Today Thou Shalt Be with Me in Paradise
Outline: God's holiness must punish sin. Story of thief on the cross who was repentant. Exhortation to trust Jesus.
|Theme:||Salvation; Forgiveness; Death of Christ; Faith, trust, believe in Jesus|
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God looks down on this world and sees many, many wicked people who forsake Him and always disobey His laws. He is sorry for them, because He does not want them to go to eternal fire after they die, to take the punishment that fits their sins. Now, God must punish sin because He is holy. He can't just overlook, or say, "No matter," about people's sin. That is why He gave His only Son, Jesus, to die instead of wicked men, to take their punishment.
God's Son, Jesus, was born of a virgin woman so that He became man. Jesus told the people that He was the Son of God, and if a sinner man trusted in Him, he would not lose after he died, but would have eternal life. But the people of Judea did not believe Jesus was the Son of God. They thought that He was only a man. That is why they talked strong to Pilate, the government's Governor (Headman), because Jesus had said that He was God. Jesus Christ let them put Him to death because He wanted to die for our sins. He would die to take our punishment. Now Pilate sentenced two bad men to be put to death who were thieves, and who had fought against the government. One man hung on one side of Jesus, and one on the other side.
When Jesus was hanging on the cross, plenty of people teased Him. They said, "He saved other people, let Him now save Himself if He is the Son of God. Then we will believe!" But if the Lord Jesus came down from the cross you and I and everyone would perish (lose) after we died.
Jesus prayed for the people, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." By and by one thief said, "You say you are the Son of God; then save yourself and us." But the other thief answered him, "Why do you talk like this? Do you not fear God? We are taking the punishment that is fit for our sins, but this man did nothing wrong!" Then he talked to Jesus: "Master, remember me when you enter into thy kingdom." Jesus answered, "I speak true to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." That man and Jesus died that day, and the man was saved because he repented and trusted in Jesus. But the other man did not repent. He died that day and must take his own punishment, and by and by go to everlasting fire.
Now, what about you? If you trust in Jesus, He takes your punishment. If you do not trust in Him, you must take your own punishment by and by. Let us trust Jesus, who has died for our sins and rose again that we might be forgiven.