Summary: When a person dies, his destiny is fixed and it’s eternal. What you have in this life is not important, but it matters WHO you know. You need to know Christ. All the truth we need to know about life can be found in the Bible.
People are afraid of ghosts but yet love to see ghosts’ movies.
• During the Lunar 7th month we see many of such shows on TV and movies, about departed spirit-soul returning to this world.
• The Chinese believes that the departed spirits are allowed to roam the earth during this month, and as such we are to provide them food to appease them.
• They think they have special powers and can fly around. Yet there are some who needed us to give them food, and money (burn).
But how true can these be? If we have not died, how do we know what’s on the other side?
• If no one who died has ever return to tell us about life after death, then what we have today are man’s stories.
• Aren’t these all speculations or man’s imaginations?
Jesus is the best person to tell us what happens after we die.
• If He is God, and He comes from heaven (the other side), then He will be able to tell us about heaven or hell.
• If Jesus rose from the dead, then He is the best person to teach us.
Jesus tells this incident so that man would understand.
• Some believe that it was not just a parable, but someone whom Jesus really knew, because He called him Lazarus.
• God allowed him to know this truth and relate it to us.
What does the Lord wants us to know:
(1) When a person dies, his destiny is fixed, and it’s eternal.
You are either with God – “at Abraham’s side”, or away from God – v.23 in hell.
• It’s very clear. There are only these 2 places, either with God in Paradise or in Hades, a place of suffering because the person did not acknowledge God.
• And this destiny is fixed. No change. It will forever be the same.
When both of these men die, there is no pause for their soul.
• There is no break, no lapse of time. No intermediate state.
• The moment they die, they are instantaneously transported to hades or paradise.
• Paul says in 2 Cor 5:8 - once we are “away from the body” we will be “at home with the Lord.”
C. S. Lewis once saw scripted on a gravestone: “Here lies an atheist – all dressed up and no where to go.”
• This won’t be true. None of us will roam as a spirit, aimlessly after we die.
For the pagan Chinese, they believe in lighting up lanterns to aid the spirits in finding their way ’home’.
• If we do not know our way on earth - not knowing the true meaning and purpose to life HERE, how can we possibly help the departed spirits over the other side?
• If they are more powerful than us, do they really need our help?
The Bible tells us very clearly, this life of ours come from God.
• Our breath comes from Him – Gen 2:7 “the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
• God knows very well where it will go.
Jesus says there are only two gates, and we must “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.” (Matt 7:13-14)
• Jesus made it clear that there are only two gates, only two paths, only two destinies before every man, and each of us must choose one or the other.
• The moment you accept Jesus as Savior, you will have life.
(2) WHAT you have in life is not important, but WHO you know is.
What you have with you today – fame, status, wealth - cannot be with you forever.
• It will pass away. You may have it for 50 yrs, 60 or 70. But it will go away.
• It’s not WHAT you have that is important. You need to KNOW GOD.
PICTURE THIS - one author describes it this way:
“The rich man is clothed in purple and fine linen, the beggar in rags; the rich man lived in a stately mansion; the beggar was laid by sympathetic friends at the gate of the mansion; the rich man had a healthy, well-nourished body, the beggar was full of sores; the rich man fared sumptuously every day, the beggar lived on crumbs from his table; the rich man had physicians to care for him, dogs licked the sores of Lazarus.”
[Herbert Lockyer. “All the Parables of the Bible.” (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1963) p. 293]