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Luke 16:19-31



Intro: The mention of Hell elicits many different reactions.  Some people react with concern and are moved to share Jesus with the lost.  Others react with fear and come to Jesus seeking salvation for their own souls.  Still others react with hate and revulsion and say that it is not a proper topic for conversation.  Some would even seek to deny the existence of Hell.  Yet God and Jesus declare Hell to be a very real place, (Psa. 9:17; of 162 references to Hell in the New Testament, 70 come from Jesus Himself).  When people attempt to deny the doctrine of Hell, there are three basic approaches.  They are:

1. RATIONALISM: "There is no God, therefore there can be no Hell."; Charles Darwin said, "This is a damnable doctrine."  But, I say Let God be true and every man a liar, Rom. 3:4! 

2. RIDICULE: "There may be a God, but it is silly to speculate about millions of disembodied spirits frying in a lake of fire somewhere."  Or, "This is the twenty first century, wake up!". Robert Ingersoll said, "The idea of Hell was born of revenge and brutality on the one side, and cowardice on the other.  I have no respect for any man who preaches it!  I dislike the doctrine, I hate it, I despise it, I defy this doctrine."  Let God be true! 

3. RELIGION: "There is a God, but He is a God of love and therefore He would not and could not send anyone to Hell."  This is the position of the cults and of liberalism.  Christian Science: "Hell is an error of the mortal mind."  Jehovah's Witnesses: "The wicked will be annihilated."  Mormonism: "All will eventually be saved, and not suffer eternal punishment."  Seventh-day Adventists: "God will someday blot out all sin and sinners, and establish a clean universe once again."  Man may try to use religion as a soapbox to preach that Hell is a myth, but I say, Let God be true and every man a liar!

            We may not like to think about it, but Hell is a reality. If the teachings in the Bible concerning Hell are a myth, then we have no real need for this church, this Bible, this preacher, or any of the things we do.  If there is no Hell, then there is no Heaven, and there is no Savior, because if there is no Hell, He lied to us and He has disqualified Himself.

            Let me add that this story is not a parable! The rich man who is spoken about in this passage is still in Hell and untold millions more have joined him there.  Today, I would to call the rich man up from Hell to visit with us.  I want Him to tell us about what Hell is really like. If it were possible for Him to stand here today, what kind of a man would he be?  There are several traits that would distinguish the rich man and these traits would help us to understand what Hell is all about.


  I.                               HE IS A CONSCIOUS MAN

(Ill. When we meet the rich man, he is alive in this world.  After he experiences death and is buried in verse 22, we see him in Hell.  But, he is not dead, he is very much alive.  He is a conscious man and he is very aware of his surroundings.  Notice with me what the rich man is alive to in Hell.)

A. v.23 Conscious In Seeing – The rich man looks at his surroundings through scalding tears.  This passage is very clear; this is a real man in a real place, experiencing real torment.  This is a literal man in a literal body in a literal place called Hell!

B. v.27 Conscious In Hearing - Hears the screams of millions of parched throats. Ill. Mt. 13:42 – He hears his fellow sufferers moan, cry, curse and scream.

C.  Conscious In Feeling – This passage, like no other in the Bible illustrates for us the pain and suffering that exists in Hell.  You see, Hell is not a state of mind!  It is a real place, where real souls spend a real eternity in real torment.  Notice a few of the truths the Bible reveals about Hell.

1. Hell Is A Place Of Punishment - Matt. 25:41

2. Hell Is A Place Of Unquenchable Fire - Mark 9:43; Luke 16:24

3. Hell Is A Place Of Unquenched Thirst - v.24-25

4. Hell Is A Place Of Misery And Pain - Luke 16:24,25,28; Rev.14:10-11

5. Hell Is A Place Of Undiluted Wrath - (Ill. In the Old Testament, we hear the prophet Habakkuk cried out for the Lord to remember mercy during a time when His wrath was being poured out, Hab. 3:2.  This has always been God’s way!  When He destroyed the earth in Genesis 6-8, He extended grace to Noah and Noah’s family.  He remembered mercy and even placed His rainbow in the clouds to declare His mercy.  After the world has rejected Him, He sent His Son Jesus to die for the sins of those who hated Him.  My friends that is mercy!  The Lamb of God died in your place and mine on the cross, as He did, He demonstrated in perfection the love of God for sinners, Rom. 5:6-8.)

6. Hell Is A Place Of Terrible Frustration And Anger - Mt.13:42; 24:51

7.  Hell Is A Place Of Eternal Separation From God - 2 Thes. 1:8-9

8.  Hell Is A Place Of Eternal Separation Form All That Is Good And Right - Rev. 21:8

9.  Some say this world is Hell - It might get bad here, but it is far worse there!  Some declare that what the Bible says about Hell is purely symbolic.  My lost friend, you had better hope not!  When the Bible uses symbolic language, it does so to describe things that are indescribable to our human minds.  In other words, the reality is far more intense than the symbolic.  If what the Bible says about Hell is symbolic, then Hell is far worse than even the Bible says it is.  However, the Bible uses very clear and plain language where Hell is concerned.

D. v.25 Conscious In Memory – This poor rich man remembers every witness who ever came to his gate.  He remembers Lazarus lying there.  He remembers turning a deaf ear to the pain and needs of Lazarus.  He remembers all the opportunities he wasted during life.  He remembers that he could have been saved.  He remembers that he could have lived for the Lord.  He remembers in glaring detail the truth that things did not have to turn out this way.  He remembers all his chances and he realizes that they are gone forever now.


      (Ill. Hell is a place of Memory And Remorse - Luke 16:25 He wanted his brothers spared too - Luke 16:27-31.  He experienced regret too! Ill. Memories, guilt and remorse- If you think those things are bad here, just imagine what they must be like in Hell!  You see, you still have time here to settle things with your fellow man and with the Lord.  You still have opportunities today, but when you arrive in Hell, it will be forever too late.)


E. v.24 Conscious In Taste – The rich man desires water.  Apparently, those lost to Hell will still have many of the same wants and desires they had in this world, v.24.


(Ill. You might wonder what all this proves.  Well, it proves that this man is not dead, but that he is alive even in Hell.  Friend’s Hell is not the end.  It is merely the beginning of an endless eternity where the lost experience a living death forever.  Don’t let the world, liberal religion or the devil tell you that Hell is a figment of some preacher’s imagination.  It is a real place where real people go!)


 II.                                 HE IS A CONCERNED MAN

(Ill. This man is suddenly concerned about some things that probably never crossed his mind while he was alive.  Oh, these things might have briefly crossed his radar from time to time, but he was not concerned enough about any of them to do anything about them.)

A.  Concerned About Life After Death – He may not have ever given eternity a single thought while he was alive, living in his mansion and enjoying his wealth.  Now, he is very conscious and concerned about the fact of life after death. 

            My friend, you need to understand this one thing: you are alive today, you will die someday, and after you die, your soul will continue to live forever in either Heaven or Hell! Ill. Heb. 9:27; Rom. 6:23; Rev. 20:11-15.  That is why you need to come to the Lord while He is still giving you a chance to do so, Isa.55:6; 2Cor.6:2)

B. v. 24  Concerned About Repentance – This man probably never gave his sinful condition any thought at all.  He lived like he wanted to live and enjoyed himself to the full.  Now he is dead and in Hell and there is a noticeable change in his attitude.  He cries out to Abraham and calls him “Father.”  It seems that he is interested in making some changes in his life, but it is too late.

            My friend, thoughts of repentance and of dealing with your sins might not enter your mind often.  But, I just want to remind you that there will come a day when it will be too late for you to get right with the Lord.  There will come a day when you will leave this world and how you stand on that day is how you will enter eternity, Eccl. 11:3.  Jesus made the issue of repentance very clear, Luke 13:3. 

C. v.27-28 Concerned That Others Miss Hell – While he was alive, we do not know what kind of relationship this man had with his five brothers.  He might have loved them and he might have shared his wealth with them.  But, I am almost certain that he never gave a moment’s thought to where they would spend eternity.  Now, he is in Hell and he knows they are just like him.  He knows that where he is, his brothers will soon be.  Now, he is concerned for his brothers, but it is too late.

            My friends, we must reach them while there is time!  Let us open our mouths and share Jesus with this lost and dying generation.  Let us do what we are called to do in the Gospels and go tell this world about a Savior Who loves them, died for them and will save them; if they will trust in Him by faith, Mark 16:15.



(Ill. Many years ago I met a fellow who claimed to be an atheist. We were there in his house trying to get him to Jesus.  As we talked, his small boy, who was about 4 or 5, was playing there on the floor.  During the course of our conversation that evening I asked him if he wanted his son to grow up and follow in his footsteps.  He said, “Yes!”  I said, “You mean you want him to grow up, live without God and then die and go to Hell?”  He said, “I don’t believe in Hell!”  I said, “What if you are wrong?  Are you willing to take the chance that this little boy will spend eternity in Hell?”  He made no other response, other than to declare that neither God nor Hell existed.

      I do not know if that man ever got saved or not.  But, I do know that little boy is now a man of 24 or 25.  And, I know that if they do not come to Jesus, they will both go to Hell when they leave this world.  I also brought this conviction away from that encounter: I came away with a burning desire to make every effort to see that my children did not die without Jesus.  I am praise His name today, because they are both saved!)


III.                                HE IS A CONVINCED MAN

(Ill. 5 Seconds after death the rich man was convinced of some things that might have been cloudy to his mind before he died.)

A. Hell Is Not A Parable – Many see this passage as merely another “story” from Jesus.  But, Jesus never called anyone by name in a parable.  Here, He called “Lazarus” by his name.

B.  v. 23 Hell Is Real – There are no philosophical debates raging within the heart of this man concerning the existence of Hell.  He is thoroughly convinced that Hell is an absolute reality!

C. v. 22-23 Hell Is Not The Grave – This man knows for sure that Hell is not the grave.  He dies and is buried in verse 22.  Immediately, he finds himself in the flames of Hell, verse 23.

D.  v. 24 Hell Is Not Annihilation – This man knows that Hell does not spell the end of man’s existence as many groups teach.  He knows for sure that man does not merely burn up like a broom sage field.  He knows that the soul lives on in Hell, when it dies in unbelief, John 8:24.

E.  v. 24 A Loving God Will Allow Men To Go To Hell – This man now has no doubts that God will allow man to follow his unbelief all the way into Hell, Pro. 16:25. Some people say that Hell cannot possibly be real, since a loving God will not allow man to go there.  Friend, God loves the sinner so much that He will allow him to go to Hell, if that is what the sinner chooses to do, Ill. Mt. 25:41.  (Ill The fact that there is a Hell does not change the fact of God’s love for the lost – John 3:16; Rom. 5:8.)

F. v.26-28  Hell Is Not Purgatory – The rich man is convinced that he will remain where he is forever.  He asks that Lazarus, and not himself, be sent to witness to his brothers.  He knows that he will never be permitted to leave the torments and flames of Hell, Ill. Rev. 14:11; Matt. 25:41; Mark 9:43-48.


 IV.                             HE IS A CONDEMNED MAN

A. Condemned Without A Chance - No more chances! While he lived, the rich man had the same opportunities that Lazarus had. 

      • They both had the testimony of the Law of God, John 5:39, Gal. 3:24.
      • They both had the revelation of God in creation, Psa. 19:1-4. 
      • They both had light, John 1:9.
      • They both had a choice to make. Apparently, Lazarus chose to place his faith in God, while the rich man embraced unbelief and placed his trust in riches, power and self.

      Because that rich man chose sin over the Savior, he is in Hell and he is in a place where God will never call him again.  He will never hear another Gospel sermon.  He will never hear another Gospel song.  Never again will anyone invite him to church, or hand him a tract.  He is forever separated from everything that has to do with God, 2 Thes. 1:8-9. He has made his choice and his day of opportunity has passed forever.  (Ill. Friend, do not let that happen to you!  If that is the path you choose, then God will allow you to follow that path all the way into the flames of Hell, John 8:24!  You can be saved, if you will come to Jesus!)

B.  Condemned Without A Change – Just as there will never be another opportunity for the rich man to be saved, there will never be a change in his experience of torment.  Now, we believe that there will be a change in the location of those in Hell. 

            Right now, the souls in Hell are in a place of torment, probably in the heart of the earth.  At some point in the future they will be called out of Hell and they will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ for judgment, Rev. 20:11-15.  After they are judged, they will be sent away into the lake of fire.  Their address will be altered, but their state will not be altered.  They will still be lost.  They will still be separated from God and they will still be in eternal torment!

1. Never A Change In Punishment - Rev.14:11a; Ill. Matthew 25:46

2. Never A Change In Feeling Punishment - Rev.14:11b


Conc:  My friend, if you have never been saved, let me speak to you as clearly as I can for just a moment.  Please do not join the rich man in Hell.  God loves you and He sent His Son Jesus to die for you on the cross.  Jesus Christ died for you and He loves you today just like you are.  I have no doubt that He is calling you to come to Him.  If you will come to Him, He will save you and you will miss Hell.  Don't let Satan play you for a fool - Come to Christ while there is time!

      Here is the invitation this morning:

1.  If you are lost, you can be saved!  Here’s how:

·        Understand that you are a sinner in the sight of the Lord, Rom. 3:10; 3:23. 

·        Understand that God loves you and that Jesus died for you and rose again from the dead, Rom. 5:8; Isa. 53:6; 2 Cor. 5:21.

·        Place you faith in Him alone for your salvation, Rom. 10:9; 13.

·        Understand that you can do that very thing right now!  Get up and come to God.

2.  If you are saved and want to thank the Lord for saving you from Hell and you want to commit to telling the lost about Him, you can come before Him to worship and present your body a living sacrifice right now.

3.  If you are saved, but your life is not what it ought to be, you can come before the Lord today and you can find forgiveness and restoration in Jesus, 1 John 1:9.  Your life can be a light for Jesus and not a testimony against Him.

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