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Sermon : Sodom and Gomorrah

The Rich Man and Lazarus - Luke 16:9-31

The second reason is that it is impossible. He tells the rich man that there is a 'great chasm' between them. In a country where such ravines are not uncommon, the audience could relate to such a division (Hendriksen 786). This chasm that Abraham mentions seperates the lost souls from the saved souls. It also maintains the reversal of roles, as the rich man must now look up at Lazarus, looking down on him (Tiede 291). Abraham and Lazarus have now become 'us,' while the rich man and his kind are 'you all' (Green 608). This image shows that after death it is too late to repent, or try to change your ways (Hendriksen 786).

The rich man's second request once again involves Lazarus. It seems as though he cannot get passed the fact that Lazarus is not his errand boy (Green 608). Tiede suggests that perhaps the rich man did not realize that he was not in the position to dictate what Lazarus does (Tiede 291). This second request of the rich man is purely a rich man's request, concerning only his friends, family and rich neghbours who can 'repay concern for concern' (Green 608). This shows that the rich man is still selfish. This first sign of sympathy is either out of genuine love for his brothers, or possibly he is trying to say that if he had been warned he wouldn't be there, and he fears being blamed by brothers for his bad example. Either way, he still is requesting for only his brothers to be warned. (Hendriksen 787) The rich man may also be speaking from experience, since he did not listen to Scriptures; he knows his brothers will neither (Wilson). So, the rich man wants a warning for his brothers, but now this request is not a matter of possibility, and ability, to do it. Instead, it is a matter of validity of the Scriptures, pertaining to Moses and the Prophets (Tiede 291). The rich man's hope is that if someone is raised from the dead, his brothers will listen. This is somewhat a common concept: a person coming back from the dead to reveal their fate or the fate of someone else (Green 609). However, Jesus' story is quite different, because Abraham does not allow this to occur. As an alternative, Abraham insists that the Scriptures are enough. Hendriksen suggests that this part of the story is not given enough attention. Moses and the Prophets speak well of a life that is opposite of what the rich man lived - one should trust in God, have self-denial in the interest of others, kindness, and help the needy. Both the teachings of Moses and the Prophets point to a person who would give his life for many (Hendriksen 787). Lazarus is proved wrong in his saying that a person raised from the dead as a witness will force people to believe. Jesus the Christ raised Lazarus from the dead in John 11, and the result was not a mass conversion. Instead, it caused Jesus' enemies to want to kill Lazarus and made them more determined to kill Jesus (Hendriksen 787).

Thus, a major theme in this story is that one must accept the Scriptures as the Word of God and live a Godly life, which is in example of Jesus (Hendriksen 787). Abraham is confirming the validity of the Scriptures. Hearing is one theme in Luke - Acts. It is a foundation of faith and repentance. Repentenance is an appropriate response to God's work of salvation. To repent is to seriously consider the 'injustice of coexistence of wealthy and poor' people in the world (Green 609). God teaches His people to care for the needy and poor. Wealth is not what cancels our passage to heaven; otherwise Abraham would not be there, since he was wealthy. How we respond to God determines our eternity. (DeLashmutt) If we believe in God, then we will use our money to help the poor and to spread the Gospel (DeLashmutt).

One of the other main points is that God brings justice in the next life. This is not only something to look forward to, it should change our perspective on life. Society and culture believes that success should be attained in this life. Even some Christians who reject the world's happiness, fulfillment and success expect spiritual happiness. This is not the case, and thus, may become disappointed. Our ancestors believed in two worlds; this is the cruel and short one. We're the first generation of people to expect to find happiness on the earth and our search for it has resulted in just the opposite: unhappiness. If someone believes in one 'flat, material world,' then this is the only chance to happiness. This leads not only to disappointment, but despair. Paul suffered much, however, his beliefs of the next life impacted his views of this one. The glories are greater in the afterlife than the pain of this life. (DeLashmutt)

Another theme is that our choices here on earth have greate impact in where we will be in the next world. This also is a permanent placement; we cannot move from misery to bliss. We can only do this by making the right choices in this life: to live in Christ's example.

So, we must listen to Jesus' parable of money. He rebuked the Pharisees for loving money - serving it instead of God. We should all heed to the Scriptures, which hold God's teachings of life. We must live as Jesus did, with compassion, mercy, and forgiveness; and to listen to what the Bible says.

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