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The Parable about
the Rich Man and Lazarus


Luke 10:25-37

Service Notes

LUKE 16:19-31
    19.  One rich man dressed himself in purple and fine LINEN and feasted much every day.
    20.  And one poor man, named LAZARUS, lay in-front-of the rich man's door.  And his body was full with SORES.
    21.  And he wanted to eat the CRUMBS from the rich man's table.  Also the dogs came and LICKED his SORES.
    22.  Later the poor man died, and angels carried him to ABRAHAM'S arms.  Also the rich man died and got buried.
    23.  And in HELL the rich man suffered much, and he looked-at ABRAHAM far-away and LAZARUS laying in his arms.
    24.  And the rich man called, "Father ABRAHAM, show mercy to me and send LAZARUS to dip-his-finger in water and cool my tongue, because I suffer in this fire."
    25.  ABRAHAM said to him, "Son, remember you received your good things during your life time, and LAZARUS received bad things in the same way.  But now he is in comfort here, and you suffer there.
    26.  And also, God established a large separation bewteen you and us.  And no-matter that one wants to cross from here to you, he can't.  And no one can cross from you to us."
    27.  Then the rich man said, "I beg you, father ABRAHAM, send LAZARUS to my father's house.
    28.  Because I have five brothers.  Then he can warn them, and they will not come to this place of suffering."
    29.  ABRAHAM said, "Your brothers have MOSES and the prophets.  Let your brothers believe those words."
    30.  But the rich man answered, "No, father ABRAHAM, but if one arises from the dead and goes to them, then my brothers will REPENT."
    31.  But ABRAHAM said to him, 'If they refuse to believe MOSES and the prophets, then they will not believe if one arises from the dead."




Sermon

True story:
One time a church group and their pastor
    went to a big convention in Los Angeles, California.

During the convention free time,
    they went on a tour through the city, together on a bus.

When they went through poor areas of the city
    that recently had RIOTS,
their pastor heard people say,
    "Pity!  Those poor people need Christ."

Later their bus went through HOLLYWOOD
        and BEVERLY HILLS,
    and they saw big fancy homes of the movie stars.
        Impressive!

The pastor noticed that not one of his church members said,
    "Pity!  Those rich people need Christ."

How easily our thinking follows the world's way!

We people evaluate each other by looking at the outside of our bodies --
    how people look,
    how they dress,
    how smart they are,
    how athletic they are.
    what profession they have,
    how they use language,
    where they live...

The Bible says that none of that matters to God. 
God says,
"You only see people on the outside,
    but I see the heart."  (1 Samuel 16:7)


The Bible especially warns us not to envy people that have power,
    and people that have wealth. (Proverbs)

In today’s Bible story, if we had met those two men in the beginning of the story, we would want to be friends with one man, and we would be uncomfortable with the other man. 

Which?  Our natural tendency would make us feel comfortable with the Rich Man, and we would want to avoid Lazarus.  

One thing the Bible often teaches us:  Our natural tendency is often wrong.  Our human nature is ruined by sin.  God says:

    "My thoughts are not your thoughts.
    Your ways are not My ways" (Isaiah 55:8)

You have seen the bumper sticker, and the bracelets that say:  "W. W. J. D." -- What would Jesus Do?   That is suppose help us stop, think, and remember to do act as Jesus would do.   But we have a problem.  We can’t act as Jesus did.  Only Jesus can act as Jesus.

Only when Christ lives in us through His Holy Spirit, giving us His thoughts, changing us inside, so that we show His character --  only when we die for ourselves, and Christ lives through us -- then we begin to see what Jesus sees.  We begin to see people and not things.  We see their eternal souls are more important than our physical comfort. 

When we see the two men in the story, we see two men that both have serious needs.  One needs health for his body.  The other needs life for his soul.

Maybe we can also see what we need most -- not things, not physical health.  We need eternal life for our souls.  

How do we get that?
How do we get eternal life?

Yes, trust Jesus.
If we understand that we can’t save ourselves,
    then we have hope.
God gives eternal life -- free to you -- no charge to you.
Who paid?

Yes, Jesus suffered and died for us.  Now we can live forever.
And Jesus rose to life again from the dead.  That proves that what He paid is enough, and now heaven is open for us.

The Rich Man in the story misunderstood many things.

First, on earth the Rich Man thought that having many things was important.

Wrong. 

Many times and many ways the Bible warns us:
    Don't become focused [fascinated] on the world's things.
    Don't become jealous of rich people.

If God lets you have wealth, use that for His service.
    Don't waste your wealth for your own pleasure.
    Don't expect that money will make you happy and satisfied.
        Our natural desires are never satisfied.
        We never have enough.

The Bible warns us that when we have the world's things,
    they become a burden.

Those things control us.
Those things distract us away from God's purpose for our lives.
And those things give us false hope.
One future day, all of our wealth will be gone .... "poof!"

Jesus said,
    "If a person gets the whole world,
        but he loses his soul?
    What benefit is that?
        Nothing!"  (Mark 8:36)

In God’s view, Lazarus was really rich,
    and that rich man was really poor.

Second, the rich man thought that what happens after we die, does not matter, and is not important.  

Wrong. 

Life on earth is really short.   Then we die.  Then what?   That’s important.  Why?  Because where we live next, hell or heaven, that is forever!   The rich man learned, too late.   Jesus clearly teaches:  After we die, we have no second chance.

The story tells us that the Rich Man refused to believe God’s Word.  Maybe the rich man thought as many people believe today:  "There is no hell."  

Wrong.  Jesus is very clear about that.

Or maybe the Rich Man didn’t-care about hell, and he thought as many do today, "Hell will be fun!"   Really?  The Rich Man learned the truth, too late.


Even some Christians believe that when we die, our souls sleep until Jesus comes again.   Wrong.   Jesus is very clear, again and again.  When we die, we immediately go to our eternal home, hell or heaven.   The Rich Man in our story learned that the hard way.

Third, the Rich Man though he had enough time to trust God.
    He wanted his "fun" first -- repent later.

Wrong.

The Bible says the right time to repent and trust Christ is NOW,
    not later.

The Rich Man understood that TOO-LATE.
That's why he wanted to warn his brothers
    so they don't make the same mistake.

Fourth, the Rich Man thought people could travel between heaven and hell. 

Wrong. 

The home you choose, you stay there forever.

Fifth, the Rich Man thought people who died and went to heaven can go back to earth as ghosts.  Did you notice in the story?  

Then the rich man said, "I beg you, father ABRAHAM, send LAZARUS to my father's house.  Because I have five brothers.  Then he can warn them, and they will not come to this place of suffering."

The Rich Man’s idea was what?  He wanted Lazarus to go back as a ghost and scare the five brothers, and they will begin to act good, and go to heaven.

Wrong again!

God does not send people back as ghosts.  If people see "ghosts," they are not dead people.  The "ghosts" are really evil angels dead people.  They hope to fool us, and not believe God and His Word.

Anyway, that’s not how those five brothers can be saved, "acting good."  That way always fails.   How can they be saved?   Jesus tells us in the story:

ABRAHAM said, "Your brothers have MOSES and the prophets [God's Word].  Let your brothers hear those words."

But the Rich Man answered, "No, father ABRAHAM, but if one arises from the dead and goes to them, then my brothers will REPENT."


But ABRAHAM said to him, 'If they refuse to believe MOSES and the prophets, then they will not believe if one arises from the dead."


You, see, Some One did rise from the dead:  Jesus! 

People who trust Him,
    they also believe all that God says about Jesus
        in His Word, the Bible.  

We can also trust Him, and not postpone. 
We can also trust Him NOW.
 
We pray:
Lord Jesus, we are sorry, because we love this world too much. 
We often love things, more than we love you. 
We worry more about life now than life forever. 
Forgive us.  Help us. 
Then we can more clearly understand Your Word. 
Then we can trust you more. 
    We die for ourselves. 
    You live in us now.

Amen.


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