The Beggar At Your Gates (Part 6, Conclusion)
The Rich Man And Lazarus
There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.' But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.'
Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.'
Luke 16:19-31 (NKJV)
Consider these conclusions:
1) The rich man in hell called Abraham 'Father' and Abraham called him 'Son.' Therefore, the rich man was a son of Abraham, as are both Jews and Christians. This parable is a warning--specifically for rich men of faith.
2) God reveals Heaven and hell as unchangeable, unbridgeable destinations for a life well or poorly lived.
3) If works without faith will not save us, 'For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast' (Ephesians 2:8-9)...
4) Faith without works will not save us. 'Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling' (Philippians 2:12)--no matter how many Sundays you attend church.
5) This parable is narrated by Jesus. As He commanded, we must love our neighbors as ourselves--and strive to help the beggar at our gates. Every single one.
'And if you give yourself to the hungry
And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness
And your gloom will become like midday.
And the Lord will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail' (Isaiah 58:10-11).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Beggar At Your Gates series.