The Divided Gap
Self and pride now extinguished but yet set on fire.
[The Jewish Talmud refers to both paradise (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4) and Abraham’s side (or “bosom”) as names for the place of blessedness beyond the grave.]
Abraham’s bosom conveys the idea of the poor man enjoying Abraham’s company at the messianic banquet (Luke 13:29). Also, notice Jesus mentions the name of the beggar, Lazarus. His name was written in the book of life.
The rich man's name was not mentioned. Therefore, Jesus didn't see his name in the book of life. (Revelation 20:15). Note, this is not the Lazarus Jesus raised from the dead in (John 11:1-14).
The rich man was aware of his situation. The Greek word Hell (Hades) is the place for departed spirits, the realm of the dead, the destiny of those who have refused to believe and accept Jesus. This is the place of death, the grave, and hell.
Look at the irony of the wealthy man. Now he could see everything. He could even see the beggar at the banquet table. Before he could only see self. Many people in our culture today are seduced and blinded by Satan.
Those in the political realm, acting, and sporting world are just some that Satan will blind in his grip. Holding power, money, status, and control over others is Satan’s blinding trap. (1 Timothy 6:9-11; 2 Corinthians 4:3,4).
His spiritual blindfold keeps all light from penetrating until that person cries out to God with a repentant heart. In our main scriptural text, the rich man was blinded by the world's resources. Look at the desperate situation he placed himself in.
Many times we try to point blame at others when our lives are in turmoil. The rich man could blame no one. All he could do was cry out and ask for mercy. But his cries were a day late.
A pastor friend of mine told me some time ago, "Everyone in hell today is a true, bona fide believer. But they will never experience the new life with a dead life."
What a powerful statement! The new life and dead life cannot coexist eternally. There's a permanent separation that takes place. The rich man called out to Father Abraham, (verse 24).
This was a name any Jewish would use for Abraham, the father of their nation (John 8:39). The rich man was asking for mercy, the same mercy he couldn't see someone else needed. Lazarus had his sores licked by dogs.
But now the rich man was gasping to have his parched throat and tongue cooled from the torment of flames. He also was still seeing Lazarus as subservient to Abraham and himself by asking Lazarus to bring him water.
God will always keep account of how we lived our lives on this earth. (1 Peter 4:5; Matthew 12:35-37). The rich man was reminded of his life on earth and how he treated others.
The worldly (the unsaved) don't understand that the roles of torment and comfort will be reversed. True Christians will leave this earth comforted. There will also be a great divide between comfort and torment.
Abraham referred to it being a great gulf (verse 26 KJV). The Greek word gulf (chasma) is a gaping opening, a chasm, a vacancy. An impassable interval. This gulf is fixed (stērizō). That is, it is set fast.
Imagine trying to make your way through the Grand Canyon in 120 degree temperature without water and proper clothing. You probably would succumb to the elements. The immense chasm in the Canyon stretches more than 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide.
However, in hell, spirits don't succumb to the deathly elements around them. They will live in it eternally (Mark 9:43-48). The rich man was in torment but did not die in the flames. Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? (Daniel 3:19-27).
They were thrown into a fiery furnace, but they were not tormented neither were they in any pain. Why? Because there was a fourth person in the flames with them. Care to guess who it was? Notice there was no one around when the rich man cried out.
This great chasm was fixed by God between heaven and hell so that the fate of the dead is irreversible. (Hebrews 9:27). After death there is no second chance. There are no appeals. Many people think they have time on their side.
But life goes by very quickly. We are only here for a short while. Our lives are like vapor that dissipates in the sun. (James 4:14). If you choose to ignore God’s knocking on your heart, you may soon find it impossible to open it.
Again, so there are no misunderstandings in my appeal to those sitting on the fence, I reiterate, in the afterlife, there is a separation between believers and unbelievers that cannot be spanned.
It is not possible to cross over from heaven to hell or hell to heaven. Here's something to keep in mind. Preparing for life before death is wise. But neglecting life after death is disastrous.
If you accumulate wealth only to enrich yourself, with no concern for helping others, you will enter eternity empty-handed (1 Timothy 6:7). The rich man did not go to hell because of his wealth, but because he was selfish, refusing to help Lazarus.
You don't have to be like King Agrippa, or like the rich man Jesus spoke about. When Lazarus died, the angels carried him to Abraham’s side, the kingdom feast at the banquet table.
Lazarus enjoyed an angelic escort after his death. The rich man sowed his own demise. God never takes joy in those that perish. (Ezekiel 18:20-24). The heart is like a can of play dough. When you leave the lid off, all the dryness starts the hardening process.
After awhile the play dough is useless. You have to toss it out. The expiration date is canceled. When people are set in their ways, sometimes they invite the impossibility in the equation surrounding the outcome of their life.
Only when the rich man was completely aware of his eternal prison, did he start to think about his family. Now he wanted Abraham to send Lazarus back from dead to testify to his brothers.
It's always amazing that we as humans always want extreme proofs of God existing before we will believe in him. "If God is real _____________, (fill in the blank). If Jesus is real ___________, (fill in the blank).
Many people want this tangible proof that Jesus is real. God doesn't have to show you that heaven or hell is real. His word is truth and God cannot lie. It is impossible for him to do so.
He has showed us enough on this side of earth that he is the creator of all living species. (Romans 1:19-21; Colossians 1:12-19). So, the rich man thought "ok, my brothers will definitely believe if someone comes back from the dead to testify to them."
Listen my friends, when Jesus himself raised Lazarus from the dead (the brother of Mary and Martha), the Pharisees and Sadducees not only wanted to murder Jesus, they wanted to kill Lazarus too. (John 12:9-11).
Instead of the religious leaders believing in Jesus for this great miracle, their hearts hardened even more. Their hearts were like that can of useless opened play dough. Abraham had even told the rich man they had the law and prophets.
Jesus said that if they did not believe Moses and the prophets, who spoke constantly of caring for the poor, not even a resurrection would convince them. Just as your hands and feet can become callous, so can the heart.
Again, sometimes people are set in their ways, and neither scripture nor God, or Jesus himself would shake them loose. (Verses 29-31). Today we live in a society where everyone has dug their feet in the trenches.
The divide and divisions in this country are clearly seen. However, I don't believe in all the so-called deep racism that is in our country. Sure, there is some out their because Satan is still among us. But racism is not a pigment, it is a spirit.
But there are those who falsely use it to purposely divide where there never was division. Let's face it, misery loves company. Some people are just miserable, and they want you to go around looking at the world in anger.
Remember beloved, it's not the pigment of any skin that's evil, it's the condition of the heart that makes one evil. Caucasians should never feel guilty about the skin God wrapped them in at birth. Satan is behind every form of racism.
And yes, African Americans can be racist also. Anyone can. Again, the pigment has nothing to do with evil intentions. God always looks at the heart when confronting injustice. (1 Samuel 16:7; Mark 7:20-23; 15:18-19; Romans 3:23; Galatians 5:19-21).
Paul tells us to deal with our anger immediately in a way that builds relationships rather than destroys them. If we nurse our anger, we will give the devil an opportunity to divide us. And Satan is a divider of the human race.
Please keep these important practical viewpoints close to your heart:
1) In the first two chapters of the Bible, God plants a garden on earth; in the last two chapters of the Bible, he brings down the New Jerusalem, with a garden at its center, to the new earth.
2) In Eden, there’s no sin, death, or curse; on the new earth, there’s no more sin, death, or curse. In Genesis, the redeemer is promised; in Revelation, the redeemer returns. Genesis tells the story of paradise lost; Revelation tells the story of paradise regained.
The gap and divide in this nation, and even in false churches, can only be filled by the cross. Not Just any cross. But the one that spilled the sinless blood. Jesus’ death for us on the cross sealed a new covenant between God and us.
The old covenant involved forgiveness of sins through the blood of an animal sacrifice (Exodus 24:6-8). But instead of a spotless lamb on the altar, Jesus offered himself, the spotless Lamb of God, as a sacrifice that would forgive sin.
🗣📢 Last words: God made physical human beings to live on a physical earth. There was no divide in God's original design to be with his creation. Sin is the ultimate divider of everything.
[We have an immanent God, who chose to become a man on that same earth. He did this that he might redeem mankind and the earth. Why? To glorify himself and enjoy forever the company of men and women in the world.]
Remember my beloved friends, hell was not prepared for man. God never meant that man would ever go to hell. Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels, but man rebelled against God and followed the devil.
Hell is essentially and basically banishment from the presence of God for deliberately rejecting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. You don't have to live a life filled with division and hatred. You don't have to stay angry all day long.
If you are still on the fence of life trying to stay neutral in this world, you are already destined for disappointment. Get off the fence and get on solid good ground. Do you look forward to Christ’s return or are you afraid of it?
Pray today, right now. Pray for the freedom and pardon Jesus has won for you. (Romans 10:8-13). Then rejoice that God’s judgment on you will be removed because now you are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
For those who love poems, here's your favorite:
"Strange that so much of heaven and hell should in one bosom meet; Lord, can thy Spirit ever dwell where Satan has a seat?
Now I am all transformed to love and could expire in praise; Then soon not all the joys above one cheerful note can raise.
When I with pensive thoughts review the mazes I have trod, astonished at the grace that drew my wandering soul to God. Unknown author.
^Here are the words that can close the divide between you and God. (Psalm 51:17; James 4:6-8; Psalm 86:11-13).
🛐 Here’s a prayer you can pray to bridge the divide in your heart. "Heavenly Father, thank you for today's message about why I feel so divided when everyone else seems so close together.
Lord, my heart feels like it's a million miles away from the real love I need. I thought that popularity, power, money, and prestige achievements would bring me happiness and contentment.
Lord, I realize now that I was not created to have a life attached to me that reads "my way or the highway." That highway was leading me to hell like the rich man. Heavenly Father, I want to turn from sin to salvation.
Teach me your way, Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name. Break my heart with the things that break yours. Mend the gaps in my heart with your precious touch.
Light a relentless fire in me for you. Let me pursue you morning, noon, and night with all my heart. Thank you, Jesus for being the one who restores the empty chasm in my heart, in Jesus name, amen."
❤ "If you would like to know Jesus as your Savior, please read the drop-down page entitled "How to know Jesus."
*Help spread the word by sharing this web site and messages on your platform.
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you."
Pastor Todd Boxley
Worship Center Ministry