TEXT: LUKE 16:19-31.
🔑KEY VERSE “And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and sees Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom” (LUKE 16:23).
Sir Francis Newport, head of an English infidel club, said this on his death bed in the 18th century: “You need not tell me there is no hell, for I already feel my soul slipping into its fires! Wretches, cease your idle talk about there being hope for me! I know I am lost forever.”
The story of the rich man and Lazarus is so popular that anyone familiar with the Bible should have read or heard of it. This is not a parable at all but the real story told by our Lord Jesus Christ. Lazarus, a poor beggar eventually died and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom, while the rich man died and went to hell, a place of torment. He was conscious enough in hell to acknowledge his pains and torments. He was intelligent enough to remember he had five godless brethren who could come to the same place of torment if nothing was done to bring them to salvation.
There are important lessons to learn from the story. First, the rich man did not go to hell because of his riches, but his trust in his money which became his idol. It was not Lazarus’ lack of earthly possessions and reaches that took him to heaven. Though he lacked even the most basic things on earth, he lived a godly life without complaint. The second lesson is the undeniable fact that hell indeed exists. Some people, like Russell, who cannot understand why a merciful God will condemn people to hell, have questioned the very existence of hell. Some erroneous teachers characterized it as a place where sinners are annihilated completely. But the cries of the rich man seal the scriptural description of hell as a place of eternal and unending torments.
What should be done then? Repent, if you are yet to and receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour in order to escape it. Warn others of its reality; never mind if they believe it or not. One day, they will.
✍THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: We must run away from sin to avoid hell.
BIBLE IN A YEAR: PHILEMON 1.
Salient facts from the story of the rich man and Lazarus
- Real life story and not a parable
a. In parables, real names are not mentioned. The name of Lazarus was specifically mentioned vv20, 23,24.
b. Jesus, being an omnipresent and omniscient God must be speaking of a particular case He knew about, Colossians 1:13,16,17.
c. The rich man must have been a Jew, or a proselyte, who had access and read the Old Testament called “the Law and the prophets.” vv29,30.
d. He must also have been familiar with the story of “Father Abraham” vv24,30. Gentile nations did not know Abraham as their father until after the Church of Christ started.
d. The event must have happened after the canon of the Old Testament, called “the Law (Moses) and the prophets” were completed and available for those in the Jewish religion (see Luke 24:27). It was fresh in the mind of Jesus.
e. The beggar must have been bedridden for he was always carried and dumped at the rich man’s gate and was helpless whenever dogs were licking his sores vv20,21. The rich man must be truly wicked to have ignored such a pathetic daily sight.
f. It is not surprising the beggar died first since he had no money to eat and take care of his health v22.
g. The rich man was loving except that his love was limited to his family members, vv27,28. Obviously those are the people he counted as his neighbours.
h. The sufferings of hell does not purify the heart. Even in hell, the man was only thinking of the salvation of his 5 brethren only, v28.
h. Both of them died. The rich man was “buried” with burial celebrations but no mention was made of the burial of the poor man. It does not worth mentioning, vv22.
- Same death but different eternal destinies
a. The soul of the beggar was escorted immediately to paradise or “Abraham’s blossom” by angels. No purgatory was mentioned, v22. “Precious to the Lord is the death of the righteous”.
b. The soul of the rich man went straight to hell, with no purgatory mentioned and with no angelic escorts. A damned soul is a condemned soul that can never be commended by God for any reason after death despite all the accolades of men.
c. Hell is the immediate abode of all dead sinners while waiting for the judgement day, after which they will be thrown to hell fire or lake of fire, Revelation, Revelation 29:11-15.
- The indescribable description of hell
a. Jesus spoke clearly about hell more than all the Bible writers combined together e.g. see Mathew 5:29,30. Mark 9:42-48.
b. Hell is a physical place of abode not just a spiritual concept of suffering, v23.
c. It is a place of unending torment and agony, vv24,25.
d. It is a place of unquenchable fire where “their worms never die”. If the fire could not destroy the worms of hell, it will not burn off the indestructible human souls, Mark 9:42,43.
e. It is a place of perfect memory. They will still be able to recall the past events and people while on earth. His nature remained unchanged. He remembered his brethren, Abraham and Lazarus, vv23,28.
f. It is a place of no return eternally.
Lord, I surrender my self to you to root out anything in me that will make me a candidate of hell🙏
Lord, give me a greater grace than that of the beggar that will not abandon righteousness come what may🙏
Lord, make my love for you perfect and supreme🙏
Pray that God will awaken all souls in the church to the reality of hell🙏
Pray, for the salvation of a person that you don’t want in hell🙏
HYMN Are you ready for the judgment day?