Summary: So many times we say, "I will, but..." This little three letter word has a profound impact on our spiritual lives.
The word "but", occurring more than 3800 times in the Bible, is used as a conjunction that marks opposition in passing from one thought or topic to another. It is often used to indicate an exception. It is used to mean "excluding the fact that"; "save that"; "were it not that" or "unless". This little three-letter word has a profound effect on one’s spiritual condition and relationship to God having both negative and positive connotations. This morning I want you to see …
I. The BUT of Improper Priorities
A. Luke 9:61 MKJV And another also said, Lord, I will follow You, BUT FIRST allow me to take leave of those in my house.
B. I will accept Christ but... (Except, were it not that)
1. I want first to sow my wild oats – Ecclesiastes 11:9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.
2. First I want to clean up my act – Luke 11:39 And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.
3. Now is not a good time I will – when it is more convenient – Acts 24:25, Luke 12:19-20 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
C. I will serve Christ but... (Except)
1. Right now I want to have fun and enjoy myself while I can
· 2 Timothy 3:2-4 MKJV For men will be self-lovers, money-lovers, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, unyielding, false accusers, without self-control, savage, despisers of good, traitors, reckless, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
2. First I need to make sure my family and I are financially secure
· The founder of McDonald’s, Ray Krock, was asked by a reporter what he believed in. "I believe in God, my family and McDonald’s," he said. Then he added, "When I get to the office, I reverse the order." - Source Unknown
3. I have other things to take care of, I have too much on my plate
· The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is, on the contrary, born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else--we are the busiest people in the world.
D. I will attend church faithfully but...
1. (Unless) I’ve got things around the house that need done
2. (Except) that Sunday is the only day I can sleep in
3. First I want to go to the game…fishing…hunting
4. (Were it not that) I’ve got to attend a family party…picnic…outing
5. (Unless) someone else asks me to go somewhere and do something
E. The following story appeared in "The Prairie Overcomer:" A fisherman who was out of fellowship with the Lord was at sea with his godless companions when a storm came up and threatened to sink their ship. His friends begged him to pray; but he demurred, saying, "It’s been a long time since I’ve done that or even entered a church." At their insistence, however, he finally cried out, "O Lord, I haven’t asked anything of You in 15 years, and if You help us now and bring us safely to land, I promise I won’t bother You again for another 15!" Although this story at first evokes a smile, it is sobering to realize that communing with God is often an escape mechanism rather than a way of life. This may be true even of believers who call on God only when they’ve reached the end of their rope and there seems to be no other way to solve their problems. - Copied
F. Hebrews 2:3 MKJV How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by those who heard Him
II. The BUT of Incomplete Obedience
A. Genesis 19:15-17 MKJV And when the dawn rose up, then the angels hurried Lot, saying, Rise up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And he lingered, the angel laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters (Jehovah being merciful to him), and they brought him forth and set him outside the city. And it happened when they brought him outside, He said, Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, nor stay in all the plain. Escape to the mountain lest you be consumed.