Text: Luke 16:19 -- 31
Title: The Tale of Two Men
Series: Lent 2001
Theme: Receiving Salvation
Purpose: to be the Holy Spirit’s second witness calling God’s people in my care to receive the salvation only God can give.
Response: Individuals will come to the altar rail to pray and to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Pattern: An inductive use of narrative contrasting the two men and their eternal homes.
In a few minutes I’m going to ask you to respond to this Tale of Two Men. I want you to decide which one you want to be like. I will invite you to come here to the altar rail to pray and to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Why? I’m glad you asked. Jesus said, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8). I wan to give you an opportunity to publicly acknowledge Jesus. If you decide to receive Him today please step out when I invite you to the altar rail to pray.
A. Two Men
One unnamed; a rich man
One named; Lazarus (means “God is my help”); A poor man
B. Two Lifestyles
A luxurious home behind a security wall and gate; Wore the finest clothes (some worth 6 times their weight in gold); feasted on the best gourmet foods; wiped his fingers on bread; appears to have lived only for himself and his desires
A homeless man; begged for food; happy to eat the crumbs swept up from under the rich man’s table, paralyzed and covered with skin sores; dogs licked his sores
C. Two Deaths – both men died
Buried with a big funeral and dinner
Probably not buried but thrown on the fires of the city dump; BUT THE ANGELS CAME FOR HIM!
D. Two Outcomes
The rich man was tormented by fire; away from God
Lazarus was comforted (same name as the Holy Spirit) at Abraham’s side; with God
E. One Prayer – “Help!”
Send Lazarus to cool my tongue (still selfish); then he worries about his family
F. One Answer – “No”
No way to get to you
Your family won’t listen
G. One Way to Heaven
Accept the truth of God’s Word; don’t wait for a miracle to convince you
THE BOTTOM LINE:
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 1:8 – 2:2 NIV
SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU AND ME?
1. When and where we live is not the issue.
2. When, where, and how we die is not important.
3. How we live in respect to God’s Word is all that matters. Sincerity and being as good as most isn’t good enough. How we live now will determine how close to God we are when we die.
(Why would a good God force John Doe to spend eternity in heaven when he didn’t want to live with God in this life? Why would God bring Jane Doe to heaven when there is nothing there she likes – no malls, no fancy clothes – nothing but God?)
4. How we live now will influence others. Someone will follow you. Someone will be closer to God because of you – or they’ll be separated from him because of you.
So, now it’s time for you to respond to this Tale of Two Men. Which one do you want to be like.? I invite you to come here to the altar rail to pray and to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
Remember Jesus said, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8). Here’s your opportunity to publicly acknowledge Jesus. If you’ve decided to receive Him today please come to the altar rail to pray.