Summary: There are things we don't like talking about. Like, sex with our kids and money with our congregation. We might also add to that list death, hell and money. But even when we don't like talking about it we must preach the whole counsel of God.
Introduction – Fire Alarms and the Conscience
Many electronic fire alarms have an internal switch triggered by a beam of light. As long as light is received unbroken by the photo-sensitive receiver, the detector is quiet. But if smoke or moisture or an insect obstructs the beam for even a split second, the alarm sounds. Our conscience resembles such an alarm. When sin obstructs our connection with the light of God's Spirit, the conscience signals us that there's life-threatening danger.
As we study God’s Word today, there are many things which set off the alarms of our soul and conscience. Talking about death, hell or money are sure ways to alienate someone. Well, today is the day your alarm bells may go off. There are many things we don’t want to talk about. They may include but not be limited to the “birds and the bees” talk with our kids. It may be a talk with our daughters about “that day” in their month. We are uncomfortable about societal ills. Even in church, we may like the “Joel Osteen” positive messages about the “best in our lives.” But realistically, we must preach the whole counsel of God which includes death, hell and money.
So, let’s begin.
"There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. "Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.' But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.' "Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.' " Luke 13:19-31
There are four things we will examine today. We will examine the two destitutes, deaths, destinations and decisions.
We find first that…
It’s a story about two Destitutes.
One was rich and the other poor.
Here you have the worldly, wealthy unnamed man which everyone loved!
He was pampered, privileged, popular, and possessive. He would be considered filthy rich and narcistic today. He thought only of his needs. How do we know?
He fared sumptuously. He was wealthy in material possessions.
He wore purple and fine linen. It was a luxurious lifestyle.
This went on every day. It was an ongoing lifestyle.
Lazarus was laid at his gate. He possessed a mansion or large home to have such a gate.
Here was a man who was self-indulgent, lived in luxury and extravagant living. He was utterly selfish.
Hosea 6:6 states, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings.”
Then we have the indigent nobody cared for. His name Lazarus meant God has helped. He had nothing, yet he had it all.
To the world he was pitiful, poor and pathetic.
The word “laid” means to be cast or thrown down. He was discarded by others. His condition reflected the love of the society as a whole and the rich man specifically.
He was covered with sores. He would have been considered unclean and unworthy to love.
He was hungry. No job, no family, no help. His closest friends were the dogs who licked his sores. They were the disgusting low-life scavengers. They were probably the rich man’s puppies. Here we find the dogs showing more compassion than the rich man.
Illustration – Kindness Trumps Riches
Like many American Christians, Keith Taylor has benefited from the generosity of other people in different times and different ways. For example, while Keith was attending graduate school in Tennessee, his car broke down, and the subsequent repair bill caused him to be short on his rent that month. Fortunately for Keith, his boss at his part-time job paid the rent bill in full—a gift, not a loan.