Second Chances

Second Chances: A Second Chance to Serve

‘Good coaches’ know there is no such thing as a bench.  I have watched a lot of sporting events, and I have noticed something about ‘good coaches.’  Every person on their team knows their role and there is no such thing as a bench.  A poor coach is only worried about what is happening on the field or the court and lets half of their team sit.  Good coaches instill the mission of winning in the hearts of every athlete on the team. Whether they are on the field or on the sideline they are always in the game.

Jesus is a good coach.

This morning’s message will attempt accomplish two goals; we will explore a new and powerful aspect of the God of Second Chances, but we will also finish off our Journey Through John Series. A few of you caught this, but we ended our Journey through John with John 20.  Well, there is a 21st chapter in the book of John.

This last chapter in John is one of the most beautiful pictures of a Second Chance in the entire canon of Scripture! 

Second Chances: A Second Chance to Serve

Second Chances: A Gracious Little Girl

 

God’s hesed is amazing...  I want to shift gears because God is not the only one who can show hesed.  There is a story in 2 Kings I want you to turn to 2 Kings 5.
 
2 Kings 5:1–4 (ESV) — 1 Naaman, commander of the army of the king
of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because
by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of
valor, but he was a leper.
 
The biblical word “leprosy” was used to describe many incurable, contagious skin diseases. The book of Leviticus actually give detailed instructions on how Israel was to deal with these diseases. Some of which were HIGHLY contagious. Before antibiotics, and anti-fungal medicines it was important to quarantine people with skin infections...  Think about some of the diseases that show skin symptoms. Of course there is leprosy but also, small pox, measles, plague, human papilloma virus, herpes, gangrene... All of these are dangerous and in biblical times often meant a lonely slow and painful death.  Naaman has one of these diseases.

 

Second Chances: A Gracious Little Girl

Second Chances: Jonah & God's Hesed

Last week, we began to celebrate the God of second chances.  We are specifically celebrating that part of God’s character through which he shows himself generous, compassionate, loving and kind, shielding us from his wrath, forgiving us, and giving us what we need to live and grow in faith and obedience.
 
We learned a new word last week, the word “hesed.”  Hesed is one of the key descriptors of God in the Old Testament.  The word speaks of a completely undeserved kindness and generosity done by a person who is in a position of power.  This was the Israelites’ experience of God.  He revealed himself to them when they were not looking for him, and he kept his covenant with them long after their persistent breaking of it had destroyed any reason for his continued keeping of it.  …Unlike humans, God was not fickle, undependable, self-serving, and grasping.  Instead, he was faithful, true, upright, and generous—always.
 

Second Chances: Jonah & God's Hesed 2

Second Chances: Jonah & God's Hesed

In ancient Israel, there was a powerful prophet of the Lord.  He was charged with proclaiming God’s thoughts and intentions to powerful people in powerful places.  He loved his job.  His favorite prophecy was when he got to tell the king of Israel, Jeroboam, that Israel would expand to the North and would be prosperous and successful under his reign (2 Kings 14:25).  It’s fun giving good news to those you love.

But then one day God spoke to this prophet and said, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.”  Jonah knew exactly what “calling out against” a city meant.  It meant Jonah had to give some exceptionally bad news to some exceptionally bad people.  Who had both attacked and oppressed Israel for decades.

Second Chances: Jonah & God's Hesed