1. Hello listening friends.
2. It’s always a delight to know that you are there listening to this program.
3. And I hope you are able to write to us and tell us what this program means to you.
4. We have begun in the last message talking about the seven statements from the cross.
5. The first one was, Father forgive them.
6. And then the second one, which we are going to look at today was the practice of that forgiving.
7. Let me begin by telling you a story.
8. The French emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte was one day reviewing his troops when his horse bolted out of control.
9. He was in danger of being hurled to the ground.
10. So a young private leaped from the ranks and quickly calmed the animal.
11. Napoleon said to him thank you Captain.
12. And thus he bestowed upon the private an instant promotion.
13. Smiling proudly, the soldier inquired, of what regiment sir.
14. Of my guard replied Bonaparte as he dashed down the lines.
15. Immediately assuming his new rank the private turned captain walked over to join a group of staff officers.
16. One of the officers said, what is this insolent fellow doing here.
17. I am Captain of the guards says the young man.
18. And the officer said, you, you rascal, you are just a private, what makes you think you are a Captain.
19. At that moment, the young man pointed to the Emperor and confidently responded, he said it.
20. I beg your pardon, Captain, the officer said politely.
21. I was not aware of your promotion.
22. That soldier did not feel like a Captain.
23. Nor did he wear the insignia of a Captain.
24. All he had was the word of the Emperor and that was enough.
25. The true Christians have the assurance of their salvation.
26. True Christians can be assured of heaven right now not because of how good they are.
27. Or how righteous they are
28. Or that they are better than others.
29. No, the assurance of salvation stems from the fact that God said it.
30. God promised it through Jesus Christ.
31. Our Emperor said it.
32. Our Lord said it.
33. Our Master said it.
34. Now what did he say?
35. He said that all those who come to Jesus Christ by faith will be eternally saved.
36. And this assurance of salvation is the second statement that Jesus made from the cross.
37. Do you remember what his first words from the cross were?
38. Father forgive them.
39. Today we come to see Jesus’ exercise of his divine prerogative in forgiving sin and assuring us of salvation.
40. The first word from the cross was a prayer from the Son to the Father.
41. Today’s prayer is a prayer from a sinner to Jesus.
42. Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom said the thief on his right hand.
43. If you have a Bible, turn to Luke 23.
44. Beginning at verse 39.
45. Let us read it to you.
46. This is the last conversation that our Lord had with another before his death.
47. Jesus had a long conversation with Nicodemus.
48. He had a long conversation with the Samaritan woman.
49. But this brief conversation is just as significant as the others.
50. And the results were the same.
51. Repentance, faith, and salvation.
52. That says that there are some people who take a long time to be convicted with arguments and numerous imputs before they turn to Christ and be born again.
53. But for others it takes only a sentence and everything becomes clear.
54. All the four gospels record that Jesus was crucified with two others, why.
55. Some think that it was a mockery by the Romans of the one who claimed to be King of the Jews.
56. As if to say, here is your court, two criminals who are crucified with you.
57. But the truth is this.
58. This happened in order to fulfill the prophesies.
59. It was 700 years before Christ that Isaiah prophesized in Isaiah 53 that he will number with his transgressors.
60. This is the gospel in a miniature.
61. The reason this is the gospel in a miniature or the gospel in a capsule is because it shows that there are two ways in which men and women can react to Jesus.
62. There are two ways in which Jesus reacts to humanity.
63. On the cross there was the reaction of rejection and the reaction of acceptance.
64. There is no neutrality.
65. There is no third way.
66. There is no passivity.
67. Jesus said those who are not with me are against me.
68. First let’s look at the one who rejected Jesus.
69. One of the criminals who hung there kept on blaspheming him.
70. Matthew and Mark said they reviled him.
71. But Luke ignores the reviling and concentrates on the blaspheming.
72. Doctor Luke understood that if a dog is injured or in pain, he will bite the hands that try to help him.
73. The repentant criminal may have reviled Jesus too, but never blasphemed.
74. He called into question the power and the dignity of the Son of God, but never rejected him.
75. It is interesting that the men had talked while they were being crucified.
76. Historians record that those who were crucified often talked and reviled the crowd as well as one another.
77. These criminals were not petty thieves or muggers.
78. The word is a technical word which means a zealot or a plotter to overthrow the government, or a revolutionary.
79. The Romans did not crucify for petty theft, only for disloyalty to Caesar.
80. The criminal who blasphemed echoed the cry of the crowd, you are the Christ, aren’t you, save yourself and us.
81. You feel the bitterness in that sentence.
82. This man is sounding like a rejected lover.
83. He may have been one of the crowd on Palm Sunday who cried out, Hosanna, save now.
84. He may have been misled in thinking that Jesus was the fulfillment of his political ambitions.
85. He may have been misled in thinking that Jesus was the fulfillment of his career aspiration.
86. He may have been misled in thinking Jesus was the fulfillment of his national dreams.
87. And now his ambitions, his aspirations, and his dreams are shattered.
88. Now he saw Jesus to be weak on the cross.
89. I found that most people who have bitterness toward God are the people who pray to God for selfish reasons.
90. When God does not answer their prayer the way they expect it, they become mad with God.
91. But then there was another criminal.
92. This criminal was equally zealous and equally accused and equally reviling Jesus.
93. But something has happened on the first hour of Calvary that changed the heart of this one.
94. Some have speculated that this was not this man first encounter with Jesus.
95. I don’t want to speculate.
96. But we know that as the nails were splitting his hands he had heard something from Jesus that he had never heard before.
97. He heard Jesus to be saying Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.
98. Perhaps it was these words that transformed a reviler to a repenter.
99. Perhaps it was these words that transformed a doubter to a believer.
1. Perhaps it was these words that transformed a skeptic to a follower.
2. But ultimately I have to say that it was the grace of God.
3. What this repentant criminal had said in four short sentences was not only acknowledgment of who Jesus was.
4. What he said was not only a repentance and surrender to Jesus’ Lordship.
5. It was not only a request.
6. But it was also a rebuke to his comrades in arms.
7. He said to his comrade, do you not even fear God.
8. Man you are about to face God and you are going to end your life with blasphemy and bitterness toward God.
9. These two men were comrades.
10. These two men were fellow zealots.
11. These two men were friends.
12. Both were reviling Jesus together.
13. But as the repentant one repents and gives his life to Jesus Christ he rebukes his friend.
14. My listening friend, I want you to listen to what I am going to tell you.
15. When you come to Jesus Christ, one thing is inevitable and unavoidable and you cannot sidestep it.
16. When you come to Jesus Christ, there will be a gap between you and your former friends.
17. There is a line that has been drawn between you and your former partners in sin.
18. The day has to come when you have to say, fellows, I don’t enjoy your jokes anymore.
19. I don’t enjoy your blasphemy anymore.
20. I don’t enjoy your vulgarity anymore.
21. But come with me to the Savior.
22. Just as he has forgiven me.
23. Just as he has lifted me up.
24. Just as he delivered me.
25. He can deliver you too.
26. This zealot was not a theologian.
27. He prayed no long and profound prayers.
28. He did not try to find an excuse for his sin.
29. He merely said, Jesus, remember me when I come into your kingdom.
30. Look at the element of faith in this man and as he was dying on the cross.
31. He offered no excuse and no explanation.
32. He did not plead extenuating circumstances.
33. He simply said, Jesus remember me.
34. A young man once said to me.
35. I refuse to believe in God and my parents will have to get the blame for that.
36. They tore up their marriage and they ruined my life they are to blame.
37. But this man dying on the cross gave no excuse.
38. In fact, he said to his comrade we are getting what we deserve.
39. Now you understand why I said this is the gospel in a capsule.
40. He was not only acknowledging his sin.
41. He not only offered no excuses.
42. But he adds a word of testimony about Jesus.
43. This criminal great testimony was, this man has done nothing wrong or anything out of place.
44. He came from reviling Jesus to testifying for Jesus all in a very short period of time
45. That is the power of the gospel.
46. This is the only time someone in the gospel called Jesus by the simple name, Jesus.
47. He’s often called, Jesus the son of David.
48. Or he’s been called a rabbi.
49. Or called Lord.
50. But this is the first time someone referred to him just as Jesus, Jeshua.
51. The man did not ask to be saved from the cross.
52. He only asked that somehow, sometime in the distant eternity he would remember him when he comes into his kingdom.
53. No doubt this dying criminal saw on top of Jesus’ cross, King of the Jews.
54. And that was enough for him to believe that this was the Messiah, King.
55. So in humility, he cried out, Jesus, remember me.
56. I want you to remember some things here.
57. Remember that all his disciples, except John, had fled.
58. Remember that the government had rejected Jesus.
59. Remember that the organized religion had repudiated him.
60. Remember that the mob had reviled him.
61. This man had no evidence of who Jesus was and yet by the grace of God he looked over and said, Jesus, remember me.
62. Others have seen Jesus raise the dead, open the eyes of the blind, heal the sick and yet they did not believe.
63. Yet this man sees Jesus dying on the cross and he surrenders to him.
64. There were two reactions to Jesus, and they symbolize humanities reaction to Jesus.
65. It is only in two ways, one rejects him, the other accepts him.
66. This has been and will always be the case with Jesus until he comes back.
67. You either accept him or reject him.
68. Universalism that says everyone will make it to heaven is not Christianity.
69. It is very important to see Jesus’ reaction to these men.
70. Jesus did not get bogged down and get preoccupied with his pain to assure repentant sinners.
71. This thought hit me in a very special way.
72. For if there’s one thing a busy person like myself fights against all the time, it is preoccupation.
73. Preoccupation with very busy schedules.
74. Preoccupation with the needs of people.
75. But thank God, Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, the One who split the ages into AD and BC was not too preoccupied to save this man.
76. Thank God that the One who is the Rock of Ages was not too preoccupied to help a repentant sinner.
77. Thank God that the One who is the great High Priest was not too preoccupied to answer this man’s request.
78. Don’t ever think that God is too preoccupied in running the universe to care about you.
79. In fact, Jesus gave this man more than he asked for.
80. This man thought that salvation is somehow, someway down the road a long way off.
81. But Jesus says, No, today you will be with me in paradise.
82. The man did not ask to go to paradise with Jesus.
83. But Jesus says, today you shall be with me in paradise.
84. Paradise is a word that is used to describe the Garden of Eden.
85. It was a walled, formal, beautiful garden.
86. It conjures all that you and I long for.
87. Peace, security, happiness, and pleasantness.
88. The Lord said, today you will be with me.
89. Friends, I want you to listen to what I am going to tell you.
90. It is too late for a person after he dies to make it to heaven.
91. You either know that you are going to heaven now or you’re not.
92. There is no second chance.
93. So you need to come to Christ now.
94. Jesus said that only repentant sinners will be with him in paradise.
95. Jesus said those who acknowledge me before men, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven.
96. Jesus said, those who honor me, I shall honor.
97. There is a hymn that goes something like this.
98. There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Emmanuel’s vein and sinners plunged beneath the flood loose all their guilty stain.
99. Will you come to him today?
1. If that is your desire, I want you to pray the following prayer with me…
2. Heavenly Father—
3. I repent of my sin—
4. I turn to Jesus Christ-- and receive Him as my Savior—
5. Give me the strength and the power to live for Him—
6. In His Name, I pray—