Thursday, October 14, 2010 - Making excuses before God
James 1:13-15 - Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God;" for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
In psychology and logic, rationalization (or making excuses) is a defense mechanism in which perceived controversial behaviors or feelings are explained in a rational or logical manner to avoid the true explanation. Everyone is guilty of making excuses at one time or another. It's starts very early in life. Kids are great sources of laying blame somewhere else or for using excuses. Whether it comes in the form of "he/she did it," "it wasn't me," "he/she made me do it," and "everyone is doing it," the list of excuses start early and seem to continually grow. When was the last time you asked your child to do something such as clean their room? Suddenly everything becomes more important in their mind than that and they have a ready made excuse for you.
The same thing occurs in our spiritual life. From the beginning of time man has been placing blame on someone else for their sin before God. It is interesting how our word "excuse" has developed in the English language. It originally meant, "to give a defense or reason for something." However, it has come to mean, "An unjustified or false reason for something, a false reason given to cover up the real reason." The Bible is full of those who would throw excuses upon the Mercy Seat of God. How did he respond? Consider the following:
1.Excuses that God didn’t accept 1.1.Adam and Eve 1.1.1.Gen. 2:16-17 - And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. 1.1.2.But they did! 1.1.3.Gen. 3:1-6 - Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which Jehovah God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden?And the woman said unto the serpent, Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat 1.1.4.Gen. 3:11-12 - And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 184.108.40.206.Adam blames God and then he blames Eve 1.1.5. God's response is found in verse 17 - And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. 220.127.116.11.Temptation didn’t justify disobedience for either Adam or Eve 18.104.22.168. Placing the blame on someone else, especially God, does not provide you a safety net from personal responsibility. 1.1.6.When ANYONE knows the will of God, and violates it, he is without excuse.
1.2.King Saul 1.2.1.When Saul was sent to destroy the Amalekites he was told to slay all of them and all of their animals, ox and sheep, camel and ass. 1.2.2.In I Samuel 15:9 we’re told - But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but everything that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly. 1.2.3.When God came to Samuel the prophet he told him - It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king; for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments 1.2.4.When Samuel confronts Saul - Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of Jehovah, and have gone the way which Jehovah sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the devoted things, to sacrifice unto Jehovah thy God in Gilgal.And Samuel said, Hath Jehovah as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of Jehovah? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams 1.2.5.When Saul is finally confronted with the truth, he admits he has sinned.He had rejected God’s word.
1.3.King David and others moved the Ark of the Covenant in a way which God had not authorized (he moved it on a cart – not on the shoulders of the Levites, as God had authorized, I Chron. 15:1-15; 13:1-14; II Sam. 6:1-11).Because the affair involved an unauthorized way of moving the ark, and because an unauthorized man touched it, he was destroyed by God. 1.3.1.And while there were no excuses were given in this story, we should see that even the most sincere motives, a man touching the ark to keep it from falling, do not justify disobedience to God
1.4.The parable involving the one talent man 1.4.1.Matthew 25:24-25 - “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.” 22.214.171.124.The one talent man was called wicked and lazy for the excuse he gave
1.5.The parable of the Great Supper 1.5.1. Luke 14:16-27 - Then He said to him, "A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, "and sent his servant 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 have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.' "And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.'"Still another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.'"So that servant came and reported these things to his master. 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 here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.'"And the servant said, 'Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.'"Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.'For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.'" 1.5.2.Those who offered excuses for declining the invitation to the great supper were then deprived of the privilege of attending.
“Faithfulness will find a way. Indifference will find an excuse.” We use excuses in our spiritual life. Those who don’t obey Christ by being born again will use excuses such as: "I’m too busy," "I don’t feel like it," "I’m not sure I need to," "I don’t believe God will condemn me forever," or "there is plenty of time." Those who are Christians also have excuses for not being faithful to Christ: "I have too many things to do," "It isn’t easy to live the Christian life, and I can’t do it," "I don’t get much out of the services or Bible class," or "I don’t see a need in being there on Sunday night or Wednesday night."Our excuses show a lack of faithfulness to Jesus and to God."
Yet what do we see about Christ’s and God’s faithfulness to us?
1.The Faithfulness of Jesus... 1.1.Jesus was faithful in fulfilling His role as the Son of God 1.2.Just as Moses was faithful as a servant – Heb. 3:1-2 - Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house 1.3.Jesus was faithful in carrying out the work given Him 1.3.1.John 4:34 - Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to accomplish his work 1.3.2.John 5:30 - I can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is righteous; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of him that sent me 1.3.3.John 6:38 - For I am come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me 1.3.4.John 8:29 - And he that sent me is with me; he hath not left me alone; for I do always the things that are pleasing to him 1.4.He is also faithful in the role of being our high priest 1.4.1.Heb. 2:17-18 - Wherefore it behooved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted 1.5.Faithful, because He understands our weaknesses 1.5.1.Heb. 4:14-15 - Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin 1.6.Faithful, because He richly supplies us with grace and mercy 1.6.1.Heb. 4:16 - Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need
2.The Faithfulness of God... 2.1.God has always been known as a God of faithfulness 2.1.1.Deut. 7:9 - Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments 2.2.And toward those who are His children, He is faithful (reliable, trustworthy)... 2.3.Not to allow us to be tempted beyond that we are able to bear 126.96.36.199 Cor. 10:13 - No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it 2.4.To protect us from the evil one 2.4.1.II Thes. 3:3 - But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one 2.5.To complete His work of salvation in us 2.5.1.I Thes. 5:23-24 - Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it 2.6.But to fully benefit from the faithfulness of Jesus and God, we must be faithful as well! 2.6.1.Rev. 2:10-11 - Do not fear any of those things, which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death 2.6.2.Rev. 2:25-26 - But hold fast what you have till I come.And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations 2.6.3.Rev. 3:11-12 - Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him my new name
3.Areas we need greater faithfulness 3.1.We need to be more faithful to God and Christ 3.1.1.In the way we use our "talents" (abilities and opportunities).Go back to the parable of the talents 188.8.131.52.Matt. 25:21 - His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord 3.1.2.Too often, people are like the one talent man, burying their talent; this greatly displeases the Lord as we see in Matt. 25:24-26 3.1.3.Like Moses at the burning bush, they make excuses 3.1.4.But for every excuse man can devise, God can provide a way for us to be faithful! 3.1.5.We begin by being faithful in small things... 3.1.6.As indicated in Jesus' comments in Luke 16:10 - He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?And if you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own?No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon 3.1.7.If we can't be counted upon for the small things, how can we be expected to be considered reliable when the going gets tough? 3.2.We need to be more faithful to the church 3.2.1.The family of God always has need of people who are truly faithful (i.e., reliable, trustworthy, loyal) 3.2.2.We actually undermine the work of the Lord! 184.108.40.206.Matt. 12:30 - He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth 3.3.Do you need to have more faithfulness to the church? 3.3.1.Ask yourself:"If everyone were as faithful as I am, what kind of church would this be?" 220.127.116.11.Would anyone be here, except for Sunday morning worship? 18.104.22.168.Would there be any teachers for our children's classes? 22.214.171.124.Would the church be growing, both numerically and spiritually? 126.96.36.199.Would the church be able to survive financially? 188.8.131.52.Would the church even exist?
4. Finding a way versus making an excuse 4.1. What’s the difference in... 4.1.1.A man got out of bed at 3:00 AM on Saturday to go fishing, but couldn’t get up for Sunday morning Bible class! 4.1.2.He went a hundred miles on Friday night to a ballgame, but thought ten miles was too far to come to church twice on Sunday and once on Wednesday. 4.1.3.He took his family to the circus and spent a hundred dollars, but can’t afford to give more than twenty dollars to the work of the Lord. 4.1.4.He was on the membership committee at the civic club, but couldn’t find the right approach to invite a friend to services. 4.1.5.He took an aspirin and went to work despite an annoying headache, but a similar headache is cause for missing worship. 4.2.What's the difference? 4.2.1.A matter of wanting to. 4.2.2.A matter of loving God and Christ.Understanding the price which was paid for us to be a special people. 4.2.3.A matter of understanding the truth and conforming our lives to live in accordance with it.
Will God accept my excuses? No!
Matt. 12:36 - But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
Rom. 14:12 - So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
Heb. 4:13 - And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
1 Pet. 4:5 - They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.