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Luke 16:19-31

FROM HERE TO ETERNITY

Intro: Today represents crossroads in the life of some people in this room. You have been afforded an opportunity to gather in the House of the Lord to hear His Word. If you respond to His Word as His Spirit leads you, then this day can be the beginning of a brand new life. For instance, if you are lost this morning, you can be saved. If that happens, then not one single day of your life up to this point will matter! You will get a brand new start with the Lord.

Our passage this morning is a familiar one. It concerns a rich man and a poor man. The rich man was lost and when he died, he went to Hell. The poor man was a believer and when he died, he was taken to Paradise. This account drives home the truth that there are only two possible destinations available for man when he leaves this world.

Now, not everyone believes that! The atheist denies the existence of a literal Heaven and Hell. The Jehovah's Witness believes that the grave is Hell. The Mormon believes in Hell, but he believes that in the end, everyone will be saved, including those in Hell. The Seventh-Day Adventist believes that lost men go to Hell, but that they immediately burn up like so much broom sage. Besides these, there are a myriad of other beliefs which go all over the map when it comes to eternity. Therefore, most religions and cults approach this passage as if it were nothing more than a parable. Just a sad story told to teach a powerful truth. However, the Word of God is crystal clear! This is no parable! This is a bold, clear warning for people to turn from their sins and be saved. You see, there is a Hell for the lost person and there is a Heaven for the saved person! Which place you go when you die is determined by what you do with Jesus Christ while you are in this world!

This passage is one of contrasts. A picture is painted here of some of the differences between a lost man and a saved man. There are three primary areas where these contrasts are plainly visible. By God's grace, I want to point those areas out today. You see, all the days from your birth to now make no difference, all that matters is what happens From Here To Eternity.

I. V. 19-21 A CONTRAST IN THEIR EARTHLY EXPERIENCE

A. One Man Lived A Bountiful Life - These verses tell us that the rich man enjoyed the best that life had to offer. He lived for himself, with no thought for the needs of his fellow man. He was his own man, just enjoying life to the full. It appears that he was living for the now, with no thought for the future at all. Even after his death he was still self-centered, v. 24. He cared only for himself and not one of the millions who were there with him! (Note: There is nothing wrong with having money and material things. Just being rich does not automatically condemn a person to Hell. But, Jesus did indicate that a life lived in dependence on material riches will end in Hell - Matt. 19:16-26.) (Note: This rich man is a picture of a person who cares only for himself. He does not care about God or His Word. If he had, he would have ministered to Lazarus, Pr. 14:21; 31. He lived a good life, but it was a lost life!) (Note: Do not begrudge the lost their earthly pleasures and treasures! This is the only Heaven they will know! We should rather pity them because while they trust in their riches and the things that this world has to offer, they are steadily marching headlong into Hell.)

B. One Man Lived A Burdened Life - While the rich man prospered, Lazarus suffered daily. He did not have the riches of the world. He could not afford medical treatment for his ailments. He could not afford food to eat. His only friends appeared to be the dogs which came and licked his sores. His was a wretched existence made bearable only by the knowledge that this world was not his home! (Note: Here, Lazarus is a picture of the believer. While the lost men of this world live it up and indulge every lust of the flesh, the redeemed make a conscious decision to separate themselves from this world. They carry within their heart burdens for the very souls of the men around them that are perishing. Surely, none of us have or probably ever will suffer as much as Lazarus did in this life, but if we are living as we should before the Lord, our lives would appear to be burdensome to those who do not know the Lord.) (Note: I am not implying that we have it rough! If you listen to some Christians, you would think God had died and they were the most miserable people alive. In contrast, I say that we are blessed above all men! However, when you get saved, your priorities will change! Your goals and aspirations will change! You will live a life that is markedly different from the lost folk around you! That is because you are a New Creature - 2 Cor. 5:17!)

II. V. 22 A CONTRAST IN THEIR EXIT EXPERIENCE

A. One Man's Death Was Alone - We are told that when time ran out for the rich man, death came to claim him. His money, his friends and his family could not go with him through that awful experience. His time of living it up was ended and he died and was buried. And, if things held true to form, his family immediately began the process of taking everything he had left behind for themselves! (Note: I can imagine living without God, because I have done it! I would never want to do it again, but I have been there. I can understand why people live for their flesh. However, I cannot imagine having to die alone! No God, no grace, no hope! Just utterly, eternally alone! Yet, that is the experience of every person who lives and dies without Jesus. We refer to a "death angel", but there is no such thing in the Bible! We hear talk of the "Grim Reaper", he doesn't exist either! When a lost man dies, "the devil" doesn't get his soul either! That is superstitious nonsense! The devil is headed to the same Hell; that the lost man is headed to. The only difference is that the devil is afraid, whereas the lost man could care less, James 2:19. No, when death comes to claim the lost man, he dies absolutely alone, cut off from the living and the dead, with nothing before him but and endless eternity to experience the undiluted wrath of God!)

B. One Man's Death Was Attended - In contrast, when Lazarus died, his death was attended by some angels. They received him and took him to dwell in Paradise. He did not die alone, but he died in the presence of God. No one may have cared for him in this word, but God was keenly interested in him and when he died, God dispatched angels to conduct him into a place of eternal rest! (Note: The saint doesn't die alone! (Ill. Psa. 116:15; Pro. 14:32; Rom. 14:8; Phil. 1:21; Psa. 23:4) He may be parted from a season from the living, but goes to be with the One Who redeemed him from his sins, 2 Cor. 5:8! (Ill. The Thief on the cross - Luke 23:43.)

III. V. 23-31 A CONTRAST IN THEIR ETERNAL EXPERIENCE

A. One Man Found Pain - The Bible tells us that the rich man went to Hell when he died! From all we know about that place, it is far more horrible that we could ever imagine. Notice just a few of the things the Bible says about Hell:

1. A Place Of Punishment - Matt. 25:41

2. Unquenchable Fire - Mark 9:43; Luke 16:24

3. Memory And Remorse - Luke 16:25 (Ill. He wanted his brothers spared too - Luke 16:27-31. He experienced regret too!)

4. Thirst - v.24-25

5. Misery And Pain - Luke 16:24,25,28; Rev.14:10-11

6. A Place Of Undiluted Wrath - (Ill. Jesus, rainbow, Hab. 3:2) (There will be absolutely no mercy!)

7. A Place Of Frustration And Anger - Mt.13:42; 24:51

8. A Place Of Eternal Separation From God - 2 Thes. 1:8-9

9. A Place Of Eternal Separation Form All That Is Good And Right - Rev. 21:8

(Note: many people believe that all these truths concerning Hell are just symbolic! You had better hope not! That which is real is always beyond the power of the symbol to convey! If the truth about Hell is worse than what I have shared this morning, then it is awful beyond description. Even though what the Bible says about that place is true and accurate, we need to know that our ability to explain it, understand it and imagine it all fall far short of what Hell really is! Friend, if you are lost this morning, I beg you please don't go there! Be saved and turn to Jesus before it is too late!)

B. One Man Found Peace - While the rich man suffered, Lazarus was a rest! He had ceased from his burdens and he free from his diseases. He was finally at peace. (Note: Just as surely as Hell awaits the lost person, Heaven awaits the saved person! And everything that Hell is, Heaven isn't. It is a place free from the cares of this world and from the pain of that world, Rev. 21:4. It is a place of incomparable beauty, Rev. 21-22. It is the place where God Himself dwells, and where His people will see His face, Rev. 21:3; 22:4. It is a place where sin, sinners and Satan are forever banished, Rev. 21:27. It is a glorious city prepared especially for those who know the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior - John 14:1-6. It is a place the redeemed long to be. It is the place we call home, Phil. 3:20!)

Conc: What a difference in the experiences of these two men! Of course, these two men are still represented within the human race this morning! The self-centered rich man is here, still headed for Hell. The saint of God is still here too, headed for Heaven. Which represents you today?

Friend, this is no game we are playing! This thing is definitely real! You will spend eternity in one of the two places I mentioned today. You will go either to Heaven, or you will go to Hell! Which depends on what you do with Jesus Christ, 1 John 5:12. If you are not saved, remember that nothing is worth going to Hell over, Mark 9:43-48; Mark 8:36-37. Jesus Christ died on the cross to save you from your sins. If you want to be saved, you can come to Him today, trust Him as your Savior and He will save your soul! I pray that you will do just that!

If you are saved, then I challenge you to come before the Lord to praise Him for your salvation. When you finish thanking Him, then take the time to pray for your family and your acquaintances that are lost. Get a hold of God for them and pray that they will be saved! Time is running out and death is stalking every person in this world. The time for salvation is now, 2 Cor. 6:2.




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