Summary: What is your favorite excuse temptation for not coming to Church? One of the best reasons to come to church is the old rugged cross. (We increased our worship attendance by twenty percent by promoting this "No Excuse Sunday.")
“I’m Out of Peanut Butter”
“But Caleb tried to encourage the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said.” We can certainly conquer it!” But the other men who had explored the land with him answered, “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” Numbers 13:30-31 NLT
Intro: We produced power point slides with the Family Feud television game show theme surveying one hundred people, “What excuse might you give for not showing up at church?” Top five answers are on the board: 1. Temperature too hot or too cold. 2. Didn’t have right clothes to wear. 3. Overslept. 4. Worship/Preaching too loud or too soft, (then take three wrong answers from the audience, each time having the crowd say “good answer, good answer but follow with one, two, three strikes.” Then present the title of the sermon. 5. “I’m Out of Peanut Butter” as the fifth and final answer. (Have fun with it.)
People will come up with all kinds of excuses for not showing up at church or following the Lord. Today as we celebrate “No Excuse Sunday” the title of today’s sermon is “I’m Out of Peanut Butter.” I want us to think about antonyms or the opposite of making excuses. So we begin with a bible story.
Once upon a time God told Moses to send out men to explore the land of Canaan which God had already promised to give to Israel. So Moses sent out twelve men. One from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Moses gave them instructions. He told them to go northward through the region of Palestine. To see what the land is like and find out whether the people living there are strong or weak. To count how many warriors they saw. To notice how strong the city walls are or if they are unprotected. To take samples of the soil if it is good for farming or not. To count the trees for lumber. He told them to enter the land boldly and bring back samples of the harvest crops.
After exploring the land for forty days. (I want you to remember the number 40 days we will come back to that at the end of the sermon.) After 40 days the men returned to Moses and gave their report before Aaron and the whole community of Israel. Here is there report: We arrived in the land you sent us to see. It is a land of milk and honey. Reports of hills filled with figs and nuts and fruits. They presented Moses with a cluster of grapes so large that it took two men to carry it in on a pole. The land is magnificent. It was the land God had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Then came the bad news. The people living there are powerful. Their city walls are thick and heavily fortified with large stones and guards stationed on top. They also saw the sons of Anak the giants living there. Since Goliath was from the land of Palestine he may have been a descendent from these people. Then there the Amalekites, who later become the first army to attack Israel. The Hittites and Jebusites who later control Jerusalem before David. The Amorites living in the strategic hill country. All formidable and fearsome people. So the scouting report to Moses was “we cannot go up against them! They are stronger than we are!”
The leaders from the twelve tribes spread discouraging reports. The enemy is too big. The wall is too tall. Their armor is too thick. But God had promised them this land when they left Egypt. Yet, they made every excuse as to why they should not go up into the Promise Land of Canaan. Except for two of the leaders named Caleb and Joshua. Caleb has a different attitude. His report is positive. “Because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it” Numbers 14:24 What excuses are you making? Do you have a different attitude, a positive attitude? Do you have a different spirit that follows the Lord wholeheartedly?
Life has lots of choices…, lots of options…, lots of roads you can turn on to. Some of the steps we take might need a second look. The easiest choice isn’t always the right choice. Jesus said, “if someone ask for your shirt give him your coat also. If someone ask for you to walk with them a mile go with them two miles. Then he says one of the hardest things. If someone strikes you on the face, turn and offer them the other cheek.” Luke 6:29 None of us can do these things without the help of the Holy Spirit. This is why we have to surround ourselves with people who are encouragers instead of discourages. We have to be in a church place where the attitudes are positive instead of negative all the time. If you want this you yourself have to become an encourager and be positive. The discouraging reports from the other scouts about the land began to spread among the Israelites. The land we explored will swallow us up. All the enemies we saw were huge. We are small like grasshoppers next to them.