“Jesus, Heaven and Hell” out of Luke 16:19-31 was preached on August 19th, 2012 by Pastor Brett Baggett at the worship gathering of Ekklesia Muskogee. Week #32 in Ekklesia's The King and His Cross sermon series.
Scripture – Luke 16:19-31
19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 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 in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you 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.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 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.’”
Jesus teaches in this parable of the rich man and Lazarus, at least things about heaven and hell: 1) Your wealth and prosperity or your sickness and poverty are not deciding factors on whether or not you will be in heaven or hell. 2) Heaven and hell are real and each man and woman will go to one or the other upon death. 3) For the non-Christian, this life is as close to heaven as they will ever get. 4) For the Christian, this life is as close to hell as they will ever get. 5) There will be no second chance of salvation after death- upon death, your eternity is sealed. 6) The Bible is the revelation of God, given to man, to reveal man's sinfulness, man's necessity for salvation, and Jesus Christ as the only means of that salvation. Jesus shows us that the naturalist's are wrong about man not having a soul; the reincarnationist's are wrong about man having successive lives; the universalist's are wrong about all of man being saved; the annihilationist's are wrong about the lost simply ceasing to exist; the Roman Catholic's are wrong about purgatory. The Bible is true. Sin is real. Hell is deserved. Jesus took hell for us on the cross by becoming our sin, taking our judgement, and absorbing the wrath of God. Turning from sin to faith in Jesus is the only way to heaven. It's all about Jesus.
Q1: What reasons would the world have to try and explain away the reality of hell?
Q2: Why is it important to understand the truth of hell? (how does hell help us understand the gospel more clearly?)
Q3: Who do you most identify with in this parable and why? Try and be specific.
Q4: What role does Christ play on your behalf- is He your Savior/King, your adviser/role model, or something else?
Q5: Has what Jesus has done changed the way that you view this life? Talk about the gospel fleshing itself out in your life in specific ways.
Q6: What does this parable compel you to do in light of the gospel?
The gospel says that Jesus took hell for us, so we would be saved from it. He took the separation, he took the fire, he took the judgement. On the cross, Jesus was essentially thrown into hell- separation from his Father; he absorbed the wrath of God, he took our judgement and death. Romans 3:23-26 “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” What grace! Glory to God! Amen.