Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that God blessed Lazarus and punished the rich man. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to learn from both Lazarus and the rich man.
Read Luke 16:19-21
I. Inequality in Life. There was an unnamed rich man who lived in luxury. There was also a poor man named Lazarus. The dogs licked the sores of Lazarus.
- Helping the less fortunate. Notice in vss. 19-21 that the rich man appears to be so apathetic towards the poverty of the man at his gate. On one hand, there appears to be people who have so much more than they need and are yet so apathetic towards the needs of others.
On the other hand, we should be compassionate towards those who are less fortunate than we are. This compassion can take the form of helping the people directly or indirectly, by helping an organization that serves them directly. Let’s make a positive impact in the lives of the less fortunate, especially when we have extra.
Read Luke 16:22-26
II. Justice in Death. Lazarus died and was carried to the side of Abraham. The rich man died and was buried. He suffers in Hades. “Abraham” seems to be reference to God. God talks about how Lazarus cannot attend to the rich man.
- Salvation and death affairs. Notice in vss. 22-24 that both the rich and poor man died. The rich man ended up in a place of torment – Hades. The poor man ended up in a place of eternal life – the side of Abraham. The commentary gives a nice explanation of how “the side of Abraham” may be symbolic of being at a banquet with the Lord.
First, death is coming into all of our lives. We should be prepared for it. Preparation include wills, living wills, gifts to the church, etc. Second, without Christ, we are going to a burning Hell, no matter how many riches we have.
Third, with Christ, we will have eternal life with the Lord, no matter how poor we may be. We should make sure that we have accepted Jesus as our savior by faith. Let’s make sure that we are saved and have our death affairs in order.
- No chances after death. Notice in vss. 24-26 that once the men died, there was not more opportunity for one to go from one side to the other. In other words, once a person dies, that is it. Let’s make sure that we are saved and helping others to get saved, since we don’t get another chance, after death.
We can all at least invite and try to bring people with us to worship and growth groups. We can live so people can see Jesus in us.
- Blessings after death. Notice in vs. 25 that even though Lazarus had a miserable life on Earth, things were well for him after death. In like manner, we should be mindful that our Earthy lives are not the end of our stories. We have another life, after this one.
Let’s live like we believe in life and blessings after death. This kind of living should be known for obeying God and being confident that the best is yet to come, no matter how bad things may be right now.
Read Luke 16:27-31
III. Warning in Writing. The rich man asks for a special effort to be given to saving his family. God tells him that his family has the writings of Moses and the Prophets. No special effort will be given to them.
- Don’t wait too late. Notice in vss. 27-28 that the rich man had a late concern with helping his family get right with God. There are too many people who wait until they are almost dead to try to live by God’s will. We should treat every day as if it is our last day.
We should do all that we can to help our loved ones come to the Lord. We should do all that we can to live so we will have gold, silver, and precious stones, instead of wood, hay, and stubble, when we stand before the Lord (i.e., Judgement Seat of Christ for believers; I Cor. 3:10-15). Let’s live like this can be our last day.
At the core of God’s will are the issues of making sure that we are saved through Christ and living lives focused on loving God and others, as we love ourselves.
- Signs and wonders. Notice in vss. 29-31 that the rich man’s family was to take heed to God’s word, instead of expecting signs and wonders. In like manner, we should not hold hostage our faith and support of God’s will until we receive some type of special sign. We are called to believe and obey God’s word.
For example, when the word teaches us to study, serve, and give, we don’t need any further signs. When the word teaches us to follow Pastoral leadership, we don’t need any further sign. Let’s obey God’s word, instead of waiting for special signs and wonders.
Conclusion: Let’s work on learning from both Lazarus and the rich man. God has much for those who obey His will.Please click here to let us know, if this has been quality and helpful information for you (i.e., make sure you let us know the name of the article). Feel free to share your questions and comments about the article as well.