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Sunday, January 25, 2015 am                                        Perfection 2015 Index

 

Going on To Perfection (4)
THEY ALL BEGAN TO MAKE EXCUSES
Luke 14:18
WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE?

 Luke 14:15-24 Jesus tells the parable of a great supper.

We have been discussing the need to move ahead and addressing the importance of determination and a proper mindset.   I am convinced everyone here wants to make substantial progress in spiritual matters this year (and throughout our lives, but will we?  As we have seen, desire is not enough.  It must be accompanied by real change, both in attitude and action. 

 As we address the subject of going on to perfection in the lives of Christians, today we want to discuss the subject of excuses.  An excuse is an attempt to lessen the blame attached to a fault or offense.  It is an effort to justify an action.[1]

We find excuses frequently today.  Most, if not all of us, use excuses from time to time.  Some are innocent, but most are dangerous to the soul.  In our society, we are often taught that our actions are not our fault.  One says, “I cannot help it”, “I was born that way”, “It was the environment I was raised in”,  “I’m not as bad as…”, “But…”, etc.

Quite often when there is a failure in one’s faith or moral conduct it is followed by an excuse.  Whether it be one’s attendance record, a failure to grow spiritually as you ought to, a neglected task, living with mediocrity and spiritual indifference, wrongful conduct and attitudes toward your brethren, etc. – excuses are often offered – “the car wouldn’t start”, “I didn’t feel well”, “friends stopped by at the last minute”, “I had to work”, etc.  
Often, when one puts off obeying the gospel he will offer excuses, “I’m not ready”, “I don’t know enough”, “I intend to obey soon, but.”

ARE such excuses acceptable to God?  In our lessons today, we want to address the subject of excuses as it relates to our need to go on to perfection.   This morning we are going to address excuses from the Bible.  Tonight we want to address the excuses of Moses in Exodus 2 & 3 as they relate to personal evangelism.

 I.                    Biblical Examples of Excuses

a.        The very first sin was accompanied by excuses. Adam and Eve – Genesis 3:10-13, after disobeying God by eating the forbidden fruit we find them passing of blame.  Adam blamed it on Eve (and perhaps God Himself), Eve blamed it on the serpent (Satan).  As a result both were driven from the Garden of Eden and a series of curses (including death) were pronounced against man, woman and the serpent (Gen. 3:14-19).

b.       King Saul – 1 Samuel 15.  When he was commanded to utterly destroyed the Amalekites, Saul and the people spared the king and brought back the choice animals contrary to the instructions of the LORD.  When confronted by Samuel, King Saul gave several “excuses” – the animals are for sacrifices spared by the people (15:15).  Later he was more adamant and said he obeyed even though he spared the king.  “But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen,…to sacrifice…”(15:20-21).    In vs. 24 when he admitted he had sinned he spoke of fearing the people and obeying their voice.
Because Saul had disobeyed God he was rejected as king.

c.        Jesus – follow Me – Luke 9:57-62.  As Jesus is teaching He invites some to follow Him.  They offer excuses – “let me go and bury my father first” (not necessarily, something immediate)
Another, “let me God and bid my family farewell first”.  In both cases Jesus answered their excuses.  He must be first.

d.       Jesus – the one talent servant – Matt. 25:24-25, the one talent servant, “I was afraid”…  He was condemned to outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

e.       Jesus – parable of the great supper – Luke 14:15-24 - Jesus gives the parable of a man who gave a great supper and invited many.  As the time arrived those invited (14:18) began to make excuses. 
One said, “I have bought a piece of ground and need to go and see it.”  An excuse that says, “I need to do something else” first.  It is a matter of priorities and preferences.  QUESTION: IF he had waited until the next day (or week), would the property still be there?  Would it be his? NOT VALID!
HOW MANY today let stuff get in the way of serving God – recreation, activities, dealing with property, etc.?
Another, “I have bought five yoke of oxen and need to test them.”   Some equate this with work.  “I have to work so I can’t…”  QUESTION: Again, could the oxen be tested the next day?
HOW MANY today let their jobs get in their way of serving God?  They always have something that needs to be done right now. 
Another, “I just got married”, please excuse me.  He allowed his family responsibilities and desires to get in his way of going to the feast, keeping a commitment.  HOW MANY today let family stand in their way of obeying God?  They use family to get out of activities, etc.
When it was reported to the master he was angry and sent his servant into the highways and hedges to bring in whoever was available.  Those invited would NOT taste of his supper.
The warning is, DON’T PUT OFF obeying Him.  Excuses will NOT excuse you from accountability.

f.         Moses – Exodus 3 & 4, (lesson tonight)

 

 II.                  The Christian and Excuses

a.        There are legitimate reasons why someone is unable to do something.  But brutal honesty eliminates many so-called reasons.   A legitimate reason is one in which you explain the WHOLE situation without any embellishment.  It’s the absolute truth about why you did or did not do something.  And it is usually an answer to an unusual circumstance. 
YOU know the difference!  You may lie to others, but deep down you know the truth!

b.       There is NEVER a legitimate reason to engage in sinful conduct!  1 Cor. 10:13, James 4:17 – to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. 

c.        Excuses will keep you from going on to perfection.  Excuses are often an attempt to escape accountability or to seek validation for one’s conduct or condition.   As long as you do not face up to your sins, failures and weaknesses, you will NOT seek genuine change. 
Genuine repentance requires complete honesty. “No ifs, ands or buts!”

d.       Sometimes excuses have some truth in them.  In fact, everything said may be the truth.  BUT, is it the WHOLE truth?  Many times when a man places blame on another, what he says is true, but it’s often not the whole story.  Are you going to allow someone else to dictate how you respond to the situation? 
Sometimes, a legitimate reason can turn into an excuse.  When you use the same “reason” over and over, it is possible that you are not making due effort to overcome that circumstance.  I.e.  How long will one say, “I don’t know enough” and it be acceptable.  When someone has “chronic” issues, are they doing everything they can to overcome or lessen them?  At times, they CAN change, but they choose not to.  (I.e. They don’t really want to be made well – cf. John 5:6)
Sometimes the reasons given are too vague – “I’m trying”, “But it’s so hard”, or “Sorry, I messed up again”, etc.  Such are often more about defeat rather than taking responsibility.  Often when a coach chastises a player, he doesn’t want excuses.  He wants you to accept responsibility for your failure, to learn from it and do it right the next time. 

e.       An excuse (unless it is the absolute truth) is a lie.  When one fails to tell the truth, he lies! 
ONE of the problems prevalent in our society is a lack of honesty and integrity when dealing with the facts of circumstances.  For example: MOST of politics involves distortions of the truth.  A distortion is deceit!  It is a failure to accurately disclose the circumstance.  The same can be true spiritually.  When we make excuses, we are engaging in deceit.  We are lying, to others and at times to ourselves.
Rev. 21:8 – ALL liars will have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.
James 3:14 says, “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.” Such wisdom is described as sensual, earthly and demonic.

f.         Excuses anger the Lord God – In Exodus 3 & 4, when the Lord appeared to Moses at the burning bush and made several excuses, Exodus 4:14 tells us, “So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses…”
In the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:26-28) demonstrates the anger of the master at the servant’s failure to obey, his laziness and his excuses.
In Luke 14:21, when the servant reported to the master of the house the excuses we are told that he was angry.
Ecclesiastes 5:6,  Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands?” (,

g.        Excuses are NOT accepted by God - in every example of excuses above we find that they accomplished nothing.  God did NOT accept them and punishment ensued accordingly.  Romans 1:20 tells us that man is without excuse as we consider the existence of God in this world.
Rom. 2:1, “You are inexcusable…” for one’s sinful conduct (in this text it was false judging).

Excuses do not change the consequences, nor do they eliminate the accountability of one’s conduct.

On the Day of Judgment, excuses will not be accepted!  Revelation20:12 tells us that in judgment books will be opened and we will be judged by that which is written in those books.
Your excuses will get you nowhere. Luke 13:24-27, cf. Matt. 7:21-23.  People may say all sorts of things on the Day of Judgment, but it will NOT change your destiny!

h.       Like every other sin, excuses can be forgiven.  1 John 1:9 tells us if we confess our sins (primarily to the Father) He is faithful and just to forgive us.  Of course, genuine repentance is required.   But you can be forgiven.  SO, if in the past you have lived your life filled with excuses, just resolve that from this day forward, you will be truthful.

 

And thus we can see that we need to eliminate excuses in our lives.  As we strive to “go on to perfection” this year, let us eliminate whatever excuses we are making.  LIVE so that you have no reason to make excuses!    Think about it. 

When you stand before God In judgment, what possible excuse will you offer?


[1] Adapted from, “Excuse” Google Public Date,