Pekin Church of Christ

A Message From Torment

 A Message From Torment

The apostle Peter states in 1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” From Peter’s writing we learn what is called “Apologetics.” Apologetics is not an “apology” but means “a defense.” Peter is instructing Christians to be ready alwaysto defend the truth of the Gospel of Christ. In our lesson this morning which comes from Luke 16:19-31 where we read about the “Rich man and Lazarus” we are able to learn about the location of souls after this life. Several false doctrines such as “Universal salvation”; “materialism”; second chance”; “spiritualism”; “elect” and “non-elect”; and the doctrine of “purgatory” can be refuted or disproven by reading it. Let’s begin by reading this section of Scripture, Luke 16:19-31, “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 "But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 "desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 "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. 23 "And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 "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.' 25 "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. 26 '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.' 27 "Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, 28 'for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' 29 "Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' 30 "And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' 31 "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.'" Jesus Christ tells this story about a Rich man and Lazarus, and it is from His revelation to us that we can refute so many different doctrines in the religious world today. Let’s not forget that Jesus told the Sadducees in Matthew 22:29, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” Let us not do the same but understand what the Scriptures say. The first false doctrine we want to answer with the Scriptures is the doctrine of “universal salvation.” This is the belief that all will be saved. Sadly, this is just not the case as can be clearly seen from our text. It’s simple to see in Luke 16:25, where Abraham tells the Rich man, “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.” There are only two places in which one can go when this life is over, and in what is called the Hadean realm, where souls go to await the judgment those places are Paradise or Torment. Lazarus was in Paradise and the Rich man in Torment. Let’s let the Scriptures help us understand this even better. Jesus says in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Jesus also said in Matthew 7:21-23,“"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” From our Scripture we can clearly see that not everyone will be saved. Not everyone will be sent to Paradise. Just ask the rich man. The doctrine of materialism is a teaching that once we live and we then die we cease to exist. As we can clearly see from this Scripture, both Lazarus and the Rich man continued to exist after they passed from this life. We must remember man has been created in the spiritual image of God as we read in Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” This leads us to know that man is a dual being, meaning he is flesh and spirit. In 2 Corinthians 4:16 we read where the apostle Paul says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” Paul helps us see that this fleshly life is temporary but the spirit or soul lives on. We can also read 2 Corinthians 5:1 where Paul says, “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” When we die in this life, there is a separation of the spirit from the body as James tells us in James 2:26, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” We also learn concerning this from Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:7, “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it.” God gave man a soul to inhabit the physical body He created from the dust of the earth. When the end comes for the physical body, the soul or spirit will live on. The doctrine of materialism is refuted with these scriptures. Just ask the Rich man! In our section of Scripture, we read about the Rich man pleading for mercy but was too late. This is refutation or an answer to the doctrine of the second chance. We have to remember what the apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” We are given one life to live and we best live it as God would have us. That means we must make preparation for the afterlife before the return of Christ as we read in Matthew 25:1-12, “"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 "Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 "Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 "but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 "But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6 "And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' 7 "Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 "And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' 9 "But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' 10 "And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. 11 "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' 12 "But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'” Five of these virgins were prepared for the bridegroom to come and the five foolish ones were not. There is no second chance! Just ask the Rich Man! If you notice in his discussion with Father Abraham he doesn’t ask to be sent back, but asks for Lazarus to be sent back to warn his family in Luke 16:27-28, "Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, 28 'for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.'” The doctrine of spiritualism indicates that one is able to come back from the dead in order to send a message to the living or prevent them from making the same mistakes they did. This is not the case as the rich man wanted to deliver a message to the living and could not. And the fact that God refused to send one from the dead to warn the living is proof that God will not use a miraculous power separate and apart from His Word to convert people. Listen to the apostle Paul in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” It is the Gospel, which is the power of God to salvation. In 1 Peter 1:22-23 Peter says, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,” Both the apostle Peter and the apostle Paul show us that salvation is in the Word of God. James also says concerning this in James 1:21, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” Again, we can ask the Rich man! Notice the response given from Father Abraham upon the Rich Man’s request for Lazarus to be sent back to warn his family in Luke 16:29, “Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” There is another false doctrine in our world called “elect” or “non-elect.” God is fair in that all men have been given the opportunity to obey. The fact that Abraham told the Rich man that his brothers could hear Moses and the prophets proves this fairness in salvation. We must remember that God is no respecter of persons as Peter explains in Acts 10:34, "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.” We know from the writer of Hebrews in Hebrews 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” Jesus has invited all to come to Him as we read in Matthew 11:28-30, “"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Remember from Mark 16:15 Jesus sent His disciples in to all the world to preacher to “Every Creature.” Another doctrine this section of Scripture refutes is that of purgatory. The fact that the rich man went to a place of torment and could not cross the gulf while Lazarus went to a place of comfort shows that purgatory does not exist. Notice Father Abraham’s teaching to the Rich man in Luke 16:25-26, “25 "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. 26 '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.'” We can also learn from the Rich man that trusting in riches is foolishness. Just like we read in Mark 8:36-37, “"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 "Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” The rich man sacrificed his soul for the riches he had. Timothy was instructed by the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 6:6-10, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” We can turn to Job 1:21 where we read what Job says about riches and everything else in this life, “"Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD." This message from torment found in Luke 16, has so much to tell us and warn us about. This message shows us the tragedy of being eternally lost. How important it is for every Christian to heed the words of the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” There are lost souls depending on Christians to share the truth of the gospel. There are erring Christians that need to be reminded of the hope they once had in Christ Jesus. Christians must be “ready always to give an answer for the hope that is in them. That includes, being able to refute of disprove the false doctrines Satan has produced to steer souls away from God. Let each one of us make the choice to obey Christ as the apostle Paul explains in Philippians 2:12, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;”