Sermon #1381                                           Miscellaneous Notes


          Title:            LESSONS LEARNED TOO LATE

          Text:            Luke 16:19-31


          Subject:       Lessons all People Learn in Hell

          Date:            Funeral Service for Joan Henson

Wednesday Afternoon – November 24, 1999

          Tape #        



Ecclesiastes 7:2-4


2.                 [It is] better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that [is] the end of all men; and the living will lay [it] to his heart.   

3.                 Sorrow [is] better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.   

4.                 The heart of the wise [is] in the house of mourning.


We have come once more to the house of mourning. Once more, we are reminded by God’s good providence that “this is the end of all men.” Oh, may God give us each the grace to lay it to heart. Soon, very soon, you and I will meet God almighty in eternity.


          I knew Mrs. Henson only slightly. I preached the gospel to her, as I have to many of you, only a few times. She died suddenly, without warning. And she is now in eternity. What I have to say today will not affect her at all. But I pray that God will graciously cause you to hear his Word.


          Mark told me, the other night, “My mom was a good mother to Billy and me. She loved us and we loved her. And she was a good grandmother. She was a busy woman; but she always took time to spend time with my boys. Casey and Cody loved her. They are going to miss her.”


          Those are precious memories. I hope you can hold on to them. Few people know what it is to have a loving, happy home. Many a mother and many a father have destroyed the lives of their children, so that they could selfishly indulge their own lusts. Many others have destroyed their homes and the lives of their families by their examples of ungodliness. The memories of a loving home, a loving mother and father, and loving grandparents are precious memories.


          But that which we perceive as goodness, because we benefit from it, does not extend to God. In fact, even David, the man after God’s own heart, said to the Lord, his God, “My goodness extendeth not unto thee.”


          If you and I would be saved, if we would stand accepted before God forever, we must have a goodness, a righteousness that is worthy of God’s approval.


·        A religious decision will do you no good.

·        Religious morality will profit you nothing.

·        Saying, “I believe in Jesus,” will not save you.

·        Saying “the sinners’ prayer” will only add to your condemnation.


If you would be saved you must know the Lord God himself. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” You and I cannot be saved unless we know Christ, unless we are made to be the righteousness of God in Christ. You know that what I am telling you is true. Your conscience verifies these things. You may not like them. You may suppress them until you perish in hell. But you cannot deny them. This is what God demands from you and me.


·        Perfect Satisfaction – Atonement.

·        Perfect Righteousness – Obedience.


We cannot give him either. These things are to be had only by the obedience and death of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the sinners’ Substitute. Sooner or later, you will learn that what I am preaching to you is true. I wonder if you will learn it before it is too late. Most do not. In Luke 16, we read about a man who learned everything too late. He did not learn the things I am telling you now, until he was in hell.


Luke 16:19-31


19.     There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:   

20.     And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,   

21.     And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.   

22.     And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;   

23.     And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.   

24.     And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.   

25.     But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.   

26.     And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that [would come] from thence.   

27.     Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:   

28.     For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.   

29.     Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.   

30.     And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.   

31.     And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.


Here is the story of THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS. Lazarus died, and was carried up to heaven. Chosen, redeemed and born of God, he entered into glory. But "the rich man also died!” What became of him?


"In hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments!” Here, the Lord God allows us to look beyond the grave. He allows us to look into hell itself. He shows us the pains, feelings and desires of an eternally lost, damned soul in hell, one who is forever shut up in hell under the wrath and torment of God’s infinite, holy, justice and wrath.


Here are seven things that old Dives learned. But he learned them too late. He learned them in hell! I pray that you will not learn them too late.


1.     DEATH DOES NOT END ALL. "If a man die, shall he live again?" Indeed, we shall. We all have an immortal souls that will live on forever, after our bodies are in the grave. Will you spend eternity in the bliss and glory of heaven or in the torments of the damned in hell? What a meeting place hell will be!


2.     THERE IS A REAL PLACE CALLED "HELL". Hell is as real as Danville, Kentucky. The same Inspired Book that tells us about heaven and the eternal bliss of the redeemed tells us about hell and the eternal misery of the damned. I do not know where it is, and I cannot imagine what it is, but hell is a real place. The rich man found out too late that hell is not a myth.


3.     A HOLY GOD MUST AND WILL PUNISH SIN. God is so inflexibly just and holy that when he found sin upon his own dear Son he poured out his infinite wrath upon him. And he who punished his Son for sin will certainly punish you for sin, if your sin is not removed by his Son.


4.     HELL IS A PLACE OF ENDLESS TORMENT. Dives cried, "I am tormented in this flame!" Hell is a place of lust and desire unfulfilled, a place of mental, moral and physical agony.


5.     CHRIST IS THE ONLY WAY OF SALVATION - The rich man's riches, religion and works were of no value to him in hell. Missing Christ, he lost all!


Illustration: Voltaire’s Son               

“There’s nothing to hang on to!”


6.     EXCEPT A MAN REPENT HE WILL SURELY PERISH. In hell this man realized that without repentance there is no salvation (v. 30). In hell he saw what matters!


7.     NO ONE CAN EVER BE SAVED WITHOUT HEARING AND BELIEVING THE GOSPEL (vv. 28-31). Be wise now, and believe the gospel. Trust Christ, lest you also perish forever under the wrath of God.




Revelation 20:11-15

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.    And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.    And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.    And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.    And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  (Revelation 20:11-15 AV)


2 Corinthians 5:11

Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.  (2 Corinthians 5:11 AV)


2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2

  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.    For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.    We then, [as] workers together [with him], beseech [you] also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.    (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation.)  (2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2 AV)