Ambassadors of the Kingdom
Freedom from Darkness
Whosever sins you forgive, will be forgiven...
"Whosever sins you forgive, will be forgiven and whosever sins you retain, will be retained." That's what Jesus said to His disciples as He sent them out to preach the gospel of the kingdom, this is recorded in John chapter 20 verse 21, here Jesus says to His disciples, "Peace be with you, as the Father has sent Me I am sending you, receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." His disciples went out to preach the remission of sins on the day of Pentecost beginning in Jerusalem as they were told to do in the book of Luke, in the recording of the great commission in Luke. Jesus said, "Go and preach repentance and the remission of sins beginning in Jerusalem."
Repentance was the repentance from being under the control of the god of this world. And the forgiveness of sins was what the disciples were empowered to declare. But isn't that just much more than we can do? After all, we didn't die on the cross for anybody's sins, Jesus did. And we were not raised from the dead as the proof that God was with us, Jesus was. Therefore how are we empowered to forgive men their sins, and furthermore how are we empowered to retain their sins? And even if we got up to that place, of believing all of that, how would we know whose sins should be forgiven and whose sins should be retained? It seems like this is asking way too much of us. Well let's wade into it and see.
Why would God send us, why would Jesus, the One who died to save us from our sins; why would He send us to make such declarations as those? This is from the book of II Corinthians. II Corinthians tells us who we are to be able to make these kinds of declarations. II Corinthians chapter 5 says this, verse 16, "So from now on we regard no one any longer from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: The old has gone and the new has come!" Verse 18, "All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation."
So who are we, to go and tell people their sins are forgiven? Verse 20, "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God Himself were making His appeal through us." That's who we are; we are ambassadors of this grace. It goes on to say, "We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, (that's our message) so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God as Gods fellow workers we urge you not to receive Gods grace in vain." Wow. Who are we to go and preach to people, or tell people who are applying to the kingdom, who are requesting of the King sanctuary within His authority, the authority that was given to Him by God. All authority in heaven and on earth being given to Jesus as King by which His kingdom is established on the earth; His kingdom being the kingdom of heaven. The reality of heaven existing on the earth for our benefit that we might be joined with Him in His body, the body which is known as the kingdom of heaven or the body of Christ. Of which He is the head and ruler over it and rules in it by all authority that exists in heaven and on earth, by which He destroyed the works of the devil. Having destroyed the works of the devil, anyone who is under the control of the devil is free to go. We remain under the control of the evil one only because we don't know we're free to go. The good news of the kingdom is what tells you you're free to go.
Who is sent to you to declare the good news of the kingdom? We are, we are Christ ambassadors. In order to be an ambassador, there must be a kingdom that you represent. An ambassador is by definition, the term means that you represent another. You're representing the One who died on the cross; you're representing the One who has forgiven men their sins. Did you hear what I said? The One who HAS forgiven men their sins. Forgiveness was accomplished when Jesus died on the cross; He died for the forgiveness of men's sins. Of whose sins? Of everyone's sins. Everyone's sins are subject to being forgiven. Why? Because He died once for all, He died one time for everyone. Is this true or not? When He died on the cross, He died for you, for whomever.
The only thing that keeps someone from benefiting from what has been done for him is knowing about it. And to that end He sends us out. But our enemy is the problem; our enemy has kept men in darkness. How does he keep men in darkness? Well, for one thing by the darkness of their traditions. Men love darkness rather than light. For one reason, for their traditions, for another, they love their evil deeds. Are you understanding what I'm saying? I'm saying that although salvation is fully and freely available to all, there are disabling restraints that keep all from benefiting. That's why you must send out ambassadors.
Now when you send someone out representing the kingdom, by definition that person is an ambassador. Whoever goes to represent the kingdom of God, in the earth, is an ambassador of the kingdom of God. What is our message as an ambassador? Our message is the message of the kingdom that we represent. And what about this kingdom we represent, what is it capable of doing? For the one who is in darkness, what is the word? The word is: Light has come; the word is that there is a greater King than the one who holds you in bondage to tradition, using the tools of tradition, just what you've been used to. Using the tools of your own desires for evil things. Men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. The fact that they don't want to change even if there is liberation available but they don't want it because they like what they have. Those are not likely to come, but it's still their choice and they can choose to come into the kingdom but they don't typically come.
Who is it who comes to the kingdom of God? Why is it worth sending anyone out? Who would appeal to the kingdom for refuge in the King? The one whose conscience is not seared by his addiction to tradition or by his love for a wicked way of life. You could offer someone the kingdom of God but if they like their lifestyle, they'll look you straight in the eye and they will say, "No thank you."
After the meeting he engaged me again with more conversation and once again I asked him, I said, "Today it's available to you, this message of the kingdom is available to you right now, the results are available to you immediately," and he looked at me and he said, "No," and I said, "Do you understand what I'm saying?" He said, "Yes." So I said, "What prevents you?" He said, "Oh I like my life the way it is." I guess I was used to, in all the places in the world that I've gone, I've been used to people hearing the message of the kingdom and saying, "Well of course, let me in, what do I do?" And this one just said plainly to me, "No!, I like my life the way it is."
You see, the fact that Jesus died on the cross to save men of their sins and to make the kingdom available to them, does not mean that everyone wants in. And even though I knew that, intellectually, I was stunned recently when I so plainly offered the kingdom and it was understood and the man just said, "My deeds are evil, I love the darkness rather than the light." Others are stuck in tradition. Many of the people who hear this message or read it; many of them have strong religious backgrounds. What I'm saying is so different from what they've been raised in. These are good people, Godly people, but they'll turn it down; they love the four spiritual laws; they love the sinners prayer, this is what they know. And even if you show them that it's the kingdom that we're sent to present and the clarity with which we've brought forth this message and others like it, they'll still go and practice the traditions, leaving off all that has been taught to them and all that they've heard.
The traditions of men, like their choices of lifestyles, are that powerful in entrapping men. So who, who will receive our embassage? We are ambassadors, we come to represent the kingdom. Who is likely to receive us? Those who are likely to receive us are those who in their hearts have sought God. God says, "If you will hunger and thirst after righteousness you will be filled. If you seek, you will find; if you knock, it will be opened unto to you; if you ask, it shall be given." One of the things that God delights in giving without measure is the kingdom; He delights in giving the kingdom to those who ask for it. And His pleasure is to give the kingdom without measure.
So it's worth it to send people out to find those who are seeking God, who are knocking, who are asking. How many of these people will there be in the world? Few. That's what the word says. It says that, "The road that leads to destruction is broad (Jesus was speaking this) and many there be that find it, but straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life and few there be that find it." One of the reasons why our churches are populated with unbelievers and people have no strength to stand up to the least adversity is because we have not been teaching them the gospel of the kingdom, we've been teaching them the gospel of salvation. If we were to have taught them the gospel of the kingdom, we would have taught them about the order of Christ, the government of God, the rule of Christ and His kingdom, the fact that He is King and Lord and that visavee the King, no one has any authority, we are subjects of the King. We'd have been taught that and so people would have looked to the King, not only for being rescued out of the kingdom of darkness but to maintain and entire way of life based in the sovereignty of the Lord Jesus Christ as King.
Instead what we have is the idea that God exists for your benefit, so you could do whatever you want to and just give God some acknowledgment along the way and everything is fine. Most churches are in no way related to the kingdom of God. Today we see groups of people who are ruled over by boards of directors in which people maneuver for control and it's done in the same fashion of heartless corporate maneuverings. And the people who have control over these institutions think they are serving God. Jesus said it this way, "In vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." It's amazing how these groups emphasize Bible teaching. All they really are emphasizing are the traditions that they have for which they use Bible verses as support. They are clueless about the gospel of the kingdom, for the gospel of the kingdom is about the sovereign rule of the Lord Jesus Christ over you.
And there is an enemy, who is doing everything in his power to control you and to destroy you. That enemy formerly controlled you when you were in darkness but God rescued you because your heart sought God. Now you are an ambassador of this kingdom and you are sent out to teach people that if they will apply to the King for refuge, to be under His rule, if they desire to be citizens of His kingdom He will welcome them. And as the first act of their being welcomed into the kingdom of God, you're empowered as an ambassador of the kingdom to declare to them the first experiential act of the benevolence of the kingdom and that is that you declare to them their sins are forgiven.
Well are there times when you will not receive a person in this fashion? Sure there are, there are times when Jesus didn't and there times when you will. How do you know the difference? You were given the Holy Spirit; one of the gifts of the Spirit is called the gift of the discerning of spirits. What you're able to do is to discern who is truthful in their search for the kingdom and who is not. Whoever is seeking the kingdom you will see, if you're approaching it from a standpoint of an ambassador of the kingdom; you will see them the way they actually are. And you will know who to invite to come in, and correspondingly you will know who not to. Let me give you an example.
Jesus came to Jacobs well in Sychar where He met a Samaritan woman, now she was the woman who no modern day preacher would ever want to be seen with in her company. You see, she had been married five times before and now she was living with a man to whom she was not married. Now heres the thing, she came out to the well to get water and Jesus sat by the well. Now, it wasn't the woman who began the conversation, it was Jesus, Jesus started the whole thing. If He just happened to be by the well and a woman came, then perhaps we could excuse Him but He was there when she came and He said to her, He opened the conversation. He said to her, "Give me some water." That's how the conversation started. Where's Jesus going with this conversation? He was there that day for her. A woman who has been married five times, is presently living with a man, Jesus is there that day for her? Put yourself in Jesus' place; if you're a man, put yourself in Jesus' place. You're a Christian, what would you do?
Well if you didn't tell the typical preacher that this was a Bible story and you said, "You know there is this woman that I seen at the water cooler at the office, she's been married five times and living with a man to whom she's not presently married and she wants to talk to me. What's your advice?" I tell you what the advice was, "Run, do not walk, from such a woman as that!" But Jesus was there for her. Why? Because He saw her no longer according to the flesh. It's easy to see someone according to the flesh, it's easy to see someone framed against the background of their failures and their sins. That's why we go for the nice middle class folk, that's why we seek to populate our churches with those who can tithe.
We don't see the way God sees. What did Jesus see when He saw this woman? This is what He saw: If there is a woman who has been married five times and living with a man to whom she's not married, what do you know about such a woman? What's going on behind that woman's eyes, what's going on behind her actions, who is she? She's a woman who, to quote a country song, "Looking for love in all the wrong places." That's who she is. And Jesus is the lover of her soul. She's been seeking, just didn't know where to seek. Been rejected, and rejected, and rejected, and rejected, and rejected, and is about to be rejected again. But she's still looking Why would the Savior, why would the lover of her soul show up for her? The question is, why not? She is seeking to be..she has no tradition that would keep her, she has no wickedness that would keep her. She's been looking for love for her whole life and Jesus is the lover of her soul.
So when He says to her, "Woman this is who you are." The fact that the living God knew her lit her up on the inside. She turned and immediately became what she was, an evangelist. She was given permission to be who she was. Whenever the kingdom visits you you're released to be who God made you to be. You could be in deepest sin but instantly your sins are forgiven and you are released to be and to become who God made you to be. Think about the man in the tree, why would a short man, Zaccheus, a short tax collector; why would he perch himself in a tree? Because his desire to see the Lord was greater than his fear of being ridiculed for being short or hated for being a tax collector; he had already overcome that. And Jesus stopped and said to him, "Zaccheus, come down, the thing you are seeking is found, your sins are forgiven. Come, lets go home and eat a meal." How do we know that it worked? Well he offered four-to-one in rebates, four-to-one; that was proof that Jesus saw him accurately.
If we would see people the way God sees them, we would know when to extend the kingdom to them and we'd know when not to. You've been given the gift of discernment in order to be able to do that. So in the next article, I want to talk to you about how the kingdom functions with you as an ambassador of the kingdom.
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Let us go on to maturity.
Kingdom Keys in your hands
What qualifies us to be ambassadors of the kingdom? What allows us to be able to go out and declare to people the good news that their sins are forgiven? Well first off, when Jesus sent His disciples out, He said, "I will give to you the keys to the kingdom of heaven." When the kingdom was in full manifestation, when the kingdom came as it did on the day of Pentecost, came with the gift of the Holy Spirit into the world. When it came, Jesus anticipated its coming and declared to His disciples in Matthew the 16th chapter, "I will give to you the keys to the kingdom of heaven." Religion would have us believe that all we are are worthless slaves. There was a time where we were worse than that but everything changes when you become a citizen of the kingdom of God.
God has prepared in advance these realities and the truth of these realities for us to walk in. 'We were created," the Scriptures say in the first chapter of Ephesians, "We were created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared in advance for us to walk in." Biblical predestination is not the question of whether or not God knew whether or not we'd be saved; that's not biblical predestination. When the bible speaks of predestination, it speaks of God creating, in advance of your birth, a destiny for you to walk in. That's described as good works created in advance for you to walk in.
You see, you are not an accident, you're not as it were 'a nobody'. God anticipated your coming into the world because He knew He would make you, as much as He's the Maker. He knew He would make you and He did not create you as De Carte, the French philosopher suggests, as 'blank slate'. It is not true that because you think therefore you are, that the proof of being is thinking. 'Cogito ergo sum', it's quite the opposite, 'sum ergo cogito'; I am, therefore I think. Because God knew you before you were in your mother's womb and wrote a destiny upon your spirit.
You came here for good works to live out a pattern of destiny that is characterized as good works which God prepared in advance, in advance of your being here, for you to walk in. When you understand this it changes everything. And one of the main things it changes is the idea that you have to sort of figure out a way to please God and keep Him happy otherwise He hates you, or otherwise He has no use for you, no purpose for you. That's utter rubbish, that is so far from what is true that only a depraved mind could think that up, or a mind influenced by the evil one could think that up. God created you with a destiny in mind, complete with the living out of that destiny. So when you come here and God saves you, you become experientially acquainted with the goodness of God. And when you are someone whose life's testimony includes the understanding, experientially, of the goodness of God, then you are a witness of the things that you are sent to teach. It is because you are a witness of the truth and that God arranged it before you were born for this grace to appear to you; for you to be able to see and understand the goodness of God.
These are the definitive steps that qualify you to be an ambassador of the kingdom. Yes it is a very high sounding term, 'ambassador of the kingdom', and indeed the functioning of it is no lower than that. You are qualified and God has caused it to be such that you are able to declare the goodness of God. That's for the dual reasons stated; number one, that God arranged it to be so before you were born; number two, when you have actually had the experience of being translated from the powers of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of God and now you know the reality of living in the kingdom and we saw earlier that this happens when you're born again and you're born of the Spirit. When you're born of the Spirit you not only see the kingdom but you enter it. By the way, that's a reference to John the third chapter, Jesus conversation with Nicodemus.
When these things come to be true in your life you're a witness of the grace that you are sent to proclaim. Here is what Jesus said to His disciples, this is from Luke 24:48, first in 47 He says, "And that repentance and the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all the nations beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." Did you see that? "You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what My Father has promised but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."
What qualifies them to represent Christ? They were witnesses of the truth of the things He proclaimed, they walked with Him for three years, they saw Him do what He did. They themselves would be filled with Holy Spirit. In anticipation of all of that He was commissioning them to go out and tell people, "Repent, change your loyalty from being under the kingdom of darkness and under its king; repent of that and seek refuge in the kingdom of our God as we have," is the obvious implication. "We have done so and we know the truth of that transformation, we're witnesses of it, we testify to the truth of it."
In that sense then you can be and you are an ambassador. Your sins were forgiven when you came into the kingdom do anything to deserve the forgiveness of these sins, it was given to you as a gift. Why a gift like this? Because man is trapped in sin and its sin that keeps you legally subject to the evil one. What do I mean by that? The wages of sin is death, it means when you sin you incur the consequence of being separated from God. Anything and anyone that is separated from God is subject to the control of the one who himself resisted God and rebelled against God. When man sinned, who's advice did they listen to? When man separated himself from God in the garden, he didn't become a neutral creature.
This act of rejecting the counsel of God was entirely motivated by the lie spoken by the enemy to man. When Satan said, "If you eat of the tree it will make you wise," that was the basis of their choice. Neutrality is not one of our choices; you can't choose to be neutral. You can choose to obey God or you can choose to obey the devil. It's one or it's the other buy you can't choose just to remain neutral. What would be the neutral ground? If you're not with God, where are you? Is there neutral ground between God and the devil? No. Jesus said it this way, "You're either for Me or you're against Me." The only one who benefits from the deception that says there is a neutral ground is the one in whose camp you already are and who simply doesn't want you to know that you're already in his camp, cause that way he can control you with impunity. Jesus said, "If you're not for Me you're against Me."
So when you testify to the grace of God that has appeared to you, namely that you are saved; you're walking in the kingdom, you're experiencing a life of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, when that's the reality to you, you don't need any particular schooling to be able to tell somebody else that. If you have the sentient capability of understanding what your life used to be like when you were lost and now you understand what you're life is like now that you're saved, you are qualified, you are qualified. Why? You're qualified because you're a witness of the truth. The whole idea of having to go to school to become an evangelist is nonsense. That's just to give you a speech, a spiel that you can spit out on queue.
The kingdom is so easy, we have made it complicated because it's not the kingdom that we represent then, then we represent our religious points of view. If you are a witness to an accident, an automobile accident let's say; are you capable of going to court and testifying as to what you saw? Of course. What special schooling do you need, how long should you go to school, to learn how to testify? It's a simple matter of being able to say what you've seen, isn't it? Who actually draws the words out of you? Who tells you when you are to speak what you know and when not to, and who tells you what it is that you should say when you are to speak? Simple, the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit draws something out of you, it's not something with which you are unfamiliar. If you've been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of God, the Holy Spirit is perfectly able to put words to that in the presence of someone who is seeking access to the kingdom.
It's really not that complicated, you're an ambassador because A) God intended that you should have the keys to the kingdom which is to open and to unlock the kingdom to others; and B) you're a witness of these things as the truth. And if you needed any further incentive to understand that, we've already shown you from the book of II Corinthians the 5th chapter how you have been duly appointed and constituted an ambassador of the kingdom of God. Here it is, verse 18 of chapter 5 of the book of II Corinthians, "All this is from God (that is, being a new creation) who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation." How did you get this job of reconciling men to God? God gave you the ministry. But you've grown up in church where you can't have a ministry unless the pastor approves, you can't have a ministry unless the church approves. That's just institutional Christianity, they want to put a strangle hold on everything that God automatically and clearly and without effort does.
It doesn't matter what condition you're in. If you have known what it is to be translated from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of the Son of God, you're a qualified witness and God makes you an ambassador of the kingdom. "That God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting mens sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore (by this process we have been constituted and appointed) Christ's ambassadors, as though God Himself were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God." So you're qualified if you're a witness because God has set it up to be so.
Now people get very nervous about the thought that I've put forth before, that God sends you with the intention of declaring the forgiveness of sins. Why would anybody be nervous at that? Did we not just read..here, listen to this statement from II Corinthians 5, where we just were moments ago, "That God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ," here it is, "not counting mens sins against them." In this day, we call today the day of salvation, do you know why? Because today, today people can be saved. Saved out of the control of the kingdom of darkness, translated into the kingdom of God. Today people can be saved. How is that possible? For one; Christ has died on the cross, this is the time following the cross; number 2, because your sins are payed for, God is not counting your sins against you.
Do you understand how radical this biblical concept is in today's church environment? You buttonhole the average church member today and ask for a description, ask them how they see themselves before God in respect to the matter of God's love for them. And their answer will be something like, "Well I know that I'm just a sinner saved by grace." That's been popularized by preachers from 100 years ago and preachers today thinking that that's a statement about humility, have kept on perpetuating this idea. But the truth is you USED to be a sinner. Well once you're saved, you're a son. You know, it's not all that hard to be saved. There's coming a day when it will be impossible to be saved. And there was a time when you couldn't be saved. But today is the day of salvation. Because today God is not counting mens sins against them. That's why you can go and say to someone, as the Spirit leads you to go to one He's already called, that's why you could say to them, "Your sins are forgiven." Why? Because God is not counting their sins against them.
The fact is, we read these things in the bible but we don't believe them. In fact, for the majority of churchgoers, they've never even seen such things as these in the bible. The reason is, if the church were to show these things, they wouldn't know how to teach them to understand these things. I mean, here, this is your own bible, It says that, "God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ not counting mens sins against them." I challenge you to turn to your own bible and check and see if that's what it says. Now you know that was always there but tradition has you believe that people can be nothing more than sinners saved by grace. There is no biblical reference to that concept, that's an evangelical concept popularized about 100 years ago by the likes of a Billy Sunday or somebody of a later vintage. And that's been picked up by various ensundri preachers and religious groups thinking that that's a humble statement, that statement is not accurate. What it does is it forbids you from entering you're your ambassadorship. The church has to put you through all kinds of training models and you have to get the right grades and the right diplomas and the like, so you could go and be an ambassador for the Lord Jesus Christ.
These folks are standing in the way of the truth, the truth is God gave you the keys to the kingdom of heaven; the truth is that God is NOT counting mens sins against them today. So it's no big deal for Him to have you declare to someone that his sins are forgiven. Why? Because that's the condition of the world today, today is the day of the salvation. It's not a great deal, it's not a huge matter for you to go and under the leading of the Holy Spirit declare to someone his sins are forgiven. It's only when the knowledge of sin is used as a control device to get people to tow the line, that it's made into a big deal. If you saw it the way God sees it, then it wouldn't be a big deal.
Am I saying that sinning is not a big deal? No, you haven't heard me say that; sinning is a big enough deal to keep you separated from God, to send you to hell, it's that big a deal. But the fact that your sins are forgiven is what I'm trying to emphasize and that God would send you who have experienced the forgiveness of your own sins to tell somebody else that his sins are forgiven, that's the thing that's not the big deal. Why? Because this is the day when sins are to be forgiven. Why doesn't God just wave the wand and forgive everybody's sins? Because some don't want their sins forgiven. Who are THEY? Those who are bound by their traditions, those who love the life they're in. But everyone, until someone comes to them representing the kingdom, everyone is controlled by the error of the enemy. So God sends you to find those and actually He will lead you by His Spirit, to those whose sins you are meant to be the instrument of God by which the declaration that their sins are forgiven would take place.
This is your ambassadorship. Your ministry, in principle part, is this. You see every believer has this ministry, you may do many other things but this is a cornerstone of your ministry, to be a witness to another of the things you know to be true. If that's so then why do you not simply go down the street, button hole everyone who comes into your line of sight, and say to them, "Your sins are forgiven; your sins are forgiven; your sins are forgiven; your sins are forgiven." Why wouldn't you do that? And the answer is: No ones sins are forgiven unless they apply to the kingdom for refuge. So you have to engage them long enough to know whether or not they're someone that God has sent you to declare this truth of the kingdom.
You see we're not just sent to forgive peoples sins, but we're empowered to cause their sins to be retained. Well why would you ever not forgive someone's sins or declare that someones sins are forgiven, since you can't? The answer is: You must discern who is actually seeking God and who is just playing with it, playing with the truth. The classic example in the scriptures are the two thieves on the cross. One of them is a thief, he's a con and he's running a con to the end. He says to Jesus, "If you're the Son of God come down off the cross, get me down and I'll believe anything You say." And the other one, also a thief, the one on the other side said to him, "Shut up! Leave Him alone. I know you, you and I are in this trade, we are thieves, we deserve what's happening to us but He did not, He has done no wrong." He turns to Jesus and he says to Him, "Lord remember me when You come into Your kingdom." And Jesus' reply was to say to him, "Today you will be with Me in paradise."
Now was that thief saved? Of course he was, wherever Jesus was going, and they were both dying, he was going with Him. What about the other thief? Both of them talked to Jesus in the closing moments of His life and theirs as well. What about the other thief? He died in his sins of course. He was so close to the salvation of the Lord but did not avail himself of it. The Lord did not forgive his sins. Did the Lord know he was going to die? Of course He did. Did He not try to persuade him to accept salvation? No, He did not. Why not? Because the man was not looking for salvation, he was just looking for a way to get off the cross.
Don't waste your time; hear me on this matter; don not waste your time with people who are happy where they are. God didn't send you to persuade people to change so that they would accept the salvation of the Lord, He sent you to witness the truth to them, that He means to draw them Himself. How can you tell whom He has drawn and whom He has not called? The answer is: Discernment. You're empowered to discern and by discernment you can tell whose sins are to be forgiven and whose sins are to be retained. Don't waste your time with people who have not been called. What if you're wrong? No matter, God will send someone else; He'll cover you in the matter. If you make a mistake no harm will come to you or to them. But you are an ambassador, this is the day of salvation. You have been given the keys of the kingdom, you are sent to represent Christ. Live the truth of the gospel of the kingdom.
Grace, Mercy, Love & Peace