A Scary Story

Title: A Scary Story

Bible Book: Luke 16 : 19-31

Author: Vince Hefner

Subject: Conviction; Stewardship; Salvation; Money



What is the scariest situation you can imagine? You don't have to make up scary stories, for there are many such stories and incidents in the Bible. For example, 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 life on earth.

The story Jesus told in our scripture today is not a parable. Jesus never used a personal name in a parable. Actually, the Lord was pulling back the curtain of life and death and allowing us to see into two men, and to understand where they went after their lives on this earth were over.

Jesus was speaking on two subjects in this parable: money and the afterlife. He was speaking with people who were self-proclaimed experts on both subjects, and 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. When conviction is ignored it can lead to eternal separation from God.

You need to know two things as we begin to look at the parable Jesus shared:

1. Everyone on earth is a steward of his or her person and possessions in this life.

2. Every person has an afterlife where an account must be given for how we dealt with self and silver.

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, and everyday was like 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 level, but you must not judge a book by its cover – or a man by his outward appearance. He may have earned everything be had, but what did he do with his life and his wealth?

B. Lazarus didn’t have a home, everyday was mere 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. Lazarus turns out to be more than he appeared to be.

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

What ought to scare us about being on the wrong path or the wrong road in life? There are some things that ought to frignten the wits out of us. You have a right to be frightened if you are not trusting God properly or honoring God correctly with your life and possessions.

A. When You Don’t Share

You should be scared when you are blessed with good things but don’t share the blessings that God has given you. When stewardship is inward and not outward you are on the wrong road. Someone once said, “Money is a foreign currency to the person whose citizenship is in heaven.” In othe words, we appreciate money but it is not our goal as believers to simply have more than others. Again, there is nothing wrong with weath. You should earn all you can as long as you do so honestly. But be sure of this, that you own your money and it doesn’t own you.

B. When You Don’t Care

When you are blessed and do not care about others, 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 that thety are 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!”

These are simply excuses for doing nothing.

C. When You Don’t Despair!

Lazarus died first, but even that 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 Where You Are Headed or The Conclusion of Life

A. Your destination is something you control

You can come to Christ and experience salvation. Be sure you realize this, if you come to Him you are required to follow Him. Surely some people never come to Jesus 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.” Know this - one day you will meet God. Everyone here today - in fact, everyone on earth, 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 ready. Which man do you think is happy about his decision today - the one in heaven or the one in hell? Which one are you today?

C. Your destination is something confirmed by Jesus Christ

Jesus is the Righteous Judge. Death is a separation but it is not extinction. You do not ever cease to exist. You will live forever somewhere. Now, what does the Righteous Judge say about entering into eternal life? Read John 14:6. You must yield to God’s conviction about your sin and Jesus as Lord, or you must deny these truths. Your choice will determine your destination? Listen to God's conviction in your heart. He is calling you. He came to this earth, died in your place, rose from the dead, and is coming again. He is calling you to trust Him as your Lord and Savior. How you respond to God's conviction regarding these facts will determine where you do when you die.

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