Saturday, February 17, 2007

When Would You Receive Your Good Things?

An important choice confronts all of us in our lifetimes and it is depicted by the question of this title: When Would You Receive Your Good Things? This ultimate choice fleshes itself out of a true story that the Lord Jesus Christ tells in Luke 16. The story begins in verse nineteen with the two characters introduced by the Lord, the rich man and Lazarus.

Lazarus is a poor beggar who sits every day by the gate of the rich man's mansion, begging for a living. The nameless rich man lives in opulence in time while Lazarus survives this life in destitute poverty. However, at death the tables are turned. The rich man opens his eyes in Hell while Lazarus upon dying is swept by angels into Paradise. Jesus tells us that while the body of the rich man was buried, that wasn't it for him. Upon the moment of his death, he was in immediate torment without one drop of water. I'm not going to go into any more details; you can read about it all in Luke 16:19-31, but I do want to draw your attention to a few points.

First, Jesus is the theologian of Hell. This might be the major Hell passage in Scripture and it is revealed by Jesus Christ. As much as people talk about the gore of the Old Testament and the utter peacefulness communicated by Jesus in the New Testament, nothing in the entire Bible comes close to as bad as Hell is. Hell is infinitely worse than the worst possible human experience recorded anywhere else in the Bible, and Jesus was the one who taught about it more than anyone. Preaching on Hell is a loving activity, because we don't want people to go there.

Second, and my major thought, is found in Luke 16:25:

But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

When the rich man asks Abraham for water to cool his tongue, this is what Abraham tells him. Just today I noticed a truth here. Everyone must choose when he will receive his best things. Do you want your best in heaven or are you most interested in your best while on earth? The rich man, you can see here, wanted his good things in his physical lifetime on earth. Lazarus was content to receive the best of his life and eternity during the second half of his history of existence. Everyone must make this decision.

Most people will choose the best for themselves materially right now. They don't want to wait. This is the nature of fallen humanity, the corruption of human flesh, and the tendency toward impulsiveness, spontaneity, and an unwillingness to defer gratification. It really does not seem like it should be much of a choice. Here it is:

You can have the best of what this world has to offer for 70-100 years and then an eternity in Hell,


You can have a lifetime of surrender and service to God for 70-100 years, accompanied by persecution and hatred, and then an eternity of the best Heaven can offer.

This is the choice that every single person has to make. A huge majority choose the first option. It's a bad decision. They justify their poor judgment by attacking the basis for the choice, the Bible. They don't see how that option two can really be an option since it is only written in a book and that we can't see it like we can see the things on earth.

Let me give you some other considerations. The Bible has been settled over centuries as the truth. It is the only book in existence with fulfilled prophecy, and not just a little; 30% of the Bible makes predictions that come true 100% of the time. On the other hand, we all know that everyone dies. And not one of those people takes anything with him.

So let's go back to the question. Maybe you've already answered it and have said, "Not now, but then, in eternity." Good for you, but is that how you've been living---like you've made that choice? I hope so, but maybe not. And what about you others? When would you receive your good things? If you want to have it now and live for yourself, doing what you want to do, then expect Hell in your plans for eternity. That's what you get in the end when you choose that direction. However, if you choose the Lord, you'll go through some tough times living for Him. People won't like your preaching. They won't probably like most of your standards. They won't like your intolerance for doctrinal and practical error. But that is but a brief moment compared to the eternal weight of glory. Wait on those good things. Get them for eternity.


C. H. Spurgeon said...

But, I thought we were supposed to have Your Best Life Now. Don't you have seven steps for us to be able to do that.

I'm more of a "Now and Later" type of person. You mean it doesn't work that way?

I appreciated this thought.

Kent Brandenburg said...

C. H., Thanks. You look familiar, do I know you?

saint david said...

Concerning hell in eternity...
man would have to be immortal.
Is man mortal or immortal?

Paul says that we seek immortality, Ro. 2:7
also that mortal man puts it on in Christ, I Cor. 15:53,54
also that it came by Christ and Christ alone, II Ti. 1:10

This article at :
sheds much light on it. Take a careful look at it.

Jerry Bouey said...

Bro. Kent, great article - would make a good sermon (my mind going into overdrive here...)

P.S. You can delete the spam comments, by logging into Blogger, then viewing that post. When you click on the comments, you will see a garbage can next to each comment - click on the garbage can for the one you want deleted, and then it is deleted permanently - it won't even show up as: Comment Deleted by... Gone permanently and completely.