Summary: The sermon looks at the response of Jesus to the reaction of the religious leaders of the day in His encounters with sinners and publicans in His story of the man who had all he thought he needed in this life only to discover his eternal destiny was relat
Evangelism – Is There A Need?
I. The mans earthly situation
a. He had no need for other security
b. He had no need for material things
c. He had no need for comfort
d. He had no need for God
II. The mans after death situation
a. He had no help
b. He had no hope
Our goal today is to try to answer the question, is there a need for evangelism? We have a text to look at that I think will help us answer the question. In order to get the impact of this story, we need to go back to root of the cause of Jesus telling this story. Now some will debate if there is a story about real people or if Jesus was just telling a parable. It really does not matter because if it is just a parable or a real story because every parable that Jesus told was based on truth from real life experiences. So either way the truths of the story are true. Now, back to the root source. What caused Jesus to tell this story? It goes back a ways to chapter 15 verse 1. There we read all the publicans and sinners were drawing near to Jesus to hear all that he was saying. When the Pharisees and religious leaders of the day saw it they began to deride Jesus because he was keeping company with this group of people that they felt unworthy. Their accusation was that if there were any credibility to Jesus as being from God, He would not be with these people. It is here that Jesus begins a series of parables including the lost and found sheep, the lost coins and the lost sons in the Prodigal son story. The real point of this parable then is to point out the need in the lives of people for Jesus.
We want to look first of all at the lost man’s earthly situation. We see that he had no needs for security. He did not need anything to make him fell safe. He had all that he could want around him and he was comfortable with what was making him feel safe. His gate was strong, it was closed to outsiders, and he was on the inside and he was safe. If you knocked on his door and said to him, “May I talk to you about how God can offer you a sense of security?” he would have responded back that he had no need. Then it is obvious that he has no need for material things. He is not worried about making ends meet? He has both ends quite well covered. There is no anxiety on his part, no reason to get upset about anything. If heed needed something he had the resources to provide it. Quite a wonderful life is it not? He had no need for comfort. He did not feel a lack of anything. The Bible says that he fared sumptuously. No lack of God food, no lack of friends to share it with, he was completely comfortable with himself and all that he provided in his world. Living every day and enjoying it all the way that led to the fact that he also did not need God. Now this does not mean that he was not religious. At the end of this story there is the evidence of awareness of the fathers. They were a part of his life. No doubt part of his comfort level was a comfortable religious life that reinforced his feeling of security about himself. His religious experiences isolated him from the troublesome people of the world and afforded him the luxury of withdrawal into his safe little world and feel quite spiritual for having done so. How easy it is for mankind to follow this path. We can draw around us the material comforts of the world and we can design our religious life so that it feeds our lack of concern for others and looking out for ourselves. We have a religion about God that does not need God to be active in it at all. The end purpose of his religion was not to be in relationship with God but to comfort himself and fortify his feelings of safety and security. All is going great, he has control of everything, except the ability to keep himself from dying.
Now we move to scene two. That scene is the after death situation. Notice right at the start, he lifted up his eyes being in torment. That was a new experience for him. He had not had to lift up his eyes before and he had not been in torment. Things are very different now. All that he had provided for his good on earth was now gone. He was not able to affect his care now, even tho he tried. You see nothing had changed in him. He still wanted others to serve him and provide for him, but now it does not work that way. On earth he did not need anyone to help him out, now he has no help. Nothing can be done for him; no one can help him now. You see the heart of this issue is that on earth the man had no need of God and no need of anyone other than himself. Now that is what he gets, he has no help from God and no one else can help him. He had failed to understand that he was living in a surreal world. A world that was the product of falseness had now let him down. You se God is not punishing him here; God is just granting to him what he had been wanting all along. He didn’t need God and now he did not have God. Lazarus was not to be at his beck and call now.