Summary: God puts people in our path that need love, acceptance, healing, and salvation. They are often packaged in problems. How and what do we do with the people problems in our lives. This sermon also deals with the reality of heaven, hell, and angels.

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“What Are You Doing With The Lazarus At Your Gate?”

Luke 16:19 through Luke 16:31 (NIV) 19“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

22“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

25“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

27“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, 28for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

29“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

30“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

31“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

I. Notice first the two main characters of Jesus story

A. The unnamed rich man

1. Here is a man who lived in the lap of luxury

B. “Dressed in purple and fine linen”

1. purple was the color of royalty – worn only by princes, kings, and nobles of high degree

2. clothes dyed in purple dye were the costliest of all clothes, for purple dye was the rarest of all dye colors

3. you will remember the Roman soldiers placed a purple robe on Jesus before His crucifixion – it was a mockery on their part, because He called Himself the King of the Jews

4. the fine linen was worth twice it’s weight in gold

C. “Feasted in luxury every day”

1. the word used for feasting is the word that is used for a gourmet feeding on exotic and costly dishes

2. in a country were the common people were fortunate if they ate meat once a week…

3. this rich man is the picture of self-indulgence; he had everything the world has to offer

D. Next we have the “poor man, named Lazarus”

1. If we are to take this story as a parable, as opposed to Jesus telling a factual story… then this is the only parable where names are given to any of the subjects … this is why many bible teachers do not believe this to be a parable, but rather a true story that Jesus related to the Pharisees that day

2. It’s interesting that the rich man is not given a name, and yet the poor man is dignified by a name

3. What is even more interesting is the meaning of the name… Lazarus is derived from two Hebrew words, “El” & “ezer” = God helped or “God has helped”

E. Lazarus was “full of ulcerated sores”

1. Not only was he poor, he had a terrible condition, not unlike leprosy

2. Unable to care for his basic needs, sickness has attacked his body… oozing sores further humiliate this poor man

3. Added to the humiliation of the physical condition are the dogs who hang around this poor man waiting for their opportunity…

F. Lazarus was laid at the gate of this rich man each day

1. Some believe Lazarus was a leper, and that he had no feet

2. That he was unable to care for himself was evident…

3. And the reason he laid at this mans gate daily was because of the feasting which went on daily at the rich mans home

4. Back in those days they did not have utensils to eat food with…

5. People ate with their hands… and in the very wealthy houses, the hands were cleansed by wiping them on hunks of bread… which were then thrown away

6. It was these morsels of bread that Lazarus hoped to get each day

G. Now that Jesus has introduced the main characters… painting a picture of two people whose circumstances in life could not be more contrasting…

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