LUKE 23 (Christian Standard Bible)
32 Two others—criminals—were also led away to be executed with Him.
33 When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals, one on the right and one on the left.
34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided His clothes and cast lots.
35 The people stood watching, and even the leaders kept scoffing: “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One!”
36 The soldiers also mocked Him. They came offering Him sour wine
37 and said, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!”
38 An inscription was above Him:
THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS
39 Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him: “Aren’t You the Messiah? Save Yourself and us!”
40 But the other answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment?
41 We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me Lord when You come into Your kingdom!”
43 And He said to him, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.”
Lent Service 2005 – Lillington Methodist Church
Luke 23:32-43; John 8:32
After all the centuries have passed, you and I still have this one basic need in life - to find what will fill this hole in our hearts. Pascal called it the "God-shaped vacuum." Here is the story of how God demonstrated His determination to lead broken people back their Creator, who alone could give them life.
READ: Luke 23:32-43
Jesus made a profound statement:
“Then you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!"
(John 8:32, 36 NIV)
WHAT CAN Jesus SET ME FREE FROM?
1. FROM THE __PAIN__ OF YESTERDAY
Many Counselors say, based on their experiences of trying to help people: The #1 cause of unhappiness is being stuck in the past.
What is it that you have never forgotten?
everybody in this room has been hurt many, many times.
Which one have you never gotten over. What pain is so awful
that, to this day, when you think about the event, it feels as
though it happened yesterday?
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and He saves those whose spirits have been crushed.” Psalm 34:18 (NCV)
· _GUILT_ - it saps you of energy, robs you of joy and leaves you miserable. Jesus came to take your guilt. He carried it to the Cross. He died to set you free from guilt.
“The Lord says, ‘Forget about what has happened before. Do not think about the past. Instead, look at the new thing I am going to do.’” Isaiah 43:18-19 (NCV)
· __Regrets____ - we've all messed up. We've all done things we're embarrassed about or wish had never happened.
“All of us have sinned… yet God declares us ‘not guilty’ if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in His mercy freely takes away our sins.” Romans 3:23-24 (TLB)
· Remember the children's rhyme, Humpty Dumpty? Ever feel like no one can put you back together again? Well God can. He specializes in new beginnings.
· Max Lucado wrote: Jesus died on the cross so you could stop trying to put yourself there. He hung on the cross for your hang-ups. He died so you could live.
2. FROM THE __PRESSURES_ OF TODAY
This is the second dimension of freedom. Most of us have days when we feel life is out of control, when it feels as though our life is out of balance.
Jesus died and rose again in part to take care of that very problem. He wants to give us relief from the pressure we feel about life and show us His purpose for our living!
When life pressured and out of balance, you need 2 things.
- Stability - 42 times in the Bible, God is compared to a ROCK. The Rock of Ages, Eternal Rock. Rock of our salvation. Jesus is called the chief cornerstone. Solid, dependable. Can build your life on Him.
“God never grows faint or weary… He gives power to those who are tired and worn out.” Isaiah 40:28-29 (NLT)
“I'm ready for anything through the strength of Christ who lives in me.” Philippians 4:13 (Philips)
Jesus has all the power you will ever need!
Just so no one misunderstands, Jesus never taught that religion was the answer. Religion is actually part of the problem. Religion is all about effort. Christianity is about trust - trusting the Lord who has done everything that has to be done in order for us to have life.
Jesus: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me for real rest… and you’ll recover your life... and you’ll learn to live… freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-29 (Message)
3. FROM _FEARS__ ABOUT TOMORROW
When you facing impossible situations:
When your circumstances seem overwhelming: What is your
spiritual anchor? To what are you tying your life?
“I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord, “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NCV)
When you fear that you are unloved or that God has given up
on you: Did you ever wonder how God feels about you?
“The mountains and hills may crumble but My love for you will never end, so says the Lord who loves you.” Isaiah 54:10 (GN)
/My friend Dave Wenger, in Little Rock. Sings one song with one verse now. When one of his kids is headed in the wrong direction, Dave says, "He just needs to know how much God loves him." When he and Peggy have a fight, Dave says, "We just need to get back in touch with how much God loves us." When he watches people engage in the most awful, destructive behavior, Dave says, "They just need to know how much God loves them."/
WOULDN’T YOU LIKE A FRESH START WITH God? IF SO, HERE HIS OFFER TO EACH OF US --
“I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him.”
Revelation 3:20 (NIV)