The Sermon for the 16th Sunday after Pentecost September 25, 2022
Text: Luke 16:19-31 CW-21 Series C 22:2343
Theme: Not Here Long. So, Take Care….
The mailman recognized the return address on the envelope he was carrying. It was the address of the son who was stationed overseas. He smiled as beneath the young man’s address he read 3 scribbled words: “Not here long.” It was his way of telling his parents that he would not be stationed at that address the next time he wrote.
“Not here long.” Do we realize as Christians how easily we can adopt that message to ourselves – “Not here long”?
The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us, “Here we do not have an enduring city (no permanent address). But we are looking for that which is to come (13:14). And Moses reminds us in Psalm 90, “The length of our days is seventy years, or eighty, if we have the strength. Yet their span is but trouble and sorrow for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” Not here long.
How important then that we take care to cultivate a sense of the brevity of life here and the certainty of death! Even more, that we take care in the present to live in constant awareness of things that are eternal. If we are not here long, we should consider what will happen to us when we are gone.
That which will happen God has made abundantly clear in our text. I won’t pass out of existence. I won’t return to earth in another form. I won’t be drawn to a vague light where all people experience a euphoric sensation. I will go to one of two places: heaven or hell – with the Lord forever or separated from Him in eternal punishment. That’s His Word on it. Not Here Long. So, Take Care how you live in the present. For I. as you believe, so you will live; and II. as you live, so you will die; and III. as you die, so you will remain forever.
I. As one believes, so he will live.
You’ve probably heard the expression: “You are what you eat.” If all that you eat is junk food and things that have no nourishment in them, it will be noticeable in the unhealthy way that you look. If you eat a diet rich in all the nutrients your body needs, that also will be evident in the healthy way that you look.
Similar to that, it is also true that as you believe so you will live. Life is shaped by one’s beliefs. We are what we believe and want for ourselves. That which we feel is important and of great significance
we follow and it dictates the course of our lives.
That was so true of the rich man in our text. He believed that self- indulgence was the most important thing in life. His philosophy for life might have been something like, “Live as high as you can; get as much as you can; indulge in earthly pleasure to the full; eat, drink, and be merry while you can.” As he believed, so he lived, devoting himself day after day to the pursuit of earthly pleasures with no time for God. The Apostle Paul described such people by saying, “Their god is their stomach. Their mind is on earthly things” (Phlp.3:19).
Certainly, there is nothing wrong with enjoying the blessings of wealth and good things which God may give. Such things are not sinful in themselves. They are God’s gifts to us. The enjoyment and use of riches with which He blesses our lives is not the problem. The problem is the love of such things which draws the heart away from God and His divine will. Paul writes that it is not money but “the love of money which is the root of all evil…. Some, eager for such, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1Tm.6:9). So it was that Jesus warned in last week’s lesson, “You cannot serve both God and mammon” (16:13). Mammon goes beyond just money. So, what is it or who is it that you serve?
The rich man served himself. It was evident in the heartless disregard he had towards the beggar who laid at his door, covered with sores and longing to receive a few morsels of food. John writes, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him” (1Jn.4:17)?
The rich man lived in unbelief for whoever feels the goodness of God towards him will also feel the misfortune of his neighbor who needs his help. But whoever is not conscious of God’s mercy, does not sympathize in the needs of his neighbor. So, this rich man lived apart from God, scornful of his neighbor, loving neither – self-centered, selfish, absorbed in the pursuit of his own earthly pleasures, giving no thought to eternal things. As a man believes, so he lives.
II. So, where will such a one spend eternity? For it follows that as a person lives, so he will die.
Jesus continued, “Eventually the beggar died, and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he lifted up his eyes.”
The final day on earth came. For Lazarus, whose name means “God is my help,” there was rest. He was a true child of Abraham,
the father of all believers who look to God’s promises in giving us a Savior from sin. They put Him first in their lives. Lazarus lived such faith, although he did not have much in life on earth. As he lived, so he died, his trust and hope in God. For such the writer to the Hebrews says, “There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God” (4:9).
But for the rich man there was no rest with God. Of him it was only said, “He died, was buried, and in hell.” What a statement of cold finality for one who distanced himself from God in this life! As he lived apart from God, so he died apart from God.
A pastor was speaking with a young man who, like the rich man, seemed to have little time for God. But he could find time to enjoy all kinds of other entertainment. He told the pastor, “When I’m good and ready, I’ll still have time to think about religion.” The pastor replied, “But how do you know that the Lord will give you an opportunity to repent and believe before death ushers you into eternity? It is neither wise nor safe to postpone setting your spiritual house in order until the last hour.” With a smile the young man replied, “I’m young; I’ve still got plenty of time. Besides, remember the thief on the cross?” The pastor replied quietly, “Yes, I remember the thief on the cross. But which one?”
There were two. One of turned to the Lord. Jesus assured him of Paradise. But for the other the eleventh hour appeared too late. He received no benediction from the Savior’s lips. For him there is recorded no moment of repentance, no moment of faith. He also died as he lived, like the rich man, apart from God.
May we never follow the example of either of those on the cross. While we rejoice in the mercy of God that makes possible even a deathbed repentance, may we never trifle with God’s mercy and grace, for as we live this life, so shall we die. “Now is the accepted time. Now is the day of salvation!” not later. With the Holy Spirit’s guidance may we turn every hour of the present into a time of trust in the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, for we are not here long. So we take care, for as a man lives, so he will die.
III. And as he dies, so he will remain forever.
In the life beyond the grave, things do not change, no matter how much one pleads. By then it’s too late, and the Scriptures know of no middle ground where one can change and make amends for how he lived his life apart from God in the present time. Things do not change on that side of the grave.
The one who has no time for God in this life cannot even receive a drop of water to cool his tongue from the fire that is part of hell. How sad to think that one drop, just one tiny drop would be of any significance. Would one drop satisfy your thirst on a hot summer’s day? Hardly! Yet, that’s all for which the rich man longed in hell. Even that could not be given. As one dies, so he will remain, separated from any of the blessings of God forever.
How important it is that we cultivate each day a sense of the brevity of life here, the certainty of death, and live in constant awareness of things that are eternal. For We Are Not Here Long.
Yes, there is a hell where those who had little time for God languish in eternal punishment. But in His grace God provided a restful existence with Himself above where all sorrows, weeping, and pain are gone forever. And He graciously provided the way there that we could never have made on our own. That way is through Christ who declared, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me. Believe on me and you shall be saved. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die apart from me.”
What a gracious invitation! What a precious promise! What a life to be had with Him now and forever. And all of that is found in the words of Moses, the prophets, and the apostles. That’s just another way of saying the Bible. Listening to that Word of God is the only way that we can be saved for only the “Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.”
God grant that we live each day in His Word as we long for that day when the angels will carry us, like Lazarus, to Abraham’s side above. For We Are Not Here Long. But God is our Help, and we will Take Care that we live in Him daily till He draws us to Himself forever. God grant it in our lives of faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
(A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
www.zionluthchurch.com email: email@example.com
You can also find us on Facebook
The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost September 25, 2022
“They have Moses and the Prophets. Let them listen to them.” Luke16:29
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
The family of Zion welcomes you as we worship the Lord today. We encourage children to worship with us. However, if you need to leave with your child, there is a nursery room to the right as you exit the sanctuary. The rest rooms are located in the hallway between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall. Visitors, please sign our guest book to the right, just outside the sanctuary. We’re glad that you are here and pray that through our worship the Lord grants you peace.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“I will praise the LORD all my life. Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God” (Psalm 146).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Fight the Good Fight of Faith. Throughout life the Christian is in a fight for faith. The “fight” is not so much one of war as it is an athletic contest. An athlete must train and “fight” through many adversities if he is to win. Keeping his eyes on the goal, he presses forward.
That is the way the Apostle Paul describes the Christian life as he urges us to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” – the sanctified life. To “take hold of the eternal life,” we press forward and resist falling victim to complacency or distraction.
In God is our help. With Him at our side, we “fight” on, content, knowing that we have everything we need for time and eternity in the Savior. With Him at our side, we lack nothing of eternal value.
To that end we pray: O God, mercifully grant that Your Holy Spirit may direct and rule our hearts in all things, for without Your help we are unable to stand or to please You. But through Christ, Your Son, we remain for He enables us to stay strong in faith to the end, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
The Old Testament Lesson: Amos 6:1-7
The leaders in Israel did not fight a good fight of faith. After removing God from their lives, Israel’s leaders filled the vacuum with the best worldly things life has to offer. Theirs became a life of indulgence and complacency towards God. As a result, their destruction lay ahead.
The Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 13:1-6
The Lord is our helper in every aspect of life. He will never leave or forsake those who fight onward in a life of faith in Him but will be there to support, comfort, and strengthen them. In every aspect of their lives, they will strive to live for Him
The Gospel Lesson: Luke 16:19-31
Jesus’ Parable of the Rich Man and Poor Lazarus is a powerful word of warning and promise in the fight of faith. Lazarus is saved while the rich man is lost eternally. In the end the world’s riches mean nothing, and the Word of God is everything. It alone has the power to save us.
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The Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Points to Ponder: “All believers are like poor Lazarus, and every believer is a true Lazarus, for he is of the same faith, mind, and will as Lazarus. Whoever will not be a Lazarus will surely have his portion with the rich glutton in the flames of hell. For we all must, like Lazarus, trust in God, surrender ourselves to Him to work in us according to His own good pleasure, and be ready to serve all men (Lazarus = “one whom God helps”). Although we all do not suffer from such sores and poverty, yet the same mind and will must be in us that were in Lazarus, cheerfully to bear such things, wherever God wills it.”
— Martin Luther on Example of Faith…Poor Lazarus
“God who lives in heaven kept quiet about the rich man’s name because He did not find it written in heaven. He spoke the poor man’s name because He found it written there. Indeed, He gave instructions for it to be written there.” — St. Augustine
Outline of Our Worship
Lord, Hear Us
Opening Thoughts on the Service
Opening Hymn: #639
The Order of Service Morning Prayer: Hymnal pg.207
Lord, Feed Us
Psalm of the Day: #146
Hymn Response: #807 st.1-4
Sermon Hymn: #817
Sermon Text: Luke 16:19-31 Not Here Long. So, Take Care…
Lord, Accept Our Response
The Te Deum Laudamus pg. 210
Hymnal pg.213-214 “Lord, Have Mercy”
Prayers, Lord’s Prayer
Lord, Bless Us
The Benediction Hymnal pg.214
Closing Hymn: #923
The Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost – Series C
Old Testament Lesson: Amos 6:1-7 – Warnings to Zion and Samaria
1Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you distinguished people of the leading nation, to whom the house of Israel comes.
2Travel to Kalneh and look. Go from there to Hamath Rabbah, and go down to Gath of the Philistines. Are you better than those kingdoms? Are their territories greater than your territory?
3You who are trying to put off the evil day, you bring near the session for violence! 4Those who lie on ivory beds, sprawling upon their couches, eating lambs from the flock and calves straight from the stall, 5improvising tunes on the lyre, composing music for themselves on musical instruments like David, 6drinking large bowls of wine— they slather themselves with the most expensive perfumed oils, but they do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. 7That is why they will go into exile as the first of the exiles. Those who sprawl out at their feasts for the dead will depart.
Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 13:1-6 – The Lord Is My Helper
1 Continue to show brotherly love. 2Do not fail to show love to strangers, for by doing this some have welcomed angels without realizing it. 3Remember those in prison, as if you were fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated, as if you yourselves were also suffering bodily.
4Marriage is to be held in honor by all, and the marriage bed is to be kept undefiled, for God will judge sexually immoral people and adulterers. 5Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have. For God has said: I will never leave you, and I will never forsake you.
6So then we say with confidence: The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?
Gospel Lesson: Luke 16:19-31 – The Rich Man and Lazarus
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen, living in luxury every day. 20A beggar named Lazarus had been laid at his gate. Lazarus was covered with sores and 21longed to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Besides this, the dogs also came and licked his sores. 22Eventually the beggar died, and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In hell, where he was in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus at his side. 24He called out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me! Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in misery in this flame.’
25“But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus received bad things. But now he is comforted here, and you are in misery. 26Besides all this, a great chasm has been set in place between us and you, so that those who want to cross from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
27“He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s home, 28because I have five brothers—to warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
29“Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets. Let them listen to them.’
30“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
31“Abraham replied to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019 The Wartburg Project.
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service
Fellowship & Bible Study
Southern Conference Pastors’ Study Conference,
|Held at Martin Luther Lutheran Church, St. Louis, MO
Divine Worship Service
with Holy Communion online – Facebook
Fellowship & Bible Study
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
Complacency and Contentment may be near each other in Webster’s Dictionary, but Scripture sees them as worlds apart. One is abhorred by the Lord; the other He tells us is of great gain. Our lessons this Sunday show God’s justice and mercy. The Law works to terrify the comfortable sinner and the Gospel works to comfort the terrified sinner.
The Old Testament Lesson: Amos 6:1-7 (answers are found on the back side)
- What had the children of Israel become uncaring and complacent about?
- How does this serve as a lesson and warning for 21st century believers?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Greg Miller; Lou Schulz; William & Laurie Moon; Pauline Jaeger; Kirsten Jaster (Laurie Moon’s sister); Greg Pierson (the Long’s son-in-law); Libya, Jodi Milam’s granddaughter, diagnosed with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis; Elizabeth Lisenby; Barbara Long; Lois Wiese; Dee Bruck’s family whose brother died last weekend.
Choir Possibilities? Would you help us in reorganizing Zion’s Adult Choir? Due to Covid and the Lord moving on to other places some of our choir members, we have not had an organized choir in a few years. Do you like to sing? Are you willing to join us in preparing songs for worship? If so, please see pastor. At the moment it seems like a late afternoon or evening practice on Tuesday’s or Thursday’s might be the most viable. But please let pastor know what you think.
Monday-Tuesday, Sept.26-27 – Fall Pastors’ Conference of MN District’s Southern Conference at Martin Luther LC, St. Louis
Tuesday, Oct.11 – Elders, Trustees, and Monthly Church Council Meetings beginning at 6 pm
Saturday, Oct.15 – LWMS Missouri Valley Circuit’s Fall Rally at Martin Luther LC, St. Louis
Towards the end of October TBA, God-willing and fishermen able, Peace will hold their fall fish fry and invite you to it
Friday-Sunday, Nov.11-13 – LWMS Annually Sponsored Women’s Retreat at Heit’s Point (near Lincoln, MO)
The Week in Review
Last Sunday Worship: 31; Communed: 31; Bible Class: 21; Midweek Bible Class: 7; Offering: $1,626; new hymnals: $74.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Pentecost 17: 1 Chronicles 29:1-2, 10-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-5; Luke 17:1-10 (CW-21, Series C)
Answers to Today’s Old Testament Lesson Brief Study:
- By laying around in comfort and celebration the children of Israel showed that they were comfortable in their sins. They felt no need to turn to the Lord in repentance and plead for mercy. They also showed no concern for the “ruin of Joseph” the fact that the nation had turned away from the Lord.
- Like Paul (1Cor. 10:12) it reminds us that if we think we stand firm on our own we are a candidate for falling. Believers show love by calling one another to repentance and sharing the promise of forgiveness in Jesus.
This week I am praying for……