It is written: And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ” Thus far the text.
Let us pray:
Our Lord sees two kinds of people. He doesn't look at outward appearances like we tend to do. Rather, it is the Lord alone who can look into the heart. He sees the rich kind of person and the poor kind of person but again this is the Lord's view of the state of your soul.
You can have no money and yet be rich like the rich man in today's parable.
Live paycheck by paycheck and angry you don't have more.
Not included by the popular kids at school but will do anything to be liked
Not included by the powerful managers and bosses at work and it gnaws at you.
Waste money playing the lottery hoping to make it rich one day.
There is a difference between being broke and being poor. If you are broke you might not make a mortgage or rent payment. Poor is a state of the mind and soul. The poor are never content; always need more. Broke can be fixed by saving and increasing income. If you are poor, whether wealthy or broke, whether popular or not, whether powerful or not, you will never have enough wealth, popularity, or power. If this is you then have found your repentance for this morning. Our Lord calls of you rich men. You were born rich. Rich in unbelief.
You can have a lot of money and still be a poor Lazarus but its really hard.
King David was wealthy but preferred to remain a shepherd than a king. He was content to trust Christ
Job was the richest and wisest man in the east but he clung to the Lord even when he lost
The Law of God exposes the richness of your soul. You were born rich to yourself. Like the rich man in today's parable, you feasted sumptuously on rich food in Sunday School, Divine Service, and confirmation classes but do not believe in Jesus. You are the rich men who come to the Lord's Table but care nothing about the unbelievers in your midst. John the Baptist is correct.
10 Jesus was in the world, and the world was made through Jesus, yet the world did not know Jesus. 11 Jesus came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
These rich souls are within Jesus' own people, the church. The rich souls look to externals. Rich souls look at an empty pew but do not pray to the Lord of the harvest. Rather, they jump to strategory such as Friendship Sundays, build a new more attractive sanctuary, or plan a service in the park to witness to the surrounding community. What is neglected are those within the congregation who did receive Jesus. What is wrong with that? Because...
The good news is that the Gospel of God makes you poor. Again, John the Baptist is correct.
12 But as many as received Jesus, to them Jesus gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
The Lord has made you poor to the wealth of your own soul. Poor souls are in Christ. They look into their souls and find only a wealth of sin and unbelief. You recognize that you are so poor toward God that you fear you will even remain in the faith. Poor believing souls look at an empty pew and pray to our Father and beg Him for things like: O Father, keep in the faith. O Lord, have mercy on my friend who does not believe in You. Almighty God, thank you for granting us this holy place and making it beautiful with Your presence and continue to grant us the scraps that fall from Your altar. Lord of the Church on earth, call poor men from around the world to preach and teach Your Word here at Our Savior and in Your assembly of poor souls around the world to the repentance of rich unbelievers and for the faith of poor believers.
How is this done? Returning to the Gospel of Luke: The rich man died in his unbelief and his body was buried. Now, hell is his home. Hell is a place of torment. Hell is an eternal lake of fire. The Lord says in Hebrews 9:
27It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
The death of your body is the seal of your judgment. But it gets worse. It is written in Acts 24:15;
There will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.
Yes, the rich unbelievers will only suffer the torment of their souls for a time. On the Last Day, they too will be bodily resurrected from the dead only to return to hell, bodily, after the judgment. All rich unbelievers will die to all good things from the Lord. They share in good things now. They will die to all good things upon the death of their bodies. They will eventually die to all bodily good things as well.
What about poor believing Lazarus?
The Gospel calls you to a poor faith in Jesus. The parable says that in this life dogs licked Lazarus' sores. Your faith is a poor faith because right now your only comfort is to have your sins licked clean by hearing Moses and the prophets.
And poor Lazarus died in Christ and was carried to the bosom of Abraham. The bosom of Abraham in this parable is Moses and the prophets. We prefer to call it God's Word. Both God's Law and Gospel. The Law convicts you of your rich unbelief. The Gospel calls you to poor faith in Jesus. Poor because in this life your sores are licked, not by dogs, but with God's Word and Sacrament. This is your only comfort.
so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
The death of your body is the seal of your judgment unto eternal life. But it gets better. As I just mentioned, it is written