The Last Words of Jesus
How To Get into Paradise
Mark 10:17-22, Luke 23:35-43
March 17, 2019
Intro: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” This was Jesus prayer or communication with God while He hung on the cross. I am so thankful it was, because while I was trying to out do Christians I went to
church with, God had already forgiven me before I realized what a horrible direction I was going. When the Holy Spirit spoke to my life I was able to receive that forgiveness, as I confessed my sin of trying to live life without God. My efforts were taking me further from where I really
wanted to be. We saw the story of the rich young man who wanted heaven but wasn’t sure how to get there. Let’s look at “How To Get Into Paradise” based on this story and the story of a criminal who died on a cross next to Jesus.
17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder,
Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” 21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a
love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.
This young man was trying to work his way to heaven and just wanted to make sure he was going to get in. In his spiritual life this man was only batting .600. That is outstanding for a baseball player. For a student he would have hovering between a “D” and “F”. It looks like what made the difference was that he honored both of his parents. Otherwise he would have been an “F” student.
In the video the man accused the criminal of getting a gift. Something that didn’t cost him anything. Salvation is a gift!!! Eternal Life is a Gift from God that we can only receive. But what is involved in receiving that gift? Though
it is free we do need to… Count the Cost
Have you ever watch “American Housewife”? Oliver is the 16 year old son of the family. He is very much like this Rich young man in the story we read and saw. He is an overachiever. He has a vision board that lays out where he intends his life to go. He wants to get into the best University. He wants to make lots of money. He even started learning Ballet so that he could get more scholarship money and have a more impressive application to the elite colleges.
If someone would have told him meeting Jesus would assure his success in life he would do it. He could put, “Met Jesus” on his application. Oliver was counting the cost for success in life and for what he knew it was worth
crossing the “Ts” and dotting the “Is”. Oliver is very much like the rich man in this scripture. The only difference was that the rich man met Jesus. The rich young man appears to be wealthy or why else would they call him the rich young ruler.. He practices the laws of God to the “T”, or so he thought. His vision board probably had a check list of the 10 commandments. Many of the 10 Commandments are relatively easy to keep. If you don’t look at them too hard. You shall have no other God before you. No idols. Do not take the Lord’s name as swear or as common. Attend Church. Honor Parents. Don’t Murder. Do not cheating on your spouse. Don’t steal. And don’t lie about people. Don’t want what belongs to another. Check, Check, Check!!! We know he didn’t do all of those things but he did them well enough to satisfy himself.
But who are we to please, serve and follow? Enough said. He was satisfied with what he had been doing and if there was something else that he could do to tip his scale he was all in. Jesus said, “Sell all you have and give it to the poor.” That was way more than he could fathom. “Give all of my money away and keep on following the law.” That is not what Jesus said but that he what he heard. He went away sad. He wanted heaven but he couldn’t give up earth. That was a cost for beyond what he was willing to pay. He couldn’t fathom that he couldn’t earn eternity. He couldn’t fathom that he just had to receive it. What a hard place to find ourselves. Can we meet Jesus and give up all to place our trust in Him? We can’t give up our money. Our security, Our lifestyle, Our vocational dreams, Our Mr. or Mrs. Right, and trust God. That is why it is so hard to come to Jesus and trust Him to give us eternal life. We can’t receive eternal life and hang on to everything we want. We can receive the gift of eternal life and trust Jesus for money, security, lifestyle, vocation, and Mr. or Mrs Right. When we trust Jesus life will be
abundant and eternal. If we are intent to work for everything we want, we always be wanting more and when we can’t get it, life becomes miserable.
We think we can have our normal way of life and have Jesus too. You can if you can trust Jesus and trust that He is the giver of all good gift. But if you can’t come just as you are you can’t have Jesus because, just like this rich
young man you have too much to give up. I count on me. But what happens when counting on me doesn’t seem to work for me? Well, good news, you are almost there. We are close to eternal life when we realize we need.
Until we realize that we need Jesus more than we need anything we will never have Jesus. If you don’t believe there is a God and that He is holy, you cannot come to Jesus. If you don’t realize that your life has an expiration date, why slow down? If you think that you only have to be 51% good why would you look for any other way to get into heaven?
The rich young man had questions but didn’t like the answer. He was 60% good. It was obvious to everyone that his wealth showed that he and God were on good terms. He did not realize that he had a great need. As I have said, maybe, for the last two weeks, If 51% is what it takes to get into heaven why would Jesus even be on the cross saying,
“Father forgive them they know not what they do.”? And why did He have to die such a horrible death, for me? Listen to this story.
Luke 23:39-43 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
One day we will die and you don’t want to be thinking about where you will spend eternity on your death day. Three accused criminals were hanging on crosses on their death day. One criminal was oblivious to what his death day meant. One criminal(Jesus was only convicted of being a criminal) held the future for the other two criminals. One criminal wanted hope on his death day. Let me just say that it is worth your effort to read God’s Word. It is worth your time to sit in Worship and Bible study. It is worth your time to get in a conversation with a Christian. Because if you want to meet God, you can and will.
But if you think you can wait until you are on your death bed, like the criminal who asked Jesus to remember him and cry out to Jesus, you may end up like the one who mocked Jesus and decide not to cry out at the end.
Oh, don’t do that!
One of the criminals realized his situation. He was about to die and wasn’t satisfied with what he realized. He was sure that he was not headed to heaven. He was getting exactly what was do him. What dread appeared to him. He was dying a horrible death and he had no hope but believed in heaven and hell.
He saw the difference between Jesus and himself. He didn’t see the difference between he and his partner in crime. We will cry out to Jesus when we realize the difference between us and Jesus. I hope you came to Jesus because you know how much He loves you but if you didn’t have some dread in your life about the future that was awaiting you, you may have missed that you are a sinner bound for hell and forever separated from God.
The rich young man wanted Heaven but he wanted to earn it. You cannot earn your way into heaven. By faith we receive God’s gift of eternal life.
Do you realize your need? Well…receive it.
Receive the Gift
Don’t miss what Jesus said to the rich young man. Jesus pointed out that eternal life could be his by receiving the gift. Give all of your wealth away, trust me and follow me. What he asked for was right there but he wouldn’t receive it.
Galatians 6:7 Don’t be misled; remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it: a man will always reap just the kind of crop he sows! One criminal missed this truth but thankfully one did not. It says that Jesus loved the rich young man. Because He loved that man He spoke truth to his heart. Jesus confronts us with our need because He loves us. On the cross, Jesus said to Him. Jesus looked at him and spoke to his heart and said “Truly, today you will be with me in paradise.” That is good news Jesus knows us and speaks to our hearts and invites us to receive Him. The criminal who cried out to Jesus, received Jesus offer and received eternal life. He wasn’t good enough before and he was not good enough as a dying man. He simply realized that he was getting exactly what he deserved and
Jesus did nothing wrong and was dying as the sinless one. He simply said, “Remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
Jesus forgave the man before he realized that Jesus could do for him what he really wanted all of his life. That was to know the God who created him. But he didn’t know what he was doing. Finally this criminal met the man that he really wanted to know. That man(Jesus) forgave him and invited him home. This man knew he was a sinner. He had no hope. But by faith (and it was little) he received and new body and a white robe.
It is a free gift. Hallaluiah Amen!!!
Challenge: I hope this fires you up a little today. This statement, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” to the criminal is the result of Jesus prayer, “Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”
Count the cost and receive the gift of eternal life today. If this is what you want to do today, know that the Holy Spirit is speaking this to your heart. Receive Jesus today. I would love to talk to your further about this if you would like.
If you are fired it means you do know Jesus and He has made a difference in your life. Get excited about the life you have in Christ. Proclaim it now until Easter. Someone you know wants to be forgiven. Does your life and
testimony help other realize that have a need? Can you show them how important it I to count the cost? Can you expose them to the free gift of God?
The Father has forgiven our sins and we can be with Him in paradise today. Receive Jesus and His gift today.