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Grace to You - Resource

We come now to the Word of God in Luke 16.  We're looking at this amazing parable that our Lord told about a rich man and a poor man; really a tale of two men who lived at the opposite extremes of life; how it was for them in life and how it was for them after death; a powerful, powerful parable of our Lord.  Let me read it to you again, even though this is the fifth week looking at it.  I know some of you have not been here the whole time, so let me start in verse 19.  Luke 16:19.

Jesus tells this story.  "Now there was a certain rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day.  And a certain poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man's table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.  Now it came about that the poor man died, and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham's side; and the rich man also died, and was buried.  And in Hades (or hell) he lifted up his eyes, being in torment.  He saw Abraham far away and Lazarus at his side.  And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.'  But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.  And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, in order that those who wish to come over from here to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.'  And he said, 'Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father's house — for I have five brothers — that he may warn them, lest they also come to this place of torment.'  But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.'  But he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.'  But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.'"

As professing Christians, we are often labeled with the term evangelical.  That's okay.  That's a good word.  It comes from the verb evangelize.  Comes from a Greek term euaggelizō, which means to preach the gospel, to be a...a messenger, an announcer of good news.  We're called evangelicals because inherent in our faith is the mandate to proclaim it.  It's never enough for Christians to believe.  It's only when we proclaim what we believe and call others to believe it that we are truly Christian.  So we can never be content and self-satisfied with our own personal religion.  It's not like that, and that's very contrary to the world in which we live, where people are advocating the idea that everybody should have his own religion, be perfectly content with his or her own religion, and keep it to himself or herself.

That isn't what it means to be a Christian.  What it means to be a Christian is to be an evangel — to evangelize, to be an evangelical; that is, to proclaim the message, the gospel that we believe.  We have a great commission to go into all the world and to preach the gospel to every creature.  We can't avoid that.  We are called to take the message of salvation to the world; the gospel of goodness to everyone on the planet in every generation, that they might be rescued from sin and death and judgment, and eternal hell.

Now, we all pretty much agree on the mandate.  We understand that.  That's crystal clear and unambiguous in Scripture. But the method is the thing we don't agree on.  In fact, there are people who offer almost every conceivable kind of successful method for successful evangelism.  People are caught up in strategies, methods of manipulation, marketing, to try to make people more amiable toward our gospel.  And it sort of asks us the question, then, and it needs to be answered.  What is the most effective method of evangelism?  Why are there so many? Is there one that we can really lean on and be sure of to be effective?  What is it that is most likely to produce saving faith?  What is it that is most likely to cause people to run from hell and pursue heaven?  What is it that is going to capture people?  What is it that has the power to change them?

And the simple answer is it is no method at all.  There is no power in any method.  There is no method that has the power to give sight to the blind.  There is no method that has power to give life to the dead.  There is no method that has the power to overcome depravity and sin and selfishness and self-will and human corruption.  There is no method.  The message is everything.  That's why the Bible offers no method.

In here, from the words of this fictional Abraham, Jesus speaks, and He says this, "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them,” and “if they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded."  I hear it frequently said, "You can't just preach the Bible.  You can't just explain the Bible.  You can't just do expositional preaching.  You can't just go verse by verse by verse through Scripture.  People don't understand that.  They... They don't live in a paradigm to apprehend that.  We've... We've got to get beyond that.  We...we're not going to reach them.  We've got to figure out ways to get to their felt needs.  We've got to come up with other methodologies than this."  The Bible knows nothing of any methodologies.  All the Bible knows about is the message.

In the words of our Lord, "If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets," which is the Jewish way to refer to Scripture....  For them, of course, referring to the Scripture, the only Scripture they had at the point that Jesus said this, before the writing of the New Testament.  They understood that the Scripture was the Old Testament, we call it, but that which God had revealed to Moses and the prophets.  Moses receiving the Law; the rest sort of fell under the prophets.  So if they don't listen to Scripture, they will not be persuaded.

Faith comes by hearing the Word.  "We're begotten again by the worth of truth," Peter says.  "It is the law of the Lord that is perfect converting the soul," Psalm 19, verse 7.  The power is in the Scripture, and that's exactly what is being said in this text.  Let me go back for just a moment.  The rich man is in hell.  He is in hell forever and he's in hell because he missed the message, and the only way that his brothers will ever escape hell is to listen to the message and to believe it.

It's a sobering story.  It's a warning story.  There is a hell.  It is an agonizing existence.  It is a place of torment.  It is unrelieved. Not even symbolically one drip from a fingertip of relief will ever hit the tongue of a soul eternally tormented in hell.  It is not only unrelieved torment, it is inescapable.  Nobody ever goes from there to anywhere else. But the story is not just a sobering story warning us about hell.  It is a shocking reversal which shatters the sensibilities of the Jews because it destroys their carefully crafted theology.

You see, the rich man, in their thinking, was rich because he was blessed by God.  And this man was very rich.  All the language just in the brief introduction of the rich man in verse 19 lets us know that he was an extremely rich man, as rich as you can get; and he lived it up every single day.  Now, they would've concurred that this man...because he was a Jew, and because he was religious — we know he was religious, because he had a view of repentance, which means he had a view of sin, which means he had a view of law, which means he had a view of the Lawgiver, which means he had a view of God; so he had a fairly significant theology.  He also calls Abraham his father, which indicates that he was a Jew; so he knew the law of the prophets.  He knew the covenants and the adoption and all the things that belong to the Jews. And they, therefore, would've assumed that everything that happened to him for good in life, all the good things that he had was indication of the blessing of God; and that when he died, he would've immediately gone to the side of Abraham, who was another rich man in heaven, the hero of all heroes among the Jews.

And the poor man, he was poor and destitute.  He was road kill being licked by dogs.  He had nothing.  He was destitute.  He was immobile.  He had to be dumped there, language of the Greek.  He couldn't move himself.  This man, the horror of all horrors, the worst of men, the lowest of the low, was the way he was because he was being cursed by God; and when he died, surely he would go immediately to hell; and the shock of the story is the great reversal.  The rich man is in hell, and Lazarus is beside Abraham in heaven. And we've been looking at the reasons why.  Why is the rich man in hell?  Was he the wrong race?  No, he was Jewish.  He calls Abraham his father.  Was it his money that sent him to hell?  No, Abraham was very rich, and he went to heaven.  Abraham did.  Well, was it his rejection of religion?  No, he didn't reject religion.  He was very religious.  As I told you, he had a fairly well-designed theology.  Was it his...his sin?  Was it his... Was he overtly and grossly and heinously sinful?  No, nothing is said at all about that.  There is nothing in the story that Jesus says to characterize his sin in any way at all.  So he wasn't some heinous sinner, as if hell is only for the really heinous.

No, well, maybe it was his selfishness that sent him to hell.  Maybe it was because he didn't give anything to the beggar.  Well, you're getting to half the truth.  I mean it's half true that he went to hell because of his sin.  It's half true that he went to hell because of his selfishness.  But I have to remind you that it is true, everyone in hell was in this world sinful and selfish; but everyone in heaven was also sinful and selfish. There's something else that sends people to hell, and the answer is how they respond to Scripture, how they respond to Scripture.

There is salvation from sin and selfishness.  There is forgiveness for all our sin and selfishness, but it comes only to those who follow what the Scripture commands.  The rich man is under the pounding guilt of an active conscience, fully informed, and he feels the weight of that guilt.  He asks for no reconsideration.  He doesn't ask to be excused from hell.  He doesn't say, "Somebody made a mistake.  Why am I here?"  He understands it, because he's under the full weight of his own guilt, unmitigated, unrelieved, forever, and he feels it, and he knows he's there because he deserves to be there.  All he wants is a little relief.  He's not going to get that.  The only thing he has concerning him left is for his brothers, because he knows they're exactly like him.  They're religious Jews, rich fat cats, doing what they want, carrying out their modest approach to religion, and headed directly for hell.

And so in verse 27, he says, "I beg you Father that you send Lazarus to my father's house."  Again, he's pleading on the basis of his Jewish heritage.  It ought to be good for something.  "I've been a part of the covenant people.  I come out of the loins of Abraham.  That ought to be worth something."  And the Jews felt it was worth everything.  He now knows that won't get him to heaven, because he's not there; but maybe it'll get a drip of water; and if it won't get a drip of water, maybe it'll get a...a warning to his brothers from a man who comes back from the dead.

We're reminded again that, in the story, they...the brothers had to know Lazarus.  That's why he's given a name, an unusual thing to do in a parable; but he's given a name, because it's important that you know who he is.  It's not important that you know who the rich man is, but you ought to know who this man is, because if he's going to come back from the dead, they're going to have to know him before he died, know he died, and know he's back to believe what he says.  So the idea is send him.  And, again, he sees Lazarus as beneath him.  He sees Lazarus as a servant, because hell is not remedial.  It is only punitive.  It just punishes.  It doesn't make anybody any better.  He still views things the way he did in life; and, as a typical Pharisee, his only concern is about the people in his immediate group.  While it's normal to care for your family and your brothers, that's certainly a very normal thing.  I think more than that here is this narrow perspective that is so common to the Pharisees, where they don't like anybody outside their little circle; and...and here is Jesus casting this rich man, really as a Pharisee, and here he has this concern for his other buddies, you know.  Was Jesus saying to them that you...when you have the kind of banquets you have, you only invite your own.  You don't invite anybody but your own.

They had such disdain for anybody who wasn't a part of their fastidious, law-keeping group that they didn't associate that... with them whatsoever in any way, shape, or form.  The rabbi said, "Pharisees wouldn't associate with a lowlife person, even to teach him the law of God."

So here, again, is this almost religious incest that exists among the Pharisees, this indifference to others. And it is normal to want for your friends what is good for your friends.  So he says, "I have five brothers.  They're living life the same way I lived life.”  We can assume that they need the warning.  They need a warning that'll work.  Just send Lazarus back.  He's got to be a servant in heaven.  He was a servant down here.  He's got to be low on the pole.  Ship him down here again.  Make him come back and warn my brothers.  They'll know him.  They'll know he died, and they'll know he's back."

And the response?  Verse 29 "Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." What an amazing answer.  They have Moses and the prophets.  They have the Scripture.  Let them hear them, akouō, the Greek word from which we get “acoustic.”  Listen, let them listen, with the idea that heeding and understanding.  Let them hear distinctly, not indistinctly, used in Mark 4:3. Listen to this.  Get it.  Let them hear with understanding what it says in Moses and the prophets.  Again, like the law and the prophets.  It's an Old Testament term for the Scripture, the thirty-nine books that had been written and inspired by God up to then. And I told you last week, and it was a very important message, that there's everything necessary to be saved in the Old Testament for a person living under the Old Testament economy before the cross.

What did someone before the cross, before you believed in the death and resurrection of Christ, because they hadn't happened yet, before you knew the historical reality of his death and resurrection, what did a person believe to be saved?  And we went through it last week in detail.  It's a very important subject, and a very important message.  The Old Testament made it crystal clear what they had to believe.  All through the Old Testament, they had to believe that the one true and living God was absolutely holy.  He is the Creator, the Lawgiver, and the Judge.  He has given us a law.  The Old Testament says very clearly this is His law.  If you break this law, you're cursed.  You're damned if you break it in one place.  You're cursed.  You're damned.  Therefore, the whole human race is under the curse.

If you wanted to be saved, you had to believe in the holy God who revealed His holiness in a law.  You have violated that law.  You are under judgment by God for the violation of that law.  You must recognize your sinfulness, and the Old Testament commands that you repent.  That is, you turn from your sin and turn toward God, realizing that God is gracious and offers grace to those who repent, that God is willing to forgive sin.  He is a God of forgiveness by nature, who has no pleasure in the damnation of the wicked; and how do you appropriate that gift?  Not by works, not by religious ceremony, but by faith.  Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness; and that God will justify you.  That is, He will declare you righteous, not because you are righteous; but He will credit His righteousness to you, the great doctrine of justification.  Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness.  It was his faith, even though he was unrighteous, that God accepted; and then gave Abraham, credited to his account, God's own righteousness.

That's the doctrine of justification and imputation.  God could do this because of the great fact of substitution.  God will let the sinner live and kill a substitute.  That's what the sacrificial system meant.  It was all symbolic of how that God will let the sinner live and kill a substitute.  None of the animals that were slaughtered through all those centuries in the Old Testament was ever the substitute; but every one of them pictured the substitute who would come.  God graciously lets the sinner and kills a substitute. So they had to believe that God was gracious, merciful, forgiving to the penitent sinner who came to Him; and God would forgive that sinner because someone would bear that sinner's punishment.

They needed to believe that God would provide that final Redeemer, that God would provide that final substitute, that God would provide that anointed Messiah, the One who would suffer and die, and that He would rise again. And in taking all of that in, there was a total forsaking of all other gods, all other hopes, all works, all self-righteousness, all merit, and a forsaking of sin.  That's what the Scripture said you needed to do by the power of God to escape hell.

Well, the rich man obviously didn't do that.  He's in hell, because he didn't listen to the Scripture; and he knows his brothers don't listen, either.  They don't listen with understanding. There's one other thing to add here.  The Scriptures are so complete in leading someone to salvation that we have an illustration of it in perhaps a most unexpected personality: Timothy, Timothy.

Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:14, "You, however, continue in the things you've learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you've learned them.” Listen to this: “and that from childhood,” from childhood, by the way, because of his mother and his grandmother.  His mother's name was Eunice.  His grandmother's name was Lois, chapter 1 verse 5. "From childhood, from your mother and your grandmother, you have known the sacred writings."  What were they?  Old Testament.  "Which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith."  We stop there for a moment.

You're an illustration, Timothy.  You are an Old Testament believer.  By the evangelistic efforts of your grandmother and your mother, you have come to know the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom concerning the way of salvation that leads to salvation through faith.  Faith alone, not works.  Old Testament never teaches salvation by works.  Then he adds, "Which is in Christ Jesus," and completes it and sweeps into the New Testament.  The Old Testament led inevitably to the honest reader and hearer, to a clear message of salvation, and it led inexorably to Christ and no other.

In Acts chapter 3, Peter is preaching, says, "But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ should suffer, He has thus fulfilled.  Repent therefore."  He says the prophets said all of this would come to pass, even that the Messiah would suffer.  Earlier, he had said, it even says that He would rise from the dead, that He would not allow His Holy One to see corruption.  Psalm 16 as Peter preached it on Pentecost.

Back in the gospel of John, in John chapter 5, Jesus indicts the Jewish leaders here, verse 39.  "You search the Scriptures," and they did.  I mean really intensely, pouring over them with their fastidious exercises.  "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life."  See, they understood that the Old Testament was the good News of...of eternal life; that the Old Testament presented a way to be reconciled to God and enter into eternal life and the presence of God in the heaven of heavens.  They understood that, so, "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me.  Yet you are unwilling to come to Me that you may have life."

Over in chapter 7 and verse 42, "Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?"  Micah 5:2 says the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem.  Very clearly, 2 Samuel 7, the Messiah's going to be a son of David.  The Old Testament said all of that, and it all resolves in Christ: son of David, born in Bethlehem, who dies, rises again.  There's more in Romans 3, as Paul is arguing against salvation by the law. Listen to what he says.  Romans 3:21, "Now apart from the law” that is such an important statement, “apart from the Law," apart from your own keeping of the law, which you can't keep, because if you've offended in one, you've broken the whole law.

So, "apart from the law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith."

The law and the prophets testify to the fact that the righteousness of God is granted to a sinner apart from the law, not by his ability to keep the law, but by faith.  And that faith resolves in Jesus Christ.

The Old Testament doesn't teach salvation by law.  The Bible never teaches that. In the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul says, "I'm telling you the gospel.  I delivered to you as of first importance what I received; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.  That He was buried.  He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."  Not just the gospels, no.  The...the New Testament had not been finished and completed at that particular time; but it's the Old Testament Scriptures that laid it all out.  So the way of salvation before Christ was clear, and once Christ came, everything resolved perfectly in Him.

How would a person before the cross, before the resurrection escape hell and enter into heaven?  By all those things which, I reiterated to you a few moments ago, are taught clearly in the Old Testament.  And if you look at Romans 9 and 10 for just a moment, you can see that the Jews missed it, just like the rich man and his brothers.  They missed it.  Verse 9 says...verse 4...the Israelites had the adoption of sons, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple service, the promises.  They had the fathers, and even “the promise of Christ, according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever, Amen.”  All the privileges that they had.  All of that.  But verse 1 of chapter 10, in spite of all that, Paul says, "My heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation."  They have all that, and they're not saved.  "I bear them witness; they have a zeal for God.”  Can't question their passion, but it's not in accordance with knowledge, and we go back to this so often.

Look, spirituality's not something you feel.  True salvation, true spiritual relationship with God is the result of responding to what you know to be true.  “They,” verse 3, "were not knowing about God's righteousness."  They didn't know God's was as righteous as He is.  They underestimated God's holiness.  Therefore, they underestimated His judgment, His wrath against sin.  They underestimated the holiness of God.  The overestimated their own righteousness.  It says, "They were seeking to establish their own righteousness."  They lowered God.  They elevated themselves.  They were wrong about God.  They were wrong about themselves; and, therefore, they did not subject themselves to the true righteousness of God, which is given only by imputation through faith, and, therefore, they rejected Christ, who is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

It's all right there in those verses.  They thought God was not as holy as He really is.  They were far more holy than they really are. Therefore, God was pleased with their own self-righteousness. They, therefore, did not understand that righteousness had to be imputed to them, nor did they understand that they needed a sin-bearer to take their place to become the end of the law's condemnation by His own death; and that this salvation could be theirs by faith and faith alone.

The rich man, back to our text, is a Jew.  He's a very likely picture of a Pharisee.  He's damned, and he knows it. He knows he didn't obey the Scripture, but he also knows his brothers won't either, and, sadly, he blames God.  He really blames God, and so he says, "Father Abraham, the problem is I'm here because I didn't have enough information.  If you guys up there had come up with a better method of evangelism, I wouldn't be here.  And my brothers are going to be here, too, if you don't come up with a better plan. And the plan is this.  You’ve got to send somebody back to warn them who's been here and is a firsthand eyewitness, got to send him back.  This is a powerful, powerful, powerful sign.  This will convince them."

You know, they were always asking Him for signs, weren't they?  They were asking for signs, according to Luke 11:16, just to test Him.  "Do a sign from heaven."  In other words, all the miracles, all the healings, all the feedings, name it all, lay it all out.  Nah, it wasn't enough.  Wasn't enough to convince them: "You got to do a sign from heaven."  They wanted some massive sign sweeping across the heavens.  Nothing was ever enough.  He said to them, I'll give you a sign, only one, the sign of Prophet Jonah, “as he was three days, three nights in the belly of the fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the earth.”  I'll give you a sign, the sign of all signs, a resurrection.

But interestingly enough, here the words of our Lord speaking through the Abraham character says: "If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead."  Wow.  You know, you would think if somebody came back from the dead that would do it. It would have to be somebody you know.  That's why Lazarus has a name, and that's why the story is developed the way it is.  The brothers knew Lazarus.  They were in probably the same place where their rich brother who had died was.  They knew who he was.  They knew he was there.  They knew he died, and they would know if he showed up.  But the words of our Lord, through the character in the story, is: If they don't listen to Moses and the prophets, there's no other way to persuade them.  Not even a resurrection.

I say this to you just to keep this in mind, folks.  Look, there is no other way to keep people from hell than to expose them to the saving message.  To change the message in favor of a method is ridiculous.  To use every possible method to proclaim the true message is necessary; but the message is what saves, and nothing else will.  Not even if someone rises from the dead. 

The proof of that? Turn to John 11.  A few months after this scene, Jesus on His way to Jerusalem, goes to Bethany, John 11, raises Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus is dead, and he's been in the tomb four days, so he's truly dead.  Jesus raises him from the dead.  Verse 43 of John 11, "'Lazarus, come forth.'  He who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings.  His face was wrapped around with a cloth.  Jesus said to them, 'Unbind him, and let him go.'"  Lazarus was raised from the dead.

Ooh, verse 45, "Many, therefore, of the Jews who had come to Mary and beheld what He had done, believed in Him.  Some of them went away to the Pharisees, told them the things which Jesus had done."  Listen to the Pharisees' response.  "Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, 'What are we doing?  This man is performing many signs.  If...if we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him.'"  What a horror that would be.  Can't think of anything worse.  And then what'll happen is the Romans will come and take away our place and our nation.  We'll lose our positions in an occupied country under the control of Rome.  So Caiaphas, corrupt high priest, you're a bunch of idiots, he says, verse 49.  That's the vernacular for "You know nothing at all.” “It is expedient that one man should die for the people.”  There's only one way out of this.  We have to kill Him.  Kill Him."

Isn't it interesting that nobody said, "You know, we need to find Lazarus and ask him, 'Where were you for four days?  What... Where were you?  What... What is there over there on the other side?  You know, we need to call Lazarus into the...into the temple in Jerusalem and get the crowds in the courtyard, and we need to build a pulpit for him like in the days of Ezra, and he needs to stand up, and we need to hear a testimony from him, and then a testimony from Jesus about how it is that He could raise the dead, and we need to know what's on the other side.'"  There's none of that at all.  They... All they can think about is: How fast can we kill the Man who raises the dead, because we're going to lose our position?

Nobody ever got saved by a miracle.  It's a message.  Even the people that believed, we don't know what they believed or for how long they believed or whatever.  They believed in the power of Jesus.  We might assume that they believe then that Jesus was who He claimed to be; but they had to have known who it was that He claimed to be and what His message was to be savingly transformed.

All they wanted to do with the man who was raised from the dead was kill him.  Go to chapter 12 verse 10.  "The chief priests took counsel over this” verse 9 talks about Lazarus, whom He raided from the dead. “So the chief priests took counsel that they might put Lazarus to death also."  Come on, once is enough.  They want to kill him again.  Someone raises from the...arises from the dead, everybody will just believe.  No, somebody rose from the dead and they wanted to kill him again.  And beyond that, of course, Jesus rose from the dead by His own power.

Look at Matthew 28.  Matthew 28...and I'm not going to read the whole story of the resurrection...but it's in chapter 27...where Christ is risen; and...27, I should say, where they secure the tomb so that He cannot rise, and then in 28, Sabbath begins to dawn.  The earthquake comes.  Angel of the Lord descends.  The stone's rolled away.  Jesus is alive, verse 6, “He's not here.  He has risen just as He said."

Wow, verse 11, "While they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests that what had happened; resurrection.  And when they had assembled with the elders and counseled together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers."  What's that called?  Bribery. "And said, 'You are to say, 'His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.'"  There's a whole sermon in that.

"'Ahhhhh, we could lose our lives over that deal, if we fell asleep on duty and we're supposed to be guarding a sealed tomb.'” That's OK, verse 14. ”’If this should come to the governor's ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.'  So, they took the money and did as they had been instructed; “and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day” that He didn't rise, His body was stolen.

Why wasn't there some effort to say, "Let's go find Jesus, if He's alive, and let's listen to what He has to say."  No, if you don't believe the Book, a miracle isn't going to do any good at all.  You must listen to the message of Scripture.

You know, the judgment on the Jews is so severe.  In Luke 11, Jesus says it's more severe than the judgment on Nineveh, because a greater than Jonah came to them.  More severe than the judgment in Solomon's day, because a greater than Solomon came.  The judgment on Chorazin will be greater than any other judgment, because Christ walked in their midst.  When you have received the fullest revelation, and you reject it, the hottest hell is reserved for you.

Listen to the words of Jesus, John 12:46, "I have come as light into the world, and everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness.  If anyone hears My sayings and doesn't keep them, I do not judge him; for I didn't come to judge the world, but to save the world.  He who rejects Me and does not receive My teaching, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day."  Every person damned to eternal hell is going to be dammed to eternal hell by the word, by the truth, which will render its judgment on all those who refuse to believe it.

How do you escape hell?  How do you enter heaven?  By believing saving gospel revealed in this Book, and knowing that there's no other name under heaven given among men where we must be saved than the glorious name Jesus Christ.  Trust Him and Him alone.  Put your faith in Him.  Repent of your sin.  And the grace of God will pour into your life, and you will be redeemed and regenerated and renewed.  And you will spend forever in the glory of heaven.

Father, we thank You for this message that has come to us from a reluctant witness in hell.  Thank You for its clarity and its power.  Do your work, Lord, in every heart here.  May no one be deaf to this.  May they hear the Scripture, not only Moses and the prophets, but Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament.  May we know that the message has always been the same, and it all points to Christ, and no other, no other.  "No man,” says He, “comes to the Father but by Me."

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Unleashing God’s Truth, One Verse at a Time
Since 1969


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Since 1969
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Since 1969
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Since 1969