Summary: To establish that Jesus while on the cross: may have saved the thief after he said: “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” Is the Lord's answer: “Verily I say unto thee, Today thou shalt be with me in paradise,” His words of pardon? Many teach this is so! What do you say?
1. Was The Thief Saved?
1. In this sermon, we will be discussing the theme: “Was The Thief Saved?” This is another lesson in the sermon-series entitled: "Re-digging in Old Wells." There will be many others bearing this title. We are re-digging in old wells, to receive what Isaiah promised: "With joy, you will draw water from the wells of salvation," Isaiah 12:3. There are times we must re-dig in old wells to obtain the joys found in the: "waters of salvation." This sermon type is called "expository preaching." Our goal will be: "to dig a little deeper" in the text of emphasis in these lessons. We will allow the writer, the characters in the verses, and the Master's words to shed new meaning to His terms of eternal life, John 6:67-69; John 10:10.
2. We will answer this question: "Was the thief saved?” We mean: can one be saved like the thief, who died under the Old Testament Covenant. We will re-dig in old wells to find a biblical answer. Ulysses Shields, called this kind of teaching: "digging a little deeper," in the word of truth. He was my grandfather in Christ. We will use as a foundational text for this sermon-series: "And Isaac re-dug the wells of water, which they had dug in the days of Abraham...for the Philistines had stopped them (closed them up) after Abraham’s death, etc.,” Genesis 26:18. The Philistines: “Stopped them, and filled them with earth,” because they “envied Isaac’s possessions,” Genesis 26:14-15.
3. Our scripture of emphasis reads like this: "And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying: Dost, not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord; remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise,” Luke 23:39-43.” Many have been taught that the thief was saved, even without baptism. The thief was one of Billy Graham's invitational verses; that he used at his worldwide crusades. You can also find it on his website to answer a writer’s question: “Is baptism necessary for salvation?” He uses the thief in his dispute against the necessity of baptism! He would also cite: “the sinner’s prayer,” over those that came forward, “to accept Christ.” I know, because I heard and believed that prayer saved me: at one of his crusades when I was a young man. I thank God He permitted me to learn better; so I could do better! I pray He will enlighten you as well through this lesson. With God’s help, we will draw: “new water from old wells.” Let’s prayerfully consider this topic, with both our bibles and hearts, opened unto the living God.
BODY OF LESSON
I WAS THE THIEF SAVED?
A. Background of the lesson. The lesson's background is this: Jesus is hanging almost lifeless on Calvary’s cross. After one of the thieves’ railing upon Him, the other came to His defense, saying: “Dost thou not fear God, seeing that art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord; remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise,” Luke 23:32-43. Consider, as we review the lesson’s background, scriptural context, and finally, the text of emphasis.
1. Jesus led off to be crucified. Luke wrote: “And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. And when they came to the place called Calvary, they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left,” Luke 23:32-33.
a. After a shameful beating and mocking, the soldiers led Jesus off to be crucified. We will not discuss the entire trial and cry of the people to crucify Him.
b. We will focus on Jesus' words to the thief before His death.
c. To understand the heart of compassion of Jesus, notice how he reacts to those that desired to kill Him.
2. Jesus' spirit of forgiveness: “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,” Luke 23:34. After being beaten, given a crown of thorns, dragging a cross up to Golgotha’s hill, and being nailed on it: Jesus asked His Father in heaven: "To forgive them, for they know not what they do." Jesus' love is "so amazing that one cannot comprehend it,” John 15:13; Ephesians 3:16-19.