Stories Jesus Told
Listen to this Sermon here
Part 1: “Great Mistakes”
“Excuses, Excuses, Excuses” - Luke 14:16-24
We live in a word of excuses. Here are some complied by the Readers Digest that have been offered for not showing up for work:
This, from Sheila Crowe, Pastor of the Collins Memorial United Methodist Church here in Atlanta:
"No Excuse Sunday." Cots will be placed in the foyer for those who say, "Sunday is my only day to sleep in." Murine will be available for those with tired eyes... from watching television too late on Saturday night. We will have steel helmets for those who say, "The roof would cave in if I ever came to church." Blankets will be provided for those who think the church is too cold, and fans for those who think the church is too hot. We will have hearing aids for those who say, "The pastor speaks too softly," and cotton for those who say I preach too loudly. Score cards will be available for those who wish to list the hypocrites present. For those who wish to spend time with family on Sunday we assure you that your Father will be in attendance. There will be T.V. dinners for those who cannot go to church and cook dinner also. One section will be devoted to trees and grass for those who like to seek God in nature. Finally, the sanctuary will be decorated with both Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies for those who have never seen the church without them
The Greatest Dinner Party Ever – so great – it lasts forever! This is eternal life – in heaven – with God, with Jesus, with the Holy Spirit – with no sickness – with no pain – with no tears - with no disappointments – with a continual party in honor of the God head (God, Jesus, Holy Spirit).
A great list given from a sermon by David Burns:
This is the place where you will be re-united with everyone you know who has qualified and you’ll always get along, without any conflict.
This is a place where you can eat without fear of weight gain or bringing on diseases of multiple affects.
This is a place that never ends, but never grows old – it is a place of complete satisfaction – a place that needs no perspective, because it will need no explanation.
This is a place where you can go. You, yes you can go. Why can you go? Because Christ has extended the invitation.
You’re invited – period… That’s it! You breathe air and you’re a human being? You’re invited!
22 So Paul, standing before the council,[e] addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, 23 for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about. 24 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. 26 From one man[f] he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. 27 “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your[g] own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone. 30 “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. 31 For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”
The door to heaven is Jesus Christ. You must enter through Him. That’s your choice – through Christ or… not…
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
I Timothy 2:1-6
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 5 For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.
The Choice… It is one everyone must make. Even Kings and Presidents.
Let me illustrate with an example of former President Ronald Regan: Dr. D. James Kennedy, of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, relates this encounter with President Regan. “In 1980, I and several other evangelical leaders met with him when he was running for president. ‘Governor,’ I said, ‘I would like to ask you a very important spiritual question and that is: If something were to happen to you and you were to die and stand before God, and God Almighty said to you, “Why should I let you into my Heaven?” What would you say?’ “He was silent for a long time. Finally, after about 30 seconds he answered in somber tones that I shall never forget, ‘I don’t deserve to go to Heaven. The only thing that I could say would be, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” ‘(John 3:16).
Dr Kennedy then relates this: “Now this great man has discovered the truth of those words of Christ. He has ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth,’ and now gazes in the face of God.”
John McArthur says it like this:
“There’s only one reason why people who know the truth of the Gospel are not willing to repent and believe. It is because they will not see themselves as the poor, prisoners, blind, and oppressed. It has nothing to do with the style of music your Church offers, the drama and skits you stage, or the quality of your laser light show. It has everything to do with the “spiritual deadness” and “blindness of pride.” God offers nothing to people who are content with their own condition, except judgement. If you don’t think you are headed for hell, don’t’ think you need forgiveness, you put no value on the Gospel of Grace.
Your life, God’s way instead of Your life, your way. Yes, that’s right! It has to be God’s way. Unfortunately, that’s a deal breaker for some. They cannot bear the thought of not having control – at least, partial control.
Luke 9:22-26 – Jesus Speaks!
22 “The Son of Man[e] must suffer many terrible things,” he said. “He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” 23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? 26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.
John McArthur again…
If you’re into self-love, and self-esteem, and making sure all your little needs are met, making sure you’re indulged with all your fantasies, dream, hopes & ambitions, you’re going to lose your life in eternal hell. If you love yourself so much to hold on like the Rich Young Ruler described by Jesus in Luke 18:18, you’re going to go away without eternal life. But if you hate yourself then you’re going to receive eternal life. You either save your life now and lose it forever, or lose your life now and save it forever.
God has invited us to partake of eternal life… in heaven.
Revelation 22:17 - “Come!” say the Spirit and the Bride. Whoever hears, echo, “Come!” Is anyone thirsty? Come! All who will, come and drink, Drink freely of the Water of Life!”
How about you?
There is a continued epidemic of people who ignore the God’s invitation to the Great Feast without a real excuse. When you die, His invitation is cancelled.
Accept the invitation today – and exercise faith and you will live eternally. See you there!