The Great Reversal - Luke 16:19-31
Six Lessons From The Rich Man and The Beggar:
#1. Life is not ____________ but God in me wants me to ___________ .
“There was a rich man… At his gate was laid a beggar…” Luke 16:19-21
Jesus admits to us that life is not fair. There has never been equity in life. There are the rich and there are the poor. At one point Jesus says, “You will always have the poor among you.” (John 12:8). Even though Jesus is no longer here personally, He is among us in Spirit. As Christians we are expected to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Life itself is not fair, but He expects us to do everything we can to make a difference in this world.
In fact Jesus tells us that there will come a time a judgment and one of the keys to that judgment will be what we have done [or failed to do] in His name. He goes so far as to say we did it TO HIM!
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.” Matthew 25:35
Today we see the Parable of the outcome of that judgment. Rich man failed to take care of the beggar at his doorstep. WARNING - don’t dismiss because I’m not rich. Poorest among us are the wealthiest!
#2. The one way we are all equal: ____________ .
“The time came when the beggar died … The rich man also died and was buried.” Luke 16:22 NIV
Death is never treated in Scripture as The End. It’s always a transition. Part of that transition includes a judgment based on this life:
“People are destined to died once and after that to face judgment.” Hebrews 9:27a NIV
Sobering thought that I will be judged based on how I have lived in this life. Especially when we recognize that this judgment will not be based on a curved scale. Our comparison is never how other people have lived their life. Our comparison is always God’s expectation. “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect!” (Matthew 5:48) Who passes that test? No one!
#3. Jesus describes the reality of __________ .
“In Hades, where he was in torment… have pity on me… cool my tongue… I am in agony in this fire.” Luke 16:23 NIV
We are quick to dismiss the reality of Hell. We do not like to talk about Hell. Preachers do not like to preach about Hell. However, we have a responsibility to teach the WHOLE SCRIPTURE. No one in Scripture talks more about the reality of Hell than does Jesus Himself! In this parable what does Jesus describe? (a) a place of torment; (b) have pity; (c) cool my tongue; (d) a place of agony; (e) a place of fire. What need have we to add to this list? It’s horrible! No one should ever go there!
The great deception: God would never do this to us. God of Love could not create a Hell. God would never send me to Hell. The Son of God is telling this story. The rich man is having a conversation with Abraham - the Father of the Jewish faith (and ours!) No where in the conversation is “Hell is not fair.” “This is not just.” We ignore this truth to our peril.
#4. The life to come is the great _____________ .
“Remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.” Luke 16:25 NIV
This brings us back to our first point. God has placed us here on this Earth for a reason. When you look around and you see the injustices and the unfairness and the great needs and you wonder why God doesn’t do something about it - Remember! He did do something. He created you! You have a purpose here on this Earth. You are to be available. You are to be usable for God’s purposes and ultimately for His glory.
Ultimately God’s judgment is about how usable you have been. That’s what the judgment is all about -
“God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.” Ecclesiastes 3:17 NIV
Think of it as God’s evaluation of our usability for Him in eternity. This Earth is really a testing ground - an opportunity for us to prepare to serve for all of eternity. Do we remember that God has a purpose for us?
#5. The _____________ is my great reminder about the great reversal.
The rich man wanted to send a private, personally delivered message to his brothers - to warn them… to remind them… to keep them from suffering the same fate as him. What was Abraham’s response? They have “Moses and the Prophets.” That’s another way of saying The Bible.
“If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” Luke 16:31 NIV
This gives us some idea of just how dramatic and powerful is the Word of God! And also gives us some idea of just how foolish we are to ignore it. Which we all do from time to time. Pretty discouraging so far! Any hope?
#6. What hope do I have? _____________________.
Jesus: “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24 NIV