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 receivedst 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
There is a message in these verses from three people in three different places; Jesus, when He lived on this Earth, the rich man in hell, and Abraham in the heavens. Jesus became the first person to describe this cruel and remorseless vision of a man crying for mercy in hell. For relief from his endless thirst, this man begged Abraham to send Lazarus to cool his tongue. When his request for a drop of water was refused, he concentrated his efforts to save his five brothers from this place of torments. He tried his best to make Abraham change the ordinance of God, but he was told there was a great gulf fixed between them and that his fate had been eternally sealed.
Has God ever shown mercy? In Acts chapter six and seven, Stephen was set-up by false witnesses when he was brought before the council. As he answered his adversaries, they gnashed on him with their teeth and cast him out of the city to be stoned. Being full of the Holy Ghost, Stephen looked steadfastly into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing by the right hand of God. As stones were hurled against him, in the middle of this tortuous treatment, Stephen called upon God, saying, "Lord Jesus receive my spirit." The mercy of God was directed upon him and a direct encounter with Jesus took place because Stephen was a man full of the Holy Ghost. God had mercy, and he was made free.
In John chapter eleven, a certain man named Lazarus was sick. By the time Jesus arrived, he had already been dead four days. Before he died, this man was loved by Jesus who had come to call him from the grave, and to set him free from death. Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus come forth," and he that was dead came out of the grave, delivered by what witnesses thought was an irreversible situation. God had mercy and he was made free.
On these two occasions, neither Stephen nor Lazarus had to plead for mercy. Whether in life or in death, we must be prepared and we must be found within the confines of Gods mercy at all times. Before Lazarus died, he was called the friend of Jesus. Before Stephen was stoned, he was called a man full of the Holy Ghost. Any interaction on Gods part was not based solely on his love, nor the love of Jesus. Stephen was full of the Holy Ghost, not full of sin. Lazarus was the friend of Jesus, not his enemy. "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things which are pleasing in his sight." 1 John 3: 22. We ask and we receive because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in the sight of God. We must realize and come to an understanding of all the conditions God has placed upon us before we ask Him for anything.
When did the rich man turn to God? He was already in his most dire circumstance, in his greatest time of need, and yet God nor Abraham could be persuaded to come to his rescue. Within the christian world, we are led to believe that Gods love, his mercy, and his longsuffering can reach us at anytime, even if we are found in sin. As Jesus gave us this account, He made it plain for us to see that for the rich man, this type of thinking or believing did not work. We must meet and fulfill the conditions God has determined for us today, or we will come-up empty-handed, unable to move God on our behalf. Unless we read the Bible, we will never know what to do.
Abraham delivered a message to the rich man in hell that has not changed, and is as equally relevant to you, as it was to him. The rich man was convinced that if one came from the dead, his brothers would surely repent. Abraham disagreed, and from the moment Jesus rose from the dead until this very day, we have proof that Abraham spoke the truth. Have you repented? If not, are you going to repent today? What more will it take to persuade you? Use this message to save yourself from this perverse and corrupted generation. Look at Gods refusal. Once you are in hell you will receive the same treatment. Do not hesitate. Take a long look at the man tormented in those FLAMES, and save your soul from hell today. There is no need for you to suffer. Look at Jesus and at how much He suffered for you and I. Start reading the Bible and do not stop until Jesus returns. Do what the Bible says and you will not be cast into those FLAMES.
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