Final Destination

Photo by Arūnas Naujokas on Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to Luke 16.

We All Have A Final Destination

Several years ago there was a series of scary movies called “Final Destination”. In that movie, death stalked – and usually got – the characters. What made the movie interesting is that it made death out to be an entity, and evil being that chased and tried to destroy people. Death is not an entity. Death is a reality of life. It is human to be born, to live your life, then to die physically. When you die physically, your soul goes to another place, another state, another home. Death is not the cessation of life, but a door by which you enter another place. The Bible says:

Hebrews 9:27-28 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many

Everyone has an appointment that we must make. That appointment is the time of our physical death. Yet this physical death is not the end of life itself, but the transfer of our souls from this container we call a “body”, to another place. Jesus Christ died, bearing our sins on His body on the tree of Calvary, so that after our physical death we can go and be with God our Father. No one ever actually ceases to be. You cease to be HERE, but if you are a Christ follower, as Jesus said,

John 12:26 … where I am, there shall also my servant be …

When you leave this life, your soul will have a final destination, a final judgment. If you are in Christ your works shall be judged by Jesus. If you are NOT in Christ, your works shall be judged by God. Out west there is a tombstone, and on it the words:

Pause, stranger, when you pass me by,
For as you are, so once was I.
As I am now, so you will be,
Prepare to die, and follow me.

Next to this tombstone someone erected another sign that said:

To follow you I’m not content,
Until I know which way you went!

Luke 16:19-21 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

Does Jesus Know Your Name?

What did Jesus believe about Heaven and Hell? We’ll see that today in this message, direct from our Master’s lips. Jesus begins by telling us about two individuals. The first is “a certain rich man”, and the second a “certain beggar named Lazarus”. These two people were in two very different situations in life.

Luke 16:19 … There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day

The rich man was clothed in purple and fine linen. This was not the day of Walmart, nor of mass production. There were no Ritz Die companies. Back in these days purple was a color that could only be obtained by crushing a tiny sea snail known as Bolinus brandaris. The snail was harvested at only one place, the Phoenician city of Tyre – and it was so rare that it was worth it’s weight in gold.

Purple clothing was worn only by great dignitaries, politicians, lawyers, and kings. Fine linen was, again, exceedingly rare.

In the Old Testament Pharaoh raised up Joseph to be his right hand man, and “arrayed Joseph in vestures of fine linen” (Genesis 41:42). When God had Israel build the Tabernacle, it had “ten curtains of fine, twined linen” (Exodus 26:1). The High Priest wore a breastplate of judgment of fine, twined linen (Exodus 28:15). Fine linen is even used to describe the future Marriage Supper of the Lamb. We who are saved will be …

Revelation 19:8 … arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

Only the best and most influential people were clothed in Purple and fine linen. This rich man had everything. He “fared sumptuously every day”, eating only the best foods. This man had EVERYTHING,

EVERYTHING but a name. Jesus didn’t give him a name.

There are many people in our world today who are well known on television, through the news, through politics. If I mention the name “Steve Jobs” people immediately say, “Oh, the Founder of Apple”. If I say “Bill Gates”, you know he founded Microsoft. If I say “Bill Lee”, you know I’m speaking of the Governor of Tennessee. Oh, there are so many famous people, well known through television and media.

But does Jesus know them? Those famous people, perhaps famous and rich people, does Jesus know them? Jesus Christ is the Door of the Sheep. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God that gave His life for us. He told us:

John 10:7-11 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

So many people today are like this rich man. Jesus once asked a true and faithful question:

Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

So many have sold their souls, like Esau, for a little lentil stew. So many have refused the narrow gate, choosing instead the wide and broad gate that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). Don’t get me wrong. It is not a sin to be rich. It is a sin to be rich, and yet never be known of God. This rich man had the whole world as his oyster, and yet he was unknown of God. How do we know this? Read your context:

Luke 16:20-21 there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

Jesus now introduces a man named Lazarus. Lazarus” is an interesting name. It means “assistance of God”. This man leaned on God every day, trusting the Lord for what he had. In our world today, if you had a choice to be POOR or RICH, most people would choose RICH. We all think that RICHES are better than poverty. Yet this is not true. Jesus preached:

Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

When Jesus was asked, “Are You the Messiah, or should we look for another”, our Lord replied:

Matthew 11:5-6 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Poverty and want are often the best places to be if you want to be in the family of God. Want drives us into the arms of the Savior, whereas plenty often fogs our minds and teaches us to foolishly ignore God. Lazarus has no food, no fine clothes. In fact, our text tells us that:

Luke 16:21 … {Lazarus} desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table

Lazarus apparently stayed down with the dogs, at the foot of the rich man’s table. This man who had EVERYTHING refused to give more than the VERY LEAST to this poor, starving man. The rich man only loved himself. He devalued other humans. He treated other people as if they were objects to be used. He didn’t object to Lazarus being at the foot of his table … but he didn’t go out of his way to feed Lazarus, either. As Lazarus laid with the dogs, dogs that licked his wounds, the “certain rich man” ignored the groans from his lips and the sounds from his empty belly.

Jesus told His disciples one day:

Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

The rich man was a worker of iniquity, a doer of evil. How was he thus? Because he saw Lazarus suffering and starving, and did nothing to help. He could have given Lazarus a seat at the table. He could have given Lazarus a job, a place to stay, a place to get himself cleaned up. Our Lord Jesus told us that the entirety of the Law of God is this:

Matthew 22:37-40 Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Love is the fulfillment of the Law. Not just lip service, but actual love that lifts up, and encourages, and ministers. God often puts those in need in our path so that we can be the hands and feet of Christ. As we would be treated, we are to treat others.

The Rich Man And Lazarus Both Died

Luke 16:22-23 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; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

Both men died. The rich man had everything. When he died, he went unaccompanied to hell. He had no one around him, not even the so called “Grim Reaper”. He just died. But Lazarus, oh, how things changed for Lazarus. Lazarus was not welcomed at the table of the rich man. But Lazarus dies, and is carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom. Why did Jesus use this as an illustration?

The Bible teaches us that Abraham is not just the father of faith, but he is the pattern of the Christ follower. Jesus told the Scribes and Pharisees:

John 8:39, 42 If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. … 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

When God spoke to Abraham,

Romans 4:3 … Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

James 2:23 … Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

Jesus told them “Father Abraham saw Me, and was glad” (John 8:58). When God called Abraham, Abraham, though a rich man himself, immediately followed God. He went where God said, when God said. The Bible tells us:

Galatians 3:9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

If you have heard the call of God, and have answered Him by faith.
If you have let God’s Spirit put the love of God in your hearts.
If you love others, as you would be loved.
If you love God with your all.

Then you are Abraham’s seed. Like Lazarus, you have a final destination, where you will rest with Father Abraham and others like him. Lazarus was “assisted by God alone” in this life. When he died, he lifted up his eyes in the embrace of faith. But the rich man, he died, and lifted up his eyes in hell.

Proverbs 22:2 The rich and poor meet together: the LORD [is] the maker of them all

If you have riches, this is a gift from God. It was not given you so that you can spend it lavishly on yourself. It was given so that you can share with others. If you have poverty, this is a gift from God. Do not despair – seek God.

Hebrews 13:5-6 Let your {way of life} be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

The Lost Never Learn

Luke 16:22-23 the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

People believe that when they die, the automatically “rest in peace”. The Bible does not teach this. The rich man died, and in hell, he was in torments. He did not cease living – he ceased living in luxury. He was IN TORMENTS. Our Lord Jesus did not see the afterlife of the lost as a great place to be. In fact, Jesus said:

Matthew 5:29-30 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Our Lord Jesus saw hell as a horrible, torturous place. The final destination of the lost, the lake of fire (Revelation 20:13-14), is called “the second death”. Oh, how horrible that place! “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Revelation 14:10-11). It is a place that Jesus said “it is outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

People say, “How can a loving God do such a thing to anyone?” Beloved, it has to do with your divine design. You are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). If you reject Christ, then you bring upon yourself the judgment of God. It is not necessary, but foolish, to reject Jesus. Doesn’t the Scripture say:

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Note what the rich man’s first words from hell were:

Luke 16:24 the rich man … 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.

Did you notice the two things the rich man did? He called on Abraham, but not on God. He still doesn’t want anything to do with God. The rich man lived a life rejecting the Lord Jesus, and in eternity he continues on the same lost path. Note also he asked Abraham to command Lazarus to wait on him. Lazarus was but an object, a thing, while the rich man lived his earthly life. Nothing has changed. Lazarus is still just a piece of furniture to be used for his own comfort.

Luke 16:25-26 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 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.

There is a separation between hell and the place where Abraham is. You may not like it, but Jesus was very clear that Hell is a place of torment from which there is no reprieve. There is a great gulf fixed between Heaven and Hell, and no one can cross this gulf to relieve the sufferers of Hell. These people are in a fixed and eternal place, for they fixed their hearts and refused the Lord Who loved them. Hell is a place of everlasting fire.

Matthew 25:41-46 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels …

It was not a place that was designed for man, but for the devil and his fallen angels. The Lord doesn’t want you in Hell, but He will not force you into Heaven. Heaven wouldn’t be Heaven if you were forced there anyway! You have a choice, just as God has a choice. You choose your final destination now, while on this earth, by either receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior or rejecting God altogether. God wants all to be saved.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

The rich man continues pleading:

Luke 16:27-29 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28 for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

The rich man would have Lazarus leave the glory of paradise, and return to his brothers homes, warning them of hell. Yet Abraham says, no, you had the witness of Scripture. The Bible testifies as to what is on the other side of glory. The Apostles witnessed the resurrected Jesus, and died for His testimony. The Apostle testifies:

1 Corinthians 15:3-6 …. Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; (4) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: (5) And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: (6) After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once;…

Abraham said “If they will not hear Moses and the Prophets (the testimony of the Scripture) they will not be persuaded, though one rose from the dead”. God has left us a witness to salvation in His Scripture. He has told us all about Heaven and Hell in this Word of God. You will either believe what God has said, or reject His Word. But there will be no second chance once you are in Hell. Hell is forever. Hell is your choice. Heaven is forever. Heaven is forever. Choose Heaven. Choose the Lord Jesus! Do not gain the whole world, but lose your own souls. Turn to Jesus. Receive Him as lord and Savior, while you yet may.

May God the Holy Spirit touch your hearts with His Word and His Spirit. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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