If you read my short recap post of my time at Camp Regen, hosted by Dr. John MacArthur and Grace Community Church, you would know that I am in a short blog post series diving into my notes from my top-take-away sermons! (Through writing these posts, I have edited them and added onto them for the sake of it being in “post form”.)
At the end, comment something you learned from my notes- I’d simply love to know!
Posing questions for today’s notes: Where is your hope found? Are you expecting heaven or hell?
The most common form of common grace is hope, which we constantly need to survive this life. (Psalm 73:26) Heck, we survive on a glimpse of hope in recent times, especially me!
It’s no surprise that hope has been shot in the foot these last 18 months, stolen from us in making us think we see a light at the end of the COVID tunnel but then it quickly extinguished with one thing or another. And the fear of death is what has been replacing people’s hope during this plandemic.
People we are told we should trust are not being truthful and pushing dangerous propaganda. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that appears to never end, and we all feel that on one level or another. And if there is no hope, then what is the point of continuing on, especially of recent? It’s no wonder why mental health rates and suicide hotlines have been going through the roof since this 2020 train wreck started. People’s hope has been put out like a weak candle! It’s disheartening, it’s depressing. We need Jesus.
And while in this day in age, government officials give us false hope in regards to COVID, there is an obvious form of false hope that by far surpasses them all on the terror scale. It is so much worse than any government mandate, any city riot, any war.
And that is expecting heaven and getting hell.
We are going to be diving into another parable Jesus told found in Luke 16.
Luke 16:19-31 CSB “There was a rich man who would dress in purple and fine linen, feasting lavishly every day. But a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, was lying at his gate. He longed to be filled with what fell from the rich man’s table, but instead the dogs would come and lick his sores. One day the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torment in Hades, he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off, with Lazarus at his side. ‘Father Abraham! ’ he called out, ‘Have mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this flame!’ “‘Son,’ Abraham said, ‘remember that during your life you received your good things, just as Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here, while you are in agony. Besides all this, a great chasm has been fixed between us and you, so that those who want to pass over from here to you cannot; neither can those from there cross over to us.’ “‘Father,’ he said, ‘then I beg you to send him to my father’s house — because I have five brothers — to warn them, so that they won’t also come to this place of torment.’ “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said. ‘But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “But he told him, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.””
The rich man in Jesus’s parable was the one in this story who expected heaven. But money was his god and believed that if he was “religious enough” he would get in and that that alone was good enough… but he ended up burning in hell forever. This is the epitome of false hope!
The poor man, Lazarus, was the human equivalent of roadkill. He was repulsive, covered in oozing sores all over his body, he was always always hungry and thirsty. Back then, the rich would use left over bread as a napkin to clean their hands after they were done eating, and toss it under the table for the dogs to eat which were not cuddly pets. They were dirty savages that no wanted around for other than the purpose of killing pests and eating scraps… But no, this rich man couldn’t even be bothered to give him the crumbs from his dinner table, and poor Lazarus was so hungry, he desired to eat that dirty bread more than anything… but alas, the poor man continued on as if he weren’t there and let the dogs lick the sores of the poor, sick man at his front gate.
While yes, the poor man is on the outside begging for a drop of water or crumb of food, the rich man being on the inside, living lavishly with everything he could possibly need/desire, it doesn’t matter at all. Because when it comes to eternity, the roles were swapped making earthly circumstances meaningless.
And notice, the poor man, the one who entered heaven, was given the name of Lazarus… but the rich man, who burned in hell, was not given a name at all. And the reason why is because in hell, there are no names; you don’t deserve it, you are a literal nobody.
The poor man died, no funeral, and no human that cared. The rich man also dies but gets a lavish funeral.
The angels showed up and got the sick, road kill of a man and put him beside Abraham in heaven. The disgusting, believed by the rich to be “cursed”, man was carried to heaven by God’s personal angels- you could not be given a greater honor!
And looking up through the torment, this rich man saw Lazarus next to Abraham far far away.
Hell isn’t soul sleep, and it drives me nuts that people these days try to make it seem like it is. (Example: it’s a really long nap, it’s just quiet darkness, it’s a party, etc.) No. Hell is immediate consciousness. The rich man knows where he is. He knows he can never be anywhere else, which is why he doesn’t ask to get out of hell, he recognizes he needs mercy- which is ironic because it’s a merciless man who wants mercy- and he begs for a droplet of water. No crumbs for the poor man on earth or no water for the rich man in hell. But he still views Lazarus as beneath him! There was never repentance, no realization of his wrongdoings and that is something to understand and make note of here as well, and that is in hell you don’t get better.
Heaven is comfort, hell is agony.
Vv. 31 CSB – “But he told him, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’” The real Lazarus died and was raised from the dead, everyone in Jerusalem knew about it. (John 11) Soon after, Jesus was executed and even them- they rejected him.
The point of this story isn’t praising heaven or even Lazarus or being poor over being rich… it’s the reality of the horrors of hell for a person who is “religious” but self-righteous.
If you are expecting heaven but aren’t truly saved then surely, hell you will get. God’s Word is clear about this.
When you surrender your life to Christ, your life is filled with the most powerful form of hope, which is how you will be able to persevere through this rollercoaster of COVID happenings, hardships, trials, and the rest of life!
So let me ask you this: where does your hope spring from?