This Week's Sermon ( 11-7-17 )

" And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 
But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 
And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 
And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. "   Luke 23:39-43

Most people refer to these 2 guys that hanged next to Jesus as thieves but according to the Greek they were called criminals. We do not know what crime or acts of crime they commited but we do know they were sentenced to death along with Jesus.

One of the 2 criminals blasphemed Jesus ( according to the Greek ), telling Jesus to rescue them and Himself if He is who He claimed to be.

The other criminal rebuked the criminal that said this to Jesus and admitted that they both deserved what was happening to them and said that Jesus did not deserve what was happening to Him because Jesus had done nothing wrong.

My guess is, the criminal that made this honest confession must have listened to some of the sermons Jesus taught during His 3 years of ministry and remembered what Jesus said about Himself. While this criminal knew he was about to die, he made the wise choice of putting his faith in this guy hanging there next to him named, Jesus.

In the Greek, this criminal said to Jesus; Jesus, remember me when you enter into your kingdom.

In the Greek, Jesus responded by saying; Truly I tell you, today with me you will be in the paradise. 

The other criminal did not put his faith in Jesus.

Since the fall, God has always wanted to restore the relationship humans once had with Him.

While the blood of Jesus was streaming down the cross, Jesus saved this criminal because of the criminal's faith in Him, and restored the relationship.

This is how we are saved.

Paul said;

" For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 

Not of works, lest any man should boast.  "   Ephesians 2:8-9

" But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. "   Ephesians 2:13

The writer of Hebrews said;

" Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. "   Hebrews 9:12

John also said;

" And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; "   Revelation 5:9

Notice the criminal did not have time to make right the wrong he did to others.

Notice the criminal did not have time to get baptised in water, nor did he have time to pay tithes, even though these things are important.

Jesus saved him anyway...only because of his faith in Him.

This is what Jesus wants more than anything from us...faith.

This is interesting what John said about Thomas, one of Jesus' own disciples after His resurrection;

" But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 
The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 
And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 
Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 
And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.  "   John 20:24-29

My friend, anyone can be saved on their death bed and in their dying moments, just as this criminal was.

What is required to be saved from eternal hell, is faith in Jesus.

Keep your faith in Jesus to the end.

Wayne Brown