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Summary: *4 key questions to help you be sure you are saved.

Be Sure You Are Saved

Luke 23:33-46

Sermon by Rick Crandall

McClendon Baptist Church - May 20, 2007

*I recently ran across some alarming statements from several well-known pastors and evangelists.

-Billy Graham once said that 75-85% of church members are lost.

-Vance Havner estimated that over 65% of church members are lost.

-R.A. Torrey estimated that "only about 10% of church members are saved."

*Bill Bright founded Campus Crusade and was vital in spreading the Jesus Movie. In 1984, Bill Bright said, "Over 50% of the 85 million people in church this morning have never been born again."

*And Dr. J. Harold Smith said, "75% of people that attend church won’t make it to heaven. I won’t be afraid to say 80% won’t make it." (1)

*No one but God really knows how many church members are lost, but these men, much better men than me, were greatly concerned.

*In 2 Corin 13:5 Paul told us to examine ourselves as to whether we are in the faith. “Prove yourselves,” Paul said. In other words: Be sure you are saved.

*The thief on the Cross can help us, because we know for sure that he was saved, and God wants us to be sure.

1. But have you come under conviction for your sins?

*Only one of the thieves crucified with Jesus came under conviction for his sins.

-We see the evidence in vs. 39-41:

39. Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.’’

40. But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?

41. "And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.’’

*The thief who was saved saw his sinfulness. There on the cross, he had a total transformation of his heart, and seeing his sinfulness was a big part of the process.

*He wasn’t always this way. A little while before, his heart was just as hard as the thief who railed on Jesus in vs. 39. Matthew 27 tells us that both of the thieves started out with that kind of venom.

*David Jeremiah described the scene in part this way.

-“Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.”

(Matt 27:44)

*[Crucified], dying, muscles quivering, lungs gasping, arms being pulled from sockets, memories seared, minds clouded by pain, these two embittered thieves squandered their last moments by joining their executioners in reviling the only Perfect Man who ever lived.

-Then at noon one thief had a change of heart.

*One thief cursed Him: “Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!”

*But the other thief said: “Have you no fear of God? You’re getting the same as him. We deserve this, but not him. He did nothing to deserve this”

*Cursing God, cursing the Romans, cursing the Jews, one of the thieves cursed his way into a Christless eternity. What a glimpse of the depravity of man!

*But [the other] thief had an 11th-hour change of heart.

-[He admitted] his guilt as he hung there next to the Savior. (2)

*Have you come under conviction for your sins? Have you faced your guilt?

-Have you admitted your guilt before God?

-Are you willing to say to God, “I deserve my punishment.”?

*This is extremely important, for as Pastor Ken Gehrels once said:

-You see, we’re really not a lot different than that convicted con . . .

*Is there any one of us here who can say with a straight face that they’ve lived a perfect life and always done what God required? Every day?

-Avoided what He wants us to avoid?

-Thought, spoke and did what He desired?

-Kept Him at that central place in life where He belongs?

*Is there anyone here who doesn’t cross the line every single day?

-In God’s eyes, the criminal on the cross and we are exactly the same.

-Eternal justice screams that we need to be condemned to eternal death.

*Have you come under conviction for your sins?

-Are you willing to say to God, “I deserve my punishment.”?

*Gehrels said we need to be willing to come and stand beside that con in front of Jesus’ cross...

-Admitting, up front, no excuses, no dancing around with partial confessions and cover-ups -- but truly admitting all our foul-ups and just plain nasty moments.

*Jesus - here it is. I’ve blown it, big time.

-I have no right to claim admission to the perfect glory of heaven. I know that.

-Please forgive me. Please -- remember me. (3)

*Evangelist Bailey Smith gave some statistics after 30 years of ministry: 57 pastors saved, 69 pastor’s wives, 139 deacons, 171 deacon’s wives and 17 missionaries saved!

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