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Hell Is Real - Luke 16:19-31 - Let's Be Clear

Made for More / Andrew Hopper | Mercy Hill Church
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February 25, 2024 7:00 am

Hell Is Real - Luke 16:19-31 - Let's Be Clear

Made for More / Andrew Hopper | Mercy Hill Church

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February 25, 2024 7:00 am

Understanding Hell rightly should push us to share confidently.

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What's up Mercy Hill Church?

My name is Daniel Thompson. I am super honored. Thank you. Thank you. I am super honored to be able to speak here tonight.

Just a few seconds ago, I caught a last minute audible. Before I get into this, I want to say something. This whole week I have wanted to do a good job. I've wanted to preach well. But I want to ask something of you, as we continue on, that you would pray and beg God to hide me behind the cross. Because I promise you this, it will be a miss if you leave saying, wow, what a good speaker and not leave and say, wow, what an amazing Savior. So I want to ask that of you this entire time, beg God that he would shine through these words, this scripture, and I would just fade into the background and not be seen. I mean, I am absolutely excited. If this is your first time here, man, it is awesome that you're here and you chose to be here with us.

Let me tell you something. Last week we had something we call Scent Weekend, where we talk and we highlight what God is doing around the world in and through the people here at Mercy Hill Church. It was absolutely incredible.

Every event, the sermon, the teaching. And one of the things we got that was in all the seats was all of our Go Team trips for the year. And I got so fired up thinking about everybody going and, man, I want everyone to go.

And I wish I could just say, hey, you need to go and shake everyone. But then something happened. I was sitting in the service last week and I was sitting with some friends. And during the service, his son, a six year old little boy, started getting teary-eyed. And typically, if I'm being honest, it's because he's hit his sister and his dad reprimanded him or he hit his dad below the belt. Typical six year old boy things, you know. But then after the service, his dad came up to me and said, hey, when he was crying, I asked him, son, are you all right?

What's wrong? And he said, Dad, I'm sad that people don't know Jesus and they don't have the opportunity to know Jesus. And I thought I was like, that's why we do Go Team trips. That's why we do it. Because at some point, if you're a believer, if you've been in church for any amount of time, for your whole life or for just a few months, the way of the lostness around the world weighs on you. But what happens is we get inoculated to it.

We get just enough to where it doesn't stir us as much as it used to. But I can promise you, I went on to a trip to Honduras last year and going there and coming face to face with lostness on a scale that we might not have here. But what it does to you is it burdens you. It weighs on you.

And yet not every single person is going to go for multiple years international. But I can promise you this, every single person is a follower of Jesus that goes and sees people that don't have access to the gospel. What it does in you, it says, I've got to play my part in getting people from where they are to where the gospel is not. So when I challenge you, I want to ask you, have you considered going? Have you considered what would it look like for my family to go? What would it look like for me to take a year, I mean, a week out of my year and go and say, God, show me something.

Break my heart for what breaks yours. And that's why we do Go Team trips. You can go to our website. We have all lifted out. We have student team trips.

We have trek trips for college students. We have everything. And I would want nothing more than for us to jump in and do that. But I want to tell you this, I talk just as fast as Pastor Andrew and I like to talk way more. So we've got to get going.

All right, we're going to be here for 50 minutes and I'm going to get kicked off the stage. But I'm very, very excited. We're going to be in Luke chapter 16. So if you have a copy of scripture, you can go there. We're going to be in Luke chapter 16 and we're jumping back into our Let's Be Clear sermon series. So we're looking at things that the Bible is very, very clear on and making sure that we understand them rightly so that we're not shaping those things. We're allowing them to shape us.

And because of that, we've been going through this and we're walking through some of these hard passages and we're seeing, God, what does it say and how should we live in response? And tonight our topic is hell. Now, every time Pastor Bobby preaches, he says, you know, Andrew, I feel like any topic or any passage doesn't want to preach this hard, he gives it to me. And I've always laughed and said, that's a good joke, Bobby. But when I get this topic, I'm buying into the conspiracy a little bit.

You know, you might be pawning these off. But no, seriously, this is an absolutely incredible, incredible topic. I'm excited for it. But this is one of those things that even people who have been in church their whole life feel the exact same way of people who would never dare step foot in church. When people mention hell, it makes us feel a little weird. I'm sure some people beside you and maybe you, when you heard that topic, you shifted in your seat a little bit and you felt a little awkward because it's something we don't like to talk about. Just don't bring it up.

Bring up anything else. It reminds me before grades were passed out in school online, they were given to you and you had to take them home to get your parents to sign, you know, your test grade. I was a bad kid. When I got a grade, if I didn't study in a bad grade and knew my parents were going to be upset, not a chance I was showing it to them, not a chance in the world. And so I would hide it and I would just try to be on my best behavior and be like, OK, don't bring it up. But without fail, my mom and my dad would be like, did you get your test grade back? And I'll be like, anything but that?

Please no. And I would get nervous. And I think a lot of Christians, a lot of people in the church feel the exact same way about topics like this. They're like, man, you want to talk about repentance? You want to talk about the goodness of God? You want to talk about salvation?

How much Jesus loves you? I'm all there. But the second someone brings up hell, we're like, anything but that? And my prayer is that tonight that's the last time we feel that way about this. It's the last time we squirm in our seats because I think when we understand it rightly, it won't do that because Jesus talks about it a significant amount.

He talks about it so much. And if he puts that much emphasis on talking about it and we feel the way we feel about it, it tells me one thing, our understanding of and our application of the doctrine of hell is very, very flawed. It's very flawed. And my hope is that this passage can correct some of the wrong beliefs and feelings towards that. So what I want to do is I want to read the passage in its entirety and I want to walk back through it and point out some of the things that we see about hell, what Jesus says about hell, and then at the very end say, OK, now that we understand it rightly, what should it do in our lives? Let's begin reading Luke 16, starting in verse 19. There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus covered with sores who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table.

Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. And in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue. For I am an anguish in this flame. But Abraham said, child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things and Lazarus and like man are bad things.

But now he is comforted here and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you is a great chasm has been fixed in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able and none may cross from there to us. And he said, then I beg you, Father, to send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment. But Abraham said, they have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them. And he said, no, Father Abraham. But if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.

And he said to him, if they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead. I want to tell you a little bit about me. I have a 13 month old and I have a baby that will be here in about a month.

So pray for me. That's what I need to tell you about me. No, but my 13 month old, she's getting to a point where she loves playing.

It's getting fun. She likes to wrestle. She'll run at me and try to tackle me.

It's incredible. I love it more than anything. But I'm excited for when she wants to start playing games like board games and stuff like that. I'm excited, not necessarily as much because she wants to play them so that I can absolutely annihilate her. I come from a family where we did not let kids win. I didn't win a game, didn't win anything against my parents, my brother, my sister. My great grandmother died when I was seven or eight years old. And I think I'm like 0 and 40 against her in any type of game. But she's a believer, so I'll get to get her back one day. But I remember playing games with kids and I'm excited for that.

One time I was playing Sorry with a kid from a family in our community group. And I'm just absolutely winning and just going on and on and on. No mercy. And I keep sending him back, Sorry, back to start, Sorry, back to start, Sorry, back to start. And eventually he stands up and he goes, that's not fair. That's not fair. And I had to talk to him and I was like, hey buddy, it's just a game. I'm sorry. It's okay.

We don't have to play anymore. But man, it's actually very, very fair. That's the rules of the game.

I had to explain that to him. And we've all experienced that with a kid. We've all experienced that with kids getting angry and getting upset over a game or playing a sport and we had to calm them down. And most of us grow out of that and we grow out of board games and we understand that rules of the game shouldn't make us angry and that's just how it works. But I believe that most of us might move out of that in one area of life, but not in every area of life. And specifically when it comes to the topic of hell, there are so many people who look at that and say, God, it's not fair. It's not fair. And very quickly, what was funny with a seven-year-old in a board game is absolutely critical for a 70-year-old when it comes to eternity. And so our big idea is this, is hell is the just destination for sinners who die without Jesus. But my hope today is it's the last day that a lot of us feel that way again, where we say it's not fair.

But I get it. When we read a statement like that, when we hear a statement like that, and I experience people all the time who respond and they feel uneasy about it. Typically, when I talk with students or anybody in general, I get one of two responses. You get one that's like, OK, that's good. I'm going to heaven. I'm glad the bad people are going to hell. And then you hear the other group that's like, no, how could anybody, that's evil.

How could anyone go to hell? And before we really get going into this any further, I want to be very clear. Both of those come from the same place.

Both of those responses. And they're faulty reasoning to begin with. Because they both start with the assumption that we are good. Some of us or all of us, they believe the first person says, you know, there's some people that are good. I'm one of those good people and the bad people go to hell.

And the second person says, well, all or most of us are good. So none of us should be punished for any little mistake that we make. I mean, the Bible paints a very, very different picture for us. It says that our hearts are deceitfully wicked.

Who can know it? The Bible says that we are dead and our trespasses in sin. Paul says it really, really well.

He says the things I want to do, I don't do. And the things I don't want to do, I do. It even says that none of us are righteous. But I want to be very clear as this as well is that's not the case when we compare ourselves to others.

We're better than some people in the sense of there's some people in history, if you look throughout, there's been bad people that have done worse things. But like last week, when Landon mentioned, we compare ourselves to the goodness and holiness of God. And every single thought that we are good and righteous before a holy God evaporates in an instant.

And that's what this is talking about. He's saying that our goodness, man, does nothing for God. And if we die apart from the salvation of Jesus, man, hell is just for us.

But if hell is real, we need to understand it correctly and make sure that we know what it means for us. Let's look at verse 19 again. It says there was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen who feasted sumptuously.

Man, one of the things that I see, you know, growing up in church, I always struggle with this. We see here, you know, he says that Lazarus, let me paint this picture. Lazarus is a very, very wealthy man. He has purple. It's very expensive.

It's hard to come by. Very wealthy in that time. He had all the food he could ever want.

He had all the food that he ever want. And then you contrast it with Lazarus, this poor man. And when I read stories like this and growing up in church, I hear people and I feel that people somehow we think, OK, cool, I understand that. Can't have things. Materialism bad. Having things is bad.

Money is the problem. I mean, the Bible says it. Blessed are the poor. Even Jesus says here, you know, Abraham says you had your good things in life and Lazarus didn't.

Now the roles are switched. And I've had people justify it. They're like, well, if I give more than I have or if I if I do this, if I do some moving around, then I'm not that bad. As long as I'm not as wealthy or as long as I'm not this, that and the other.

But what I want to make sure that we understand is this is it's not necessarily about what you have. You know, Pastor Andrew and I, we we kind of make up two very distinct people in this world group. And Pastor Andrew is the first person, the people who read books.

I make up the second people, the normal people who wait for the movie to come out. And one of those books and one of the series that Pastor Andrew mentions a lot that I like the movies for is the Lord of the Rings series. Sure, the books are great.

Movies are awesome. If you know the books are good, good for you. But one of the characters in there that always stands out to me is this character of Gollum. If you don't know anything about it, well, let me spoil it for you. And if you're mad that I spoil it, the book, the books came out 100 years ago in the movies 20 something years ago.

So it is what it is. But he was a man at some point. He found this ring called the Rings of Power, one of the Rings of Power. And it was the one ring that ruled them all as a magical ring. And he obsessed over it. He wanted it more than anything. And it changed him into this this creature that was this thing called Gollum.

And he fast forward in the whole movie. He's just going after this thing. And even at the very, very, very end of it, when Frodo throws it into the mountain and the mountain doom and it absolutely just goes into lava, he dives after it and gets it and he looks at it and he says, precious, my precious.

And he's in anguish, but he did it for that one thing. And I think in that illustration, it kind of gets to the point of what Jesus is trying to make. The problem is not with having things. It's when those things have you. A lot of times we can say, as long as I give a little bit or this, that's the wrong thought process. The wrong thought process leads us to say, hey, it matters about what I have. But what Jesus is pointing out here, no, it matters what has you. He's not telling us that the rich man is in hell because he had things, because he had wealth.

He's telling us he's in hell because that wealth had him. And for some of us, maybe it is wealth, maybe it is money. Maybe that's the thing that is your affection and has every part of you.

But maybe it's something else. Let me ask you this way. What is the thing that makes it whether you have a good day, a good month, a good year? Is it if your kids are succeeding? Is it if work is going well? Is it if your kids are obedient? Is it if you pass a class?

If you make good grades? If you're doing well in all these areas of life, you're healthy? Does your life rise and fall when you look at the car you drive compared to someone else? Or the clothes you wear, the things you have? Does it cripple you when your kids act out because it reflects poorly on you? What has you?

Do those things own you? If this parable was talking about you and it was talking about me, what would it say? Would it say rich man? Would it say successful businessman? Would it say mom who has obedient children?

Would it say student who makes really, really good grades? They're going to have a good job one day. Is that the thing that has us?

Man, every single one of us has things in our lives that are trying so, so, so hard to move from being had by us to having us. And we have to identify them and bring them before the Lord. And I think that's one of the reasons Jesus talks about money so much. He doesn't vilify it.

He doesn't vilify anything. But he knows very, very, very quickly those things can become owning us. They can start to own us. Man, God gave us these things to steward. They are gifts from God. They're not meant to be seen as evil.

They're not meant to be seen as bad. But we need to take steps into moving them out of controlling our lives to us stewarding them for God's kingdom. Man, if you've never given, give.

If you've never given up a week of your summer to go, go. If you have a talent for worship and you've never taken that step, if you have a talent to serve and you've never served, if you've never done anything, take one step. Because if we don't, those things day by day will begin to own us. And that's what we see. And Jesus wants more for your life than being controlled by the things he gave you.

He wants more for you. And let's continue on and look in verse 27. And he said, Then I beg you, Father, to send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come to this place of torment. So we see this whole time. He's asking, he asked Lazarus to come cool him. Then he finally tells Abraham, he's like, OK, I understand where I am. Send somebody back to my brothers so they don't come here as well. So they don't do this. Seems a bit selfless.

Seems good. He's kind of resigned his situation. And he's saying, send someone back to my brothers.

And that's what I thought. But after studying and listening to commentaries and seeing people around, one of the things they point out is there's some undertone here that he's implying that he didn't have enough information. He's implying that if I had had a little bit more, if someone had come back from the dead, then I would know. And I hear people all the time. They'll come up to me and say, can you can you prove it? Man, if Jesus came to me, then I would believe. If I had more, if you could just make it without a shadow of a doubt that you could prove it to me, then I would believe.

And what the Bible is saying here is that's not true. You know, I told you I have children and I'm getting a little older. I'm approaching 30. And one of the things everyone says that you don't believe until you get a little older, I know, is that the weight doesn't fall off of you as easy as it did at some point. You know, you can't just eat whatever you want. You can't just do anything. I've continually just gained five to eight pounds a year like clockwork.

It's just going and going and going and my future is not looking bright. But what I did, I was like, OK, OK, I need to cut out some fast food. And I love McDonald's. I love it.

And if you're a purist and you say you don't like McDonald's, man, I'll pray for you. But I love it. But I resolved I'm not going to eat this anymore.

Right. I had done all the research. I knew it was bad for me. I knew it was going to be very, very, very bad for my life.

And so I'd go weeks without it. But then it'd be very late at night and I'd be driving home and I would see those beautiful golden arches off in the distance. And before I knew it, my blinker would turn on and I'd be moving over lanes and I'd have some cheeseburgers and nuggets beside me. I even watched the Super Size Me documentary where they show you where they grind up all the chicken and make into these little chicken nuggets.

And I went to McDonald's the next day. I got some serious problem. But that kind of gets to the point of what Jesus is saying here and what Abraham says to the rich man. He says, information alone won't change you.

Only transformation will. We hear it all the time. There are plenty of people who know tons about Jesus. There's people that know more about me. They know more about the Bible. They have lots of knowledge. They have tons of information, but they've never been changed by the gospel.

So many of you, if I asked you, you'd have every answer to every question that I could pose. But the gospel has never done a work in your life. And information alone won't do it. Man, one thing that we see here is hell isn't for the uninformed.

It's for the non-transformed. And that's a very, very, very clear distinction that he makes. It's that it's not once we get a certain amount of information, then we're good. So how? How do we live this transformed life? As I mentioned at the end of that, Abraham says, even if they saw someone rise from the dead, they wouldn't believe. And they didn't understand fully what he was saying, but we do on this side of the cross. Jesus was saying, even when I die and rise again, you won't believe. But in our world, what does that mean? So what do we do?

Do we have any hope? What the Bible tells us is this, seeing someone rise from the dead won't change you. But the one who rose from the dead will. When we hear all this stuff about seeing is believing and all of that, what we see in the Bible is that it takes a work of Jesus coming into your life and transforming you from the inside out. It's not about having all this information. It's about being and experiencing transformation.

Now, don't hear me say this. Don't hear me say information isn't important. Don't hear me say it's not important, because it is. Man, we need the gospel. We need the information about what Jesus has done. But you can have information without transformation, but you cannot have transformation without information.

You can have one. You can have all the information and not be transformed. But if you're going to be transformed, you need to know the gospel. And if we want to see people transformed by the gospel, we have to go to them with the gospel. I mean, one of the things that I want for all of us is that when we see and we understand hell rightly, when we see that it's for people who haven't been changed by the gospel or the person who does the changing, it should stir within us this desire to go take the information to them and bring them to the one person who can actually change them from the inside out.

But so many of us, we sit here and we say, if I just had more information, if I just could see something, that's what the Bible says. But we've just heard him ask Abraham to send Lazarus back to his brothers. He's asked him. He's seen Lazarus. He said, Lazarus, come cool my tongue. He's asked all these things, but it kind of stood out to me.

It struck me. There's one thing he doesn't ask for that I thought would be the first thing. He doesn't say, get me out. He doesn't say, bring me to heaven. He doesn't say, let me trade places.

Can I do something? He never asked to go to heaven. He has to be comforted. Worst case scenario, he kind of asked Lazarus to come to hell with him. But I'm sure if you asked him, hey, do you want to go to hell? He would say no. But I'm also sure if you asked him, do you want to go to heaven?

He would say no. Because what we see in scripture, what we see here is not wanting to go to hell isn't the same thing as wanting to go to heaven. And there's so many people that when they hear about hell and they hear how the Bible describes hell, they're like, I don't want that. But then when you talk to them about a relationship with Jesus and what it means to submit to the lordship of Christ, they're like, I don't want that either. What the Bible tells us is simply not wanting to go to hell is not enough.

It's not enough. You know, I've heard people say the gospel and salvation and Christianity is just a get out of hell free card. You know, or I've heard people say that it's just some scare tactic. That it's mean, it's wrong to try to scare people to say hell's bad, go to Jesus. But that doesn't save people. That doesn't save people because 99 percent of the population doesn't want to go to hell. But very few of those people actually want to spend eternity with Jesus.

And I heard it said this way, and I think this is the best way I can put it. In eternity, God gives people exactly what they asked for in this life. He gives them exactly what they asked for in this life. If you want God here, if you want to submit to the lordship of Christ here, he will give it to you forever in eternity in heaven. But if you want a godless life, if you want God to stay completely out of your life in eternity, he will say, man, you can have a godless eternity. That's what we see here. That's what happens to the rich man.

Man, one of the things I struggle with and I've always struggled with, but when C.S. Lewis said it, it made sense to me. He paints this picture. He said, hell is like a jail cell that's locked from the inside. The point he's making is this, is that people in hell, they don't want to go to heaven because they didn't want God on earth.

So they're not going to want him for eternity. So what should that do in us? Man, it should stir up a great affection for the lost. It should stir up such a motivation and urgency to go get the gospel to those who don't have it. It should cause us to put the gospel in front of them. You know, people think of eternity as everyone desperately wanting to go to be with God.

They think of everybody wanting desperately to go to heaven and God saying, nope, nope, nope, nope. OK, you're good. Nope, nope, nope, nope. OK, you're good.

Nope, nope, nope, nope. I mean, it's actually the complete opposite. Everyone on earth wants to be the lord of their own life. Everyone wants to control everything about their life and they want God to stay out of it. But it takes Jesus intervening on our behalf to where that completely flips in our mind. And so that's what he's saying here. He's telling us that if you want an attorney with me, you'll get it. And if you don't, I won't force you. But what's sad is I've seen even in believers, this fear stays after the point of salvation.

There's so many Christians that are afraid of going to hell. And I remember I told you I was one of three. My sister's eight and a half years older than me.

And I've been holding this for 15 years. So I'm going to confess it here. I know my family will hear this, but she used to let me watch movies I shouldn't watch when I was younger.

She did. When I was about seven or eight years old, I saw the movie 300. If you haven't seen 300, it's not for seven or eight year olds. And if you're a seven or eight year old, don't watch 300. But it's about this Spartan king, Leonidas. And one of the scenes that I remember watching was there's this huge pit, this huge pit. And anytime someone bring information to him or say something to him that he didn't like, he just kick him bang right in the chest down the pit. And all the Spartans would cheer and they would laugh and they would be celebrating.

And this person would be falling to their death and they'd be screaming, begging, just like, no, freaking out. And that was my view of hell. I had this view that any wrong slip up, God was going to send me to hell and he was going to laugh about it.

That's completely wrong. And I can tell you this for a fact. When someone goes to hell, God is not laughing.

He is not laughing. And for the believer. And I can promise you this, the same spirit that saved you is the one that's going to keep you.

It's the one that's going to seal you. And the best part about it is there ain't nothing you can do about it. There is nothing you can do to change the fact that when he saves you, he keeps you. Because if we could lose our salvation, we would. We would do the things that we shouldn't do.

And we should not do the things that we want to do. That's what Paul says. And that's so true. And if you're a believer in here tonight, then we need not fear retribution. Because when Jesus, I feel like we missed this so much, we realize and we think when Jesus saw us, he saw all of our sin before salvation and it's our job to keep it right.

No, no, no. He saw every sin you would commit before and after you were changed. And he still said you are worth it. And because of that, fear should not be a thing that weighs on us anymore. Fear should not be a thing for the believer. Fear that God is going to somehow smite us should not be a thing. But what it shouldn't do is this. We shouldn't say, hell don't apply to me anymore. I don't want to think about it.

No, no. In the gospel, fear isn't simply removed. It's replaced. It's replaced with love. It's replaced with compassion, because once you move and say, OK, hell is no longer on the table for me, it dawns on you that it is on the table for so many people that you know and so many people around the world. And so the fear that you once had about God sending you there is replaced with a compassion and a sense of urgency to give the gospel to those that don't have it.

It's not just removed, it's replaced. Man, an awesome first step, something we've been doing here for a while. It's something we call Who's Your One? It's the one person that you want to see Jesus do an absolutely incredible work in their life. And there's an event coming up, Easter.

It's the perfect way to flesh out this. OK, I'm not afraid that God's going to send me to hell, but there are people in my life that if they don't have an absolute, incredible interaction with the Savior, that's their future. And my heart breaks for them.

And I want nothing more than to see them respond to the gospel and invite them to Easter, invite them to church, live out that fear of hell, fear of what God says is no longer on the table of you has moved and has been replaced with compassion and love and urgency and a desperation to see the lost redeemed. So we've seen a lot from the rich man in this passage. We've seen a lot from, you know, it starts, we see these two characters very early. We see the rich man and Lazarus, this rich man and this poor man.

But then pretty much the rest of the story is the rich man. He's talking to Abraham. He's asking to be cool of his tongue. He's asking to be comforted.

He's asking for somebody to be sent back to his brothers. We see a lot of this stuff and we don't really see that much from Lazarus. He's kind of just there. You know, I was thinking, OK, this is a passage about hell. This is a passage about hell in heaven. And he talks a lot about hell.

He does. But I was thinking, I was like, man, Jesus, if you wanted people to be in heaven, you would think you would lay out every single thing that Lazarus did to get him there. He was a good person. He tithed. He worshiped this way. He read the Bible this much. He did all these types of things. He laid out all these things. And so I'm sitting there thinking like, man, did he not give us like enough? Did he not tell us how we get to heaven? Did he not do it?

And then it dawned on me as I was sitting there studying this passage, it kind of jumped out at me. But he gave us exactly what we needed to know, because the only thing we know about Lazarus is his need and his name. That's all we know about him. We know that he had no chance to do anything in and of his own effort. And we know he's the only person in the story.

The rich man was identified by the things he had. And Lazarus is the only person in the story that has a name. And the name Lazarus means this.

It means God has helped him. All we know is his need and his name. And if you're a believer in this room, you need to know this. Ephesians 2 tells you that we are dead in our trespasses and sin. But God made us alive together in Christ.

And by grace, you have been saved. Man, it tells us that our need is that we are dead. We're not just bad. We're not just flawed.

We don't just need to get a little bit better. We are totally and utterly depraved, hopeless without God interacting on our behalf. And so we know our need.

But then later in the scripture, it tells us because of what Jesus has done, the free gift that he has given us in grace and spilling his blood, he now calls us sons and daughters. And that is your name. We know our need and we know our name. And that's what heaven is. That's who heaven's for. It's for those that know they have a great need. And for those they know they have a great savior for that need.

And that's all we know about Lazarus. And so if you are a follower of Christ in this room, men, or maybe you placed faith in Jesus recently, your name might probably isn't literally Lazarus, but spiritually it is because God has helped you. God has saved you. And for so many of us, we miss out on the fact that God is the only one who gets to do the saving.

We miss out on that and we live a life trying so hard. We're like, yeah, Jesus, you gave me my salvation, but I got to keep it. And so what we do is we keep saying, I know you've given me the name son or daughter, but I'm going to climb back up that cross and I'm going to take that name sinner and I'm going to put it back above my head. All we know about Lazarus is his need and his name. Do you know your need? Do you know your name? Are you a son or daughter of the king? Is that your name or is it rich man? Is it successful parent?

Is that the thing that has you? And I want to close with this. Here's our application. Understanding hell rightly should push us to share confidently.

I want to talk to a few groups of people, then I'll be done. To believers in this room, this should give us incredible boldness when the topic of hell is brought up. We don't have to cower away. We don't have to see it as God being unjust. We could say, no, no, no.

It's absolutely incredible that he has done something to make a way that that doesn't have to be our reality. Man, the world is desperate to hear the gospel. The famous magicians, Penn and Teller, I don't know if you know who they are, but they're very, very outspoken atheists. In an interview one time, someone asked Penn, he said, you know, you're an atheist. How do you feel when Christians try to share the gospel with you?

Man, does it bother you? He said, no, no, I get mad when they don't. And the interviewer was shocked. And he said, why? He said, because if they believe this is the only thing that would save me, how much do they have to hate me to not share it? Man, that's the reality. That we have the news that is truly good for every single person on earth.

And we should share it boldly and with passion. But I know there's some believers in the room. There's some believers here today who, man, you're struggling and you're like, man, I get it. I've been saved.

I mean, I'm still I'm still fearful. And I understand that you say that the spirit that saved me is the one that's going to keep me. But, man, you don't know everything I've done. You don't know the things I've done.

If you knew all the thoughts I've had, you know, if you knew my history, if you knew my baggage, man, you wouldn't be saying those things about me. Let me tell you, Jesus does. He knows everything about you. He knows everything you're going to do.

And he still calls you his own. Man, we shouldn't be scared to go to God with our stuff. We shouldn't be scared to bring it before him.

That's the one place we should run. A few years ago, my niece, she was about 18 months old, two years old, out in Texas. My sister in law came down the stairs and saw her in the pool, not moving, unresponsive. And panic set in. And it was absolute chaos.

Everyone's calling. My family's on the phone hearing my parents cry and my family cry and freaking out. And it was so overwhelming. And we finally get the call that, man, they've done stuff and she's alive.

And we're celebrating. And my wife and I immediately jumped on a plane to go out to Texas to be with my brother and my sister in law. Because it was an absolute traumatic time.

Their 18 month old baby girl, this terrible thing has happened to her. She was walking around the pool and I got to talk to my brother about it. And I was there and I was talking to him. And obviously he's still like in shock over the whole thing. And I'm like, man, how are you feeling?

What's wrong? He's like, it was just so hard because I wasn't there. It was so hard. He wasn't there when it happened. And he had to go to the hospital and he was in the waiting room.

And they finally, you know, let it back after they ran tests and made sure everything was OK. And he went back there and he looked at her and he said, why did you go near the pool when I told you not to? You knew you shouldn't. You knew you weren't supposed. You knew you would get hurt if you did that. I've told you time and time again, you shouldn't do that. No, he didn't say that.

He wrapped his arms around his girl and he pulled her in close and he said, you're mine. If my brother, as sinful and flawed of a man as he is, responds to his children that way, why do we think the God who gave up his son for us would respond any differently? So many of us believers in the room, man, you need to go to the father with your sin and say, I know you died for this. I can't bear it anymore. You need to take it.

You need to take it to the father. And lastly, I know there's people in here that are unbelievers and there's people in here that don't know Jesus. That you hear this and you're like, if I'm being very, very, very honest, what is just based on what you just said was an eternity separated from God. What I want to tell you is this. Someone has come back.

Someone has risen from the dead. It's not an if and transformation. We talked about this life change.

We talked about this transformation. It's not in trying harder. It's not in doing better.

It's not in fixing itself. Right. Transformation is a person and his name is Jesus. And he sees your sin. He saw your sin from eternity past and he stepped out of heaven knowing what was coming your way.

And he lived that perfect life. We were called to live. And he took on the wrath of God so that you and I would not have to go to hell.

And we could spend eternity with the God that died to redeem us. And so what needs to happen? Man, some people need to come down front and pray. They need to repent. They need to pray for the first time. But others of us who have been walking with Christ for a while need to come down front and say, God, I have let fear of something that was meant to encourage me, meant to praise you, that it's not a reality for me anymore. Fear of that has crippled me for so long. And some of us need to bring our sin to the Father and say, God, I know that you have good plans for me.

I know that you want good for me. Lord, let's pray. Jesus, we ask that, God, you would continually remind us that what was just when we were apart from you was an eternity separated from you. And, Lord, we know that fear or the right information or enough of it, we know that none of that will get us from where we are to where you want us to be. But only experiencing the transformation of the gospel will do that. So, Lord, I ask that for everybody in the room, for those of us who have been walking with Christ for years, for those of us who have been walking with Christ for days, and for those of us who may be today for the first time, that begins. That, God, we would lay down the lordship and we would share with confidence because we know what you have saved us from. In your name we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-25 06:39:47 / 2024-02-25 06:57:43 / 18

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