Easter Service, 2011 [4-24-11]





Luke 23:39-43) [GNB] One of the criminals hanging there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40) [GNB] The other one, however, rebuked him, saying, “Don’t you fear God? You received the same sentence he did.

41) [GNB] Ours, however, is only right, because we are getting what we deserve for what we did; but he has done no wrong.”

42) [GNB] And he said to Jesus, “Remember me, Jesus, when you come as King!”

43) [GNB] Jesus said to him, “I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me.”

QUESTION: What was insulting about the one thief’s remarks?

ANSWER: He was being sarcastic. I’m sure he was hoping that if this was indeed the Son of God he could shame Him into saving Himself, and both of the thiefs.

QUESTION: You and I would have never done that! Right?

ANSWER: The truth is, most of us have done it! When God hasn’t done for us what we asked Him to, we have been sarcastic with Him.


ANSWER: Like the thief, we hoped we would somehow shame God into answering our prayer; or, we hoped He would feel sorry for us, in the depth of our despair, and rescue us.

QUESTION: Was the first thief excluded from the promise of Paradise because of his sarcasm?

ANSWER: No! He was excluded because he never placed his trust in Jesus.

QUESTION: Was the other thief promised Paradise because he wasn’t sarcastic?

ANSWER: No! He was promised Paradise because he did place his trust in Jesus.

QUESTION: What will happen to us in the hereafter if we are sarcastic with God?

ANSWER: If our faith is in Him for our salvation, we will go to Heaven. We don’t go to Heaven because we walk free of doubt every moment of our lives. We go to Heaven because we are saved! We are saved because we understood we needed a Savior, and we asked the Lord Jesus to save us.

NOTE: Jesus came to die in our stead because we couldn’t save ourselves. We haven’t lived perfectly in the sight of God since the day we believed, and we won’t live perfectly throughout the remainder of our lives. However, we will live in a perfect relationship with God based on the righteousness of His Son, Jesus, and our trusting Him for our salvation.

Romans 3:23) [GW] Because all people have sinned, they have fallen short of God’s glory.

Romans 6:23) [GNB] For sin pays its wage—death; but God’s free gift is eternal life in union with Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 1:12) [GNB] Some, however, did receive him and believed in him; so he gave them the right to become God’s children.

Revelation 3:20) [GW] Look, I’m standing at the door and knocking. If anyone listens to my voice and opens the door, I’ll come in and we’ll eat together.

What We Want – “Lord, Please Help Me”:

Luke 23:39) [GNB] One of the criminals hanging there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

QUESTION: What was Jesus’ response to this request?

ANSWER: He didn’t respond to it at all.

QUESTION: You and I are saved! What is His response when we ask for His help?

ANSWER: Sometimes He helps us; sometimes He is mysteriously silent.

Matthew 26:39) [GNB] He went a little farther on, threw himself face downward on the ground, and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me! Yet not what I want, but what you want.”

QUESTION: Is it OK to always ask God for what we want?

ANSWER: Absolutely! However, if we don’t have a sure promise of Scripture to stand on, then, after asking God for what we want, we should then submit that request to His will.

QUESTION: What happened after Jesus prayed for His cup of suffering to be taken away?

ANSWER: They arrested Him, and the long ordeal that led to His crucifixion began.

NOTE: When God seems silent, and trouble follows are prayer request, that doesn’t mean that He doesn’t care, or that He is deaf to our prayers.

Luke 23:42-43) [GNB] And he said to Jesus, “Remember me, Jesus, when you come as King!”

43) [GNB] Jesus said to him, “I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me.”

QUESTION: What does His promise to the thief have to do with me?

ANSWER: Though we aren’t delivered from all of our troubles in this life, we are promised a trouble-free tomorrow.

What Does the Resurrection of Christ Mean To Us?

Matthew 28:5-6) [GNB] The angel spoke to the women. “You must not be afraid,” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.

6) [GNB] He is not here; he has been raised, just as he said. Come here and see the place where he was lying.

I Corinthians 15:19-20) [GNB] If our hope in Christ is good for this life only and no more, then we deserve more pity than anyone else in all the world.

20) [GNB] But the truth is that Christ has been raised from death, as the guarantee that those who sleep in death will also be raised.

QUESTION: What does the resurrection of Christ mean to me?

ANSWER: I’m promised eternal life when I put my faith in Christ, just like the thief who trusted Him.

QUESTION: Does that mean that I will live free of trouble the rest of my life down here?

ANSWER: Absolutely not!

QUESTION: Why doesn’t He always deliver us from our troubles?

ANSWER: When Adam sinned, and in Adam we all sinned, death, sickness, trouble, broken relationships, heartache, etc., entered this world. When it suits God’s eternal purpose He intervenes for His glory, but mostly we get to walk through this fallen world and call out to Him for strength to endure.   – DISCLAIMER: I’m not referring to those things that are clearly promised the believer.

Mark 11:22-24) [GNB] Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.

23) [GNB] I assure you that whoever tells this hill to get up and throw itself in the sea and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

24) [GNB] For this reason I tell you: When you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it, and you will be given whatever you ask for.

Revelation 21:3-4) [GNB] I heard a loud voice speaking from the throne: “Now God’s home is with people! He will live with them, and they shall be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God.

4) [GNB] He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared.”

 QUESTION: When does God promise to dry our tears?

ANSWER: He will do this in the next life; in other words, in Heaven. There is no promise that you won’t shed a lot of tears before this journey is over.

NOTE: God cares that we hurt in this life, but He sees the big picture. He sees the glory that will be given us in Heaven.

Romans 8:18) [GNB] I consider that what we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.

Romans 8:29-30) [KJV] For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30) [KJV] Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church