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Futile Excuses by Rev. G. K. Terian
In Luke 14:16 - 24, Jesus teaches using the "Parable of the Great Banquet." In it, Jesus shares about a man who was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. It was the custom at that time to send out invitations to such a special event quite a long time in advance. Then, as the actual day approached, a more personal invitation was extended.
God, too, has issued a personal invitation of salvation to all people. The question is this, "What are you going to do with your personal invitation?" You can neither buy nor work your way into heaven. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9) You will only get to heaven by receiving the Lord's gift.
Jesus says, "Come, for everything is now ready." But, according to Scripture, instead of receiving the invitation joyfully, they all began to make excuses. The first said, "I have just bought a field and I must go and see it. Please excuse me." It has been said that an alibi is a lie stuffed in the skin of an excuse. Many have used possessions for an excuse to reject Jesus' invitation of salvation.
Another said, "I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on the way to try them out. Please excuse me." People get so busy with their work that they have no time for the Lord. One day you are going to die, and you will discover that business will go on as usual without you; but you will die without salvation.
"Still another said, 'I just got married, so I can't come.'" This man has the weakest excuse of the three. He could have extended the invitation to his new wife. Christ died for all and all should be given the opportunity to accept or reject God's invitation. This man's natural affection for his wife kept him from Christ. Many pastors have heard this excuse, "I don't come to church on Sunday because it's my only day off. It is the only time I can spend with my family... (going shopping/ fishing/ working around the house, etc., etc.)"
These things--possessions, business affairs, natural affections--keep more people from Christ than anything else. What excuses do you have that are keeping you from the Lord? What excuses are keeping you out of fellowship with Him and other Christian believers? God has an engraved invitation for you. It is written in the blood of Jesus Christ.
God sends the Holy Spirit out into the streets and alleys of our cities. Through the Lord's servants you have been invited to receive Christ, but sadly many people have one excuse after another.
Not one person in Jesus' parable said, "I will not come." No one overtly refused His invitation. They simply made excuses to cover up the fact that they did not want to come.
Jesus has a severe statement for those who reject God's invitation, "I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of My banquet." You are excluded from heaven because of your refusal to accept His invitation.
Will you offer excuses, or will you accept Jesus' invitation of salvation? The choice is yours.