Summary: There are many excuses to not following Jesus, the ones who follow must have NO EXCUSES.
I. Excuses (Lk. 14:15-24)
A. Unnaturalness of the refusal.
1. There is a kind of law to which the more valuable a thing is, the less men care to have it. “The attraction of an object is the inverse ratio of its worth.”
a. The lowest and of least value are that which gratifies the body, earthly wealth, and money, etc.
b. There is nothing to be compared with what the Lord holds out to us as our Savior: help, guidance, companionship, peace, victory over self, control of our passions, power to be obedient, victory over fear and death, heaven opened, measureless hopes, and an eternity of greater and greater joy, peace,and light.
2. There are those who see that it is a blessed thing to sit at the marriage feast of the Lamb, but cannot bring themselves to eat at the table the Lord provides for them now!
3. There are no more difficult people to get at than the people who bow their heads in assent to the gospel and by bowing their heads escape its impact and let it whistle overhead. Those that believe every word preached here and never dream of letting it affect your conduct will find that they are in the same place as the three referred to here.
B. The excuses
1. All are preoccupied with present interests, duties, possessions and affections.
Charles Finney—A revival may be expected whenever Christians are found willing to make the sacrifices necessary to carry it on. They must be willing to sacrifice their feelings, their business, their time, to help forward the work. Ministers must be willing to lay out their strength, and to jeapard their health and life. They must be willing to offend the impenitent…they must take a decided stand with the revival, be the consequences what they may…so the people, also, must be willing to have a revival, let the sacrifice be what it may. It will not do for them to say: “We are willing to attend so many meetings, but we cannot attend any more.” Or: “We are willing to have a revival if it will not disturb our arrangements about our business, or prevent our making money.” I tell you, such people will never have a revival till they are willing to do anything, and sacrifice anything,that God indicates to be their duty. Christian merchants must fell willing to lock up their stores… if it is necessary to carry on a revival.
2. First excuse--”I must go”. Yet, the field would be there just as well tomorrow. Many of us mask the sad condition of our own heart with so called imperative duties that we “must do.” How necessary are the things that are keeping you from Jesus?
3. Second excuse--He had something new. The novelty was more important to him than feasting at the banqueting table. Some people will come and worship, but then get a new car or boat and have to go driving or boating on Sunday. Or they have a new friendship, a new hobby, etc. that keeps them from what is really going to satisfy their souls.
4. Third excuse—At times human affections can keep us from turning our love upon the Lord.
a. Lk. 14:26--Human affections can not be above our affection for the Lord God, or we can not follow the Lord.
b. Any relationship that draws you away from the Lord must be cut off, or the day may come when you will respond to the Lord in the manner of this third man.
c. How many hearts are snared with loves that belong to the earth so they have not time to turn to the eternal Lover of their souls?
5. There was no reason they could not go to the feast and then see their field, then try out their oxen, or still love their wife. One can only properly fulfill these duties of life when Christ has first place in your heart and is enthroned in your life.
a. The real reason these did not want to go to the feast is that they did not want to go. They could have gotten someone else to look after their oxen if it was a baseball game, they would have taken their wife to BINGO, they would have looked at their field later if it was Superbowl tickets they were being offered.
b. Do you like oxen better than God?
c. Would you rather have a field than the bread of heaven God wants so feed you with?
6. We need to ask ourselves why we don’t want God. Why don’t we really want Jesus? Why do the blessings the preacher talks about seem so remote from anything I need?
a. You are a prodigal son that needs to come home to Jesus. You like the swine’s husks better than the bread of the Father’s house.