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Summary: In our Lord’s interaction with the repentant thief at the cross, we glean the four elements of our blessed assurance, namely: the blessed scenario, the blessed Savior, the blessed supplication, and the blessed salvation.

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BLESSED ASSURANCE

Luke 23:39-43

Introduction

Today’s Daily Bread devotional makes reference to the two thieves who were crucified with our Lord Jesus. It says that the repentant thief represents the SAINTS and the unrepentant thief represents the SINNERS. I like the way the devotional puts it. It says: the SAVIOR died FOR sin, the SAINT died TO sin, and the SINNER died IN sin. Pretty good, huh? I really like it.

I would like to entitle our meditation on the second saying “Blessed Assurance.” There are 4 blessed facts here. The first is…

I. The Blessed Scenario. The crucifixion is amazing because of…

A. Fulfilled prophecy. Isaiah 53:12 says, “He was numbered with the transgressors.” This is referring to his being crucified between two thieves. Second, the situation is amazing because of…

B. Faithful providence. There were no accidents in the life of Jesus Christ—only appointments. Acts 2:23 says that he was “…delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God.” Before the foundation of the world, God had thought it out and carefully planned the crucifixion event. That is amazing! Amen?

The second is…

III. The Blessed Savior. The Savior is nailed to a cross just like the two criminals. He is in pain just as much as the two criminals. And yet he was not blinded by His pain to see the needs around Him. In fact, in spite of His pain, He reaches out to save the repentant thief.

He is the amazing Savior also because He is sinless. It is my sin and your sin and the sin of the whole world that nailed Him to the cross. He is the sinner’s substitute. He is paying for the sinner’s punishment.

And then, He is the amazing Savior because He knows that He will be victorious in saving sinners. He knows He will succeed. He told the repentant thief, “Today, you will be with Me in paradise!”

II. The Blessed Supplication of the repentant thief. In this prayer…

A. He confessed his fear of God. Verse 40 says, “But the other answered, and rebuking him said, ‘Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?’” He confessed his fear of God. Second…

B. He confessed his faults (or guilt) before God. Verse 41 says, “…for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” He confessed his fear of God. He confessed his faults before God. Third…

C. He confessed his faith in God. Verse:42 says, “And he was saying, ‘Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!’” He confessed his fear of God; he confessed his faults before God; and he confessed his faith in God.

Lastly, we have in this passage the…

IV. The Blessed Salvation. Verse 43 says, “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

The dying thief had nothing to offer Jesus, nothing to bargain with. By his own confession he had lived an evil life and was justly under condemnation. There was nothing in his past to commend him to Jesus. And there was nothing in his future to commend him, either, because he had no future. With his hands and feet pinned to the cross, he had no ability and no time to make amends or to offer service. He was helpless and useless. He had not done good in the past, and he had no prospect of doing good in the future. He simply turned from his sins and trusted in Jesus.

And so it is with us today. To be guaranteed a place in God’s kingdom, we simply need to know that Jesus died for us. We are saved by grace, not by works of any kind. Amen!

“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.”

Conclusion

When Bishop Philip Brooks, author of “O, Little Town of Bethlehem,” was seriously ill, he requested no friends come to see him. But when an acquaintance of his named Robert Ingersoll, a famous anti-Christian propagandist, came to see him he allowed him to come in right away. Ingersoll said, “I appreciate this very much. Especially when you aren’t letting any of your close friends see you.” Bishop Brooks responded, “Oh, I’m confident of seeing them in the next world, but this may be my last chance to see you.” No certainty. No assurance.

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