Acceptance: God Accepts You

July 4, 2021   /   Lombard Bible Church

Sermon Series: Acceptance

Message 3: God Accepts You

Gene Smillie

Lombard Bible Church

July 4, 2021


“A Dying Convict Is Accepted by Jesus”

Fill In the Blanks:

Pilate, the Roman official at Jesus’ trial, after interrogating him closely, says all of these:
“ I find no in this man.”  (Luke 23:4)

“I have found no in this man”  (23:14)

“Herod too:  he sent him back to me because nothing deserving has been done by him.” (23:15)

“Why [do you want to crucify him]? What evil has he done? I have found in him no demanding death.”  (23:22)

In contrast, the men nailed up on crosses on either side of Jesus are called in verses 32, 33, 39.

It’s like they were so completely characterized by their life of perpetual crime that it had become their nickname – “The Evil Doer”  “The Bad Guy” “The Thug”.    We don’t even know their names – just: “Guys who do baaaddddd stuff.”

1. Have you ever been “nicknamed” for some trait in your personality, or perhaps some, one, (embarrassing?) event that happened to you?  And to your dismay, it wouldn’t “go away.”

What does it feel like to be ‘pegged’, identified by everybody, by some, one, limiting, characteristic?

2. What particular groups of people are named as scorning and mocking Jesus in his terrible moments at the cross?  (23:35-39)

3.  Though Mark 15:32 and Matthew 27:44 report that both convicts crucified with Jesus hurled the same taunting insults at Jesus as everybody else did,   Luke shows us (23:40-42) that one of them had a  change of heart and not only rebuked his fellow convict for taunting Jesus, but also called on Jesus to “remember” him when Jesus would come into his Kingdom.
What do you think may have caused this man to change his mind and heart so radically?  

4.  Was there anything in what he saw of Jesus during these hours that may have contributed to this?

5.  What steps do you perceive in his (the convict-on-the-cross)’s spiritual awakening?                            Are all these “necessary” for someone to be saved and have their sins forgiven?

6.  Does Jesus accept this hardened criminal’s last minute conversion, or faith-trust placing in Jesus?  How do we know?

7. From this example, what may we conclude is necessary to be accepted by Jesus? 

Is a lifetime of good works, or even a few good works, what earns us the right to hear Jesus say, “Today you will be with me in Paradise”?             Or, does Jesus accept a penitent sinner because Jesus sees all the potential good that person can do after recognizing Jesus as Savior and Lord?

In your own words, as if you were explaining to a friend who doesn’t yet know Jesus, how would you summarize what this story tells us about what it means to say “God accepts us, in Jesus” ?


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