“One more chance! Just give me one more chance.”
Sounds familiar. The plea imparts a desire to improve life. Another
chance is what most people are searching for today. There is a second
chance and we are invited to use it wisely.
That’s the point of Luke 13. This parable’s lesson is that mercy and
grace are available to all who will come to Christ in time. Eventually
time runs out. There is an urgent call to use the second chance wisely.
This is a judgmental word filled with overtones of grace.
Jesus spoke of two disasters in verses 1-5. These provided no proof
that people who suffer such are worse sinners than others. Everybody is
in danger of judgment unless they repent. He drove this home by telling
a story about a fig tree that failed to produce fruit.
Jesus reminds us that God gives second chances and they are to be used
wisely. A note of the nearness of spiritual disaster is sounded. Yet,
there is also a season of grace.
An Invitation to Repent
Sadly we don’t always accept it. A family went to a lake on July 4. One
of those family members was a boy five years old who loved to fish. He
was on the pier fishing when his mother called him to lunch.
Reluctantly, he approached the cabin. Reaching the front door, his
mother said, “Wash your hands.” He replied, “Why? I haven’t touched
Many feel the same way about repentance. Until we have done something
gross, dirty, and obviously wrong we see little need for repentance.
The March 19, 2001 issue of Newsweek had as its cover story, “The
Darkest Corner of the Internet,” which focused on how the web has fed a
shocking increase in the sexual exploitation of children. To our
secular way of thinking, repentance is for the person whose hands are
soiled by death, theft, lying, greed, or sexual exploitation on the
Internet. Little do we realize that we, too, need an attitude of
Repentance Is Turning From A Destructive Course
As a child I watched a semi-tractor and trailer pass our house on
Jefferson Street and turn onto Franklin Street, the next one over. The
driver of that 18-wheeler was evidently lost because he was heading
toward a wooden bridge crossing Little River. I ran to see what was
going to happen. When I got to Franklin Street, I saw the truck come to
a screeching halt. The driver saw what lay before him, turned around,
and found another way out of town.
We are to turn away from courses leading to destruction. If we don’t
we’ll crash into weak bridges, ensuring our destruction – bridges build
by selfishness , arrogance, and a host of other destructive materials.
These bridges are built on sin. We can turn away. The chance is given
and is to be used wisely through daily repentance. But why bother?
Because God Is A God of Grace – A God of Second Chances
The owner of the fig tree was patient. He came back for three
consecutive years. The gardener gave the tree unusual attention in one
last effort to bring it to its natural function of bearing fruit. The
story ends on the note of a second chance.
Jesus specializes in second chances. Look at Peter. Look at Paul. Look
at you and me. We’ve not been the people we ought to have been. Maybe
we’re not now. The Lord doesn’t write any of us off. He gives a second
chance. Peter and Paul used theirs. What about you and me?
Decades ago in a Cotton Bowl, Rice was playing Alabama. ‘Bama was doing
well. They had moved the ball close to the Rice goal line and fumbled.
Rice was moving the ball back down the field, when a back broke free
and was in the open and started down the field toward the goal line. No
tackle was anywhere near him. An Alabama player, who had just been
taken out for a rest, couldn’t stand it. He came off the bench, ran out
on the field, and tackled the back.
This fellow lost control. Rice was awarded a touchdown. This athlete
pulled a blanket over his head and cried. The amazing thing is what the
coach did. Alabama’s coach went to this player and said, “I want you
back in the game.” He went back in the game, playing as hard as he
could for the coach who gave him a second chance.
The Good News is God gives a second chance. Use it wisely because God
will not forever allow a barren fig tree to cumber the ground. There
may or may not be a third chance.
“If only I had another chance!” You have one. Use it wisely.
Sermon brief provided by: Jimmy
Gentry, Tabernacle Baptist Church, Carrollton, GA