Saturday, March 7, 2009

TIME'S UP! -Do you want Thief One or Thief Two?

When the pastor of an old country church once again stopped a young man to inquire of his spiritual condition, that young man replied "Oh, I'll get right with God sometime; but what's the hurry. I've got too much life to live right now. Don't worry about me... remember the thief on the cross!"

"Which thief?" the pastor asked pointedly.

"Wha-..., Oh, yeah... I almost forgot there were two. I meant the one who was saved at the last minute!"

Remember, there were TWO thieves crucified with Jesus. One of the thieves repented and believed in the Savior and Jesus graciously saved him. That thief is enjoying eternity with Jesus right now. The "other" thief had an equal opportunity to repent... yet he's in torment in hell right now.

Remember also that Jesus didn't save BOTH thieves from hell. How do you know you won't die suddenly and spend eternity in torment in hell, rather than suffocate slowly or die of a long term disease? What guarantee do you have that you will have time for that last minute reprieve? Sure you MIGHT have time to call out to Jesus, say, if you die of cancer, but a great many people now burn in hell due to a combination of procrastination and heart attack, head-on collision, or work-place accident.

Don't ever forget that there were TWO thieves. (Luke 23:39-43) Don't put your hope in that future "last-minute" salvation you've been planning. Forgetting that God is a God of wrath is a fatal mistake. The "other" thief didn't fear God even though he KNEW HE WAS GOING TO DIE THAT DAY! What makes you think you will suddenly begin to fear God (the beginning of wisdom) on the day you lay dying? The bible warns us that TODAY is the day of salvation. (II Corinthians 6:1-2)

How often have you heard the Gospel? How many times have you ignored that sermon?

HERE'S ONE MORE CHANCE. DON'T MISS OUT.

(1)You are NOT a good person, but a wicked, vile sinner... (Romans 3:10)
(2)Because you're guilty of breaking God's Law if you've even just lied ONCE... (James 2:10)
(3)God is a just and wrathful judge who sentences ALL LIARS to hell... (Rev. 21:8
(4)You can do NOTHING to meet His requirement of perfection, because you have already sinned and can never meet God's requirement of perfection. (Isaiah 64:6)
(5)But Jesus Christ, God made flesh, was born into this world... (Matt 1:23)
(6)SO THAT He would have sinless, perfect, human blood- running through a perfect, sinless human body- (Hebrews 9:11-12)
(7)SO THAT He could give His life, as replacement sacrifice for your life, allowing His body to be tortured and crucified, (Hebrews 9:15-16, 28)
(8)SO THAT He could pour out His blood as a final, once-for-all, sacrifice, (hebrews 7:27, 9:12)
(9)SO THAT YOUR fine could be paid, satisfying God's Judgment, (Romans 3:25, I John 4:10)
(10)SO THAT you could be declared "crucified with Christ", dead to sin, and alive forevermore, saved eternally from God's just wrath? (Galatians 2:20)

So there it is, one more time. The Gospel message. Jesus died to pay YOUR fine. You are guilty, He is innocent, yet he took your punishment in your place.

How often has that Gospel message been presented to you? How long do you suppose that God will stay patient with you as you ignore it over and over? In Acts 5:1-11, Ananias and Sapphira took God for granted, too. For just ONE LIE to the Holy Spirit God decided they both should be immediately destroyed. DOES GOD CHANGE? And in II Chronicles 36:15-16 the Bible says of a rebellious Jerusalem, "God... sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people... but they... despised His words,... until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy. Don't be like Jerusalem. GOD DOES NOT CHANGE! Heed God's warning while His only Remedy is still available.

Which thief will you be like? The thief who was saved didn't waste any time when he saw the Truth of Who Jesus was. There's an old story of a refined, elegant lady who indignantly asked the preacher; "You don't mean that I have to go to heaven begging like that crucified thief, do you?" The preacher replied, "No ma'am, you don't. You could continue to reject Jesus Christ, and be sent to hell with the other thief."

You have only two choices. You will be with one thief or the other for eternity... the question is, "Which thief?"

If you haven't noticed, you're on a collision course with eternity. Death is just around the corner no matter how young or old you are. I pray that you'll take advantage of what may be your last opportunity and cry out to the Savior to "remember you" in eternity.

Job 36:18 Because there is wrath, beware lest He take you away with one blow; For a large ransom would not help you avoid it.

(Based on an old article called "Which Thief?" by an unknown author)

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