Summary: People reject Jesus for many reasons. Here we find a few reasons why.
Some excuses given to police:
• I WASN’T wearing my seat belt as I was getting changed;
• I KEEP getting in and out of the car and it’s a nuisance.
• I COULDN’T stop for the red light as I was going too fast;
• I COULDN’T stop because it’s a heavy vehicle and I normally have a wood chipper on the back;
• IT’S a V8, you try stopping it.
• I HAD to speed to get in front of you;
• I’M HURRYING to the service station because I am running out of fuel;
• I’VE got diarrhea;
• I WAS running late for a funeral.
For those who have witnessed to others for any length of time they’ve heard all kinds of excuses for rejecting Jesus. In Acts chapter nineteen we have some who are rejecting Jesus in the city of Ephesus. In verses 23-41 we find some reasons why those involved chose to reject the gospel.
I. Some Are Unwilling to Change Their Lifestyle. (23-26)
A. Many are unwilling to give up their sin.
B. Many are unwilling to give up their income.
1. Bar owners
2. Working for brewery
3. Grocery store owners (selling liquor)
C. Many are unwilling to give up their freedom.
1. Don’t want to be accountable to anyone.
2. “Sunday is my only day off.”
The trouble with these excuses or in some cases real reasons is that what people think they are holding on to does not ultimately provide them the fulfillment they so desperately desire. Sin, security, and false freedom do not ultimately satisfy. The following story is a testament to that.
(Ill.) French author, Guy de Maupassant was one of the greatest writers of short stories the world has ever known. Within ten years he rose from relative obscurity to fame. Just what he thought he’d always wanted. His material possessions showed a life of affluence…a yacht in the Mediterranean, a large house on the Norman coast, a luxurious apartment in Paris. It was said of him that “Critics praised him, men admired him and women worshipped him.” He had all the trappings of what the world would call the “fulfilled dream life.” Yet at the height of his fame he went insane, brought on by what those close to him called a “Promiscuous lifestyle.” On New Years Day in 1892, he tried to cut his own throat with a letter-opener, and lived out the last few weeks of his life in a private asylum on the French Riviera. He died at the age of forty-two, but before he went insane he prophetically wrote what was to be his epitaph. Guy de Maupassant wrote, “I have coveted everything and taken pleasure in nothing.”
II. Some Are Unwilling to Change Their Religion. (27-28)
A. It’s the way I was raised.
B. It makes me feel so good. “magnificence” – It had pomp and magnificence on its side. So it must have been good?
C. All these people can’t be wrong. It had numbers on its side. “all Asia and the world worshippeth”
Even when presented with the truth some still refuse to trust Christ. (Ill.) During a Billy Graham crusade in Australia, a Melbourne daily paper received this letter: "I have heard Dr. Billy Graham on the air, viewed him on television, and seen reports and letters concerning his mission. I am heartily sick of the type of religion that insists my soul and everyone else’s needs saving, whatever that means. I have never felt that I was lost nor do I feel that I daily wallow in the mire of sin, although repetitious preaching insists that I do.
Give me a practical religion that: teaches gentleness and tolerance, that acknowledges no barriers of color or creed, that remembers the aged and teaches children goodness and not sin. If in order to save my soul I must accept such a philosophy as I have recently heard preached, I prefer to remain forever damned."
(Galatians: Liberated For Life Rev. John F. Mac Arthur Pg. 135)
III. Some Have No Good Reason. (29-41)
A. Some succumb to the crowd mentality. “Everybody’s doing it!” “I’ll just go to hell and be there with my friends.”
B. Some believe what they’ve heard without proving it for themselves. (32)
1. “The Bible is full of contradictions.”
2. “The church is full of hypocrites.”
C. Some just simply don’t want to think about it.
We will hear all kinds of excuses and reasons why people won’t come to Christ. We can’t make people do anything or believe any different. We must simply live the Christian life, love as we have been loved by God, and continue to share the Gospel. Paul didn’t quit. Paul didn’t waste his time with those who did not want to change, but he went on to others and shared the Gospel with them.
Let’s get busy!