You never know the impact that one conversation can have on a person’s life.
Let us consider the two men who were hanging on either side of Jesus as he was crucified.
39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” – Luke 23:39-43 NKJV
The first man mocked Jesus, even as he himself was near death. In doing so, he “sealed his fate” and assured that he would spend eternity separated from God.
The second man realized who Jesus was and confessed his sin. In doing so, he assured himself a place in Heaven.
Are you more like the first man or the second one? Be honest with yourself, painfully honest.
Have you ever said:
“I don’t need Jesus. What has He ever done for me?”
“Religion is for the weak”
“All religions lead to Heaven; Right?”
“There is no way that anyone will ever forgive me for what I have done, especially Jesus.”
“Isn’t being a good person good enough”
“I will worry about Heaven when I am older”
“I grew up in church; that should be good enough for God”
If you have said (or thought), phrases like these you are more like the first man than you may be comfortable admitting to anyone, including yourself. This type of thinking (or hard-heartedness as the Bible calls it) can only lead you farther & farther away from Jesus.
I am here to tell you that Jesus died once for all. His sacrifice on the cross paid the debt that none of us could ever pay & He did it willingly.
He will do the heavy lifting of carrying all your sin & shame all that you have to do is admit your need for a Savior, repent of your sins and ask Jesus to be Lord of your life.
I am not saying that your life will be smooth sailing from here on out. And I cannot promise that you will “magically” get out of jail just because you become a Christian. We all have to obey those in authority over us.
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore, whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. – Romans 13:1-3 NKJV
The GOOD NEWS is that “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. – John 3:16 NKJV
Search your hearts…
Are you ready to make Jesus the Lord of your life?
Would you rather keep hoping that everyone goes to Heaven? I assure you this is not true!
Matthew 25:46 has this to say about eternity: “ And these (non-Christians) will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” – NKJV
That says it all. You can assure yourself a place in Heaven today by repenting of your sin and asking Him to be Lord of your life.
*This is a sermon that I wrote for my jail/prison chaplaincy class.