The good and the bad...
Pastor Terry Dashner………………Faith Fellowship Church PO Box 1586 Broken Arrow, OK 74013
Three essential things…
Luke 16:19-31 is the story about the rich man and Lazarus. It is more than a parable. It is a story told by Jesus, Himself, about a man who “faired sumptuously” and another man who writhed in agony while living on earth. What makes this story stand out from the other parables of Jesus? This is the only story that Jesus told, giving personal names to the story characters (Lazarus, father Abraham).
I believe the story is true, and Jesus told it to teach His disciples three essential things about the next life. I’d like to share these truths with you. It won’t take much time to read through them; however, they are of such importance that they can lead you through this life and into the next.
The first point of emphasis is this. God is an either or God. There is no “variableness” with Him—no “shadow of turning,” says James chapter one. The first thing I notice about the story of the rich man and Lazarus is the stark contrasts. One man is rich, and the other is poor. One man is regal, the other is a pauper. One man is self-righteous, and the other is crying out for mercy. The list goes on. What does this say? I’d rather be the one calling out for mercy in this life and, thus, be granted eternal life through Christ Jesus in the next then to be full of self-righteousness, fairing well in this life and miss eternal life. How about you?
The second point of emphasis is this. The story underscores the immutable character of God. God is faithful and can not be unfaithful. Why? Because His character is immutable. He does not vacillate from faithfulness to unfaithfulness, although we do. When God tells us something, we can take it to the bank. He will not lie. His character won’t let Him lie. God says that the righteous will one day be rewarded for trusting Him in this life. He means it. God also says that the unrighteous will not see life, but the wrath of God awaits them. This is sad, but true. Yet nobody has to experience the wrath of God.
We may escape His judgment through faith in Jesus Christ His Son. The rich man cried out in agony beyond his grave. He wanted relief from his pain, but there was none. Lazarus was comforted in Abraham’s bosom. I’m sure that Lazarus would tell us—endure the hardships of life, heaven is on its way!
The third point of emphasis is this: The simplicity in knowing how to get to God. God tells me that there is only one way. I thank God that I need to know only one way to Him. I’ve studied eastern religions and philosophies of the Greeks. What strikes me about these teachings is the many ways to happiness that they purport. Often I conclude my studies frustrated and confused because they offer too many ways. I’m a simple man. My God has made the way to Him, simple. Thank God there is only one way to know. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
All I have to do is place my trust in Jesus, and He will lead me home. Lazarus obviously trusted in God while crying out for mercy because the angels came for him at the end of his earthly journey. They carried him along the way, via the way of the grave, into the comfort of Paradise.
And so this concludes this read. Simple, but important. I say it is essential. God is either or, but no in between. God is immutable, and not wishy-washy. God is one way. His way is through Jesus Christ His only begotten Son. He has blessed me forever.
Keep the faith. Stay the course. Jesus is coming soon.
Pastor T. dash…
About the Author
Pastors a small church. Veteran of the US Navy. Retired police officer. Blessed.