Luke 16 records the account of the rich man and
"There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in
purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was
a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of
sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich
man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came
to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into
Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell
he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off,
and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have
mercy on me and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in
water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But
Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivest thy
good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is
comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and
you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from
hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from
thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou
wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that
he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of
torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets: let
them hear them. And he said. Nay. father Abraham: but if one went unto
them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they
hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded,
though one rose from the dead." - Luke 16:19-31.
You will notice in this passage that the rich man
asked father Abraham to send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his
finger in water and cool his tongue. But Abraham reminded the rich man
that a gulf was fixed and no one could pass over the great gulf.
Then the rich man said in verses 27,28, "I pray thee therefore,
father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have
five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into
this place of torment."
The rich man did not ask Abraham to send Lazarus back so that he
may incarnate the Gospel but rather that he could verbalize the
Gospel. In the rich man's words, "that he may testify unto them."
Abraham answered in verse 29, "They have Moses and the prophets; let
them hear them."
The rich man did not ask Abraham to send Lazarus back to live a
good Christian life before his five brothers. The fact of the matter
is, Lazarus was a good Christian, but the rich man was not saved as a
result of Lazarus' lifestyle; and neither would his five brothers be
saved unless Lazarus testified to them. "So then faith cometh by
hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17).
We have had the opportunity of leading thousands of souls to
Christ, but I have never had one person say to me, "I am trusting
Christ because of the way you live." However, I have had many say to
me, "Thanks for telling me about Christ," or "I never really
understood how to be saved until you explained it."
End of Chapter Four
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