Summary: Thank God for second chances.
It’s said that when Aeschines the Greek spoke, the people nudged each other and said, “How well he speaks.” But that when Demosthenes spoke, they brandished their swords and cried out, “Let us march against Philip of Macedonia!”
This evening my prayer is that I would not come with enticing words but rather a spirit that moves you to action.
I realize that this message may not be for everyone right now… but I believe that in one way or another it will be for everyone eventually.
TEXT: Luke 13:6-9
How many have ever needed a second chance?
You’re in good company tonight because I would venture to guess that we all have.
In our text a land owner calls his gardener’s attention to a fig tree that has no fruit. By three years this fig tree should have been bearing two harvests each year. He tells the Gardner that it is just taking up space in his garden and that he wants to have it removed.
The gardener tells his to let him take care of it for one more year. That he would do everything in his power to make the fig tree fruitful.
Now there are a number of intriguing aspects to this particular parable. But none so readily seen as the fact that in spite of God having every right to dust us on the spot for our many and varied egregious failures… He is willing to step back give us some space and to actually help us try again.
I find this both profound and hopeful. (Expound)
Ezra 9:6-8 tells us,
“And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.”
“Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day.”
“And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.”
This is talking about the nation of Israel’s bondage in Babylon… brought about by their refusal to repent and serve God. And yet in spite of them bringing all of this upon themselves, God is still willing to give them another shot at it.
That’s good news tonight!
I. Imperfect By Nature
Why? Because you and I are imperfect by nature.
I’d love to be able to tell you that the moment that you got saved you would start life on a higher plain of existence… that you’d never make a mistake again… that you’d never have to feel ashamed… that your life and walk would be in total control. But that’s just not reality.
Failure is the legacy that we get to bare.
The theological circles our condition is referred to as “the natural depravity of man.”
We were created in a perfect state in the garden we chose disobedience of our own free will and destroyed ourselves spiritually.
And after thousands of years of willful, practiced failure… here we are tonight. A sight to behold.
The Bible is full of accounts of failure.
Abraham “the father of the faith” (lying about Sara)
Samson (anointed / judge / fell into sin with Delilah)
King David (where do we start with this guy / census / Bathsheba / Uriah)
Jonah (no misconceptions here / “Go to Nineveh” “No” / running from God)
John Mark (he gets upset and flat out quits the ministry / he leaves Paul and Barnabas hanging / “I’m outta here”)
Paul himself says in I Timothy 1:15,
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”
He had previously written in Romans 7:14-24 says,
“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.”
“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”
“If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.”
“Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:
for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”