Summary: We need to take heed to the message delivered to us from hell.
A Message From Hell
Joke: A husband and wife were traveling down the road in a car. They were in a heated argument when without warning they were in a horrendous auto accident. They both died. The wife arrived in heaven, and was met at the gates of heaven by St. Peter........your name is in the book of life, but you must first pass a simple test before you can come in. You must spell the word "love". The woman spelled the word love. St Peter told her that she could come in, but needed for her to fill in for a few min. at the gate. Wouldn’t you know it..........the next person who came up to the gate was her husband. He couldn’t remember what happened or how they died........but at least we’re both here. Not so fast the wife said, you must first pass a test.........spell Czechoslovakia"
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. According to these scientists, they believe that they drilled into the core of the earth. The temperature exceeded 2,000 degrees. Furthermore the scientists claimed to have recorded screams coming from the center of the earth on a microphone mounted on the drill. They concluded they were screams from those in hell. That story has since been proved to be a hoax.
Yet hell is no myth or hoax !
In our text this morning. Jesus does allow us to hear a message or conversation from hell !Jesus tells a story of two literal people. These were not characters that he invented to make a point or interesting story. He, furthermore, tells us a story of two literal places. Now we would get little argument concerning the place which is here referred to Abraham’s bosom, but which we call heaven. 3-4 Americans believe in the existence of such a place. However, when it comes to hell, only a little over 50 % of Americans believe in a literal place of torment called hell. The devil believes in hell, but he doesn’t want us to believe ! He would love for all of us to believe the doctrine of the Unitarians which teach that hell is here on earth, and that everyone will go to heaven.
I must admit to you this morning that I enjoy preaching on heaven far more than I do on the subject of hell. The thoughts of that place of perfect peace........where there is no more sickness, nor suffering. That place where we have the opportunity to be reunited with is a much prettier picture than the place called hell. Yet, I must preach on hell.........we must warn people of hell. Jesus preached on heaven. He told his disciples that he was going to prepare a place for them.........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 !
Though it is an unpopular suject, I am reminded of "the story that is told of a chaplain who reported to a new duty station. Upon arrival some of the men came to see him and asked him this question; Do you believe in a literal hell? When he replied that he did not. The men asked him to resign and he asked them why. Their response to him was; ‘ If there is no Hell then we don’t need you and if there is a Hell we don’t want you to lead us astray."
The title of the message this morning is "A Message From Hell"
The Rich man had everything going for him or so he thought. Financially he was extremely well off. He lived in a nice home surrounded by walls with a gate. He wore the best in name brand clothes. There was nothing that he desired that he couldn’t have.
Lazarus on the other hand lived at the gate of the Rich Man. He lived there because he had no other place to dwell. He lay at that gate hoping to be fed the scraps from the rich man’s table. His body was covered with sores, and the sole relief that he experienced from their pain, and their itching was win the dogs licked his sores. The dogs may have been more compassionate to Lazarus than the Rich Man.
Jesus goes on to tell us about their death......both men lived, both men died. However, the real message of this story is that death does not end it all. Life goes on in another place, in another setting.
It is also immensely important that we get it right in this life.
The Rich man did not end up in hell because he was rich. Jesus talked about the difficulty of a Rich Man going to hell. It is not difficult for the Lord to save the rich. It’s difficult for the rich to come to Christ because of all the distractions that their wealth gives to them.