If you would like to send your offering through the mail, our mailing address is:

CrossPointe Community Church
P O Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215


About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.”

Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’
“The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’”

Luke 13:1-9


Second Chances

Randy K’Meyer

Did you see the story about the coach from Youngstown State who was faced this week with the possibility that his star player might be declared academically ineligible before their game with Ohio State yesterday? The coach went to bat for his player and pleaded with the math professor not to flunk the kid. The professor says, “Tell you what, coach, “I’ll ask him a question and if he gets it right, I’ll pass him.”
The player was called in and the math professor asked, “What’s the square root of nine?”
And the player answers, “Three.”
And the coach pleads, “Give him another chance! Give him another chance!”

Chances are that all of us have wished for a coach in our corner who would give us another chance; especially when life goes south. If only I had the chance to back out of my drive again that day, I would have paid more attention and wouldn’t have collided with that new Cadillac. If only I had the chance to . . . you fill in the blank.

Although we occasionally get second chances they don’t come around as often as we wish. Words are spoken, decisions are made, the dominoes fall and it’s too late to for a do-over.

That’s why so many people love to play video games. Video games give us as many chances as we want. It doesn’t matter how many times we crash the car in our favorite racing game, we can always get in a brand new car and start the race again. It doesn’t matter how many times we get killed in Call to Duty, there’s always another life. It’s no wonder that so many are addicted to video games.

We all crave second chances but they seldom come our way. And when they do we should be eternally grateful.

But although second chances seldom come our way in this life, Jesus wants us to know today that they are plentiful in the spiritual realm.

He lets us know this in the parable that piggybacks on His comments about two Palestinian tragedies.

Someone informs Jesus that the Roman Procurator, Pilate, who will later seal the fate of Jesus, has murdered some worshippers in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus uses this situation, and even brings up another about a tower that took out 18 people, as an opportunity for a teachable moment.

At first, Jesus is intent on putting to rest the prevailing theology of the day; that if you suffered some tragedy in life, it was a just cause because God was punishing you for some sin in your life. Jesus quickly nixes that theology by asking, ‘Were these who died worse sinners than others because they met this fate?’ (Luke 13:2, 4).

They would have answered, “Yes.” Jesus says, “I tell you, No!”

And before it digresses into a theological argument about just cause, Jesus punches right through to the heart of the issue by focusing on the potential disaster that looms before everyone who will someday meet God face to face:

Unless you repent of your sins and turn to God you will perish too.

Luke 13:5

In other words, more important than the cause or the timing of these events is this: only turning to Jesus can change death from a tragic end to a new kind of life. These events should remind people of the fragile nature of life and serve to call on each person to consider God’s place in their life.

And then, the parable expands on the teaching. It is clear that Jesus has cast God as the owner of the vineyard; Jesus Himself is the keeper of the vineyard, and fig tree represents the nation of Israel. What does one do with a fig tree that uses up scarce nutrients, but does not yield the fruit of, in this case, repentance? The owner desires to chop it down because it has had the necessary time to bear fruit, but has failed to do so. But the vineyard keeper begs for just a little more time. Perhaps extra care, a little loosening of the soil; fresh nutrients will do the trick?

In other words what we have here is a passage in which Jesus is offering anyone who needs to another chance to get their lives in order before God.

It is always the way of God to give spiritual second chances.

The Bible is full of people who get a second-chance, a new beginning, a fresh start, a new birth!

It begins with Adam and Eve when they decide to disobey God. God could have strung them up and started all over, but He didn’t. He gave them, and all of their descendants, another shot at life.

God called Moses to liberate God’s people from the hand of the Egyptians. Moses gets carried away, murders an Egyptian and flees for his life. And He doesn’t show up again for 50 years. But when he does, God calls to him again from a burning bush and gives Moses another chance to be His emissary.

David is a man after God’s own heart, but fails miserably when he allows his own heart to be carried off by a beautiful woman and orchestrates the murder of her husband. But God gives David another chance to be King.

Adam and Eve, Moses, David, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jonah; the list is long of people who failed God many times over, and yet receive another chance.

Chances are that there may be some here today who would love nothing more than another shot at being the kind of person that God wants us to be. But we feel that we’ve blown it big time; that we have done something so far out of line with what we believe God wants that He would never offer one! And so we conclude that we are way beyond, that we do not deserve, that 2nd or 3rd or 4th chance.

But that would be a fatal mistake. Because this passage teaches that God in His amazing grace excels at offering us another opportunity to make things right with Him.

New Testament case in point: a man named Saul who is responsible for the cold-blooded murder of at least several Christians and is on a journey to round up some more, when he meets the Risen Lord, is given a second chance, and becomes the Apostle Paul. Think of it, from a murderer of Christians to the church’s greatest missionary!

Those of us who think that a 2nd chance is beyond them need to know IT IS BEYOND OUR ABILITY TO EARN ONE.

But it is definitely not beyond the capacity of God to offer one!

Gene McGuire was 17 when he went with his cousin Bobby to a bar, had a few drinks, decided to rob the bar and cousin Bobby shot and killed the owner. They went on the run, but Gene couldn’t escape the reality of what they had done and turned himself in to police. Though he didn’t pull the trigger, because he was present when this went down, he was charged with murder. A day before his 18th birthday the judge sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

A few years later, Prison Fellowship organized a revival in the prison. A preacher shared a gospel message and ended with an invitation for people to come forward to commit themselves the Christ saying, “Real men make commitments.” But Gene McGuire remained glued to his seat. He returned the next day and again, the preacher ended with those words, “Real men make commitments.” He watched as others made the commitment. He wanted to—but he couldn’t.

Then a volunteer approached him. “Hi, my name is Larry.”
McGuire asked, “How long have you been a Christian?”
“Since I was 4-years-old,” Larry replied.
McGuire thought, “If a 4-year-old could sort out this Jesus stuff, why can’t I at 26?”

The next day, it ended with the familiar “Real men make commitments.”

“A war raged within me—Go! No, don’t go! Get up! No, don’t move! I held on to the chapel pew with a white-knuckled death grip. Suddenly, it just happened. I was on my feet, putting one in front of the other. I remember praying, ‘Jesus, I believe you died and rose again for me. Please forgive all my sins; I want to be saved. Amen.’ It sounds cliché, but I felt as if a ton of weight rolled right off my back, as if chains fell away and I was free. Life in prison remained life in prison, but from the moment I believed in Jesus, the newness of life was extraordinary. I received a life sentence and then a second chance to become what God desires.” 1

Anyone here desire another chance to start over with God?

“Unless you repent of your sins and turn to God you will perish too” (Luke 13:5). The New Testament teaches that repenting of our sin and turning to God implies wanting to be forgiven of our sin. And that can only be accomplished through faith/belief in the death of Jesus.

In the Book of Acts, Peter is preaching his second sermon about how Jesus died on the cross and was raised back to life for us and he concludes by saying, similarly to Jesus in today’s passage, “Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away” (Acts 3:19).

A young woman came to faith in Jesus and naturally decided to attend a membership class in the church she had begun to attend. At one point, the pastor asked her, “Were you a sinner?”
“Are you still a sinner?”
“Well, yes, I believe that I still sin.”
“Then what changes have taken place in your life?”
“The best way I can explain it is that I used to be a sinner running after sin, but now I’m a sinner running away from sin.” 2

I would say that now she is running in the right direction. Are you? Is it the cry of your heart to follow Jesus? Have you made a decision to trust in Christ and Him alone as the mean to achieve forgiveness of your sins?

“Sir,” Jesus with the owner of the vineyard, “Give the tree one more chance” (Luke 13:8).

But before we end, we dare not ignore the warning Jesus concludes with: “If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down” (Luke 13:7).

Jesus is making it quite clear that when it comes to turning life Godward that there will come a time when chances run out. If we refuse chance after chance; if God’s invitation is given again and again, in vain, the day finally comes, not when God has shut us out, but when we, by deliberate choice, have shut ourselves out with a hard heart. Each time we hear a message like this and refuse to get right with God, it’s like another layer of callousness wraps itself around our hearts and it can reach the point where we are no longer interested in a relationship with God.

In Meredith Wilson’s great musical The Music Man, Professor Harold Hill attempts to get Marion the librarian to go on a date with him. He asks her to meet him on the footbridge across the stream running through the park. She wants to but procrastinates, “Some other time, maybe tomorrow.” He persists but she keeps putting him off. Finally in exasperation he says, ‘Pile up enough tomorrows and you’ll find that you’ve collected nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.’

God save us from that today!

In the first half of the 1929 Rose Bowl, Roy Riegels, a player for UCLA picked up a fumble and ran the wrong way. One of his teammates tackled him just short of his own goal line or he would have scored a safety for the opposing team. Just before leaving the locker room to start the second half the Coach Price said, “The same ones who started the game will start the second half.” As the team trotted out to the field, the coach noticed Roy Riegels sitting in the corner of the locker room sobbing. He said, “Riegels, you heard what I said and it includes you, so get out there.”
Reigels said, “I can’t, coach. I’ve embarrassed you. I’ve embarrassed our team. I’ve embarrassed myself. I can’t go out there and face all those people.”
His Coach said, “The game is only half over. Get out there and do your best!”
Roy Reigels got up, returned to the field and played the game of his life in that second half. 3

That’s what Jesus is offering His listeners today; a chance to play a better second half. The clock is ticking; God is watching over His vineyard. How many chances will we get? Only He knows.

1 Gene McGuire, God Remembered Me in Prison, CT magazine (June, 2017), pp. 79-80

2 https://hotsermons.com/sermon-illustrations/sermon-illustrations-repentance.html

3 From Steven Lombardo, “God of the Second Chance” – Preaching May/June 1999