and when adversity comes, they don’t wilt, they continue to thrive because their roots are down deep into the things of God. Planted by the stream of God.


So, what is your spiritual life like now? What has your life, your one and only life, been like so far? Have you wasted it, have you made the most of it? I look at my life, and while I have done many things serving the Lord, I still believe I could have, and indeed should have done more. I have regrets…do you?

If you have regrets, then this is your moment. It’s not how you start but how you finish that counts. If you are still breathing, there is a great opportunity to turn things around and make however long you have left on this earth count.


2 Corinthians 5:10 (ESV)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Yes, even believers face a judgement day. Not for salvation, because we are saved by faith not by works, but this judgement is for rewards, for what we have done, whether good or bad. So, let’s look at what that involves…

1 Corinthians 3:11 (ESV)
For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

This means that the Judgement Seat of Christ is for believers, saved by Grace.

1 Corinthians 3:12-13 (ESV)
Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw – each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.

So, everything we do will be tested before Jesus Himself, tested by fire. The obvious question is, what are you building? You can build wealth, a business, a career, a house, a car, but none of those have any value in eternity. They look substantial on the surface, but are in reality wood, hay and straw.

Or you can build things that have value in eternity. Invest in sharing the gospel with people, caring for people, going out of your way to shine Jesus to everyone you meet. That is gold, silver and costly stones.

1 Corinthians 3:14-15 (ESV)
If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.


Your works as a Christian will be judged, but even if it is all burned up, you are still saved, but only as through fire, which means by the skin of your teeth. But I don’t want to suffer loss, I want Jesus to say, well done to me.

You have one life, remember, just one life. You cannot replay it; you cannot fake it and you cannot regenerate and try again. When you die, you don’t reincarnated, you don’t get another chance, and you don’t get angel wings! So, let me ask you again, is yours a life well lived, or have you squandered your one life, the only one you will ever have?

Please understand, I am not here to judge you…Jesus will do that. But I am here to give you an opportunity to make the most of the life you have left, be it months, years, or decades. I want to max out my life for Jesus!


It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years! Carrie lived a short life but had an incredible impact on those around her. I think of Dave Mallet, Dave Zeims and others who left a lasting impact on my life, and the lives of many of you. Theirs was a life well lived, and yours can be too, if you totally dedicate your life to Jesus Christ. Your decisions determine your destiny far beyond this mortal coil!

Psalms 144:3-4 (ESV)
O LORD, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him?
Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.

We who are here on earth, although our days are short, we still have our lives to live now. This is the only shot we get…we must maximise our impact for Jesus now!

Ecclesiastes 9:10 (ESV)
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

You may be sitting here thinking, look at my life! I’ve had so many chances to be used by God to touch the life of someone else, but I have let the chances flow through my fingers like sand.

We all know that feeling, but rather than just accept that this is our lot in life, let’s turn it around this morning! Every life has pivotal moments. For me there have been a few. When I died and had and experience of life after death. When God spoke to me from Scripture to become a pastor. Big events, key moments, key decisions.


You can decide right now to change things. You can make a decision, a promise to God, a covenant with God that from here on in you will live a live well lived, totally dedicated to Him. As Paul said…

Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Jesus Christ.

Does that verse adequately describe everything you say and do? We have before us a pivotal moment, and here is the good news…it’s not too late to totally yield your life to Jesus and let Him guide you into His destiny for your life. You can shine God’s life and live into a world that desperately needs it!

You can waste your life chasing dreams that are just about satisfying your own life and desires or you can waste your life sitting in front of the TV. Or you can say, Lord, here I am, and I will pay any price to serve You.

If you want to make your life count, this is your moment!

A pilot flying from the Sunshine Coast to Sydney, if he is only one degree off in his course, will land 17 km out into the Pacific Ocean. A pilot stays on course by constantly making small but pivotal adjustments. Today can be such an adjustment for your life. So, examine your life, and ask yourself, am I totally dedicated to Jesus, or should I grab this opportunity to change and realign.

Frances Ridley Havergal wrote…

Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

Take my moments and my days;
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.

Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and “beautiful” for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King.

Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold.

Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.

Take my heart, it is thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.

Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, ALL for Thee.

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