Summary: The Rich man, in our text, thought he was financially set. Whatever he wanted he could buy. He didn’t need anything or anyone…OR DID HE.
“A Letter From Hell” Luke 16:19-31
Newspapers in the former Soviet Union, and other countries started running an article in the early 90’s about a group of scientists who were conducting deep drilling experiments in Siberia. These scientists claimed that they drilled into the core of the earth and found the temperature exceeded 2,000 degrees. The also claimed to have recorded screams coming from the center of the earth on a microphone mounted on the drill.
They determined the screams were from people lost in hell.
That story has since been proved to be a hoax BUT hell is no myth or hoax!
In our text this morning, Jesus allows us to hear a message or conversation from hell about two literal people, who were not characters that He invented to make a point or an interesting story.
Jesus also, makes a point to tell of two REAL places.
I once read that, when it comes to hell, a little over 50 % of Americans believe in a literal place of torment called hell.
NOW the devil believes in hell, but he doesn’t want us to believe!
He would love nothing more than for all of us to believe the doctrine of the Unitarians which teaches that hell is here on earth, and that everyone will go to heaven.
Now let me just say that I would much rather preach about heaven than hell. When we think of heaven we think of a place of perfect peace........where there is no more sickness, nor suffering. We see visions of a place where we are reunited with those we love.
Yet, I MUST warn those without Jesus and you who claim Him as Lord, about the reality of hell and what awaits those we allow to go.
Jesus preached on heaven, yet, study the teaching, and preaching of Christ, and you will find that He preached, and taught far more about hell than He did about heaven!
The Rich man, in our text, thought he had everything going for him. He was financially set. He lived in a nice home surrounded by walls with a gate. He wore the best clothes money could buy. Whatever he wanted he could buy. He didn’t need anything or anyone…OR DID HE.
One day the rich man woke up and realized that he was dead. Not only did he wake up dead but he woke up in a real place called hell.
Did you know that God has more dedicated witnesses in hell than in the church today?
I want you to know that the Rich man did not end up in hell because he was rich and Lazarus did not go to heaven because he was penniless.
Both of these men ended up in their final destination because of decisions they made about God…WHILE THEY WERE STILL BREATHING.
I want us to look at 3 important truths from this message.
1. There Are No Prayers Answered From Hell.
This was possibly the first time the rich man every turned his eyes toward God.
Yet he was unable to blame God or even make excuses for his ending up there.
You see, God never wanted hell for the rich man, He doesn’t want it for you, your family or your friends.
[2Pe 3:9 NLT] “The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”
a. Prayers for relief will never be answered! Verses 24, 25.
While living on earth, the rich man had all that he wanted, but in hell the torment is so severe that he prays for a single drop of water.
Can you imagine a place so unbearably hot that a single drop of water would be a welcome relief? Burned but never consumed. [Dipping the “tip” of the finger]
b. Prayers for lost family won’t be answered from hell! Verses 27, 28
When he realized how hopeless his situation was he quickly turned his attention to his brothers. But it was too late for him to do anything. Verses 29-31
2. Hell is no “Friday the 13th Movie” It’s real and the anguish is forever real.
Several years ago a book was published, entitled Beyond Death’s Door by Dr. Maurice Rawlings, a specialist in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease. Dr. Rawlings, a devout atheist, considered all religion "hocus-pocus." To him, death was nothing more than a painless extinction.
But something happened in 1977 that brought a dramatic change in the life of Dr. Rawlings, as he was resuscitating a man who was terrified and screaming about sinking down into the flames of hell:
Dr. Rawlings said, "Each time he regained heartbeat and respiration, the patient screamed, ‘I am in hell!’