Summary: By nature, Man is very curious about the future. How he wishes to know, today, what will happen tomorrow! Perhaps one of the reasons for such curiosity is to plan and prepare so that he or she is not caught “sleeping” and unprepared. But the future is not
SON, REMEMBER THAT YOU IN YOUR LIFETIME. . . .
Scriptural Text: Luke 16: 19-31
By nature, Man is very curious about the future. How he wishes to know, today, what will happen tomorrow! Perhaps one of the reasons for such curiosity is to plan and prepare so that he or she is not caught “sleeping” and unprepared. But the future is not shrouded in secrecy to man. Life is so generous to all in this wise. Everyone knows that the baby of today is born to grow to adulthood; the young employee of today will, in no distant future, leave the employment, having attained the set mandatory year of retirement, for a younger person to take over. In no distant future, the aged will go the way of his ancestors, confirming the saying among the Yorubas that “Awaaye maalo koo si;” Aaye looja, Oorun niile.”(No one will live forever on earth; heaven is home whereas earth is mere market place and its trading period will soon end).
Ironically, with all these future events known to all, majority of people do not prepare for them. “Preposterous!” you’ll say. Yes, the unbelievable high level of foolishness being displayed by such!
How about Life after death? Neither is this kept secret to Man. God has graciously revealed enough for Man to prepare for. Read Deut. 29:29. Our text for this message is just one of the numerous teachings of the Holy Scriptures on Life after death. In this passage, the LORD Jesus gave us a “peep” to life after life. Behold the revealed truths he gave:
#1. Both the rich and the poor will die. “And it happened that the beggar died and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom. The rich one also died and was buried.” v.22. Death is a leveler. It brings about a total eradication of the various differences Man had set up for himself on earth. For Mr. Death, there is no rich or poor; famous or infamous; leader or the led; black or white; literate or illiterate; righteous or unrighteous.
#2. The dead do not all go to the same destination after death. “. . . . the beggar died and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom. The rich one also died and was buried. And in hell he lifted up his eyes.” v. 22,23a. “Abraham’s bosom” is the Scripture’s identification for the destination of the righteous after death. I do remember “Burning Hell,” one of the films we used for outreaches in the 1970s. In the film, there was an elaborate and flamboyant burial service for the rich man. The officiating Minister eulogized the rich man and ended his sermon thus: “And we are sure he has gone to heaven!” The scene then changed from the church service to where the rich man found himself – “And in hell he lifted up his eyes.” v. 23a. The presbyter got it wrong! The Lord did not see it the way he saw it. He had judged by outward appearance, but the LORD looked at the heart, 1 Sam. 16:7b. Note also that there was no indication that the poor man was buried, v. 22. But that made no difference. Flamboyant or no burial at all, is no consideration to indication of the eternal home of a person after death.
#3. There is life after death. We do not go into extinction after life. “And in hell he (the rich man) lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” There is life after death, Jesus hereupon confirms. Yes, there is life after our life, or existence, on earth.
#4. Hell is a place of torment and anguish in flames. “There in torments . . . . he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.” v. 23, 24. The rich man longed for a drop of water from the tip of Lazarus’ finger to cool his tongue. Such is the anguish experienced by those in hell. Oh that we’ll all escape these flames! All these truths are revealed so that we can adequately prepare ourselves.
#5. The comforts or cares on Earth will not be in the hereafter. “But Abraham said, Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things.” v. 25a. We shall retain the knowledge and memory of our lives on earth. Son, remember that you in your lifetime . . . ! Hey, what will you be told to remember when you stand before God? A son expected in heaven found himself in hell!
#6. We shall all be recompensed. “. . . . But now he is comforted and you are tormented.” v.25b. The magnitude of one’s wealth is not as important as the way we used it. The rich man did not go to Hell for being wealthy, but for being selfish and uncaring. What a comfort over life’s sorrows Lazarus now received! No wonder the rich man was now wishing for a drop of water from the fingers of Lazarus – someone whose body was covered with sores while on earth but now no more covered with sores, v.21. Glorious!