We have come to the final message in our present series. We have undertaken this study in obedience to Christ's command in Matthew 4:19 â€śFollow me, and I will make you [to become] fishers of men.â€ť Jesus came to â€śto seek and to save that which was lost.â€ť He dealt masterfully with all kinds of people in all kinds of situations. Some turned to Him in faith, and some went away unrepentant. Some were self-righteous and some were convicted. Some needed only a word of grace, and others needed the spiritual application of the law.
Jesus ended His earthly ministry just as He had begun it. Hanging upon a cross with His physical life ebbing from Him, He turned to one condemned at His side and saved his soul. It is a classic story, full of both sobering and encouraging lessons.
This story not only brings into clear focus the â€śnon-negotiablesâ€ť that we must insist upon in dealing with lost souls; it also has pointed application to our lives as believers.
1) Let us hold loosely to things below. â€śWe brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing outâ€ť (1 Tim. 6:7). The only thing that matters is what this thief had when he departed this life for the next â€“ his soul.
2) Let us not dread death. Christ's utterance to this dying repentant thief proves that death for the child of God does not cause even a temporary loss of consciousness! Immediately we are â€świth the Lordâ€ť in a place of eternal bliss, more alive than we ever were here below!
Bob Vradenburgh is the senior pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has spent 40 years in full-time Christian service: the first 20 years as a missionary and the past 20 years in the pastorate. Bobâ€™s passion is the expository preaching of Godâ€™s Word,...