The message was brought by Darrel Pickle.
Luke 16:1313 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.
Mammon is things. You can’t serve God and money, God and houses, God and your job, God and your smart phone. We must have money, but if you love it, you are worshipping it. Jesus wants to show us the difference about serving God and mammon. He gave the story of the rich man and Lazarus to show us. If I knew this would be the last message I preach, I want it to be this one.
Luke 16: 19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.24 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.25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.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.
There is a great drama here. Let’s look at it in three scenes. If this were a theater presentation it would go like this.
It’s a typical day in the life of two men. One is in a lovely palace. All his wants and needs are at his hand. There are beautiful gardens and flowers. Inside at the head of the table sits a man dressed in fine linen. The servants are busy. The guests are drinking the best wine from fancy goblets. They are laughing and having a good time. If we make our way to the front door, outside we’ll see a pile of rags. They move. We see a man with sores all over his body. The dogs get a whiff and come lick the sores. Nobody comes out and offers food or salve. One has mammon—things; one has nothing.
Jesus doesn’t condemn the man for being rich. Many in the Bible were rich men. I don’t have lots of things in this world, but I’m happy. If you’re happy, you are rich. I’m like Paul. I’ve learned to be content. There was not a halo around the head of the poor man. There was no condemnation for the rich man and no praise for the poor one. Jesus sees it how it is. He loved the rich man no more than he loved the poor man. He loves us all the same. No matter how filthy a person is, God loves him. No matter how good a person is, God loves him. No matter how good or bad, he loves him. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. While we were yet sinners Jesus died for us. He loved me when I was out in sin and loves me the same now. The curtain is pulled.
The rags on the porch are not moving. The body is carried away to be buried. What we can’t see are angels carrying him to heaven. There is nothing strange about what we see. He lived diseased with no food. He had no family. Most would say good riddance. Then we see another death. Someone screams “our master is dead.” The rich man died. They dressed him in fine linen and put him out so people could come by and worship him.
If you’re well and have plenty, people say “God’s good to me.” If you’re sick and in sad shape, people say “why is God doing this?” That’s a stupid way to look at it. We look at people differently. God looks at everyone the same. We’re all worth the best heaven had. That’s why Jesus came to die. God is not a respecter of persons, but people are.
There is something else we don’t see. The rich man lifted up his eyes in torments. Hell is a real place. You won’t go to the grave and sleep for years. He lifted up his eyes immediately in hell. The beggar was in heaven immediately. The rich die as well as the poor. Successful people die as well as failures. The pretty die as well as the ugly. Death was passed upon all. There is a second death; you can miss it. If you’re born twice, you die once. If you’re born once, you die twice. In the second death there is fire.
We don’t comprehend the seriousness of rejecting Jesus. When you reject Jesus, you reject God. Repent or burn. Get right or go to hell. I know God is a God of love, but he’s also a God of wrath. Would you be willing to let all the prisoners in US jails go free? No. You know they’re there for a reason. You believe in judgment. So does God. Hell is a place of punishments. If you die lost, you wake in hell and stay there until the White Throne Judgment. You’ll be called before God. The books will be opened for judgment. People will fall on their knees before God and confess. If you don’t do it here, you will do it there, but it will be too late. There is no way to make things right then. The curtain falls.
The curtain opens and we see life on the other side. Lazarus was at peace resting in the bosom of Abraham. The rich man was in torments. Jesus wants us to learn some lessons.
The dead are still alive after they die. Lazarus is doing well. The rich man in hell saw Lazarus and asked for a drop of water. The answer was no. The people in paradise can’t pass over to him and he can’t pass over to them. When you die you go to your destination. They lived differently. They died differently. They went to different places, but they were both still alive. I’m getting old and have more people over there than here. No wonder our hearts yearn to be with them. D. L. Moody said than when people hear he’s dead don’t believe a word of it. He said he’d be more alive than he’s ever been. The only door to salvation is Jesus Christ. God is not complicated. He didn’t devise 50 ways; he made one. Jesus Christ is the door and any person enters in will be saved. A door means there is an entrance that can be opened. One day the door will close. You’d better get to know Jesus. It’s a personal salvation. Paul said everything else was counted as dung just to know Christ. The night I got saved there were no visions. I didn’t fall in the floor. I just knew it’s something I should have done a long time ago. Deal with your sins every day. We know we don’t do all we should. Those are sins of omission. Keep a clean slate.
Not only were the rich man and poor man alive, they were conscious of being themselves. They knew who they were. You’ll be conscious of being with the Lord in victory if you’re saved. If you go to hell, you’ll know torments of fire. There will be no water. There is one thing worse. You will remember. The rich man wanted his brothers to be warned not to come there. If you’re not saved, somebody in hell knows you. They’re saying don’t come here. You’ll remember this message if you die lost.
All people who die don’t go to the same place. If you go to lots of funerals you’d think they do. I read a story of a little boy at his father’s funeral. Everyone kept saying good things. He asked his mom to go make sure it was his dad in the casket. You never know when your last chance will come. You may live here having it all and die and have nothing. You can’t take it with you. Some act like they can. Some have a wonderful life here. Wouldn’t it be awful to go somewhere and have nothing but memories? You may have nothing here and die and have everything.
Are you saved? Are you ashamed of Jesus? If you are backslidden, why did you let that happen? Don’t you want to be part of the Father’s house?