Luke 16 and zeal for the lost

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Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
As I was recently studying the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16, I was struck by Abraham's response to the Rich Man's request to send Lazarus to warn his brothers. Was Abraham displaying a lack of zeal for the lost, along the lines of what Calvinists often get accused of, or was he simply demonstrating the truth that the non-elect will never be saved regardless of what anyone does?


19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell[d] from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 “Then 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.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”
 

nicnap

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
No, he is saying that the Word of God is sufficient. If the Holy Spirit has not regenerated them through the hearing of the Word, "gimmicks" such as dead men coming to them (or flashy block parties or ...) surely will not do it. (At least that is my snap reaction.)
 

NB3K

Puritan Board Sophomore
‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”

Mat 13:13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

Mar 4:12 so that "they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven."

Joh 12:39 Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,
Joh 12:40 "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them."

Rom 11:7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened,
Rom 11:8 as it is written, "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day."

1Pe 2:8 and "A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense." They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.


It's really a sobering thought to know why the Jews rejected Christ.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
I agree with both of you, however if I was to say to someone who wanted to become a missionary, "‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." I think that I would be accused of a lot of uncharitable things.
 

NB3K

Puritan Board Sophomore
I agree with both of you, however if I was to say to someone who wanted to become a missionary, "‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." I think that I would be accused of a lot of uncharitable things.

Who cares what people think. I don't mean to sound arrogant to you Bill, but who really cares if they don't like what the Bible teaches. Yes we should lament over them as we shake the dust off of our feet, but God is not in the heavens weeping over those whom Paul says are being fitted for destruction.

Deu 29:2 And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: "You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land,
Deu 29:3 the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders.
Deu 29:4 But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.

It seems from the beginning God has kept Israel in a stupor.


Always remember the Beatitude:

Mat 5:11 "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Mat 5:12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!” 16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (Romans 10:14-17, NASB)

Nicholas is right -- the point of the statement is that the word is sufficient. This is a particularly important passage, in that we still have people in our day writing silly books about supposedly going to heaven (or hell) and returning to warn us all, as if these experiences are somehow more meaningful than God's own word.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
"If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”

There's also a sly looking-forward here to Christ's own resurrection. Those who are cold to God's written/preached word will also reject the living Word, even though he rises from the dead.
 
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nicnap

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I agree with both of you, however if I was to say to someone who wanted to become a missionary, "‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." I think that I would be accused of a lot of uncharitable things.

They do not have Moses ... that is why the need the missionaries. The man & his brothers in question had been exposed to Moses and the prophets, that is why Abraham responded the way he did.
 

NB3K

Puritan Board Sophomore
If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”

If they do not hear the Gospel through Moses and the Prophets because Paul makes mention that the Righteousness of Faith in Christ is in the Law and Prophets.

Rom 3:20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it--
Rom 3:22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:

The Jews thought that they were pursuing the Righteousness required by God through the Law, but it was not the Righteousness of Faith in the Promised Messiah.
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
As long as a man does not care for his own soul, he does not care for the soul of others. He can see his wife and children living in sin, going down to hell -- he does not care. He does not care for missions -- gives nothing to support missionaries. But the moment a man's eyes are opened to the value of his own soul, that moment does he begin to care for the souls of others. From that moment does he love the missionary cause. He willingly spares a little to send the Gospel to the Jew and the perishing Hindus. ... Like the maniac at Decapolis, he publishes the name of Jesus wherever he goes.

Robert Murray M'Cheyne
 
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