A Letter From A Rich Man

In history there have been many letters written to people on many subjects that still speak and resonate to us today. Many of the writers of these letters have died but the words they penned to paper have shaped, and in some cases, have transformed culture and the world. The very Word, the Bible we believe, love and cherish, (especially New Testament writings of the Apostle Paul) are letters written to the Church from places like Ephesus, Corinth and Rome. These letters, some written from prison while Paul was an ambassador in bonds (as he called himself), have been invaluable in their truth to the establishing of the Church on the Rock, which is Christ. I want to also speak to you about some other letters in history that have had a profound affect in culture.

In April 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King was tossed in the Birmingham jail cell on charges of leading a public demonstration without a permit. Doing a nine-day sentence, Dr. King used the margins of newspaper, and bits and pieces of toilet paper, to draft a response to the Birmingham clergy that had denounced his fight against segregation, labeling him an outside agitator. The eloquent, seven thousand-word essay used quotes from St. Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Jefferson, and others, to examine the nature of unjust laws and civic responsibility, including the immortal line, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’. The letter from the Birmingham jail soon appeared in publication across the nation and went on to become a touchstone of the American Civil Rights movement.

Today, I want to examine a small portion of scripture that I will call “A Letter from a Rich Man”. This portion of scripture has been historically presented as “The Dives and Lazarus” because “the dives” is Latin for “rich man”. The topic of Hell isn’t preached much, today. But, it needs to be, to wake the Church up out of its slumber and back to the realization that Hell is as real as Heaven, and that every second, minute, and hour of every day, eternal choices and consequences are being made. D.L. Moody said this, “If God put Adam out of this earthly Eden on the account of one sin, do you think He will let us enter Paradise, above, with our ten thousand sins upon us?”

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