ML-2 - Excuses, Excuses, Excuses
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Have you ever really stopped and thought about the excuses men
sometimes make for not serving God? Luke 14:18 Jesus said, “They all
with one accord began to make excuses.”
As we think about excuses, is God really pleased with the excuses
we sometimes make?
Today we will think more about man and his excuses for not serving
God. In Luke 14 Jesus told a parable, or a story, to represent the pitiful
excuses that men sometimes make for not putting God first.
Let’s look at this story beginning in Luke 14:16. The Bible says, “Then
he said to him, A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and
sent his servants at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘come for
all things are now ready,’ but they all with one accord began to make
excuses. The first said to him, ‘I've bought a piece of ground and I must go
and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I've bought
five yoke of oxen, and I'm going to test them, I ask you to have me
excused.’ Still another said, ‘I've married a wife and therefore I cannot
come.’ So that servant came and reported the things to the master. Then
the master of the house being angry said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into
the streets and the lanes of the city and bring in the poor and the maimed
and the lame and the blind.’ And the servant did as the master said, and
said to the master, ‘is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’”
When I think about this story of the master who's opened up the
wedding feast and all are invited to come, and the excuses they made, I
think how pitiful even these excuses were. Stop and think about the three
excuses that are made here. The first man says, ‘I can't come.’ Well why
not? ‘I just bought a piece of property, and I need to go see it.’ Now friend,
if there was a pitiful excuse that's indeed one. How many people do you
know that buy property without first looking at it? I'm not going to buy
property without looking at it. You're not going to buy property without
looking at it. How do you know that is not full of brambles and briars and
bushes that you couldn't cut down? Any person in his right mind is going to
look at a property before he buys it.
The second man even gets worse. The invitation goes out again
come to the feast, ‘I can't come.’ Why not? ‘Bought some oxen, I've got to
go and test them.’ Now remember we're talking about suppertime here.
We're talking about prior to the invention of the flashlight. In the middle of
the dark, a man is going to miss a free meal, because he wants to go test
oxen. Really, that's your excuse? You can't come to a free meal to the
supper, because at night you want to go out and see how your oxen work?
Again, a pretty pitiful excuse.
But, the third is the worse excuse of all. The cry goes out to this man,
come to the supper. ‘Can't come.’ Why not? ‘I just married a wife.’ Wait a
minute now; I want you to think about this excuse for just a minute. How
many newlyweds do you know that can afford to pass up a free meal?
Friend if there were ever a pitiful excuse that's it. And Jesus knew that, the
master knew that, and so he opened it up for everybody. He's angry
because of the excuses that are made to come to this great supper.
The story no doubt represents God. God has made His plan of
salvation, His salvation available to all men. Jesus said, “Come unto me all
ye that labor and are heavy laden and I'll give you rest,” Matthew 11:28 and
that cry and that plea has gone far and wide. And yet too many times men
make excuses for not serving God.
You've heard some of them. I've heard them, ‘I'm too tired; I can't
serve God right now; I need to sleep; I’ve got to stay in on Sunday,
because it's my only day to sleep; well there's somebody else who could
probably do it better than I can do it;’ and a host of other excuses are often
offered. One thing we learn in the Bible is that God is never pleased with
Moses tried it. Exodus 3:4 Moses said, “Surely you can find
somebody better than me.” And God said to Moses, “I'll help you out, but
you have stop making excuses.” So when we think about these excuses
that men often make, Saul made a horrible excuse when he offered that
sacrifice in the place of the priest that wasn't authorized. Saul said it was
the people. God said it wasn't the people, it was you and your pride, and
that excuse didn't work with God.
Then, you've got people like Felix and Agrippa. Felix said as an
excuse, when he heard the gospel preached Felix said, “Go away for now.
When I've got a more convenient time, I'll call upon you.” ‘Well, it's just not
convenient; now's not a good time, maybe a little later.’ Agrippa said as an
excuse, “Almost you persuade me to become a Christian,” Acts 24:25 and
Acts 26:28. All of those excuses were not pleasing unto God.
Let's realize man's excuses will not work with God.
Now I want to think today practically about some of the excuses that if
we're not careful, we can find ourselves making for really not putting God
first. Number one and this is one that we hear probably the most, ‘I just
don't have the time to really serve God and do the things that need to be
done.’ Maybe elders in a Congregation, or a work needs to be done and
the cry goes out for helpers, and so many times people say, ‘I'm just so
busy; I don't have time.’ Wait a minute now; we all have 24 hours in a day,
seven days in a week, and 365 days in a year. Is it really a matter of not
having time or not making time? God knows the difference.
John 9:4 the blind man said, “We must work the works of Him who
sent us while it's day for the night comes, when no man works.” As long as
we have opportunity and the ability, we need to use our time to serve God.
You see, time is going to be very brief for each one of us. The Bible says
we've got 70, if we're lucky by chance 80 years upon this earth; Psalm
90:10-12. What am I going to do for God? Am I going to put God and His
kingdom first with the time that I have?
Remember, “What is your life but a vapor that appears for a little
while and then it vanishes away,” James 4:14. It's appointed a man once to
die. Time is running out and then the judgment. And so, let's ask ourselves
is it really a matter of not having time? Or, is a matter of not taking
advantage of our opportunity?
You see as Christians one of the things the Bible teaches us is, we've
got to take advantage of now. Matthew 25 you've got the foolish virgins.
Five were ready when the master bridegroom came. They went into the
wedding feast with him. The five foolish virgins, they weren't ready. And so,
they went into the city to buy oil. The Bible says that the door was shut, and
they came back their chance was gone. They didn't take advantage of their
opportunity. They didn't prepare ahead of time. You think of a 2 Corinthians
6:1-2 the Bible says, “Now is the accepted time, today is the day of
Friend if I don't learn to serve God now, it's going to be a long time in
eternity thinking about why I didn't. Matthew 25:46, “The righteous shall go
away into eternal life the unrighteous into eternal death or torment.”
Let's say that I kept making the excuse, ‘I just don't have time.’ Well
I've got as much time as everybody else, but I keep making that excuse.
And then on the other side, I find myself in torment. I've got all the time in
the world to think about why I didn't use my time correctly. Friend let's think,
do we really not have time? Or is that just an excuse we're making,
because we really don't want to do the things that we should do?
Then a second excuse that sometimes people make is, we let the
world, greed, and worldliness sometimes gets in the way of being servants
of God. Again we're reminded of an illustration of an individual who just
couldn't get the world out of the way long enough to put God first. That man
we think of is the rich fool. Luke 12:15-21, he had preplanned to have a
great crop year. The Bible says he had a great crop year so much so that
as he brought his harvest in, he had to tear down his barns and build bigger
barns. He made preparation for a good crop year, made preparation to
build his barns up again took a lot of time and effort doing those. Of this
man Jesus said, “You fool this night will your soul be required of you.”
What kept that man from serving God? Worldliness, greed, and not
giving attention to his soul. It gets in the way of so many people serving
God. Can you help with the Lord's work? Can you put God first? What is it
that's getting in the way? And too many times, it's worldliness and it's
greed. ‘Do not be deceived,’ the Bible says, ‘God is not mocked
whatsoever man that sows that will he also reap,’ Galatians 6:6-10. The
Bible says worldliness and godliness cannot go hand-in-hand. ‘Do not love
the world or the things in the world, for all that is the world. Lust of the flesh,
lust of the eyes, the pride of life, it's not of the father; but it's of the evil one
and the world. And all that's in it is passing away, but he who does the will
of God, that's the one that will abide forever.’
Am I chasing things of this world so much? Am I trying to get a big
job? Am I trying to build a bigger house? Am I trying to have more stuff and
junk to the point that God is excluded, that working in the church is
excluded, that that that the growing of my own soul and the salvation of
souls, I just don't have time for that?
If I am chasing after this world, and it becomes my focus, that's a sad
life to live. This world and all that's in it, the Bible says, is passing away.
Now you think about this, what if you are chasing after those things and
you got everything you wanted in this life? And then you lost your soul. You
wanted a bigger house, you wanted a nicer car, you wanted all the money
in the world, and you achieved every one of those goals. And then, you
went to hell. Would you think to yourself then, what a foolish waste of time
and how horrible those excuses were that I made?
Again friend, we're not saying necessarily that having things or stuff
of this world in and of itself is bad, but if those things become my excuse
for not serving God, not putting my soul first, and not trying to do the work
of the Lord that's going to be a very sad and pitiful life, especially on the
The encouragement is, let's not put our hope in things of this life.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:34-36, ‘Of the world and all that's in it is going to
pass away, but he who does the will of God, he'll endure forever.’ Yes the
word of God's going to last, but this world, 2 Peter 3:10-12, it's going to be
burned up with a fervent heat and everything in it is one day going to
disappear. Let's not put our hope on something we know is going to pass
Then I hear sometimes a third excuse people often make for not
serving God. Sometimes people say, ‘well it there just as it's just too
demanding, or it asks too much of me; it's too hard on me; it requires too
much time; it's just too demanding of my time and my talents.’ Friend, I
want you to really stop and think. When I think: this is too much work, or
this requires too much, or I have to give too much of myself. Can I really
say that in view of what God has done for me? How demanding, how
difficult, how taxing was it for God to send His son to this world. The Paul
the Bible says in Romans 12:1- 2, “I beg you by the mercies of God that
you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God,”
listen now, “which is your reasonable service.”
Is it really asking too much of us to do the things God wants us to in
the Bible? Not in view of all that God's done for me! He worked tirelessly
throughout the seam of time, throughout the history of time to bring
salvation putting up with man and his excuses over and over again. God
worked to bring salvation. He sent His own son, and His son came to this
earth lived among men, put up with their excuses then, and died on a cruel
cross, while men mocked Him and spit on Him and beat Him, so that they
can have salvation. Look at all God did! Look at all that Jesus did!
How dare I ever say it's asking too much, it's too demanding for me to
serve God! What if Jesus took that attitude? What if Jesus said, ‘No the
cross isn't a joy anymore; I'm not going up there’? Hebrews 12:1-2. What if
he said, ‘No these people are going to laugh at me, and mock me and spit
upon me; they're not going to appreciate what I did just not worth it’? What
if He never bore our sins and His own body upon the tree? What if Jesus
had the attitude that some people have, ‘they're asking too much of me’?
That's just not acceptable, when we think about all that God is done
for us. Like Christ, we need to have the attitude of giving to God. 1
Corinthians 6:19-20 sums it up so beautifully. The Bible says, “Do you not
know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? Who is in you, whom
you have from God? And you are not your own.” What do you mean? “For
you were bought at a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your
spirit which are His.”
Let's have the attitude Jesus wants us to have. I'm going to take up
my cross and bear it daily to serve Him. ‘For to me to live is Christ and to
die is gain.’ You know sometimes when we think about excuses people
make there are some others that are often made. I understand to an extent
some of these things are important. For example, sometimes people let
other people get in the way of them putting God first. Sometimes we let
family get in the way of serving God. Don't get me wrong, God created the
family to help man, to be an encouragement, to work along beside each
other, and yet if we're not careful, we can elevate our family to a place they
don't need to be. Jesus clearly taught us who our true family is. Mark 3:35
they came to Jesus and they said, “Lord, do you not care that your mother
and your brothers are calling to you? Jesus looked around, saw that as
great teaching opportunity, He looked around the circle of the people there
and said, ‘These are my mother and my brother and my sister, whoever
does the will of God.’”
What did Jesus teach me there about family? Our true family is
citizens of the kingdom with us. Our true family members are the Lord's
church, and let's not let physical worldly sometimes heathen members of
our family get in the way of us serving God. I hear people say, “Well I
couldn't make it, or I couldn't do this, because family came.” Wait a minute
now, you don't have the correct view of who family is! If they're your true
family, they'll be right there beside you working and striving in the kingdom
Sometimes I think people make the excuse, “Well nobody will ever
know if I don't do these things, or if I don't participate, or if I'm not as faithful
as I ought to be nobody will ever really know; I can get away with it.” Can't
get away with God. The Bible says in Hebrews 4:13, “All things are open
and naked before the eyes of Him with whom we must give an account.”
Proverbs 15:3, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the good
and the evil.” And so, let's be careful and not make excuses for not serving
But then friend, I want to turn our attention to another excuse, area of
excuses that we often hear. We hear people make excuses for not obeying
the gospel. In some of these, I think people may really be struggling with in
their own mind. Sometimes when maybe somebody's been coming to a
service, or maybe somebody's going church all the life, and they never
obeyed the gospel, or you're sitting down across the table from somebody,
and you say, ‘You know we’ve read these passages today, you've heard
the sermon, you you've studied this in your Bible. Why don't you go ahead
be baptized?” Someone says, “Well I'm too sinful.” Wait a minute now,
that's the very reason Christ came. Christ came because we are sinful.
Nobody can be too sinful for Christ to take away their sins. Paul said in 1
Timothy 1:15, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance that
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” now listen to this, “of
whom I am chief.” Paul viewed himself as chief of sinners.
I think sometimes people think in their own mind, ‘I've done too much
evil; I've been too bad; I've committed these heinous sins, and I could
never make atonement for those.’ You don't have to make atonement, and
you can never be too bad for God to save you from your sins, that's the
whole reason He came. Must you turn from that? Sure, but if you're willing
to change, God's willing to wipe all that away. In fact all of us at one time
have been too bad have we not? Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fallen
short of the glory of God.” We've all had to deal with the sin problem. “The
wages of that sin is death,” Romans 6:23. All our righteousness is like filthy
rags in God's sight, Isaiah 64:6. Of our own, none of us are good enough in
and of ourselves. And you, when you have done all these things
commanded you, Jesus said say, “I'm an unprofitable servant that I've only
done that which was my duty to do so.” Don't say to yourself, ‘I can't obey
the gospel because I'm too bad; I'm too sinful.’ Friend, those are the very
people Christ came to save.
Then sometimes I hear people say, as it relates to obeying the
gospel, they give the excuse just like Felix and just like Agrippa. ‘Yeah I've
heard the plan of salvation, I know that's what I need to do, and I'm going to
do that some other time. I’m eventually going to get around to it. I know I
need to do it, it's not convenient now. Do it some other time.’ Do you
remember Acts 24:25? Felix said, “Go away for now, when I've got a more
convenient time; I'm going to call on you.” I can't tell you the number of
times I've sat down with people, studied the Bible, and they said, ‘You
know that's right, but now is just not a good time for me to do that.’ What do
you mean not a good time?
Now is the accepted time! Today is the day of salvation! There’s an
old saying and it's so true; it says the road to hell is paved with good
intentions. What about all those people who said, ‘I know that's right, I'm
going to obey the gospel, and one day I'm going to become a Christian,’
and never got that opportunity? They wanted to deep down. They probably
had some desire to, but they just never got around to it. Wouldn't it be
horrible to save yourself for all of eternity? You know, I was planning on
obeying the gospel one day, and now I'm in this place of torment forever,
because I never got around to it.
The saddest words in the entire Bible I think are found in Acts 26:28.
Agrippa said, “Almost you persuade me become a Christian.” Can you
imagine what it would be like for all eternity to be this close? “Almost,” I
became a Christian. Friend almost didn't do Agrippa any good, and it won't
do folks any good today as well.
Then sometimes I hear people say, ‘Well I want to become a
Christian, but I've got to get some of these things straight in my life; I've got
to get some things worked out in my life.’ That may be the case that a
person really needs to turn from sin and take care of certain things in their
life. But friend, don't let that be an excuse. Start working on that
immediately. Let's say somebody has a sin that they've got to make a
determination, I'm going to turn from this sin. Start at that point and say I'm
going to repent. Make up your mind, ‘I'm going to turn from that.’ Maybe
there's some situation they've got to remedy, whatever it is don't let
excuses get in the way of you serving God.
Remember Jesus' words Luke 14:18, “They all with one accord
began to make excuses.” Let's think about our own service to God and
think about where we are right now. Let's be motivated to challenge
ourselves in and really look at our own Christian life. Ask yourself today:
Am I really serving? Am I working? Am I being as faithful in attending the
services of the Lord as I ought to be? Or when those questions are asked,
do we begin to make excuses? Do we say, ‘well my job just won't let me.’
Wait a minute now, if I've got a job that is preventing me from putting God
first, maybe the case that I need to look elsewhere. ‘Well I've got too many
other obligations; I need to clear the plate and really focus on what's
important. Well they're just asking too much of me.’ Wait a minute now in
view of all that God did for us, can God ask too much of us?
Think about our own life. Let's think about, are we really serving God
like we ought to? And friend as we think about excuses, especially as it
relates to obedience to the gospel, I want you to consider seriously your
own salvation. Have you obeyed the gospel? Maybe you say, ‘I've heard
the gospel. I know what the gospel is, and I thought about obeying it.’ What
kept you from obeying it? Maybe there was some excuse that you made.
Maybe you said, ‘well I'm going to do it some other time.’
Friend how do you know there'll be some other time? Remember our
life is like a vapor all we're promised is right now. 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 says
this, “Now is the accepted time, today is the day of salvation.” What do I
have promise of? Now and today. Let's take advantage of what we know
now and obey the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The gospel is not hard to obey. The gospel means good news, and
here's the good news: Jesus came to the world as our Savior. The Bible
says, ‘You'll call his name Jesus. He'll save His people from their sins.’ He
lived a perfect life. He died on a cruel cross, so that we can have salvation.
He's made forgiveness of sins and the hope of heaven available for every
Do you believe that Jesus really is Savior? When Philip and Ethiopian
eunuch were traveling down the road, they came to a body of water and he
said ‘Here's water what hinders me from being baptized? If you believe with
all your heart, you may.’ He heard the message; he believed it. He was no
doubt willing to change his life, turn from sin, and turn to God. And that man
was baptized into Christ for the remission of his sins, Paul said in Acts
22:16. Ananias put this statement on Paul he said, “Saul Saul why tarriest
thou? What your excuse for waiting? Arise and be baptized and wash away
Friend, let's stop making excuses. Let's serve God. Let's put Him first,
for God does not and will not accept man's excuses.
Study Questions for: “Motivational Lesson 2”
1. In Luke 14:18, what did the men begin to do?
2. In Luke 14, what was the 1st excuse made?
3. What was the 3nd excuse given in Luke 14?
4. After the 3rd excuse in Luke 14, what does the master of the house
decide to do?
5. According to Matthew 11:28, what will Jesus give us?
6. How does God respond to Moses’ excuse in Exodus 3:4?
7. In Acts 24:25 and Acts 26:28, what was the excuse that Felix and
8. According to John 9:4, when must we work the work of Jesus?
9. What does James 4:14 tell us about life?
10. According to Matthew 25:46, where do the unrighteous go?