“Father, Into Thy Hands Commend My Spirit.”

7 Last Sayings of Christ on the CROSS – Series – 7

 

  Text:   Luke 23: 44-49 (vs. 46)

    Aim:   To show Christ’s reliance on the Bible,

Introduction:

This is the last message in the series on the “Seven Last Saying of Christ on the Cross. Today, we take one last trip during this series to Calvary.

 

Six hours have passed since Jesus was nailed to the cross. Six times we have heard Him speak.

·         He spoke words of FORGIVENESS to all.

·         He spoke words of salvation to a dying thief and a FUTURE in paradise.

·         He spoke words of care for His mother and her new FAMILY with John and Salome.

·         He spoke words of His FEELINGS because of the anguish brought on by both spiritual and physical suffering.

·         He spoke words of triumph as He declared the FINALITY His work on earth done.

 

Christ’s death is mentioned directly 175 times in the New Testament.

It was a substitutional death.

A voluntary death.

An atoning death.

 

It paid our sin’s debt.

It purchased our forgiveness.

It provided our justification.

 

The message of the cross is a message of salvation.

Without salvation the cross is meaningless.

Without salvation His death is wasted.

Without salvation there is no need for the resurrection.

The message of the cross is here to provide us grounds for our faith, forgiveness, and a future in heaven.

 

In His seventh and final utterance Christ brings the message of the CROSS to a climax.

I.     But Note, Christ lived and passed away in the atmosphere if the Word of God

A.    Jesus was the best original thinker there was and He could have used any manner of His own wording when He spoke His last.

1.    He NEVER lacked suitable language nor was He at a loss for words for “never man spake like this man” (Jn. 7:46).

2.    Though He could have said something original, He was continually quoting Scripture: the majority of His expressions can be traced to the OT.

3.    Even when Jesus does not give exact quotations, His words are dropped and formed into Scripture.

4.    It was only natural for then with His last words for Him to use a passage from the 31st Psalm of David.

B.   The horror of His death did not make Him unconscious, He did not die of weakness, before He bows His head in the silence of death, He cries aloud, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”

1.    He could have made an original speech, as His dying declaration— BUT His mind was clear, calm and focused on His purpose.

a.    I would have thought He would have been relieved and somewhat happy as He said, “It is finished.”

b.    His sufferings were over, His work on earth done and now He was just about to enjoy the sweet taste of victory!

c.    Yet, with all His clearness of mind, and freshness of intellect, and fluency with words that were available to Him, Jesus DID NOT invent a new sentence, but went to the book of Psalms and took from the Holy Spirit this expression, “Into thine hand I commit my spirit” (Ps. 31:5).

2.    How instructive this is to us, the INCARNATE Word lived on and died by the INSPIRED Word!

a.    It was food to Him – He lived – He was sustained and comforted by the Word of God! Should not your and my Christian experience be the same?

b.    In some respects, Christ did not need the Book as much as we do for He was the Living Word.

c.    As man, the Spirit of God rested upon Him without measure, yet He loved the Scriptures, He constantly referred to them for instruction, He diligently studied them, and He used their expressions continually.

Application

What a blessed thing it would be we got into the Bible the very heart of the Word of God and allowed the Word to get into our hearts!

 

I have seen caterpillars eat into a leaf and consume it – the leaf sustained them and changed them — so ought we to do the same with the Word of the Lord! We should not just crawl over its pages, but eat right into it until we have taken it into our inner most parts.

 

As the caterpiller is sustained by eating and eventually is transformed into a new creation, out feasting on God’s Word will result in our transformation into a new creature (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 5:17).

 

In His seventh and final utterance Christ provides for us with some insights to salvation.

II.    In the moment of His death, Christ recognised the “Father” as a personal God.

“Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Lk. 23:46).

A.    God to some is an unknown God.

1.    The disinterested says, “There may be a God, so what?” The get no closer to the truth than that.

2.    Some believe – “All things are God,” which makes Him and impersonal mush.

3.    The agnostic and skeptic – ““We can not be sure that there is a God.

4.    The belief in a God is just superstitions to some.

5.    Others are certain there is a God, but He is distant, disengaged and disinterested in us.

6.    Its popular today to believe in a “higher power” without having to call that power God, while others prefer to refer to Him as a “force” as in some science fiction films like the Star Wars.

B.   Christ believed in no such impersonal, pantheistic, dreamy, far-off God; BUT in ONE to whom He said, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”

1.    His language shows a relationship with a person, as much as, I should recognise the personality of a banker when I say, “Sir, I commit this money into your hands.”

Illustration

What a fool I would be if I made such a transaction with an abstract of my imagination or a force or a store dummy. When I hand over a large sum of money, I would want to deal with a living person!

 

When I put my money in a bank, I am not dealing with a building, nor do I assume that people who are queuing to make at clerk windows works for the bank. I want to deal with a person that I know and can trust to be an official of the bank who will attend to the safe keeping of my money.

2.    How hopeless can it be for us when we die to have no one to commit our souls to, no less to commit it to an unknown, fuzzy, God who may not be there or who may be everywhere, but you just can’t commune with him.

3.    Jesus knew the Father and trusted Him as a person—ONE to whom He could commend His spirit.

4.    Likewise, the wise person here today would only trust the most precious item in their possession—their eternal soul to a Person they knew who could keep it safe.

5.    I would hope and pray you are trusting your soul’s safety in this life, as well as, in the next in the hands of Jesus’ Father.

a.    Early in His youth, Jesus told Mary and Joseph, “I must be about my Father’s business” Lk. 2:29).

b.    It was because He claimed the God was His Father that the Jews wanted to put Him to death. “We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God” (Jn. 19:7).

c.    Here in His dying hour He stands firm saying, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”

d.    What a blessed thing it is for us also to die conscious that we are the sons of God.

1)    Not speaking of all of us, as the physical offspring of God’s creation, for all of us are not going to heaven. BUT I am referring to who by adoption have become the spiritual children of God.
2)    It is by our soul’s adoption that we can call God, “Abba Father” – Daddy.

Rom. 8:15-17 – “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. {16} The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: {17} And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

III.   Praying to the “Father” – Implies SONSHIP

A.    The word “Father” is a reminder of the personal relationship between God the Father and God the Son – the first and second persons of the trinity.

1.    Lk. 23:46 – “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”

a.    “Cried” is the Gk. word phoneo – lit. phoneo here means “to speak or cry out with a loud voice” as in “to call out (i.e. bid one to quit a place and come to one), to invite, summon or address by a name.” Who was addressed? “Father!”

1)    “Cried with a “loud” voice.” Gk. word is megas – “used for intensity and its degrees of power, might and strength.” We us it in English when we speak of a lot of money as “mega bucks” or “mega” watts of power.”

[Note of Interest: When phoneo is combined with Gk. graphein we get our English word phonograph, which means “the writing down or recording of sounds and words.” Since amplifiers and speakers are rated in mega watts of power, maybe when we say, “for crying out loud, turn that down that stereo or TV” we are closer to the truth than what we think.]

2)    NOTE in Mk. 15:37 the word “cried” carries the idea of “to let go, leave behind” and “to send forth, to yield.”

2.    TURN >> Matt. 27:50 – “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.” Here “yielded up the ghost” means the same thing as “cried” in Mk. 15:37, while “cried” here is “to cry out aloud, speak with a loud voice.”

3.    Lk. 23:46 – One Gk. word is rendered for Christ giving “up the ghost.” It means to “breathe out one’s life, breathe one’s last – expire.”

a.    Matt. 27:50 & Jn 19:30 – “Gave up the ghost” is two Gk. words.

b.    “Gave” means “to give into the hands (of another), to give over into (one’s) power or use, to deliver to one something to keep, use, to take care of”

c.    “Ghost” is the Gk. word for spirit.

4.    So putting this all together, Jesus was leaving this world, and with a loud voice He yielded His spirit and sent it forth for the safe keeping to the Father for God to make use of it as He sees fit.

B.   None of us can properly use these words as if it is our power and ability to die.

1.    When we die, we may utter these words, but that does not guarantee our acceptance by God into His heaven.

2.    The OT reading or the Lord’s version here in Luke has been turned into a prayer by RC’s and is commonly used almost as a charm.

a.    Individuals or a priest repeats these words as if some magical power is attached to them as a formula to grant acceptance into God’s kingdom.

b.    BUT entrance into that kingdom only comes through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit as experienced in the “new birth.”

3.    Mark it down – we all can count on meeting our Maker when we die – that is a fact!

The Lord God said in Ezek 18:4 – “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

a.    Of course we can commit or commend our spirit to God, BUT our acceptance of by Him will depend on our sonship — just like Christ!

b.    At the time you meet your Maker, it will make no difference if you declare that you have committed or commended you soul to Him while you were alive.

1)    If you are not already a child of God by His adoption, at the time you get to heaven’s gates, you will spend your eternity outside those gates separated from God the Father forever, unless you are born again into His family.
2)    The promise of sonship come only by adoption, BUT is to all that trust Him.

 

John 1:12 – “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

1 John 3:1-3 – “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. {2} Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. {3} And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

C.   There was no necessity for our blessed Lord and Master to die except the necessity, which He had taken up Himself in becoming our Substitute for our sin.

1.    The Lord Jesus Christ was not directly killed by anyone – by the beatings and scourging, not by the torment of being nailed on the cross, and not by the soldier thrusting a spear into His side.

2.    Christ didn’t die at the last moment overcome with physical weakness, nor did He die because He had no choice.

3.    Jesus allowed Himself to be put on the cross and He did not stay there out of weakness. Remember when other men would have been barely able to put forth a whisper our Lord cried out in megawatt power with a LOUD voice.

a.    In Matt. 26:53, when they came for our Lord in the garden, Peter cut off the ear of one of them that came to arrest Jesus. Christ told Pete, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?”

b.    As God in the flesh He had the power to unloose the nails and come down into the midst of that mocking crowd and smack the snot out of them all. BUT PRASIE HIS NAME HE DID NOT!

3.    He died voluntarily of His own will that He long ago submitted to the will of the Father.

a.    He “suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1 Pet. 3:18).

b.    Jesus had the power to release His spirit. Jn. 10:18 – “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”

c.    It is remarkable that NONE of the Evangelists of the Gospels describe the Lord as dying. Die He did, but all these men speak of Him “giving up the ghost” — yielding by His own power and choice His spirit to His Father.

4.    You and I die passively — i.e. we have no control over the fact that we are going to die, sooner or later.

a.    Sure we can commit suicide, but we are only accomplishing the inevitable — death happens to us all.

b.    Not so with Christ – in His case He death was a deliberate act – He performed an act from the glorious motive of redeeming us from death and hell. In this sense, Christ stands alone in death.

Application:

TURN >> Ps. 31:5 – It seems to me that these words of this Psalm are taken are to be USED in reference to LIFE, for this Psalm is not so much concerned about the believer’s death as it is with his life >> SEE vs. 23-24.

 

The words of Ps. 31:5 are not meant to be an epitaph on our grave stone, but are to echo through out our life from the day of our salvation.

 

Our spirit is the noblest part of our being; our body is only a husk, our spirit is the living kernel, so let us put it into God’s keeping immediately after our new birth.

Some of us are willing to pay the ultimate price for being called a “Christian.” In a one-time act of bravery some would be willing to die for Christ, but few there are who are willing to daily LIVE as Christians in this life — I believe a far braver thing to do.

 

Have you ever committed you spirit to God? Do you mean it when you pray, “Thy will be done on heaven as in earth?” Have you prayed to the Father asking Him to make your will His will? Will you pray today and every day, “Lord, Into thine hand I commit my spirit?”

D.   Jesus placing His spirit “into thy hands” of the Father – Implies Security.

1.    Notice the trusting words at the end of this verse: “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.”

a.    Is this not reason enough to give yourself entirely to God?

b.    Since He has redeemed me, I belong to Him. I am asking the King of glory to take care of one of His Jewels—a jewel that cost Him the blood of His heart.

2.    I more so expect Him to care for me, because of the title which is given to Him in this verse: “O LORD God of truth!”

a.    Would He be the God of truth who began with redemption and ended in destruction?

b.    If He began by giving His Son to die for us and then kept back other mercies, which we daily need before we get to heaven?

c.    NO, the gift of Son is the pledge that He will save those who have trusted Him from their sins and bring them home to glory.

E.    When the Lord Jesus said, I “commend my spirit” – It Implies serenity

1.    Jesus had no fear about dying. He knew His future was secure.

2.    He knew when this life was over He would stand in the presence of the Father in heaven.

3.    “The clock of life is wound but once and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop at late or early hour.”

BUT we can know what waits for us after death.

IV.  Let’s Make Use OF OUR SAVIOUR’S DYING WORDS FOR OURSELVES.

TURN >> Acts 7:59 to the account of the death of Stephen.

A.    He we see how far a man of God may dare to go in his last moments in quoting from David and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

1.    Stephen requested, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

2.    Remember that we can’t yield up our spirit, but we may speak of Christ receiving it.

B.   What does this prayer mean?

1.    If we can die as Stephen did, we shall die with a certainty of immortality.

a.    Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He was confident that his spirit would still exist after death.

b.    The Christian dies with hope. Eph. 2:12-13 – “That at that time ye were without Christ,” we were “aliens…and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

2.    To a man who can die as Stephen did, there is a certainty that Christ is near.

a.    In Stephen’s case, the Lord Jesus was so near that the martyr could see him
>> LOOK Vs. 55-56

b.    Many dying saints have borne a similar testimony.

c.    We are not talking about a near death incident where people supposedly come back from the dead, but before they died, folks have talked about angels and other various things.

d.    Whether or not you or get to see into the pearly gates, we can be confident that no matter how many are called to your death-bed, Jesus will he there already, and into his hands you may commit your spirit.

3.    Once this commitment has been made, there is a certainty that we are quite safe in His hands.

a.    Who can hurt us once we are in His hands? Who can pluck us out of his hands?

b.    All the powers of darkness, all the forces of death and hell can do nothing when once a spirit is in the hands of our Almighty Redeemer? We will be safe there.

4.    Then there is the certainty, that after all the Lord has gone through to secure our salvation; He is quite willing to take us into his hands at our going.

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (Jn. 6:37).

C.   There should be no fear the next time we have to take that unpleasant walk to the cemetery.

1.    When we lay the body of our dear loved one in the ground we can rejoice if they are saved that we will see them again.

2.    For me, I feel it is a healthy thing for me to stand at the edge of the grave and to look into that pit. I am reminded when I walk amid that stone forest of memorials to the dead, this is also where I, must go, if the Lord Jesus tarries in His return.

a.    It helps me to be sober about life, it helps to remove any doubts as to why I am here and not in heaven now.

b.    It reminds me that death has no sting for me.

Paul told the Corinthians in 1 Cor. 15:51 – “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.”

I am confident “If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him” when He comes again descending from heaven (1 Thess. 4:14).

I am also confident that whether awake or asleep, I live together with Him (1 Thess. 5:10).

 

“There waits for me a glad tomorrow,

Where gates of pearl swing open wide,

And when I’ve passed this vale of sorrow,

I’ll dwell upon the other side.

 

Some day my labours will be ended,

And all my wanderings will be over,

And all earth’s broken ties be mended,

And I shall sigh and weep no more.

 

Some day beyond the reach of mortal ken,

Some day, God only knows just where and when,

The wheels of mortal life shall all stand still,

And I shall go to dwell on Zion’s hill.”

 

CONCLUSION:

BUT you ask, “What if I am not a believer?

Well, that is another matter altogether. If you have not believed in Christ, you may well be afraid even to rest on the seat where you are sitting. At any moment you heart could stop and you would take your last breath.

 

Romans 8:21-22 tells us that all of God’s creation groans to be relieved from the “bondage of corruption.” Animals, rocks and vegetation one day will experience salvation from the curse placed on it because of the sin of man.

 

All nature must hate the man who hates God. Surely, all creation must despise to minister to the life of a man who does not live unto God. I wonder that the earth itself does not say, “O God, I don’t want to hold this wretched sinner up any longer! Let me open my mouth, and swallow him!”

 

When William the Conqueror died his last words were, “I commend my soul to Mary.” As sincere as he might have been in death Mary was unable to help him.

 

She is unable to you or anyone else!

 

In death it will not be a dead saint, a member of the holy family, a member of the holy, a believing family member, or having your name on a church membership list that will get you to heaven.

 

1 Timothy 2:5 – “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

 

Oh, that you would seek the Lord, and trust Christ, and find eternal life!

 

If you have done so, you need not to be afraid to live life to its fullest, OR to die, just as God pleases.

 

 

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