Sweden – Linda Johnson

    “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.” (Psalm 50:10-11) A thousand hills, just imagine a thousand hills with cattle.  Almost too much to comprehend.  That’s how God is. He’s larger and more magnificent than the mind can conceive. Try as hard as you might and it’s impossible to wrap the mind around just how all-encompassing God is.

And, yet, his son, the Son of man, hung on a cross and died the death to save all who would come to him. What it means is that Jesus was the sacrifice (the blood sacrifice) for everyone on this earth–past, present, and future. That’s a gazillion people. Wrap your mind around that one.  If everyone believed that God sent his Son to save us, we would all be spending eternity in heaven.  If only the Earth and it’s population was one hundred percent sold out to Jesus.  Everyone, e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e.  

The downside is that the day will come when everyone will believe but it will be too late for some.  Philippians 2:10-11 says that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  The day has already come and gone for many to make their profession of faith in Jesus. But there are many others who are on the sidelines.  It’s important that we pray for their souls.

It’s like the day of Jesus’ crucifixion. Two thieves hung on crosses on either side of him. The story is in Luke 23:34-43.  The thief on one side cried out against Jesus and complained bitterly that if he was really the Christ why didn’t he save them (the thieves) and himself.  This was at the same time that the soldiers and others were mocking Jesus and shouting out similar jeering. Hanging on the cross, spikes driven through his hands and another in his feet.  The crowd had turned on him.  He was dying but he was also carrying out the will of his Father in heaven. This had to be a moment of heartbreak for God.

And yet, in a moment such as this, Jesus answers the request of the thief on the other side of him.  The thief, the one on the other side, knew that he was getting what he deserved. He was a thief and deserved his fate.  He didn’t believe that this man, Jesus, next to him was guilty of anything. Surely he was who he said he was, the Son of God sent from heaven to save mankind.  Who else would go to such a horrific death and not be yelling at the top of his voice that he was innocent?

And, so, in these last moments of breath, he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  And Jesus said to him, “Verily I say unto you, today you will be with me in paradise.”  They hung there for three more hours and then it was over.  Jesus gave up his life here on earth. And the thief and Jesus walked hand in hand to paradise. Thank you God for such blessings.

You can visit us at our website swedenchurch.com. It is complete with audios of the sermons. Better yet, come and hear Pastor Josh live on Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. (Sunday school is at 10 a.m.). Evening service begins at 6 p.m.  Bible study is Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. except for our business meeting which is held the second Wednesday of each month.  Sweden Church is east of Ava about 10 miles on Highway 14 and then left onto 14-219 a quarter-mile.