The Rich Man & Lazarus

 1. The parameters for the parable. Verses 13-14   “You cannot serve both God and money.”  "The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.” A. Jesus is going to rebuke the Pharisees with this parable that reinforces His previous one. He even begins it the same way he began the last parable, there was a rich man... 2. The prevailing thought of the day. Verses 19-20     “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores." A. 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.   3. The position of men. Verses 22-23 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side” A. Jesus contrasts their lives while they were living. The rich man prominent and powerful. Lazarus poor and pitiful. B. Now he contrasts their lives after they died. Notice the reversal of the earthly situation - Lazarus is now in comfort and the rich man in agony. 4. The perceived confusion. Verse 23   “In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. A. Jesus is still making a contrast in their lives in death. Abraham's side, or bosom, was a place of honor where it was believed that only the righteous dead lived. (Matthew 8:11) The pharisees had faith in the fact that Abraham was their father. Matthew 3:9 5. The problem the rich man faced. Verses 23-24    “In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.” A. There are several things to understand: · He had not changed, still sees Lazarus as beneath him    Verse 23   · He was tormented, in agony in the fire. Verse 24   · His eternal situation was irreversible. Verse 26   · He was in no position to help his family. Verses 27-28   6. The point of the parable. Verse 25    “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. A. What you trust and put your faith in matters. Social status and material possessions are no guarantee of ones standing with God. The rich man was not condemned because of his wealth and Lazarus was not rewarded on the basis of his poverty. The only thing that matters is how we respond to the Word of God. Verse 29 7. Some principles for us.  "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.’ A. There is a great chasm separating heaven and hell. Jesus uses this to emphasize that this gap could not be crossed and was permanent. · We need to evaluate what we put our faith in and our attitude towards wealth. · We need to take Jesus teaching on hell seriously. Matthew 13:42.  The realities of the after-life include torment or blessing.  Not annihilation or neutrality. · We need to evaluate our attitudes towards those in need. This is not a salvation issue but can be a sin issue. · We have to understand disabilities and disease are not signs of God’s displeasure but from living in a fallen world. · We need to know God’s Word is sufficient, signs and miracles are never a guaranteed cure for unbelief.