Can’t Do – Sermon Summary   Leave a comment

Selected passages from Exodus 3-4 and Mark 6.  10/5/8

I have had 6 knee surgeries.  The stories are long and I certainly won’t bore you with those here.  Following the last two procedures, I remember the my specialist going through a rather impressive list of things that I am no longer capable of performing.  He told me to avoid steps at all costs.  I should never get on my knees for any reason.  (It’s a good thing that being prostate before the Lord can be done spiritually).  When I sit, I should never cross my legs the way most men do.  On and on the list of things I can’t do goes.

When it comes to the church and God’s people, our attitudes and actions are what determine what we can and can’t do.  God’s people have a habit of learning the hard way that if we allow any of these to stand in the way of serving the Lord, the Lord will not be pleased with us.

Take Moses, for example.  Here he is before the burning bush and God is giving him one of the greatest jobs ever.  God himself is going to work through Moses to free His people from Egyptian captivity.  Of course Moses is hesitant.  But instead of putting his complete faith and trust in the Lord, he starts coming up with excuses.

“Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11, NIV.  One danger for Christians is that we can tend to become a bit too humble.  Some even define meekness as weakness and that is simply not true.  I have heard meekness defined as strength under control.  But the danger here is that we often discount ourselves from being capable of doing the Lord’s work.  It is the same as saying, “I’m not good enough.”

Moses’ next offering was that if he goes to the people and tells them that God sent him that they won’t believe it was really God who sent him.  ‘What if they ask me your name’ is basically his way of saying that the people won’t believe it.  In other words, they won’t believe that is was You who sent me.  If we are truly sent out by the Lord to do His bidding yet lack the faith to know of His power and strength that accompanies us in the process, then the scoffers will win every argument.  A lack of faith in the Lord while on His mission could potentially be disastrous.

“What if they don’t believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” Exodus 4:1, NIV.  OK, so if they believe that it is you who sent me, they still won’t believe that it is methat you sent.  Again we see an example lack of faith, but this almost seems to carry a sense of low self-esteem.  It is one thing to feel like you are not important enough to do a job, it is something else to feel inadequate.  It is the difference between feeling like you are simply not the right person for the job and feeling like you are incapable of performing the job.  Either way, a lack of faith is the result.

Moses then goes on to make the excuse of not being an “eloquent” speaker (Ex. 4:10).  You can sense God’s patience dwindling in the response, but the danger is in the attitude of Moses.  I can’t talk good.  God’s answer is something like, “So?”  Those of you who have shared your faith know perfectly well that the Lord always provides you with the words you need to say in the moment they are needed.  I have never been involved in witnessing that the words were not given to me from above.  Unfortunately, this is the single most common excuse that people use to not share the Gospel.

Moses only had one excuse left, and this one cuts to the chase.  “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” Exodus 4:13, NIV.  I don’t wanna.  Refusing to follow the instructions of God is stepping into some seriously dangerous territory.  It is an exercise of pride.  It is the same as telling the Lord, “My will be done because I don’t want to do yours.”

So, let’s see.  I’m not good enough.  They won’t believe it is from you.  They won’t believe that you sent me.  I can’t do the job right.  I really don’t want to.  Will you join me in admitting that you have used all of these excuses for not doing God’s will in your life?  I know that I have used each one and used them well.

All four Gospels tell us of the disciples using excuses.  When I think of Jesus feeding the 5,000, I cannot help but recall how the disciples begged Jesus to send the crowd away.  WE CAN’T.  Jesus says, WE CAN!  So the people are organized, the disciples gather what they have and Jesus performs the miracle.  My favorite part of the story happens after the miracle. 

“They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish.” Mark 6:42-43, NIV.  Let’s see, 12 baskets of leftovers and 12 disciples.  Each had to carry one.  I like to refer to this as Jesus’ way of telling the disciples, “In your face!”

What excuses are you going to make next to avoid moving forward from here?

I understand that zoos can secure the Antilopine Kangaroo behind a 3-foot wall.  This small creature is capable of jumping 10 feet high and very long distances.  How does this work?  This kangaroo refuses to jump if it cannot see where its’ feet will land.  This is a description of lost potential – lack of faith and confidence.

Does this describe you?

What I find true in churches today is when they say “We can’t”, they usually mean “We won’t.”

Faith is where the phrase “We can’t do” is transformed into “God can do.”  Everybody likes to quote Philippians 4:13 for personal strength but precious few apply that to the church.  It would be a sad thing for me to focus on what I cannot do because of my knees instead of focusing on those things that I can do and the capacities that I still have with them.

God wants to do in and through you some extraordinary things.  All that is required is authentic faith.  It truly doesn’t matter so much who you are as to ‘whose’ you are.  When Peter and John had the bold courage to stand before the Sanhedrin, the Lord’s presence was evident.  Acts 4:13 reminds us; “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (NIV).

With the Lord at our side, it is time to change our “can’t do” into “can do!”

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