Summary: Sermon dealing with the "yes, but" response to following Christ.
Luke 9: 51 – 62 / Excuses
Intro: A farmer came to his animals one morning and said he wanted to make a breakfast for all his neighbors. From the hen he took the eggs and from the cow he took the milk. When the farmer headed for the pig, the pig started running, burst through the fence and disappeared across the field in a cloud of dust. Why? The farmer expected the hen and the cow to be involved; but, the pig was expected to be committed.
I. Verse 57 – “I will follow you wherever you go.” A lofty, enthusiastic promise that called for commitment.
A. Many congregations today are involved in what I like to call “Entertainment Evangelism.” Sunday morning worship is a big show, with elaborately staged performances, utilizing bands, graphics and drama. Often there is no Scripture read, no sermon preached and when the Lord’s Supper is served it is more like a “love feast” than a sacrament. BUT, the pews or chairs are full!
B. Adding numbers to the membership is not the same as evangelism. The word “evangelism” means to proclaim the Gospel, to bring people to faith and trust in the saving grace of God, revealed to us in Christ Jesus. When churches lose that focus, they lose the core purpose as Christ’s disciples.
C. Come common sense things to do: warmly great visitors, ask them their name, introduce them to a few people nearby, offer to sit with them, introduce them to the Pastor and invite them for coffee after the service. “I would do that BUT . . .”
II. Verse 59 – “He said to another man, ‘Follow me.’ But the man replied, ‘Lord, first let me go bury my father.”
A. The duty to bury the dead was binding on all devout Jews. But, in all probability the man’s father was not dead, and not even nearly dead. “I will follow you after my father has died.”
B. Jesus calls us to a committed way of life which places Him first and everything else second. Jesus wants us to set our priorities on the most important areas of life. --- Loving the Lord your God with all of your mind, with all of your soul, with all of your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself. --- When this comes first, then everything else will fall into place. This commitment takes dedication, faithfulness and a mind set to follow through.
C. VS. 60 – “Let the dead bury their own dead; but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” “Let the spiritually dead bury the physically dead.” Spiritual death results from not following Jesus and serving God every moment of every day.
III. VS. 61 – “Still another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but, first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.’” I will, BUT FIRST . . .
A. This sounds like a reasonable request and quite a simple thing to do. Would you deny a soldier going to war one last chance to bid his or her loved ones farewell?
B. We are so good at coming up with the BUTS OF LIFE. We are good at giving excuses. Excuses for this or that! And often the best excuses are found right here in the church, “I will worship you Lord, BUT . . . I will serve you, Lord, BUT . . . I will follow you, Lord, BUT . . . and a whole host of things may follow.
C. VS. 62 – “Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God. Can you imagine what the row would look like if the farmer sat on the tractor looking backwards will trying to plow his field.
Conclu: All 3 people in this story were rejected by Jesus: one was rejected for thinking more about self than following, the 2nd was more concerned with satisfying other obligations before following, and the 3rd was more concerned about family than having a relationship with Christ. All were good excuses! What are yours?