Between Two Thieves

March 31, 2024 Preacher: Michael Clary Series: Easter

Scripture: Luke 23:32–43


 Good morning church. He is risen. Amen. I get to say that once a year and get that response.

That's always a delight. My name is Michael, and I'm the lead pastor here at Christ the King Church, and I'm very delighted to worship with all of you today. And. You can be thankful that you are here in the warm building and you're dry because we did a sunrise service this morning at 7:15 and there wasn't so much of a sunrise.

It was more of a dark, hazy cloud that got slowly brighter while rain was pelting us. But that doesn't quite have the same ring as Sunrise Service does, but I, my notes are all crinkled up because it like two minutes into my sermon, I was like, oh, this is pointless. So, I tucked my notes into my jacket and I just I'm going to, I'm going to just give you the cliff notes version here or spark notes for you kids.

I want to give you like the abbreviated. Thumbnail sketch and keep this short and sweet. So, we were out of there in 25 minutes. It's like a recordly record short surface that we had this morning, but it was a blast. It was a lot of fun. For those of you who know Valerie, Valerie left. She was dripping wet. It's she looked like she just got out of a pool. I felt so bad for her. But anyway, it's, this is some people made the remark as we were leaving. It's just Jesus died for our sins. Surely, we can endure a few minutes of cold and rain to worship him on the day of his resurrection.

So that's no judgment on you. There's no judgment on you. But for those that were here earlier, it's not like we have JV and, varsity Christians or anything, but anyway, it was a fun time to be together. All right. I want to stop before I get myself in trouble today. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior, who is the king of the universe and the hope of the world.

Praise God. That is just beautiful, great news. And what a time, what a joyful time to celebrate this together. The message I want to share with you today is simply, I want to share the gospel story with you from the perspective of the two thieves that were crucified with Jesus. So, if you want to grab a Bible in a moment, I'll read you a text from Luke chapter 23.

We'll dig in now. If you don't know much about Jesus, or if you're not familiar with Christianity or the Christian story, you are in the right place. Because we're going to tell you who he is, what he did, and what it means. Jesus was born a little over 2,000 years ago, and he was a Jewish boy growing up in a Roman world.

And if you don't know anything about the time, Jews and the Romans at that time, they hated each other. They did not like each other. Jesus was known as a miracle worker, a powerful teacher, righteous man, even a prophet of God. And his popularity grew so much that he became a threat to the religious establishment.

Amen. Amen. And to the political establishment. So, you have the religious establishment of the Jewish leaders, and you have the political establishment of the Roman government. The Jewish leaders were threatened by him because he attracted great crowds, and he was pulling followers to himself away from the Jewish leaders.

Some people saw him as the Messiah. He was called the son of God. Even the Roman leaders were threatened by him because they saw him as a political threat. And so those who followed him even wanted to make him king. They called him king of the Jews. And so, they thought that he was an insurrectionist. And so, between the religious establishment and the political establishment, this unholy alliance was formed, a conspiracy where they both agreed, we're better off with Jesus dead.

And so that's what they did. They trumped up some charges against Jesus. The Jewish leaders hired out a rent a mob and they pressured the Romans to crucify Jesus. Now, the Romans, they had invented this innovative technique of execution that would be particularly torturous and cruel and humiliating for the victims.

And its crucifixion from which we get the word excruciating. It is the most painful thing that they could imagine to, as a way to kill someone. Now, Jesus himself, he was a righteous man. He did no wrong. He was innocent of any and every crime he could have been committed. Or that could, he could have been accused of.

And not only that, but he was also innocent and righteous before God himself. Because he was, in fact, God in human flesh. We'll talk about that in a moment. But they crucified him anyway. Because they wanted to get rid of him. It's too disruptive to have God walking around in your town or your country. He gets in the way of whatever sin or idolatry you want to commit.

And so, they killed him. And we call it good Friday. So, we celebrated this two days ago, good Friday, where Jesus was crucified, and he was crucified. The Bible tells us between two thieves, between two criminals. And so, in this story that I want to read to you now, you have three condemned men, two criminals, one innocent man, Luke chapter 23.

I'll read to you a few verses here. Two others who were criminals were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to the place that is called the skull, there they crucified him. And the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, He saved others, let him save himself. If he is the Christ of God, his chosen one, the soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, if you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.

There was also an inscription over him. This is the king of the Jews. One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us. We'll stop here. So, in this scene, we see the two criminals being crucified with Jesus. You have the rulers that are scoffing at him, saying, save yourself.

You have the people standing around watching the scene like a car accident, rubbernecking, just I don't want to see what's happening there. They're just curious to see somebody executed. You've got the soldiers that are mocking him. In fact, they're gambling over who gets to keep his clothing.

They have this sarcastic sign that is nailed above his head. This is the king of the Jews as a way to just mock and make fun of Jesus. It was humiliating. What did Jesus do? Jesus was doing and praying the very thing that he came to do, his very mission. He prayed and said, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

All of the guilty men were unmerciful, and the one innocent man was showing mercy and praying for mercy towards the ones who were guilty. But there's one other detail and only Luke gives this detail. Matthew and Mark and their gospel accounts, which parallel this one. So, there's Matthew, Mark, and Luke, three different gospel accounts that all tell the story of Jesus.

And they're very similar. There's a fourth one, John, that's, that has its own very unique from the other three. But the other three tell us, tell the story and kind of the same basic sequence and so forth. Matthew and Mark's gospel just talk about the two criminals, sir. mocked Jesus, but Luke tells us that one of the criminals actually prayed or asked Jesus rather for mercy.

There was a change of heart. Now we're not told why or exactly what happened, but there's, we have an indication here of a change of heart on the part of this criminal. So let me read you those verses starting verse 39. One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him saying, are you not the Christ?

Save yourself and us. But the other rebuked him, saying, do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds. But this man has done nothing wrong. And he said, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. And he said to him, Truly, I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise.

So, you have three men who are condemned three men who are being crucified. Two of those men are criminals that have committed crimes and they're being punished for their crimes. One of them was innocent. That's Jesus. So, the first criminal was justly punished. crucified for his crimes. He was condemned.

He was tried, convicted, and he was condemned and punished for his crime. And he didn't fear God. So, the other thief, the other criminal, he said, do you not fear God? So, he's saying you have no fear of God. So, the first criminal, he had no fear of God. And the other guy was telling him, you have no fear of God.

So, he had no fear of God. And he railed at Jesus, and he mocked him. The second criminal, in a similar way, was also convicted of a crime. And so, he too was being punished for his crime and crucified. So, both men are receiving a just punishment for their crimes. But he began to fear God. At some point there's something within him that recognized the plight of his situation, perhaps just as he really was faced with his own mortality.

And so, he humbled himself. Now what he said is we are both justly condemned. One thief said to the other thief, both of us are condemned and it is a just thing. We're both criminals. We're both criminals. But he said, this man has done nothing wrong. This man has done nothing wrong. And he's speaking here of Jesus.

So then in his dying moments, he asked Jesus for mercy. He said, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. He, this is a plea for mercy. There is a repentant heart indicated here. And Jesus answered that request. Jesus showed a mercy truly as say to you today, you will be with me in paradise.

So, Jesus gave this promise, and the promise is a striking promise because it proves one, he has the authority to forgive sin and two, he has the authority to grant life to a dying man. That's pretty bold to claim such a thing. Now, all three of these men were executed on Good Friday. And these three men can be taken as representatives for all of humanity.

You have a criminal who does not repent, you have a criminal who does repent, and you have a savior who forgives, right? You have an unrepentant criminal, a repentant criminal, and a merciful savior. And just like the criminal who repented, the eternal destiny of each one of us hinges on our relationship to the man in the middle, to the man who was innocent, Jesus Christ, our relationship to the Savior.

Now, there are three spiritual truths I want to share with you here that we see, and we see it reflected in this story, but it's also taught in other scriptures. Three spiritual truths. The first one is everyone is a criminal. Everybody's a criminal. You may not be a thief the way these men were, but everybody is a criminal.

Everybody is a spiritual criminal, we might say, and Jesus is the only one who is innocent. He's the only one who is not a criminal. I want to show you a couple of scriptures that teach this. The first one is Romans 3:23, and if you ever, just Want a couple of scriptures to memorize that would be useful?

Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23. Both end in 23, so 3:23 Memorize these because it gives you a good little gospel outline that you can keep in mind. The first one, Romans 3:23, all that, and that, he's talking about the totality of human, humanity. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

So that's everybody. Meaning, everybody is a spiritual criminal. We've all rebelled against the God who made us. Now that doesn't mean that you are guilty of every crime that could be committed. But from a, from God's vantage point, God who is just and righteous and perfect and holy in every possible way.

When God sees humanity, he sees everybody has fallen short in a sin and is rebellious and wicked. So, we're all spiritual criminal criminals, and it's not merely that we broke man's law. It's not like there's some law written down in the state of Ohio or state of Kentucky, and we have violated some code.

Rather, we are sinful because we have rebelled against the ultimate, the one who made us. And spiritually speaking, that means that we are spiritual criminals because God is infinite, perfect, righteous, holy, eternal. And we have sinned against that. We have not lived in alignment all of our days according to what, who God is and what he has intended for us.

That's the first point. Everyone is a criminal. The second point is everyone deserves death. Everyone deserves death. God cannot simply overlook sin. Now, you might be thinking, I haven't really done many bad things. In fact, the things that I've done in my life that are, that would be considered sinful are not necessarily things that are that big of a deal.

And what you're doing is you're comparing yourself to other people and you can always find somebody worse than you and you can probably find somebody better than you. But there's always, but whenever we compare ourselves to other people, we're measuring by a human standard, but that's not how God sees us.

God sees us by a perfect standard because he is perfect, righteous, and holy in every way. And he is our creator. And that is the standard that he, that is the righteousness. So, we have. Yeah. We've not merely broken man's law. We've broken God's law. And because God is the author of life, he is the one who created us.

The one who made us to rebel against him is to rebel against the very source of life itself. The way the Bible speaks of this in Romans 6:23 is the wages of sin is death. So, wage is something you earn. It's the paycheck that you receive. So, what we earn whenever we sin, and this is any sin, any one sin is death.

So, everybody's a criminal, everybody deserves death, and God cannot simply overlook that. He does not simply overlook sin because it would be an injustice for him to do because if he overlooked sin, he would be committing an injustice which would make him not a holy and righteous God. He would be an unjust God who did not deal with sin.

So, God must punish sin. Not because there's any standard above him requiring him to do it is his own consistent character that requires him to do, he is obligated by the consistency of his own moral perfection to punish sin. And so, let's say that there is a, somebody committed a crime against you, and you go to the judge, and you say, I want justice for this crime committed against me.

If the judge does not do whatever is in his power to give you justice, then he would be an unjust judge. You would be a wicked judge. He would be corrupt, but God is not wicked, and God is not corrupt. So whatever sin that we've committed, a holy, just, righteous, perfect, eternal, holy God must be by the virtue of his own perfect character, punish it.

So, this is a spiritual death penalty. Sin is like a spiritual prison, and it holds people captive. So, the, when he says the wages of sin is death, there's physical death and there's spiritual death. Two kinds. So, the physical death means, that doesn't mean that we, you drop dead in the moment physically, but it means that our bodies are subject to corruption and over the course of time, we're subject to aging and sickness and disease.

And then ultimately, we will, all of us were mortal. We will die someday, but spiritually our souls are also corrupt. Now that doesn't mean you are as bad as you could possibly be. That nobody says that there is no, there's nothing decent or worthwhile about you at all. We're not, that is not what I'm saying here.

I'm saying just that our spiritually speaking the corruption of sin has affected every part of us. We are corrupted. That means that sin is our master, and we are slaves to it. Sin is a prison. So, Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of all these things is death, spiritual death penalty. So spiritually speaking.

You're on death row. There's a spiritual death penalty that has been, the sentence has been handed down. And so now, as long as you live in the flesh, apart from Christ, you're awaiting the sentence to be carried out. And whenever you die for souls that do not know Jesus they're not forgiven of their sin, then they will receive justice.

Just like the criminal who did not repent. And God is right to do there is, God is not, some think the fact that there is a hell that makes God a moral monster. No, that makes God righteous. We are the moral monsters. We are the ones who are accusers of God, who are accusing him of being unjust and cruel and wicked when in fact it is our own sinfulness and hard-hearted rebellion that is deserving of God's wrath.

So, the wages of sin is death. We're all in spiritual death row. And then whenever we die physically. If you don't know Christ, then your body will die physically. Spiritually, you will be, you will die, and you will be in hell, which is ultimately a lake of fire, is what the book of Revelation calls it.

And that is where body and soul are destroyed forever in hell. So, hell is where God's hatred for sin, God's righteous justice is visited upon people as the wages. of their sin, not because he is cruel and vindictive, but because he is righteous. And we have rebelled against the most perfect, beautiful, lovely, wonderful, glorious God.

So, hell is an unthinkably horrific reality from which one will never escape. The third truth is this. Jesus died so that we might live. Amen. Jesus died so that we might live. He suffered in our place, and he paid the penalty for our sin. The penalty being the wages so that we can have eternal life. So, if we're just complete this verse, the wages of sin is death, but it's huge.


The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord. No miss the second part of that verse. The first part of the verse is the bad news. It is the diagnosis of the condition. The second part of the verse is the remedy. Here's the prescription. Here is what God has accomplished for us and why Jesus died.

Jesus died to accomplish the first part on our behalf so that we can have the second part, the free gift of God. So how can this be so though? How can it be that some dude, I don't know him, never met him. How can some dude 2,000 years ago die for me? And if he's just one guy what about the millions of people?

How can one guy die for millions and millions of people? That doesn't make any sense. Maybe you're thinking. And in fact, if Jesus is a man, just like any of us, that would be true. Suppose there is actually some human being somewhere that is truly righteous. Let's just say in that case, they don't have their own spiritual death penalty to pay and suppose they were willing to die for somebody.

Okay, maybe they could die for somebody, but they couldn't die for everybody. How is it that one righteous man can die for everyone? Because in fact, nobody on earth is qualified to die in your place because they have their own spiritual death penalty that awaits judgment, right? So even if somebody happens to be innocent, that's still one man and that one man could not die for everyone.

But the thing is, Jesus was no mere man. He was not merely a perfect human being. He was that and all of that. But Jesus also was none other than God himself in the flesh. God of God, light of light, very God of very God. He was and is God in human form. So, Jesus is, was and is co eternal with the Father. Now this will blow your minds and it it's difficult for us to comprehend.

But just think about it. We trusted by faith that Jesus is God, that from all eternity he has existed in perfect fellowship and joy and delight in communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit. And then when the fullness of time had come, John 1:14 says he wrapped himself in human flesh and became a man.

So, he was not created. He was the God who had always existed, who wrapped himself in human flesh and became a human being. So, in every way that all the essential things that constitute what a human being is, that Jesus was all of those things. And yet all the things that, that makes God who he is, Jesus was that also, he was God man, he was God in human form.

And that's, it's difficult for us to understand theologically, but that doesn't make it less true. That just means that God and his infinite wisdom and perfection is beyond us. His hearts are higher than our thoughts and his ways are higher than our ways. We can't understand that. But that's okay. We don't have to understand it.

We have to accept it by faith that this is what the scripture affirms. And we believe God's word is true. So, he is the creator of all things. Jesus is the sustainer of all things. Jesus is the author of life and Jesus had no sin. He was perfect and innocent man. So now think about the man who was dying on the cross, not merely.

If he was merely an innocent man, it would still be an incredible injustice. But not merely was He an innocent human man, but He was God Himself, wrapped in human flesh that was willing to be nailed to a cross and humiliated and mocked and scorned and suffer the most painful death that we can imagine for our sake.

He was not merely a criminal, He was innocent in every way, and He knew that they would crucify Him. In fact, that was the very reason why He came. It wasn't like he came for some other purpose and then found himself getting caught up in something that he didn't foresee. And he's oh man, this wasn't what I wanted.

How in the world did it come to this? Oh, I guess I gotta let him crucify me. No, he came his whole life knowing that would be his end. That he came, he was born to die. That was his plan from the beginning. And he did it because he wanted to do the very thing, we saw him do to the thief on the cross.

The thief on the cross is the first. Convert, in the sense that it was, he was able to trust in Jesus and die and then be with Jesus in paradise that very day. And so that was, as Christ was dying, just the beauty of the moment was that he was able to fully see, come to fruition the whole purpose of his ministry, which is to save sinners.

So only Jesus is qualified to die in our place. Only Jesus is qualified to function as a mediator between God and man. So, as he was suspended on the cross, he was one man that was suspended in the air from a cross as the mediator. He represents God to all men, and he represents men to God as the mediator.

He is the bridge, the touchpoint between heaven and earth. And in his life and death and resurrection, only Jesus could make justice for sin and mercy for sinners. God's holy justice and wrath was poured out on the cross. And then God's mercy for sinners was extended to all who would believe in him.

God's justice and God's mercy met in one man and in this one act on the cross on Good Friday and then today in Easter Sunday that we celebrate his resurrection. God's justice and mercy. are fully embodied as one man as the mediator. And so good Friday, three men were condemned to criminals, one innocent, first man did not repent.

So, he died, and he suffered for his physical, the crime he did in the body. And then in his unrepentance, he suffered eternally for his spiritual crime, the spiritual death penalty. The second man, however, did repent. And even though. He was punished for his sin that he committed in the body, his soul was delivered because he asked for mercy and Jesus said, today you will be with me in paradise.

He was a saved man. The first man received justice and God was righteous for him to receive the justice that he received. The second man received mercy. And God was righteous to show him mercy. The difference between the two men was their relationship to the Savior. And that's the same for anyone.

That's the same for all of us. The one who repented for him, the free gift of God is eternal life in not on his own, but in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

What does this mean for us apart from Christ spiritually speaking, we're all criminals. Everyone's a criminal spiritually. We're all on spiritual death row. So even though we live in the physical body, our souls are dead. And then the wages of sin is death physically when we die. But then spiritually, whenever our bodies died, then spiritually body and soul, we will be in hell and that will be justice.

So, the only question then is not whether or not you have sinned, because we all have, or whether or not you are on spiritual death row, because we all are, but rather the question is which thief are you? Which criminal are you? Are you the criminal who repents, or are you the criminal who does not repent?

That is the difference between eternal hell or eternal heaven. If you do not repent and trust Jesus, then when you die, you will go to hell, and that would be justice, and God would not be wrong to do that. Amen. In fact, it would be an exercise of his good, righteous character for you to be in hell. But if you do repent and trust Jesus and follow him, then the hell that you deserve was poured out on his son.

He endured that for you. And how could it be applicable to all? Because he is not merely one man, but he is the God man who is the creator of all and is the representative of the whole race of any who will believe in him. He is the head of a renewed Human race. The Bible teaches that there's Adam as the covenant head of all who are in sin.

And then there's Jesus Christ, who is a covenant head of a different house, a redeemed house. And we are, those of us who are in Christ are transferred into his household and we are adopted as his sons and daughters in Jesus Christ. So, if you do repent and follow Jesus, then eternal life begins at the moment of your conversion.

Whenever you believe in him, eternal life begins right away, and you receive mercy. Amen. So, then Easter represents life. Good Friday represents death and crucifixion. Three days later, we celebrate Resurrection Sunday when Jesus rose from the dead because He is the author of life. Ain't no grave gonna hold Him down.

He is going to live because He is life. And even though His body was killed, His spirit was alive. Even between the crucifixion and the resurrection. And then when He was, Spirit was reunited with His body on that Sunday morning. Amen. And then now he has life in his hands to give to whomever comes to him by faith.

Let me read you one more scripture that ties it all together again from the book of Romans this time, chapter 6, verses 8-11. Now, if we have died with Christ, now that means by faith, if you believe in Jesus, that means you were saying my life of sin and rebellion, that's dying. I'm taking that life of sin and rebellion, and I'm going to nail it.

to the cross by faith, and it dies. The old me dies with Jesus. So, if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. So, you have a spiritual death that now is paid for in Jesus and his death. And then, if that happens, then you are assured that the life of Jesus that we celebrate on Easter Sunday is yours.

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again. Death no longer has dominion over him, so he was raised immortal. He cannot die. He cannot die because in his resurrection, there is no, there's no such thing as death. There's no possibility of death. Jesus is eternal. He is God, the author of life.

He lives forever for the death. He died. He died to sin once for all, but the life he lives to God. So, you also must consider yourselves dead to sin. Don't miss that. So, you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. So, the gospel story, the Easter story. We have a man who died, who was buried, and then was raised again three days later.

That story, whenever you believe in Jesus, is your story. You say, what is your life? What is my life? There's sin in your life. There's sins that you're aware of, that you may be thinking of right now. And there's also sins that you're not aware of. And that's okay. God's aware. He knows all things.

God knows those things. And you say, God, the sins I know of, the sins I don't know of, the sins that have yet to happen. That I may commit today or tomorrow. I'm taking the life of sin and I want to by faith trust you that it is nailed to the cross and it is dead. I'm dead. The Michael Clary that didn't know Jesus is dead.

He's nailed to the cross. He doesn't live anymore. And then there is a new Michael Clary that is risen, and I'm risen not in my own power, own strength or my own goodness or righteousness and I don't have any. There's nothing that I bring to the table. It's all what Jesus brings to the table. His life is resurrected in me, and by the Spirit of God, I am given new life.

And in, in that new life, I respond in obedience as, and over the course of my life, I grow, and I become more and more like Him. He changes me. That doesn't mean I never fail again, because I will. But it means over the course of my life, He changes me. That is what it means to be a Christian. You, your old self dies.

And there is a new you that is born, and we call that born again. If you want to read about that, you can read it in John chapter three, Jesus and the story of Nicodemus. He said, you must be born again. That means not born a second time of a mother but born spiritually of the spirit. That's what we're talking about.

So practically what this means is that what we celebrate on Easter is not merely some guy that we all think is really cool. Our favorite team won the Super Bowl. Yeah, we're going to remember that team that year. We really loved that team. They were great. No, we're not just here to celebrate team Jesus because he did something cool, and we like it.

We're celebrating Jesus because his death is our death and then his resurrection is our resurrection. And so, 18 trillion years from today, you will be celebrating again, Jesus. some new things, some new revelation of God's goodness and glory and grace to you that you didn't know the day before, because every new, every morning, God's mercies will be renewed to us.

We celebrate life that is ours. And if you don't know Jesus, that is what is being offered. The first, the two thieves on the cross and Matthew and Mark, both of them were reviling him. And Luke tells us actually the second guy, at some point there was a change of heart and He repented, and he asked for mercy, and you can do the same.

If you knew the stories in this room of all the junk we done, and there's a bunch of junk in this room, but all that junk has been crucified, it's nailed to the cross. It doesn't exist. It's gone. And what remains is Jesus's life, his resurrection life in our hearts. That doesn't mean that we'll never fail again because of well, but there is a new life, a new hope, a new resurrection life that is growing within us.

So, you can start right now and simplest way I can think of it is the ABCs. So, there's, you admit your fault, admit your sin. We call that confession, but confession starts with a C, and I needed an A word, so admit your sin. B, believe in Jesus. By believe it's I believe what he accomplished applies to me.

That's faith. C is commit. Not merely do I admit I'm wrong and believe Jesus died for me and I'm forgiven, but then there's a change, and my life is committed. So, I want Jesus, His life to live through me. So, the story of Jesus then is written into your story, and there's a new hope, a new hopeful future that is yours.

So just like the thief, today can be the day. When you receive mercy for those of us who have already received it. Today's the day where we come in here and regardless of what in our faces and our hearts, it's a party because we're partying hard because of what God did for us, we have life and that could be your story.

We want to party with you. Whenever we come to the table here, what you might see is a little nugget of bread and a thimble of grape juice. Let me tell you, this is a feast. Because our souls are being fed at the feast, the banquet table of our Lord Jesus Christ who prepares this feast for us. And we want to invite you to become a Christian, to join us at a feast, a spiritual feast of new life.

But that involves admit your screw ups, your sins, your faults. Ain't no, no perfect people. We're going to make it to heaven because there ain't no perfect people. It means you're a liar if you think you're perfect. So, all of us have screwed up. So, you've got to admit that. And then you believe what Jesus did matters for us, matters for you.

And then you say I want that. And you commit to it. Let's pray. Our Lord and Savior Jesus, we come to you this morning with hearts full of gratitude for what you did. You were perfectly innocent and righteous. And there's no way that we can even. Scratch the surface to comprehend the utter, mind blowingly, beautiful, powerful thing that you did for us.

Thank you, Jesus, that when you died, it was our sin that nailed you to the cross and was crucified with you. And because we have faith in you, we know that our spiritual death penalty is paid. You sprang us out of prison, spiritually, and we now walk free as men and women who are renewed. Lord,

I pray for those who are here this morning, and they don't know you as their savior. And so, there is a condemnation, a stench of death that hangs around and maybe they're afraid as they should be because it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. They don't know Jesus.

Lord, I pray for those that don't know you, Lord, that today will be the day of salvation for them. And that they will hear the voice of their master through the words that I've spoken today. May that be the voice of the spirit calling out to them. And I pray spirit that you will testify to their hearts that this is true, and that eternal life is theirs.

If they would, but admit their sin, believe on the Lord Jesus and commit to following you.

If you are one of those, I invite you to pray along in your heart quietly, and I'll give you words to pray, so you can pray just these after me as I pray them. Lord Jesus, I need you. I thank you that you died on the cross for my sin. I admit that I am a sinner. I ask you today, have mercy on me, a sinner.

And I pray that you will forgive my sin.

Lord Jesus, I believe that you are the son of God, that you are God himself who became a human man who lived a life in perfect righteousness, was innocent of any wrongdoing, and yet was unjustly condemned to die. And you did so as the fulfillment of your plan, because in so doing, you are the mediator between God and man, and you are the bridge we cross by faith to get to the father. I believe that, Lord, and Lord, I commit my life to you. I'm frail. I'm weak. I've got problems. Maybe there's addictions. Maybe there's big sins, big problems, big things. I got to untangle. I don't know where to begin. There could be all kinds of things that it just seems like a big ball of yarn of just screw up, messed up, not knowing what to do, not knowing where to turn.

Lord, you can untangle that ball of yarn and you can show us what the next step is. And I pray. That you will show me, show any of us in here that applies to. What is the next step? Where do I go from here? It won't get untangled in a day. And there may be some knots that will be there the rest of my life.

But I know that my life is yours. And that you offer eternity. So, I take it. I receive your free gift by faith. Help me. Make me more conformed to your life. Change me. Little by little, help me, show me what to do.

Church, just pray this with me. Pray with me that the Lord will convict hearts. Holy Spirit, speak to our hearts. Speak to everyone in this room. And may not a single person leave here this morning without having settled business with their creator.

I pray these things in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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