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(Luke 14:15-24) And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. 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 hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. (KJV)
The most common sin of all is perhaps that of excuse making. From the very first man whom we read about in the Bible, until now, men have been making excuses for turning away from the Lord.
The revealing sentence in the parable is the one I have chosen for the text,
Text: (Luke 14:18) And they all with one consent began to make excuse. …. (KJV)
I. THEY ARE FLIMSY EXCUSES.
What is to be said of the excuses here indicated in this parable? We must agree that these excuses were utterly flimsy.
One man said: "l have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it I pray thee have me excused."
Why, if he had bought the ground, if the trade had already been made, he could see it later. You are to look at ground before you buy.
The second man said: “I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray have me excused."
If he had already made the bargain why should he be talking about proving them?
The third man said: "I have married a wife, therefore I cannot come."
Now, we are ready to smile at these excuses these men made for not attending to the supper that they were so graciously invited. But are the excuses people use for not coming to the great supper of forgiveness and salvation provided by our Divine Saviour and Lord, any better?
Let us observe here in this parable that the fault of these men was not that they were devoted to business or that they would magnify home and marriage. The Bible tells us:
(Luke 10:7) …. the Iaborer is worthy of his hire."
(2 Thessalonians 3:10) … that if any would not work, neither should he eat. (KJV)
The fault indicated in the parable is not that these men were champions for work, for marriage, for home, and for all the sanctities and sweetness of wedded love and life.
The fault indicated in this parable is that these men sought to separate business and work and marriage and home from Christ.
Christ comes saying, “Let Me go with you to your work, to your bank, to your shop, to the store; to your farm to the factory or wherever you work or wherever you go, let Me go with you."
He pleads, "Let Me glorify your work; let Me inspire you as you go about your work. And then, in your home; let Me be there, inspiring and comforting and guiding and helping. Welcome Me there with all My mercies and love and wisdom and grace and strength.”
The trouble with these men was that they proposed to divorce their life utterly from Christ. That is the trouble now. Life cannot be complete without Christ. Life is a maimed and stunted and blighted thing without . Christ. It is impossible for life to be lived as it ought to be lived without Christ.
II. DO PEOPLE HAVE ANY BETTER EXCUSES FOR REJECTING CHRIST TODAY?
Let us turn away from these flimsy excuses in this parable, and let us ask ourselves:. Are our excuses for not corning, in response to the great invitation of Jesus to His great feast of forgiveness and mercy and salvation, any better than these excuses in the parable?
What is your excuse for not following Christ? What is your excuse for not trusting Him as your Saviour and bowing to Him as your Lord? What is your excuse?
III. TOO BUSY?
Does someone say, "Well, if you would know my excuse for not following Christ, then I will answer that I am too busy!"
That is the same excuse offered by these three men in this parable. One had bought some ground, one had bought and wanted to try out his new oxen, and one had gotten married. They were all too busy to attend the supper.
Now think earnestly about that excuse for a moment. Are you too busy to give attention to the main thing of all? If you had two businesses one a vast business that involved millions of dollars, and the other a small business representing an outlay of one thousand dollars, do you think it would be wise for you to spend all your time and energy in the small thousand dollar business and let the million dollar business fall by the side and fail because of your neglect?
Created as you are, to live on forevermore, do you think it is wise, rational, a course to be defended, for you to put all your thought upon this world and the things near at hand, and have uncared for, un-provided for, that world before, which shall never, never end? Surely the excuse of "Too busy" will not stand.
IV. PERHAPS YOUR EXCUSE IS THAT YOU CANNOT BELIEVE.
Why do you hesitate to follow Christ? Does someone say, "Well, I just cannot believe"? Who is it you cannot believe? What is it you cannot believe?
There are two supreme questions which everyone of us must face, First, "What think ye of Christ?”
And next, "What shall I then do with Jesus who is called Christ?” Every one of us most confront these two inevitable questions.
"What think ye of Christ'?" Is He trustworthy? is He reliable? Or has He proved false and unworthy?
"What think ye of Christ?" Does He make good His high claims? Does He vindicate His promises? Does He keep His word to those who trust Him?
Pilates big question is equally yours and mine. "What shall I do with Christ'?" He crosses my path; He looks up into my face and asks me, "What are you going to do with Me?” "Will you be for me, or against me? "Will you confess me, or deny Me?' "Will you put your trust in Me and follow Me, or will you turn your back upon Me and refuse to follow Me?"
"What will you do with Christ?" Oh, man and women, here are two questions that are inescapable. They persistently follow you. "What think ye of Christ" and "What will you do with Christ?"
V. DOES WORLDLY PLEASURE KEEP PEOPLE FROM TRUSTING CHRIST?
Does somebody say, "My excuse is that for the present, I am having a round with all kinds of gaiety and worldly pleasure; that is my excuse for not following Christ?
Let me remind you that no one earthly pleasure of this earth, nor all of earth's pleasures put together can suffice and satisfy your deathless soul.
All the pleasures of earth combined will fail to suffice and satisfy. One man in the Bible tells us that he tried them all. He tried this, and he tried that, and he tried the other - that man - Solomon, and he came back from such experiences all jaded and overborne and walled out his cry, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." Wisely does he say at the last, (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (KJV)
Someone wrote of a tree which bears very delicious fruit, and yet it has no nutrient for the body. You may eat of such fruit and delight in it, but not the slightest nutrition will go to the blood in the wake of such food. It is a parable and picture of all the pleasures of this earth. You may take them all, and run the whole gamut of pleasure, and you will come back broken and weary, and you can cry out with the poet, "Oh, where shall rest be found, rest for the weary soul?” No pleasure of this earth can possibly suffice you and satisfy you. “This world can never give the bliss for which we sigh."
VI. DO SOMEONE FOOLISHLY CLAIM THEIR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS?
Does someone say, “I just think I will save myself.” Do you really think that? Do you really think that you can reconcile your life, marred, and blighted, and warped, and stained as it is by sin, do you really think you can make it perfect in the sight of God? And if you are to save yourself then you must be as perfect as God.. If you are to save yourself, then your rife is to be without fault or blemish or sin. The solemn Word of God says, “The soul that sinneth it shall die."
(Romans 10:4) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. (KJV)
Which way will you take? Surely your answer is, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness."
VII. DOES SOMEONE SAY, “I CANNOT UNDERSTAND IT?"
"My excuse for not following Christ is, I cannot reason it all out, I cannot understand it.”
"Nowhere in all the Bible does it say, "See through all this mystery; understand all this great plan of salvation wrought out for you; understand it, and I will save you."
Nowhere does the Bible say that. All the way through its blessed pages, its call to us is to trust, to yield, to submit, to choose, to decide that Christ may be our Saviour in His own sovereign way. Jesus comes to us saying, "If you will not believe for My words, then I ask, won't you believe Me for My works' sake?”
VIII. “I DO NOT FEEL LIKE I WANT TO FEEL."
Some say, "lf I had feeling about it; if I had emotion; lf I had deep joy, I would trust Christ as my personal Saviour." That is a matter you must leave with Christ. Yours is to trust; yours is to decide; your is to choose; yours is to surrender, your all to Christ, and He will give you just such peace and joy as He wishes you to have.
COME "THOUGH YOUR SIN BE AS SCARLET."
What is your excuse for not following Him? Does somebody say, "I'm too sinful?" "I’m too weak and unworthy?" What shall be said of such an excuse? If I knew that your life were a thousand times more sinful than it is, if I knew that you were the worst sinner in all the world, I would hasten to tell you, "The great Physician now is near, the sympathizing Jesus." He is the mighty Saviour, the Saviour of the worst sinner in the world, if only such sinner will trustfully give up to Him. He can save the worst of the worst and make them the best of the best!
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