Summary: In the Parable of the Rich Man & Lazarus, the Rich Man claims that his 5 brothers have not been warned of the dangers of Hell. The Lord Jesus says that the Scriptures are sufficient warning to them and that no additional warning is necessary.
IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IS NO EXCUSE
A. HUMOR: Fulfilling Prophecy
1. Harry and his neighbor Joe often borrowed things from each other. One day, Harry asked to borrow Joe’s ladder. Joe said, “Sorry Harry, I’ve lent it to my son.”
2. Remembering a saying that his grandma often used to tell him, Harry said, "Joe, you should never lend anything to your children because you'll never get it back."
3. Joe replied, laughing, "Don’t worry, it’s not my ladder. It's my dad's."
27 “Then the rich man said, ‘O Father Abraham, then please send him to my father’s home— 28 for I have five brothers—to warn them about this place of torment lest they come here when they die.’29 “But Abraham said, ‘The Scriptures have warned them again and again….31If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even though someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:22-31, Living Bible.
1. The implication of the Lord Jesus in Luke 16:29,31 is that people have been given all the warning they’re going to get.
2. Every person in the world will be judged according to God’s Laws in the Bible, even if they’ve never heard them!
3. We look at this principle (Ignorantia juris non excusat), see the grace of God in abundant warnings, and discover what actions this Law should compel us to take. The title of this message is “Ignorance of the Law is no Excuse.”
I. DESCRIPTION OF THIS CRUCIAL PRINCIPLE
A. THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ARE A CRIME
1. Using a Public Wi-Fi w/o Permission – a crime in many states called “piggybacking.”
2. Video, singing “Happy Birthday.” Copyrighted until 2016.
3. Using a Fake Name Online.
4. Eating something before you paid for it.
5. Sharing your password. It’s a Federal crime!
6. Sharing medication. 7. No license for your dog.
8. Throw away a cell phone. 9. Littering. 10. Having spray paint or broad tip markers in public – because of graffiti.
11. Driving under the speed limit.
12. But even though you didn’t know they were crimes, you still could have been arrested and punished for violating them.
B. REASON “IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IS NO EXCUSE:”
1. “Ignorance of the Law is no Excuse” is a universal legal principle held by virtually all governments in order to maintain justice and law and order. [Its Latin jurisprudence designation is “Ignorantia juris non excusat.”]
2. EXAMPLE. A policeman pulls you over. He comes to your window and says, “Did you know you were going 50 mph in a 30 mph zone?” And you answer, “No, officer! I had no idea the speed limit was 30!” Does the officer say, “Well in that case we’ll just tear up the ticket!” No, he doesn’t say that. He’ll more likely say, “This will help you remember it next time!”
3. The reason it’s necessary to not excuse ignorance is because if people can escape the consequences of breaking the Law by claiming ignorance, most people would claim it.
4. This principle comes out in the Parable of the Rich Man & Lazarus because the Rich Man claims that his 5 brothers have not been warned of the dangers of Hell. The Lord Jesus (through Abraham) says that the Scriptures are sufficient warning to them and that no additional warning is necessary.
5. This is a sobering statement. It means that EVERY PERSON IN THE WORLD WILL BE JUDGED ACCORDING TO God’s Laws in THE BIBLE and that THEY ARE ACCOUNTABLE, EVEN IF THEY’VE NEVER TAKEN THE TIME TO READ THEM!
6. Lev. 5:17 says the same thing, “If anyone sins and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, even though they do not know it, they are guilty and will be held responsible.”
7. So this principle is a fundamental concept that every person in the world had better be warned of! This sounds harsh, but let’s go further to see God’s abundant mercies to warn us so that we’re not ignorant of His Laws.
II. EFFORTS TO INFORM PEOPLE OF THE LAWS
A. HUMAN GOVERNMENT EFFORTS
1. The laws that effect us are published and made available in public libraries, courthouses, law offices, and related businesses so that the public is aware of the crimes and penalties associated with them.
2. In addition, individual laws are posted, such as speed limits etc., guns/alcohol/smoking, weight limits, medical help, personnel rules, food handling, washing hands, etc.
B. GOD’S EFFORTS TO INFORM US OF HIS LAWS
1. GOD WROTE HIS LAWS IN CREATION ITSELF. Rom. 1:20, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” God has notified the world that He is the Creator and that He is holy, faithful, loving, etc. This should point the way to what is acceptable behavior or not.