Mark 8:36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
I was reminded of the following passage yesterday in a sermon and it has gripped my heart re-reading these words.
From Luke Chapter 16, verses 19-31. The story of a rich man and Lazarus
"There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen 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.'"
"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 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 he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.'"
"But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets (referring to God's Word); let them hear them.'"
"And he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone GOES TO THEM FROM THE DEAD, THEY WILL REPENT.'"
"He said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, NEITHER WILL THEY BE CONVINCED IF SOMEONE SHOULD RISE FROM THE DEAD.'"
Fast forward to the end of Luke in Chapter 24 when Christ appears to his disciples after having risen from the dead...
"'Peace to you!' But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, 'Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see.'"
"Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.' Then he OPENED THEIR MINDS TO UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURES, and said to them, 'Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day and RISE FROM THE DEAD, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.'"
I'm sure you have asked this question before as well, but how is it that even Christ's disciples who lived and ministered with Jesus for 3 years, still doubted when they saw Christ after he had risen from the grave?
Back in the 16th chapter of Luke the rich man is calling out to Abraham from the pit of hell and begging for him to have Lazarus go and tell his brothers of Christ's resurrection so they will repent and and be saved. Abraham responds that in order for his brothers to believe, THEY MUST HEAR GOD'S WORD.
Can you imagine the agony of what this man must be feeling as he sits in the pit of hell? He no longer has the opportunity to repent and be saved. He choose the riches of the world to be his comfort; something that scriptures say moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal (Matt. 6:19) He can't even go back and warn the people he loved about what would happen if they didn't repent.
It is in the power of God's Word and God's grace alone, that hearts and eyes may be opened to the truth of who God is..causing us to see our sin and REPENT AND BE SAVED.
You aren't promised a rich life in this world, but if you repent and choose Christ, you will spend eternity in the presence of a Holy and Righteous KING.