A Scary Story

Bible Book: Luke  16 : 19-31
Subject: Conviction; Stewardship; Salvation; Money

What is the scariest situation you can imagine? There are many scary stories and incidents in the Bible. Last week we looked at Ezekiel and the valley of the dry bones. If you walked around a body of dry bones, I assure you it would get your attention. But, today we are going to look at a story that involves life on earth and life after this life. This was not a parable. Jesus never used a personal name when telling a parable. Our Lord was actually pulling back the curtain for us to see into two lives here on earth and where they went after their lives were over.

Jesus was speaking on two subjects: money and the afterlife. He was speaking with people who were self-proclaimed experts on both subjects. Both subjects have one factor that is very important when applied to success with God: Conviction

Conviction that comes from God keeps one on the right track. When divine conviction is obeyed, it causes one to make God-honoring decisions.

You need to know two things as we begin to look at this story told by Jesus:

1. Every person is a steward in this life.

2. Every person has an afterlife.

Now, let’s look at what was Jesus saying to His listeners.

I. The Street Where You Live or The Circumstances of Life

A. The rich man had a big house, everyday was a party

The Bible didn’t say he was dishonest, immoral, or unethical in achieving wealth. Yes, he wore the best, ate the best, and seemed to live at the best, but you must not judge a book by its cover – or a man by his outward appearance.

B. Lazarus didn’t have a home, everyday was survival

Jesus didn’t say that Lazarus was lazy, crazy, or cursed. He was not in poverty necessarily because of the things he had done. In the days when Jesus walked the earth, some people equated riches with God’s blessings and poverty with God’s curse. It was a kind of caste system that had been created in people’s minds. Jesus was about to straighten out that false understanding.

Jesus did not say that Lazarus was sick because of anything he had done. Nevertheless, Lazarus was sick – very sick, and his only comfort was from animals. He didn’t wear the best, and was willing to the eat the crumbs at the gate of the rich man. But, don’t judge a book by its cover or a man a man by his outward appearance.

II. The Road You Choose to Travel or the Conviction of Life

What should scare you about being on the wrong road?

A. When You Don’t Share

You should be scared when you are blessed but don’t share! When stewardship is inward and not outward, you are on the wrong road! “Money is a foreign currency to the person whose citizenship is in heaven.” Make sure you own your money and it doesn’t own you!

B. When You Don’t Care

When you are blessed and not care, you should be scared! You should be frightened when you see a need at your “gate” and turn a blind eye to it! Why do people do that? Well, here are some of the things we say”

“It’s their own fault to be in that situation”

“It’s someone else’s responsibility to help”

“The need may be at my gate, but God will take care of it!”

C. When You Don’t Despair!

Lazarus died first, but it didn’t get the rich man to consider his “afterlife.” Not only did the rich man not share, care or despair, he never looked out and never looked up. Perhaps he was always looking down at his ledger book to see how his money was coming along. But, he never looked out at the people around him. He never looked up to the Lord above Him.

III. The Destination You Are Headed or The Conclusion of Life

A. Your destination is something you control!

You can come to Christ and find salvation. Be sure, if you come to Him, you are required to follow Him. Perhaps some people never come to Him because they think they are actually in control of their own lives. Apparently the rich man thought that way. But, one day, the Lord said, “This day your soul will be required of you.” You will meet God one day. God gives you the privilege to obey His call or to reject it. Don't blame God if you end up where the rich man went!

B. Your destination is something that is coming!

Yes, there is an appointed time for you to meet God. You don’t know that time, but you can be ready! The rich man was not ready – Lazarus was. Which do you think is happy about that today?

C. Your destination is something confirmed by Jesus Christ

He is the Righteous Judge. Death is a separation but it is not extinction! You will live forever. Now, what does the Righteous Judge say about entering into eternal life? Read John 14:6. You must yield to God’s conviction or deny it. Your choice will determine your destination?

Those of us who have committed our way to Him, must be open for God to convict us about material things, money and our way of life. To be obedient is to “follow Jesus!”