How close is eternity? How close is heaven? How close is hell? It might be today. No one knows what is coming…(part of Ecclesiastes 10:14, NIV). “I’m here to tell you the truth. Not my truth” said Pastor Josh, “but The Truth. Christ rose for you so you can have eternal life.
The lyrics of the song, Nobody’s There, begins with a little ditty about placing flowers where Budda is or hear children pray to Mohammed’s bones. But, go to Jerusalem and look for Jesus’ body and nobody’s there.
The story in the text begins with Jesus hanging on a cross between two thieves (Luke 23:39-47). Now, one thief was giving Jesus the business. He told Jesus that if he really was the Christ, that he should save them. This guy was a thief. He had broken the law. And, yet, he held no idea of his sin and whether or not he deserved to die.
The other thief pipes up and says, “What is wrong with you. Don’t you know that we deserve what we get? This man (Jesus) has done nothing and is innocent.” Two thieves with two different viewpoints. One thief is hedging his bets. If this is the Christ, Jesus should save him. It’s true that the death of Christ on the cross was to pay for the sins of all including this thief. It’s also true that we all stand guilty before Christ. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. (Ezekiel 18:20). Sin is not going to be in heaven. Forgiveness of sin is for those who seek it. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us. (I John 1:9)
The other thief is of a different ilk. After admonishing the reckless thief, he turns to Jesus and asks him to remember him when Jesus comes into his glory. This death-bed confession of who Jesus is leads him to his salvation. Jesus tells him that he will be with him in paradise.
The death on the cross paves the way for our salvation. The resurrection from the grave leads us into eternal life. “How death finds you eternity will hold you.” A scary thought proposed by our pastor. But, it’s true, whatever is going to happen for us in eternity is already settled when lying on our deathbed.
“We have church on Sunday because Jesus rose on Sunday.” said Pastor Josh. “It’s the first day of the week–a new beginning. Justice owes Jesus because there was no reason for Him to die. He paid a debt He didn’t owe. It’s a debt we couldn’t ever pay back.”
April 30th is our Fifth Sunday Feed. It’s potluck and everyone is welcome.
You can still visit us at our website swedenchurch.com. Pastor Joshua Strong can also be heard on our radio program which is on KKOZ 92.1 FM at 8:05 a.m. Sunday mornings. Better yet, come and hear Brother Josh live. We also have a Thursday evening Bible study at 7 p.m. except for the second Thursday which is our business meeting. Sweden Church is east of Ava about 10 miles on Highway 14 and then left onto 14-219 a quarter-mile. Services are at 11 am. and 6 p.m. Sundays.