April 14, 2023
The vast majority of people live with a short-sighted view. Failing to understand the brevity of this life and the eternality of the next, they live for one and ignore preparation for the other. The results of this myopic life seem wonderful for a short season but pay the most tragic price in the end.
Jesus came to expand our view beyond this life. In His mercy, He came to show us that our earthly days are merely a staging ground for eternity. His whole life was given to save us in this life and the next. And He spoke most often in stories so that we might have a change of mind and direction.
One of the most compelling and sobering stories he told was that of the Rich Man and Lazarus, recorded in Luke 16. Notice seven dramatic truths.
1. IF YOU LIVE ONLY FOR THIS LIFE, YOU WILL KNOW SOME TEMPORARY JOY.
“Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.” (Vss. 19-21)
2. THIS LIFE WILL SOON BE OVER, AND YOUR CHOICES NOW DETERMINE YOUR ETERNAL DESTINATION.
“Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment.” (Vss. 22-23)
3. THERE ARE ONLY TWO PLACES IN ETERNITY—HEAVEN AND HELL—AND YOU WILL BE IN ONE OR THE OTHER.
“In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.” (Vs. 23)
4. HELL IS ETERNAL TORMENT, SEPARATED FROM GOD; HEAVEN IS ETERNAL JOY IN GOD’S PRESENCE.
5. THOSE IN HELL WILL ETERNALLY REALIZE THE TRAGEDY OF THEIR CHOICE AND THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF CHANGE.
“And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.” (Vss. 24-25)
6. THERE IS A CHASM THAT CANNOT BE CROSSED BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL.
‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ (Vs. 26)
7. WE HAVE EVERYTHING WE NEED TO MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR ETERNITY NOW, BUT THAT DOOR WILL SOON CLOSE.
“And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ “But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’” (Vss. 27-31)
Everyone (including you) will either ignore or believe the words of Christ. But before we walk away from Him (our only Savior and path to heaven), we must remember the cost of this eternal choice.
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