Sermons

Summary: What would the rich man and Lazarus say if the could speak to us today?

A VOICE FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE

Luke 16:19-32

Introduction: We have those today who sit around waiting for messages from other worlds.

Reputable scientists spend multiplied millions of tax payer dollars to build vast arrays of radio tele- scopes, construct elaborate computers, and design advanced computer programmes, in an effort to get just one intelligible message from another world. Many New Agers and UFO buffs believe that if we could only get a message or have a visit from one of the so-called advanced civilizations they fantasize about, all our problems would be solved. An increasing number of books and movies use this idea as a basic story line. The wide acceptance of such myth seems to indicate that a large proportion of the world's population, even some who call themselves Christians, have accepted such fantasy as fact. They are absolutely convinced of the inevitability of such contact and communica- tion. There are those who study the end times who believe that Satan may be involved in this. That it could be part of the plan he has to deceive the world and facilitate the acceptance of the anti-Christ after the rapture takes place. After all, what better explanation for the sudden disappearance of all true Christians than, “a good and benevolent master race from outer space has zapped all the badies and their leader is now here to teach the ways of peace!” Sounds ridiculous, but . . .

But have you ever wondered what those who have gone out into eternity before us would say if they could span the communication barrier that of necessity exists between this world and the very real world to come? What our loved ones who have entered into the joy and peace of the eternal presence of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ would say to us if they could speak to us? We have a record of some early New Testament saints who did get a peek into heaven. As Stephan, the first Christian martyr of record, was being stoned to death, he lifted his face toward heaven and joyfully cried out that he could see Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father. Paul was caught up into the third heaven and saw marvelous things. But he said they were beyond communicating to man. Of course, we also have the prophetic vision of the prophets, including John the Revelator.

But if we wish to have a real look into life and conditions in the world to come, Jesus our Saviour gave us a detailed account in His story of the rich man and Lazarus. Some would say this is only a parable. I would respond, ""If that is the case, that fact could give no consolation to the lost. It would seem that Jesus would of necessity be using parabolic language to describe a place and a condi- tion that is even more terrible than can be imagined." But this true story is not a parable. Every rule of Bible analysis and exegesis confirms that He gave an important factual account of a real historical occurrence. Because of its importance I wish to share with you the message given to us by, "A Voice Beyond The Grave."

How long has it been since you have heard a clear and uncompromising message on the subject of hell? If Jesus had as much or more to say about hell, and logically so, as He did about heaven, surely we should follow His example and warn those around us of the reality of this awful place. I know it is considered old fashioned and archaic in some quarters, but I believe in a literal burning hell. Man makes fun of it. He seeks to eradicate it. Even those who call themselves Christian preachers and evangelists seek to deny it or down play it. Evidently for fear of offending the sensibilities of the world's crowd.

Throughout my long ministry it has not been unusual to be asked, "Do you mean you believe that a God of love would condemn a soul to eternal separation from Him in the fires of hell forever?" My answer has always been a consistent and emphatic, "Yes." Why? Because this is what the Word of God teaches. If we are consistent and sensible we must either accept or reject the whole Word of God. If we reject or qualify any part, we reject the whole. It is one ball of wax, so to speak. It is all or nothing. Of course, I always try to qualify my response by saying that in reality God does not condemn anyone. But man condemns himself by his rejection of the love of God as ex- pressed on the cross of Calvary. (John 3:18) As a popular bumper bar sticker says, "If you go to hell, don't blame Jesus."

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