The Preacher's Special
By Jeremy Clifford
I heard recently an analogy of the two thieves that were next to Christ Jesus at His crucifixion. To make a long story short, and to get to the point of this message, which sinner are you. Are you the thief that believed, or are you the thief that rejected Christ????
(Luke 23:32-45) And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.(33) And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.(34) Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.(35) And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. (36) And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,(37) And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.(38) And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.(39) And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.(40) But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God,
seeing thou art in the same condemnation? (41) And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. (42) And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.(43) And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.(44) And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. (45) And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
Here in this 23rd Chapter of Luke, we find 3 people hanging on a cross. Two were guilty as charged, however there was one that was being crucified, that deserved no condemnation. If any man ever born, deserved to escape a physical death, it was Jesus. Our Lord and our Savior died that day to fulfill the prophecy spoken of throughout the Old Testament. He was numbered with the transgressors, yet He knew no Sin. My question is, "Which sinner out of the two thieves do you reflect"?
Since we are guilty of sin (Romans 3: 10-23), we all fall in the category of the sinner, however these two thieves had different destinations upon their physical death. The one thief mocked our Savior, tempting Him to prove he was God's Son.The other thief, with faith believed Jesus was the true Redeemer, and could deliver him from the sin debt that he owed. Even back there on the cross, there was a picture of all sinners, past and present. There of course was the one thief(sinner) that was so close to the Son of God, but demanded a miracle before he would believe in Christ. He wanted to see the power of God, before he would be swayed. Even hanging on a cross and near death this thief would rather mock our Savior, than repent. This thief would rather laugh at God in the flesh, than humble himself and come to Christ the King. People today make the choice to either accept Christ by faith, or they wait until they see a sign from God. Most people tempt God and demand miracles and
wonders before they believe. One thief believed by faith, accepting Jesus as the only way into heaven, and the other thief refused to accept the free gift of Salvation. Without faith it is impossible to please Him.
(Ephesians 2:8-9) talks about by faith, and not of works are we saved. It is a gift from God. A free Gift already bought and paid for, and yet billions have refused to accept this gift. In America, still even today, there are many churches that close their doors, because people are seeking immediate satisfaction, rather than waiting and relying on our creator. The majority of people in America would rather pay thousands of dollars a year on shrinks or counseling, than trust in the absolutely free gift of salvation. Salvation is a free gift accepted by faith. People want a self help book, and self help programs so they can do it in their own strength, instead of taking it to the one that gives absolute rest. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. When we think we can do things in our own strength, that is when we are headed for destruction.
These thieves both made decisions. They both could have been spared the eternal fire, but only one chose to accept the Son. He asked Jesus while on the cross, to remember him when Jesus entered into His Kingdom. Jesus heard his plea, and told him that today he would be in paradise forever. How comforting to the Christian to know that upon the death of our physical bodies, immediately we will be in the presence of the Lord. The thief that believed had admitted he was guilty, deserving of the punishment that fell upon him. Rebuked the other thief that was mocking the Lord, and said Jesus was not deserving of the punishment that He received.
Jesus knew that was the only reason why He came to this earth, to seek and to save that which was lost, and to provide the ultimate sacrifice once and for all. It was complete and final once Christ gave up His ghost. Nothing for the rest of time could add or take away from the perfect sacrifice that God Himself provided.
The thief that denied Christ, like so many others, often die in their sins, while all along Jesus was right next to them. When Jesus Christ died, the comforter came into this world. The Holy Spirit is always trying to draw mankind towards the light of Christ, and sadly most people will reject it, until they see solid evidence. Sadly most people will refuse to get right with God, until it is convenient for them. We are today, as we were back then, a race that seeks after a sign, when there is no sign....We must come to Christ with faith, even as the faith of a child. If you tell a kid that there is a jolly fat man, in a red suit that gives out toys to good girls and boys, they will believe it....God wants us to have that kind of faith...Just Because God's word says it, we should believe it, and that should settle it for all.....
I was the thief that was lost, and headed for an eternal condemnation. One day I was fortunate enough to hear a clear presentation of the Gospel. I was addicted to drugs and alcohol, and the worldly programs that tried to sober me up, never had the results that Christ my Savior had on me. I praise God the day I finally found Jesus..And like the thief that believed, all I had to do was admit that I was a sinner guilty of death and Hell, ask Jesus to cleanse me from my unrighteousness, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ that He is the only Risen Savior and the only Son of God.
We Choose this day, whether we will accept Christ, or reject Him. Which sinner are you going to be???The one that is forgiven, or the one that is stepping over the truth and falling head first into eternal Fire, Eternal separation from an Almighty God. I would rather believe like the thief that found himself in paradise after an honest conversation with the Savior. We do not have to live with a hope so salvation, praying to God that if we are good enough we might see Heaven...My God is an Awesome God! He has already paid for the sins of the world, through his only Son, Christ the Redeemer.!!!!!Are you going to die and go to Hell, living your whole life with the truth right next to you. So many people die with God's word in their bookcase. So many people die with a Bible Believing Church right down the road. So many people like the thief that mocked God, die still waiting for proof...I pray that we all become the repentful thief. Asking Christ to forgive us of our iniquity, and take us to paradise when we die...Jesus promised that If we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in our Heart that God Hath raised Him from the dead, that thou SHALL be saved. With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation........John 14:6"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me".
Buddah, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, The Blessed Virgin etc...By putting your trust in these above, you will die and go straight to Hell...You will not pass go, you will not bargain with the Judge and cop a plea....Those that die without Christ, will spend eternity in Hell...
God does not wish that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
By my Brother in Christ