Life lessons from two dead men


By Robert Oliver - Contributing columnist



By Robert Oliver

Contributing columnist

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Luke records the account told by Jesus of two men who died and of their immediate situation following their death (Luke 16:19-31). We wish to notice five life lessons from this account that all would be wise to learn and apply. Due to space we will not print the entire passage of scripture, but will refer to specific verses.

Life lesson number one is that “death comes to all”. One man was a beggar and the other rich, yet both died. One can go through the genealogy of Genesis chapter five and note that even though they lived hundreds of years, each end with the phrase, “and he died” (example: Gen. 5:5). The Hebrew writer stated, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). Death is no respecter of persons. No matter our race, our gender, our nationality, our social standing, our educational levels or our financial status, we will all die. With this in mind, it would do us well to heed the words of the prophet Isaiah to King Hezekiah; “Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live” (II Kings 20:1).

Life lesson number two is that “you can’t take it with you”. Both of these men took the same amount with them when they left this material world. They took nothing material with them. Paul told Timothy, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (I Tim. 6:7). This is why Jesus taught, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:19-21). Though there is nothing sinful about having riches, a lust for riches will result in going the way of the rich man. Paul told Timothy, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Tim. 6:10).

Life lesson number three is “what we do in this life determines where we will be in the next”. A judgment day will come in which we will all stand before Christ and be separated, the sheep from the goats (Matt. 25:31-32). We will each be judged by what we have done in this physical life. Paul wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10). In the judgment as presented in John’s revelation, he said, “and they were judged every man according to their works” (Rev. 20:12). Since God can see the heart and is omnipotent, we will be able to keep no secrets from the Lord on that day. Solomon said, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecc. 12:14).

Life lesson number four is that “time to make things right will come to an end”. After explaining to the rich man that each had received the results of his earthly life, Abraham went on to tell the rich man, “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” (Luke 16:26). Once death, the separator of the spiritual and the physical life (James 2:26) has arrived, it will be too late to make any changes in this life by which we will be judged and therefore no way to change our eternal fate. As long as we are alive, the Lord “…is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9). Procrastination is a killer of souls. There are three real dangers of procrastination when it comes to making our life right in the sight of God. First, we do not know how long we will live (James 4:14). Second, we do not know when the Lord will return (Matt. 25:13). And thirdly, the heart can be hardened to the point that one is too hard hearted to obey God (Heb. 3:13; Eph. 4:19). Paul said, “…behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6:2).

Life lesson number five is that “the way to eternal life is revealed in God’s word”. The rich man desired that Lazarus be sent to his five brethren that were yet alive, that he might convince them to change their earthly life to one that would result in the comfort that Lazarus was enjoying rather than the torment that he was suffering (Luke 16:27-28). Abraham told him that they had “Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Luke 16:29). Since the Lord had not yet died on the cross, the last will and testament had not yet come into effect (Heb. 9:16-17), thus they were still under the old law of Moses. In this gospel age, the parallel would be, “they have the gospel of Christ; let them hear it”. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). Paul wrote, “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Rom. 2:16). “Study to show thyself approved unto God…” (II Tim. 2:15).

Luke records the account told by Jesus of two men who died and of their immediate situation following their death (Luke 16:19-31). We wish to notice five life lessons from this account that all would be wise to learn and apply. Due to space we will not print the entire passage of scripture, but will refer to specific verses.

Life lesson number one is that “death comes to all”. One man was a beggar and the other rich, yet both died. One can go through the genealogy of Genesis chapter five and note that even though they lived hundreds of years, each end with the phrase, “and he died” (example: Gen. 5:5). The Hebrew writer stated, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). Death is no respecter of persons. No matter our race, our gender, our nationality, our social standing, our educational levels or our financial status, we will all die. With this in mind, it would do us well to heed the words of the prophet Isaiah to King Hezekiah; “Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live” (II Kings 20:1).

Life lesson number two is that “you can’t take it with you”. Both of these men took the same amount with them when they left this material world. They took nothing material with them. Paul told Timothy, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (I Tim. 6:7). This is why Jesus taught, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:19-21). Though there is nothing sinful about having riches, a lust for riches will result in going the way of the rich man. Paul told Timothy, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Tim. 6:10).

Life lesson number three is “what we do in this life determines where we will be in the next”. A judgment day will come in which we will all stand before Christ and be separated, the sheep from the goats (Matt. 25:31-32). We will each be judged by what we have done in this physical life. Paul wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10). In the judgment as presented in John’s revelation, he said, “and they were judged every man according to their works” (Rev. 20:12). Since God can see the heart and is omnipotent, we will be able to keep no secrets from the Lord on that day. Solomon said, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecc. 12:14).

Life lesson number four is that “time to make things right will come to an end”. After explaining to the rich man that each had received the results of his earthly life, Abraham went on to tell the rich man, “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” (Luke 16:26). Once death, the separator of the spiritual and the physical life (James 2:26) has arrived, it will be too late to make any changes in this life by which we will be judged and therefore no way to change our eternal fate. As long as we are alive, the Lord “…is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9). Procrastination is a killer of souls. There are three real dangers of procrastination when it comes to making our life right in the sight of God. First, we do not know how long we will live (James 4:14). Second, we do not know when the Lord will return (Matt. 25:13). And thirdly, the heart can be hardened to the point that one is too hard hearted to obey God (Heb. 3:13; Eph. 4:19). Paul said, “…behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6:2).

Life lesson number five is that “the way to eternal life is revealed in God’s word”. The rich man desired that Lazarus be sent to his five brethren that were yet alive, that he might convince them to change their earthly life to one that would result in the comfort that Lazarus was enjoying rather than the torment that he was suffering (Luke 16:27-28). Abraham told him that they had “Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Luke 16:29). Since the Lord had not yet died on the cross, the last will and testament had not yet come into effect (Heb. 9:16-17), thus they were still under the old law of Moses. In this gospel age, the parallel would be, “they have the gospel of Christ; let them hear it”. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). Paul wrote, “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Rom. 2:16). “Study to show thyself approved unto God…” (II Tim. 2:15).

Robert Oliver is pastor of The Church of Christ and a long-time columnist for The Sampson Independent. Send any questions or comments to [email protected]

Luke records the account told by Jesus of two men who died and of their immediate situation following their death (Luke 16:19-31). We wish to notice five life lessons from this account that all would be wise to learn and apply. Due to space we will not print the entire passage of scripture, but will refer to specific verses.

Life lesson number one is that “death comes to all”. One man was a beggar and the other rich, yet both died. One can go through the genealogy of Genesis chapter five and note that even though they lived hundreds of years, each end with the phrase, “and he died” (example: Gen. 5:5). The Hebrew writer stated, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). Death is no respecter of persons. No matter our race, our gender, our nationality, our social standing, our educational levels or our financial status, we will all die. With this in mind, it would do us well to heed the words of the prophet Isaiah to King Hezekiah; “Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live” (II Kings 20:1).

Life lesson number two is that “you can’t take it with you”. Both of these men took the same amount with them when they left this material world. They took nothing material with them. Paul told Timothy, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (I Tim. 6:7). This is why Jesus taught, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:19-21). Though there is nothing sinful about having riches, a lust for riches will result in going the way of the rich man. Paul told Timothy, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Tim. 6:10).

Life lesson number three is “what we do in this life determines where we will be in the next”. A judgment day will come in which we will all stand before Christ and be separated, the sheep from the goats (Matt. 25:31-32). We will each be judged by what we have done in this physical life. Paul wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10). In the judgment as presented in John’s revelation, he said, “and they were judged every man according to their works” (Rev. 20:12). Since God can see the heart and is omnipotent, we will be able to keep no secrets from the Lord on that day. Solomon said, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecc. 12:14).

Life lesson number four is that “time to make things right will come to an end”. After explaining to the rich man that each had received the results of his earthly life, Abraham went on to tell the rich man, “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” (Luke 16:26). Once death, the separator of the spiritual and the physical life (James 2:26) has arrived, it will be too late to make any changes in this life by which we will be judged and therefore no way to change our eternal fate. As long as we are alive, the Lord “…is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9). Procrastination is a killer of souls. There are three real dangers of procrastination when it comes to making our life right in the sight of God. First, we do not know how long we will live (James 4:14). Second, we do not know when the Lord will return (Matt. 25:13). And thirdly, the heart can be hardened to the point that one is too hard hearted to obey God (Heb. 3:13; Eph. 4:19). Paul said, “…behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6:2).

Life lesson number five is that “the way to eternal life is revealed in God’s word”. The rich man desired that Lazarus be sent to his five brethren that were yet alive, that he might convince them to change their earthly life to one that would result in the comfort that Lazarus was enjoying rather than the torment that he was suffering (Luke 16:27-28). Abraham told him that they had “Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Luke 16:29). Since the Lord had not yet died on the cross, the last will and testament had not yet come into effect (Heb. 9:16-17), thus they were still under the old law of Moses. In this gospel age, the parallel would be, “they have the gospel of Christ; let them hear it”. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). Paul wrote, “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Rom. 2:16). “Study to show thyself approved unto God…” (II Tim. 2:15).

Robert Oliver is pastor of The Church of Christ and a long-time columnist for The Sampson Independent. Send any questions or comments to [email protected]

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