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By Warren Coe
South Suburban Evangelical Free Church

MARCH 20, 2005
Luke 23:44-49

1. Throughout the Lenten season and in preparation for holy week we've considered the last seven words Jesus spoke before he died. Abe Shanklin Jr. summarized Jesus' dying words
Father Forgive them... He focused outward.
Today you will be with me in heaven. He focused sideward.
Woman behold your son. He focused parent-ward.
My God. He focused upward.
I thirst. He focused inward.
It is Finished. He focused backward & forward.

2. In the 7th & last word, the Lord's focus is heavenward. Father, into thy hands...­ is a blueprint for dying. Jesus dies well and shows us how to die in victory, not defeat.
● As a pastor I've stood with saints in their last hours on earth
● Some faced death with courage. Others suffered paralyzing fear
● You could see it in their faces as the Dr. said; you have little time left with family nearby.

3. How will you face death? Unless the Lord returns soon, everyone will die¡ªwithout exception. Are you ready for it? How are you preparing for earthly departure
● In passage just read, we watch Jesus face death. We watch him die.
● His courage is so commendable that it earned the Centurion's praise; truly this was a righteous man...­
● What was the secret of Jesus' courage as he faced death?

4. Before we answer that question we must see three important details associated with Jesus dying.
1st, Darkness fell. V44 This is a Supernatural event.
2nd The veil in the temple is torn from top to bottom V45. The way to God is open to all.
3rd, Jesus raised his voice. Speaking loudly with a loud voice. He spoke with volume. This surprised eye-witnesses since a crucifixion left victim weak.
Details of the crucifixion show the historicity of Jesus Christ. Our faith is built on a foundation of historical fact.

Now today we discover three secrets to Jesus' fearless confrontation with death; Three secrets every believer must own & utilize if they hope to die well.
1. The first secret of Jesus' courage in the face of death was his focus. Jesus set his eyes on the Father. His point of concentration was his Heavenly Father.
● Look at the word used here. Pater. The root word signifies nourisher or protector.
● Just as earthly dads make sure child is safe & feed, so does our Heavenly. Father
● When Jesus nears death he looks to God as his sustaining, protecting father.

2. I think it's important we recognize how Jesus addressed the Almighty. He called him Father, laying great stress on God's loving, parental character. He is our Father
● When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, he taught them to say, Our Father...
● Not Yahweh meaning Existing One, not theos meaning God, not kurios meaning Lord.
● In public and private prayers we need to follow Christ's example and call God, Father

3. Jesus is facing death but his eyes are on father. In spite of pain and the shadow of death Jesus concentrates on Father. He could focus because of lifelong relationship with God the Father.
● Take your Bible & turn to Luke 2:49. Never too early to begin walking with God.
● He lived his life in total dependence on Father. John 5:19.
● So when it comes to dying, he does what he always did, live in communion with his Father.

4. Its like the secret of being a long ball hitter in baseball. To hit long ball you must keep your eye on ball from the moment it leaves the pitcher's hand until it crosses plate.
● 1998 watching Cubs & Cardinals, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire. The next day five homeruns.
● What was the Secret? They kept their eye on ball. That's what made them homerun kings.
● Each of us will stand at the plate. Death will throw the fast ball and we'll knock it out of the park.

Jesus faced death with his eyes set on his Father. Face death with eyes on your Heavenly. Father.
1. Look at V46. If you have a study Bible it's likely you have a small footnote next to V46. It reads Psalms 31:5. Translators identify this as an OT quote.
● Turn to Psalms 31:5. What do we read? The same words Jesus spoke were words spoken by David.
● David's life isn't going well. Enemies are attacking V4. Men try to kill him V13
● David prayers for protection. In V1,2 He asks the Lord for strength and deliverance

2. Over the years and centuries Psalms 31:5 became a simple prayer every Jewish mother taught their children. They taught them to say, into thy hands...­
● It was a prayer said at bedtime, like our Now I lay me down to sleep...
● It was a prayer of trust. It was a prayer of dependence.
● Jewish kids from the time they could speak learned to put their souls in God's hand.

3. What an insight into the heart of Jesus. He is dying and his mind meditates on a child's prayer. He lived out his dictate, unless you become as a child...
● He is dying but with a child-like mind, Jesus is absorbed with Scripture.
● He received the Word as a child receives a gift. He cherished it and loved it.
● The secret of Jesus' success in living and dying was the knowledge and obedience to the Word.

4. Lets get it on table¡ªlife is dangerous. You might be here tomorrow and you might not be. Sickness or accident can come at any moment. This is life!
● Jesus said, In this world you have much tribulation. You can't run. You can't hide.
● And a lot of people live frightened lives. They are slaves to fear. Prison!
● What is the Antidote? Look at Jesus. Get your heads into the Book. Fill mind with God's Word.

Jesus faced death with his eyes on the Father & his mind in the scripture, 3rd,
1. I have good news and bad news. 1st the good news. You all will die!
2nd, you will probably die slowly and not instantaneous. No sudden¡­
● This means your life will ebb away in a hospital room or care facility.
● Family and friends will be by your side. To tend you. To love you. To help make death a bit easier.
● We will probably have time to say tearful goodbye's before the end comes.

2. When my grand-dad was told he had pancreatic cancer and only days to live, my mom flew in from Seattle. They wept in the hospital room. Death meant the end.
● A separation that would last forever. A fearful and unknown forever.
● That's how non-Christians see death. Darkness. Loneliness. Nothing.
● Is that how you see death? Look at how Christ faced death?

3. It's found in the phrase into Thy hands, I commit my spirit... in Luke19:46. Word commit means to entrust or deposit. Jesus deposited his spirit into the hands of God.
● These were the hands that created Adam, created the babe in Bethlehem
● These were hands that upheld the children of Israel for 40 yrs.
● Hands of a shepherd, a king, a father and Almighty God. Jesus entrusted spirit to Him.­

4. Of Jesus' committal, G.C. Morgan writes it was a calm confidence. Jesus knew in God's hands he was in a place of perfect safety. So death was not defeat.
● Death was victory! With absolute trust in his Father, he could stare at death unafraid.
● This is the Christian's victory. 1st Cor 15:55-57; Phil 1:21- 23 Don't be afraid.
● Instead, commit your soul into God's omnipotent, gracious, strong-gripping hands.

1. Jesus faced death by setting his eyes upon his Father and by filling his child-like mind with Scripture and by committing his soul into God's hands.
● And that is how believers will face death; their own or a loved one.
● In total dependence upon the Lord and his word we will gain victory.
● With eyes clear, voices strong, we will defeat that bad boy called death.

2. Christopher Love was a Puritan who was arrested for treason. Government brought false witnesses to speak against Love. By all accounts Love was innocent.
● The court found him guilty & sentenced him to execution by be-heading.
● On the scaffold he was given a change to speak. He once again declared his innocence.
● He gave a lengthy sermon which was heard by man. His wife and children were in crowd.

3. Then at the end Christopher Love said these remarkable words. And now I am to commend my soul to God and to receive my fatal blow. I'm comforted in this,
● Though men kill me, they cannot **** me; and though they thrust me out of the world, yet they cannot shut me out of heaven.
● I am going to my home. I shall be at my Father's house.

● Then Love said, Now, Lord, into thy hands thy servant commits his.­

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