The Sunday Post November 16, 2014

Articles/Illustrations of Faith, Quotes, poetry and devotions…

Click image to see more art by Michael Belk

Smokey Barn News
Sunday November 16, 2014
Robertson County, Tenn.

“The Sunday Post”  is a non denominational column comprised of articles of Faith, poetry and devotions…

The rich man and Lazarus – Luke 16:19-31

fancy letter w1When considering the account of the rich man and Lazarus, the question always arises, is it a historical account or merely a parable? Is it a true account of two men that actually lived and died during Christ’s earthly ministry or is it just a made-up fable told by the Lord to illustrate a point?

Sometime in the early sixties Hell disappeared and nobody seemed to mind and scarcely anybody even noticed or seemed to care. Our pulpits and preachers grew strangely silent on the awful reality and the Bible doctrine of Hell and eternal torment. Why, Perhaps because if Hell has disappeared then there is no need to be concerned about SIN. Now days in 2014 most folks think there is no Hell, that it is only a myth or just an old time fable while others say; if there is a Hell, a loving God would not send anyone there.

But we must remember that it is God’s word that is the final authority on the matter, not man’s opinion. Men do not set the rules and they do not invent their destination, but they all go to one of two places. One is a place of eternal torment and the other of eternal reward. Thank God we can choose our destination by what we do with the Lord Jesus. If there is an Authority on Hell it is the Lord Jesus who suffered and died so we would not have to go there.

So, what did Jesus say about Hell and what wisdom can we hide in our hearts from His words. Jesus gave an actual account couched in the language of a parable that tells us a great deal about Hell.

Ask just about anybody about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16 and you will hear that it is indeed just a parable and we should not read too much into it. Before we begin our lesson it is imperative that we take a closer look at just what a parable is.

A parable has been called an earthly story with a Heavenly meaning. Christ used parables to compare things people were familiar with to help them understand things that were not familiar to them.

Mt 13:34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them

Mark 4:2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine

The word “parable” means to throw one thing down beside another to see how they match. I think of railroad tracks as being parallel and parallel is the offspring of the same word as parable. We can see one track is just like the other. In Greek it is made up of two words: “Para” and “Ballo”. “Ballo” means to throw and “para” means beside. So a parable is a comparison of one thing to another or to put one thing beside another for comparison.

The Holy Spirit is called in Greek the Paraclete or Parakletos in John 14:16 when Jesus told his followers that He was going to pray His Father would send one to come along side and help them in His absence as He was soon returning to Heaven from whence he came.

John 14:16-18 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another (allos) Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (allos means another of the same kind) I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

Comfortless is the Greek word Orphanos….Have a guess what English word we get from orphanos.  (Orphan.)  Our heavenly Father said he would never leave us as orphans.
rich man a

Lastly, we must realize that none of the parables are fictitious. Jesus did not have to make up a story to get a point across and he knows all men and in Luke 16 names are used and that would never be done in anything but an actual account. The rich man is sometimes called Dives but that is just a word that means wealthy. But his real name is not given.

Then there is Lazarus and Abraham and the fact that the rich man is said to have had five brothers. Abraham even invokes the name of Moses, but the brothers remain unnamed along with the rich man.

Now with that brief ground work laid, may we examine the text and the account today of a real man in Hell and another real man in Paradise? In our text the word “hades” is translated Hell. It can be the grave but the context here dictates that a literal place of torment in flames is in view. Some say the fire is not real. However, time and time again Jesus and countless scriptures speak of a tormenting, supernatural, everlasting fire. Is it like the fire in your wood stove? No! It is a million times worse. No earthly fire can torment a spirit and no fire we understand could ever be a torment to the devil. It is a supernatural fire prepared by God for the devil and his angels.

Mt 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels

Please read our text carefully as we begin this most important message. If you have a red letter edition of the KJV Bible you will see these words are from the lips of our heavenly Father, Creator, Savior, and Judge, the Lord Jesus.

It will be helpful to have your Bible open as you read so you can refer back to the Scriptures as needed.

rich man and Lazarus aLuke 16: 19-31 – 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.      

The Bible is a Book of comparisons and a Book of contrasts. Just think of the few I offer here: darkness and light, tares and wheat, sin and salvation, bitter and sweet, goats and sheep, evil and good, the weak and the mighty, and comfort and torment. It is the last pair of conditions namely Comfort and Torment that we will take a closer look at today. Could there be any two things that are further apart than these?

Let us take a brief glimpse behind the curtain of death and the eternity that lies just beyond the grave. If we would endeavor to know the truth about eternity who better to ask than the Eternal One, the Lord Jesus? He came out of eternity past and sits now in eternity future and He alone can tell us about the place we are going after our eyes close for the last time.

Luke 16 tells us from the lips of God to the ears of mortals and the story before us is NOT a parable. The Bible never calls it a parable. Names are given and that is never done in other parables. It is a factual historical account couched in the form of a parable. The names given are significant: Lazarus, Moses, and Abraham. Some study Bibles give the name Dives to the rich man but that is not a true or proper name; rather it is Latin for a wealthy man. So everyone has a name except the rich man and his five brothers.

rich purpleThe rich man for all his money, even a certain or particular rich man, with fame and wealth in the sight of God is of all men most poor if he does not know the Savior. He who has no money is poor. He who has nothing but money is the poorest of all. The rich man in the view of almighty God does not even have a name. He was clothed in purple, the most costly of garments, due to the ingredient to make the purple dye. It comes from a small snail that washes up on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It takes thousands of these snails and days of work to extract enough purple to color a garment. Lydia was a seller of purple and this is how she made her living. She collected the snails and extracted the dye from them. (Acts 16:14)

Not only did the rich man wear royal purple he wore it every day of the week. He fared sumptuously every day. Every waking minute was loaded with pleasure of one kind or another. Clothes, fine wine, women, and song and good food all occupied his normal day. He never had a bad day. He never knew hunger or thirst or discomfort of any kind. This rich poor man never had a desire that was not fulfilled.

Wealth often leads to a debauched lifestyle and we only have to look at Hollywood, our sports heroes, and the super rich politicians to prove it. The rich man in our text never lifted a hand in his life to work. He had servants to take care of every need and sees Lazarus as a low born bum who has no fame and no money. It is people like Lazarus that work for me and I lord over them. What a contrast Dives, the rich man, is to Lazarus.

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.

But he had a name, Lazarus. Lazarus is short for of Eleazar and Eleazar is the priestly name for the third son of Aaron who was the brother of Moses. It means “God Is My Helper”. Is it not strange to you that the godly suffer and lie hungry at the gate of the heathen? David said he had never seen the righteous begging bread, but he had never seen Lazarus the beggar. Lazarus could have used some of the Lord’s help about now, but he suffered in God’s will for a time. God is not unjust and we often misjudge men by their station in life. Job had three friends who thought him wicked in spite of God calling him a just and upright man. Judas was thought by all to be good and yet he was a thief and betrayed the Creator of heaven and earth with a kiss and thirty pieces of silver. We would do well to remember the devil can bless you and the Lord can load you down with suffering for his own purposes and our good in due time. Payday is not always on Friday with the Lord but He always pays and He pays handsomely.

Luke 16:21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

lazarus dogs bPoor Lazarus, starved, naked, covered in sores, and praying for just a crumb to fall from the rich man’s table. Even if the crumb came he would still have to beat the dogs to it. Without any care or fanfare he was just thrown down by the rich man’s gate too weak to even beg. The word “beggar” can be rendered poor. It is a Greek word that means abject poverty. Lazarus had no health, no water, no clothes, no money, no family, no friends, no food, and no nothing, and his closest comfort came from a pack of dogs that roamed the streets and …he died. No wonder he died, and now he would not even have a burial. His naked, emaciated, and sore ridden body, would be picked up by the street sweepers and thrown on the town trash heap.

tophetThis trash pile was on the southern side of Jerusalem and would have become the resting place of the Lord Jesus had it not been for the disciples and God’s plan to protect him from such treatment after his death. The trash heap has a name and it is called The Valley of Tophet and is also called Ge-hinnom. Tophet means drums and it was the sound of drums that drowned out the cries of children being offered as living sacrifices to Molech. Ge-hinnom always refers to Hell as a place of torment. It never refers to the grave but a place of torture and everlasting burning. Fires were kept burning continually in the valley of Tophet to prevent the spread of germs as far as was possible. But now watch as the scene changes dramatically. The beggar died and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.

But the rich man also died and was buried. He had a wonderful funeral with paid mourners and a fabulous funeral procession to his marbled and decorated mausoleum, but…he was already in Hell even as his funeral was being conducted. Lazarus had no funeral at all and was flung into the town trash heap, but he was already comforted in the arms of Abraham. God had sent holy angels for Lazarus to carry him as the honored guest of Paradise.

Luke 16:22 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

glorified body churchAt this point let me say something that many do not understand. We do not have a soul. We have a body. We ARE a soul and we have a body. Those trusting in Jesus will one day have a glorified body that will never grow sick or die again.

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Even so, the rich man had eyes but he did not like what he saw. He had ears but he didn’t like what he heard. He had a tongue that thirsted for a single drop of water and he has still not gotten it. He dared not ask for a bucket or a lake of water, but just a single drop of cool water for he was tormented in the flames and for more than 2000 years he has still not received that drop of water.

hell darkThe rich man had all of his faculties and perhaps the most tormenting of all was his memory. He remembered his five brothers, but it was too late. For himself and his brothers he wants food and drink, but more than that he wants mercy and grace but those days have long passed.

For those who choose to go out to meet God lost and undone they will remember every Christian tract they were ever handed. They will recall every sermon and every prayer that was made for them. People on earth hate to hear the word “Repentance,” while the people in Hell wish they could just hear it one more time. The time for repentance is ending and then there will be no rest, no respite, and no reprieve, not ever. Some preachers may have forgotten it but Sin is still black, Hell is still hot, judgment is sure, and eternity is still a very long time. And did you notice? The rich man never once complained that he was being treated unfairly. But still he held on to his arrogance, there was no humility, and only contempt left in his heart. “SEND Lazarus to bring me a drop of water.” Dives would still be the boss and the big man in town. Send that bum and a beggar Lazarus to take care of my needs and desires.

The rich man is implying that God did not do enough to see him saved. It is God’s fault I am tormented in this flame and God needs to do more for my brothers than He did for me so they will be saved. Send Lazarus to preach to my brothers. Notice with me now that the rich man suddenly becomes evangelistic. He is concerned for the lost. He is concerned for his family.

“The rich man said that God’s word is not enough”

Today a multitude of churches are famous for saying the same thing. They say we need a fish fry, or at Halloween we need a trunk or treat. Maybe a soccer field or karate expert will be our ticket to success and fame and we will be a wealthy church. Maybe we too can be like the rich man if we just had a talking horse in one Sunday or Pack-a-Pew day once per month. We could all use a few more BBQ diners and a few fish fries. If only we had a few electric guitars and a good drummer we could really bring in the young people. It’s God we need, It’s God’s word and instruction that we need and to have Him we are going to have to do things God’s way. Would these churches be all fixed if only one would rise from the grave and tell us what to do? No! a thousand times no. Jesus said plainly in Luke 16:29 that His word IS Enough!

Luke 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

He said we already have the first five Books of Moses, we have the 5 major prophets, and we have 12 more so called minor prophets, and today we have all 66 Books that tell us all what we must do to be saved and to live as God intended us to live. We don’t need a giant screen television with a preacher shining his pinky ring and flaunting big hair. The last thing we need is another religious celebrity. We need the gospel message flaming from our pulpits and then we will be great in the eyes of God again. Anything else is spiritual shenanigans, and gospel trickery. Jesus never did it like that and neither should we. If we think that these are good things in church we are wrong!! The Scriptures and God’s Spirit are all that we need.

Matt. 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

In verse 31 of Luke 16 Jesus said if we will not hear the prophets, if we will not hear Moses, then we would not be persuaded even if one rose from the dead.

Luke 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

How about YOU today? What do you think about the word of God? Do you believe all of it or just the parts that suit you? Would you believe one who came back from the dead? Christ has returned from the dead and he is largely rejected by the world, yes even a world where churches are plentiful. He raised another Lazarus from the dead in the gospel of John. He raised a little girl and a young boy as well. Do you believe he can raise you? If we do not trust the word of God and in the God of the word we too will one day lift up our eyes in Hell being tormented in that eternal flame.

You can repent of your sins and be saved in your seat as you read this post and trust in the dear Savior. I would like to close with an illustration that will take us on a trip to the unseen

But think with me for a few moments as we take a trip forward in time and mind.

Now I have told you about two men. One is at this moment enjoying the joys of paradise. After more than 2000 years the other is still in torment praying for a single drop of water and he has not got it yet. Nobody reading this is as poor as Lazarus and I suspect none of us is as wealthy as the rich man in our account that Jesus gave us this morning. Most of us are just ordinary folks, but Hell is awash today with ordinary folks just like you and me who never came to Christ. It’s just regular folks who never thought themselves too bad that populate the most of Hell today.

elevator mist 1
But about that trip I mentioned. We are going to take a ride on a very special elevator.

Think of it as the car of our imagination. Envision with me that we have an elevator car that can descend into Hell itself and can also ascend into the beauties of Heaven.

I have my finger on the down button and soon we will arrive in God’s prison house. Can you smell the sulfur? Can you hear the moans and wails of the damned?

Look, there is a young man coming up out of the Lake of Fire yonder by that burned and incinerated rock. I think I shall call to him: “Sir, sir, come here, please, I want to ask you some questions.”

“Yes, what is it?” Sir, I want to know what sort of a man you were when you lived up on the earth. You must have been a gangster or else you wouldn’t be in Hell.

rich man 1

Art By Michael Belk

“A gangster! What is a gangster?” You don’t know what a gangster is, well, you certainly were not a religious man. “Oh, but I was very religious. I was a ruler of the Jews and I kept the Commandments from my youth up.” Maybe so, but you certainly didn’t know Jesus Christ. “Jesus Christ. Did you say Jesus Christ? Oh, but I did know him. I came to him one day and asked him the way to Heaven. He told me to go and sell all that I had and give it to the poor. I couldn’t do it. My God is the god Plutus, the god of gold, so I went away. I hate Jesus, I love my money and my gold and I hate Jesus.”

Go back to your suffering Rich Young Ruler.

Now look over there. There is another man just beyond that burnt and blackened rock near the shore of the lake. He is a sinister looking man with a rope around his neck. I think I shall call him also. “Sir, come here for just a moment. What’s that in your hands? Put it down and come over here.

Judas Is.“Yes, what do you want?” Put whatever it is in your hands down and come over here. “I can’t put it down. I have tried to put it down all over Hell. It sticks to my fingers. Sometimes they are pieces of silver and sometimes they are hounds and they chase me. They have chased me all over Hell. I’ve given them all names. I hear them coming now. Get down you dogs of Hell, get down! Leave me alone. Leave me alone I say!”

“Oh, alas, I am doomed to wander this lake of fire and its horrible shores for all of eternity and there is no way back, not ever. Sometimes these 30 pieces of silver rise up into ghosts that haunt me until I scream out in fear and pain of mind and soul. They mock me over and over again. But I must endure forever. They will never leave me.

Sir, you must have been a terrible person during your life on the earth’s surface and now you are here in this terrible place with a rope around your neck.

“Oh no, I was,  I was a preacher…” Well, you didn’t preach Jesus Christ. “JESUS CHRIST. Oh but I did preach him. I sat at his feet for three years. The very demons were subject unto us. But, but, but…” Go back to your suffering Judas Iscariot. Go back to your lake of fire.

 

HeavenNow, I want to take you just briefly into the beauty of Heaven. My finger is on the up button now and we are traveling rapidly.

Just look at those gates of pearl and the walls of towering jasper and sitting on twelve precious foundation stones. Golden towers, minarets, and streets of clear gold are everywhere visible in the city of God. Emeralds and diamonds and the most beautiful creatures I have ever seen are living in joy and pleasure. Oh look, what a beautiful creature. See him there under that wonderful and gorgeous fruit tree. He must be an angel. I think I shall wax bold and dare to speak to an angel.

thief at calvary“Sir, are you and arch angel or a regular angel?” “No” he said. You’re not an angel. “Would you care to guess my identity?” Are you in the Old Testament? “No,” he said. Not in the Old Testament, then you are in the New Testament of course. “Yes, I am in the New Testament.” Then you are one of the twelve. “No.” Well then, are you Jesus? “No, I am not Jesus.” Well, I cannot guess then. You have me stumped. “Sir, do you remember the poor dying thief that hung on the cross next to the Lord of Glory. I am he.” But you are so beautiful. “Perhaps, but I am the lowliest creature in Heaven.”

And so may you be my dear reader, but you will be forever a great beauty and perhaps the lowest thing to ever pass through the gates of pearl, but you will be home forever to live in the joy of the Lord. Can you hear his voice?  He is calling you this moment. He wants you to be a part of his family and to be with him forever in glory. We are not sure of the next minute. Why will ye wait?

Psalms 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Psalms 17:15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved

-Pastor Brown Sims

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Today’s Sunday Sermon On Thru The Bible is a great addition to our lesson today.

Will Everyone Ultimately Go to Heaven? – An overwhelming majority of people today believe that they will go to heaven. Some even believe that one day all people of all time will dwell in the presence of God, and they claim to have Scriptural support for this theory. But do they? Click Here to listen to the message

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He could have called ten thousand angels but he died alone for you and me. He bore your sins and mine that we may be clothed in His righteousness. 

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Click Here to Read A Past Sunday Post Archive 

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Latest Comments
  1. Vickie Sims

    Both Bible stories are explained the best possible. You’re such a Blessing to all who wish to be feed from God’s Word. You certainly can’t get this in any Church this morning. May the Lord continue to encourage you. Thank You.

  2. Chris Simpkins

    Very good! Love these, Smokey!

  3. Church of the Stranger

    Thank you for the Word of God this morning. I really needed it as I am very sick. Been up much of the night with pain and nausea from the chemo. What a grand home going we have to look forward to. The composition and the illustrations are just super this morning and it is more than I would get, Bible wise, if I attended a half a dozen churches. Thank you and may God give you his very best.

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