Gospel Challenge - The Centurion
Tonight we saw the events that led a hardened Roman Centurion to testify that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. We saw the events of the crucifixion through his eyes. Julian as we came to know him tonight saw how different the death of Jesus was to any other man. I believe that it was Christ's love and concern for others that led this centurion to give such a testimony. Usually people being crucified swore and cursed at their executioners. But Jesus forgave them and prayed that His Father might forgive them. Jesus did this because He loves people, all people. Even those who had mistreated Him so badly. In fact it was love that kept Him on the cross not the nails. John 3:16 tells us of God's love. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners because He loves them.
It Is Finished
After 6 hours on the cross, Jesus Christ Cried out in a loud voice, " It Is finished. " What did he mean by that? He meant that the work of salvation had been completed. He meant that He had paid the debt of sin in full. This was a shout of victory! The results were staggering. The thick curtain in the temple that kept people out of the most holy place in the temple was torn from top to bottom. God was showing that because of Christ's sacrifice on the cross people could come into God's presence. The debt that mankind owed God because of sin had been paid by Jesus Christ, God's Son. Many religions promise salvation. But you have to earn it by keeping a set of rules or creed. So you never know if you have made it! Only Biblical Christianity gives assurance of salvation. This is because Jesus has completed the work of salvation. There is nothing for us to do except receive it from Him. It is a gift. That is why we can be sure of eternal life. Christ's work is complete, perfect. That is why Christ could assure the thief on the cross of eternal life. It didn't depend on him, but on the finished work of Jesus! The thief received salvation the same day by faith!
Many people saw Jesus die on the cross that day. But basically they were divided into 2 groups. The religious leaders, soldiers and people who mocked Him. And those who believed in Him. Jesus' mother and some women, His disciple, John, the thief on the cross, and the centurion. Tonight you have seen the events of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. You too must decide what you will do with Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews.
Will You Respond Like the Jewish Leaders and Crowd? They mocked and jeered the one who was dying for them. They thought that Christ's love and forgiveness was weakness and rejected Him. Will you align yourself with these unbelievers?
Will You Respond Like The Thief?
1. The thief who died with Jesus Christ came to see that he was holy.
2. He also recognised his own sinfulness and the justice of his punishment. (confession)
3. He believed that Christ would rise from the dead and return to receive His kingdom.
4. He asked Jesus to remember Him in His kingdom. He placed his faith in the one dying for him. (He believed) He did what it says in Romans 10:9-13:
That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."
Will You Respond Like The Centurion?
He saw the way that Christ loved people. He saw how He forgave his persecutors and executioners. He saw the darkness upon the land as Christ bore the sins of the world. He witnessed the earthquake at Christ's death. He saw Jesus Christ dismiss His Spirit and then immediately die. No one suffered or died like this man. He saw all of this and understood what Jesus had done. He believed in Christ and testified before all there, surely this was the Son of God! He placed his faith in Jesus Christ and was saved immediately.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Tonight if you would like to receive the salvation that Jesus Christ offers you. Then I would invite you to come down the front after we sing the last hymn tonight. We would love to share with you how you can receive His free gift.