There is an interesting passage of scripture I overlooked in Luke 16. I was reading the story that involves Abraham, Lazarus the beggar, and the rich man. This morning I had a things that make you go hum moment.
Everyone that is saved for any length of time has heard this story or read it. Well sometimes we can read the Word or hear it numerous times that it becomes too familiar. We already go into reading or hearing a particular scripture with preconceived notions of what that passage is saying.
This morning the Lord showed me something that I hadn’t paid attention to even though I had it highlighted! So my spirit grasped it then. But there was an appointed time for me to consciously lay hold of it.
According to this story, there was a certain rich man who had more than he ever wanted
Or needed. He lived his life for himself, in selfish indulgence, not caring at all about
the poor. Lazarus was a poor beggar who like a dog desired to be fed the crumbs from the masters table, though it is not clear if he ever was fed by the rich man.
After they both die, we get a glimpse of their situations in eternity. Lazarus is with Abraham, symbolizing that he is grafted into the family of God by faith in Christ. He is in heaven. The rich man is in agony in the burning flames of hell. Between the two a great divide which cannot be crossed is fixed.
A conversation is said to take place between Lazarus, the rich man, and Abraham. The rich man knows that his five brothers are as wicked as he was and without a doubt end up in torment as he is, so he begs Abraham to send somebody, even Lazarus, to his brothers. He thinks that if his brothers see a person raised from the dead that they will repent and put their faith in God.
Yet Abraham explains that unless they hear the law and the prophets, which they already have available to them, they will not repent.
Abraham’s statement, told by Christ as He gives this story, is emphasizing that the Scripture is sufficient.
Unless a person hears what they already have in the Word of God, they cannot and will not be saved. Even if some miraculous sign happened for the rich man’s brothers or for any man for that matter, they would still not believe.
We can deceive ourselves into thinking that if only Jesus came and appeared to all men that they would trust Him. We can think that we can come up with some other means to woo somebody to church or to Christ. The reality is that the greatest sign of all time has already taken place. Jesus Himself rose from the dead and people reject that, despite the overwhelming evidence of its historicity.
The Lord knew this and was foretelling in this story that even His death burial and resurrection would not be sufficient to bring some people to repentance. Christ Himself
knew that only the Word of God could change a person’s heart. If Christ even by performing the greatest miracle of all time couldn’t convince a person to believe, what really do we have to come up with?
The Church has so many programs and works that they perform all to bring people to Christ. They are working themselves to death trying to come up with ways that will attract people into the household of the Lord.
Programs, skits, musicals, bazaars, fairs, workshops, auctions, giveaways, you name it the Church tries it. I look at all of the churches with theatre props, book stores, coffee houses, gyms, empowerment & business centers, soup kitchens, credit unions, colleges, schools, daycares, restaurants and so forth and so on. We here in America have made the Word of God secondary in comparison to all of the wonderful things we are doing for Him. Churches are not willing to preach the full counsel of the Word for fear of losing members. They have listened to polls that say people’s attention spans cannot absorb a sermon over 15 minutes. So the Word becomes secondary and the programs are first.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a lot of this stuff as long as it is in its proper place. What has me concerned is the mindset that the Word of God is not enough to get people saved.
The Word of God can stand on it’s on. It doesn’t need any help. The only thing God put His full backing on is His Word. The Scripture is the Power of God in written form. It is only through hearing and appropriating the Scriptures can sanctification take place. Good works, community service, and theatrics can have their place. The issue is whether they are sufficient to be able to stand on their own apart from the Word of God.
The Body of Christ needs to study, memorize and meditate on the Word of God. I am very concerned for the Church here in America because of what is coming down the pipeline for this country. The scripture says “Who have believed our report?” Isaiah 53:1. You have to first know the report in order to believe it.
Remember man cannot live apart from taking in the Word of God. He cannot be saved apart from hearing the gospel, and he cannot be a mature Christian without instruction from the Scripture. We already know from Romans 1:16 that the “gospel is the power of God unto salvation.” We know from 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Romans 10:16 says that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them in the word; your word is truth.”
All of our progress in being sanctified into the image of Christ is due to our being immersed in the truth of the Word of God. There is no short cut to this thing called Sanctification.