Faithlife Sermons

Rich or Poor

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

Parables are difficult

First of all, purple cloth was a sign of wealth. When the story begins here, the rich man in discussion is not only rich but rich and knows it, if you know what I mean. 19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
He is living large you might say. 20 “And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles. These last two verses are difficult to read, are they not? Let me ask you this question, how do we determine wealth? How do we determine poverty? How we determine these statuses is important. For someone who has very little, a person of little wealth or possessions could be considered quite wealthy. In Haiti where I used to go on missions, a family that owns one goat is considered to be blessed, and a family with multiple animals of a piece of ground is considered to be wealthy. Definitions:
poor: lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in a society: example-”people who were too poor to afford a telephone”
Another definition: worse than is usual, expected, or desirable; of low or inferior standard or quality-this definition hurts me but really it is describing an impoverished area more so than a particular person.
The poor man gathers around the table of the rich man so as to eat the scraps that fall to the floor. This illustration is very important to this parable because the point of the parable is located in this verse.
Now if you have ever owned a dog, you might know that dogs have compassion for their masters. They often times can relate to you when you have a sore and it is common for them to lick a sore. Now I agree this is a sick conversation but obviously the writer, and I remind you all that this is red-letter, felt this was an important illustration for the audience.
The poor man dies, and notice the illustration that he was carried to heaven by the angels. (NRSV)
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. Notice the difference between the poor man and the rich man’s fate. No mention from Jesus about the poor man even being buried. Did you catch that?
The rich man calls out, have mercy, 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles. Lets look at this passage a little closer here because this is a moment when Jesus, I feel, would want us to capture the meaning of the parable. What is going on here? Why does the Rich man ask that Lazarus be sent to cool the rich man’s tongue? The rich man, even in his situation, believes he is sitting in a place of position over the poor man. Have Lazarus come and cool my tongue. Did you see that in the scripture? I think we can be blind to what Jesus is implying here because we see what we truly are at times.
18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ Does this scripture make more since now. Luke writes both in red letter scripture-that Jesus himself said these words.

25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.

Perhaps this is God’s answer to those who will find themselves in anguish. When I try to understand what hell is like, I look at this passage and think about comfort and anguish. But what is the greatest thing about the anguish? I think we find it in the next verse, 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
The rich man seems to accept his fate and turn to helping his brothers, but what then is his second fate? 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
The rich man cannot help himself nor his brothers for he is trapped in a place of torment with no way out.
Three things I want to end with are these insights.
Hell will be a place of torment, anguish, and captivity.
Those trapped in hell will no the truth.
No one from their (hell) will ever be coming to warn us of what is there.
In closing today my final thought is this-through this parable perhaps the most significant thing you should realize is that, if you look again you will find that the rich man does not even have a name.
Related Media
Related Sermons