Summary: God gives us second chances
A Second Chance
If someone had asked you…before you just saw that clip, “What do Noah, Moses, Rahab, David, Solomon, Jonah, Peter & Paul all have in common?”….what would you have said? My guess is that many of you would have said, “They are all people in the Bible”. And that would be true…they are. But more importantly, “What do they have in common with you?” (and you, and you and every single person in worship this morning) What they all have in common with one another and with every other character in the Bible, and what they have in common with you is that they all blew it in a big way. They all screwed up. They all disappointed God. They all made bad choices. They all failed at life more than once.
But what they also all have in common is that God gave them a second chance…in fact, God gave them many chances to get life right. He gave them lots of “Do Overs” and lots of grace.
Now, I don’t know where we got the image of God being an angry old man with a long beard, watching our every move, just looking for a chance to smack us down; a mean spirited ogre eager to find a reason to punish us, but it didn’t come from the Bible. Throughout the Bible, its pages shout out to anyone who will listen that, God is all about second chances. God is forever looking for opportunities to bless and forgive and to make something beautiful of the mess people make of their lives…including yours and mine.
That’s what this parable we just read is saying. Jesus is responding to those in the crowd who thought God had punished people; had them killed, in fact, because they had done something wrong. They thought God was out to get sinners every chance He got and so if someone was to commit a sin, it was “game over”. And in response, Jesus told this parable that teaches four important principles every person should know.
1. We are made and meant for good things. In fact, the Bible declares that human beings are the crown of creation, God’s masterpiece, created in God’s own image. You and me, we were not made for mundane or for mediocrity. We were not made for insignificance or failure. God made you and every other human being for greatness because He loves you…He loves us. And somewhere deep down in our spirit, each of us knows that. Every one of us knows that whoever we are, wherever we are in life, and however we are, that we long to be more than we are. We intuitively sense that we are made for more than who, how and where we are.
The tree in the parable is a beautiful tree that was MADE to bear fruit, to do something great, to bear blessings. But up to that point in its life, it had failed to do anything worthwhile. It hadn’t been productive. It hadn’t fulfilled its God-given potential or purpose. Just leaves and branches…no fruit. Its life had been barren and empty. It was made for more than that.
And if you’ll notice, the tree does not belong to itself. It belongs to the One who gave it life…who planted it. Same is true of you and me. I Corinthians says that you and me, we were bought with a price by Jesus. That’s what the cross is about. Jesus paying the price for our sin and offering us life in exchange for the death that sin brings. So in the same way that the tree belongs to the one who planted it and gave IT life, every Believer belongs to Christ, who gives life to everyone who turns to Him.
What about your life? Did you know that you were made for good things? To do good things…even great things? Do you know that God expects us to bear good fruit and to produce blessings for others? What’s the harvest look like in your life? If the Gardner came to you this morning, would He find any fruit in your life? Are you all that God created you to be? Does your life reflect the image of God?
2. No Body’s Perfect That’s not an excuse, but it IS a reality. The Bible says that “Everyone falls short of God’s perfect plan for our lives.” It says that we all screw up. We all make mistakes. We all blow it from time to time. In other words, we are all sinners. That’s easy enough to see in everyone else…their imperfections..their mistakes…their sin. But we know in our hearts that we’re not perfect either, but we sure don’t want to admit it to anyone else, do we? And when we DO recognize that WE aren’t perfect either, that we’ve blown it, that we are sinners just like everyone else, we convince ourselves that other folks are worse sinners than we are OR we think that no one is a bigger sinner than me. That no one has screwed up and made bigger mistakes than they have.