Temple Baptist Church - 3-13-2011
A. As we continue toward Easter Sunday, I want to continue looking at the 7 distinct times that our Lord Jesus Christ spoke from the cross. Each of these 7 says are independent of each other and, yet, together—they speak v0lumnes about the heart of the One who died for our salvation.
B. Last week, we looked at “Father forgive them.” He came to die for sin and to bring about reconciliation to mankind. This morning, I want to look at the 2nd saying and possible the most notable: “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” In these verses, we find a true death bed profession. Most people who are dying are just too busy dying to trust Christ. I believe that some do truly get saved just before they die but, as a general rule, how you lived is how you die!
C. Here we find two thieves who were to die with Christ.
1. One Mocked Christ – vs. 39 He asked Christ to save them and still died lost. A prayer will not save the sinner. Salvation is a heart condition! This thief died unrepentant and lost. His prayer was to save “us.”
2. One Recognized Christ – vs. 40 This thief recognized who Christ was; recognized what he was; and asked for salvation. Vs. 41-42
D. What a bold request! “Lord, remember me!” He was a convicted thief with nothing to offer. He was condemned to death with no reprieve. Helpless, hopeless, he was now to die. He had lived his life for self and now requested salvation?
E. What a glorious reply! “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise!” Our Lord answered his request in the affirmative. I am so glad that we serve a merciful God who does not give us what we deserve. What a wonderful Lord and Saviour is Jesus Christ.
F. Notice that the grace of God extended was singular in number: “thou.” A nameless, condemned thief, helpless thief! Helpless but, thank God, not hopeless! Let us look at that statement for a few minutes.
G. The Request Of The Sinner – “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom”
1. Realization – “fear God”
2. Repentance – “indeed justly”
3. Recognition – “Lord”
4. Request – “remember me”
H. The Reply Of The Saviour – “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise”
1. Recognition – “unto thee”
2. Reliability – “Verily”
3. Reassurance – “shalt thou be”
I. His salvation was instantaneous: “today!” His salvation was assured: “thou shalt be!” His salvation was eternal: “in paradise!”
1. The heresy of Good Works was refuted – for there was nothing that the thief could do as death was imminent.
2. The heresy of Sacrementalism was refuted - for the thief was saved without recourse to baptism, the Lord's Supper, church, or ceremony.
3. The heresy of purgatory was refuted - for this vile sinner was instantly transformed into a saint and made fit for paradise apart from his personal expiation of a single sin.
4. The heresy of universalism was refuted - for only one was saved of all who might have been saved. Jesus did not say, "Today shall ye be with me in paradise", but "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise."
5. The heresy of soul-sleep was refuted - for the clear implication of the entire incident is that the redeemed thief would be in conscious fellowship with his Saviour in paradise even while his body disintegrated in some grave.
1. This saying shows the Love of God for sinners. He saved this thief because He loved him! It matters not who you are or what you have done, God loves you. He is truly a Friend of publicans and sinners. He loves me, He loves, He loves me this I know! The Bible tells me so.
John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Titus 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
1 John 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
2. This saying shows the Individuality of salvation. He saved the thief because He was dying for HIM! Salvation will never belong to a person until he or she realizes that Christ died for them personally. Yes, He did for the sins of the whole world but He died for me makes salvation personal.
1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
3. This saying shows clearly the Way of salvation. Not many ways but one way and that way is through faith in Christ and faith alone.
a. Salvation is not by works - Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
b. Salvation is through Christ alone - John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
c. Salvation is a free gift - Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
d. Salvation is for the asking - Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
4. This saying gives Hope to all of mankind! He saved a thief so that men might not despair. The BLESSED HOPE gave the thief hope! There is hope in Christ.
a. Some might say, “It is too late for me.” It was not too late for the thief. If you are breathing, you are a candidate for salvation.
b. Some might say, “I have done too much wrong to be saved.”
c. There is hope in Jesus Christ for even the vilest sinner on his way to his death.
5. This saying Warns mankind not to presume! Oh, preacher, I’ll make it some way. I have plenty of time. I will one day give my life to Christ!
a. The Presumption of Salvation - Christ only saved one of the thieves! They presume that they will “slip into heaven” at the last moment. Two men; two choices; and two destinies!
b. The Presumption of Judgment. That God will not put you in Hell. Most people do not think that they will perish I hell. Bad things always happen to other people.
One thief railed on Christ. “If thou be Christ.”
On Thief wailed to Christ. “Lord, remember me.”
On was nailed for their sin. He was nailed for my sin. He was nailed for yours!