Summary: We all know that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. Scriptures like Mark 6:4 and John 8:28 tell us that he was also a prophet. A prophet is the Father’s messenger, explainer and proclaimer of the will of God. Jesus did explain where people were going wrong; He did proclaim the Good News.
We all know that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. Scriptures like Mark 6:4 and John 8:28 tell us that he was also a prophet. A prophet is the Father’s messenger, explainer and proclaimer of the will of God. Jesus did explain where people were going wrong; He did proclaim the Good News. Jesus went about telling the Pharisees, Sadducees, Samaritans and Zealots of their wrong beliefs. Some of those wrong beliefs concerned heaven and hell. Today, I am going to talk about the wrong beliefs that some had about hell and about what Jesus said of hell. I do this not to frighten anyone but as information that may be useful in some witnessing opportunities.
Luke 16:19-31: 19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24 He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27 He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house 28 for I have five brothers, that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30 He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
First, I will explain some of the interesting details of this story.
1. The purple and fine linen this man wore indicate that he was unusually wealthy. The purple that the ancient used to dye their clothes with came from the little spot of purple you see in corner of some seashells. The fine linen undergarment he wore was the best one could have. Together, they stand for the ultimate in luxury.
2. On the other hand, Lazarus was physically miserable. Not only did Jesus say he was hungry, the sores on him had to be painful, humiliating and embarrassing. Note to that Jesus said that the things such as poverty and sickness that had hold of Lazarus were evil.
3. The rich man had more than enough and the other had noting. The least the rich man could have done was give alms and maybe some food and clothing.
4. This passage tells us nothing of the religious state of the wealthy man while Lazarus was evidently a faithful servant to of God for angles took him to Abraham's bosom.
5. Further, for the rich man, even though in hell, to ask God to send Lazarus to do a servant job shows unconscious arrogance.
6. Next, God fixed a great chasm between heaven and hell. No one could cross that chasm. The rich man could see Lazarus but could Lazarus see him; probably not, for what would have been heavenly about watching the suffering in hell.
7. This story implies that the rich man's unpleasant situation was not due to his riches (after all Abraham had been rich), but due to neglect of scripture and its teaching. Jesus story is serious.
I. So, how do we in America feel about the idea of an afterlife where one goes to either heaven or hell? According to pollster George Barna: “76 percent of Americans believe in heaven and 71 percent believe in hell. Only 32 percent believe that hell is ‘an actual place of torment and suffering’. 40 percent believe it is ‘a state of eternal separation from God’s presence.”
1. Hell is one of those subjects that make people uncomfortable. We hear stories of hell being a place of fire, demons and endless torment. When hell is discussed by Christians, it is usually tied to either condemning someone for their sins or used to scare people into living differently.