What if I told you there are some things in hell we need more on earth? “Crazy,” you might say! “No way! It’s just not possible” you say.
Before you discard such a statement as nonsense, consider the following from Luke 16:19-31 – “19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 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. 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. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
First, we need more prayer on earth. Notice the rich man cried out, “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” (Luke 16:24). The rich man prayed for mercy, but it was too late. The rich man prayed that he would receive just a little comfort from Lazarus, but there was none to be found. Nevertheless, the rich man’s prayers remind us that, as Christians, we need to be praying people. The apostle Paul taught us of the peace that results when we always go to God in prayer, offering our thanks and bringing our supplications before Him – 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). James wrote that we are to pray to God during our time of affliction – “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms” (James 5:13). We are never to cease praying (I Thessalonians 5:17).
Second, we need a proper outlook toward material wealth. When the rich man pleaded for comfort, Abraham responded, “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 (Luke 16:25).
Although it was a lesson learned too late, the rich man now understood the temporary, fleeting nature of the material things he enjoyed while on earth. As Christians, we need to focus on that same lesson. We need to center our lives on those things that are eternal rather than those things that are temporal. Paul wrote, “17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (II Corinthians 4:17-18). John wrote, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15). Too many people spend their live diligently searching for more wealth, only to one day be disappointed by their search.
Third, we need to have a greater concern for the lost. The rich man prayed, “27I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment” (Luke 16:27-28). On earth we may often say “Misery loves company.” In hell, nothing could be further from the truth! The rich man did not long for company in hell. No, he did not even long for his own family to be with him! He desperately wanted others to be spared from the torment of hell! Christians absolutely must be concerned for those who are lost. This must be an active concern – a concern that will motivate us to help those who are lost. To help them learn of the saving gospel of Christ.
Are there things in hell we need more on earth? Certainly!