Summary: This message takes a look at the three crosses at Calvary, The Cross of Rejection, The Cross of Reception & The Cross of Redemption.
"The Three Crosses"
Text: Luke 23:39-43
We want to notice this morning the three crosses that were represented at the crucifixion of Christ.
In John 19:18, we are told - "They crucified him and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst."
I. First, we want to notice the Cross of Rejection.
In Luke 23:39, the Bible says "And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us."
I want us notice some things about this particular thief.
No admission of his guilt.
He is not interested in admitting he is wrong.
He is just mad that he has gotten caught.
He has worldly sorrow.
In other words, he is not sorrow that he has offended God, sinned against God.
No!, he is sorry that he got caught.
The Bible tells us about the end result of worldly sorrow.
2 Cor. 7:10 - "the sorrow of the world worketh death";
James 1:15 - "sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death";
Rom. 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death".
Here is a man who is reaping what he has sown and he doesn’t like it.
You see all his life this man sowed to his flesh.
The Bible tells us the result of this in Gal. 6:8 - "he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption."
Next, we want to notice this thief’s Skepticism or Unbelief.
He says to the Lord "If thou be Christ...".
This is devil talk.
In Matt. 4:3, the devil said to Jesus, "If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.".
In the garden, the devil said to Eve, regarding what God had said to her and Adam in Ge. 3:1, "Yea, hath God said...".
Remember, whenever you find skepticism and doubt about what God has said, you will find the devil is behind it. In this particular case what is subject to skepticism and unbelief is salvation.
The devil is the author of confusion.
He wants people to doubt what the Word of God says especially about salvation.
So, they will end up in the lake of fire. He would rather have people in some false religion that will send them to hell, like the group called "Heaven’s Gate" who ended up killing themselves over a comet believing they were on their way to heaven.
These folks believed a lie.
The Bible says about people who will not receive the truth, "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie." 2 Thess. 2:11.
These people had to be deluded to do what they did.
The Bible tells us who the father of lies is, Satan., "there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." Jn. 8:44
The Bible tells us in Hebrews 11:6, how we are to come to God, "...for he that cometh to God must believe that he is,..."
One must come believing not with skepticism, doubt, or unbelief.
The Bible tells us of the eternal destiny of the unbeliever in Rev. 21:8 , "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
On the Cross of Rejection we want to notice lastly, The Lack of Humility.
Instead of being humble and looking for mercy, we are told this thief in Luke 23:39, "railed" on Jesus.
The word "railed" means to utter reproaches; to scoff; to use insolent and reproachful language.
Isn’t this what happens most of the time when you try to witness to someone about being saved?
This thief still had some pride in him to act this way towards the only one who could save him.
The Bible declares, "Pride goeth before destruction...".
This man so desperately needed the saving grace of God.
The Bible tells us about the prideful person in James 4:6, "...God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."
Pride is what sends a person to hell.
The prideful heart attitude of "I don’t need God. I can save myself."
This thief needed to turn to the Lord for mercy because the Bible tells us in Psalm 103:8, "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy."
This thief needed to fear the Lord, because according to Psalm 103:17, "But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him."
Titus 3:5, tells us that God saves us "according to his mercy."
Instead on this Cross of Rejection hung the unrepentant thief.