Summary: Some Christians believe paradise and heaven are two separate places. Is that true? This sermon answers that question.
Where Is Paradise?
 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us."
 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?
 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong."
 Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."
 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."
Paradise is the word Jesus used on the cross
who reached out to Jesus for everlasting life
to describe where this man on the cross
would eventually end up after death.
Where is Paradise?
A good friend of mine believes “paradise” is a place
where saved Christian go after death,
but it is not the same place as heaven.
It seems to be a teaching that some churches promote.
Paradise is a very rare word in the Bible.
It is the first time this word appears in scripture.
The second occurrence is in 2 Corinthians
where Paul, talking about an out of the body experience
that transported him up to a place he called the third heaven.
He wrote: in 2 Corinthians 12:3-4:
And I know that this man – whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows – was caught up to Paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.”
The third and final occurrence of the word “paradise”
is in the book of Revelation where John’s vision
is described in awe-inspiring detail.
Again, it is Jesus who used this word when he promised:
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." '
The reference to “the tree of life in the paradise of God”
provides an important clue.
On 2 separate occasions, I have had people
who attend churches in a certain denomination tell me
that they believe Paradise and Heaven are 2 separate places.
I can find no Biblical basis for that belief.
Seventh Day Adventists teach a doctrine known as "soul sleep."
They believe that at death the soul "sleeps"
and is not conscious until the resurrection.
Yes, there are a number of times when "sleep" is used
as to refer to death.
However, there are several Bible passages
that make it quite clear that the soul is not unconscious
until the resurrection:
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that at death
our souls go to a place called Purgatory.
Purgatory is supposed to be a period of indefinite duration
intended for the perfecting of those people who die in Christ.
It is taught that they experience suffering
to pay for the sins they committed in this life
until they are ready to enter into heaven.
The Bible does not teach that.
The apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:23-24,
For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.  Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.
We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
In today’s passage, Jesus tells the dying man on the cross:
Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."
Jesus gave that man a promise with three parts.
First. Jesus gave him Salvation.
Notice the word “today”.
Jesus did not say, "Tomorrow".
He did not say, "Next Week".
He did not say, "When the resurrection comes."
He said, "Today."
“This very day - the day of your crucifixion,
you will be with me in Paradise.”
The criminal knew for sure where he was going to be that day.
He was going to be - in Paradise.
Jesus told him so.
Second, Jesus gave him a PERSONAL Salvation
"Assuredly, I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."
Jesus made a personal promise to one who had a particular need.
Jesus didn’t condemn or judge Him
for the crimes he had committed.
He saved him.
That is how he saves each and every one of us.
One person at a time.
You are saved by having a personal relationship with Jesus.
Romans 10:9-10 says,
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.