Friday, February 24, 2017

Lazarus - the Living Sacrifice (LG45)

‘Last Generation’
Luke 16:19-22 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.
    This parable holds the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Lazarus means 'God is my help' and the Lazarus who was raised from the dead, loved God. This Lazarus, who also loved God, was highly rewarded to be in the bosom of Abraham just like godly Christians receiving the crown of life.

Mat 13:10-11, 35 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given,”
    Just like the apostles, Lazarus must have given up everything to serve God thus depending on Him for all his needs, so God placed him in front of the rich man’s house. He was full of sores, which were painful signs while serving God in various ministries as below:

1. In missions – he suffered by being a sheep amongst the wolves; just like Paul who was often in danger, suffering and persecution during his missions to both Jews and Gentiles.
    2 Cor 11:26-27 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness.
2. In old folk homes – he has to care, clean, nurse and love the aged like his own parents. Some of these folks are senile, demanding and rebellious like children. Imagine your sufferings just taking care of your own sick parents.

3. In the children’s home – he has to raise abused, poor, sickly, retarded and neglected kids as his own children. Imagine the pain and difficulties raising your own children.
    And also, serving in charitable homes for the abused, deformed, mentally sick, addicts, retarded and immigrants.
    Lazarus willingly offered himself to make the lives of destitutes more meaningful but in return, he had to suffer so much pain.

4. In ministries – as good shepherds we must bear the fruit of the Spirit, performing what Jesus Himself will do. With love, humility, patience and hope in teaching, admonishing, correcting and helping Christians (sheep) to live holy lives.
    2 Cor 6:3-10 We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in  imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fasting; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and [yet] well known; as dying, and behold we live; as  chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.