Last Words of Christ, Part 2: “Today. . . in paradise. . .” (Sermon notes and Audio)

Posted on August 26, 2012


This is the second in a series that looks at the last words of Jesus Christ. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the evening of August 26, 2012.. This message deals with the immediate judgment of a person after death. This contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript, because I typically add to my notes as I preach. For the entire message please listen to the audio.

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Last Words 2


Luke 23:39-43

This was Jesus’ second statement from the cross.
First, Christ prayed for His enemies, then He turned to a repentant sinner, and gave him the gift of salvation, and the assurance of eternal life.
As with the first statement, this was a fulfillment of prophecy.

Isaiah 53:12

Not only was He “numbered with the transgressors,” He was born for the transgressors.

Matthew 1:21
He lived AND died for the transgressors.

Matthew 20:28

We get the idea that these two thieves were partners in crime, and it would have been natural to put those two together. Instead, They put Jesus between the two thieves. Jesus was between these two thieves because God was working out His gracious providence. (foreknowledge)

There were no accidents in the life of Jesus, only appointments.

With the thieves on each side of Jesus, they could read the title that that was on the cross.
The title read: “This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
It was written in three languages, so the thieves could certainly read it.
This was probably the first Gospel tract that was ever written (unintentionally, of course.)

The Title told them who He is:
Jesus means savior
“from Nazareth” He came from a despised and rejected place.
“King of the Jews” He is a Savior with a kingdom.
So, in reading this title, they could get the message of the Gospel!
Isn’t it amazing how God works?
The Thief’s prayer:
This is one of the most amazing prayers in the Bible.
He admitted that he feared God.
He admitted his guilt “we are here justly” (verse 41)
He admitted that he deserved his punishment.
He admitted that there was life after death.
Do you fear God, Do you believe that there is life after death, do you believe that you deserve judgment?
Do you believe that there is a God, and that you will have to answer to Him?
This thief knew all that he needed to know. It wasn’t much, but it was enough!
You don’t need to be a theologian to be saved!
Nor is salvation is not earned!

Ephesians 2:8-9
Jesus affirmed that salvation is free.
The thief had no time to work for it.
He didn’t have time to be baptized, take communion, or perform any other rituals.
There was no time for any acts of good works.
What a beautiful picture of grace. God grants forgiveness and salvation to a condemned criminal, a despised person, solely because he asked in faith.
Nothing this man had done before mattered to Christ. The ONLY thing that mattered was his profession of faith.
Jesus will give the same gift to you, IF you ask.
The word “Today” tells us that there is no “soul sleep!”

2 Corinthians 5:6-8

Hebrews 9:27
Once you pass from this life, God does not hesitate to give you what you have earned.
While you do not earn salvation, you earn rewards, and those rewards will be realized in Heaven.

This was not a hope so/guess so salvation, his salvation was secure, Jesus told him so!
We have His word to assure us of that today, and we can count on His word.

Psalm 119:89

John 10:28-29

Jude 1
God has written it for us so that we can have assurance. It is His contract with us, He has put it in black and white.

John 20:31
Salvation is amazing, secure, personal, present, and wholly by grace, and Christ, just as He hung between the two thieves, is the center of it all!