I’ve preached this before as a God of second chances. I noticed when reading it closer this week that the tree got more than two chances. God is a God of many chances. He is only obligated to give us one opportunity, one chance to be saved. Whatever choice we make, it could be the final one. One day it will be. As a tree falls, so shall it lie. I didn’t want to ignore the chances I had but in doing so I put my life in jeopardy. Why do we do it? Don’t we want the peace of God now?
Luke 13:1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. 7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? 8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. 10 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. 12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. 13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
As Jesus taught the people in the synagogue some came to him asking if he’d heard the news. We do that when we get together. When I saw Leon this morning I could tell he felt better; that was good news. The people asked Jesus if he’d heard about what the Galilaeans did and then what Pilate did. He had them killed and mingled their blood with the sacrifice. Jesus used that bad news to teach the people. The very ones talking about the Galilaeans weren’t trusting God. Jesus knew their hearts. They wanted a “formal” following but just weren’t serious about it. The Lord was not in their hearts. The rich young ruler came to Jesus saying what all he had done but something was still missing. He wanted to know what it was. Again, Jesus knew his heart and told him to sell everything he had and give to the poor. He loved his riches and wasn’t willing to let it go. He needed to turn his whole life over to God or he couldn’t really be a follower. He wasn’t willing.
We’re not partially saved. We’re either saved or lost. The people thought they were closer to God because they hadn’t done what the Galilaeans had. Jesus reminded them of other events and said unless they all repent, they would perish. Be careful and put God where he needs to be. There are plenty of false preachers who make sinners feel it’s okay to better themselves. Jesus is only a figurehead. There is no identifying of sin. Some say Jesus is a good teacher and a mental belief is okay. Some unsaved people know as much or more Bible than the saved. How serious are we about following Jesus? What place does he have in our life? 4th or 5th? What is 1st place?
It doesn’t matter what type of sin a person is in. All sinners, from the least to the worst, will perish. People are in hell today because they died in their sins, having rejected their only Savior. Nobody can save your soul. The only job I have as a preacher is to tell you about our Savior. I can’t save you. If you die lost, you die saying no to the only Savior God has provided: Jesus Christ. No matter how well-liked you are or well-respected, if you’re not saved you will not go to heaven. It’s time to get serious about our relationship with God. If a person says no to their last chance, he’ll go to hell.
In this vineyard, other trees bore fruit. The owner noticed it. The first year all the trees got an equal chance. One tree didn’t bear fruit. It got an extra chance. He came a third year and gave it another. The tree had a good dresser. Can we ask for anything better than our Bible, our privilege to pray, a good church? There is nothing better than our God. The dresser wanted to work the soil one more year and if it didn’t bear fruit he would cut it down.
Jesus is giving us one more chance. It strikes me as odd that Jesus just stopped the parable after this. The ending is up to you and me. If you miss heaven you can’t blame me, the church, your family. You will be the only one to blame. God knows whether we really trust him. He knows if we’re serious or flippant about it. God, in his mercy, has given us one more chance. Are we doing with today like we did yesterday? One day it will be the last chance. Today is the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles or Rosh Hashanah. It begins with the blowing of the trumpets. What if God blows the trumpet for the return of Christ? What if everyone trusting God disappeared? This would indeed be your last chance. What does that mean to you?