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  • Ben Stewart

You are on One of Three Crosses...

Three Crosses of Calvary


Introduction:

1. Luke 23:32-43 KJV, [32] 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, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

2. You are on one of these three crosses. You are the first thief and condemned when death crosses your door, knowing you will face hell fire and judgement for your crimes against God and mankind, regretting that you got caught not that you sinned. OR you are the second thief on the cross, You crimes have found you out and you wishing you listened to Jesus and done what He said, you knowing you facing death and judgement in the electric chair, but you decide to reconcile with God in your remaining seconds of life. OR you are on the cross with Jesus already, baptized into Christ, knowing that Jesus took care of your burdens needed to reconcile you to God, so that in the judgement when you die God sees you clothed in the likeness of His sinless son, Jesus of Nazareth.

3. Which are you? If you were to die today, then would you rejoice in Heaven knowing you have done all to obey Jesus, or would you die never knowing the forgiveness of God, or would you die reconciling your ways to Christ for salvation?

I. Jesus View of the three Crosses

A. Jesus realizes there is a chance for salvation with the second thief

1. Jesus is the Author of salvation; He saved the thief (Heb 5:9)

a. Jesus had power to forgive sins (Matt 9:6)

b. Jesus preached message: repent for the kingdom of God is near.

(Matt 4:17)

c. Jesus taught obedience is better than sacrifice (Matt 12:29-34)

2. Jesus is looking for those that are obeying God and reconciling their ways

a. Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:8-10)

b. Jesus did not come to seek the righteous (Matt 9:12-13)

c. Jesus looks for those seeking God in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23-24)

3. Jesus message he preached before the cross

a. Luke 7:22, when reminding John the Baptist, Jesus answering, “Go your

way and tell John what things you have seen and heard, how that the

blind see, the lame walk, the lepers cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead

raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.”

b. Matthew 4:17, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say:

Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand”.

c. Matthew 13:15, “for this people’s heart have waxed gross, and their ears

are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest at any time they

should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and should

understand with their heart and should be converted and I should heal

them”.

B. Jesus suffocating because of sin gives opportunity to a sinner

1. Jesus knowing, he must die and be raised, is bearing His cross

a. Foretold: Matthew 20:18-19, Jesus said…, “behold, we go up to

Jerusalem and the son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests

and unto the scribes and they shall condemn him to death and shall

deliver him to the gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him

and the third day he shall rise again”

b. Jesus as a Jewish man sought God and asked if there was another way.

c. Matthew 26:42, “he went away again the second time, and prayed,

saying O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me except, I

drink it, thy will be done.”

2. Jesus had never chosen evil and lived under the law of the knowledge of

good and evil

a. Hebrews 5:8-9, “though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by

the things which he suffered and being made perfect, He became the

Author of Salvation to all them that obey Him”.

b. Matthew 5:17-18, “think not that I come to destroy the Law and the

prophets, I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you,

till heaven and earth pass, one jot or tittle shall in no way pass from the

law until all be fulfilled”

c. 1 Timothy 2:5-6, “for there is one God and one Mediator between God

and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself a ransom for all to be

testified in due time”

3. Jesus greatest deliverance prayer ever was forgive them they know not

a. Jesus being crushed by satan and suffocated for our sins, prayed

forgive them

b. Jesus taught is to bless our enemies

c. Jesus said do good to those that do you wrong. Do you obey Him?

C. Jesus suffers the railing and snatches a thief out of hell fire

1. Jesus hears the railing against Him

a. Jesus responded last time the same action from satan, with a it is

written, you shall not put your God to the test, but remains silent before

this railed sinner.

b. When you pray, do you give God instructions or report for duty? This

thief wanted God to exercise a powerful miracle for his own desires. The

thief expected God to obey him rather than trusting in Jesus to do what

is best.

c. Jesus knows this thief needs forgiveness, but he asks for extended life

without reconciling with God, no remorse for his crimes.

2. Jesus sees the second thief’s actions

a. Jesus, I imagine, is hearing the second thief’s heart as it says, I wish I

had listened to you before I got judged and nailed to the cross.

b. Jesus sees the second thief speak up and defend Him when He is

literally without help.

c. Jesus recognizes that the repenting thief obeyed His message.

3. Jesus pronounced judgment on the obedient repenting thief

a. Luke 23:40-43, [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, To day shalt thou be with me in

paradise.

b. Jesus savior looking at the wise actions of the thief, says that’s what I

am looking for and blesses him.

c. None to comfort Jesus, forsaken, yet He manages to work salvation hung to

a tree.

II. The first thief’s cross

A. He is convicted and tried according to man law and has death sentence

1. When your deeds have brought you to death sentence (hopeless)

a. “for godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of

but the sorrow of the world works death.” 2 Cor 7:10.

b. Worldly sorrow is sorry I got caught and will have to face punishment

c. Godly sorrow causes self-reflection saying sorry God I will not do it

again because you say it is wrong.

2. The world is saying: “the world is better with you not in it”.

a. 1 Cor 15:32, “if after the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at

Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? if the dead be not raised, let us eat

and drink for tomorrow we die”

b. Have you ever faced the electric chair?

3. He is filled with indignation that he got caught and must own up to his

deeds.

a. Ephesians 4:18, “…having the understanding darkened, being

alienated from the Life of God through the ignorance that is in them

because of the blindness of their heart”

B. He realizes judgement, but instead schemes a way to live his previous life

1. Facing death, a grave, hell and judgement, he schemes a way of living

a. He is facing his electric chair and there is no escape

b. He is worrying about how to avoid death and judgement

2. He realizes Jesus has done great things and dares him to prove his Godship

a. He committed crimes in or around Jerusalem, and wanted free to live

again

b. Being from around here, he heard about Jesus and instead of obeying

Him…

c. He rails or testing God

3. He does not believe and trust in Christ words, but rails against him

a. Jesus being tempted by the devil, when faced with same temptation,

said, it is written, you shall not put the Lord your God to the test (Matt

4:7).

b. He is not looking for a chance to never sin again, instead he is looking

for a longer life of days.

c. Do you want to be free from sin? Yes or No?

C. He tests God as if daring Him to prove His existence

1. His heart is so wrong he thinks God will obey his wish to save him

a. Who tells God what to do?

b. The thief is testing God for his release as a condemned dying thief.

2. He asked for freedom to live longer, to believe

a. He did not ask for forgiveness but for another day freedom from his

cross.

b. Another day, to do as he pleased

3. He failed to realize we must come to Jesus of Nazareth on His terms not our

own

a. Jesus of Nazareth is the author of salvation to all those that obey Him

Heb 5:9

b. The thief failed to see Jesus Greatness or see His purpose

c. Jesus was fulfilling the righteous demands of the law having never

sinned and offering His life in place of our own, purchased a new

agreement between God and mankind called the New Testament of

Jesus Christ.

III. The second thief cross

A. He too Convicted and tried and found worthy of death sentence

1. He is facing a hopeless situation too, facing death and judgement

a. His crimes had landed him in the electric chair, and he was about to die

and face God in judgement.

b. He knew his crimes deserving of death was being administered.

c. He feared God and repented.

2. He, however, is fearing God judgement and wanting a chance at salvation

a. He facing judgement has a moment of clarity and remembers the

message that Jesus preached, what was his message? Repent for the

kingdom of heaven is at hand.

b. This thief is thinking how I can repent because I am facing judgement

and death.

c. He is looking for a way to reconcile with God…

3. He decided to trust in God to provide a way if possible (1 Cor 10:13)

a. About to die he thinks: if I could, get right with God I would.

b. About to die, he thinks: If I could obey what Jesus preached, I would…

c. About to die, thinking if I would die repenting, then I would…

B. He is remembering the messages he heard from Jesus (godly sorrow)

1. He is nailed to a cross dying next to Jesus and remembers what Jesus

preached

a. Repent for the kingdom of heaven is very near…

b. He about to die saying yes very near for me…

c. Wonders how to repent nailed to a cross…

2. He is looking to reconcile and has godly sorrow in his heart

a. An opportunity presents itself and the repenting thief capitalizes. He

defends Jesus and His righteous cause and then says remember me

when you come into your kingdom, remembering what Jesus had

preached earlier...

b. His faith rewarded, repentance and reconciliation were His last dying

act that resulted in heavenly treasure.

c. Jesus the Author of salvation and remission of sins made a way through

the repenting thief’s obedience to the word of God, for salvation.

3. He has a hope of redemption and mercy, trusting God

a. The thief nailed to the cross, does not doubt the Lord’s words, but was

like be it so…

b. Today you shall be with me in paradise,

c. Jesus rewarded the thief’s actions of faith and obedience to his

preached word.

C. He is given an opportunity to repent and in one deed of repentance obeys God

1. He is hoping withing himself, hoping a chance to obey Jesus

a. Are you filled with godly sorrow for your sinful conditions?

b. Are you wanting to be spared like the thief?

c. Are you wanting to be reconciled to God and taken to heaven today?

2. Seeing the door of opportunity as a sinful man rails against God

a. If God asked you today, want to go to heaven, then would you go?

b. When the railed thief charged Jesus to prove himself as God save

yourself and us…

c. Are you going to repent and obey or rebel?

3. He repents like a champ in full obedience to Jesus

a. The second thief repents like a champ. He is granted an opportunity for

salvation and defends Jesus and His cause.

b. He is also rewarded and accepted his reward by faith… today you will

be with me in paradise…

c. It is never to late to repent and reconcile with God.

Conclusion:

1. Jesus is the Author of salvation to all those that obey Him (Heb 5:9)

a. Have you heard the good news that Jesus became a man and was born of a virgin

and lived under the law of good and evil and never once choose to do evil. He

then laid down his life as a perfect sinless sacrifice in our place and purchased a

new agreement between God and mankind called the New Testament of Christ.

b. Matt 11:28-30

c. Mark 16:16

2. There were two thieves only one obeyed Jesus while the other railed Him

a. Which cross are you on? Jesus cross? 1st thief cross? Or the second thief cross?

b. Either you already crucified with Jesus and are sanctified through the redeeming

work of Jesus cross, or you are on one of the other crosses.

c. Which thief are you? The one that is bitter and rails against God? Or the one that

trusts even in certain death there is a way of salvation if man would only obey?

3. If Jesus came back right now where would you spend eternity?

a. DO you believe yes or no?

b. Are you right with God? Yes or No?

c. If God came back right now. Then would you Go meet Him? Or run away?

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