Luke 16:19-31; BCBC/IOUC; 7/25/2021; Rev. Paul Wang
Maybe we have never thought that a meeting that transcends time and space will be held in front of us, and those in the sky, on the ground, and under the ground can be on the same conference table. Don’t you find it amazing? The dialogue between God and man, in paradise and in hell, is also in dialogue. There are too many mysteries we don’t know, and God will reveal to us one day. Let’s look at the first point:
Lazarus in poverty
The bible says, Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights says that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. but some Chinese versions translate that people are equal by birth, which is essentially different. Lazarus is a poor man. What is the meaning of his existence in the world? First of all, the beggar. The author of the Bible is describing the life of Lazarus, leaving one detail, That is, what people call him: “a beggar” and “that beggar”. Begging means to be controlled by the diet, because you have not eaten, or you are not sure that you have food to eat, and you have a panic-like obsession and fear about eating and drinking. Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Can you understand? You saw a strong young man begging on the road, what would you think? Is he short of the money he got for food? The Bible doesn’t have much information about Lazarus’ life, and we don’t have much to say, and we may even make judgments. However, poverty is not the way out, and giving up does not honor the name of God, agree?
Secondly, the poor man. If we say that Lazarus is a poor man, there will probably be no objection, right? The scope of his life activities is probably on the road, on the street, or at the door of the rich man’s house, or he was put there. It is no longer enough to describe him as poor. Not only was he poor, he was also sick, and his body was covered with sores. Those who carry him to the rich man’s house must be loving! This wealthy master is not bad, at least he can “eat what fell from the rich man’s table.” No one applied medicine to his wounds, but dogs came to lick his sores. This is actually an ironic picture, do you see it? As if God was speaking: Don’t you have mercy on him? Even dogs are caring, are you not as good as dogs?
Finally, the one who was favored. In the face of the “Lazarus” in the world, others always have a lot of criticism. Why don’t you go out to work? Why can’t you get up every day, go to work, read, get along with others, and please leaders and colleagues? Why do you lose the chain as soon as you go out? How come you are like this? It is very difficult for a human heart to be compassionate unless it is filled with the love of God. The poor man Lazarus finally died, and the rich man and the people around might not even give him a straw mat. However, at this moment, God moved with compassion, and he was taken by the angel and placed in Abraham’s arms. From this perspective, Lazarus has become the ultimate winner of life. Let’s look at the second point:
The rich man of luxurious feast
There is no doubt that becoming a rich person is the dream of most people. The rich man in the scriptures today may help us a little bit by re-adjusting our core values. First, the ending of rich and poor. Those influential men in the world today may have forgotten that their ending is the same as that of beggars in the world. Before he died, the emperor was reluctant to give up “achievements” or “territory”, and uttered wailing that only people around him could hear. I think the same is true for this rich man, thinking I have so much property, what should I do after death? The prestige brought by wealth will not exist, and the blessing of having numerous wives and concubines will also be wiped out. I’m gone, can my children survive independently? The consequences of only spending without earning are obvious, right? Before his death, Zheng Banqiao insisted on eating the buns made by his son. His son couldn’t make it, so he asked others to teach him how to make it. When it was done, his father died.
Second, the awakening of the rich man. When the rich man woke up, it was too late. He suddenly discovered that the values and endings between heaven and earth are completely opposite. How could the beggar Lazarus who used to eat what fell from the table now lie in the arms of my ancestor Abraham? How can this make me feel so embarrassed! Have all my hard work in my life been wasted? I got up so early and went dark, worked hard, collected rent and loaned money, and made a family business. Am I wrong? Someone put a beggar at the door of my house. Instead of driving him out, I took him under the table at my house and to eat what fell from our table. Doesn’t this mean that I have a loving heart? ? He even hoped that Lazarus would commemorate his “fragmented” grace back then, “To dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.”
Finally, the ultimate despair. Abraham replied to him, you knew this before, so why bother? and you are a local tyrant.？ There is a road that people think is right, but it is the road to death. You are a rich man, you are rich in gold and silver, and you are a local tyrant. “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. (Luke 16:25) Besides, life and death are separated, between heaven and hell a great chasm has been set in place. When the rich man heard it, it was over, he was out of play. Well, let Lazarus go to my father’s house and tell me the five unconvincing brothers so that they won’t end up like me. It’s late, everything is impossible! Opportunity for men is in this life. God will give us the opportunity. Are you willing to hold on to this opportunity? Let’s look at the third point:
Abraham’s heartfelt words
We know the situation of Lazarus and the rich man, what about Abraham? What was he thinking about? What is the relationship between his thoughts and ours? Have you thought about it? First of all, the situation before and after death. Maybe not many people think this way, right? “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. (Luke 16:25) Why don’t you think about the pain of Lazarus when you are enjoying the blessing? Your wives and concubines are in groups, but he is lonely and grows old to the point of death. Your barn is full of rice, but he can only eat what fell from the table. Don’t you feel it? 。You have a big fortune, but he can only be “put at the door of the rich man”. That rich man is you. Now Lazarus just got some comfort from me, Abraham, are you in pain? Are you so shameless?
Secondly, the barrier between heaven and hell. Even now, the rich man still is not clear about the situation. He still wanted to call Lazarus through Abraham to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. Abraham said, “ And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us. (Luke 16:26)” Did you hear that? If you haven’t believed in Jesus yet, hurry up and seize the opportunity of this life! After passing this village, there is no such shop! If you still have family members who are not believers, please do your best to pray for them! There is only one chance. After that, there will be no more chances.
Finally, the ending of salvation and perishing. ，I think this rich man is still a good person with morals. Seeing that he is hopeless, he still considers his other five brothers. But he was wrong again. It is still a trivial matter that he still wants to send Lazarus. He didn’t know. In fact, he should know that whether everyone believes in the Lord or not is his own responsibility. Even if your five brothers don’t hear from you, They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them. (Luke 16:29) The rich man’s brain moved quickly, thinking ”But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent. Of course he thought about Lazarus, not Jesus. Abraham’s words pointing out the core issue of the Jews: “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” At this moment, Jesus is among them, but the Jews are still looking for the Messiah while facing the Messiah.
Dear brothers and sisters, the special meeting is over. Have you made the minutes of the meeting? What is the agenda of the meeting? What is the topic? What did you hear?
Let us pray……