Texts: Luke 16:19-31 and Amos 6:1-7
Many heirs of the reformation can get tangled in a web of worry about legalism and works righteousness. But it is not works righteousness to encourage Kingdom values. And that is what Jesus is warning about. Decisions we make today solidify in eternity. Nobody sets out for hell, but we can end there anyway.
We all have a Lazarus at our gates wanting mercy. Can we see him? Can we discern who or what he is? If you can’t maybe its time to listen to Moses and the prophets.
One the one hand there are two big tempting fallacies: 1) history is one long decline, the past was more righteous and 2) to let the law overwhelm the gospel. They both reinforce the other. We never live up to the law. And if we become too disappointed in that, everything looks bad in comparison to the heroic saints who have gone on to their reward. I walked the line here. I’m sure some would say I walked over the line and then some. But this parable is the end of Jesus’ two chapters of parables of how the kingdom works and his great warning for those who don’t get with the program. It is the law in service to the gospel. The law is suppose to show us our sin, and chase us to the Word for grace.
From a very this worldly practical standpoint, we become what we practice. We are creatures of habit. If we practice virtue, it becomes easier. (Never easy, its a fallen world.) If we practice telling ourselves and our kids that the Word of God is meaningless, then we quickly find that we can’t hear it at all. And when you can’t hear the Word, you miss the Lazarus sitting at your gate. Luke 15-16 is a very this worldly section. Its about how the Kingdom works right now. What you choose hardens. Gates become chasms. We are all being forced into the Kingdom, the question is which side of the gate/chasm?