Summary: Everybody’s got a but! We all have a list of reasons why we don’t do what the Bible says we should do or why we won’t follow the Lord. Salvation provides a turning point where we can leave the buts of excuses and regret behind!
Objection, Your Honor!
Intro: I’d like to give a quick English refresher. In the English language we have what are known as coordinating conjunctions which join words or phrases together. The acrostic FANBOYS is one way to remember them: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, and So. Coordinating conjunctions combine two clauses of equal rank (i.e. I really enjoy summer, but I also enjoy winter). The coordinating conjunction, “but” connects equal but different ideas. This little word can be very powerful as it introduces a 2nd thought that seems to cancel or override the first thought in the sentence. The word "but" is often used to rationalize or excuse our behavior in a certain situation. Parents, how many times have you heard this: “I hit him, but he hit me first!”
I heard a story of a preacher who preached a sermon about how too many people made excuses for not obeying God or not receiving His forgiveness. People say, “I would become a Christian, but….” “I would go to church, but….” So he preached on and on about people’s excuses. In closing he said, “Everybody’s got a but! Now come forward and lay your buts on the altar.”
*We’ve all excused ourselves in various ways for not doing what we should. Someone might say something like this: “I would pray or worship God more, but I’m just too busy.” “I would forgive that person, but you don’t know how mean they were to me.” “I would help people, but they would probably just use what I give them to buy alcohol and drugs.” “I would quit my bad habits but I don’t think it would last.” “I would tell others about Jesus but I’m too shy.” Everybody’s got a but! We all have a list of reasons why we don’t do what the Bible says we should do or why we won’t follow the Lord.
1. The But of Excuses
Luke 9:59-62 59 He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." 60 Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God." 61 Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family." 62 Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
-There are thousands of reasons people give not to follow Jesus and put Him first in their lives. Family reasons, health reasons, financial reasons, offenses, bad experiences with churches, recreation, work, school, friends, relationships, and so on. And while many of these situations in our lives are serious and require our efforts and energies, and take a lot out of us, wouldn’t it make a whole lot more sense to ask the Lord to lead us and help us with the difficult situations we face?
-Sometimes we just want Him to help us, but we don’t really want to give ourselves to Him. That may work for awhile, but benefits without commitment will never last. For now, God sends His rain on the just and the unjust. His grace brings blessings to many who refuse to follow Him. Yet it will not always be so.
-So instead of objecting to God’s call to follow Him, citing all of our problems and responsibilities and the pressures of life, we should say YES to God and ask Him to transform us into people of God who follow Him in love and obedience.
-What kinds of objections do you have when it comes to your faith and service for the Lord? “Lord, I would, but….”
-God understands our lives, our emotions, our problems, our pain, and everything about us! He knows how weak and petty and sinful we can be. He knows how wicked and deceitful the human heart can be. He knows, but He stepped in and made His own objection. Let’s look at God’s objection to the sinful human heart. We’ve all sinned….
2. The But of Salvation
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
-What does God want to do for those trapped by sin whose lives are filled with offenses against Him? He wants to wash us. Sanctify us or set us apart from the way we were and apart to Him – close to Him in both proximity and identity. He wants to justify us or declare us “not guilty” in the court of heaven.