6 Thoughts from the Parable of the Rich Man & Lazarus

At TAC we’ve been preaching through the Gospel of Luke for over a year and this week we arrived at Jesus’ parable of the Rich Man & Lazarus (Luke 16.19-31). Below are six observations that I shared on Sunday from that passage.

1. Don’t be seduced wealth and comfort
They lead us to believe we are eternally secure, when we don’t know if we have tomorrow. Don’t be deceived by your lifestyle. You are not secure and safe in your wealth.

2. Everyone dies
Rich and poor. Healthy and sick. Powerful and weak. Moral and immoral. Everyone dies. Death is the great equalizer. We only have one life, and it will end sooner than you think.

3. At judgment there are only two eternal destinations
There is heaven and blessing or Hell and punishment. For those who are in Christ, forgiven by his shed blood, there is life, blessing and heaven awaiting them. For those who reject Christ, they remain under the wrath of God, having opposed God and persisted in sin, there awaits them judgment and hell.

Jesus’ own words seem fitting: “whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24) “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:36)

 4. Hell is torment: the wrath of God poured out for sin
Yes, God is love (I John 4:16). But that’s not all that God is. God is love AND God is holy. God is righteous. God is just. God is glorious. God is good. We can’t pit God’s attributes against each other as if he is a conflicted soul. If I were to pick one attribute that best sums up God it would not be  his love, but that God is holy. Because God is holy, he loves people.  And because God is holy he is angry when his good creation is violated by sin.

5. There are no transfers after death
How we respond in this life is decisive for where we reside in the next. There is no indication that there is room for post-death repentance. “It is appointed for man to die once, and then the judgment” (Hebrews 9:17)

 6. Heed the warnings already given
God has already warned us of eternity in the scriptures. There is no problem with a lack of evidence or lack of revelation. God has already spoken definitely. We have what we need, and even if someone came back and reported on heaven or hell, it would not add anything to the revelation we have been given.

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3 thoughts on “6 Thoughts from the Parable of the Rich Man & Lazarus

  1. Just curious why you would even attempt to sum up God in one attribute when he never attempted to? From that why pick holiness from all those he revealed?

    BTW congrats on the book.

  2. Thanks Ben. It’s a good point. I don’t want to sum up God in a simplistic way. But as a counter to those who do sum up God simplistically by pointing to “God is love”, I would respond that he is not exclusively or simply love. And if I had to choose only one attribute (which is admittedly strange), love would not be the one that I see as most prominent in the scriptures. In my view, God’s holiness is far more prevalent than his love (not that they are in conflict or one negates the other).

    Hope that makes sense. When you condense a 45 minute sermon into a 400 word blog post you tend to be overly simplistic about things that are quite complex.

    • I completely understand the complexities of trying to sum up a sermon in a blog post because it loses the conversation. I guess for me it just comes down to the fact that aren’t we running into exactly the same problem by trying to explain God through one attribute over others by saying he’s primarily holy instead of primarily love? Wouldn’t this lead to the same kind of bias, but in a different direction?

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