A look beyond the veil or Life beyond the present.
This story shows us that there is a hell. (to be shunned)
This story shows us that there is a heaven. (to be gained)
While on earth, the Lord spoke of a “broad way” which led to destruction and a “narrow way” which leads to life everlasting. He also said, “Strive or ‘agonize’ to enter in at the narrow gate.”
The portion we have read presents to us: Two men—Two lives—Two hereafters.
· Ch 14: Earth and its hindrances.
· Ch 15: Heaven and its happiness.
· Ch 16: Hell and its horrors.
This story is not a parable. “There was a certain rich man.” Verse 19. “There was a certain beggar named Lazarus.” Verse 20. In no parable is an individual named, as here.
The rich man was “clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day.” He wore the most expensive, custom made clothes and ate the choicest gourmet foods. He was successful—prestigious—admired—esteemed in the community. Ostentatiously, he displayed his great wealth. He was not guilty of any vulgar sin. He probably was a religious man—but had no real love for God.
Verse 20. There was a certain beggar name Lazarus. This man was in extreme poverty—he had no clothes to wear—he was full of open sores—no one took care of him—his sores were cleaned by the mongrel dogs who roamed the streets. This man was a godly man. “The Lord calleth His own sheep by name.” John 10:3. Verse 27-30.
Verse 22. These men died. The grim reaper. “Lazarus died and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.” Lazarus was not buried—that sore infested body would be picked up by the garbage collector and thrown indiscriminately and unceremoniously into the flames of the cities garbage dump.
No funeral for Lazarus—but the angels had carried his spirit and soul into heaven, a place of inexpressible bliss—peace—rest.
Death is an ugly fact that cannot be ignored. Death is no respecter of persons. “It is appointed unto man once to die.” This is an appointment that we will all keep. No exceptions. “For we must, all needs die, and are as water spilled upon the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.” “There is but a step between me and death.”
While death comes to all—death does not end all. Lazarus was transported by the angels into heaven where there is no tears, death, sorrow, crying, nor pain. Revelation 21.
This is the hope of every believer in Christ. “Blessed hope.” “The Spirit and the Bride say come” etc. 1 Thess 4. 1 Cor 15.
The rich man died and was buried—With due care and ceremony. His soul went to Hades or Hell—from there he lifted up his eyes, being in “Torments.” Rom 3:23 “The wages of sin is death.” He saw Abraham with Lazarus in his bosom “a far off.”
Then he spoke to Abraham—He called him Father—he begged for mercy—He asked for a drop of water, on the tip of Lazarus’ finger, to cool his tongue.
In his distress the rich man continued to pray. At this point his prayer was useless. He prayed for his five brothers—send Lazarus to tell them. Not conscious of others around him-ALONE.
If we could listen to the cries of the damned today, we would hear them pray. Tell them to believe and receive Christ as Savior, lest they should come into this dreaded place. Hell is to be shunned—take Christ now as your personal Savior. In this way you will gain heaven. John 3:16.
The importance of evangelism. After death, the rich man suddenly became evangelistic. General Booth’s statement. General Booth’s statement about sending his officers to hell for one week. Sad, sad the bitter wail—Almost, but lost.
We also see here the importance of using this life to prepare for eternity. These men entered into a condition, which they had prepared for themselves. We are choosing now whether we will be carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom, when we die, or will awake in torments in a Christ-less eternity.
This story was told by the tenderest, gentlest, most gracious Man who ever trod this earth. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Heb 10:31.
The rich man died and was buried—with due care and ceremony.
His soul went to Hades—from there he lifted up his eyes being in tormented “Torments.” In desperation and in agony he prayed. “Have mercy on me.” He was tormented in at least four areas. Mentioned 4 times in the story. Through his eyes—tongue—mind—feelings. He was in great physical pain and mental anguish—agony.
Rev 14:11-12. “Tormented with fire and brimstone—the smoke of their torment ascends up forever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night.” This is the eternal state of the Christ rejecter. The second death.
Hebrews 10:28-31. “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses. Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know Him that said, Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, the Lord shall judge His people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
This rich man died—Possibly he never expected to die. (The Huntsman. The rich farmer.)
“It is appointed unto men once to die—after this the judgment.”
The prophet said, “I know not the day of my death.”
“For we must all needs die, and are as water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.”
James—“My life is like a vapor” etc.
“Boast not thyself of tomorrow for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” Proverbs 27:1.
Belshazzar. Proverbs 29:1 “He, that being often reproved.”
A cry for mercy—“Father Abraham have mercy on me.” This prayer in eternity was never answered. How different in time—Bartimaeus—the tax collector. They prayed and their prayer was answered. You pray the sinner’s prayer now “God be merciful to me a sinner.”
1. Think of the mental agony and anguish of the lost as they see the redeemed in heaven enjoying the bliss of the Father’s house.
2. Think of the dreaded fear that will be theirs as they think of the probability of their loved one following them into eternal agony, where no one dies and the fire is not quenched.
3. Think also of the mind-deranging agonies of thirst—just a drop of cold water to cool the burnings of the tongue.
Despite his earnest prayers, the heavens were as brass—they were so “far away.” “Great gulf fixed.” This man was alone—he was not conscious of others around him. He was in his own place—like Judas. “Kissed the door of heaven” etc. Even though the Lord has prepared a place for us.
In desperation he prayed again—Send Lazarus to my five brothers. Oh the horror of being turned down forever by God. Oh the sorrow of knowing that they will not believe the Gospel, nor receive Christ, the only Savior.
If we could listen to the cries of anguish and the earnest prayers of the lost, we would hear them say: Tell them to believe the Gospel and receive Christ as Savior, lest they should come to this dreaded place. “Turn ye, oh turn ye for why will ye die.” Hell is to be shunned—take Christ now as your Savior—by doing this you will gain heaven.
Describe the plan of salvation. Man’s ruin—God’s remedy—Man’s responsibility. How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?
“Almost persuaded,” harvest is past!
“Almost persuaded,” doom comes at last!
“Almost” cannot avail; Almost is but to fail!
Sad, sad, that bitter wail, “Almost”—but lost.
“The harvest is passed—the summer is ended and were not saved.”
There’s a keen and grim old huntsman
On a horse as white as snow.
Sometimes he is very swift
And sometimes very slow.
But he never is at fault,
For he always hunts on view.
And he rides without a halt
The huntsman name is Death
His horse’s name is Time.
He is coming he is coming
As I sit and write this rhyme;
He is coming he is coming
As you read the rhyme I write;
You can hear his hoofs’ low drumming
Day and night.
You can hear the distant drumming
As the clock goes tick-a-tock.
And the chiming of the hours
Is the music of his pack.
You can hardly note their growling
Underneath the noon day sun,
But at night you hear them howling
As they run.
And they never check or falter
For they never miss their kill.
Season change and systems alter,
But the hunt is running still.
Hark! the evening chime is playing:
O’er the long grey dawn it peels,
Don’t you hear the death-bound baying
At your heels.
Hebrews 9:27 “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”