Summary: This sermon talks about how we all have past regrets that we would like to do away with, and how Jesus can forgive us and give us a fresh start or as some would say, a second chance.
Last year the Los Angeles Lakers were the powerhouse team in the NBA winning their third straight championship title. With high expectations of a four-peat the Lakers shot out of the gate with perhaps one of the biggest disappointing starts in recent history with a record of 12-19. To put that in perspective, the Lakers didn’t record their 19th loss last season until March 19th. But the Lakers aren‘t pessimistic in their outlook. One of the wile veterans Robert Horrey made a statement this past week after the Lakers went down in defeat to their arch rivals the Sacramento Kings on Christmas Day. He told a reporter that next day and I quote, "This one thing I guarantee. Before the end of January, we’ll be back above .500. With the New Year, we’re going to shake off everything and start like it’s a brand-new season."
You know there is just something about a New Years Day that is so appealing to us. Why is that? Is it because of the parties, the best of the year list, the all night movie marathons? No. I believe it is because it represents to many a chance at a new lease on life. In the movie Forrest Gump, Forrest is in a bar in New York City with Lt. Dan on New Year’s eve, and at the stroke of Midnight as the confetti comes down, one of the two prostitutes who are there with Lt Dan say to Forrest, “Don’t you just love New Year’s, it’s like a whole new beginning, a chance to start over again…a second chance.”
A second chance. You know, it’s not every day that you get a second chance. Ask the person who got the pink-slip when their factory was moved down to Mexico. Ask the mother whose husband ran off and left her with 4 hungry kids. It’s not everyday you come by a second chance. We live in a do or die world. A dog-eat-dog you might say. Hip hop Singer Eminem had a hit song that said, “You get one shot, don’t mess it up.”
It’s not every day that you find someone who will give you a second chance—much less someone who will give you a second chance every day. But in Jesus, Peter and others like him found both. And we can find it as well. Often the gospel is referred to as “The Gospel of Second Chances” because no matter how jaded your past may be, there is forgiveness offered in Christ Jesus who stands not only ready to forgive but also to restore.
In the movie, City Slickers, there are three life long friends discussing their lives. One of them is in tears. He has committed adultery with a young checkout clerk from the grocery store he manages. He has lost his wife. Because the store he manages belonged to his father in law, he has lost his job. His whole life is a disaster. He has nothing more to live for.
But one of his friends says, “No, that’s not true. Remember when we were kids and we would play ball, and someone would hit the ball and it would get stuck in a tree – we’d all yell ‘do over.’ And we’d get the ball out of the tree and do that play all over again. You’re life isn’t over. It’s a do-over. You have a chance to turn your life around.” Now some of you here may have made a mess of your lives and some of you need a “do-over“. Some here today need a second chance at life, and I dare say that all of us here today at one time or another have needed a second chance, or third of fourth or so on.
So why is it that we need a second chance? Mainly because we blew the first one. We made a mistake, a bad choice, a slip in morality and now we’ve had to live with it. A man and his wife were celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary when he broke into tears. His wife said, “What is wrong with you? Why are you so emotional?” He said, “On our honeymoon, I remember being so mad at you I said, ‘I could just kill you.’ You said, ‘If you do, you’ll go to jail for twenty-five years.’” His wife said, “Honey, I forgave you for that a long time ago.” He said, “I know. But if I had done it, today I would be a free man!
Past regrets. You know, Something in your past that you’ve done or something that you didn’t do that you are not proud of. A party got out of hand and you had a little to much to drink, and with your defenses weakened by the alcohol you gave into temptation and now you are at risk of losing your wife and family. Your goal in life was to make it to the top and you put your heart and soul sacrificing long hours at the office and cross country business trips…now that your there you look back and see that your kids are now grown and you missed something that you will never get back. You climbed up the ladder but when you got to the top you realized it was on the wrong building.