OceanSide church of Christ
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Victor M. Eskew
A. There are times when memory is a blessing.
1. The memories of a deceased loved one
2. The remembrances that we have of days of joy in our lives: baptism, birthdays, marriage, anniversaries, vacations, etc.
B. There are times, however, when memory is a curse.
1. The apostle Paul referred to himself as “the chief of sinners” (I Tim. 1:15).
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
2. Part of the reason for his referring to himself this way is because of the memories that he had of his past (I Tim. 1:13).
Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious…
3. Perhaps some of us have painful memories of things that we did in the past (i.e., the Ragu commercial).
C. Memory will be a great curse to us if we die in a lost condition.
1. This was a lesson a man learned and that Jesus taught to us in the account of “the rich man and Lazarus” (Luke 16:19-31).
2. The lesson is expressed in two simple words: “Son, remember” (Luke 16:25). These two words provide the title for this lesson.
A. Prior to the Lord’s account of the rich man and Lazarus, He had done two things.
1. He had taught about money (Luke 16:1-13, esp. v. 13).
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
2. He had stirred up the Pharisees by His teaching (Luke 16:14).
And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.
a. The Pharisees are described as being covetous.
1) The word “covetous” is a combination of two words in the Greek language: philos or love and arguros which means silver.
2) A covetous person is one who loves money.
b. Jesus’ teachings about money caused the Pharisees to deride the Christ. They turned up their noses at Him. They sneered and scoffed at His teachings.
3. Jesus did not hesitate to confront these religious leaders.
a. He confronted their hearts (Luke 16:15).
And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men, but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed amongst men is an abomination in the sight of God.
b. He told them the story of the rich man and Lazarus.
1) The rich man appears to represent the Pharisees to whom Jesus spoke.
2) His words from Luke 16:22b-31 apply to them.
…the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 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. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from us to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham said unto them, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.
a) They will die.
b) The will enter into torments because of their covetousness.
c) The will suffer the sting of memory.
d) The will not be comforted.
e) They had turned from hearing Moses and the prophets.
f) They would not be persuaded to repent, even if one were to come back from the dead to warn them.
B. There are two major lessons for us here.
1. We need to guard our hearts against covetousness (Luke. 12:15; Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:5; Heb. 13:5).
2. We need to give heed to the Word of God.
3. Psalm 119:36
Incline mine heart unto they testimonies, and not to covetousness.
II. REFUTATION OF THE DOCTRINE OF SOUL SLEEP
A. The Jehovah’s Witnesses and the 7th-Day Adventists teach that the body and the soul of man sleep in death.
1. The spirit, the life element, leaves the body, but the body and soul sleep until the resurrection.
2. “Proof-texts” they use
a. Eccl. 9:5, 10; Ps. 146:4
For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
b. Death is referred to as “sleep’ in several passages (II Sam. 7:12; I King 1:21; Psa. 13:3; John 11:11; Acts 13:36; I Cor. 15:51; I Thess. 4:14; 5:10)
Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death.
1. There are times when the Bible refers to perceived or apparent reality.
a. The sun rises (Matt. 5:45)
b. A man and a woman being married who are in an adulterous relationship (Matt. 19:9)
c. The sleep of death and one’s apparent inability to think and know
2. There are numerous texts that plainly reveal that there is consciousness after death. Luke 16 is one of these texts.
a. The rich man is aware of suffering.
b. He recognizes Abraham.
c. He is able to carry on a conversation with Abraham.
d. Abraham exhorts the rich man to remember.
3. The counter from those who teach “soul sleep”: This is just a parable.
a. The account does not read like a parable: “There was a certain rich man…and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus” (Luke 16:19, 20).
b. If it is a parable, they still have a problem.
1) Definition: An earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
2) The stories Jesus told either did happen or could have happened.
a) A sower went forth to sow
b) A rich man and a beggar died
III. THE PAIN OF MEMORY FOR THE LOST
A. The rich man had been covetous while he lived instead of caring for people like Lazarus. Thus, when he died, he entered into the realm of torments in hades. When he asked to be comforted, Abraham said: “Son, remember that thou in thy life time receivedst thy good things, and Lazarus evil things…”
1. First, he could remember.
2. Second, he remembered all of his comforts and luxuries.
3. Third, he remembered the suffering of Lazarus for whom he cared nothing.
4. Now, his memories brought him pain and anguish. His memories would haunt him throughout eternity.
B. When many wake up in torments upon their death, they, too, will be haunted by their memories.
1. Memories of exhortations to obey the gospel.
2. Remembrances of exhortations or visits of others to encourage faithfulness.
3. Memories of admonitions to use one’s talents.
4. Memories of sermons about what some refer to as “little sins”: “stingy” giving, gossip, prejudices, covetousness, dishonesty, immodesty, cursing, poor work ethics, etc.
5. There will be memories of rebuke given about sins involving morality and doctrinal error.
6. There will be memories of the tears of parents, the lessons from teachers, the cries of the preacher, and the visits of caring members, and concerned elders.
C. Their pain will not only come from their memories of others, but from their own actions or inactivity.
1. I should have. I could have. I wish I would have.
2. I scoffed. I mocked. I rebelled.
3. I put off.
4. I became hardened. I intensified my sins.
D. The pain will increase again because, even though one can remember all, there is nothing that can be done now to change the person’s condition.
A. Our memory is something for which we should be extremely grateful.
1. We can remember examples of the past (Luke 17:32).
2. We can remember blessings of the past (I Cor. 11:23-26).
3. We can remember the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 10:35).
B. Memory, too, can be something that can torment us.
1. This will be true after death if one is lost.
2. My friends, we hope that no one hears the words spoken by Abraham to the rich man: “Son, remember.”
3. If you do, these words will torment you forever and ever.