Summary: What if you could spend 30 seconds in heaven and 30 seconds in hell? Which of the two do you think would give you a greater burden for lost people--the glory and majesty of heaven or seeing and hearing those in agony in hell?
What in Hell Do We Need?
August 25, 2002
by David O. Dykes
I hope you took a moment to look at the title of this message because this morning we are going to consider two things we need that are in hell. In this passage, Jesus pulled back the veil between this world and the next and showed us there is a heaven and a hell. There are only two eternal destinies and everyone in this room will end in spending eternity in either heaven or hell.
Through the years, I’ve enjoyed reading epitaphs. Perhaps you’ve heard the story about the message one man left on his tombstone. It said, “Consider, young man, as you walk by, as you are now, so once was I. As I am now, you soon shall be, so prepare, young man to follow me.” That sounded pretty profound, but one fellow took a knife and scratched a response on the tombstone that read, “To follow you is not my intent; until I know which way you went!” There are only two directions you can go after death.
People don’t like to talk about hell, and frankly, I don’t enjoy preaching on it. But because I’m committed to teach the full counsel of God, I am going to devote two messages to this powerful passage of scripture about heaven and hell.
There once was a little church looking for a new pastor. One Sunday they had a candidate fill the pulpit and he preached on hell. The next Sunday, another preacher came and he preached on hell as well. The congregation called the second man to serve as their pastor. When he learned the preacher before him also preached on hell, he asked a wise old man in the church why they hadn’t call the first man. He replied, “When the first man preached on people going to hell, he seemed to be almost glad about it. When you preached on people going to hell, we could tell it broke your heart.” As we look at this passage about heaven and hell, I pray that it will break my heart and break your heart as well.
Let’s begin reading in Luke 16:19:
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus at his side. So 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.’
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. And 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.’ He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
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.’”
Some people call this a parable of Jesus, but I agree with many scholars who believe Jesus is describing an actual occurrence. In the 38 parables Jesus told, he never called anyone by name. In this story, He identifies two of the characters by name, Lazarus and Abraham. I believe there really was a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus and after they died Jesus reported what happened. It was real. You’ve heard of reality TV–this is even better, it’s reality Bible. In the next message I bring from this passage, I’ll go into a little greater detail about Lazarus, but today I want to focus on the rich man in hell. There are two things in hell we really need at Green Acres. In fact these are two things in hell every New Testament church needs.
I. IN HELL, THE RICH MAN LOOKED UP–WE NEED TO HAVE A VISION OF HEAVEN