Central Christian Church Lampasas
Parables: When A Beggar Finishes Ahead Of A Rich Man
Pastor Nathan explores Parables Jesus told in Matthew and Luke.
Locations & Times
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  • Central Christian Church
    204 S Broad St, Lampasas, TX 76550, USA
    Sunday 10:30 AM
Sunday, September 4th
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Sept 7th: -- Women's Wednesday 6 PM

Sept 10th -- Hill Country Fall Women's Gathering
@ 1st Presbyterian Church
Breakfast 9:00 AM
Program 10:00 AM
Cost $5

Sept 11th — Board Meeting 11:30 AM
Patriot’s Day Prayer Service 6 PM

Sept 17th -- Men's Breakfast 8 AM @ Country Kitchen

Sept 21st -- Women's Wednesday 6 PM

Sept 25th -- Operation Christmas Child Kickoff.
Guest Speaker Kathy Dutton in Worship Service

Oct 24th — Women’s More Event

Oct 31st - Neighborhood Block party
After challenging the Pharisees and scribes Jesus told the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus to show that being rich should not be equated with being righteous. The rich man had everything he wanted. But he didn’t have what would get him to heaven.

The parable is about two contrasting individuals. One with material possessions and the other served God in this life (16:13). It depicts the permanent reality of the hereafter in contrast to the temporary present.

The details in the story are colorful and the contrast is sharp. For the rich man earthly life is a daily feast. For the poor man, clothed in running sores, who lies among the dogs, life is torturous. Both die but only the rich man is buried. In eternity their roles reverse and the outcome is unalterable.

The Pharisees thought they were entitled. They had the strange idea that money was deserved. Money was a sign that they were blessed by God, and poverty was the result of God’s curse.

Jesus repudiates that whole idea. All of us are stewards of what we have, and we are to use it to bless, to bring life, to bring health, to bring hope and to bring salvation to others. The rich college student wasted his wealth and was not a good steward. The problem wasn’t his money. His problem was how he used it.

OUTLINE OF PARABLE

1. A Summation Of Two Lives 16:19-21.
2. A Transition To The Next Life 16:22-23.
3. Two Destinations In Death 16:24-26.
4. A Plea For Greater Persuasion 16: 27-31



A SUMMATION OF TWO LIVES 16:19-21

Both the clothing, made of purple cloth, and the fine linen, worn for underclothes, were expensive. Both are indicative of opulence in antiquity. For the rich man, dressed in robes of royalty and fine Egyptian undergarments, life is a daily feast and party. He is a picture of a rich, indulgent, care-free lifestyle.
Just outside the gate of the rich man was laid a sick, hungry, neglected beggar. Lazarus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name which means “the one whom God helps. His sickness had robbed him of the strength to move himself. The family carried and laid the sick beggar at the rich man’s gate probably because he had the resources to do more than just give him a little food to sustain his life which was all the community could do.

The rich man was unnamed. God records Lazarus name while the rich man remains nameless. Note that Lazarus is counted as righteous not because he was poor but because he depended on God. Yet his poverty and inability to help himself gave him the opportunity to become great in faith which Jesus’ brother taught us in James 2:5.
The poor man’s longing is recorded in verse 21 and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; but the dogs were coming and licking his sores.
The poor man was longing for the crumbs which were falling off the rich man’s table.
Regrettable, the wealthy man had no concept of stewardship and thought only about his comfort or he would have done something at least to help the suffering beggar Lazarus. Obviously he didn’t recall such Scriptures as:
The one who enjoyed feasts and parties had no concern for the one who was suffering at his door step. Though the rich man showed no interest or concern but the dogs did. Dogs lick people as a sign of affection. Recent scientific research has discovered that saliva contains “endogenous peptide antibiotics,” which facilitate healing. Though the wealthy man felt no compassion toward Lazarus, the dogs did.

Bear in mind that Jesus is not using this parable to condemn the rich nor suggesting that all the poor will all go to heaven. Jesus doesn’t question how the rich man got his money or that he has it. The rich man isn’t even necessarily a bad man. In this story he is blind to the person in need who is sitting outside his gate.

A TRANSITION TO THE NEXT LIFE, 22-23.
In the course of time both men died. Lazarus, though too poor to afford a funeral, was transported by angels into the presence of Abraham, a place of blessedness. In heaven he was given a place of honor in proximity to Abraham’s bosom. “Abraham’s side” apparently refers to a place of paradise for Old Testament believers at the time of death
In spite of his wealth the rich man also died and was given no doubt a fine burial. I imagine he too was expecting to arrive to be with Abraham and continue to enjoy the good life.

Verse 23 contrasts the eternal destiny of the rich man with the eternal destiny of the beggar.
At death the rich man receives no heavenly escort but finds himself in hades. Hadēs, the Greek word some translate “hell,” (NIV) is used 11 times in the New Testament. The Septuagint used hadēs to translate the Hebrew še’ôl (the place of the dead) on 61 occasions. Here hadēs refers to the abode of the unsaved dead prior to the great white throne judgment.
Apparently everyone who died before Jesus was crucified to pay for the sins of mankind went to sheol, “the place of the grave.” Jesus’s parable divided it into two compartments, separated by a great divide. One side was filled with fire and torment. The other side was a place called “Abraham’s bosom” or “paradise.” Those who loved God would go to the paradise, or Abraham’s bosom side of sheol. The reason they couldn’t go directly to heaven is because the blood of Christ had not yet been shed. So paradise was simply a waiting room and Abraham, the Father of Faith, the Friend of God, would greet them there. Those who did not believe in God went to the torment side of sheol. And although there was a great gulf between the two, as seen in this passage, those on both sides could call out to one another—which would make the flaming side even more hellish. Ephesians 4:8–9 tells us that before Jesus ascended into heaven, He first descended into the lower parts of the earth and led those in Abraham’s bosom up to heaven. That is why Abraham’s bosom no longer exists today.
Hades is not the final destiny of the unbeliever, but rather only a temporary holding tank until after the Great White Throne Judgment when he will be cast into Gehenna, or outer darkness (Revelation 20). Contrary to popular belief, hell is not going to be one big New Year’s Eve party. Gehenna is a place of heat without light, of eternal isolation, of interminable torment.

In Hades the rich man finally saw “afar off” or saw the bigger picture of existence. The world says, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die,” because they only see what is in front of them. In death they’ll finally see afar off; they’ll finally see the big picture of eternity but it will be too late.

In the context of this chapter, the rich man’s sin was not that he hated Lazarus, but simply that he neglected him. The Bible says there are sins of commission, things we do that are wrong, and sins of omission, failing to do that which is right.
TWO DESTINATIONS IN DEATH, 16:24-26

The rich man is depicted as being able to converse with Abraham, even calling him father. First he prays for himself. He begs Abraham to have mercy on him and allow Lazarus to bring him a touch of water. Extreme thirsts is one of the most terrible pains we can suffer.

Another kind of agony or torment is the flame (Mt. 3:10-12).

Despite his circumstances he still sees Lazarus as someone to be ordered around someone who should relief his circumstance when he did nothing on earth to relief the circumstances of Lazarus.
Abraham gives two reason that comfort could not be brought to the formerly rich man in verses 25 & 26. In verse 25 the formerly rich man could not be helped because his character has now become unalterable.
These words capture the reversal of fortunes or circumstance to which Jesus is speaking. Abraham replied that it was not possible that he could be help and that he should remember that during life he had everything he wanted while Lazarus had had nothing. Even so, the rich man had never helped Lazarus during the course of his life. The man had lived for the good things of earth only caring about experiencing an abundance of earthly blessings. It is too late after death to change the way you lived because of who your were on earth. [Jesus elevates the man disdained by the Pharisees and humbles the man they would have considered blessed.

Although people mistakenly believe that, at worst, when they die they will cease to exist, the fact is that not only will they continue to exist, but they will be able to remember the good things they received on earth, the blessings God poured out upon them, the patience God showed to them, the many opportunities He gave them to turn to Him. Therefore, I suggest that one of the most horrendous aspects of hell is the memory people will have of the times they could have received the free gift of salvation, but chose to harden their hearts instead.

Again Jesus uses the word agony or torment. He uses it four times in this parable. It indicates real and definite pain.
Additionally, a great chasm separated paradise and hades so that no one could cross from one to the other. Jesus seems to be using the great chasm imagery to describe the permanence of our characters’ eternal destinies. Torment is one’s eternal recompense and comfort is Lazarus eternal blessing.

A PLEA FOR GREATER PERSUASION, 16:27-31

In verses 27-31 a second vital point is made. The Scriptures are sufficient for faith and when they are rejected, as the rich man has done not even an event as extraordinary as a resurrection will generate belief. That proved true in the case of Jesus.
It is interesting that the rich man realized the power of a testimony. He didn’t say, “Send a theologian, a Bible teacher, or a preacher.” He said, “Send the one who believed in God and is now in His presence that he may share his testimony.”

If you haven’t already, you will hear Satan whisper in your ear, “You can’t witness because you don’t know enough about the Bible; you’re not that solid in your own walk; your understanding of theology is too elementary.” That’s a lie. The most powerful thing you can share is your own testimony.
The formerly rich man now has a concern for his lost brothers, he wants to warn them, but he could do nothing about it. After we die it is too late to do anything to lead people to eternal salvation in Jesus Christ.

Also notice that the rich’s man concern had not changed in spite of his tormented condition. He was still self-centered. He prayed only for his comfort and the safety of his family. He was not concerned about the lost, only about his five brothers. How tragic that even the reality and torment of hell does not change condition the lost’s heart.

Are we guilty of knowing the reality of hell and the opportunity of heaven and failing to warn others of the coming judgment?
Abraham points out that they already have the Word of God. The Word of God is not only sufficient, it is the most powerful means in existence to bring people to faith.

If one will not be convinced about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the reality of eternal existence in either heaven or hell, nothing else could convince them. That is the supreme power and authority of the Word of God.

The five brothers of the rich man in Jesus' parable knew the-law given through Moses, and had refused to obey it. Confronted by prophetic warnings, they had turned their backs. Their problem was not hardness of hearing, but hardness of heart. And the pleas of a resurrected beggar would not have changed anything. May we pray for the courage to accept what is true even when it is more comfortable to ignore it.
In hell people finally realize the need to repent—not to believe in theology, but to repent from iniquity. Tragically, there will be those who believe in the existence of Jesus and in the inspiration of Scripture who will be lost eternally because of their refusal to repent, to change direction, to follow Jesus. The devils and demons believe, James tells us (2:19), but they’re not saved because their belief is based on intellectual acknowledgment rather than humble, personal repentance that leads to a change of life.
If God’s prophetic Word cannot convince and crack a hard heart, neither will great miracles. Jesus own resurrection is proof that only an open heart sees the evidence for God’s presence and hears His pleading voice. Jesus’ implication was that the rich man symbolized the Pharisees. They wanted signs—signs so clear that they would compel people to believe. But since they refused to believe the Scriptures, they would not believe any sign no matter how great.

Just a short time later Jesus did raise a man from the dead, another man named Lazarus (John 11:38-44). The result was that the religious leaders began to plot more earnestly to kill both Jesus and Lazarus (John 11:45-53; 12:10-11).
CONCLUSION

Living presumptuously with no compassion for people and no thought of eternity caused the rich man to end up in a real place called hell. The wicked do not just cease to exist but go to a place of torment. Jesus said hell is real indeed. God desires none should perish there.
In considering this passage, may we be renewed in our compassion and commitment. First, may we be renewed in our compassion and commitment to share what the Lord has given us. May we be willing to share what we cannot keep to gain what we cannot lose. Second may we be renewed in our compassion and commitment to share the good news with the lost. May we be reminded of the big picture of eternity and the power of a testimony. In other words, because we’ve considered hell, may we become more mindful of heaven.

There are many people within 5 miles of this spot that would like to go to heaven but God can’t find anyone to tell them how. Can He count on you to share your testimony with someone before its too late?
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