The Rich Man in Hell
I do not like to preach much about Hell. I do not like to try and get people to heaven, because they do not want to go to Hell.
Those that go to Heaven, go there, not because they only wish to escape Hell, but because Jesus Christ is there. They go to Heaven to be with Him.
Hell is a real, horrible place. Jesus told a story about a man that went there, and that is what we are preaching about: the man in Hell.
Jesus had just been preaching about covetousness:
Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other, ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
The Pharisees did not like this kind of preaching, and “derided Him”. They sneered at Him outright. Many of them were rich, and they thought they could love their wealth, and God, too.
So He told them this story: “There was”, so this man had been real, and now was in Hell.
Luke 16:19-21 “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.”
He had been a rich man, living well. He had let Lazarus come and eat from the crumbs which fell from his table, with the dogs. (Lazarus, I believe, was a relative of this man, for he came to his gate, and begged)
(I do not like this man, but whether I like him or not, it is God’s judgement that counts)
One day this rich man dies. Prepared or not, it comes to all of us. One day, our life here, with all it’s attending joys, and sorrows is over….and we are brought to our eternal “home” by belief or unbelief in God, and His Word. (In the Old Testament, they were all looking forward to Christ, though the word of a Savior to come. We now look back, because Christ Jesus has come)
Luke 16:23-24 “And in Hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and seeth Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom.
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.”
This is a simple request: he is not asking for a gallon of water…just a drop.
But no, it could not happen. The gulf was too wide.
Abraham points out that he (the rich man) had made his choices. He had “received thy good things”: simply, all the goods of his wealth, he had taken (received) for himself.
Lazarus had “received”, taken unto himself, with no murmuring, the evil things which had come to him, leaving all (including himself) in God’s hands.
[By the way, the law of Moses said, “If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thy heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:
But thou shalt open thy hand wide unto him, and shall surely lend him sufficient for his need,…
Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thy hand unto.” (Deuteronomy 15:7-8,10)]
For this rich man the judgement was in. There would be no mercy, now.
Luke 16:27-28 “Then he said, I pray thee therefore, Father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:
For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”
The rich man then asks that Lazarus be permitted to be raised from the dead, and go and preach unto the five remaining brothers he has alive, so they might escape Hell.
Now I am going to ask the question: did not this rich man have the “testimony” of the person of Lazarus day by day?
Wasn’t Lazarus and his acceptance of his situation seen by this rich man?
Lazarus neither cursed him or flattered him for anything other than what the rich man allowed. That was a testimony to the rich man.
What made him think his brothers would believe Lazarus?
Abraham says that they have the same Word of God all Israel has. They should hear it, and obey it; then they would not come into Hell.
Luke 16:30 “And he said, Nay, Father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.”
We think this way: if some grand and unusual thing happened, we would start really being more devoted to God and His Word.
Really? Maybe for a while.
It is the Word of God sunk deep into our hearts longings, meeting the need, rebuking the sin, and bringing God’s claims upon us, that leads us to Christ.
[this next verse is crucial]
Luke 16:31 “And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
Jesus would shortly rise from the dead. And He was speaking directly to these puffed up Pharisees: Hear the Word of God to you…let it sink in deep, for when I am resurrected, you will not believe that testimony to your own damnation, if you will not believe My Word to you now.
1 Peter 1:23 “being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”
We are to hear it, and recieve Christ; then we will be saved by Christ Jesus our Lord. (John 1:12)