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022: The Call From Below

If those who have already died could communicate with us what would they say? Jesus told a sobering story in Luke 16:19-28:

“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house—for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’...”

The Bible teaches that because all people are guilt of sin, those who die without receiving forgive in Jesus will perish in hell (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10). Though this topic is difficult to think about, nevertheless it is reality. The rich man in the story begged that someone might be sent to warn his relatives lest they also perish in hell.

Sometimes we are shy to speak about Jesus because we worry about causing offense or being rejected. But when someone dies, the reality of God, heaven, and hell will be plain to them and at that time they will think, "I'm glad someone warned me," or "Why did no one warn me?" Let the voice of those who have died compel us to risk offense and rejection for the sake of love.