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Called By Name

Life & Love of Christ  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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This sermon deals with going through life without ever caring about what God cares about and loves. We don't have eternity to do God's will for our life.

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Welcome to True Worship Church! It brings me great joy to see you all here today. I hope this week has been prosperous and beneficial for you all.
Today is the last day of my sermon series on the Life & Love of Christ. Has this series blessed you?
I think we have had an amazing couple of weeks but I don’t expect things to cool off anytime soon. Here’s why?
Because In 2 weeks (Everybody say, “In 2 weeks”), we start a new sermon series titled “Devil in the Details.” We’ll do a deep dive in to those parts of our life we keep hidden or things we know about ourselves which makes us uncomfortable to even think about. Have you ever had a pile of stuff or clothes on your bed and you just grab the sheet or blanket and just cover it up? My daughter, Jada, does that. I’ll tell her to go and clean her room and make her bed and she’ll just pull her blanket over whatever is on her bed. You would be amazed at some of things you can find under he blanket. What’s hidden under your blanket?
You know we have those places in us we don’t want people to know about, we don’t like to talk about it and we don’t like other people talking about it to us. I want to deal with that and see if God has a word for us to help bring deliverance and breakthrough. I am excited about what God is going to do over the next several weeks. So be here for the start of my new sermon series called “Devil in the Details” in 2 weeks which is actually the launch of our 9 am service. Somebody say, “Amen.” You do not want to miss a week of that series!
I’ve been preaching on the Life and Love of Christ by sharing parts of Jesus’ story that I believe prove that He loves us. I’ve tried to take some passages of scripture and point out some new things that you can only see by getting into the story yourself.

The Parable

Jesus did something really good? Does anybody know what that was? He used these in a 3rd of His teachings. He used it when talking about the Prodigal Son, the sower, the tares, the hidden treasure, the lost sheep and the Good Samaritan.
He told parables! He used simple things to teach on deeper things. He would use parables to reveal the spiritual and moral lessons of His teachings.
So, I’d like to look at the life and love of Christ through one of His parables. Let’s go to the text.


“Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day.
“Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day.
20 “And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores,
21 and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.
22 “Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.
23 “In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 “And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’
25 “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.
26 ‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’
27 “And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house—
28 for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
29 “But Abraham *said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’
30 “But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’
31 “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’ ”

Names One and not the Other

What is the 1st thing Jesus does here in verses 19-20? He names the poor man and keeps the rich man nameless. Jesus immediately goes against the norm.
The norm would have been to name the rich man and leave the poor man nameless. Jesus was all about messing up the way things were done in the world system and what man called acceptable.
I want to be clear here. Jesus is telling a parable. He is telling a story to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. He told the parable in a context and way that the people hearing Him would understand the the ideas, the imagery and the people described in the parable.
Are we relating to the people who are in our context? The things we share with others are they able to relate to God by the things we speak?
People should understand God in a sense by being with you and me. We reveal God to others in our context. We use ideas, imagery and people in our conversations that those around us would understand. You know the more time we spend with people, the more they get to know us right? But they should also be getting to know more about God because by spending time with us, they are in fact spending time with God. Somebody say 2 for! Anybody remember Mr. Alan’s slogan “2 For”? It meant that I could buy 2 items there for a much better deal than if I was to go somewhere else and buy the same 2 items at regular price each. It should be a much better deal for people to be around us because they get the “2 For” deal! You and God!
Jesus starts out talking about a rich man. How many folks in here are going to be rich? That’s right! You need to have vision. That’s right declare that thing! Speak that thing! But you better listen to the message today! You better listen!
This rich man was dressed in purple and fine linen. He wasn’t just rich. He was filthy rich! Wealthy! He lived in a palace (right?, historical context - we’ve got to go in to the story) because that is where rich people lived in that time.
This purple material was dyed with an expensive dye that came from a certain kind of shellfish. Think about that. He was so rich that in order to make his clothes somebody had to dive in to the sea to get shellfish to make his clothes. Yeah, he had it like that!
There is a lady in the Bible who sold purple and help fund Jesus’ ministry. Her name was Lydia. She was rich too and saved. The church need a bunch of Lydia’s! We need some Lydia’s to help fund our vision.
This guy wasn’t the kind of rich, like he just got his taxes back. You know how we are? We balling when we get them taxes back. New hair and new shoes! The rich man had it like that. He lived the good life! He lived that way every day.
He was on that Bill Gates level, Jeff Bezos (Amazon) level kind of rich. According to what we know about this parable, he was probably rich all his life. All his needs being exceeded was his normal. Do you know how hard it is to go to God for anything when you believe you have everything?


What about the other guy in the story? This is the guy nobody wants to be. This is the guy who was poor and had a hard life. Nothing had gone his way. Bad things happen to him over and over again.
Most of us probably relate more to him than we do the rich man. 1 of 2 of us understand a little about being broke, busted, and disgusted.... Can i get a witness?
(Show Scripture) Let’s read verse 20 “And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores,
Does anyobody noticed anything here? Look at that scripture. You don’t see it? You didn’t catch that? Come on now! This is the 2nd week in a row that Jesus does something for the 1st and Only time!
This is the only parable Jesus spoke in the Bible where He actually names a character in the story.
We had a “Jesus only time” time last week too.
He calls the paralytic “son.” Only time recorded that Jesus called anyone son in the Bible. Things that yo go hmmmm....

Best Friend

There’s another Lazarus in the Bible too. He was Mary and Martha’s brother. A lot of people believe and referred to him as Jesus’ best friend.
But what else do we know about this Lazarus? Jesus brought him back from the dead. He’s called Jesus’ best friend but He wasn’t one of the 12!
He did have Peter, John and James as a core group that He spent a little more time with, but He has this other friend who was outside of the 12 disciples.
Some people say John was Jesus’ best friend but I’ve got a little problem with that belief. I’m going to tell you why.
Let’s read 2 scriptures:
One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side,
One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side,
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”
Do you notice anything in these scriptures! John wrote it! If I wrote a book in the Bible, I would have done the same thing. I may have gone a little farther than John by saying something like, “Antonio, the one Jesus was crazy about and chose above all others.” What you think about that????
Would it be surprising to you if Jesus’ best friend was not one of the 12 disciples? (Just Let that sink in for a minute)

Covered with Sores

Lazarus was covered with sores, probably ulcers that were runny and leaking from his skin. He would have in put in the leper demographic because if you had any problems with you skin, you were considered to be a leper, a cast out group of people, banished to their own community with others with similar skin conditions.
Dogs would come up to him and lick his sores! Can you imagine that? I refuse to! This brother was in bad shape.


New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
Lazarus was laid at the gate of the rich man. Something isn’t right. Something is not adding up here. The rich man’s house was gated community all by itself. He lived in a palace.
Have you ever asked yourself how was Lazarus able to stay there at the rich man’s gate? How was he able to stay in that community?
Just think about this. People who were sick with leprosy like that had their own community. The rich man could have had this leper moved away from his property, away from his gate and out of the community but he didn’t. He let him live at his gate.
People who were
Wait a doggone minute… This paints a totally different picture of the rich man that I’ve ever seen before. (Read slowly) He could have had him removed but he didn’t. Things that make you go hmm....
The scripture tells us that Lazarus longed for what? The crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table! This means he was there for a while because he waited to be fed with the crumbs that fell from whose table? This specific rich man!
The rich man’s crumbs from his table wouldn’t have been like the crumbs you and I are thinking about. It wouldn’t have been little bitty pieces and scraps of food. It would have been entire pieces and chunks of meat. The rich man was filthy rich. It was probably food that hadn’t been touched.
Ahhh, the poor man wasn’t doing too bad was he? He was in a pretty good position considering his condition.
Maybe the rich man wasn’t so bad after all?
How many of you would let a homeless man live on your porch or on your deck or patio and feed him a couple times a day?
I’ve always heard this rich man to be ruthless and shrewd but Jesus shows us something totally different. This is a NICE rich man.
This rich man has some compassion, some sensitivity, some tolerance and some leniency. Not such a bad guy after all, this rich man.

Goes to Hell

But the rich man if we keep reading, He goes to hell! What! Lazarus dies on the other hand, and goes to heaven. Verse 2 is a cold verse in the chapter because it says, “the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.”
What happened to Lazarus represents life - because the angels took him to Abraham’s bosom and bosom in Greek means to dine at the table in a place of honor. In this life, he ate the crumb’s from the rich man’s table but in life eternal with God, he has VIP seating with the best meal you could ever imagine seated comfortably and close to Jesus. Maybe, even reclined on Him.
Lazarus name means “God has Helped” - in this life God helped Lazarus. His name says he was going to be good!
The rich man died, was buried, and wakes up in Hades which means grave or hell. Where ever this place is, it is very unpleasant because of how the rich man responded when he woke up there.
1. He cries to Abraham, have mercy on me, and tells him to send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off his tongue because he was in severe pain in a flame.’ Whew!
2. He also begs Abraham to again send Lazarus somewhere to do something for him, to send him to his father’s house to warn his 5 brothers of what is to come if they didn’t it together (pretty arrogant to think of Lazarus as merely a runner for him but this was his mindset and mentality as a very rich person)
-but this is the 1st time we see that the rich man has any interests in anybody else other than himself but he has an interest now in his brothers.
Did you noticed that Lazarus throughout the parable remains silent, never complaining about how bad his life was, nor did he rejoice that the rich man was in hell and he didn’t say anything when the rich man was still looking down on him as if he was his errand boy. Oh, how God turns things around. Somebody needs to let God help you. Is there anybody who could use some help from God today?

Why did he go to hell

We saw he was a nice rich man but what did the rich man NOT DO that he should have done?
What did the rich man not do that he should have done?
I’ve found no commentary that focuses on this particular point.
Yet, I believe the answer is here. The rich man had no problem giving his scraps to the poor man. He may have felt good about doing it. Some people have no problem volunteering to feed the poor or at the soup kitchen and homeless shelters. Some people really like the feel and participation of the outreach event. They like to say they help the poor and those who are in need but they have the same problem the rich man had.
They love to give, visit the poor, the photo op, to say that they were there and hear all the kudos and pats on the back.
What they really like is the photo op and for people to tell them how awesome it is that they help the poor. It’s good they do these things right?

There #1 problem is that they like to help the poor but they don’t want to build relationships with the poor.

This is why the rich man went to hell. He didn’t care about what God cares about. He didn’t care about the people cares about. If he did, he would have treated the poor man like one of 5 brothers. If he did, he would have invited the Lazarus to the table.
Jesus expects more from His followers than we just feed the poor, take care of the poor.
Jesus expects more from His followers than us just feeding the and taking care of the poor. He wants us to include them and treat them like we do those whom we love in our family.
Listen church, we need Lydia. Oh, yes we do but we all need Lazarus. We need the outcasts, the shunned, those who have no voice, those who cannot defend themselves and those who have been rejected by people and their culture.
We need a Lydia! But we all need a Lazarus! Outcast, been shunned, rejected by people, rejected by the culture.
We can do the all stuff to help the poor but will we do something else? Will we get to know and love the poor? Are you willing to build a loving relationship with them who are like Lazarus where you are?


Again, we see in this parable the love of Christ. Jesus life was all about using everything at His disposal to teach how we should live and love. We close out our series today, hoping to live more like Jesus and loving more like Jesus.
If you have struggled with hopelessness and fear of what may lay around the corner in your life, today is the day to be set free because God wants to help you. Come to the altar.
If you want God to remove anything in your heart that is standing in the way of you living like Him, you can come to the altar.
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