Choose Wisely: Heaven or Hell?

Posted: April 11, 2016 in TLCC
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What happens when we die? It’s a question that doesn’t really bother people unless they have someone who is in the hospital bed, a close friend who’s dying, or when you reach the age where you get your senior citizen card. A lot of us are not focused on what happens next, rather, we are so engaged in the present, in the plans we’re doing for the next four or five years. Even young adults don’t really plan out on dying and for eternity.

Jesus, however, taught about eternity. He taught about heaven and hell. So in this passage in Luke 16:19-31, we will study this passage with putting eternity in mind.

The naturalist believed that you don’t have a soul. When you die, that’s it. The universalist believes that everyone will be in heaven…which means, hell would be an empty place. The reincarnationist believes that we have multiple, successive lives. We live and die, but we return. If we are good enough, eventually we will be god. If we are bad, eventually we end up as cockroaches. In annihilationism, they teach that when people don’t know Jesus and they die, they simply cease to exist, or they suffer for a while in hell, and then eventually they cease to exist. The Catholics, on the other hand, believe in purgatory. This is the belief that your soul will be in a temporary state until prayed upon so you can eventually go to paradise. Another belief is what we call as limbo, or the soul roams around the earth, sometimes making the living beings see the soul (a.k.a…visited upon).

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We have to look at what the Bible says about the afterlife. Jesus said “He is the truth” (John 14:6). He didn’t say “I am speaking the truth” but rather He said “He IS the truth”. The question is do we believe him or do we believe what other people are saying instead?

I. Valar Morghulis (All Men Must Die)

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There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores.

The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried…(Luke 16:19-22)

Death is inevitable. My dad once said if you want to be in business, you can be certain of two things. Babies being born and people dying. Focus on the two and you have a lucrative business. The story that Jesus is pointing out is that death comes to all. Death comes to the rich, and for the poor.

The rich man, who was extremely wealthy (as clothed in purple means royalty), dies. The poor man, which we can take note that this is the story with a name (you can check the stories of Jesus, it is the first time that a story has a name), dies.

There is no way to escape death.

II. Hell is real

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and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. (Luke 16:23)

Jesus taught about hell (Matt. 5:21-22; 5:29-30; 10:28; 18:9; 2:15; 23:33; Mark 9:43-45; Luke 12:4-5). If Jesus says there is hell, then we ought to pay attention. How do we prove that what He is saying is real? We can always go back to the other passages and see if Jesus lied with anything. If He did say something and it did not happen, it will happen in the future because Jesus is God. The problem is with us. Do we believe in what He is saying?

And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’

But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. (Luke 16:24-25)

In verse 23, we see the word “torment”. In this verses, we see the rich man say “I am in anguish.” Hell is a place of eternal torment, a place where we feel God’s wrath over sin. He is serious with sin and so should we be.

In spite of being tormented, the rich man did not repent. In fact, he just wanted to be comforted. Isn’t that familiar? We would rather be rescued from troubles than to come to God. Even in hell, man chooses to be comforted rather than acknowledge his sin before God. There is just no repentance even in hell.

III. No exit door

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And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ (Luke 16:26)

What Jesus is saying is that there is no way to get out once you seal your fate in hell. There’s no way to cross from hell to heaven. Going to hell is a choice of rejecting God.

IV. Sufficient warning

And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’

But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ (Luke 16:27-29)

Everybody will have a chance to be able to hear the gospel. The book of Romans tell us that even creation speaks about God so that no man is excused. When we hear “Moses and the prophets”, It’s like saying go back to the Old Testament. We have the Bible with us. We have Scriptures being printed everywhere. We don’t have an excuse.

And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’

He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” (Luke 16:30-31)

Even when miracles occur, people still don’t believe. We don’t have to go far to look how forgetful people are. The Israelites, after crossing the red sea, began to complain and forgot about what God did. We, on the other hand, forget what God did but can remember all the difficulties. So even is someone rises from the dead, man will not seek God. Jesus rose from the dead, and it did not make everyone come running towards God.

The point is this. We have been warned. We know that hell exist. What are we going to do about this?

V. Final Thoughts

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Francis Chan wrote, “People accuse me of going overboard in preparing for my first ten million years in eternity. In my opinion, people go overboard in worrying about their last ten years on earth.”

We ought to think of eternity. We ought to prepare ourselves for eternity. Are we on the way to heaven or hell? We can’t take something like this lightly.

Think of all the awards, promotions, accolades, and accomplishments you would love to receive in your lifetime. Go crazy in imagining it all. And then answer this: Could anything be better than hearing the words from Jesus: “Well done my good and faithful servant, enter the joy of your master!”.

Can you do me a favor? If these ideas resonate with you, would you:

• REACT. Do something.
• RESPOND. Leave a comment on this post.
• REPOST. Repost this link on Twitter, Facebook or your blog.
Can you do me a favor? If these ideas resonate with you, would you:

• REACT. Do something.
• RESPOND. Leave a comment on this post.
• REPOST. Repost this link on Twitter, Facebook or your blog.

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