Summary: Discover the four considerations that will give you confidence and peace to enter eternity.
In preparation for Easter, we’ve spent the last three weeks looking at six of the seven phrases Jesus spoke on the cross. This morning, we will look at the last words Jesus spoke from the cross. Last words from a dying person are very telling.
Our text is Luke 23:44-49.
Joseph Wittig remarked that when we write people’s biographies we should start with their death, not their birth. After all, we have nothing to do with the way our life began, but we have a lot to do with the way our life ends. The last eight words from Jesus, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” tells us a great deal about the way Jesus lived and left his earthly life.
You might want to make this note: Who or what you live for now determines how you will enter eternity. Jesus lived for God the Father, and he called out to God the Father as he breathed his last breath on earth. As a result, Jesus entered eternity confidently and peacefully.
Not many people leave this life with confidence and peace. Some are angry, because they feel they have not been treated fairly by life. Some are fearful, because they are afraid of judgment, hell or even returning to “nothingness.” Many are uncertain, because they do not know what or who awaits them beyond the grave. Let me suggest to you that only a life surrendered to God through Jesus Christ will enter eternity with confidence and peace.
From Jesus’ last words, we can gain a better understanding for why a life surrendered to God enters eternity confidently and peacefully. There are four considerations. Let’s look together.
First, a life surrendered to God considers whom you will live with in eternity.
Jesus said, “Father …” because he knew that he would live with God the Father after he breathed his last breath on earth. Have you considered whom you will live with in eternity? If not, you cannot possibly enter eternity with confidence and peace.
In the case of naturalists, materialist or evolutionists they don’t consider life after death. Their theory of coming from nothing leads them to believe they will return to nothing. Unfortunately, this theory does not provide dignity, value or peace in life or death.
More than 2/3 of the population in the world consider life after death, but they vary in their belief of whom they will live with in eternity. They may anticipate spending eternity with their ancestors, with angels, with demons or with God, all depending on whom they lived for in this life.
If you want to spend eternity with God, live for God in this life. Begin by letting God love you. The Bible tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son [Jesus Christ], that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” and “We love because God first loved us.”
The challenge is to let God love us. When we let God love us, we will naturally love God in return. To surrender your life to God, first allow God to love you through Jesus Christ. Until you allow God to love you unconditionally, you will never truly or consistently surrender your life to God, and you will never have the confidence and peace that God will receive you as a loving Father at the end of your life.
Second, a life surrendered to God considers whether death lightens the load.
Jesus said, “… into your hands …” because he trusts His Heavenly Father to shield him from the burdens, sufferings and evils of this life. Have you considered whether sins and sufferings will be in eternity? In eternity, will you be released from the burdens and penalties of your past wrongdoings? If you’ve not considered these matters, you cannot possibly enter eternity with confidence and peace.
A young business owner was opening a new branch office, and a friend decided to send a floral arrangement for the grand opening. When the friend arrived at the opening, he was shocked to find that his wreath bore the inscription: “Rest in peace.”
Angry, he went to complain to the florist. After apologizing, the florist said, “Look at it this way—somewhere a man was buried under a wreath today that said, ‘Good luck in your new location.’”
To have confidence and peace regarding eternity, we need more than luck. To surrender your life to God means to trust God with our past, present and future. Do you trust God’s hands to be merciful and gracious? Do you trust He will make all things new?
Revelation 21:1-5 describes eternity in these words, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’”