The Christian and Excuses
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What is Our Excuse?
What is Our Excuse?
I was talking to a brother last week about the state of today’s church. When I say that, I mean how many believers have mixed the Truth of Christ with the lies of the world. Calling what is wrong right and calling what is right wrong. Justifying behaviors that are not of Christ and calling these theologies and behaviors Godly. It is heartbreaking. He said to me, Ryan said to me, “Imagine if these churches wrote a letter to the apostle Paul?” “What would his response be?” Wow!
I took it a step further and said to myself “What if I wrote a letter to the apostles, to Jesus Christ, sharing with them the reasons I did not do what I know to be right by the Word of God.” My words, my behaviors, how I treat others, my limited understanding of others, and I tried justifying those excuses.
I started writing a letter and realized that the excuses can be endless. I included excuses for not wanting to go to church, not sharing the Gospel, not forgiving others, getting angry, knee jerk reactions, and so on. Things I have struggled with.
Can I tell you something this morning. If you want to gain a closer walk with Jesus, write Him a letter, write the apostles a letter, and let Holy Spirit talk about that letter with you. That kind of brutal honesty is uncomfortable, it is needed, it is revealing, and it is an awesome opportunity to grow in the LORD.
When we talk about making “Jesus First” we are saying that He is the foundation. We filter everything through Jesus Christ, coming in and going out! Our decisions, our behaviors, our words, our actions, and our thoughts become His.
It is astonishing the excuses people are capable of making for not coming to Christ or for believers using Christ as a matter of convenience, almost like name dropping Jesus makes everything okay. As believers, we have been given an eternal and open invitation to the very throne room of God.
Now, there are those who give empty reasons for not coming to Christ, for completely rejecting His invitation. There are many who will reject His message. This is not going to change until the day every knee bows and every tongue confesses.
Unfortunately, some believers give empty reasons for not remaining in Christ and bearing their cross daily. Dying to self daily. Let’s look at a few scriptures where Jesus talks about making excuses.
15 Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!”
Jesus was just teaching about humility. The man who makes this comment to Jesus is a Pharisee. He is very wealthy, he is educated, he is a leader in the synagogue, and he is well respected. Jesus is about to turn expectations about the Kingdom of God upside down. Earthly wealth, position, education, none of these matter in His Kingdom.
Brothers and sisters, we are attending a Kingdom banquet right now. We come together on Sunday to celebrate and lift the name of Jesus Christ. We sing songs of worship, we dig into the Word, and we fellowship, as God intended.
We are being prepared to “GO” forth and share the good news. We each decide whether we will share Him with this world or keep him for ourselves. Look what Jesus says to this man:
16 Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations.
Jesus, the Messiah, is the man in this story. I am going to cut to the chase this morning. Three questions to keep in mind as we go forward.
Who did Jesus EXCLUDE from His invitation of salvation and grace?
Have YOU truly accepted His invitation of salvation and Lordship this morning?
Are you sharing His invitation with only those YOU deem worthy or with all people?
Jesus sent out the invitation. If you are a believer this morning, your job is to deliver the invitation with love, grace, and mercy. The invitation is to all people. The invitation is the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. How is that invitation shared?
From a preacher
From YOU, a witnessing believer!
17 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’
Do you see what Jesus says here! Who is His servant? You and me! We serve Him out of a great love this morning. That was not a onetime invitation. We are to live in and through Him daily. Be the ongoing invitation before others to the Kingdom Feast.
Here is a crucial point: There are those who are professing believers, they have accepted the invitation, yet are not preparing to attend the feast. When I say “preparing” I am saying that the fruit of the Spirit is not evident in the persons life. Jesus Christ tells us:
20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
I want to point out that He does not say by “our feelings” but by “our actions.” Jesus Christ tells us that the change in our hearts and minds, the internal change, produces change in our words and actions. In psychology it is refereed to as “externalized behaviors.” We externalize what we have inside of us.
One area that I asked Holy Spirit to work in me was cursing. I was verbally abusive to almost everybody. I used to cuss horribly! I knew that when I was cussing and tearing people down that I was tarnishing the image of Christ to those who were watching.
Does this mean I was not saved? I was absolutely saved by Christ. It took His people, many are hear today, not giving up on me and the Holy Spirit disciplining me. I had to stop making excuses. Blaming the way I grew up, blaming my parents, and blaming my environment. I was given the incredible opportunity through the blood of the perfect Lamb to be a light for Him. That requires leaving childish things behind and maturing in Christ.
Jesus goes on to say:
18 But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
We see a common thread here. These three people professed that they would be there originally, yet put the things of this world before the Great banquet.
This is a picture of those who profess the name of Jesus, yet make excuses for words and actions that are not of God. Those who profess the name of Jesus, but their fruit does not reflect salvation. Profess Jesus, yet never truly make Him LORD of their lives.
In essence, we are saying “Thank you Jesus, but I really have some other things to do first. I will come when things are going my way. I want to keep playing in this mess” We would expect this from a non-believer. It is astonishing that so many believers have adopted this mindset.
What excuses are you making this morning? What is it in your life that you know is not Christ-like, yet you make excuses for clinging to it, for not changing, are we squashing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives? Listen, this could be behaviors, friends, alcohol, drugs, cursing, gossip, the list is endless.
Here is the deal, we are not failures and we are not victims. We can make all the excuses in the world, but we either believe that through Jesus Christ, we are victors or we do not. Whatever it is that we face in this world, we will overcome by the power and Glory of Jesus Christ. Jesus promise us:
33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Just before Jesus was betrayed by Judas and arrested, He made this prophetic statement. He knew he was about to carry every sin of the world, past, present, and future, upon himself. I want you to understand something: When we talk about Jesus carrying every sin, it means he experienced all of the worlds sin while on the cross. So that all could come to Him and through Him to the Glory of the Father.
Who are we to invite to the Kingdom feast?
23 So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.
Jesus tells us again to “Go” and find those who are hurt, confused, in the throes of despair, brokenness, and imperfection. Jesus wants His house full, and He has tasked us with bringing others to the living water. You have a testimony to share. You are His witness until all the nations. You are the proof of Christ’s love.
Worship Team to Stage
Jesus did not make excuses. After Jesus ascended to the Kingdom, the Apostles stopped making excuses. We have the whole story, we know the Truth and the Truth is Jesus Christ. How long are we going to make excuses?
Through the blood of the perfect lamb, you are an overcomer, you are nobility, you are a precious child of the Most High God. Let Holy Spirit continue to develop His fruit in Your life. As John the Baptist put it:
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
Boldly go to the throne room and pray He remove those things in your life that are not of Him. Allow Holy Spirit to minister to you. Allow Jesus to heal those wounds. Be Jesus to this cruel and broken world.