Sermons

It's Not My Fault

Sun, Sep 10, 2017
Teacher: Mark Hull
Duration:27 mins 48 secs

Message text

It’s Not MY Fault!
Genesis 3:1-13, James 1:12-15

I came across a story which tells about the manager of a minor league baseball team who was so disgusted with his center fielder's performance that he ordered him to the dugout and assumed the position himself. The first ball that came into center field took a bad hop and hit the manager in the mouth. The next one was a high fly ball, which he lost in the glare of the sun--until it bounced off his forehead. The third was a hard line drive that he charged with outstretched arms; unfortunately, it flew between is hands and smacked his eye. Furious, he ran back to the dugout, grabbed the center fielder by the uniform, and shouted. 'SEE WHAT YOU HAVE DONE! You've got center field so messed up that even I can't do a thing with it!'

This attitude is all too often seen in the world around us which is what I believe is the reason that we can often see Posters that remind us the following:
3 Ways to Fail:
1) Complain about everything
2) Blame others for your problems
3) Never be grateful

OR ...It’s always easy to blame others.
You can spend your entire life blaming the world, BUT your successes and failures are entirely your own responsibility.

OR ... When you blame and criticize others, you are avoiding some truth about yourself.

One day Adam was out hunting with his two boys and came up to the Garden of Eden where he and Eve had been kicked out for eating the forbidden fruit. Adam was staring at the Garden and one of his boys said, “Daddy, what is wrong with you? Why are you crying?”
Adam wiped a tear and said, “Boys, that is the Garden of Eden right there.......
that’s where we used to live ‘til Momma ate us out of house and home!”
To cover the subject of right & wrong, good & evil, we must go all the way back to creation, back to before the beginning of time.
The first 2 verses of Genesis tell us that in the beginning our world was formless, empty & dark. But then God stepped in & gave shape to the formless, filled the emptiness with life, & brought light into the darkness. In other words, God took the chaos & created order out of it. And as the Bible records the days of creation it tells us that God looked upon everything he had made, & said, "It is good."
But not everybody was happy, for the Bible also tells us about Satan, an angel of God who rebelled, & because of that he was evicted from heaven & banished to earth. Satan learned that he could not overcome God. So Satan focused his attack on the next best target, mankind, to whom God had given authority over the earth.
Satan’s goal is to put chaos back into our world. And it doesn’t take a very astute observer to realize that he has been successful in many areas. Look around, & you can see how confused we have become.
For instance, there’s confusion about the roles of men & women, husband & wife, mother & father. We seem no longer sure what their roles should be.
Young people are confused about their place in the family, & are often in various stages of rebellion against the authority of their parents. And the rise of homosexuality has brought even more confusion.
We’re confused about the value of life, too. Abortion tells us that life is really not all that valuable, & that euthanasia will become the next big issue that we will have to face in this country, because we are no longer sure about the value of life. Satan is bringing chaos into our lives.
And when you think about what Satan got for a few bites of forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, you realize that he really got a lot. He ruined the lives of Adam & Eve, & got control of the world, just for a couple of bites of forbidden fruit. Ridiculous, isn’t it? And long after the flavor of that fruit was forgotten, Adam & Eve were still paying the price for the most stupid decision that they possibly could have made.
Satan depends upon us making unwise decisions, too. He depends upon us having a distorted sense of values. He never really offers us very much, & in exchange, he wants everything from us.
Achan (read Joshua 7:19-20) traded his life for a wedge of gold & a Babylonian garment. Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of soup to satisfy temporary hunger. For one sensual moment with Bathsheba, David opened up himself & his family to generations of misery.
Satan is always doing that, never offering very much. Yet, we think we’re getting a good deal. A moment of pleasure, a little economic gain, the applause of the crowd, & in reaching for it we discover that we have given up everything. That is how Satan works.
And when that happens, we try to find someone else to blame.
In the third chapter of Genesis we see God coming back into the Garden of Eden following the temptation & sin of Adam & Eve.
Vs’s 8-13 tell us that "The man & his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the Garden in the cool of the day, & they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the Garden.
"But the Lord God called to the man, 'Where are you?’ He answered, 'I heard you in the Garden, & I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’ And He asked, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?’ The man said, 'The woman you put here with me - she gave me some fruit from the tree, & I ate it.’
"Then the Lord God said to the woman, 'What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, 'The serpent deceived me, & I ate.’"
Did you hear that? "Don’t blame me," says Adam. "It wasn’t my fault. It was this woman that you gave me. She enticed me & I ate of the forbidden fruit."
"Well, what about you, Eve?" asked the Lord God. "Don’t blame me," she says. "It was the serpent who deceived me. And then I ate."
And most of us, when our sins are found out, are quick to look for a scapegoat. "It wasn’t my fault. It was someone or something else that caused me to become involved in this sin."
So let’s look this morning at some of the ways we use to blame someone else for our sins.
Well, "THAT’S JUST THE WAY I AM"
Have you ever heard someone say, "Well, that’s just the way I am"?
A man has a violent temper. He says, "I can’t help it. That’s just the way I am." His whole family suffers from verbal abuse, & maybe even physical abuse. But he says, "It’s not my fault." He has a hurt wife, & children who run for cover every time he loses his temper. But he says, "That’s just the way I am. There’s nothing that I can do about it."
And yet, God constantly reminds us that we are responsible for our words & actions. And we will be held accountable for them. We can’t pass the buck by saying, "That’s just the way I am."
Sometimes we even use that excuse to justify being quiet about things. Maybe you go to the other extreme. Whenever something is wrong, you sulk, & decide not to talk to anybody. You stick out the lower lip & get that hurt look on your face. And you go around thinking, "I’ll show them. I won’t talk to them for the next 3 weeks."
So you sit around & hope that someone will notice that you aren’t saying anything & ask you, "Why?" But you aren’t going to say anything. When you finally do break the silence, & someone asks, "Why did you act that way?" You answer, "I can’t help it. I was born that way. That’s just the way I am."
In other words, "Don’t blame me, blame God. God gave me this personality. And you just have to accept it the way it is."
Or sometimes we say, "If you knew my family background, my relationship with my mother or father, then you would know why I behave the way I do. My dad lost his temper all the time," or, "My mother was always sulking. I’m just doing what they did. So don’t blame me."
Too often in our society when people are seeking help, they try to uncover or blame some dark family past.
Too many times that becomes a scapegoat to excuse our own weaknesses & bad decisions.
But the Bible doesn’t allow us to give that kind of excuse. It always says, "You are responsible for yourself."
How many times have we said, "It’s the people who surround me every day."
"I would gladly quit smoking, but everybody else there smokes.
If they would quit, I wouldn’t have any trouble.
But there is no way in the world that I can quit as long as they’re smoking.
It’s their fault, not mine."

Or, "I know that it is wrong to drink too much, but everybody else is doing it.
And the crowd I run with, that is what they do to socialize.
But if they would quit, I sure would."
We conveniently find something or someone else to blame in every situation.
Then, when everything else fails, almost as a last resort, we say, "Well, the devil made me do it."
Jim Wright wrote an editorial in the Dallas Morning News some years ago about the Carter High School championship football team which saw a number of its players arrested for committing robberies & other crimes.
These were young men with bright futures. Most of them could have gone on to college & played football. Some of them, perhaps, could have played professional football & made lots of money.
But just for the fun of it, they started robbing convenience stores & doing burglaries & things like that.
Jim Wright quoted the quarterback of the team who said, "We did this to ourselves. No one made us hold up the stores. We can’t blame anyone but ourselves." Interesting, isn’t it?
Wright then wrote, "The thought that we have the freedom to choose our own path, & that having chosen, we are responsible for our choice is a very large one. You don’t hear it much in the public forums today.
Nowadays it seems the style is to look for ways to get the offender off the hook by finding somebody or something else to blame."
"Those who use the 'Don’t blame the accused’ route may seem to be guilty of nothing worse than soft-headed solicitude for people in trouble. But, if you look closely, there is often something much more sinister & self-serving underneath."
Later on he commented about the way we treat criminals. And he used as an example the young man who picked up a sub-machine gun & shot 15 people. He wrote, "Here is the public response. 'Ah, poor baby. He shot down 15 people with a sub-machine gun. But remember, he came from a poor socio-economic background. He was the victim of a callous society. He felt the pain of deprivation from a materialistic time. He was bored by a life of meaningless changes, blah, blah, blah.’
Wright continues, "The thrust of such 'blah, blah,’ is that the unfortunate chap can hardly be blamed for his actions since he was only doing what he was compelled to do by outside forces over which he had no influence. The devil or something made him do it, so he cannot really be blamed."
But I want you to notice that the Bible never teaches that the devil can force us to sin. Did you know that?
The Bible teaches that the devil is a deceiver, & he deceived Eve in the 3rd chapter of Genesis. In the 9th chapter of the Gospel of John, vs. 44, we are told that the devil is the "father of lies." So he lies to us & deceives us & manipulates & tempts us.
But "Why? Why does he lie & deceive & tempt & manipulate?" And the answer is, "Because he can’t force." If he could force you to sin there would be no need for temptation or manipulation. He would just force you to do it. But he can’t force you to sin.
You must choose to do it. And if you choose, then you are responsible.
You see, nobody tied Eve down & forced her to eat the forbidden fruit. Nobody forced you to take the first drink. Nobody forced you to become engaged in immorality. Nobody forces us. It’s our choice. And if it’s our choice, then we are responsible for our actions.
And when we find that we can’t blame the devil, then we blame God. After all, God is responsible for everything, isn’t He? "He is the one who gave me the awful family that I have. He’s the one who surrounded me with friends who led me astray. He’s the one who made it impossible for me to have the will-power to say 'No.’ Therefore it’s God’s fault."
No. James says that God never tempts us. It’s entirely up to us.
James 1:12-15 tells us, “12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
In 2 Corinthians 5:9-10, Paul says, "So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad."
In other words, God says, "I hold you accountable for your sins. Don’t blame someone or something else. You are accountable."
Now that is the bad news. But I have good news, too. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ loved me & died for me, & that His blood can cover all my sin.
But you see, the first step in being covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, is to accept responsibility for my own actions. As long as I try to find someone or something else to blame, then I’ll never come to grips with the fact that I’m a sinner.
I have to come to the place where I will pray, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner." When we do that, then God is anxious to hold us in His arms, to cover us with His blood, & to save us from our sins.
Donald Barnhouse tells of the time when a prairie fire swept across his father’s land & burned everything, house, buildings, crops, everything.
Later on, his dad was walking across the burned ground, kicking this object & that. Finally, he came to a charred piece of something that looked like a stump from a tree, & he kicked at it. When he did, little baby chickens started running in all directions.
He bent over to look at it, & discovered that that charred lump was an old momma hen who had covered her chickens to protect them from the fire. So they were still alive, but in the process she had given her life for them. But that is what mother chickens do.
And that is what Jesus did, too.
Jesus said, "How often I would have gathered you under my wings, but you would not come." He looked at the masses & said, "They are like sheep without a shepherd. If only they would come."
But you see, He will never force us to come. He is always available.
And right now He waits for you to open the door to invite Him to come in.
Will you come as we stand & sing?

Contributing Sermon
By Melvin Newland

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