(Text: Luke 23:39-43)
You can also listen to the children’s message for the service:
Text: One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:39-43 (NIV)
These two thieves symbolize all of humanity. Christ is at the center, flanked by two guys who see him differently. What a person believes and confesses about Jesus will determine whether or not the person goes to heaven. In the end, we will find ourselves characterized by one or the other of these thieves; so what does this text from the Gospel of Luke teach us about saving faith?
Upon death we will come before God.
“Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die?” vs. 40 (NLT)
“People are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” Hebrews 9:27 (NIV)
“Our bodies will return to the dust of the earth, and the breath of life will go back to God, who gave it to us.” Ecclesiastes 12:7 (GNT)
We have sinned and fallen short of what God requires.
“We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.” vs. 41 (NIV)
“There is not a single person in all the earth who is always good and never sins.”
Ecclesiastes 7:20 (NLT)
“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 6:23 (NIV)
“Don’t you fear God even when you are dying?” Luke 23:40 (NIV)
Jesus is more than man—He is the eternal Savior and King.
“‘But this man has done nothing wrong.’ 42 Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’” vss. 41b-42
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 (NIV)
All who trust Jesus are saved.
“Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ 43 Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’” vss. 42‑43
“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” John 5:24 (NLT)
“But everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” Joel 2:32 (quoted also in Romans 10:13)