The Seven Sayings of Christ on the Cross

Three of these sayings were addressed to God the Father. Four of them were addressed to man. The three addressed to God were prayers (1st, 4th, and 7th). Luke and John each record three of the seven accounts. Matthew and Mark only record one and they both record the same saying.

1. PARDON
“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). The first saying occurred shortly after Christ was put on the cross. It was a prayer of Christ to God the Father for the forgiveness of His enemies. This prayer, like many of the events associated with the crucifixion, was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (Isaiah 53:12). We must keep in mind that Christ our Lord was fully God and yet He was fully man. He felt the same emotions that we feel. He felt the same pain that we feel. He dealt with the same temptations that we endure. This was an unnatural request for the humanity of Christ. The flesh doesn’t want to seek the good of the offender. It wants to bring retribution for the wrongs that the aggressor has committed. As Christ hung upon the cross, robed in human flesh, wrongly accused and beaten, He prayed that the Father might forgive the wrongs that were committed against His only begotten Son. How many of us could pray that prayer? How many of us would be willing if we could? Christ did!

2. PARADISE
“Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). The second saying of the Savior on the cross at Calvary had to do with the promise of paradise for one of the thieves who was crucified with Christ. This saying occurred shortly after the first saying and before any of the great miracles happened. These verses reveal a message of comfort and hope to all who look to Christ. Salvation is impossible if one doesn’t recognize the sovereignty of Christ. You must submit to Him as Lord of your life. He purchased your redemption on the cross, through His precious blood, and He must be recognized as the Lord and Master of your life. Submission is essential to salvation! This malefactor was on the verge of death, but he realized his need and found the Lord faithful to him even though he was undeserving.

3. PROVISION
“Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother!” (John 19:26,27). The third saying from the cross was directed to Mary, the mother of our Lord, and to John, one of the twelve disciples. This third saying from the cross provided a home for Mary the mother of our Lord. He had been obedient to the cross of Calvary and even there He identifies with His mother. The Son of God identifies with His earthly mother. He is dying for her sins as well as ours and yet He continues to identify with her. She is not despised or rejected; she is loved. He is doing this for her. Jesus continues to identify with men. He continues to reveal Himself as the Savior of their soul! Praise God that He didn’t reject me. He loved me when I was unlovable. Jesus wants to identify with you today if you will only see Him! What a picture of the compassion of our Savior. It was His love that took Him to the cross. He died because He loved us. But, His love didn’t end there. He remains a compassionate Savior. He is concerned with the hearts and souls of men. He is concerned about your situation today. He wants to make provision for you and meet your need. Heb.4:15—For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Had He not loved us, He would never have died for us. If He loved us enough to die for us, surely He continues to have a heart of compassion for us!

4. PERPLEXITY
“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; cp. Mark 15:34). The fourth saying from the cross by Christ is the only saying of the seven which is recorded in more than one Gospel. Both Matthew and Mark record this saying. This cry speaks of separation from the presence of God. Sin separates from God. “The wages of sin is spiritual death. Sin separates from God who is the fount of all life. God was judging the sins of the world in His Son.

5. PARCHEDNESS
“I thirst” (John 19:28). The fifth saying of the Savior on the cross is like the third and the sixth sayings in that it is recorded only in the Gospel of John. This saying was recorded shortly before Christ died on the cross. Jesus knew that all things were now accomplished. That has to do with “bringing to a close, to finish, complete, fulfill; to carry out the command given.” This reveals His divine omniscience. He had endured hours of unspeakable torment and suffering and yet He remained coherent and aware that the will of God was being fulfilled. We must keep in mind that Christ our Lord was fully God and yet He was fully man. He felt the same emotions that we feel. He felt the same pain that we feel. He dealt with the same temptations that we endure.

6. PROCLAMATION
“It is finished” (John 19:30). This sixth saying is a proclamation of victory, of completion, of success. Comparing Matt. 27:50, Mark 15:37 and Luke 23:46 it is apparent that the words of this saying as well as the words of the seventh saying were spoken with a loud voice. “It is finished” said Christ had completed His service. Christ spoke of “the works which the Father hath given me to finish” (John 5:36). And He finished them! He could truly say, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4). As Apostle Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course” (2 Timothy 4:7). Christ accomplished what He was sent to earth to do. He did His work and did it all and did it well. Christ’s performance is certainly a rebuke to our poor performance in serving God. Instead of saying, “It is finished,” we often say, “I am finished” which means “I quit.” One of the greatest problems in Christian service is right here—many start the race and do well at the start but drop out before the race is over. They cannot say, “It is finished.” But if Christ finished His work for us, how can we do less that finish our work for Him. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Jesus was not a failure. He was not an imposter or blasphemer. He was not resigning to defeat. He was declaring victory! In this simple statement, Jesus serves notice that He has fulfilled the will of God concerning salvation.

7. PARTING
“Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). The last saying of Christ on the cross was a prayer just as the first and fourth sayings were also prayers. This prayer is very similar to the prayer of David in Psalm 31:5 in which David says, “Into thine hand I commit my spirit.” Jesus Christ was not a victim of circumstances. He did not lose control of His life at Calvary. Though unknown and unrecognized by all His enemies, Christ still controlled Calvary. This final prayer emphatically proves this fact. Christ had said earlier that He would give His life of His own volition, and nobody would take it from Him. “I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down” (John 10:17,18). He died praying to God. How noble that Christ died praying. How noble that anyone should die with a prayer on their lips. Jesus Died Praying to God—In the final moments prior to His death, Jesus spent them in prayer to God. He used those final precious moments as an opportunity to talk and commune with the Father. He lived in prayer and died in prayer.

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“Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” 1 samuel 7:12

Ebenezer means “stone of help.” In setting up this stone, Samuel was saying, “Up to this point, the Lord has helped us.”

Why this is important ? Because sometimes we think things will never work out. My marriage is struggling, my finances are down and everything looks hopeless. What we need in times like this is an “Ebenezer stone” that reminds us that God has never failed us, what we fear doesn’t come to pass. Yes, there are challenges that come our way but in those challenges, He’s always there for us. I am reminded again and again that God has never let me down in the past, which gives me confidence that He won’t let me down in the future. I encourage you to put your own “Ebenezer stone” in place, where you can be reminded of God’s faithfulness in the past, draw strength for the present, and hope for the future. The Lord has helped us to this point, and He will see to it from now on.

Pray without ceasing

pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Why should I have to keep praying? Why doesn’t the Lord hear my prayer the first time and answer immediately? I suggest the reason is because it is only as I pray repeatedly about a situation that I find my request wasn’t the issue at all, that spending time with the Lord was the need of my soul. When you feel tired of praying, know that God is present, always listening, always answering, in ways that He knows are best.

“Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.” Genesis 4:16.  Cain was not interested in God. He was not interested in fellowshipping with God. This attitude keeps people away from church, from prayer, and from the Word of God.

What a contrast Moses is to Cain, for Moses so valued the presence of God he would not go anywhere if God did not go with him (Exodus 33:15).

The Rewards for Serving God

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 1 Corinthians 3:6-7

“I have planted, Apollos watered”

Everybody does not do the same thing. Everyone does not have the same calling. Planting is more exciting than watering. But both need to be done. God decides our calling, our tasks, our assignments in His vineyard. We are serving Him.

“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase”

They were dependent upon others. Apollos cannot water if Paul does not plant. Paul will not do well planting if Apollos does not water the planting. They were dependent upon God. “God gave the increase”. All the planting and watering will accomplish nothing if God does not bless the work.
The work that each did as servants of God was necessary to the growth of the plant, but all the power that produced the fruit come from God. They only do what God directs them to do, and each shall be rewarded according to his faithfulness in doing the will of God. If a man pastors a huge church, remember that it is God that gives the increase, not the man. God does not have “big” preachers or “small” preachers, just faithful preachers doing what they are called to do.

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The Choices for Life

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil.” (Deuteronomy 30:15)

These principles are in every choice we make. The Israelites were not the only ones who had these choices set before them. Every person in every age has these choices set before them.

“See, I have set before thee this day.” Moses had made plain to Israel the two ways of life. Israel had no excuse for going wrong. They could not claim ignorance about which way to live, for they were fully aware of the ways of life. We cannot claim ignorance about the ways of life either. God has shown us in so many ways the ways of life. God uses our conscience, our friends, and our experiences to inform us of the ways of life. But especially does God use His Word to inform us about the ways of life.

“Life and good, and death and evil.” Note in our verse that life is paired with good while death is paired with evil. There are different outcomes to different ways of living. All roads do not lead to heaven. All lifestyles do not have the same consequences. The truth about the two ways is that good brings life and evil brings death. The choices are opposites. One involves life, and the other death. One involves good; the other evil. One involves blessing; the other cursing. It is choosing between black and white; there are no grays in the choices.

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The difference between King Solomon and the Apostle Paul.

Solomon’s passion was away from God by his affection for unbelieving foreign women:
“His wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God.” (1 Kings 11:4)

Paul’s passion, was directed toward knowing Christ:
“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:7, 8)

End of King Solomon and Apostle Paul
Solomon became bitter and disappointed in his old age:
Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind (Ecclesiastes 2:17)

Paul, however completed his life with a sense of accomplishment:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day… ” (2 Timothy 4:7)

Christian life has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Finishing is as important as beginning. How we finish is often the way we will be remembered.

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The Influence of One Person

So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Ezekiel 22:30

This verse reminds us that the Lord still searches the earth and the hearts of men, seeking men and women who will take their stand for God, stand in the gap. God is not looking for new methods or programs; God is always looking for someone to stand in the gap.

Never underestimate the power of one man or woman who knows how to get a hold of God in prayer. That person will be able to stand for the Lord. God loves to bless His people, He loves to do it in answer to prayer. One of the greatest lies of Satan is that we don’t have enough time to pray. However, all of us have enough time to sleep, eat, and breathe. As soon as we realize that prayer is as important as sleeping, eating, and breathing, we will be amazed at how much time we have to pray.

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THE GOD OF ELIJAH

This is a brief excerpt of the sermon given by Pastor Alexander Thomas during the Watch Night Service on Saturday, December 31st, 11:30 PM 2016 at the International Church, Atlanta, Georgia.

This New Year 2017 message was taken from 1 Kings Chapter 17 Verses 1 – 7

Elijah’s brook dried up. Why did the Lord allow this to happen? To teach him to trust in God and not in the brook.  more
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Seek to honor God in all that you do; it will keep you from evil.

Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, and your grandson also; for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.”  Judges 8:22

“No way,” said Gideon. “I will not rule over you; my son will not rule over you. The Lord is the One who will rule over you.” (Judges 8:23)

This good answer shows us how to defeat temptation. The request to Gideon was a tempting offer for a high position. Gideon’s answer was forceful. That is the only way to defeat temptation. It is not “maybe” but a dogmatic “no” all the time.  Gideon denied himself of great honors. If you would do right, you will have to have some self-denial in your life. Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself” (Matthew 16:24). Our world is not interested in self-denial—it is interested in “rights.”  “The Lord shall rule over you.” If you would defeat temptation, you must be God-honoring in your life. Seek to honor God in all that you do; it will keep you from evil.

 

The Lord is the One who is to rule over you not men. People who are in ministry are to serve and to assist not to rule (2 Corinthians 1:24). Because there’s a tendency in the heart of each of us to want to look to a man to give us direction. Why? Because it’s easier to go to someone and say, “Tell me what I should do,” rather than to seek the Lord and say, “Father, what is Your desire and intention for me in this matter?” How important it is that we learn to seek the Lord and to seek His face.

 

Alexander Thomas
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And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. Luke 1:31

he name “JESUS” means “Jehovah saves.” He was to name the child JESUS “for he shall save his people from their sins.” Joshua is the Hebrew word and JESUS is the Greek. Joshua is the Old Testament name and JESUS is the New Testament name. JESUS is “Jehovah the Savior” in the Old Testament and in the New Testament! In the Old Testament, people were saved by faith as they looked to the Savior to come. In the New Testament and today, people are saved by faith as they look to the Savior who came! Mary was not to be afraid because the boy that would be born to her was the Prince of Peace. The greatest reason not to be afraid is the presence of Jesus in our lives.

Working Out Your Salvation

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; Philippians 2:12
According to the Bible, salvation is a gift given to those who have faith in Jesus Christ. It is not something we earn. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Salvation is a gift given to those who believe in Christ. Paul wanted us to “work out” our salvation. The Greek word here is the word “katergazesthe.”
What does that mean?
The Greek word actually means “to carry out to the goal, to carry to its ultimate conclusion.”

The word “katergazesthe” was also used in Paul’s day to refer to the working out of a field so as to get the greatest harvest possible. The seeds had already been planted. The crop was already growing. Now it was time to go out and harvest the crop. They were to work it out so as to get the full fruit of their labor.
When we become Christians, God plants tremendous potential in our lives, and He wants us to realize that potential to its fullest. Working out the full benefit of our salvation is a task to which we must be committed all our lives.

A Joyful Heart Brings Good Health

A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. Proverbs 17:22

A joyful heart brings good health. A crushed heart causes sickness. Scientists tells us that laughter triggers healthy physical changes. It fortifies our immune system, relieves pain, and boosts our energy. It can decrease our stress hormones and boost our immune cells. What Solomon taught us by revelation is now being endorsed by medical science.

Jesus speaks to us that his joy would be in us and that our joy would be full. Even one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is joy.

So by faith in Jesus Christ we can have that joy in full.

Proverbs often emphasizes the effect of the inner life on our health; Proverbs 15:30, it declares that good news gives health to the bones.

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Forgiveness

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34

“For they know not what they do” Ignorance can really hurt you. Ignorance caused men to crucify Jesus. Jesus asked his Father to forgive his killers. Jesus lived and died by the words he preached: “Love your enemies.” This praying for the transgressors was prophesied hundreds of years earlier. The prophet Isaiah said, “He hath poured out his soul unto death… and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12).

The very purpose for His coming was to make provision for forgiveness of sins. Because of His death, God would be able to forgive the sins of men, even those who were now crucifying Him.

The most wonderful truth in all the world is this: God will hold no sin against any man, if that man will personally trust His Son. If God forgives the men who killed His only Son, God will forgive any man for any sin—if that man will just ask. The greatest need of mankind is Divine forgiveness. With it we go to heaven for eternity; without it one go to hell for eternity.

What shall I do with Jesus?

Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!” Matthew 27:22

Pilate’s question is one we all must decide. What shall I do with Jesus? That’s the key question for every person throughout history. Pilate had a choice to make right then. He could either stand up for what he knew was right, or he could follow the crowd.

Pilate knew what was right, but refused to do anything about it. Pilate gave into worldly Pressure. The pressure of the world to do evil is great. Pilate was a weak man who could talk justice but would not walk it.

Imagine a Roman judge asking the crowd what he would do with a prisoner. He was willing to please the people (Mark 15:15). What shall I do with Jesus? The greatest question of human life. How we answer it determines our destiny.

The Decision for Service 

This is a brief excerpt of the sermon given by Pastor Alexander Thomas during the Watch Night Service on Thursday, December 31st, 11:30 PM 2015 at the International Church, Atlanta, Georgia.

This New Year 2016 message was taken from Joshua Chapter 24 Verses 15

A Call to Decision “Choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15). Joshua gave an invitation to serve. They could choose to serve Jehovah or one of the gods of idolatry. Elijah gave a similar invitation some years later at Mount Carmel when he said, “If the Lord be God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him” (I Kings 18:21). Joshua called for a decision; we at the International Church Family need to do the same). You cannot serve two masters. (Luke 16:13). Now that the people have arrived in the Promised Land, it would be easy for them to join the local people. Perhaps there would be benefits to serving other gods. Joshua has urged the people to serve the Lord alone, and to put away the false gods.

The Decision for Service (Joshua 24:15)
“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Joshua leads by example. He has encouraged people to make a decision about serving, and encourages the people by his example to choose to serve Jehovah. Joshua’s declared choice was of high character.

Now notice how Joshua stood alone and made these three important declarations

1. It was a Public Decision.
Joshua proclaims, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” This should be the motto of every family that claims to be Christian. Joshua made his choice known before all the Israelites. He was not a secret disciple. He let everyone know where he stood.
Though he’s old and stricken in years, still he rules his house. It’s marvelous when the husband, the father, can speak for his house. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” The people responded and said to Joshua, “Oh, we also will serve the Lord”.

Joshua was steadfast till the end and is a great example to us of a believer. “We will serve the Lord.” Joshua made it very clear whom he would serve. Joshua walked what he talked. He had been faithful in service for Jehovah all his life. He publicly declared what he believed.

2. It was a Personal Decision.
God invites all people to have a personal relationship with him, but he does not force himself on us. He gives us a choice, and we all decide for ourselves whom we will follow in life. At one hundred and ten years of age, Joshua was still saying, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua did not make the decision because the crowd chose to serve Jehovah. His choice reflected his own personal convictions. Joshua was determined on this course no matter what anyone else thought. His relationship with God was not based on any man, but on the LORD alone, and he would serve God no matter what anyone else did.

3. It was a Parental Decision.
The message of Joshua was given over 3400 years ago, but is still good for us today. The message of Joshua and the Scriptures is make up your mind about whom you are going to serve. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua lived his faith in his family. He did not send his children to church, he took them. “As for me and my house,” said Joshua, “we will serve the Lord!” It is not only encouraging but also essential that Godly Fathers and Mothers set a good example in their own homes. Joshua challenged the Israelites to a life of devotion to God. How great it is when the father can speak for the house. He rules his house well. Joshua also understood that he, as the priest of his family, was charged with the responsibility to see that his whole house served the LORD. He had the job of representing his whole house before God.

Joshua’s pronounced choice encouraged the Israelites to take the same stand. After he declared Whom he would serve, the Israelites “answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods” (Joshua 24:16).

Every generation has to make this decision in life. Will we be completely committed to God, or will we adopt the practices of the nations around us? Every individual today must also make a strong commitment to serve the Lord above anything or anyone else. Joshua’s noble decision for himself and his household has been an inspiration to succeeding generations of believers: “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” We the International Church Family, we will serve the Lord.

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