The message was brought by Rev. Eddie Foster.
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.
Here Jesus addresses the subject of hell. The Bible talks about heaven but did you know that it talks more about hell. It is my responsibility as a man of God to warn people that hell is a literal place just as heaven is. But that’s not what I’m going to preach about. Some people think this is a parable; Jesus taught many of them. But although he didn’t name the rich man, he did name the beggar. His name was Lazarus. In Jesus’ day to be rich meant one had the favor of God; to be poor meant you didn’t. Jesus was going to set the record straight. Without faith in God no one will go to heaven. The rich man’s wealth and fame could not get him in, yet the faith of the beggar put him there. I do see five things in the passage about hell that ought to be in every church.
- Fire. There was fire in hell. The rich man was tormented in the flames. Every church ought to be on fire for God. I’m talking about the old time Holy Ghost’s anointing. We ought to hear a shout now and then. I’m not talking about this building. Although it’s been dedicated to God, the church is not this building. Adwolfe Free Will Baptist Church is seated in these pews and all of us need the power and fire of God. How? Spend time praying in and out of church. If you think the preacher’s message didn’t do anything for you, how about asking yourself how much time you spent praying for him during the week. A church on fire for God attracts people to God. Let’s not wait on everyone else. Be on fire!
- Compassion. There was compassion in hell. We see this in verses 27-28. Maybe the rich man didn’t have a whole lot to do with his family on earth. Maybe he really didn’t care for their well being, but after he got to hell he did not want them following after him. Spiritual things now took priority. Hearts are mellowed at times of the death of loved ones. People think of their own soul and its condition. After a loved one dies, it’s too late to speak to them about the Lord. Your people may be really good people, but they need to be saved. We need some compassion to help us realize we need to be telling others about God.
- Prayer. There was prayer in hell and more of it is needed in every church. The Bible says to pray without ceasing. Does that mean for us to pray all the time? No. We need to have a consistent prayer life, one that isn’t on and off. Who do you pray to? If you pray in church, is it so someone will hear you? If so, that’s the wrong way to pray. That is a useless prayer. In Acts 12 Peter was in jail. The believers were at John Mark’s house praying for him. The angel of the Lord brought Peter out of jail during the night. He went and knocked on the door and they were in disbelief that he was there. Were they really expecting their prayer to be answered? Do we pray not expecting it? At least they had enough faith to pray to begin with. The Lord took that faith. The Lord asked a man in the Bible if he believed. He responded ‘yes, Lord, I believe but help my unbelief.’ Fault finding is at odds with prayer. That shows a lack of love. It’s hard to pray for our enemies but we can with the help of the Lord. We need to pray more.
- Missionary Vision. The rich man had a missionary vision. He prayed for his brothers to be saved and not come to the awful place he was in. He wanted God to send somebody to them. Some Christians have no vision for the lost, much less the lost man in Africa. We should be concerned about the lost everywhere. We need a missionary vision.
- Witnessing. There was witnessing in hell. Soul winning is showing a person how to be saved. Take the scriptures in Romans and show someone about salvation. Witnessing is letting people know what happened to you. That’s what a witness does–tells what happened to them. You don’t have to be a theologian. It’s just one beggar telling another better where he found bread. Jesus healed a blind man. The Pharisees wouldn’t believe that Jesus healed him. Only God could heal. They told the man that Jesus was a sinner. What did the man say? Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. He told what happened to him. That’s all we need to do. There’s a lost and dying world not only in Africa, but here on Grubmore Road and the entire community of Adwolfe.
We need all five of these in our churches today. How well are we doing? God’s still God and able to help us all as we seek him.