The Word of Assurance

February 26, 2023 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: 7 Last Words of Jesus on the Cross

Topic: The Gospel, Christian Living Scripture: Luke 23:35–43

Jesus’ last words about salvation were spoken to a wretched criminal dying on a cross. The 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.

The Lord of Glory does not take saints with him into paradise but lowly sinners who recognize their need for a Saviour. Our text is divided into 3 parts:

  1. The Situation (v. 35-41)
  2. The Request (v. 42)
  3. The Response (v. 43)

While hanging on the cross and waiting for physical death to relieve His unbearable pain, the Lord Jesus made it plain that life does not end at physical death. There is hope even in the face of life’s most tragic and painful experiences. After praying for His enemies, Jesus turned to a repentant thief on a cross and assured him that there was something beyond life on earth. Jesus gave the thief far more than he asked for. Not only would he be remembered, Jesus promised the thief that he would be WITH him in paradise – TODAY!

We are not saved by what we do but by our simple faith in what God has done in Christ Jesus.

Getting Started

1. Living as an expat in the UAE is full of “hellos” and “goodbyes”. Which is the most memorable goodbye you have had to say to family or friends?

Read Luke 23:35-43

2. What insight, principle, or observation from Sunday’s sermon did you find to be the most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling?

Digging Deeper

3. Based on our text, how was Jesus’ prayer answered in Luke 23:34?

4. Matthew 27:44 says that "...the robbers who were crucified with Him also heaped insults on Him." Why do you think they did this?

5. Arthur Pink 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." Why can’t we bring something in our hands when we come to Jesus? Why can’t we bring our good works to Jesus to help pave our way to heaven?

The Heart of the Matter

6. Point of application. In what ways were we like the dying thief on the cross?

7. Read the quote by Irwin Lutzer at the bottom of the study guide. Do you think that it is true or false to say that God has stayed distant from the brokenness of our fallen world? Explain the practical implications of your answer.

8. In Luke 23:42, the thief asked Jesus to remember him when he comes into his kingdom. Jesus answered the thief and gave the thief far more than he asked for. Not only would he be remembered, what else did Jesus give him and all those who put their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord?

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