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Jesus Loves Criminals - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
March 2, 2021 2:00 am

Jesus Loves Criminals - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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March 2, 2021 2:00 am

Reports show that the lack of proper moral training by parents has a direct correlation to crime. In the message "Jesus Loves Criminals," Skip shares how Jesus steps in to rescue even when we fail.

This teaching is from the series Jesus Loves People .

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Evan is just a place where you live on and on and on with a nice mansion gold streets. Heaven is more than that it is unbroken on interrupted companionship with Christ. No diseases that you will be with me in paradise. You get the answer here is a criminal saying I just want you to remember me when you come in your kingdom of Jesus.

And remember, you walk with you working to be in my kingdom together and fellowship on the cross, Jesus promised paradise to one of the thieves hanging beside today on connect with Skip Heitzigs, Skip shares how you can have that same hope no matter what your past looks like at the end of the program Skip and his wife Linda equip you with some important insight about the gift of salvation. That simple act of faith is an act of humility is a strike against pride to just sit there and accept that you can't do anything not nobody likes that was surely there something I can do at least a little, but I can add to it or make God love me just a little bit right. Okay. Thank you, skip, and when you be sure to stay with us after today's message to her the full discussion right now we want to tell you about a special resource that reveals how Jesus resurrection brings you hope even now pretty obvious that this world is filled with imperfect people and that's on purpose God is into restoring human beings he could make perfect people and populate heaven with perfect people, but doesn't do that. He takes people ordained up beat up bruised by time damaged by sin, and he does all resto job on complete restoration celebrate the joy and beauty of redemption with the morning. That changed everything with Skip Heitzigs, take this DVD collection of six hope filled Easter weekend messages is our thanks to you when you get $35 or more today to help connect more people to God's word and the redeeming love of Jesus Christ. Restoration is based on redemption and redemption is tied to resurrection to give call 800-922-1888, or give online securely connectwithskip.com/offer chapter 23 as we get into the message with Skip Heitzigs of criminals. One of these two overhang blasphemed him saying if you are the Christ, save yourself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, do you not even fear God saying that you are under the same condemnation, and we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward for our deeds.

But this man has done nothing wrong and he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom and Jesus said to him, assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise. No Luke tells us about one of the criminals hurling insults of Jesus blasting, blaspheming, and then the other one say what are you doing this. This is where we need the testimony of the other gospel writers to get the full picture because as the crucifixion began, and went on every one was hurling insults at Jesus priests elders rulers soldiers people in the crowd and and both not one both of the criminals. Both of them both Matthew and Mark draw our attention to the fact that everybody's voices was against Jesus. Listen to this artist read one of the text.

This is Matthew 27 verse 44 where the crowd, the priests, the elders, the soldiers are mocking and jeering in the text says even the robbers plural. Even the robbers who were crucified with him reviled him with the same thing. So here's the picture I want you to get everyone is piling insults and jeering upon Christ even to criminals who were dying that you got any pretty low to be dying in excruciating death and muster up enough energy to mock somebody dying next to you, but that shows you the power of the moment everybody is insulting Christ, and so they went along with but then something happened and Luke highlights what happened. Suddenly one of these criminals grow silent in his jeering. Suddenly, his mind becomes very clear about what is happening with him and with that other man named Jesus who is dying suddenly in his mind there's a clear thinking a lucidity has never experienced before. There's a sudden change of heart. There is this massive transformational 180 turn internally and instead of mocking he stops and he rebukes the other criminal who is mocking and he reaches out to Jesus Christ. Verse 39, one of the criminals who overhang blasphemed him saying if you are the Christ, save yourself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying to you, not even fear God saying that you are under the same condemnation, and we indeed justly, for we have received the due reward of our deeds. But this man has done nothing wrong. But he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom, and the sea set.

Assuredly, I say to you, you will be with me in paradise. What happened what happened to this man was it that he heard what Jesus had just said. Father forgive them better know what they're doing and that Manny was dying just dawned on him thought, forgive them.

Is that possible could I be forgiven or was it that he saw the sign over Jesus.

That said, this is the king of the Jews, and he thought really that's what they're saying about him is the king of the Jews could could he be my king pretty rule and reign over my life. Even at this late hour, or maybe just picking up some of the thoughts of the crowd. They were jeering him and saying he saved our brothers himself.

He cannot save maybe that the thought he saved others. How did he save others and is it possible he could save me. Whatever it was he had some realizations some epiphany that caused him to stop what he was doing rebuked his friend and trust in Christ before you get to suspect that such a thing is possible. Let me give you a parallel account of somebody else who had this happen. Saul of Tarsus at this happen. He became Paul the apostle and happen instantly to papers in hand. He's leaving Jerusalem. He's going out to incarcerate and eliminate people who call on Jesus Christ in Damascus while is on the road gets knocked off his horse by the Lord thrown into the dirt is blinded and is instantly transformed. It's a miraculous occurrence of the extension of God's grace.

This is Jesus in the company of criminals. Now that zero in on this conversation with this one criminal Jesus in the converted criminal. Did you hear the promise that our Lord makes to him. He says assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise. Question why did he say assuredly, it means truly are.

Verily, if you like the old King James, why did he just say you be with me in paradise. Know he said assuredly, I say to you, you will be with me in part, you know, I said that because it's so hard to believe because this is unthinkable.

This is on imaginable. No one in the Scripture is given more explicit assurance of forgiveness and heaven from Jesus Christ, as this man. And yet no one ever seen more outwardly undeserving than this. Jesus promise a guy like that instant heaven. How is that possible how can you say today you will be with me in paradise that these didn't get baptized.

Yet Jesus didn't say we know what you got across get baptized. I'll think about it. He never gone to church.

He never did a good work.

But Jesus said, assuredly, I say. In fact, his prayer when even that great was very self-centered, remember me when you come in your kingdom.

That's all it takes.

There's a realization of your heart that leads me to say to day you will be with me in paradise folks is one of the greatest demonstrations of salvation by grace through faith not works, is one of the greatest demonstrations of what it says in Titus chapter 3 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us a few years ago I was given a call by a mother from out of state. I know I knew this woman and she lived in the United States but she had lived in Cuba with her husband who was on the staff the administrative staff of Fidel Castro. Her son lived here was in the hospital dying of stomach cancer.

At that time just had contracted the disease.

It had been revealed to the doctors she wanted me to visit him. I found out from her and from friends of his in the past that this man, now in the hospital was an assassin he wanted to. In fact, he had a plan hatch with his buddies to assassinate Fidel Castro was his lifelong dream. He did not like the gospel he did not like Christians and his mom said just for me to say he's not to be favorable, so I'm used to someone in the hospital and I share with them. He didn't want to hear it and want to see me but I visited him a few times. The last time I saw him on this earth couple days before he died. Cancer had advanced the treatments were working and he turned me literally was luck you don't know me you don't know what I've done well. I had a hand. I was told that I did want to tell him how I knew I said let me just tell you the story about a man who died next to Jesus, a criminal he had done time. He was a known criminal.

But in his last dying breath. He turned to Jesus and just said, Lord, remember me when you come in your kingdom and Jesus turned to him and granted him heaven as I told the story.

I noticed that he grew silent and I noticed the tears welled up in his eyes, he began to drop down his cheeks and he just said. Such law I said on that love can be yours and I told him how told him what to do and I left the room he had fallen asleep.

Couple days later I got a phone call from his mother who told me that he had died, but that before he died he has Jesus to be merciful to him.

I wasn't there. I couldn't attest to it, but her words he prayed that prayer gave his life to Christ and that brought this story to such life for me because it happened again Jesus said today you will be with me in paradise.

Now that's a very interesting term for heaven. By the way, it's a synonym for heaven. Paul said I was caught up into the third happen right afterwards that I was caught up into paradise, but it's a very unique word. It's a Persian word that means a walled garden and Persian kings had beautiful gardens that will gardens that were walled in Waterton. If the king wanted to honor someone he made that someone was called a companion of the garden. In other words, I'm inviting you to walk with me in my own private garden and I will share a level of companionship with you that nobody else has your companion of the garden so that's what I want you to think about heaven heaven is a just a place where you live on and on and on with a nice mansion in gold streets. Heaven is more than that it is unbroken on interrupted companionship with Christ is Jesus that you will be with me in paradise. You get the answer here is a criminal saying I just want you to remember me when you come in your kingdom and Jesus. And remember, you walk with you were going to be in my kingdom together and fellowship. By the way, notice the word today. Today will be with me when I first read that it was liberating.

Jesus didn't say what you know to get you there, but will get you can ask her to be out of town a little bit after we burn off some your sins for a few thousand years. I'll move you closer to town. You'll be with me to day in paradise as a criminal on his deathbed is rebelled against authority was stolen and pillaged and he's promised heaven and boy does this work religious people who believe in a works based righteousness just given heaven to him.

The Barna group did a research document called what Americans think it means to be a Christian, 10% of Americans think it means to be a good person.

11% think it means to go to church and be religious 14% thanks it means to love and help others. Let me ask you something. This thief on the cross to any of those things he did none of those things Jesus said, I'll see you soon will be with me in paradise. That is more than meets the eye to this, let me quickly as we close, unpack the journey the path the process that this criminal. This really bad guy. This pilfer made with Jesus. First of all, he confessed his guilt. Verse 40 the other answered rebuked him, saying, do you not even forgot what I must come as a shock to the other criminal don't you think because they been both doing it, then this guy stops and rebukes the other guy for doing what he's been doing and the other guy was not what what happened to you. You got rebuked and do not even fear God, see that you are under the same condemnation, and we, including himself, indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds. But this man has done nothing wrong and instead he goes from blaspheming to stopping being crystal clear about the fact that he is guilty and deserves what is going on and he has this enormous fear of God, so much so that he rebukes the other dicing women you even fear God. In other words, look at us were dying on the cross. We deserve this. If this is what happens when you break human law. Imagine what's gonna happen for us in a few hours when we see God.

We broken his law.

He is not really concerned about the pain he's experiencing on earth. But what he's going to experience as he stands before an Almighty righteous judge. That's the fear of God, by the way, the fear of God is always the first step in true conversion person has to have a fear of the Lord. And whenever you share the gospel with somebody you better include this. Yes, Jesus loves you. Yes, Jesus loves people. Yes yes yes but unless you repent you will likewise perish.

What Jesus said this is red letter for some of you that's more important. Jesus said this don't fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul but rather fear him who can destroy both body and soul in hell.

That is what this criminal is experiencing a fear of God in acknowledgment of I'm sinful and this man is sin less and rebuking the other center confesses guilt. Second, he trusted Christ look at his words. Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom noted. There's a lot there. First of all, he recognizes Jesus as Lord and say hey you know hey buddy this is Lord.

He also recognizes him as king because only kings have kingdoms, remember me when you come into your kingdom and also he recognizes that though this other man. Jesus is about to die because he knew that nobody survives Roman crucifixion. This isn't the end of you. After this you can live again in a kingdom so he must've believed in the resurrection. So he believes that Jesus is Lord that he is king that is in a live after this in a kingdom and he also recognizes that Jesus is sinless and he is not. We deserve this. This man has done nothing wrong. That's a pretty clear Christology for a criminal on his death, all in an instant.

This is in his heart and his mind the third thing you should notice as he made a personal remember me when you come in your kingdom. You have to make a personal do not think salvation is a package deal. There are no two-for-one specials while my grandma was a Christian or my parents brought me to church know you personally must turn to Christ. The Bible says as many as received him, to them he gave the power to become children of God. He confessed his guilt. He trusted Christ. He made a personal failure for thing he did. He made a public he did it publicly. He had to say it loud enough so that Jesus could hear him and of Jesus could hear and presumably those right there at the cross could also hear him say is recorded. Lord, remember me when you come in your kingdom. Know that significant that significant because everybody else is mocking, jeering, laughing, scorning, blaspheming as he was. Suddenly he stopped and has enough courage to say something against the flow of all that haranguing Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom be much easier to follow the crowd hurl more insults, but he did. He made a public that he was in a trust Christ and recognize himself as a sinner. Sometimes people say well I gave my life to Jesus. I just don't know what my friends would say if they're your friends really your friends.

They'll be happy you're not going to hell if they're not getting new friends, but friends don't let friends go to hell. He made a public several years ago it was printed and it is still believed by a majority of people that the answer to crime is education in part I think that's true in part it's education is important, but the idea was this, I kid you not. If we can educate people that will end the wars and crime and yet I gotta be honest, when I look at American universities.

They're not like the paragons of virtue and in a report that I read this week. Crimes committed by highly educated people are now on the rise, you just learn how to do it smarter. The answer to crime is not education.

The answer to crime is trans formation. Christ is the answer for the criminal. Jesus loves them what happened that day happens every day, every day people confronted with one choice or the other choice for Christ or against Christ both have the same opportunity. Both were equally is closed and I lost one night at your opportunity that your opportunity that concludes this message from the series Jesus loves people. Now you Skip and when to reveal important insight about the gift of salvation in today's methods we saw one of the greatest demonstration.

Salvation by grace through faith in Jesus promised the criminal on the cross that he would be in heaven for many, it's hard to believe that salvation is simply given rather than earned what you think this is true and wise it's hard to grams. I think that the basic problem is human pride, human pride wants to earn something and if something is earned, then I deserve it and I'm entitled to it.

And so if you think about it. All human religion is built on this.

It's rituals that you go through or good works that you perform rappel program that you undertake or certain prayers that you recite so there's really only two ways to get to God and and only one is the right way. First route is is human achievement. The second is divine accomplishment.

Religion is all about human achievement that the only way God will accept you is through divine accomplishment. What he does for you while that simple act of faith is an act of humility. It's a strike against pride to just sit there and accept that you can't do anything not nobody likes that. It was surely there something I can do at least a little, but I can add to it or make God love me just a little bit more right so again when we first married. I really struggled with this concept of grace, and you had me read several things I like that was one of my hangups. I felt I just now. I maybe it's still my hang I feel like I need to work harder.

You know be better and that so it is amazing Grace, I have given my conversation noonish doing your thing to help keep the building content you and others can stay connected to God's word count 892, 1819 to 18 or does it connect with gimp.com/download.com/Downey thank you come back tomorrow. Skip explains how you can share God's love with anyone. Those you might never have considered don't want to miss this Skip presentation of connection communication through ever-changing time


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