Summary: So tonight we will leave the graveyard and descend into hell and see what lessons we can learn from the rich man who is in hell.
Lessons learned from a Rich Man
Pm November 1st 2009
In the last few weeks mostly on Wednesday nights we have learned some lessons from some pretty interesting places, in particular the last two Wednesday nights from a graveyard.
Tonight as we read this story at first glance, you would not expect to learn something from the rich man whereas you might anticipate learning something from Lazarus. But in this story it is the rich man who teaches us some important truths about God’s Word.
So tonight we will leave the graveyard and descend into hell and see what lessons we can learn from the rich man who is in hell.
Read Scriptures: Luke 16:19-31
I. We don’t mind putting a gap between ourselves and others unless we are the ones on the wrong side of the gap.
Luke 16:19-24 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.”
The rich man had no problem with a gap between him and the poor man while he was on the right side of that gap. He dressed in fine clothes, ate good food and some distance away at the gate was a poor man begging for food. It didn’t bother him because he was on the right side of the gap.
But then the gap turns: he is in hell and Lazarus is in Abraham’s bosom. So what does he ask? Send Lazarus with a dip of water to cool my tongue. Suddenly he wants to close the gap between himself and Lazarus.
What it tells me that we don’t do a good job of putting ourselves in other people’s shoes or other people’s situation. We don’t identify with them like we should. If we are on the wrong side of the gap, we expect everyone to understand our situation but if we find ourselves on the right side of the gap then we are not worried about others.
I am so glad that Jesus knows how to identify with my situation. Jesus has the ability to put Himself in my situation. And so if there is a gap between Jesus and me it was me that put the gap there.
Hebrews 4:14-16 “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
II. In this world, rich people are known by name, but it is far better to be known by God than by this world.
Luke 16:19-20 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores”
In this world, rich people are known by name. They are the Donald Trumps, the Bill Gates, the Rockefellers and so on. The world recognizes them by name after all their wealth makes them important.
God’s kingdom is completely different. The rich man is never named; the poor man is named. He is Lazarus.
III. We are all rich by biblical standards, then who is the Lazarus in my life that I am neglecting?
Luke 16:20-21 “At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.”
Who am I neglecting, ignoring, depriving of my help? Who have I passed that had a real need and I did nothing.
In my life they don’t have to be at the gate. They may be in my home. My husband, my wife, the children, my aging parents.
IV. Sometimes it takes tragedy to put things in their perspective.
Luke 16:27-28 “He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.”