Summary: What kind of man went to hell and what kind of hell did he go to in Luke 16:19-31
Journey to Hell
Introduction: Herman Goering stole millions and killed thousands in World war II. At his trial at the end of the war, he laughed and mocked when a preacher was sent to his cell to pray for him. twenty minutes before his hanging, he was found dead in his cell. He had taken a cyanide capsule. He escaped hanging, but He and all those like him will never be able to escape the horrors of Hell.
No one wants to think about hell, including myself. The misery of that sad place and all those who must suffer there in eternal torment is the last thing we want to draw our attention to when we are congregating together to be inspired by the hope of Heaven. It doesn't require a decision to go to Hell. No one says "I hope I go to hell some day." But a true fear of hell, on the other hand, has sent many a soul to heaven. Hell is a very unpopular topic and some would say that it is an outdated doctrine that belongs to the middle ages. But all biblical doctrines should be taught and revered, regardless of their popularity.
Carlton Pearson founded the higher dimension church in Tulsa, and you may remember he started claiming that there was no hell. And many of his congregation left, but if the same statement were made today, I'm not so sure that it would have the same effect. We are now in an age, where in some charasmatic circles, to speak of hell is to speak of unicorns and mermaids and some people would much rather believe in mermaids and unicorns than to believe in hell. The Bible refers to love 28 times, while referring to wrath and indignation 61 times, but the unbeliever would hardly know it by our constant effort to avoid anything that might upset fragile sensibilities. Billy Graham once said “If there was more hell in the pulpit there would be less of it in the pew.” Preachers who refuse to mention Hell for fear of offending someone should be thrown out of the ministry! A.W. Tozer remarked “The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions.” So true. If we don't like the theory of hell, then we need to talk to Jesus about it because he is the one who confirmed its reality.
We rightfully preach what will send us to heaven, but its important to know what will send us to hell, during our Bible study last Wednesday, this sermon was spured when we wandered onto the topic of Lazarus and the rich man found in
Luke 16:19-31 (read)
Transition: Let's answer two of the easiest questions about this story and see what we can learn. First...
What kind of man went to hell?
A rich man. A man who had plenty and enjoyed what he had plenty of. He wasn't merely well dressed, he was dressed in the best there was; purple was the color of royalty and fine linen was an exotic fabric from Egypt and was usually worn by the elite. This rich man apparently enjoyed being admired for his opulence. He fared sumptuously every day, meaning that he lived in luxury and could feast on whatever delicacies he wanted to. We would say that he was 'living the good life' "He was living larger". but having the finer things in life is not always a sign of God's blessing; you may have all of these things and still go to hell. This rich man not only had the finer things in life but he was happy with them. He was content with all the things the world tells us we must have in order to be happy.
Having a nicer home than your neighbors, driving a nicer car than your co-workers, traveling to exotic places and doing things that no one else has done - can bring happiness to a person, but what good is happiness if it is only found in the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life? Obviously, happiness that can only be found in the world doesn't come from God.
This rich man had all that a man could want. And from a distance it would be easy to envy such a man. This is what Asaph did: in Psalms 73 "For I envied the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. . . . this is what the wicked are like they are always carefree, they increase in wealth." (Ps 73:3-5,12) Asaph sees in the wicked what many saw in the rich man, a man to whom everything seems to work out for the best for in spite of their cruel hearts. The rich man was esteemed and respected by those around him, and this fed his vanity and he lived in it constantly