The Day that Changed the World

March 30, 2018 Series: Easter Season

Topic: The Gospel Scripture: Luke 23:39–43

Home Group Study Sermon.

Date: 30 March 2018

Text: Luke 23:39-43

Opening Discussion: Honore Gabriel Raqueti Mirabeau (1749-1791) was a political leader in the French Revolution and an atheist. His last words are recorded by Herbert Lockyer in his book “All the Last Words of Saints and Sinners”, as "Give me more opium that I may not think of eternity and what is to come". If you could have your last words recorded, what would you like them to be?


What does God’s word say?

Read: Luke 23:39-43

As you observe what God’s word says, answer the following questions from the text(s):

  • Are there any Key Words or phrases?
  • Are there any imperatives (commands) in this passage?
  • Are there any indicatives (statements) in this passage?
  • What does this text reveal about human nature?
  • What does this text reveal about the character and purposes of God?


What can we learn from the testimony of the thief?

MAIN truth is this: When we come to Jesus, asking His forgiveness... when we decide to become Christians...we are justified (declared righteous) by faith alone.

This criminal hanging alongside Jesus was not ushered into Paradise on the basis of anything he had done. It was his faith in God's grace that opened the door and invited him in. Jesus heard his request and granted him eternal life-something the thief did nothing to earn. He didn't have to be baptized. He didn't have to perform six months of good works to earn heaven. He didn't even have to pass through a one-week probation period where he proved himself worthy of the gift of eternal life. He was accepted into God's kingdom on the basis of FAITH alone-faith in Jesus Christ.

Arthur Pink (the seven sayings of the Saviour on the cross) writes, "[The thief] could not walk in the paths of righteousness, for there was a nail through either foot. He could not perform any good works for there was a nail through either hand. He could not turn over a new leaf and live a better LIFE for he was DYING." This incident is "another shocking reminder that we are not saved by what we do but by our simple faith in what God has done in Christ Jesus."

  • Read Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:22-25; John 6:27-29

What role then does works play (if at all) in the Christians life?


How must I change?

  • Is there a Truth to be believed?

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that we are justified by God through faith, but with works as an additional requirement for our salvation. Why is this teaching false? Why can we not bring our good works to Jesus to help pave our way to heaven?

  • Is there an Attitude to be fostered?

According to the apostle Paul, the cross has a different meaning for different people. It is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. But to us who believe, the cross is our only hope, it is the only power unto salvation. Why?

  • Is there a Behavior to be changed?

Belief always affects our behaviour. How would a belief in works salvation determine your daily conduct? And how does a belief in salvation by faith alone affect our daily behaviour?

Time permitting: click on the following links to view the attached video.

Closing Prayer:

Lead the groups to pray:

  • Praise God sending Jesus to die on the cross, and the promise of eternal life for all those who place their faith in your death burial and resurrection.
  • That our faith will always be in Christ alone and not in our works.
  • Help us never to forget that ultimately it is God who gives us the desire to persevere and moves us to do so, and that salvation is of Him from first to last.

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