Luke 23:39-43 - One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!" But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?"And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!" And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise." NASU
I remember reading a quote in a book that goes like this: "It doesn't matter how you start. It only matters how you finish." Well, my early years were used for me. I did what I wanted to do and went where I wanted to go. Little did I know at the time the devil was playing me for the fool I was. I was on a fast track to hell.
I was at a class reunion a few months ago when one of my classmates had learned that I gave my life to Christ. He said this with all sincerity, "I am really glad you changed." In other words, he was saying, "I am really glad you gave your life to Christ."
He may be really glad but I am over the moon ecstatic that I became a Christian. I was like the criminals on the cross. I was headed to hell and needed forgiveness. I am happy that I was like the one criminal that realized he needed Jesus and not like the one that didn't realize his need for Him.
My start in my early years not so good, but it is my finish where I want to shine for the LORD.
If your start hasn't been so great, don't worry about it. Make the remaining years of your life count for the LORD.
How did he know Jesus had a kingdom?
I will give you my two cents worth because he had heard either John the Baptist or Jesus preach a sermon about the kingdom, or maybe he heard both of them.
Matt 3:1-2 - Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Matt 4:17 - From that time Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
He may have heard one or both of them. We know he didn't listen to them when he first heard them, but now at the end of his life, he is ready to accept the truth and become a member of the Kingdom of God.
Maybe you haven't listened to the gospel in your early days. It doesn't matter how you start it matters how you finish.
Finish strong! Give your life to Christ! He can do more with it than you can.
Here is what Jesus said about entering the Kingdom: John 3:5 - Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Jesus is telling everyone to be baptized or immersed for this is how one is born of the water and the Spirit (read Acts 2:38).
The criminal was displaying repentance and a confession of his faith in God which was what was needed under the old covenant.
We are baptized into the death of Christ and Christ wasn't dead at this point.
Romans 6:3 - Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?
I hope you will allow God to extend one of His greatest attributes to you and that would be the forgiveness of your sins.
Think About This:
There is one thing for which you should be thankful - only you and God have all the facts about yourself.
Gary A. Serago
Minister of God's Word
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Gary A Serago.