Don’t Ignore These Warning Signs! | Luke 16:19-31

Don’t Ignore These Warning Signs! | Luke 16:19-31

Introduction

Please Stand For The Reading of God’s Word

Luke 16:19-31 ESV  “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.  (20)  And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,  (21)  who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores.  (22)  The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried,  (23)  and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.  (24)  And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’  (25)  But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.  (26)  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’  (27)  And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house—  (28)  for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’  (29)  But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’  (30)  And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’  (31)  He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

You May Be Seated

  • So here we have the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man.
    • One who went to heaven and one who went to hell.
    • You have this rich man who lived a lush and lavish life, feasting every day…
    • And then there is this poor man, Lazarus, who was starving, laying at the rich man’s gate, begging for food while dogs licked his sores.
    • They both end up dying on the same day, the poor man Lazarus ends up in heaven and the rich man ends up in hell.
  • I have heard this story preached many times before.
    • I have talked in length about it with theology professors back when was in school.
    • I have even partaken in debates about the deeper meanings of this passage.
      • Debates about whether or not this is a parable, or if it literally happened.
      • Debates about if Jesus is really talking about heaven and hell, or maybe some kind of purgatory.
  • But what struck me, as I studied this afresh, was once again the power of CONTEXT.
    • I never once have heard this story preached or taught with the context of the previous passages and chapter in mind.
    • I have always seen it taught as a one off story. But it’s not, it’s part of a larger sermon that Jesus is preaching
  • So, if you have been a Christian for a long time you too may have heard a lot about this story, but today I want to talk about it in the context it was preached.

Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray

  • So, we have these long sermon Jesus is preaching, starting at the beginning of Luke 15.
    • And the audience consists of two crowds… the Pharisees, a group of Jewish Scholars who think they are holier than everyone else because they put on an outward appearance of Godliness.
    • And the disciples, IE, the true believers, who care about not just their outward appearance, but they care about their relationship with God, they care about what their heart condition is, they care about the outside and the INSIDE of their spiritual walk.
  • And as Jesus talks to these two audiences He paints a grim picture for the Pharisees and an Encouraging picture for the Disciples

  • This whole sermon starts with the Pharisees, the false believers, grumbling and complaining that Jesus receives sinners.
    • So Jesus gives the two parables comparing true believers and all of heaven to people who do everything they can to find a lost coin or a lost sheep, and who celebrate when they do.
    • Then Jesus tells the Parable of the Prodigal Son…
      • Emphasizing the love and grace of the father to the Lost, who have repented and turned to God and are NOW true believers…
      • And also emphasizing the selfishness and ungratefulness of the older son, a direct, yet grace filled, rebuke to the pharisees.
    • Next Jesus instructs true believers to use their money to win others for the Kingdom of God.
      • And he rebukes, now quit harshly, the pharisees for being lovers of money and choosing to serve money over God.
    • Now all of that leads to this part of the sermon…
      • One man who trust in his wealth, i.e. the pharisees, goes to hell… having ignored a lifetime of warnings.
      • And the other, a poor man, but a Godly man, goes to heaven… I.E. The true believers go to heaven.
  • Truthfully, I don’t know if Jesus is telling a metaphor here or not, it could be a parable, it could be literally…

  • But it doesn’t matter, does it… because this kind of thing happens every day.
    • Every day people die, and those people wind up in eternity… either an eternity of suffering or an eternity of rest.
    • Every day people go to heaven, and every day people go to hell.
    • So whether or not THIS INSTANCE is literal is irrelevant, because the reality of what Jesus is saying is 100% accurate.
  • Now then, knowing all this, and knowing the context, our question as believers ought to be… what can we learn from all of this?
    • What is our take away.
    • How do we apply what Jesus has been saying, how do we apply this sermon to our lives?
    • To answer that question you have to decide which audience are you? Are you the Pharisee, that is the false believer, or are you the disciple, the true believer.
  • But don’t answer too quickly… BECAUSE THE PHARISEES BELIEVE THEY ARE TRUE BELIEVERS…
    • So just believing you are a true believer doesn’t make you a true believer…
  • And that’s what is great about this sermon Jesus is preaching… it is a warning to everyone listening… DON’T IGNORE THESE WARNING SIGNS!

  • Now if, after carefully examining your life, checking your heart, and confirming with God after all of this that you are indeed a true believer, then Jesus has some instruction for you in the closing few paragraphs of this sermon, we will talk about that in the following few weeks.
    • But today, the take away for EVERYONE is this “Don’t ignore these warning signs”
      • Now while this sermon is directed to false believers, I want EVERYONE to pay attention…
    • Because if you just check out, you may be keeping yourself in ignorance, and find yourself surprised on judgment day to be in the lake of fire… AND I DON’T WANT THAT FOR ANYONE IN MY CHURCH!
    • So whether you have been a Christian your whole life, or this whole thing is new to you, PAY ATTENTION.
      • Listen, warning signs are not just there for BAD DRIVERS! They are there for Good Drivers too!
      • This fool in the water probably thought “That sign is for people who don’t know how to drive as well as me”
        • And so the pharisees, the false believers think of the warning signs Jesus gives…
        • Don’t be like them, listen to these warnings, check your heart, examine your life!
        • Paul, writing to Christians in the church of Philippi gives this instruction:

Philippians 2:12 ESV  Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,

  • Remember Paul is talking to Christians when he says this…
    • He says “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”.
      • That means, examine yourself, make sure you are saved, God’s power and justice ought to be enough for you go “WOW I BETTER MAKE SURE I AM DOING THIS RIGHT”
      • Does that mean you should be fearful of God, well the fear of God is good, but I think what Paul is saying is “Be smart! Because the consequence of getting this wrong is terrifying…

Luke 16:27-31 ESV  And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house—  (28)  for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’  (29)  But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’  (30)  And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’  (31)  He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

  • The rich man begs “Send warning to my brothers”
    • Abraham responds… they have warnings! In the prophets, in the Bible…
    • The rich man says “BUT IF SOMEONE COMES BACK FROM THE DEAD”
    • Abraham replies “No, even if one rose from the dead they would not believe… They have decided in there hearts to ignore these warning signs”.
  • I hope the question you are asking now is “What are the warning signs?”.
    • Well, in this sermon Jesus went over many of them.

  • First Warning Sign: How Do You Feel About Saving Sinners?
    • Do you grumble about the lost being found.
    • Do you care more about the church being Comforable for you and your family then you do about it seeking to save the lost.
    • Would you rather the church be a place for you to comfortably hang out with your friends then a place that actively seeks to grow by leading people to Christ?
    • Or, do you have a deep and passionate desire to save the lost, like a shepherd looking for a lost sheep or the woman looking for a lost coin?
  • Second Warning Sign: How do You Feel About Grace Towards Others?
    • Or do you get mad when someone else gets a free burrito.
    • Do you look at God’s grace as something you deserve? Something you earned? Something you worked hard for? If so, be warned! You are living as a false believer…
    • Do you forgive as you have been forgiven, or do you withhold forgiveness?
      • In Matthew 6:15 Jesus says if you withhold forgiveness then you are not forgiven.

Matthew 6:15 NIV  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

  • I once asked a new visitor “Why did you leave your old church” and they said “The pastor preached that to be a Christian you have to forgive everyone who wrongs you! He has no idea what has been done to me by so and so, I can’t believe he would tell me to forgive him! I can’t go to a church like that”.
    • DING DING DING… warning bells go flying in my head, this person has not been saved, they don’t know the forgiveness of Christ, they are ignoring the warning signs and looking for a church where they can go and stay blissfully ignorant of there own state…
  • Third Warning Sign: Who do you Truly Serve?
    • Remember what Jesus said in Luke 16:13

Luke 16:13 ESV  No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

  • Who do you serve?
    • It can’t be Jesus “and”.
    • It can’t be Jesus and money.
    • You can’t serve Jesus and yourself.
    • You can’t serve Jesus and your family.
    • It can’t be Jesus and your church.
    • It has to be Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, and nothing but Jesus.
      • Jesus when you wake up.
      • Jesus when you go to work.
      • Jesus when you are resting.
      • Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
  • You mean to tell me you don’t serve your family pastor?
    • THAT’S RIGHT! I serve Christ, and I trust Christ will take care of my family as I serve Him.
  • But don’t you want us to serve the Church pastor?
    • No I do not, I want you to serve AT the church.
    • That is, I want you to serve Jesus by serving at the church.
  • You see the pharisees where real good at serving the church… but they weren’t doing it for God!
  • The final warning sign is this: How do you respond to warnings?
    • Wait, the final warning sign is about the other warning signs? THAT’S RIGHT!
    • Do you respond with fear and trembling, or do you respond by ignoring them?
      • When I read the first three warning signs, did you immediately ignore them.
      • “Oh that’s not me” is that what you thought?
        • Or did you search your heart?
        • Because Christians, true Christians, know how fragile there heart is… and with fear and trembling they work out their salvation!
        • “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the Lord I love, take my heart Lord, take and seal it, for they courts above”

  • You guys know this intersection? It’s first ave, just south west of Collins Rd, it is where you turn into the plaza with Red Robins, Guitar Center, Dick’s Sporting good and all that stuff.
    • Now there are two turn lanes here, this one close to us, and one just past it.
    • One of those turn lanes is to turn into the plaza with Guitar Center and Red Robin, the other is for oncoming traffic to turn into best buy.
    • Now right in the middle of these two turn lanes is this do not enter sign.
    • Now I don’t know about you, but I have been going down the correct turn lane to get to guitar center, seen this do not enter sign… and had my heart drop.
      • It made me physically afraid that I was in the wrong lane…
        • So because of that I checked the arrows painted on the ground, and my other surroundings, working out that I was indeed in the right lane, and that sign was meant for people trying to go the wrong way down this other turn lane.
    • AND IT IS NOT BECAUSE I AM A BAD DRIVER THAT SIGN MADE ME AFRAID.
    • In fact, it is the bad drivers who ignore that sign and end up going down the wrong lane, which I have seen multiple people do… and they don’t realize it until it is too late.

Conclusion – Come to Christ FULLY Before it is Too Late

Luke 16:22-25 ESV  The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried,  (23)  and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.  (24)  And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’  (25)  But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.

  • By the time the rich man, the pharisee, found out he was going to hell, it was too late!
    • The flames and the torment made him realize his sin, but it was too late.
    • Not even a single drop of water could be given to him for comfort.
      • He had everything in the world, but he didn’t have Jesus!
  • DON’T BE LIKE HIM!
    • I don’t care if you have been coming to CLC since the first day it was open.
    • I don’t care if you have pastor in front of your name, or elder, or deacon or deaconess.
    • I don’t care how many bible studies you have lead, prayers you have prayed, people you have taught.
    • I don’t care about your age, your race, your background, or your job.
    • ALL I CARE ABOUT IS THIS: ARE YOU TRULY SAVED.
      • If the warnings signs all point to NO! Then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT TODAY.
    • I am not talking about one warning sign or two warning signs, you may need to rededicate your life, you may need to cry out in repentance to God… I will get to you.
    • But right now I am talking to those who feel like I have slapped them in the face with this sermon.
      • Who can honestly access there life and say “I am not saved”.
      • IF THAT IS YOU DON’T WAIT! TODAY IS THE DAY OF SALVATION!

Gospel Call

Rededication Call

0 Comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.