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Senior Pastor Phil Roland


Pastor Ray Scott


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We stand convicted about today's religious country-club, watered-down presentation of the Cross of Jesus.  We are convicted by our unwillingness to speak of the blood-soaked reality of Christ’s sufferings, because it offends the sensibilities of our Sunday morning worshippers dressed in their finery.  The awfulness of Christ’s sufferings for our sinful humanity turns our stomachs and forces us to look away from the intensity of it. 

Contemporary Christians go to church expecting be made to feel good with “Ten-Steps-To-Personal-Wealth-And-Success” sermons their itching ears crave to hear.  May God forgive us and may we truly to look intently into the Face of Jesus and the awfulness of His Cross. No wonder 5,000 churches are closing their doors for good every year in the U.S.A.

                                      My Southern Baptist Churches I grew up with sang a lot of “Cross” songs in their worship music repertory.  We sadly sang, “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross,” and “Beneath The Cross of Jesus,” and “At The Cross.”  I tried to bring them into the independent charismatic churches I served as an interdenominational pastor, but they rejected them as “too sad.”  Contemporary churches want music that entertains and leaves people humming tunes about how much God loves them or about the things they propose to do for God. 

                                      There’s an irony here, because too long evangelicals and Protestants have been calling people to a gospel of prosperity and possibility thinking, but we’ve forgotten the Cross of Jesus that makes faith itself possible.  The Cross is Christ’s message of faith and hope to the world.  It is not our faith in Him, but Christ’s faith in us demonstrated by His Cross that puts fire into His Gospel and makes it possible for fallen man to change by the power of God.

                                                My sermon the morning is about the Three Crosses of Calvary and the reactions of the two thieves crucified with Him. They sound like you and I. Let's just say we can see ourselves in them.                                                                                                                                                                             Pastor Phil  <><<   



March 19, 2017 - Sheepfold Ministries

Pastor Phil Roland



Luke 23:32-43

"There were three crosses on Calvary on the fateful day of Jesus' death. Each cross says something about us and our need for a Savior. Without Jesus' death on  the cross we have nothing. With His death we have salvation and a Hope for Eternal Life."                                     Pastor Phil <><<


34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.     Mark 8:34


The First of the Three Crosses of Calvary


39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying,

"If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us."


            A. The Thief spoke from the Despair of imminent Death

                        1. Greek, Blas-fay-meh-o - Railed, Reviled, Speak evil of

                                    a. Sarcastic Tone

                                    b. Reviled Him

                                    c. Displayed overt Contempt

                        2. This Thief knew about Jesus, but rejected Him

                                    a. Jewish Temple Rulers and Soldiers  taunted Jesus

                                    b. The first Thief joins in with them, he's a criminal           

            B. Both Criminals were dying along with Jesus

                        1.Their logic was, "We all die together, so it doesn't matter."

                        2. Since Jesus was dying w/ him, His words were w/o meaning

                        3. If Jesus was truly a messiah / Savior, He wouldn't be there

            C. 1st Thief Rebellious against Authorities / (A Highwayman?)

                        1. Rebellious against Rome's Authority

                        2. Rebellious against God's Authority

                        3. Litany, "I'm in Control!" - Nobody tells me what to do!"                   

            D. In God's Eyes Rebellion is as the Sin of Witchcraft - 1 Sam. 15:23a

                23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as

              iniquity and idolatry. . .

                        1. The Rebellious Thief could be from our current generation

                        2. Mocking and Reviling the Ten Commandments

                        3. Stubborn. . .not needing God

                        4. Prideful. . .no one tells them what to do

                        5. Distaining limits. . .disregarding consequences

                        6. "Let the government do it!"  "I'm not my brother's keeper!"

                        7. Without Jesus, lost and alone, I am that Rebellious Thief




The Second of the Three Crosses of Calvary


40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God,

seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for

we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong."

42 Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."
A. Repentance - GR. = metagnoia = META-GNOIA =

               “With Another Mind”

                        1. 1st Thief Unrepentant - Job 5:7; 14:1

                           "Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.”

                           "Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.”

                        2. 1st Thief Repentant despite Imminent Threat of execution

                        3. 1st Thief Hardened by injustice and his soon-violent death

                        4. The 1st Thief joined the soldiers / temple leaders mocking

                        5. The 2nd Thief repented by several overt acts

                                    a. He OWNED his sin

                                       "we receive the due reward of our deeds"                                                                    

                                    b. He RESPONDED to Christ's Call to repent - Luke 13:5

                                          5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."

                                    c. He ASKED Jesus for Forgiveness - v. 42

                                    "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."
B. Repentance is a Process - 2 Chronicles 7:14a

                14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and

               pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways. . .

                        1. Repentance was not a process for the 2nd Thief

                        2. It was a Single Event prefaced by prior knowledge of Jesus

                                    a. Must of known Jesus and/or heard His Message

                                    b. Notice he addresses Jesus, "Lord. . ."                  

                                    c. He was probably influenced by the Pharisee message                                         

                                       of life in the hereafter               

                        3. NOTE: the Four Things of 2 Chron. 7

                                    a. Humble yourself

                                    b. Pray

                                    c. Seek God's Face

                                    d. Turn from your wicked ways


The Third of the Three Crosses of Calvary


43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

            A. Jesus died with the Repentant Thief, but also Redeemed him

                        1. Redemption means Deliverance thru Purchase

                        2. Redemption is buying back something lost                     



                        3. Jesus Redeemed 2nd Thief by purchasing w/ his own blood

            B. Biblical Understanding of Redemption

            Redemption is the payment of a price to secure the release of a prisoner

            of war. The word came to be used also of the release of a slave, and

            of a person under sentence of death (Ex. 21:28-30).

            Redemption always means the payment of a price to secure release.

            C. Redemption sets us free from Sin and Self - Col. 1:13-14       

                13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into

             the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption

            through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

                        1. Jesus Death on the Cross bought us Freedom

                        2. His death was the Final of all sacrifices for man's sinfulness

                        3. Mankind needed Redemption from Adam's sin in the Garden

                        4. The trail of sacrificed animal blood ends at the Point of a                                    

                        Roman Spear thrust into Jesus' side                                                  

            D. We are redeemed to Glorify God - 1 Cor. 6:20

                20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in

               your spirit, which are God's.






Franciszek Gajowniczek was one of millions of Polish Jews who
were imprisoned and brutalized by Hitler's Nazi Germany during

World War II. And he was not in just a concentration camp; 

Franciszek lived for four years in the concentration camp--

the death camp at Auschwitz. Four million Jews would die there. 

One of them was a Catholic priest of Jewish descent named

Maximilian Kolbe. He came to called "the saint of Auschwitz." 

He shared food, gave up his bunk, and offered encouragement

in a place of unbelievable cruelty.

In July of 1941, there was an escape from Auschwitz. The custom

there was that ten prisoners would die for every one who escaped.

The ten would be randomly selected, locked in a cage, and allowed

to starve to death. The tenth name called was that of Franciszek

Gajowniczek. As Franciszek was led to the cage, he began to sob

"My wife and my children."

Then it happened. A voice was heard-- even though prisoners
were not allowed to speak. A single man stepped through the
ranks and walked toward the commander; it was Maximilian
Kolbe. He walked to the commander and said, "Sir, I wish to
make a request; I want to die in the place of this prisoner. I
have no wife nor family. Besides, I am old and not good for
anything." For some reason, the commander said, "Permission

Maximilian Kolbe was anything but a frail old man. He outlived
the other nine in that cage. And when he died, it was not from
starvation but rather from an injection of phenol into his great

Franciszek survived the Holocaust. And every year from his
liberation to his death he returned to Auschwitz every August 14.  

He went there to lay a wreath in memory of the man who died for him.

In his own back yard there was a plaque that he carved with his own hands.

It was a tribute to Maximilian Kolbe, the man who died so that he could live.

It is obvious that Franciszek Gajowniczek understood the debt
he owed. We know because it changed his life. We have a lot
in common with Franciszek. Someone else died for us. When
we were condemned and helpless in our sin, Jesus died for us.
He paid the price that was ours to pay.

Has that knowledge changed your life?