30. September, 2018Sermon Notes No comments

the-god-of-a-second-chance

Scripture: Judges 16:28

Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “O Sovereign Lord, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”

 

Thrust: No matter how deep we sink into and no matter how far we stray, God NEVER gives up on us!

The Bottom Line: It’s all about God and nearly nothing about us. It’s about His love, His mercy and His grace.

 

Story 1: The God of a Second Chance for Samson

Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines. (Judges 13:4-5)

Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission? … What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honour you? (Judges 13:12, 17)

… the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him… (Judges 13:25)

When he grew up, he went down to Timnah, a Philistine town, and on meeting a gorgeous girl, was adamant that she was to be his wife.

Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes. (Judges 14:3)

Samson was later betrayed by her. Even through this, God’s sovereign and invisible hand was on Samson’s story.

And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and struck down 30 men of the town and took their spoil and gave the garments to those who had told the riddle. In hot angerhe went back to his father’s house. (Judges 14:19)

And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and struck down 30 men of the town and took their spoil and gave the garments to those who had told the riddle. In hot angerhe went back to his father’s house. (Judges 14:4)

The restless Samson moved out to Gaza. Once there, he saw and had sex a prostitute. Next, he ventured into Sorek. There he saw Delilah. The lords of the Philistines came to her and asked her to seduce Samson so that she could discover the secret of his strength. Succumbing to her wiles, he revealed the truth to her.

Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.But he did not know that the Lord had left him. (Judges 16:20)

Even when Samson failed, God still gave him another chance.

28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord,“Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other,30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived. (Judges 16:28-30)

 

Story 2: The God of a Second Chance for Peter

Aramaic Cephas = Greek Petros

Meaning: a mass of rock detached from the living rock

Things accelerated from the time Jesus ordained the 12 Apostles. Peter became their spokesman. He made two notable confessions: at Capernaum (Jn 6:66-69) and at Caesarea Philippi (Mt 16:13-20).

I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matt. 16:21)

Jesus then spoke of His sufferings. Peter rebuked Jesus for it. But Jesus rebuked him in return—using very harsh words:

“Get behind Me, Satan! You are a hindrance to Me” (Matt 16:23).

Nearing the end of His time on earth, Jesus took Peter, James, and John to a high mountain where He was transfigured. Again Peter exclaimed without thought and was rebuked by God himself,

4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matt. 17:4-5)

At the Last Supper, Jesus warned Peter he’d deny Him three times before a cock crows (Matt. 22:31—34). Peter protested:

“Even if I must die with You, I won’t deny You!” (Mt 26:35)

Later that night, Jesus took His disciples to Gethsemane to pray but all fell asleep. They were awakened only when soldiers came to arrest Jesus. Under sudden impulse, Peter took out a sword and cut off Malchus’ ear. Jesus rebuked Peter for it and then put the ear back. At the courtyard of the high priest, Jesus’ prophecy came true,

And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” (Luke 22:61)

In spite of all of Peter’s failings, God gave him a second chance and restored him.

15When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love (agapao) Me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “You know that I love (phileo) You.” Jesus said, “Feed My lambs.” 16Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love (agapao) Me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love (phileo) you.” Jesus said, “Take care of My sheep.” 17The third time He said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love (phileo) Me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love (phileo) You.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17)

The decisive event that showed Peter’s full restoration was what happened on the Day of Pentecost. After he was baptized by the Spirit, Peter stood up and preached his first sermon in witness of the Risen Christ. No more was he the coward who denied his Lord and hid behind closed door. On that day, he took the keys the Lord gave to him. He opened the door to the Kingdom of God. No more was he Simon bar Jonah. He was Peter in the Book of Acts.

 

Challenge

The stories of Samson and Peter reveal that no matter how deeply we’re mired in life and no matter how wayward we’ve been towards God, He will NEVER give up on us. He’s ever ready to give us the second chance when we fall and fail. Remember the bottom-line: it’s all about God; nothing about us. It’s all about God’s love, God’s mercy, and God’s grace.

 

By: Rev. Peter Lui

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