Summary: Because Jesus the Christ did not let go of His mission which was to die on that Old Rugged Cross, we now have a New Beginning.
When I think of pit bulls my mind automatically goes to that dog that has a mind set of not letting go. Once it gets a hold of you it will not let go. It is determined no matter what to hold on to its victim until its victim is dead. A pit bull’s jaws are designed to lock together once they are closed. The only way to open their mouths is to pry their mouths open or to shoot them in the head.
These dogs are trained to fight to the death. There is no retreat or no surrender with these dogs. They have been trained to have a vicious and determined mentality. Stopping with that thought, that brings me to my first and only point for this evening.
Point Number 1: The Pit-bull Mentality Gives Us Our New Beginnings
I want you to go back in your minds to the day of the crucifixion. Preacher, how can you give us some encouragement from the crucifixion? Just what does the crucifixion have to do with Our New Beginnings? Just give me a minute because I’m going somewhere with that thought.
On Calvary there were three persons hanging on a cross. There was a thief on the left, a thief on the right, and Jesus the Christ was hanging in the middle. Now keep in mind that the thief on the left, the thief on the right, and Jesus the Christ heard the crowd mocking Him about being the Messiah, the Savior of the world.
Some theologians feel that Jesus was not fully aware of what was going on during His crucifixion. While Jesus was hanging on that old rugged cross, He looked down at the foot of the cross, He saw the soldiers gambling for his garments. He heard the shouts and cries of the crowd. Some shouts were those of disbelief and mockery, and some where cries of anger and sadness because of what was happening to our Lord.
When I look at the two thieves, they were the same but yet they were different. Preacher you are talking crazy. I know that these two men are of the male gender, I know that these two men are thieves, I know that these two men have different names, I know that these two men are probably different in height and weight, but how in the world can both of these thieves be the still be the same but yet they are different? Preacher you’re not making much sense. You missed the hearts of these men.
The thief on the left was an unrepentative man. He had an unrepentative spirit. His spirit was hard and cold. His spirit was hard even unto death. He did not even believe that Jesus the Christ was who he said he was. He was hard and his heart was hard. Luke 23:39 says, One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!
There was the unrepentant thief—a picture of hardness even in death. The thieves heard the crowd mock Jesus about being the Messiah, the Savior of the world. Hanging there as criminals, guilty before God and men, they should have been searching to see if there was any chance that Jesus could have been who He claimed. They needed to be saved and forgiven. One criminal showed enormous hardness of heart. He mocked the very thought that Jesus was the Christ.
But it was his own unbelief caused his heart to be hard. The thief on the left showed an enormous hardness of his heart. He mocked the very thought that Jesus was the Christ.
John 3:16-18 says, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
The thief on the left was already condemned because of his unbelief. He mocked Jesus just like the rest of the crowd.
The thief on the right had sense. He had sense. He was willing to repent. He gives us a picture of true repentance. He demonstrated the steps to salvation and true repentance.
First of all he feared God. Luke 23:40 clearly says, But the other criminal rebuked him. Don’t you fear God, he said, since you are under the same sentence?
Secondly He declared that Jesus was righteous. Luke 23:41 says, We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong. This was his confession of sins.