Luke 16 (6)
Pray Psalm 115.1-3.
Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.
Why should the Gentiles say,
“So where is their God?”
But our God is in heaven;
He does whatever He pleases.
Sing Psalm 115.1-3.
(Plainfield: Nothing but the Blood of Jesus)
Not to us, O God, not us, but unto Your Name give glory!
For Your love and faithfulness, ever to Your Name be glory!
Why should the nations cry, “Where is their God on high?”
You rule us, Lord, on high: Ever to Your Name be glory!
Read Luke 16.1-31; meditate on verses 27-31.
1. What did the rich man want Abraham to do?
2. How did Abraham respond to that request?
How shall our lost and ever-more degraded generation (Rom. 1.18-32) ever come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved? We might be tempted to think that if only our churches were more like the world – in terms of, say, architecture and programming – our preaching less stringent and more soothing, our worship more “enjoyable” and more like what lost folks are familiar with as forms of entertainment, our dress more casual, and our overall aspect and approach more relaxed and less imposing, then the world would be attracted to Jesus and believe.
No. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (Jn. 6.63). The rich fool, tortured in his chosen abode, longed to see his loved ones spared the misery of his bad choices (vv. 27, 28). “Show them a miracle,” he pleaded. To which Abraham replied, “Let them turn to the Word of the Lord” (v. 29). “Well, that’s nice, Abraham, but they really need something more, something to surprise and delight them – you know, like sending Lazarus from the dead” (v. 30). But Abraham’s reply is the truth for every lost sinner: “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead” (v. 31).
Perhaps to prove His point, in just a little bit, Jesus would raise a Lazarus from the dead and present him alive to the world (Jn. 11). This would only earn Him more hatred from them (Jn. 11.47-50). They rejected the Word of God, and nothing else – not even one raised from the dead – would change their sinful hearts.
One of the watchwords of the Protestant Reformation is the phrase, Sola Scriptura, which translates to “Scripture alone”. Only the Scriptures have the truth we need, the converting power we require, and the Savior Who, as the Word of God, can alone forgive, save, justify, sanctify, and keep us forever. That’s true for every lost person and for every one of us who knows the Lord. We have the Word; let’s get to it!
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
There is another observation here that perhaps Jesus was speaking to as well.
The rich man never cared about poor Lazarus, covered in sores and licked by dogs (Lk.16.21). He could have helped this man out during his lifetime; but he didn’t.
And now, because even in hell he sees himself as better than poor Lazarus, he requests that Lazarus do his bidding. First to bring him some water to cool his tongue, and then to go and talk to his family. He could have requested that Abraham bring him water and do the evangelizing; but he didn’t. Because he respected Abraham, but not the riffraff beggar. Not even from hell. Some egos die hard.
“In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10.34, 35). If God shows no partiality, surely, we shouldn’t either. Ever.
“I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality” (1 Tim. 5.21).
“You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s” (Deut. 1.17).
“If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (Jms. 2.8, 9).
“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (Jms. 3.17).
“For there is no partiality with God” (Rom. 2.11).
When we get older, we begin to lose the ability to constrain all the badness in ourselves. Whatever sins we covered over become less easy to keep under wraps. Our dear friend Pat Hunter used to say, “Whatever we were when young, just becomes more so as we age.” The lesson from Pat? Deal with your sins while you can! Daily. Always. Keep a close watch on yourself that you don’t stray into sin. Because the older you get, the uglier it gets. Conversely, the closer we get to Jesus, the more we are filled with His precious Spirit, the more like Him we become. At any age.
Jesus was pointing out this truth. The rich guy didn’t change. He showed wicked partiality whilst alive and it continued into death. So, we should “seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3.1-3).
We must take the mindset of Sola Scriptura because, “Only the Scriptures have the truth we need, the converting power we require, and the Savior Who, as the Word of God, can alone forgive, save, justify, sanctify, and keep us forever”! That is bound to keep us from partiality, which nobody wants to show, as no one wants to play the part of rich guy, either in this life or the one to come.
1. What do we mean by stewardship?
2. How does unchecked or unconfessed sin affect our ability to be good stewards?
3. Over what has God made you a steward?
…faith does not depend on miracles, or any extraordinary sign, but is the peculiar gift of the Spirit, and is produced by means of the word. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Luke 16.31
Pray Psalm 115.9-18.
Pray that God will increase your faith in Him and His Word. Seek the blessings of His Word and the power of His Spirit, working with that Word, to make you more like Jesus (2 Cor. 3.12-18). Ask the Lord to increase your outreach and ministry in His Name.
Sing Psalm 115.9-18.
(Plainfield: Nothing but the Blood of Jesus)
All who trust in Jesus yield – ever to His Name be glory –
find in Him their help and shield – ever to Your Name be glory!
O Israel, trust the Lord! He helps us evermore!
Fear Him obey His Word: Ever to Your Name be glory!
Blessings from our gracious Lord – ever to Your Name be glory –
will attend us evermore – ever to Your Name be glory!
Bless all who fear You, Lord, all who obey Your Word,
all who Your Name adore: Ever to Your Name be glory!
Grant us, Savior, great increase – ever to Your Name be glory!
Bless us with eternal peace – ever to Your Name be glory!
Heaven and earth are Yours; let every soul adore
and bless You evermore: Ever to Your Name be glory!
T. M. and Susie Moore
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.