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Today Shalt Thou Be With Me In Paradise

(19)

Sermon shared by Joseph Mcgaha

February 2008
Summary: Sermon #2 in the series "The Seven Sayings From The Cross."
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: General adults
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Sermon:
Today Shalt Thou Be With Me In Paradise - Luke 23:39-43

This morning we again come to Calvary. Calvary - the most sacred place in all the world. Calvary - where the Son of God died so that the sons of men might live. Calvary - where the royal, red blood of the Lamb of God was shed for wretched, depraved, sinful humanity. Calvary - where all the sin of the world was laid on the One who had no sin. Calvary - where you and I can come and receive life and joy and peace.

Last week, as we began a study on The Seven Sayings From The Cross, we saw the first words that Jesus uttered as He was hanging there. He prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” If our Savior can pray such words after He had been treated with such cruelty and hostility, surely we can apply the same lesson to our hearts and lives and become more forgiving and more faithful. Last week Christ was the only player in the story that was discussed, but this morning we find that two other figures join in the drama that unfolded that day.

On either side of Christ, on the crosses lifted against the sky, hung two thieves. These two men were criminals. They were guilty. They deserved to die. But for one of those two men, everything was about to change as he would cry out to the Lamb of God. It is interesting to note that these two men were so close to Christ that day, and yet only one of them asked Him to save him.

The first word that Jesus uttered from the Cross was a prayer for His enemies, but here we find that the second word spoken from Calvary was an answer to a prayer. It was addressed to a single individual. Christ spoke to this man as if he were the only person in the world. And what a glorious, satisfying answer He gave! What comfort this word must have brought. And what comfort it has brought to needy, sin sick souls since that day.

In the Garden of Eden, because of the sin of Adam, paradise was lost; but here, while trusting in the One on the middle Cross, one man found that Paradise could be gained. Look with me this morning as we study The Second Saying From The Cross - To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

I. It Is A Word Of Pardon.

The first point that I want to call to your attention this morning is the fact that this word was A Word Of Pardon. The words that Christ uses in response to this man’s prayer are some of the most wonderful in all the Word of God.

We do not know very much about the repentant thief. We do not know his name, his age, or even the crime for which he had been condemned to death. All we know it that he was guilty, that he deserved to die, and that he knows that he is a sinner.

Perhaps the reason we are not given certain pieces of information is to make us see that this man is representative of all of humanity. We are all sinners. We are all guilty. We all deserve to die.

Oh, but this amount of knowledge concerning this man speaks volumes. For in it we find that God has been working in his heart. You will notice at least four distinct points of truth from the lips of this thief.

1. He has a reverence for Christ that others did not possess. - Dost not thou fear God - Luke 23:40b

2. He sees himself guilty. - And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: - Luke 23:41a

3. He knows that Christ is sinless. - . . . this man hath done nothing amiss.
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