Summary: Excess baggage of life can keep us from experiencing the joy and peace in our Christian walk.
Introduction – Skit
Releasing the Load
Scene from Heaven and Hell
Lazarus with Abraham in peace and serenity (vs. 22-23).
We see Lazarus sitting with the saints in Heaven.
The scene in Heaven is peace and serenity.
Lazarus is relieved of all pain and suffering that he was inflicted with while on earth.
Meanwhile, we find the rich man in hell.
Torment and anguish is the lot of the rich man in eternity.
The rich man went from the good things of life to a reality in hell.
This portion of the sermon is hypothetical and a literal interpretation is not taken.
The view from heaven to earth (vs. 25).
The residents in heaven can view the residents of hell.
The residents of heaven can view the scenes of earth.
The view from hell to heaven (vs 23, 27-28).
Residents of hell can view the residents of heaven.
Residents of hell can view the scenes of earth.
Nothing of no one can travel from heaven to hell or vice-versa (vs 26).
The residents of heaven cannot reach into hell to relieve the sufferings of the residents of hell.
Heaven is an eternal reward just as hell is an eternal judgement (vs 29).
The residents of heaven and hell choose their eternal destination (vs 31).
Prov. 3:6 says, “In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.”
How can some one as prominent as the rich man end up in such dire straights?
The rich man was a well-educated man.
The rich man was a successful businessman.
The rich man was a well-bred man.
The rich man focused on material gains, storing up riches, and making money his god.
How could some one with so much end up in hell.
How could some one with so little to offer society end up in heaven?
Lazarus was a poor beggar man who had absolutely nothing, not even a roof over his head, a homeless person.
To make his situation worse, Lazarus contracted leprosy and was an outcast to society.
Lazarus had no family, friends or neighbors to which he could turn to for help (no government agencies either).
Lazarus only quality was that no matter what life dealt to him, he didn’t let life get him down.
How did someone with so little and who bore so much pain and suffering rise above his situations and find himself in heaven?
The clue to the answers to all these questions was found in the introduction, the excess baggage that we are so animate about carrying around with us.
All of us, sometime during life, are going to be faced with pain, grief and troubles.
Don’t let the external forces of life turn you into an internal being.
Riches made the rich man greedy, self-centered and selfish.
Pain, grief and suffering made Lazarus strong in the spirit.
Your soul must be strong internally even though outwardly you seem like a beggar to others.
When troubles come, you need to focus on the eternal and not the internal you.
Where the rich man focused on himself, Lazarus never lost focus of heaven.
Reach out to others for support, for help, and for healing.
When you are hurting, the sanctuary of God is where you need to be found.
We are to bear each other’s burden. We can’t bear each other’s burdens if others are not aware of them.
Where two or three are gathered in the cause of Christ that is where the Spirit of God dwells.
Helping others will help you because charity begins in the heart.
If the rich man could have reached out to others and helped them, I believe his eternal destiny could have been different.
Lazarus didn’t have a thing or a friend to call his own but he befriended the only beings that would associate with him, the dogs.
The cross is where we need to unload our excess baggage.
Don’t be angry with the only one who can relieve your troubles and trials of life.
Christ was nailed on the cross to relieve the sin, pain and suffering that afflicts our lives.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
When nothing in life can relieve your pain, grief and suffering; we have the promises of God to lean against.
Lazarus had nothing but pain, grief and suffering as his constant companions but he never lost hope of a better afterlife.
Christ loves us unconditionally because if he did not he would have never died on the cross for our sins.
Jesus wants to bear our burdens; he wants us turn to him during the low points of our lives.