Summary: We can learn a lot from the story that Jesus told, especially about the concept of Hell. While Hell is not popularly talked about Jesus teaches it as a Truth.
“Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus”
As I sit and listen to people talk I learn quickly that the world is wicked. I hear things that blow my mind. People are hopeless without Jesus Christ, and if you are in Christ today you know what I am talking about because you may remember how empty life was apart from Jesus. I am thankful today that I am a Christian, and that I can set my mind on things above and on the hope that I have in Heaven, and I do not spend my days thinking about the wickedness that the world does. We live in a world that is increasingly immoral. If you cut on the television you will quickly see shows that emphasize money, sex and power, and you see the emptiness there. People are searching for the meaning of life and no one can find that apart from Jesus Christ, and we cannot truly know that meaning unless our lives are surrendered to Christ.
I saw a commercial the other day for a show called “the apprentice”. The point of the show is that the winner will become Donald Trump’s apprentice, the show promises great wealth for the winner. In that commercial Donald Trump said something that believed showed clearly how the world thinks and lives. He told about how great it was to be rich, and said that the winner would be rich and then he said, “you will really live, believe me this is living”. Trump may be right that is living, but he has spent all his life preparing to live and I can’t help but wonder if he has prepared to die.
We live in a world that laughs at those who try to live for God, and who pursues their own God of money. Believe me friends; there is no happiness in money. I have seen what it is like to live well off in life, and there is no contentment. The only peace in life comes through Jesus. Brothers and sisters, today I want to make you aware of a few things. Perhaps these things you are already aware of, but I want to remind you of the reality of Heaven and the reality of Hell. I want to remind you of the importance of preparing to die.
Jesus told what is called the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. This is different from the other parables in which Jesus told. In fact though many call this a parable I do not think it is a parable or a fictitious story, I believe that this really happened. If you remember the other parables do not mention names, but this one does. The other parables have clear representations, but this one does not. I believe that this is a true story in which Jesus told. I love this story for many reasons, but mainly because it reminds me of my need to live for the Lord.
Text: Luke 16:19-31
I. Doctrines we are Taught
1. The Soul does not die
The scripture is clear the death is not the end. Many people today believe that when you die, you die and that is the end of you. I do not think that the scriptures teach this. It is clear that death is not the end and when the body dies the soul does not die. We all get old and as we get old our bodies wear down. Everybody must one day face death, but death is not the end. I believe this is true for not only the Christian, but for the non-Christian. When we die our soul is either taken to Heaven or Hell. Our body will remain buried and will decay, but our soul leaves the body. II Corinthians says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. The clearest example of this is the thief on the cross. Remember Jesus said to him, “today you will be with me in paradise”. When we die our body dies, but the soul lives on. I believe this story teaches that clearly. We see in this story two people who die and are in two different places, but they are very much alive in a certain sense.
2. The reality of Heaven and Hell
This story also teaches us the reality of the two destinies of man. It is clear that there is a Heaven and there is a Hell. This is a topic people like to avoid. This is a topic that many preachers avoid because it hurts people’s feelings, but I would be false teacher and a liar not to point out the reality of Heaven and Hell. Nobody has a problem accepting Heaven, in fact from the way people talk everyone goes there. We can deny Hell all we want, but there is really a place called Hell, just as assuredly as there is a China and India, there is a Hell. All throughout the scriptures Hell is warned of and taught about. How can we deny a truth that is so plainly taught in scripture? This story clearly teaches the reality of Heaven and Hell.