Summary: This sermon concludes the series on the "one another" passages. We can spur one another on by our presence, example and words.
A. I want to begin by sharing some actual excuse notes sent by parents. They were collected by the University of Texas and include the original spellings.
1. “My son is under a doctor’s care and should not take P.E. today. Please execute him.”
2. “Dear School: Please ekscuse John being absent on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32,and also 33.
3. “Please excuse Roland from P.E. for a few days. Yesterday he fell out of a tree and misplaced his hip.”
4. “Megan could not come to school today because she has been bothered by very close veins.”
5. “Chris will not be in school cus he has an acre in his side.”
6. “Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has very loose vowels.”
7. “Please excuse Tommy for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhea and his boots leak.”
8. “Please excuse Jason for being absent yesterday. He had a cold and could not breed well.”
9. “Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was not his fault.”
B. Excuses, excuses, and excuses…we all have them, right?
1. We have excuses for why we missed school or work.
2. We have excuses for why we are late paying our bills.
3. We have excuses for why we got off our diet and exercise program.
4. We have excuses for why we haven’t been in touch with a friend.
C. We also have excuses regarding spiritual things.
1. We have excuses for why we have been missing worship or Bible classes.
2. We have excuses for why we don’t give more money or time or effort to the Lord.
3. We have excuses for why we can’t take on a responsibility like teaching a Bible class or visiting a shut in.
D. Most excuses aren’t very good ones, are they?
1. Ultimately, God doesn’t want to hear excuses, rather He wants to hear confessions and resolutions.
2. God wants to see genuine repentance and faithfulness.
3. And one of the things that God definitely doesn’t want to hear is excuses why we didn’t attempt to do something about those who are excusing themselves from active participation in our assemblies and ministries.
E. Okay, let’s have a quick show of hands…How many of you think it is important to be nice to people at church?
1. Okay…good. Now a follow-up question: How many of you think that being nice to people at church is the most important thing we should do?
2. Most of us know that being nice isn’t the most important thing, and yet we know it is important to be a very welcoming, loving, accommodating church family.
3. At the same time, we also realize that being a real Christian community is more than just giving people a comfortable place to worship.
4. We are called into an adventure of discipleship and a ministry that is demanding and requires our attention and effort, but also requires the encouragement and correction of others.
5. And so we find ourselves challenged by this tension of being nice and gentle, and being confrontational and insistent.
F. I want to draw your attention to the passage we read for the Scripture Reading.
1. It is from the New Testament letter called Hebrews.
2. In many respects, Hebrews is not a letter, but is actually a sermon.
3. The Hebrew preacher is using every means at his disposal to grab the attention of his first century hearers.