The "rich man" in Luke 16 had to pass from this life and into eternal torment before admitting to a wasted life
while on this earth. How sad! But Jesus warns, "no man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the
other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other" (Matthew 6:24). Both God and mammon demand the mastery over a
person. The Pharisees sought to justify before men their love of money and mammon while ignoring the fact that God knew their hearts
and considered the things they exalted as an abomination (Luke 16:14-15). The Master's words that follow about "a certain
rich man" and "a certain beggar" (not a parable) are solemn, serious, and worthy of remembering. Let us reflect
seriously upon the lessons we may learn from the Lord's remarks.
A person may appear successful and have a pleasing appearance in the sight of men, but be absolutely corrupt
and nauseating to God!
The "purple and fine linen" (Luke 16:19) that impresses and blinds worldly people does not dazzle God or
guarantee His acceptance! In fact, so many professing Christians today who believe they have need of nothing and most surely will
inherit Heaven are in God's eyes wretched, poor, blind, and naked (Revelation 3:17). The Lord called the Pharisees
"blind" and admonished them to "cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside thereof
may become clean also" (Matthew 23:26). Jehovah made it clear to Samuel regarding Saul: "Look not on his countenance, or
on the height of his stature; because I have rejected him: for Jehovah seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward
appearance, but Jehovah looketh on the heart" (I Samuel 16:7).
A man can be disgusting and poor in the eyes of his neighbor, but be pleasing and rich in the eyes of God!
Lazarus was no doubt the object of disdain to his rich and prosperous contemporaries, but God was not judging the poor beggar
by what he did not have and could not help. There is no doubt but that the "inside" of the beggar "full of sores" (Luke
16:20) was in much better condition that the "inside" of the rich man who was "faring sumptuously every day" (Luke
16:19). It would also be safe to say that most people of Lazarus' day were more impressed with the rich man than the sore-ridden
and destitute beggar. It is not uncommon for the character of faithful children of God to be held in low esteem by the
influential and wealthy of the world. The soul of Lazarus, however, was indeed precious to God even though its container was no longer
impressive or pleasing to one's sight. Most of us have lived long enough to realize that many people we once were impressed
with did not turn out as we thought!
A man may receive only the burial of a pauper, but be "carried away by the angels into Abraham's bosom" (Luke
It is not what one has accumulated in this life that will be of importance in the day of his death. Neither is how one is
treated in this life what matters most! People need to be very careful as to what they allow to influence them in this life. What will
one day matter to every person is whether or not the angels carry their souls to Abraham's bosom!
A person may have a pompous funeral, but in reality be a poor, miserable soul (vs. 22-23)!
It is indeed a truth that there would be more genuine mourners at funerals if only they could see within the veil. Here
is a thought that should cause one to think soberly upon his life. People eulogize the past of one who has departed this life,
but what about their present? What if people could hear the wails of lost souls in torment? Would the preacher hearing the
cries of one in torment cause him to change what he would otherwise say at a funeral service? What if the audience could hear the
cries of the lost? Would they then believe what is said at most funeral services?
A man may in this world be a millionaire, but in the world to come not be able to receive even a small act of
compassion (v. 24).
Mercy and comfort cannot be purchased in eternity. Those who choose to serve "mammon" (Matthew 6:24) and profit
while on this earth quickly discover in eternity that the wealth they accumulated is not evidence that their soul is right with God.
So many today equate success in this world as God approving of their lives. The rich man's thirst for a simple drop of water is a
terrible shock to one who never suffered want and who lived only for the gratification of the flesh.
A person who neglects and ignores his obligations and responsibilities in this life will have an eternity to
recall his folly!
"Son, remember that in thy lifetime..." (v. 25) are words that will haunt many souls throughout an eternal
hell! A wasted lifetime is a tragedy. In this lifetime, one has an opportunity to lay up "treasures in heaven" (Matthew 6:20)
Failure to do so will ensure anguish in flaming fire throughout eternity!
A unrighteous person may be in the midst of a righteous person in this world, but the day will come when they
will be eternally separated (v. 26)!
Earthly relationships will mean nothing when the "great gulf [is] fixed." As proclaimers of the gospel have
stated for years, when one finds his soul lost in torment all the prayers and penance of the papacy or of purgatory will never bridge
the great gulf, for it is forever fixed, and one will not cross over to the other side.
A lost man in torment will realize that his prayers for himself or others avail nothing (vss. 24, 27-28)!
It is too late to care about one's own soul or the souls of others in eternity. The rich man did not want his
brothers to come to where he was. He thought if one went to them from the dead they would repent (v. 30). Abraham's answer
needs to be understood today. Listen carefully! "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, if one
rise from the dead" (v. 31).
God speaks to all today through His Son (Hebrews 1:2). The Son speaks to all through His inspired Word. Again, listen
carefully! "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall
judge him in the last day" (John 12:48).
Will you benefit from these lessons from a lost soul?