Archive for September, 2022

Luke 16:19-31 Faith vs Death

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24 He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27 He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house– 28 for I have five brothers–that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30 He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'” [NRSA]

Avoiding punishment vs praising God’s grace

Jesus has been talking about riches and faithfulness

Our being faithful to God with those things that God has entrusted to us

The little things

How can we expect God to entrust us with bigger things

God encourages us to make use of the world’s money for the things of the kingdom.

The Story of a Rich Man and Lazarus

Two persons, the rich man,

apparel of the king,



The root of gluttony or grommet’

Radiate, shine, he faired radiantly,


Displaying wealth, posh, liberachi, flashy display, luxury

Second person, Lazarus,

lay at the gate,

open liaisons,

runny sores,

sought the crumbs of the rich man’s table.

Bread used as a napkin, the crumb used to wipe off the hands at the end of the meal.

The dogs came and licked his sore

Painting a picture, greatly contrasted

Extravagant in sinful luxury , and the other just as low as you can get, no greater contrast.

Thing common to both, they both died

Common to us all, rich or poor, wise or simple, all people will die

We might be separated by miles in life, we all face death.

The poor man was carried by the angels to Abrahams’ bosom. The poor were not buried, bodies just tossed in the valley of gahena, the city dump, burned the trash, constant fire in the valley. The bodies of the poor were cremated with the trash.

The poor man died, carried to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man was buried, with all celebration,


The word sheol, grave, hell, prior to Jesus, everyone went into abode of the dead, sheol. Prior to the death of Jesus, hades was divided into two areas/compartments. Lazarus carried to Abraham, the Rich man in torment, far off.


Contrast in their afterlife experience.

Tormented in the flame

Have mercy on me and send Lazarus, for I am tormented in this flame

Son, remember

  • The rich man, lifted up his eyes and saw
  • He cried, he had speech
  • He could see and recognize Lazarus
  • He had sensation of heat and torment
  • Desired that his tongue be touched with Water
  • He had capacity to remember his life
  • He could remember his brothers

Usually associate with our bodies,

His body was in a tomb, but he could still see, speak, understand, feel, …

The real me is Spirit.

Our bodies are the medium for this world.

Each man had a new form and spoke of his eyes, tongue, memory, feeling

A lot we don’t know about life and afterlife, God has not chosen to spell them out for us, but we do know that when our bodies are placed in the grave it is not over with God.

The end of pain, suffering are over, but a new form, a new body

For the rich man, it was the beginning of sorrows, wows, and pain

This is a story, not a parable, HMMMM?

Unusual that character is named…

There was a certain rich man and a beggar named Lazarus

Hades, divided into two regions, a gulf, a chasm, no changing of a person’s condition or position

When the rich man ask for Lazarus to come and comfort

Abraham, remember in your life…


The rich man didn’t lay up treasure in heaven with his moneys

The gulf is fixed.

Not a second chance after death?

Many people speak about AFTER DEATH, theories. What’s going to happen, reincarnation, changes that will take place, in the book of Job, some discussion of the life beyond the grave. Job expresses the desire for death that is oblivion and nothingness, God chids Job for talking about that which he knew nothing.

Where were you when creation occurred?

Job didn’t know what he was talking about

Any true authority of the future, that Jesus would be that authority, no gall or stupidity to challenge Jesus.

We may not understand all, but I wouldn’t challenge it.

I think we ought trust Jesus.

Even if this were a parable… it is not a fantasy

Two compartments, a fixed gulf, one a comfort, the other a torment.

Jesus called the place of comfort paradise

Jesus tells the thief, to his side, Jesus… today you will be in paradise with me.

Jesus refers Lazarus is also in paradise

Is Lazarus aware of the rich man??

When we are in the kingdom with the Lord, the many memories of pain and suffering are no more

Not remembered or brought into mind

Many painful memories,

Some create pain and tears, bible tells us there will be no pain, sorrow, no tears

Only eternal joy

New creation, new form,

Torment to look at the suffering we cause, allowed, condoned, etc

Hades, in the center of the earth, or under the earth

Heart of the earth

4 Ephesians, Paul speaks of the ascension first descended ..

Jesus upon his death, enters into Hades,

Acts 2 as Peter is preaching on Pentecost, concerning facts of Jesus, signs and wonders, crucified and died, God raised from the death, for he could not be held by death. David, you will not leave my soul in Hades, nor your holy one in corruption… speaking of the messiah to come.

Flesh would not see corruption

Peter 3. 18 Christ made alive in the Spirit, preached to the souls in prison.

Prior to the death of Jesus, it was impossible to ascend into the presence of the Father.

Sacrifices was a covering for sin, sin of bulls and goats, only covered all foreshadow when the messiah would make the only sacrifice. OT sacrifices pointed to the future when God would provide over sin…

Atonement: the covering of sin, not making man one with God.

Atonement in OT: A covering of sin, hiding, disguising.

Atonement, in NT different word.. At-one-ment sin put away.

End of the chapter, all these died, they could not come into the completed state.

Prior to the death of Jesus Christ, everyone who died

Comfort or torment

Impossible to cross over between, fixed

When Jesus died

One step further

They have Moses and the prophets, tho one is raised from the dead and they were not pursued.

A man who is determined to set his heart apart form God will not believe even when indisputable evidence

I don’t want to believe

To believe would mean I would have to change my way of life, way of thinking, way of value

Fallacy to change life style is difficult… after all what would you do for fun

To surrender to Jesus

What they do’t realize is the joy, the fullness of joy when walking in fellowship with God

I don’t need all that the world offering subtuously to be preoccupied

We have all we need

We don’t need a great miracle

We don’t need a great cure

Its in the word of God

If they could just see the truth, a miracle

If they wouldn’t believe Jesus resurrection, then they wont believe other, anyhow…

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God or Me: Whom do I serve?

Luke 16:1-13
1 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. 2 So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ 3 Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’ 5 So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ 7 Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’ 8 And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. 9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes. 10 “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? 13 No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.[NRSA]

Again, this is another classic stewardship parable. The example is about wealth, accounting, and management of funds.

Jesus’s questions in the parable is “Can your friends made through dishonesty offer you eternal life?” You might get a good deal in the moment, but how does this the next time?

I offer that it is a fitting stewardship example, but at the core this lesson is about, confronting sin, as sin, and trusting God’s Grace in Jesus Christ to become our source for:

  • Integrity  — not my integrity but God’s righteousness
  • Honesty – not my truth, but God’s heart
  • Devotion to God  — not my faithfulness, but Christ’s

Dishonest Manager Gone Wild!

Cook the books to win favor, build a coalition of support through deceit and half-truths. This story points to our brokenness of nature. If our sin, failures and dishonesty is found out, we try to personal management, fix-it -to-say-our-job response.

The appropriate lesson we learned last week, “Lord have mercy on me a sinner.”

But instead of admitting our confronting our sin, we develop campaigns and networks that create the idea that we look good others and do not truly believe God is watching us personally.

We are not this corrupt. This parable is a great warning, but it’s not for me personally. Right?

Recall, the context of this teaching; Jesus is sitting with sinners and tax collectors, so the examples favor the audience of the moment, but the lessons are about how we sort out our relationship with God and our neighbor.

  1. The core struggle is who is love to whom we are devoted?
  2. How does out devotion to God shape our relationships?

When we are disloyal to God with our own wranglings we know that breaks God’s heart. Hear the prophet

 Jeremiah 8:18-9:1
My joy is gone, grief is upon me, my heart is sick. Hark, the cry of my poor people from far and wide in the land: “Is the LORD not in Zion? Is her King not in her?” (“Why have they provoked me to anger with their images, with their foreign idols?”) “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored?  O that my head were a spring of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears, so that I might weep day and night for the slain of my poor people!  [NRSA]

Our devotion to God is not only how we deal with our possessions, but how we deal with other people. The deceitful accountant in the parable deals with his infidelity with God by mismanaging other people. “If other people will help cover my sin, they can profit from my deception, and all is fixed.

Both/And not either or.

The struggle of attempting to fix what ONLY God can repair breaks is God’s suffering. Jeremiah relay’s God’s frustrations when we place ourselves in God’s place. “Is her King not in her?” Jeremiah points to all the things that we place our trust, hopes, and identities into instead of God. Is there no cure? No healing balm?

As a child, hearing and not reading these words from Jeremiah, I thought the question was there a ‘bomb’ in the Holy Land? Certainly there were and continue to be bombs in Gilead! Think of the generations spent fighting, when we are called to yield our own understanding to the heart of God!

Jeremiah’s prophetic question: Is God with us? In us?

This parable is not only about how we deal with sin, trying to fix it ourselves or trust God to do what we find impossible. AND how we rely on our devotion of God in our dealing with the world.

The Parable’s witness is not only about wealth, as much as it is about who (What power/authority/means) and how we use our resources, connections, and relationships.

A Test: Is it for our gain, our acceptance, our goals OR God’s righteousness?  God both looks at each person being of value and worth and asks of us to be devoted to God’s heart and not what pleases and profits our own interests, our own understanding, our own pleasure and identities.


Serving God or Self

The reason we know this parable concerns more than money is found in verse 13. The Parable is about who we are serving and why?

Chris Janson: The world tells us that money will buy us a boat and truck to pull it.

Jesus taught it was more difficult for a person of wealth to enter the kingdom than to thread the eye of a needle.

Does the world know I am more of a Braves fan or Jesus fan?

Does the world think of me by my work, hobbies, knowledge? Or my God’s work, interests and witness through me?

We struggle being Good vs being devoted to God because we are no good without God.

Is worship about what I enjoy or what please God?

Is my Christian living proving my faith or is my faith praising Christ?

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Sin leads to Death

1 Timothy 1:12-17

1:12 I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the foremost. 16 But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Paul is sharing a mature confession of faith lessons he has learned about sin and grace

Timothy, Sin is a big deal and it will kill you if you let it.

  • Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners
  • For this reason we receive mercy
  • To make us the example
  • Of those who believe in him for eternal life.

Sinners—of whom I am the foremost.

Sin is our broken nature.

We are created with the grace of God into a broken state.

All persons are in need of grace.

What about the infant? What about those who cannot speak for themselves?

Are All persons are in need of God’s grace.

Most folks will say, “Sin” is not my vice, I will let Jesus fix it for me. (Not that Jesus is not the answer, Jesus is our hope and salvation, but not a warranty relationship Jesus provides)

We keep breaking the relationship, and Jesus lifetime warranty will clean up the mess so we can get back to doing what we want.

We have the top ten list of commandments

Or the general rules of decency

Or the acceptable goal of being good people, most of the time.

All these point to our perceptions of our behavior and thoughts

Paul is teaching and reminding that sin is the reality of our brokenness. And with out Jesus covering our gap, all the time, we would be lost. We are not patched to keep sinning.

Sin is the irresistible struggle to yield our will to God’s.

Sin is the state of our self and nature

and we can no more satisfy it by our self than one meal satisfies a lifetime of hunger, thus we seek nutrition every day.

EVERYday without God, we find our effort alone is never enough

Sin and Grace

God gives us grace, preventively… Enough grace to know good from evil, right from wrong, truth from lies.

Enough grace to cover infants and those who cannot speak or understand for themselves. Grace is enough.

Sin is the neighborhood into which we are born.

We can work hard, learn our lessons, and follow the rules

And some day get out of this neighborhood but

When we move to every neighborhood life in God take more than our efforts and intentions.

It takes Jesus making whole what we both inherited as broken and what we keep breaking along the way.

Sin is magnetic. Apart from God, we are drawn to that which is not of God.

This attraction is sometime blamed on the Devil, Satan, evil but much of the time we don’t need any encouragement to sin, we place distance and barriers between ourselves and God all on our own.

God’s Spirit has it’s own magnetism.

It is through grace, that God is drawing us to God’s heart

It is through the Holy Spirit, that our spirit is drawn toward God’s Spirit.

So, Yes we know the answer, Give Me Jesus,

Now I don’t have to worry about sin any more

We live in a spiritual battle throughout our whole lives

The history struggle of free will choosing God’s heart or our own hear rages throughout history.

We are born as God’s good creations, but we are born into a world and relationship that is broken and divided.

Away from God, we tend to love

  • ourselves,
  • our abilities,
  • our needs,
  • our goals,
  • our labor,
  • our status, our position,
  • our wealth,
  • our belonging,
  • our future, our plans more than we love God’s.

God’s simple invitation is to be our God and we be God’s People.

This means that we choose to trust, follow, believe and submit ourselves to God in all things.

  • Over time we have made Sunday into God’s day and the other days of the week are our days.
  • Over time we have made a tithe God’s part, and the 90% remaining our wealth.
  • Over time we have taken laws and commandments meant to give focus and boundaries into guidelines and suggestions to work around.
  • Over time, left to our own thinking we allow logic, science, mathematics, physics to guide our morality, rather than the God who created and ordered these gifts.
  • Over time, left to our desires, we will chose what pleases and satisfies our personal needs over the needs of God’s or others.
  • Over time, left to our own strength and defining, we choose alliances with others that allow us to keep power, control and management of life in our hands rather than in God’s hands.
  • From the beginning and even now, we are given one commandment. Love God’s choice for our lives over our own choice.

When our sin is confronted, we the light of truth shines on our darkness, we hid just as Adam and Eve attempted to hide from God.

One would think that over the millennia we would have learned a better response, but the conditions are the same.

Our defense is our culture of fellow sinners:

  • So we gather with others who likewise sin and develop coalitions of sinner so that we don’t see the separation from God as clearly.
  • See what everyone is doing.
  • I’m ok, you’re ok.
  • Look the opinion polls, 95% of people in our group think it’s no problem to do whatever we want to do because we are in the majority.
  • Because we have proof, algorithms and science to prove we are right and we have no need for God. We can handle this on our own.

If fact, we become so cleaver, gifts, talented, and schooled in defending pathways that separate us from God that we do not miss God at all… or at least until we are challenged or our temples shatter in the face of truth.

Recall how Pilate dismiss truth when talking with Jesus before the crucifixion. What difference does truth make to us when we have our own truths to defend our ways sin.

What do we do with sin?

First, we acknowledge that separation and brokenness between ourselves in God is not in our best interest.

Ref. “The wages of sin are death”

LORD HAVE MERCY ON ME A SINNER, a surrender/confession


Jesus, himself, tell the disciples and us, that this is exactly the case, that Jesus, because Jesus has come to be our means of grace, our debt for sin paid, our hope of new life, that if we keep the original commandment, God will make a way through Christ for all who accept and keep the one invitation.

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