Thank you, Alex. Would you buy your heads in prayer with me? Oh, good and heavenly gracious father. We are so thankful that you are wise and almighty. Even now, Lord, all of your plans are being unfolded in history on the earth and at the very center of it is your people. You have called us to play a part. God. I thank you for your people here in the city, your church here in Lincoln where the gospel is being preached, where those who are endeavoring to glorify Christ in all things are proclaiming your word this morning and your people gathering around the ministry of your word this morning. I thank you for your people all over the city and the unfolding of your plan all over the city as well as the world. And so God, would you help us in this time to take away from this meeting with you? The very truth that you which to plant deeply into our hearts and to shape us with and to make us more and more like your son Jesus Christ. It’s in his name that I pray. Amen. Good night. Well, this morning, if you are curious whether or not we are crazy here at sewer church. Why would we combine a passage on divorce and remarriage with a parable about a man named Lazarus and the rich man. Like, what’s the connection there? Where are these guys going? Why would they even do that? Well, there’s a couple of reasons why first we do like to teach through the Bible and so that’s in the Bible and we have to deal with it. That is our posture here. We want to teach the word of God. We don’t want to run from or shy away from passages that make seem difficult or maybe at first glimpse may not appear to make a whole lot of sense to us. We want to be faithful to the word of God because it is the word of God. That’s why we stand at the reading of the word of God. Secondly, though it appears that the two, the passage on divorce and the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, though it appears there is no connection, there actually is a connection. They are very much related. In fact, the key is looking at verses 16 and 17, which we did not read, but I’ll read them briefly here to you and you’ll see why the two fit together. And verse 16, Jesus says that the law and the prophets were until John. Since then, the good news of the Kingdom of God is preached and everyone forces his way into it. What he’s saying is basically the Old Testament Revelation was given up until the time of John and John, the Baptist had prepared the way for Jesus to begin his earthly ministry proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God, which was taking place then now and he said everyone was forcing his way into it. And that’s a reference to the very tax collectors and sinners who were repenting and turning to God and the Pharisees are watching all of this and their charge against Jesus is that he has no regard for the law of God. So therefore, the reference to the law and the prophets, the law of God. And then in verse 17, Jesus says, but it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the law to become void. I think we need to let that sink in for a moment because as evangelicals, I know we love the gospel and we do. It’s one of our core values that Christ would be exalted and everything because he has come. But the gospel is not an enemy to the law. That’s what Jesus is saying. And so Jesus is proclaiming good news and the tax collectors and the sinners are forcing their way into the kingdom of God. They are doing so not because Jesus is laying aside the law, but because Jesus is fulfilling the law on their behalf. Furthermore, Jesus is showing the Pharisees that though they were entrusted with the teaching of the law to prepare the people for his arrival. They were failing at it massively, they did not understood, they did not understand the law. They didn’t understand the purpose of the law and I would submit to you that that’s still the problem today. We just don’t understand the purpose of the law. It begins from the time we were young kids. It’s time to go to bed kids. Why do we have to go to bed so early? Why do we have to get up so early? Why do we have to eat our vegetables? Why do I need to clean my room? It’s gonna get messy again. We don’t like being held to a standard. We don’t like being told what to do from the time we were born. It’s been all about us. King me. And so we don’t understand law and then we grow up and we elect officials who also don’t understand the purpose of law. And so at a federal level, we have thousands of laws for this country and I’m guessing many of us don’t have a clue as to what all of those laws are. And then even on a state level and I did this fun thing, maybe I shouldn’t have done it. But I went and I researched some of the silly laws that are still on various state books. Want to read some of them to you again illustrates the point that we just don’t understand law in Alabama. It’s illegal to drive blindfolded. I mean, when did that law become an issue? And, and, and who, who was the poor soul that forced that law to be written? Right in Arizona. It’s still illegal for a donkey, for donkey to sleep in a bathtub. I don’t even want to go there. Right. I mean, an episode of Shrek or something in Kansas tire screeching is illegal. I mean, I don’t even know how you enforce that law. Okay. Then this one is crazy. In Kentucky, A woman cannot marry the same man four times. It’s a law. Evidently some poor soul needed four failures to realize like, man, you gotta stop this in Missouri. It’s illegal to wrestle with bear. I don’t know, the younger boys would like to see that one. Right. Me too. I’d pay good money for that. But I’m guessing a couple of guys lost and that didn’t work out, right. Got eaten by a bear or something. Okay. Last one in Montana. It’s illegal to give a rat as a present a wrap. Hey, I ain’t mad at that one, but I’m trying to figure out why is that a law? Okay. So again, you know, what’s the purpose of law? Like, why do we have laws? Why do we need laws? And I’m telling you human nature just doesn’t get it because we are so driven by desire to please self. But when you look at God’s law, when you look at His law and why he gave his law. God’s law reveals the character of God. The holiness of God. God’s law teaches us what we are supposed to love. It teaches us to love what God loves. That’s what His law does. It teaches us what to love. And when you look at how Moses in Deuteronomy six, summarized all of God’s law And then Jesus quotes Moses, right in Matthew 22 says the summary of all the law of all the law and the prophets is this that you would love the Lord, your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself, not king me God, and then allow for others, the law being given for that purpose. And so Jesus recognizing that the Pharisees think that he is disregarding the law, Jesus shows them that you don’t even understand the purpose of God’s law. And so he highlights an example of where they were disregarding the law as it relates to marriage. And then he tells a parable for how their own character was, a betrayal of the character of God, which would have been clearly seen had they rightly understood God’s law. So we look at the first one in verse 18, it says everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery. Now Jesus is recorded in Matthew five and in nine in Matthew 19 as giving more details um surrounding the subject of marriage and divorce. And then first Corinthians seven has some more instruction on this subject of marriage and divorce. And typically the church has landed in history on the position of the acceptable reasons for divorce, being adultery, abuse or abandonment. Now, the last two requires much more discussion and, and time to kind of unpack. Like what exactly do we mean by abuse and abandonment? And so we don’t have time for that today, but all of this flows from the seventh commandment which says, do not commit adultery, do not commit adultery. And the 7th commandment was put in place to help us protect our own purity as well as our neighbors purity as it relates to the heart, speech and behaviors. The 7th commandment is a restriction teaching us that you must place a fence around your own heart, desires your own speech and your own behavior as it relates to the marriage covenant, you must protect your own as well as your neighbors. The Pharisees didn’t understand, they simply did not understand it. And so what they were doing as they were granting certificates of divorce for very trivial reasons, extremely trivial reasons, let’s say a man. And this is based on looking at some of the first century and second century history, some of the writings of various rabbis, parasitical rabbis during that time. Let’s say a man had a dinner party, invited his friends over and his wife prepared the mill and the mill was terrible and it embarrassed the man he could then go to one of these Pharisees and require certificate of divorce. How hard is a person’s heart must be to divorce their wife because you had a dinner party and the mill didn’t go as planned. They do things like this on other occasions if a man just saw someone else that he thought was prettier or maybe even younger than his wife and divorce, his wife, seek a certificate of divorce. And the Pharisees would grant these certificates. Number one, if the man was wealthy and had influence and they granted him the divorce, then he’d be in the pocket of that particular person. By the way, this whole story, Jesus talking about divorce and remarriage and then talking about the rich man and Lazarus being laid at his gate has led some people to think that Jesus was talking about Herod who you know, John, the Baptist lost his head because he called him out on his divorce and remarriage, right? But I don’t think that’s who Jesus has in mind. He has the Pharisees in mind here. So they were allowing men to make a mockery of the law of God, granting certificates of divorce for various trivial reasons. And they missed the very character of God, the very righteousness of God. They missed the love of God that was supposed to be embodied through that lifelong commitment of marriage. You see, God speaks of Himself as being married, having a covenant relationship to his people. And in the context of that marriage, he gives laws to teach them what they are to love. And so I like to think of it like a train, a freight train because God is infinite. And when the scripture says that God is love and infinite. God having love is an intense and a very powerful love. But that freight train needs train tracks needs rails to, to ride on. And what the Pharisees were permitting was for the freight track, the freight train to get off of the tracks and to cause harm, which is what often divorce does a lot of heartache, a lot of pain. Many of you maybe you’ve experienced it, maybe someone you know, has experienced it. You know what I’m talking about that relationship between husband and wife, such a picture between God and his people meant to be a lifelong covenant and commitment to show us what the love of God is like through the good times, through the hard times various circumstances because that’s what we want, right? We want to know that in our frailties and our weakness that God doesn’t abandon us, that he’s with us, that he’s faithful. And that’s what we demonstrate in that covenant relationship, kids said, neighbor said, and it creates a stability. So this relationship was supposed to portray the faithfulness of God because God is faithful and these men were disregarding the law and therefore unable to show the faithfulness of God in that way. So then moving on from a practical example of how the Pharisees misunderstood the law. Jesus then tells a parable in verse 19, it says there was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day on a pause there for a moment. Second parable that Luke records where Jesus uses the character, um uses a rich man as a character. Last week, Pastor Ben covered the rich man and the dishonest manager. And in that parable, the rich man represented Jesus or represent God. In this parable, the rich man represents the Pharisees. He’s rich and there’s a, there’s an air royalty to him. That’s why he uses purple and fine linen and says that he feasted sumptuously every day. I mean it plenty is well taken care of. And then in verse 20 says 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. No, Lazarus, the second character in this parable, he has a physical disability. He can’t even walk. Someone has to carry him to the gates of this rich man. When it says that Lazarus is looking at the rich man in his abundance. And he doesn’t even want really the mill that the rich man is enjoying. He wants the crumbs, he wants the leftovers. He wants the leftovers. Kids, sometimes kids don’t like to eat leftovers. I think somehow a leftover has changed the food. You know, like the quality, the goodness of the food has changed. It’s leftover now. It’s not the same mad. And then you get to college and you’re starving, you’re hungry, you’ll take leftovers anyway. You can get them right. But this poor man Lazarus, he’s, he’s physically disabled. He’s starving in his physical disability. He’s developed sores all over his body. And in the mercy of God. God has supplied this rich man with all of the resources to be able to help Lazarus. Enjoy just a piece of comfort in this life. God gives it to this rich man. Hey, you are made in the image of God and this man laid at your gate is made in the image of God and I’ve given you my law rich man and it teaches you what you are to love your neighbor, your God and your neighbor brought him to your gate. The man had all that was necessary to help Lazarus to treat his medical condition, make sure he was bandaged and cared for plenty of food. And every day, this man just ignored Lazarus dying outside of his gate. How hard does a person’s heart need to be to watch another image bearer die starve to death outside of his own gate. We’re not talking about the rich man needing to get into a boat or an airplane and travel across the world were saying, walk outside of your property and show the mercy and the compassion of God and you can’t, you won’t. But God is still merciful. And I love the contrast and the irony in the way that Jesus presents this parable, the man won’t show mercy, but it says that dogs came and licked his source. Now these aren’t like domesticated pets. He’s talking about, he’s not talking about the dogs that you have in your house, that you treat for fleas, that you make sure well taken care of that you make sure they have plenty of water and you’ve trained them. These are wild animals, wild dogs who otherwise might have been a bit aggressive towards Lazarus and his helpless condition and yet they come and they lick his sores to give him a small measure of comfort. What contrast and irony there an image bearer suffering, another image bearer having all that he needed to not only take care of his own family, but to also help the suffering man and he wouldn’t even do it. And so God has to use an animal to show mercy In verse 22. It says the poor man died and was carried by the Angels to Abraham’s side. We’re not even told about a burial he’s too poor and no one cares about his life. But in verse 23 I’m sorry. Um The second part of verse 22 it says the rich man also died and was buried proper burial into a tomb. But in verse 23 but the rich man 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, send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger and water and cool my tongue for I am an anguish in this flame. Wow, Lazarus not even able to have or receive a proper burial, but in death, he enters into the ultimate palace in paradise. When it says Abraham’s bosom is a reference to heaven when it says Hades is a reference to hell. So Lazarus carried in to heaven to be comforted by God. And the rich man suffering in hell is crying out and saying Abraham, send Lazarus the same Lazarus that stood outside of your gate, send him to have mercy on me. The one you didn’t even have mercy on the law teaches us to love what God loves. And through these examples, we see that God is faithful, we see that God is merciful, but right here, we need to see something else about our God. He is just God is just In Verse 25. Here is the justice of God but Abraham said, child, remember that in your lifetime, you 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 have passed from here to you may not be able and none may cross from there to us. God is just God gave the rich man every opportunity to show the faithfulness of God, the mercy of God and the love of God. And he would not because of his hard heart. And so God gives him his reward. He says that in this life, you received all of your good things. And I want to tell you as one modern day theologian puts it if in this life, if this is your best life ever, and I fear for you because there’s a hell of an eternity awaiting you as Christians for us. We know, but this life is temporary, it’s passing away. But the one that we were ultimately made for that we’ve been redeemed for it’s far greater. And so we aren’t beholden to possessions and things because we’ve got an eternal mindset to quote another theologian says, the wheels of God’s justice. They may grind slowly but they grind exceedingly fine. Does not miss a thing just like last week with Pastor Ben. The reality that we must give an account. God is a good accountant, he’s not gonna miss a thing. So reading on here in this passage, the man said to Abraham, he says, and I beg you father, send him to my father’s house where I have five brothers so that he may warn them unless they also come into this place of torment. But Abraham said, they have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them. They have the word of God. They have the law of God which shows the holiness of God which convicts of sin, which drives us back to God. Let them hear them. Some people can’t hear the word of God. Some people don’t even like the word of God being taught. They just kind of want to feel their way into the kingdom of God. And I’m gonna tell you right now, you can’t feel your way into the Kingdom of God. But this word, it will prepare your hearts for eternity. That’s why we teach it. That’s why we call you and challenge you to read it to allow it to shape your language, your prayers, your behavior, every aspect of your soul, allowing the word of God to be living and active in you in that way. It always baffles me because some people just don’t understand biblical history. God has been so serious about putting this word in print, writing it. And when he gave the law to Moses, he was so serious about it that he wrote it how with his own finger. And what does he do, Jesus? After he has ascended into heaven, he commissioned his apostles, his disciples to do what to pin these letters so that we can be clear so that we can be sure the very rails that God has given us to run on. That’s love. So he says, let them hear them. And so the rich man said, no, Father Abraham in verse 30. But if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent. And Abraham said to him, if they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead, if their hearts are so hard that they will not receive the plain teaching of God’s law and word, even if someone was raised from the dead, they will not believe even if a miracle like that occurred, they would not believe. And Jesus is speaking of what here, his own resurrection. And what happened when the guards reported back to the Pharisees that he’s not here, that he’s been resurrected. What did the Pharisees do? If you know your bibles, you know that they paid those men to be silent. Even if one were to rise from the dead, they still wouldn’t believe how hard must a man’s heart be? He doesn’t want to hear the word of God if he’ll divorce his wife for very trivial reasons, if he’s willing to allow a man to die outside of his own property without giving him basic needs. How hard must sin make our hearts to act that way. And I love it that Jesus uses as an example and as a parable people who are in close proximity to you, a spouse somewhere near your house. He’s not talking about hating someone on Facebook, which people do all the time or hating someone. You know that you think is the boogeyman thousands and thousands of miles away. He’s talking about people. You look at who you’ve become familiar with. There’s a spouse taking up resentment in your heart towards your spouse as a child, taking up resentment in your heart towards your parents as a parent, taking up resentment in your heart towards your child, that co worker that’s wearing you out, that neighbor who’s wearing you out. He’s talking about that context. Remember because the summation of the law is that you would love the Lord, your God and love your who your neighbor, the one closest to you, those around you. So what’s secure for hard and unloving heart? Well, based on the passage here and the multiple references to Moses and the prophets and the law, I would say the first step in curing a hard and unloving heart is to go to the word of God to hear it and allow God’s word to drive you back to the foot of the cross. Allow the word to indeed be a living and sharp sword towards your own heart towards King me, that brings you to the foot of the cross so that you look up and see your savior who paid the price for your selfishness and your sin, man. This is what that deserves me and he paid it for me. Secondly, while you’re looking at the word of God, while you are allowing the word of God to soften your heart, to convict you of sin, to expose to you the true rails that love is supposed to run on that you would then pray for others that love. Jesus said, even for your enemies is acted out and prayer for them that you pray for them, that you keep your heart soft because you’re praying. If you and your spouse are constantly at one another, then pray more, more, more pray for them. Pray, pray, pray, pray until something in new changes and then pray that something in them changes as well. Pray and then lastly be quick to obey God’s word. So one of the things we try to teach little kids, delayed obedience is disobedience, delayed obedience allows you to think that it’s not that important that it’s okay that you know, it really doesn’t matter if I go through with this. God really isn’t paying attention. God really doesn’t care that God really isn’t keeping account of how I live my life and it really doesn’t matter and maybe this person really does deserve my resentment. I’ll be quick to obey, be quick to put the word into action, be quick to do what it says. And I know the emotions, man, the emotions can be like the Missourians who like to wrestle bears, right? That the emotions can be like that bear. It’s like it did. I don’t want to put down this bear to do what God says. Um You need the grace of God in that moment and that’s why you, you look at His word. That’s why you pray and God, God takes care of that bear for you. So if you want to cure heart and unloving heart, you gotta be in the world. And you got to let the word afflict you, you gotta let the word teach you what it means to pick up your cross and to follow Christ and to deny yourself so that you can love God so that you can see others the way that God wants you to see them and you gotta be praying, you gotta be willing and quick to obey. And the reason why this is important, it’s because you and me, me and you, we were poor Lazarus, we were poor Lazarus outside of the kingdom of God. And before God’s law, we had no feet to stand on. We had no righteousness before holy and just God, we did not deserve to be brought inside of His kingdom. And then the good news was presented to us and the love of God picked us up, bandaged our wounds, cleaned us up, gave us a new heart, a new identity and made us Children of God. So let’s act like it. Amen. Amen. Let us pray. Father. I thank you that you are indeed merciful. You are a merciful God from that very first dreadful day and the history of this world when Adam and E ate from that tree and caused all of humanity to be placed outside of your royal and holy kingdom and palace. You didn’t leave us, you didn’t abandon us. You didn’t turn your back on us. You sent your son to come after us. You are merciful. You are loving God. I pray that every day that we have on this earth, that your love would change us and that others would be able to see how your love has changed us. It has made us love you and love our neighbors. God. We know, but we can’t do this in our own strength. But that’s why we look to you. We depend upon you. It’s in Christ’s name. I pray. Amen.