Summary: A salvation message based on the story of Lazarus and the Rich man
The Dead Speak: And Some of Them Are Not Happy!
Illustration: Recently, there has been a huge increase in interest in our culture about life after death. I think this is shown by the increased interest in the occult. There is a syndicated television show that illustrates this tendency; it is called, “Crossing Over” with John Edward. John Edward claims to have the ability to psychically contact dead relatives reuniting them with family for one last conversation. People put a lot of faith in this man. Recently, a show was taped with some of the relatives of people who died in the terrorist attacks. Don’t worry, you will not see this one on your local station due to the fact that the producers chose not to air it; it was extremely controversial.
I do not advocate this type of practice; in fact, it is demonic. But I think it demonstrates the natural curiosity that people have about death, and in particularly, life after death. Death is a certainty that every one of us have to face sooner than later. In fact, the Bible says, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” Death is called the great equalizer – in the end it visits all people. Death is not the end of existence however; we are eternal beings who exist after this physical body is finished. I can say this for sure, you are never ready for that moment until you have been reconciled with God through Jesus Christ.
What if the dead could really speak. What would they say? Jesus tells of just such an incident here in Luke 16. Pay close attention to what they have to say.
I. TWO LIVES, DIFFERENT FATES
a. The Rich Man – His focus was on what he had
i. Existential Priorities (v. 19)
ii. Extreme Plenty (Physical)
iii. Excessive Poverty (Spiritual)
b. Lazarus – His focus was on who he was
i. Eternal Priorities (v. 22)
ii. Extreme Poverty (Physical (v. 21)
iii. Excessive Plenty (Spiritually)
c. What does your life look like?
i. Focused on what you have?
ii. Focused on who you are?
II. AN IMPORTANT WARNING FROM HELL
a. The torment of hell is real (v. 23)
i. Full consciousness
ii. No comfort
b. The testimony of hell is revealing (vv. 27-28)
c. The tragedy of hell is rejection (vv 29-31) (Rejection of God’s rescue plan)
i. G.K. Chesterton once remarked, "Hell is God’s great compliment to the reality of human freedom and the dignity of human personality." Hell, a compliment? Yes, because God is saying to us, "You are significant. I take you seriously. Choose to reject me -- choose hell if you will. I will let you go."
III. AN IMPORTANT INVITATION FROM HEAVEN
a. Lazarus says there is a paradise waiting for you and hell doesn’t have to be your destination.
b. The Cross is your only roadblock on the way to hell.
c. Thirty seconds into eternity, there will be no choice, no changing, and no more chances. (Heb 2:2-3)
Closing On one occasion Col. Robert G. Ingersoll, the agnostic lecturer of the last century, was announced to give
an address on hell. He declared he would prove conclusively that hell was a wild dream of some scheming theologians who invented it to terrify credulous people. As he was launching into his subject, a half-drunken man arose in the audience and exclaimed, "Make it strong, Bob. There’s a lot of us poor fellows depending on you. If you are wrong, we are all lost. So be sure you prove it clear and plain."
No amount of reasoning can nullify God’s sure Word. He has spoken as plainly of a hell for the finally impenitent as of a heaven for those who are saved. – H. A. Ironside