THE MEANING OF EASTER – THE PRODIGAL SON – ARE YOU COMING HOME?

April 4, 2012

“Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

Luke 15:1-10 KJV

Joy in the presence of God is celebrating when one sheep is lost and then found. All the Angels in Heaven are celebrating when one comes to repentance. That’s what the gospel is about. But these two parables were just an appetizer to the next one Jesus was about to tell. The Story of the Prodigal Son. The Greatest Short Story of all times. Jesus gave us this powerful story in the Book of Luke. Think of a time when someone extended “grace” to you: they could have blamed you or shamed you but they didn’t. They gave you love and understanding when you deserved something else. How did it feel? This is the story of a father’s grace which witnesses to God’s grace in Jesus. The definition of Prodigal is: Spending money or resources freely and recklessly; wastefully extravagant. The story starts here in the Bible, and Jesus says, “And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.” Luke 15:11-13 KJV Jesus sets up this scene with these two sons with a wealthy father. The younger son has this independent streak in him and he tells his father I don’t care if you live or die, just give me my inheritance now! He just thought life on the farm with his father, as lovely as it was, it was just holding him back from the good life. He wanted something more, he wanted something else. He was restless, he was running, he had to get a hold of what was forbidden. In doing this, he dishonored his father. He is so disrespectful, he disowned his family. It is an outrageous dis meaning request. Father give me what’s coming to me, I want it NOW! Sometimes love is tough, you have to let your child go when they are bound and determined to go his or her way. Well he is on his way to a far country. We don’t know where. Most likely it was a Gentile country. His heart was already there. He heard about the lights, heard about the parties, heard about the pleasures. He wanted it bad! When he gets there he is spending money left and right. He has friends all around him. Unfortunately the party doesn’t go on and on and on and on…..His friends bail out on him of course. They leave when the money runs out. This boy found out that his friends weren’t friends after all. They were just using him. When he hit rock bottom he was reaping what he sowed. His life is gone as he had known it. Have you ever been there? Have you ever had a D.U.I. and been arrested? Lost your job? Or maybe your marriage is on shaky grounds and your wife has come to you and asked for a divorce. Maybe you just feel you have hit rock bottom. Maybe your heart is far away from Jesus like both of the father’s sons. The son that stayed home with his father, his heart was just as far away as the Prodigal son‘s heart. It was just as the self-righteous people listening to Jesus as it was to this long-lost boy in this long-lost country. You could be someone raised in a christian home and grow up with a heart far from Jesus. Well by now the boy is now broke and hungry so he has to get a job. Jesus tells part of the parable here, “And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.” Luke 15:14-16 KJV This was about the lowest of the low to get a job feeding pigs. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he was eating not even good left over rubbish from the pigs. You see sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, cost you far more than you want to pay. Sin never delivers on its promises, sin promises freedom, but delivers bondage. Sin promises success, but delivers defeat. Sin promises that there is pleasure, and there is pleasure for a season, for a little while, but ultimately it delivers pain. “The wages of sin is death.” This boy thought happiness was not on the farm with his father, but in the big city with lights “doing his own thing his way.” We are all prodigal’s. We are all born with are backs towards God. We are all born with this rebellious streak, this attitude to live independent without the father. We have the idea we can live life our own way. If it weren’t for the Grace of God, we would all live in the far country, broken, wasted, and ruined. Maybe you are living the Prodigal Son’s life. Are you wasting your life away? This boy is representing all of us that is far from God. Finally the boy comes to his senses and says, I must be crazy to live a life-like this. He takes responsibility for his own sin. He takes responsibility of his life. He says, I own this, I did this. He came to himself. This is the turning point of the parable. Jesus tells it here, “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” Luke 15:17 KJV It’s the turning point in our lives. When we come to the place in our lives where we recognize we need to repent. Repent means to change your mind. That is what the boy is doing here. He is coming to his senses. He wakes up, he remembers that he is loved at home. He remembers the joy and the provisions in the father’s house and he is home sick. Do you want to know why you are feeling alone, longing for a home that is secure, a place where it is safe. Maybe it is because you are far from home. This boy now knows that everything he’s looking for is at home with his father. And everything you are looking for is a relationship with God. It’s knowing the Father, experiencing His love, His Grace, His forgiveness in your life, that’s what it’s about. So the boy said, I will go home! He could have said one of these days I will go home. Just like you would say, one of these days I will come to Christ. I’ll get my life right with God. He could have said I’m to far gone. My life is so upside down it’s never going to be right side up. I’ll never get my life back and my father will never take me back, but then he remembers, yes my father will receive me again. It doesn’t matter how far gone you feel, God’s love and Grace is waiting for you. All you have to do is like this boy did and say, I have sinned, I have sinned against Heaven and Earth and my Father. Confess your sin and repent of it. Jesus tells some more of the parable here, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” Luke 15:18-24 KJV His father came rushing to him kissing again and again and again……..It didn’t matter that he was dirty and smelly from working in the pig pen, and his clothes were like old rags. He had waited so long for this moment, for his son to finally to come home. When he embraces his son with his arms it is as if he is covering his sin. He is holding on to the one that is lost. His heart went out to him. What a “Picture of God” on a run to rescue us. If you will just take that first step home, He will run to you. He is standing at the door of your life and knocking, and if you hear His voice, open the door and He will come in. It’s not to late to say yes to Jesus. Just open your heart to him and confess your sins and commit your life to Him. Jesus’ death on the cross was in our place to pay for our sins through His mighty resurrection which has bought our Justification and purchased our Redemption through His blood, for the forgiveness of our sins. He will take off the rags of stench of sins, by the blood of His cross and the power of His resurrection He will restore and renew you as His son. And you will say this is where I belong, with my Father, with a relationship with God.

COMING SOON: http://www.thecupofsalvation.com

My Name is Jeff Ellinger

and

I AM SECOND


WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT THE STORY OF “THE WOMAN AT THE WELL” – JESUS TRIES TO EXPLAIN SALVATION

June 8, 2011

“Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.”
John 4:5-7 KJV


This story reminds me a great deal of what is taking place in the Gospels, which is especially clear in the third and fourth chapters of John’s Gospel.  He is a little too caught up in his position as a Jew, a Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin, and a renowned teacher of the Old Testament law. There is a kind of confrontation in the third chapter of John. Nicodemus is willing to acknowledge that Jesus is “a teacher who has come from God.”  yet he falls a little short of actually saying that Jesus is a prophet. When Jesus tells him that he will not make it into the kingdom of God as he is, without being reborn from above, he seems to try to get Jesus to change His course rather than to change his own. Nicodemus does ask questions, but there seems to be little progress toward genuine faith, at least so far. His questions do not convey a willingness by Nicodemus to change his thinking, but rather a resistance to what Jesus is saying. The same fundamental issues described in John chapter 3 are present in chapter 4. “The woman at the well” is a Samaritan, and Samaritans have their own distinct religion, a corruption of the Jewish faith. If the woman at the well is to come to a saving faith, she must change her course, just as Jesus required of Nicodemus. Both Nicodemus and the woman at the well must decide what to do with what Jesus has told them. Ultimately, this decision is based upon who they believe Jesus to be. In John chapter 1 informs us of our Lord’s deity, this chapter speaks also of His humanity, Jesus was tired. It was just about high noon, so that our Lord’s fatigue may have been partly related to the heat of the day. Weary from their journey, Jesus and His disciples come to a parcel of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. On this land, a mile or so from the city of Sychar, was Jacob’s well. It was a deep well, a hundred feet deep or so, fed by a spring. Other water was available in the area, closer to town, but this well may have provided the best water. It was at this well that Jesus sat down to rest. The Bible says, “There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.” John 4:7-9 KJV  Three things about this woman seem to put her at a distinct disadvantage. First, she is a Samaritan. Second, she is guilty of sexual immorality, and third, she is a woman. We have already commented about the way the Jews felt toward the Samaritans. We are not left in doubt about how the Pharisees would have dealt with such a woman.  In asking her for a drink of water, Jesus catches this woman completely off guard. Jews did not share eating or drinking utensils with Samaritans. The woman cannot help but inquire of Jesus why He would ask the unthinkable. Our Lord’s willingness to cast aside cultural barriers gets this woman’s attention. Then Jesus whets the woman’s appetite. It says in the Bible, “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:10-14 KJV  Our Lord’s answer is far from what this woman expects to hear. Jesus does not explain how He can ask to drink water from her cup. Instead, He immediately seeks to show her that she is the one in need of “water,” and that the “water” He gives is vastly superior to the water she can give. Notice the elements of this revelation. First, our Lord moves from literal water (a drink of water) to a “spiritual” water, the salvation which our Lord offers this woman. Second, Jesus indicates to this woman that there is something of which she is ignorant. She knows neither the “gift of God” nor the identity of the One speaking to her. If she knew these things, Jesus tells her, she would be asking Him for a drink, and He would have given her “living water” to drink. The woman does not understand what Jesus is saying, but she does understand that He is claiming to be someone important, and to have something she would want if she knew who He was and what He could give her. Just as Nicodemus was confused as it says in the Bible, “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:1-15 KJV  So if His water is truly better water than that which can be drawn from this well, then Jesus must at least think He is better than Jacob, who dug the well, used it to bountifully provide for men and flocks alike, and then gave it to his descendants, among whom this woman considers herself. Does Jesus dare claim to be better than Jacob? Jesus does not answer the question about being greater than Jacob quite yet. The Bible says, “The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.” John 4:15-18 KJV  If there is one thing this Samaritan is willing to admit she needs, it is water. That is why she comes out to Jacob’s well. Jesus asks her for some of this water, and then proceeds to inform her that He has better water, living water, water that produces eternal life, water that permanently quenches thirst. The woman is ready for this kind of water. And so she tells Jesus she would like some of His “water.” She obviously doesn’t really understand what this “water” is, but she is ready to accept some of it. She would gladly make this her last trip to Jacob’s well in the heat of the day. So Jesus instructs this woman to go and get her husband, and bring him back to the well. Jesus has now moved to the deepest level of this woman’s need, her need for cleansing from sin. To do this, He gently exposes sin in her life. He does so by telling her to bring her husband. She chooses to conceal her sin by giving Jesus an answer that is factually truthful, but functionally dishonest. She tells Jesus she has no husband. Jesus reveals His omniscience by informing the woman that she is technically correct, she does not have a husband. She has had five husbands, and the man she is now with is not her husband. Either way, Jesus has told this woman enough for her to correctly conclude that He has divine knowledge. He is, at a minimum, a prophet. She reasons from what He has told her that He could go on to tell her virtually everything she has ever done. Her sexual sins may be only the “tip of the iceberg,” but she is convinced He knows the whole iceberg. And she is right! The Bible says, “The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:19-24 KJV  Now her true “thirst,” her real need, is self-evident. I think this woman is eager to hear what Jesus has to say, and more eager than ever to have some of this “living water.” She perceives that Jesus is a prophet, and tells Him so. Nicodemus seems to “clam up” when Jesus gets too close to his sin, but this woman seems to “open up,” to want to know more. If Samaritans wish to be saved, they must forsake their system of religion and turn to a salvation that is “of the Jews.” It is “of the Jews” in that the Messiah is a Jew. It is “of the Jews” in that it is the fulfillment of God’s promises to the Jews, through His Word given to the Jews. Just as Nicodemus could not see the kingdom of God through adherence to the traditions of the Pharisees, so this woman cannot see the kingdom by following the religion of the Samaritans. The Bible says, “The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.” John 4:25-26 KJV  The woman is neither ignorant of the Samaritan faith nor of the Jewish faith. She makes the connection between our Lord’s words about worshipping “in spirit and truth” and the promised Messiah. She realizes that somehow when the Messiah comes, He will clear up these matters. He will reveal the truth about how men must worship God. I do believe that by the end of our Lord’s stay with these Samaritans, not only this woman, but most of the people of Sychar, believe in His name for salvation. At this point, I simply wish to emphasize that our Lord brings this woman to the point where she understands that she is a sinner, in need of salvation, where she understands that her Samaritan religious system cannot save her, and that salvation comes only through faith in Jesus as the promised  Jewish Messiah. Then the Bible says, “The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.” John 4:28-30 KJV  These verses depict the final step in the process of salvation, the sharing of one’s newly-found faith with others. Then in the Bible it says, “And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.” John 4:27,31-38 KJV  The best reading one could give the disciples’ words would be something like: “Jesus, You’re tired, and You need to regain Your strength. Please eat because You need the nourishment if we are to continue our journey.” Once again, our Lord’s response to His disciples’ prodding is not what we expect. Instead of speaking of literal food, He talks of spiritual “food.” Our Lord’s response to His disciples sets down some very important principles, principles which not only governed His life and ministry, but which should guide His disciples as well, and we are to be included among such “disciples.” Our Lord’s most essential “food” is doing the Father’s will by completing His work. The same thing happened in the Bible here, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?” John 2:19-20 KJV  The holy spirit makes us holy, not our own fleshly works.  The holy spirit sets us apart, not our own fleshly works.  Before we can be holy and acceptable unto God, we must become the temple of God.  We must be born again through belief in the destruction of the temple of God (the body of Jesus), and his rebuilding (the resurrection of Jesus Christ).  Are you a Christian, or are you just religious? If you take the words of our Lord seriously, there is a great difference between those who are religious and those who are reborn from above. Nicodemus was as lost as the Samaritan woman at the well. Hell will be populated by many people who are “religious,” who have trusted in their religion to save them, rather than trusting in Christ alone. There will be many in hell who trusted in their works to get them to heaven, rather than in His work, the work of our Lord Jesus Christ and the cross of Calvary. He came down from heaven, and He was lifted up on a cross to bear the penalty of your sins and mine. He was raised from the dead and exalted to the right hand of God. He offers to us His righteousness and His life. If you trust in Him, rather than in yourself, you will be reborn from above, and thus you can be assured that you will see the kingdom of God. So why not today open up your heart to Jesus Christ, because He is the One that died on the cross and shed His blood and paid the penalty for your sins so you could have that free gift of eternal life. Amen

By: Jeff Ellinger


WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT “THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS”

April 29, 2011

     “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 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; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 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. 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. 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.”

Luke 16:19-26 KJV

The Parameters:

Jesus had just given a parable about wealth and taught that you cannot serve both God and money. The Pharisees were lovers of money (Luke 16:14) and scoffed at Jesus. So He tells them another parable about trusting in money. He even begins it the same way he began the last parable – with the phrase, there was a certain rich man…

Jesus had also taught that while the Pharisees looked at the outside, God looks at the heart. (Luke 6:15)

Jesus made a comment in verse 16 about the law and the prophets being proclaimed until John.

Although most people think of future things when they think of the prophets, what the prophets primarily did was condemn Israel for oppressing the innocent and the poor. They proclaimed the importance of loving ones neighbor. This parable will portray one who does not do that.

Jesus also says he is preaching the gospel of the kingdom and makes a comment that everyone is forcing his way into it. This means that everyone is trying to get in. What we will see is examples of someone who gets in and someone who doesn’t. Jesus condemns the wrongful love of money in the Pharisees who thought that riches were synonymous with righteousness.

The Problem

We always talk about the attitude and question that Jesus is dealing with in his parables. In this one the attitude he is dealing with is the Pharisees attitude towards their wealth. They thought wealth was a sign of spirituality and blessing from God. They also thought that poverty was a result of sinfulness and cursing from God. They were sure that poor people were not going to go to heaven.

What is Gods attitude towards the Pharisees who were devoted to money and took great pride that they had it? Would they enter the kingdom of God? What does it take to enter the kingdom (i.e. go to heaven)?

The Progression

Chronological or Logical – there are contrasts between the two characters in their earthly life and the after-life.

Earthly Life

Rich Man – Dressed nice, ate well, lived it up every day. He was on the inside.

Lazarus – dressed in rags, hungry, struggled to survive, oozing sores — therefore unclean, too weak to fight off the dogs. He is on the outside.

After-Life

Lazarus – In Abraham’s bosom – in heaven – happy – banqueting imagery (reclining next to Abraham at a banquet). He is on the inside.

Rich Man – In Hades – tormented – on the outside.

Note the reversal of the earthly situation. Notice also that the eternal situation is irreversible. There is no second chance. What does this say about the Catholic doctrine of purgatory? The rich man is in Hades which is a place of torment – a holding tank for hell. Death and Hades will be thrown into the lake of fire. Rev… But you can’t get out.

Notice in vs. 24 that the rich man is still trying to order Lazarus around. He wants God to send the poor man to minister to him. His attitude hasn’t changed. I wonder what that says about repentance after death? Will there be any? Or will people in hell also burn with anger?

The Point

Social status and material possessions are no guarantee of ones standing with God. The only thing that matters is a right response to the Word of God.

The Relation of the Parable to the Kingdom of God

Entrance into the kingdom is dependent on one’s faith in Jesus to whom the Scriptures point, not on one’s relationship to Abraham.

The Pharisee did not listen to what the prophets said about the coming Messiah nor about how to treat their neighbors. It was the lack of love that illustrated he had no regard for the prophets. He was counting on his relationship to Abraham.

The Particulars

  • In present life there was no chasm between Lazarus and the rich man. In fact Lazarus was begging just outside the rich man’s gate. The rich man could have gone out and helped Lazarus any time he felt like it. But in eternal life there is a great chasm separating heaven and hell. Jesus uses space to emphasize that this gap is uncrossable and permanent. Notice also that it prevents those who want to go from heaven to hell (to show mercy) can’t.
  • Lazarus “laid at the man’s gate” which indicates he was crippled or lame. He was also poor. According to the Pharisees, people were poor, lame, sick, etc. because they were wicked. It proved not to be the case.
  • The rich man was not with father Abraham in paradise like he thought he would be. Jews – and especially the Pharisees – thought they were guaranteed entrance into heaven because of their physical relationship to Abraham.
  • The rich man did not listen to the law and the prophets which taught about how to love one’s neighbor (Micah 6:8). He did not love his neighbor. We know from the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 that loving one’s neighbor involved helping one who was down and out like Lazarus was.
  • The prophets also predicted that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, be the friend of outcasts, etc. (cf. Micah 5:2f; 4:6, Isa 61:1-2). This was also emphasized in Luke 14: and 15:1. The rich man rejected that truth also. He was too good to be the friend of outcasts.
  • The rich man knew his brothers weren’t paying attention to the OT scriptures either and thought they would be convinced if Lazarus came back from the grave. In fact, there was a man named Lazarus who was raised from the dead in John’s gospel. (This is the only parable in which a character is named and I’m certain Jesus did so because he knew he would raise Lazarus.4) It did not convince them. They wanted to kill him again. Jesus was also raised from the dead, and they were not convinced.
  • Rich man knew Lazarus in real life (we know that because he knew his name in heaven) but he ignored him.
  • Treatment of Lazarus on earth revealed the rich man’s true relationship to God.

The Principles

Catholic principles

There is an immediate consciousness after death.

Post death destinies are irreversible. There is no purgatory where you wait until your relatives bail you out.

Charismatic principles:

Signs are never a guaranteed cure for unbelief. If your heart is not open to the word of God now, a supernatural experience won’t help. That is what John Wimber and those in the signs and wonders movement are looking for – signs to make people believe. They have actually said, “If we can only get someone to come back from the dead…” My question is how many do we need? If it did happen, even true believers would be skeptical.

Faith comes by hearing and believing the word of God. Not from seeing miracles. Jesus said, “They have the law and the prophets…”

Christian Principles

  • True religion demands social compassion. We need to evaluate our attitudes towards those in need. It reveals our status and relationship with God. The problem with most evangelicals is that they have over reacted against the liberal “social gospel.”
  • The realities of the after-life include torment and blessing. Not annihilation or neutrality. Some people today are teaching a doctrine of annihilation.
  • Disappointment and disease are not necessarily a sign of God’s displeasure.
  • We need to evaluate our attitude towards wealth. What are we depending on? Do we think being rich means we are right with God? We need to worry more about eternity.
  • God’s word is our source of information. It is enough, don’t look for supernatural signs.
  • The decisions of this life are final and determinative. There are no second chances where heaven is concerned.
  • Luke 16 is not just about money or wealth. That is what everyone labels it. But when you really understand the chapter the key element in both the parables is personal relationships. With the parable of the steward the issue was making friends for eternity which would fall under the heading of evangelism. With this philosophy one of the most worthwhile things you can give to is missions. When you give a donation to sending Bibles to India or China or sending missionaries out, you are making friends for eternity. I have to wonder if when we all get to heaven if people saved through the ministry of some missionary are going to find the ones who supported the missionaries financially and say thank you. Ray Boltz has a song entitled Thank You where this guy gets to heaven and all these people come up to him and thank him for the time he took to teach Sunday school where they first heard the gospel…. Maybe God will give us the knowledge of all who contributed to our salvation so we can thank those that allowed themselves to be used by God. Think of the joy that will bring to you when someone comes to you and says, I wouldn’t be here without your help. Thank you so much!
  • In the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, the rich man should have used his money to help Lazarus. But he only used his money for his own enjoyment. It says in vs. 19 that he dressed in the latest and best fashions and spent all his money on partying and buying expensive things for himself. Since Lazarus was the righteous one in the story, it is not about evangelism, it is about edification. It is about what the rich man should have done to build Lazarus up. He should have tried to help Lazarus.
  • If you remember the summary of the parabolic sayings, the last two were about the dragnet and the householder. Those two parabolic sayings emphasized the disciple’s responsibility for evangelism and edification. We see the same theme repeated here.
  • Both stories are really about whether or not we love others. One of the barometers of how we love is how we spend our money. The question to ask ourselves is – Who do I love? The answer can be found by going through our check register.

4 Some argue that this is not a parable because a character is named. But those who argue thus do not understand that minor variations from the literary motif do not mean it is not a parable. The variation is there to emphasize something. In this case it draws attention to Lazarus who was raised.


permission granted by David Austin Exec Director http://bible.org (worlds largest bible study site)

http://bible.org/seriespage/rich-man-and-lazarus

ALL SCRIPTURES TAKEN FROM LUKE CHAPTER 16 (UNLESS NOTED) ****



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