Summary: Have you ever made a decision you really regretted? I have made lots of them.
Have you ever made a decision you really regretted? I have made lots of them.
Illustration: The story of accidentally pouring a bucket of water on a counselor’s head during band camp
***Of course, some decisions have no long-term consequences.
There are others though that last an eternity.
Tonight, we read about a man in scripture who learned the true meaning of regret.
This stingy, unloving, unrepentant rich man passed the point of no return and is currently spending eternity in regret.
***There are things in life that (I promise you) you never want to have to regret –
I. Putting other things before God
a. The Bible doesn’t give us much insight into the personality of the rich man in this story, but it is apparent his riches were what ruled his life
i. He had broken the first commandment: Thou shall have no Gods before Me
ii. His God was his money
b. Likewise Jesus gave us no insight to the spiritual condition of Lazarus
i. We know that he turned to God in faith, because had he not, he would not have been ushered into paradise
ii. Many people in Lazarus’ position turn to God in faith – this is why we are seeing revival in many poverty stricken countries
iii. People who otherwise have no hope, find a new hope in God through the love of Jesus Christ
c. The sad thing is, we who are rich by the worlds standards often see no need for God
i. You may think, “I’m not rich!”
ii. Did you know that many of you have dishwashers that eat better that certain families in places like India, China and even here in the United States
d. I understand more than ever what Jesus meant when He said, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.”
i. Since beginning my ministry, I have learned that it is often much harder to speak about the things of God to someone who is affluent, than to an average of middle class person.
1. Illustration: It is easier to witness in a Ford neighborhood than a Mercedes neighborhood
ii. At first I thought that it was because with more money usually means more education – and so they were too ‘intellectual’ for God
iii. But I have found that it is not so much an intellectual problem these people have – but a feeling of need
e. Many of us feel like we don’t need God because we have so much
i. God is nothing more than a commodity in our minds
1. Like clothes, video games and other “stuff”
2. God becomes a ‘thing’ that we can do just as good without and we do with
ii. Without God you really have nothing – though you may live in a lap of luxury now – all you have to look forward to in the future is regret
iii. The same regret as the rich man in this story – and you will have an eternity to think about it.
f. REMEMBER: You never want to regret putting “things” before God
II. How well you treat others
a. Not only did the rich man in this story ignore the needs of poor Lazarus, but the rich man paraded his affluence before Lazarus daily
i. Lazarus wanted nothing more than what fell from the table
ii. The ‘scraps’ as we used to call them back home
b. The rich man watched without concern as Lazarus laid outside his gate full of sores, with dogs licking his open wounds – And the rich man did nothing
i. We can look at him with disgust and say, “How could you leave such a sad soul lying at your doorway”
ii. But the real question is: How many of us have spiritually poor friends all around us at school, and we are doing nothing to help them?
iii. We watch as other young people tear down their spirits – like the dogs who licked open wounds, being a constant reminder of the pain – and we do not step in and try to build them up
iv. Are we going to let them lie there with emotional sores?
v. Or are you going to help pick them up and clean them off?
c. How we treat others is a direct reflection about how we feel about God
i. Scripture: 1 John 4:20-21 “If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.”