Sermons

Summary: Andrew the disciple of John the Baptist and of Jesus.

Soul Winners in the New Testament

(Study No. 2) Andrew the Apostle

One of the most moving passages in the Bible is Luke 16:19-31, where Jesus tells us of the rich man who died and was buried, "and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments." If we believe the Bible, we must take this account at face value. Jesus gives the name of Lazarus, who lay at the rich man's gate full of sores. Lazarus may have been a real person, and the story maybe not fiction. The rich man too may have been a real person. Doubtless, Jesus would have given his name, too, but for the loved ones or friends of the rich man who would be grieved or embarrassed. This account is a story of what happened to two men, one who went to Heaven and the other who went to Hell.

It is foolish not to face the fact of death and the eternal certainties that are beyond death for the saved and the lost. Preachers seldom preach about a Paradise where the saved are comforted and consciously happy, and about a Hell where the unrepentant are "tormented in this flame," as the rich man said that he was.

Those of us who know the bible must believe in a literal Hell of eternal, conscious torment for those who do not repent of their sins and seek salvation. No argument against a literal and eternal Hell of torment can weigh against the plain statement of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who do not believe what Christ said should certainly not call themselves Christians nor pretend to believe the Bible. And those who would win souls must carry in the background of their minds this fundamental fact: men without Christ are lost, Hell-deserving and Hell-bound.

We are all interested in the unseen world. Our interest in those we love does not cease when they die. We know from the Bible that the soul does not cease to exist at death. There is life beyond death. Only the hardened, perverted, embittered and wicked cynic denies the eternal existence of the soul...

The saved in Heaven are deeply concerned about the race we run here on earth. The rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents (Luke 15:7, 10) is shared by the saints of Glory. Heaven is concerned about soul winning.

The rich man in Hell died as he had lived, an unrepentant sinner. He did not love God when he lived, and he did not love God after he died. People do not repent in Hell. People cannot repent in Hell. As the tree when cut falls in the direction it leans, so men in Hell are still the same kind of men that they were when they lived. God's mercy is withdrawn, and Holy Spirit’s influences is absent, and the wicked, rebellious, sin-loving, Christ-rejecting soul of the sinner is still the same.

When he lived the rich man loved his five brothers. When he died he still loved his five brothers. Now that he is in Hell, he does not want them to "come into this place of torment." He knows that unless they repent they must come to the same torment and doom which had fallen upon him. It appears that men see clearer in Hell than they do on earth. When the rich man lived, be did not expect to go to Hell when he died; he did not see his own danger. But now that he is in Hell, he knows why he is there, and he is desperately afraid for his unsaved brothers who are not concerned about themselves!

Even his own torment could not drown the cries of his scourging conscience. He felt accountable for his brothers and begged that they might be saved. We suppose that in Heaven there are two concerns: first, the unceasing joy and glory of a blessed salvation in the presence of Christ and the Father; and second, an interest in the salvation of men on this earth.

So in Hell, we suppose there are also two concerns:

First, the awful realization and torments of the wages of sin; he was concerned to know if there was some way to alleviate the awful torment brought on by his sin. and

Second, a concern about those left behind on this earth. It becomes clear that in this account in Luke 16:19-31, that soul winning is a principal concern of those in Heaven and also of those in Hell!

I am assuming that the rich man was an older brother. He died first. This rich man had had his own mansion, his own wealth, and the beggar "was laid at his gate." But the five brothers are back at their father's home, and from Hell the rich man cried for Lazarus to be sent to "my father's house; for I have five brethren." This man in Hell faces the tormenting realization; that the brothers, like himself, will die in their sin, and spend eternity in Hell.

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