Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Rich Man and Lazarus: NOT a Parable!

It is no wonder more and more people are doubting the existence of hell, or simply downplaying it, when even individuals such as John MacArthur falsely refer to the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16 as "a parable." In John's latest book, Parables, on pages 157-174, he does precisely that.

What is a parable? A parable is a figure of speech using "like," "as," or "than" for comparison. A parable is a story designed to illustrate the truth of reality. Since a parable uses an illustration in order to convey a truth of reality, if the rich man and Lazarus is a parable, what truth of reality is it conveying for us?

Look at every one of Jesus' other parables and note how they illustrate something completely different from what He is actually saying. So, if this is a parable, what truth of reality is it revealing to us?

This story uses an actual person's name, which Jesus' parables never did. The story clearly says, "And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment" (v.23). If the Greek word "hades" (αδου) merely refers to the grave, how can an individual have consciousness, as is clearly demonstrated here, and also be "in torment"? If it is merely a grave, how does torment tie in with it? How is he able to lift up his eyes?

The parables Jesus told always referred to something else, to some spiritual form of reality. So, again, if this is a parable, what truth of reality is it revealing to us?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

An Infallible Test

by Samuel Davies

"If anyone does not love the Lord--a curse be on him!" 1 Corinthians 16:22

If you truly love the Lord Jesus Christ--then you earnestly study and endeavor to please Him by a life of universal obedience. Love is always desirous to please the person beloved; and it will naturally lead to a conduct that is pleasing. This, then, you may be sure of, that if you truly love Jesus--then it is the labor of your life to please Him.

The only way to please Jesus, and the best test of your love to Him--is obedience to His commandments. This is made the decisive mark by Christ Himself: "If anyone loves Me--he will obey My teaching. He who does not love Me--will not obey My teaching." John 14:23, 24.

Jesus repeats this theme over and over in different forms: "Whoever has My commands and obeys them--he is the one who loves Me," verse 21. "If you love Me--you will obey what I command," verse 15. "You are My friends--if you do what I command." John 15:14. "This is love for God," says John; that is, it is the surest evidence, and the natural, inseparable effect of our love to God, "that we obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome." 1 John 5:3; that is, they will not seem grievous to one who obeys them from the principle of sincere love.

Here, then, you who profess to love the Lord Jesus--here is an infallible test for your love! Do you make it the great aim of your life to keep His commandments? Do you honestly endeavor to perform every duty which He has required--and that because He has commanded it? And do you vigorously resist and struggle against every sin, however constitutional, however fashionable, however gainful--because He forbids it? And is the way of obedience pleasant to you? Would you choose this holy way to heaven, rather than any other--if it were left to your choice?

Your not loving God--if it continues, will certainly lead you to Hell. You are fit for no other place! Where should the enemies of God be--but in an infernal prison? There is the same propriety in throwing you into Hell--as in shutting up madmen in bedlam--or rebels in a dungeon! Why, you are devilized already! You have the very temperament of devils! Enmity to God is the grand constituent of a devil--it is the worst ingredient in that infernal disposition; and this you have in your hearts, and, as it were, incorporated with your habitual temperament! And what do you think will become of you? Judge for yourselves--must you not be doomed to that everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels--whom you resemble?

"If anyone does not love the Lord--a curse be on him!" 1 Corinthians 16:22

The Gospel of Christ Admits of No Compromise

by Jared Waterbury

"So then, any of you who does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple!" Luke 14:33

The gospel of Christ admits of no compromise. It demands our ALL. If it required less, it would be unworthy of its great author and finisher. I rejoice that it requires ALL--this is its glory. When we are brought to yield to its claims, and give up ALL--then, and not until then, will it throw around us its arms of mercy.

And do we talk about self-denial? Do we say, "It is hard to give up ALL!" I am ashamed to use such language--and ashamed to hear it used.

What did Christ give up for us? Let that question blot out "self-denial" from the Christian's vocabulary. When you think the Gospel makes severe requisitions by requiring ALL--go up to Mount Calvary and weep over such suggestions. See the blood of your Immanuel so freely gushing from a heart that never exercised towards you any emotion but love--love unspeakable--love unsought--and love for the guilty vile! Go hide your head in shame and penitence at such a thought.

It is a glorious privilege, my friend, to give up ALL to Christ. The soul that feels the constraining influence of His love, asks not how little may be given consistently with obtaining the heavenly reward--asks not for the lowest standard of discipleship. It burns with an ardent desire to devote ALL, and to aim at perfect "conformity to His death."

Determine, by the grace of God, that you will forsake all, and follow Christ. Do not, like Peter, follow Him afar off--but, like Mary, sit at His nail-pierced feet--like the beloved disciple John, rest upon His sweet bosom.

The Most Monstrous Iniquity

by Charles Spurgeon

"Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her!" Ephesians 5:25

"I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." John 10:11

If Christ on His cross intended to save every man--then He intended to save those who were eternally lost before He died! If the doctrine of universal atonement is true, that He died for all men--then He died for some who were in Hell before He came into this world, for doubtless there were even then myriads there who had been cast away because of their sins.

Once again, if it was Christ's intention to save all men--then how deplorably has He been disappointed, for we have His own testimony that there is a lake which burns with fire and brimstone, and into that pit of woe have been cast some of the very persons who, according to the theory of universal redemption, were bought with His blood! That seems to me a conception a thousand times more repulsive than any of those consequences which are said to be associated with the Christian doctrine of special and particular redemption.

To think that my Savior died for men who were or are in Hell, seems a supposition too horrible for me to entertain. To imagine for a moment that He was the Substitute for all people, and that God, having first punished the Substitute, afterwards punished the sinners themselves--seems to conflict with all my ideas of divine justice. That Christ should offer an atonement and satisfaction for the sins of all men, and that afterwards some of those very men should be punished for the sins for which Christ had already atoned--appears to me to be the most monstrous iniquity that could ever have been imputed to Saturn, to Janus, to the goddess of the Thugs, or to the most diabolical heathen deities. God forbid that we should ever think thus of Jehovah, the just and wise and good!

We do not believe that Christ redeemed the damned. We do not believe that He poured out His life blood for souls already in Hell. We never can imagine that Christ suffered in the room and stead of all men, and that then afterwards these same men have to suffer for themselves.

We hold to this--that Christ laid down His life for His sheep, and secured the salvation of every one of them.