By Warren Coe
1. Besides John 3:16 no portion of Bible has been preached as many times as seven last seven words of Jesus on cross. Year after year pulpits of all denomination expound them.
- And as often as they’re preached, Christians never tire of hearing them again.
- With wonder we listen as Jesus speaks profound words in the face of great suffering
- Jesus continues to teach not on shores of Galilee but from cross of affliction
2. We are also drawn to these seven words because of their message. The entire corpus of Christian teaching is encompassed by Jesus’ statements from the cross.
- Dr. Bodey, The very heart of Christian faith are contained in these Seven words
- If all we had were these seven words, we could discover essence of Christianity.
- From the cross we have a mother-lode of gospel truth to mine.
3. Last week we consider the 1st statement Jesus made after being crucified. In Luke 23:34 Jesus prayed “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing” … For those who put him to death, Jesus asked God to forgive.
- Rome, Pilate, leaders, soldiers, you and I were there & participated in Jesus’ death
- But Jesus prayed God wipe out there transgressions done in ignorance.
- Christians are living proof that the father answered His son’s prayer.
1. This brings us to 2nd word of Christ from the Cross. It is found in Luke 23:39-43. Jesus hangs on a cross with two thieves. The one berates & the other beseeches Jesus.
- Then an exchange takes place with one thief & Jesus.
- Before our eyes we watch a terrorist changed into a devoted follower of Christ
- By power of Christ’s word a sinner becomes a saint, a criminal into a Christian.
2. For a minute, think where culture lives. We place great emphasis on physic beauty. You’ve heard of TV the show that transforms people into beauty creatures?
- Plastic surgery, tummy tucks, collagen injections & more can enhance our bodies
- But what can change our heart? How can the hidden person be transformed.
- That is our real need? To have beauty from within. What can change me?
The Bible declares Jesus changes hearts. In Luke 23:39-43 we watch Jesus Christ transform a dying man form sinner to saint. Notice 1st of all…
I. Jesus CHANGES OUR ATTITUDE TOWARD GOD V39-42 1. Jesus turns us from God-haters into God fearers. Picture this scene. Jesus and two other men are crucified. V39 tells us they were both criminals. Matthew and Mark use word robber.
- They weren’t petty thieves or kleptomaniacs. The word conveys confirmed or harden.
- The word Luke uses is stronger & means outlaw. We’re looking at 1st class terrorists.
- They were probably members of a gang who violently preyed on travelers businessmen.
2. They terrorized people & there was no fear of God in these men. That is what sin does. Turns us against people, especially those we love and turns us against God.
- Bible is clear about human nature. Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure
- Is 53:6 We All we like sheep have gone astray.
- Ro3:10 there is none good
- Ro3:18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. Folks this is all of us!
3. Neither thief feared God. V39 tells that one of thieves was verbally abusing Jesus but Mt27:44 tells us both men insulted Jesus. Between V39 & 40 this man changed
- V40 After looking at Jesus he rebuked his friend by saying, don’t you fear God?
- When a person meets Jesus, he not only loves God but fears God-a sign of salvation.
- Paul feared Christ on road to Damascus. John fell over like dead man when Christ appear
I wish time permitted to talk how beginning of knowledge is fear of Lord Pr1:7 & Ps61:5 there is an inheritance for those who fear God.
II. Jesus CHANGES OUR MIND ABOUT SIN V41
1. Here is one of the amazing points of story. Meeting Jesus changes your mind about sin. V40 One man says we are getting what we deserve. Justice has been served
- He makes no excuses, offers up no rationalizations, doesn’t blame others.
- Instead of pointing a finger at others, he points at himself.
- This is always a sign of being born again. They own up to his sin; see it for what it is and they turn from it.
2. The problem with the world is sin, but the world is blind to sin until God peels back the spiritual blinders. Ep 2:1, then V5! After great catch of fish, Peter falls before Christ. He sees his sin clearly.
- Why? Jesus changes his mind about sin. It can’t happen any other way!
- Pelagius said man good enough to take initial steps toward salvation by his own efforts. (See THE PELAGIAN HERESY )
- He was condemned as a heretic. Why? Man is blind to sin, dead to sin.
3. Only Jesus can convict us of sin & remove our sin. It is by his effort not ours. It is his work not ours. This, the thief on the cross, experienced.
- I believe many of our problems & emotional conditions we suffer is caused by sin.
- The only answer for sin or harden humanity is Jesus. Jesus changes our mind about sin.
- When our mind is changed about sin, our life is transformed, new person.
So far we’ve learned Jesus changes attitude toward G. He changes mind about sin and He changes our eternal destiny.
III. Jesus CHANGES OUR ETERNAL DESTINY V42
1. There’s no doubt this man is being operated upon by God. Consider where he’s been. As a robber he lived for the moment expecting never to get caught.
- Then law caught him & judgment was swift and without mercy. He is crucified!
- His mind begins to think about life after death. Cries out, Jesus save me
- What does he know about heaven? V42 Jesus is king and his kingdom will come.
2. As Christians we wonder how much does one need to understand about Christ in order to be saved? Not an easy Question, but it’d be serious blunder if we don’t allow…
- A sovereign God to respond to faintest cry in last moment of life.
- This, Jesus did.
Jesus makes two promises to the repentant thief 1st, Today you will be with me in paradise.. Death is coming for you today. This is good news for the crucified 2nd, when death comes you will be with me in paradise. Jesus called it paradise. A Persian word which means beautiful park. It was a place a king would walk.
- Jesus means us to understand that heaven is fellowship with Christ
- Geography of heaven is less important than relationships of heaven.
- The Honor of heaven is our moment by moment relationship with Jesus.
1. It can be said that how a man dies tells a lot about his character. In that case no man died as Jesus died. Even near the end, Jesus showed his grace & love.
- Even near the end, Jesus showed mercy & love for this violent terrorist.
- Jesus changed his attitude toward God. He changed his mind about sin.
- And he changed the thief’s eternal destiny.
2. Jesus has power to transform people. Many in our church have been transformed by Jesus. Drunks and dopers cleaned up. Immoral purified. Thieves changed
- You want to be changed. You want beauty & peace of Christ to fill your heart
- You say it can be possible. This is exactly what disciples thought: Who can be saved?
- In Lk 18:27 Jesus said things that are impossible with people are possible with God.
3. You’ve been waiting for a miracle in your life. God’s Spirit is prompting You. Come! Come to Jesus! Come to one who died for your sins.
- You know the Hymn, turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face…glory/grace
- Jesus can change you. He has power to transform you. He can make you new.
- Look to Jesus. Seek Jesus. Call on Jesus and he will transform your life!