No More Excuses – Part 3
- Excuses cost delay (Luke 9:23-25)
- God's commands are worthy of immediate attention
- Delay will cause a loss of fervor
- You are not guaranteed tomorrow
- Excuses breed cousins
- Excuses cost damnation (Luke 14:15-24)
- Characteristics of the gospel
- The Gospel is ready
- The Gospel is abundant
- The urgency of the Gospel
- Christ is returning someday
- The reception of the Gospel
- Some are proud
- Some are preoccupied
- Some are self-satisfied
- Some are neglected
- Characteristics of the gospel
If you have your Bibles turn to Luke chapter nine. That is where we are going to start in Luke chapter nine. Before we partake of communion, we are going to finish up because we have been teaching this thought for two weeks already, this should be a little shorter. We are going to be looking at the New Testament and we have kind of used these passages starting out the last two Sunday nights and then jump to the Old Testament. But we are going to finish up this idea of excuses. And I prayed about it as far as looking at it when it comes to communion, and I think it does apply to ourselves because after you think of what Christ did for you and you think of the blood that was shed and his body that was broken, what excuse do you come up with? What excuse? And that is why we need to examine ourselves. Remember in I Corinthians 11, the Bible tells us as we come to the communion table to examine ourselves. So we examine ourselves when it comes to this idea of excuses.
I read of a Pastor, and I liked this idea, so someday we may steal it. He thought it was pretty funny, so I think he put an ad in the paper and he called it 'No Excuse Sunday,' and he wanted to make it possible for everyone to attend church. So he had 'No Excuse Sunday' and this was the advertisement he put out. He said cots will be placed in the foyer, for those who say Sunday is my only day to sleep in. There will be a special section with lounge chairs for those who feel that our pews are too hard. Eyedrops will be available for those with tired eyes from watching TV late Saturday night. We will have steel helmets for those who say the roof would cave in if I ever came to church. Blankets will be furnished for those who think the church is too cold, (there you go). Fans, for those who say it is too hot. Scorecards will be available for those who wish to list the hypocrites present. Relatives and friends will be in attendance for those who can not go to church and cook dinner too. We will distribute stamp out stewardship buttons for those that feel the church is always asking for money. One section will be devoted to trees and grass for those who like to see God in nature. Doctors and nurses will be in attendance for those who plan to be sick on Sunday. The sanctuary will be decorated with both Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies, for those who have never seen the church without them. And we will provide hearing aids for those who can not hear the preacher and cotton for those who can. So I thought that was a pretty good idea. No Excuse Sunday.
We are going to be looking at Luke chapter nine. We have considered the idea of excuses in the Old Testament. There are a lot of other excuses and it is a good study to do sometime if you are thinking about it, wanting to come up with excuses. Look at the Bible and see those that came up with excuses and see what God thought of them. It was not great. And sometimes, praise the Lord for this, you will see someone that came up with excuses, even Moses. You see others that, maybe hesitated a little bit like Peter. So sometimes you will see someone that came up with an excuse, but then God was able to kind of stir them up and they set aside the excuses and continued on for God.
And that is our goal in looking at the idea of excuses. Excuses, are keeping from most of us sitting here, it is what keeps us from knowing and growing in the Lord and in Christ. Statistics tell us this, those that have studied it. 99% of all failures are people who have a habit of making excuses. If you really want to know a person, if you really want to know how someone ticks, listen to their excuses. I do not know how many excuses I have heard in my short lifespan. Excuses why someone will not trust the Lord. Excuses why I am not going to be able to do this for the Lord. You know, I am too young...I have got the rest of my life. I am too old. It is too late. I have done too many wrong things. God couldn't take me. God couldn't use me. I have a career to think about. Excuses they get in the way of us doing stuff for the Lord. Growing up, you might have heard this, I can remember, growing up, I used to hear this song, Excuses. Excuses, you hear them every day. Now the devil, he'll supply you, if from church you stay away. When people come to know the Lord, the devil always loses. So to keep them folks away from church, he offers them excuses. Excuses, what excuse do you use to keep out a church, to keep from doing what God asked you to do? As we consider excuses in the New Testament, just a couple, may it work in our hearts. And as we come in just a few moments to take the elements where we look at the bread and then we partake of the fruit of the vine and it reminds us of the shed blood of Christ. I am glad He did not use excuses. He was God, they treated me wrong. They did actually. He was sinless. I do not deserve this. He was right! These excuses had validity to it. Praise the Lord He died, as the song says for you and for me.
Heavenly Father, I pray that as this evening we consider the idea of excuses one last time, I pray that we would examine ourselves. Lord, we would consider Lord, whether we have been using excuses to keep us from doing that which we should be doing for you. As always Lord do that which I cannot do and that is speak to hearts. We ask and claim your power in Jesus' name, Amen.
So we are going to look at three passages. The two that we have been looking at already, one is in Luke nine. In Luke 9:57 it says, "And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Two simple ideas this evening when it comes to excuses. In Luke chapter nine, we see excuses cause delay, or cost delay. What do we mean by that when we say excuses, cost delay? They result in things not getting done, that should be done. That is what the excuses do. And maybe that is what you have been doing. You have been saying, well, I will do that later or (I know Joe and I talk about this), I will get my CDL later. Okay, thank you. All right. But you know what, that means that somewhere (we were talking this morning) there is a couple of guys, we have the busses and we are trying to split some routes, but we got to have drivers. So what excuse is there? Oh, I need my Sunday morning. It is my only day off. Okay. Thanks for thinking of me. All right. Can I have that too? Can I have that idea. You know, I am not preaching this next Sunday. Why? I need a day off. You know what, come on and think about me. We can all come up with excuses, but excuses cause and cost delay.
I want us to think about a couple of things in this passage. When you think of those just with this passage, as far as excuses costing delay. As I was reviewing it, even this afternoon, consider this. God's commands are worthy of immediate attention. God's commands are worthy of immediate attention. And that is kind of his point there. You know, many commentators, when you look at verse 59 and 60, some people are like, wow, Jesus is just so hard. What they point out is let me first go and bury my father. If you know Jewish tradition, probably his father was not dead. Alright, because of all that goes into the burial and all that, cause you would probably be there. So more than likely what he was saying is, Hey, in a year or two, my father is going to die. Well go and preach the kingdom of God. And see God's commands are worthy of immediate attention. And your excuse is saying that something else is more important than God's command. Be careful of sending out those excuses. Excuses cost delay. What it is saying is God's commands are not worthy of immediate attention.
Secondly in this passage, I thought of this, delay will cause a loss of fervor. And you know that. What happens when you just put something off a little bit. You know, God deals with your heart. Maybe we just got done with stewardship and God dealt with your heart on stewardship. And instead of that weekend, you doing what you are supposed to do, you waited. You know what happens, the fervor kinda lessens, doesn't it? God deals with your heart, a couple of weeks ago we heard a message about soul-winning and even last week we talked about having compassion and that we should have compassion for the lost. And God deals with your heart and sometimes that happens even in the pew. That is why we have an invitation. You know why we have an invitation? Because when God deals with your heart, it is very good to move on that. Because guess what the devil is good at, pouring cold water on that decision and you losing that fervor. And so we need to make sure that we are not making excuses. Delay will cause a loss of fervor in your decision.
Thirdly, in this passage, I think as far as excuses cost delay, is that you are not guaranteed tomorrow. You are not guaranteed it. You are not guaranteed and that is why you need to get at it. That is why you need to be vigilant. When God says that, I want you to do something, do it now. Why does God want you to do it now? Because you are not guaranteed tomorrow. You are here now, you can do this now, but tomorrow you may not be fit. You may not have the mental capacity to do it. You may not have the physical wellbeing to do it, but right now what you are doing is saying something else is more important. You are not guaranteed tomorrow.
The fourth thing that I see in this passage is that excuses breed cousins. Did you notice? They seem to grow. All right, there is a little breeding ground. Excuses get together and they have children, they have children, and they seem to grow and multiply. And I am telling you, excuses do not really run in normal or familiar range or guidelines that we have. They are kind of redneck too. You know what I mean, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, they just breed all over the place and all of a sudden they are like rabbits. I mean, you have got all these excuses because excuses breed cousins and grandchildren and children and all kinds of things. And that is how excuses, multiply. I am telling you when you start using excuses, all of a sudden you are going to have another one real fast. And then you have another one real fast and then another one. And pretty soon nobody wants to be around you and ask you for anything. Because they are like, oh, you know what have you seen the list? It is like all right, there it is, which one? Oh, number 25. Just look at number 25. I'm a loser.
It is just that there are all kinds of excuses that we can have. Excuses, cost delay. You know, it is going to cost you something to serve God. Just so you know. It is going to cost you something. And I think that some of you think that it does not cost you anything to serve yourself. I could take you on Saturdays, I think it is eight or nine nursing homes that we are in on Saturdays. There are a whole bunch of you that visit some people that have served themselves for a long time and they are pretty miserable. There are others that, you know, they are praising the Lord that we can be there and be a help and encouragement to them. But there are others, man, they have lived a very selfish life. And the devil conned them in saying, Hey, it does not cost to live for self. Yes it does. And then he tells you it does not cost to live for him. Have you been to a hospital ward? If you walk through some times, I know I have talked with some of you that had relatives. You had relatives that basically the devil conned, them that it does not cost to serve him and they served the bottle. And at about 40 something years old and they are in the grave. You know what, be very careful and cautious of saying that it only cost to serve the Lord. And really, I understand it costs. But I am telling you, I do not think you will have any regrets at the end of your life if you serve the Lord. I have never and I have met a lot of people. I have been with a lot of people that were on their death bed as Christians. I have never met a Christian that was sold out for the Lord, that was like man, I wish I would have drunk liquor. What did you just say? No, it has not happened. Like, wow, man, I wish I was a drug addict. Nope. There are sometimes I go in there and I can remember a few folks, Oh man, this was probably a decade, two decades ago, was some folks that I have gone in and you are trying to think, all right Lord, what do you tell them? What do you say to them when you go in there? And man, they are just such an encouragement because they just love the Lord. So yes, it cost. But we need to understand having excuses for serving the Lord, it cost delay.
The second passage that I want us to consider is found in Luke chapter 14, and it is the other passage we have been considering as we started, I know last week, I believe, we looked at this passage. In Luke 14:15 "And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then he said unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servants at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his Lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room." And he tells him to go out even more. And then in verse 24, "For I say unto you, That none of those men, which were bidden shall taste of my supper." The whole context of this is the gospel. Just so you know, the whole context is the gospel. And the gospel is prepared, the banquet is prepared, it is complete, and he bids people to come into the banquet.
It is showing the invitation of Christ. And those that disagree, the Calvinists would say, wait a minute, you know, there is a special elect and all this and they get all bent out of shape. But right here in the text, guess what it is saying? It is saying that the invitation is to everyone, that is what the gospel is. The gospel is given to everyone and there is nothing that you or I have to do as far as for that banquet. I do not have to go into the banquet. I have to go to the kitchen and cook my own food. It is all done. That is the beauty of the gospel. It is a gospel feast that is ready. But in Luke chapter nine we see that excuses costs delay, and this passage we see that excuses cost damnation. And that is what you and I need to consider when we delay in acting upon what God tells us to do, realize that excuses cost damnation.
What do we mean by that? Here in this passage, did you notice that they said, we are not going to go, I am busy. And in this you see the characteristic of the gospel. It is ready. You do not have to do anything but give the gospel to somebody. You don't have to work it up. You don't have to die on the cross. You don't have to shed your blood. You don't have to save anybody. The gospel is ready--so give it out. The gospel is abundant. There is nothing lacking in this feast. There is nothing lacking in the gospel. All that come can feast because why, Jesus as we will partake, Jesus is the bread of life. They can partake of that and so we must be active in sharing the gospel. Why? Because excuses cost damnation. In this passage, what we are seeing is that with these guys, he said, don't let them in. People do not like hearing that. But yes, there is a free will, but you reject and reject and reject. And some of you, you have seen that. You have talked to relatives, you have talked to friends and loved ones that you have, saying, please won't you accept Jesus Christ. It is ready. It is abundant, you do not have to do anything. But you are like oh I am busy. Excuses cost damnation.
And that should weigh on us because there are people out there that have not heard. They have not heard that the gospel, it is ready and it is abundant. Bring them, bring them to Christ, don't use an excuse. You say, well I do not know what to say. Give them a track. I do not know what to say, just say come along with me to church. But you know what to say. It is an excuse. You have sat in the church services. I mean how many times do we preach on salvation? How many, how many opportunities do you have to learn about soul winning over and over. I am telling you, any of my staff would sit down with you and show you how to lead someone to Christ. We have books down in the bookstore that you can purchase and you can slide it into your Bible. You can cheat all you want. You do not have an excuse. And yet we offer so many excuses.
You see the gospel feast. You see the characteristic of the gospel, it is ready, it is abundant. But then you see that there is an urgency. You see the urgency, he says I need people at this banquet. Do you know why it is urgent for you and I because Christ is returning someday. And that means that that coworker, they may not see it as important, but that coworker without Christ is doomed. Your loved one without Christ is doomed. There is an urgency to the gospel and you see the reception of the gospel. There are some that are just hard-hearted. There are some that are proud. There are some that are preoccupied. There are some that are self-satisfied. And I think all of that we run into when we are trying to bring the gospel. We are trying to bring them to this banquet feast and say, here it is. The feast is there. You have to do nothing. All you have to do is come and dine, that is it. All you ever need and all you ever desire is there in Christ. So guess what we should be doing? Stop making excuses and delaying in going out and sharing Christ with others.
You see something else in this passage, and I think this is very true throughout our history. When the proud and the self satisfied and the preoccupied, when they all say, ah, no, I am busy, I have done this, I just bought a piece of land, the gospel still will go out. And so guess what we need to do? Look for the needy because in this passage he said, just go out because somebody wants to be at the feast. Ask God to lead you, guide you to somebody over the next couple of weeks. Stop making excuses. You don't think that there is somebody in Porter County or LaPorte County or in Lake County. You don't think that there is somebody that is needy. And then the other aspect of this, somebody neglected. That you can not say, Hey, I got a feast for you. We actually do have a feast in two weeks from now. All right, but we have a spiritual banquet. I have some place that you can go and you can find Christ. I can not give you all you need. As you sit there with them, probably they will tell you all their needs. And they are needy, there is a lot that needs done, but what you can do is you can bring them to Christ. In Christ they will find, as in Colossians, I think it is Colossians three it says right in the middle of a verse, "Christ, who is your life." I love that idea. Because you know what, in Christ, he is everything. Stop making excuses. Many times we make excuses and we are masters at making excuses. It is human nature.
In Genesis chapter three, an excuse was made. The man said, the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me and I did eat. And remember the woman she said, the serpent. And the serpent was like, uhh, it is me. He lost because there was no one else. Excuses. In Exodus Moses said unto the Lord, Oh my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. Come on, Moses. Remember God said, Hey, I made your tongue and I will be with you. Stop making excuses.
You can look it up. There is a story that is told about a 73-year-old guy that lived in Iowa. His name was Alden. Alden needed to visit his brother. His brother lived on the other side of the state. And Alden could not drive to his brother's house. He did not feel capable of driving there because he could not read road signs. His vision was pretty rough. And so because of that, and he knew that he could only drive below 20 miles an hour. (I think I have been behind this guy.) So Alden did what he could. His brother lived 240 miles on the other side. So he realized there was one thing he could do. He could ride his lawnmower. You can look it up. It is a famous story. Alden Straight is his name, he road 240 miles on his lawnmower to see his brother because he knew he was dying. When I read that, I think you know some of us are so sorry with our excuses. So there is a way.
And actually this morning in our Growing in Grace class, I was thinking about this because Pastor Armacost was talking about diligence. And I knew, I am preaching about excuses. And so he was talking about church and being diligent to church and being diligent in asking people to come out. And he said, isn't it amazing because, I think of as far as the idea of the church. You know, depending on what theory or what place you put as far as the start of the church, whether it is that Jesus started it or in Acts chapter two. Or some people, now there is a new one, I think it's in the middle of Acts. All right, so you got three different ideas. So if Jesus started it or an Acts chapter two or a little bit later, really you only got about 50 years difference there. So that is about 1900 years that he was saying before the invention of cars. And guess what people did, it was unbelievable. I was like, duh. People went to church before cars. How did they do it? How did they do that? Because now, like I don't have a ride. Do you got two legs? Alright, because guess what? In the book of Acts, I believe they went to church. Yeah. And in the city of Corinth, if you were to say, hey, I do not have a car. They didn't even know what it was. Probably somebody came up with it back then. It was probably, hey, I don't have a vehicle. All right, I don't have a vehicle. Can't get there! You do not even know what a vehicle is yet, dude. And you are coming up with the excuse. But that is the way some of us are. Think about it. I mean just in the last hundred years, unless you are in that special group that had the Model T. They were the only ones that had the car. Everybody else was like, I guess we got a walk to church. Yeah, that is what they have done just for hundreds of years, but we so often come up with excuses of why we can not do things. May God help us to stop making excuses.
The Bible tells us in a passage in Romans, I thought it was an interesting passage. In Romans chapter 13 the Bible says, "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light." Paul was challenging the church at Rome to say, come on guys, it is closer now. It is closer now to the Lord's return than this morning, did you know that? It is. It is time to get at it. Stop making excuses. May God help us to quit making excuses because excuses cause delay and excuses also cost eternal damnation. Some soul, I pray it is not because of my excuses that some soul does not hear about Christ because of me. May God help that burden to weigh upon us, and that we stop making excuses. Heads bowed, eyes closed.