A woman comes home one afternoon and tell her husband that the car won’t start. She says it is water in the carburettor. Her husband not wanting to be rude said “Dear are you sure? I’m not trying to be mean, but you don’t know a carburettor from a spark plug.” But the wife being ever so persistent said “I’m sure there is water in the carburettor.” The husband finally says, “Okay dear I’ll take a look at it where is at.” She said in the lake.
I bet that wife wished she’d had a second chance, a do-over, a chance to replay her actions. Ever had something you wish you could take back. Something you could do over. Have you ever messed things up so badly that you wish you could do it over again.
Thirty percent of an average person’s anxiety is focused on things about the past that can’t be changed. If we were honest with ourselves, we all would say that there is something in our past that we regret doing and wished we could yell “Do-Over” and find ourselves with a second chance. We wish we had a rewind button, but life doesn’t come with one.
PETER AND THE FIRST OF TWO CHARCOAL FIRES
John 13:36-38 (ESV)
Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.”
The story of Peter’s failure is well known. Despite Peter’s confident statement that he was willing to die for Jesus, he instead denied three times that he even knew the Lord whom he professed to love.
John 18:17-18 (ESV)
The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
The Greek word for charcoal fire is ANTHRAKIA, which appears only twice in the NT, both times involving the Apostle Peter. This was the first.
Peter talked big, showed plenty of promise, but blew it big time instead. But our God is the God of Second Chances.
A GOD OF SECOND CHANCES
You can’t replay your life over, you can’t gain credit for another life, but thankfully our God is a God of Second Chances, and we see this all through Scripture.
Chances are you’ve done something over the course of your life that you’re not proud of. In fact, you might have even done a few “somethings” and feel they have added up and are taking their toll. You told one too many lies or you kept one too many secrets. You were selfish one time too often. Maybe you hurt one too many people, even those you claimed to love.
Indeed, after a lifetime of bad behaviour, you might feel like it’s too late to do anything about righting your wrongs. Too late to make a difference. Too late to be used by God for anything worthwhile.
You might know that God has forgiven your sin through your faith in Jesus, know that you will enter heaven when you die, but perhaps you can’t shake the feeling that the chance to do something good on earth has come and gone.
If you feel this way, let me be straight with you. We serve a big God who can overcome the impossible and restoring the unrestorable. In fact, God is in the business of taking the worst of us and using us in mighty ways for the glory of his name and kingdom. Let me prove from Scripture that He is the God of Second chances!
1. CONSIDER MOSES
Consider Moses. He was a prince of Egypt, but one mistake cost him the respect of Pharaoh and the trust of his own people. He murdered an Egyptian in anger and tried to cover up his crime.
Then he spent forty years as an outcast, convinced that his wickedness rendered him ineligible for good works. God’s response was to show up in a burning bush with a message for Moses that no matter what he had done, the plan was for him to lead God’s people out of Egypt and into the promised land. He would be given authority over the people and power from God to bring judgment on Egypt.
Exodus 3:10 (ESV)
Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
Moses came up with excuse after excuse, but God insisted that he was the man to lead the people out of Egypt. You might think you’ve sinned so greatly that God cannot use you, but I prophesy to you today that, if you open your heart to Him and if you are obedient to Him, He will use you mightily.
And if the devil wants to remind you of your past, try reminding him of his future!
2. CONSIDER RAHAB
What about Rahab. She was a prostitute living in the pagan city of Jericho. She lived on the furthest outskirts of the city, on the wall, which was a place for the lowest in society. Shortly before her nation’s downfall, she knew enough of the Lord and of God’s chosen people to know what was coming.
It would have been easy for her to conclude that her fate was sealed, and that God would kill her along with everyone else in Jericho. But faith compelled her to help Joshua’s spies, to align herself with Israel’s God. Thus, God used her to grant victory to the Israelites, and he saved her by protecting her and her family from Jericho’s fall. She even appears in the genealogy of MESSIAH.
Matthew 1:5 (ESV)
and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse,
3. CONSIDER JOSEPH
Joseph was a victim. He wasn’t out and out sinful, but his brothers betrayed him and sold him into slavery. Beaten down, falsely accused, forgotten by those he trusted, he could have gone mad, got justifiably angry, and got even. But he didn’t. He trusted God, He waited patiently, and he forgave his brothers instead of getting even.
Genesis 50:20 (ESV)
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
Some of you need to forgive someone else in your past to see God use you, but if you forgive and yield your spirit to Him, He will keep His promise.
4. CONSIDER GIDEON
Gideon was threshing wheat in a hole, which doesn’t work, because he was terrified of the Midianites. He was scared, but God saw something in Him…
Judges 6:14-16 (ESV)
And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”
God raised Gideon up to free His people. God saw beyond the timidity, his limited family upbringing and background, beyond the fear and the previous failures, God saw what he could be, what he should be, who he was destined to be!
Whatever failure you have in your past, whatever your upbringing, God sees through that and calls you to be a mighty warrior. He is the God of Second chances!
5. CONSIDER DAVID
What about King David. David was a success, he slew the giant Goliath, he escaped from the corrupted King Saul, God raised him to the throne. Then after tasting success, he blew it…he committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband, Uriah.
2 Samuel 12:13-14 (ESV)
David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child who is born to you shall die.”
David was in ministry, he had it all, but his lust caused these grievous sins. He had it, and he lost it, and some here are in that position. The Lord would say to you today, it’s not over until it’s over. God can still use you, if you repent like David and allow Him to lead you into His destiny for you. Repent, and accept His forgiveness, because He is the God of Second Chances.
6. CONSIDER JOHN (ST.) MARK
Mark was a young man, the cousin of Barnabas, the guy who travelled and ministered with Paul. While we are not privy to details, Mark left the team. When his cousin wanted to take him again, Barnabas and Paul argued to the point of separating.
Acts 15:37-39 (ESV)
Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus,
Mark was a failure in ministry, and you would think that this was the end for him. But God is the God of second chances. In his last epistle, imprisoned in Rome, facing the sword of the executioner, Paul wrote this…
2 Timothy 4:11 (ESV)
Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.
Mark, who went on to write the gospel bearing his name, went from wash up, failure, the biggest let down going, to someone whom Paul needed for his ministry in his darkest hour. Second chances!
The Bible is full of stories about sinners whom God ended up redeeming and using to bring about his perfect plan of deliverance and restoration. So, if God could use murderers and prostitutes to become great heroes of the faith, why do you assume he couldn’t or wouldn’t do the same for you?
PETER’S SECOND CHARCOAL FIRE
After Jesus died, most of the disciples were so disillusioned they gravitated back to their previous professions. Peter, who knew he betrayed his Lord three times, went back to fishing. They had fished all night and had caught zip. Then Jesus appeared, and said cast your net in the other side, and they caught 153 fish.
Peter forgot the fish, left his mates to haul them in, and dived into the sea, and was the first to meet Jesus that day.
John 21:9 (ESV)
When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread.
The second mention of a charcoal fire heralded the second chance for the dejected Peter.
PETER’S SECOND CHANCE
The account of Peter’s restoration is highly significant. Three times Peter had denied Christ and three times he was given the opportunity to reaffirm his love.
In the Greek, the exchange between Jesus and Peter is so revealing.
John 21:15 (ESV)
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
Jesus used the Greek AGAPE, when He asked, do you love me. AGAPE is unconditional, sacrificial love, love that stands forever, no matter what. Peter answered using a different word for love, PHILEO, the love a close friend has. Jesus asked a second time, AGAPE, and Peter answered a second time, PHILEO.
John 21:17 (ESV)
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
This time Jesus met Peter where he was at. Jesus changed and used PHILEO, and Peter replied using the same word. Jesus met Peter at his level. He had predicted how Peter would perform in the crisis that led to the cross, that he would deny his Lord three times. Now he offered Peter three times to pledge his love. This was the chance to retake the exam. A second chance. Jesus gave Peter a second chance to live for Him, and ultimately to do as He had originally promised, lay his life down.
GOD IS OFFERING A SECOND CHANCE
In A Heart for the Master, co-authors Gordon and Gail MacDonald tell the story of Aba Mios, who was asked by a soldier whether God would forgive him. “After instructing him at some length, the old man asked him: ‘Tell me, my son, if your best cloak was torn, would you throw it away?’ ‘Oh, no!’ the soldier replied. ‘I would mend it and wear it again.’ The old man said to him, ‘Well, if you care for your cloak, will not God show mercy to his own creature?'”
The point is well made. If we as flawed human beings take care to mend and repair that which has been torn, would God not want to see his broken ones restored?
We serve the God of the second chance. Like Moses, like Rahab, like Joseph, Gideon, David, Mark, and Peter, each of us is offered the opportunity to pour our brokenness at the feet of the One who was himself broken for our sake. Repentance is one of the truest forms of worship. It has the power to remove any barrier of sin that separates us from the Saviour.
THIS IS THE MOMENT
Tapping into the future God wants for you starts with a living, active faith that God is whom He says He is and that he will do what he promises to do. Jude…
Jude 1:24 (ESV)
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,
There’s plenty of things in our lives that we wished we could replay and do over. Maybe to correct a wrong or a missed opportunity or maybe you did not heed some wise advice. Maybe there are some sins in your life that the devil keeps hounding you about. Don’t worry, Jesus wants more for you in 2023. God offers forgiveness no matter what you have done. He’s the God of Second Chances.
By choosing to believe that God will keep his promise and destiny for you, regardless of what you may have done in the past, you open the door to being used by God for greatness in his kingdom in the future.
Don’t give up. Defeat is not permanent. Failure is not forever unless you choose to be a failure. Our victory has already been won through Jesus Christ. All you have to do is draw near to God and start experiencing all he has in store for you on earth.
But you have to believe that whatever you’ve done or been in the past, God loves and forgives you. He will restore you and raise you up to greatness, if you trust in Him.
Destiny in not something randomly that happens to you, it is a series of choices. I’m going to give you the opportunity to start right now and make the right choice. God is calling many of you today, and it is time to respond.
Who today needs a second chance?