By John Larkins
In this week’s column, there are two main points. First, Jesus clearly revealed that His redemptive purpose was to train leaders to establish The Way, for the only everlasting path for humankind to be saved into eternity.
Secondly, Jesus emphasized that He was returning from His Father in Heaven to pass eternal judgement on all people, selecting whom to save and whom to condemn.
Jesus taught His apostles through parables, which were statements that were somewhat obscure in exact meaning but intended for the Apostles to be taught more candidly. The Apostles then would clarify mea-nings for the converts to His Church. Jesus then would return at the end of time to judge men based on what they did with their lives.
One of Jesus’ parables is in Luke 16:19-31: “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and lived in luxury each day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died, and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.
“In hell, where the rich man was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So, the rich man called to him and said, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ The rich man answered, ‘I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied,
‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ ‘No, Father Abraham, the rich man said, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Abraham said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced, even if someone rise from the dead.”
Now, friends, if as you have been told, “No one goes to Hell,” what is this all about? Jesus was teaching prior to His death and resurrection. Based on teaching, the gates of Heaven are not yet open. The gates of Hell seem operational, however. Who rose from the dead to tell all of us that this judgement will come?
Listen to what Jesus says about The Way to salvation. He maps out the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of His new Church, The Way. Luke 16:16 says, “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached and every man presseth into it.”
“Matthew 4:17-20 says, “From that time, Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent: for the kingdom of God is at hand.’ And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren; Simon, called Peter, and Andrew, his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers. And He said unto them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. ‘And they straight away left their nets and followed Him.”
Later, in Matthew 16:16-18, Jesus asked His Apostles, ‘Whom do men say that I am?’ Then He asked His disciples, ‘But who say ye that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’ And Jesus said, ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I build My Church.”
While Jesus demands obedience to His law that is often beyond our ability to obey, He provides forgiveness through His Church and offers us The Way.
For the past 15 years, John Larkins has evangelized on the street, door-to-door, in tent revivals and in church situations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.