INTRO: I read of a policeman who stopped a driver for speeding. The drivers defense? I was trying to stay two car lengths in front of the car behind me! What an excuse! Human beings are masters of the art of excuse making. It started in the Garden of Eden with the finger pointing of Adam and Eve. The text read this morning is filled with excuse making ... and the folly of it! For the purpose of this study I am going to assume we know right from wrong.
I. THE TEXT: LK 14:16-24
A. An invitation to a great feast
1. there is a blessing in responding correctly
2. Rom 2:6-11
B. These were people of knowledge
1. v. 16 is a first, formal invitation - v.17 is the dinner bell invitation
2. there was knowledge ... and refusal
C. The excuses were hollow, ridiculous
1. when wanting an excuse, any one will do
2. bottom line they didnt want to respond correctly!
D. v. 24 is a strong statement!
1. reality? the Lord will not accept excuses
2. reject the Lord and His way and we must suffer the consequences
II. WHY DO WE MAKE EXCUSES?
A. To conceal failure - avoid consequences
1. while consequences may follow, confession is best
2. 1 Jno 1:8,9
B. To cover a lack of desire
1. in the narrative that seems to be the case!
2. such excuse making is dishonest at best - Eph 4:25
C. To make wrong things right
1. thus, to have our own way - justification
2. Gal 6:7 with Jas 1:22 such purpose in our excuse making is self deception ... what is wrong is wrong!
D. To avoid responsibility
1. there are times we consider responsibility to be onerous ... and seek to escape it
2. but responsibility - if ours - is ours - Eccl 12:13,14
III. WHO IS SATISFIED BY EXCUSES?
A. Rarely, the person who receives it
1. excuses have a way of sounding like excuses!
2. our excuse making is really dishonesty which will probably come back to haunt us in some way
B. The Lord never accepts excuses - He knows truth
1. Mt 25:24-30 the man came with excuses
2. but the excuses were not considered!
C. Perhaps the person giving it
1. we have a way of convincing ourselves that we are convincing
2. but most excuses really create doubt, insecurity, even guilt
D. Excuses do not change truth, reality!
IV. SO, WHO, OR WHAT, TAKES PRECEDENCE IN OUR LIVES?
A. Are we making excuses for moral, spiritual choices?
1. perhaps the world really is too much with us
2. if we desire a questionable course and follow it with some excuse, the Lord is not dominating!
B. Mt 5:37 We must be honest with self and God!
1. 1 Thes 4:1,2 how we ought to walk ... and to please God
2. here really is the issue for us
CLOSE: Can we please God while offering excuses for not doing what we ought to do?
Cecil A. Hutson
05 September 1999
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)