Christ came because we face a lot of trouble, an eternity that is true. There’s a reality we must reckon with what’s beyond the grave. We are here for such a short time. Blood atonement for our sins was necessary—Jesus did it. Accept what God has said. It is the only way to live with Him in Heaven. (Luke 16:19-31; James 4:14)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller,Pastor Peter Westera
6:30 PM on 3/29/2020
P. Schaller –
It’s so great. The worship is the same here tonight as if this church was filled with people. And it’s empty. But the
Spirit and worship is beautiful and every word. I want to thank the Body for their amazing
support in giving in offerings these last two weeks. Our first week was weak; the second was
better. Someone gave a large gift that got us through. We have a video tape of P. Randy Rollins
taking the offering. I want to personally thank the Body for donating online and dropping off
checks and supporting the church.
P. Pete Westera –
It’s wonderful to be here. What a privilege to speak to you in your homes. I
have a game plan. I’ll just see your faces in your houses rather than the empty chairs here. This
is a quick introduction. Psalm 120 came to my mind this morning as I listened to the message. I
love this idea of what we do before a crisis preparing our hearts and minds. I love the idea of
what we do during the crisis how we think and encourage ourselves and look to God and
afterwards, how we think of it. What God teaches us. It’s beautiful to live with God’s thoughts
and his truth and wisdom. The idea that do we understand it. We can read the Bible and be
We can read a psalm and then this wonderful question, do you understand it? God
could say do you understand me. Psalm 120 came to my mind as I read it recently. Vs. 1. It’s just a
sentence and it maybe means nothing. Then it could mean everything. We cry in our distress.
We naturally complain, whine, weep and are hurting. We cry out. The question is: Who do we
cry out to? If you cry out or speak or say things or complain or go on Facebook and make your
statements – whatever we do when there are problems someone is going to listen, and
someone will also give us advice.
We have to direct our cries. We have to make sure we are
crying to God and we look for him in the middle of this. Because of vs. 2. The world has a
tendency to not give us good advice, good counsel. They are eager to give us counsel when we
are troubled. Very quickly will we get counsel from the world. The Bible is telling us something.
I need to be delivered. I need to guard myself. Who are you crying to and who is giving you
counsel? There is a lot of lies out there. I’m not talking about this epidemic or quarantine or
conspiracy or anything weird like that. I’m talking about the truth we live by. God tells us how
to think and what to do and what to say.
The world lies all the time. The world will tell us what to say and what to wear and how to act. We can parrot the world. I catch myself repeating sentences or listening to something or watching the news or whatever it might be. I can catch myself repeating worldly wisdom but there is no truth in it. The world acts like they have truth.
They act like there is wisdom and counsel for us. They say give us more time we’ll figure it out
or a little more intelligence or one more law or get rid of this bad guy and that bad guy and it
will be okay. The general theme is we got the answers. We know what to do, what to say. How
This psalm is saying protect me from lying lips and the deceitful tongue. Vs. 3. Where is it
going to lead? Where does worldly wisdom and counsel lead us? A lot of drama and talking.
Supposedly things are settled but they are not. There is no end to it. Vs. 5. We don’t belong
there. These are faraway places. This is not where we belong. We are Christians and we get our
way of living and our wisdom somewhere else. We listen and we are smart about things, certainly careful but I’m talking about inside our soul we are listening to God and godly wisdom.
I don’t want to hear about someone from this world who has no idea who the Maker is. I don’t
want to hear about my life or my psyche or what I should be thinking or saying and doesn’t
know who created me I don’t want to hear from anyone that doesn’t know who created me. I
don’t want to hear from anyone that doesn’t know Christ and what he has done for me and
doesn’t know this book. I turn to this book because it gives me wisdom from God and tells me
what to think and what to say and gives me peace. Vs. 7 I think the world thinks it the other
way around. You are for war; we are for peace.
That’s what the world says to us. But actually, we are for peace. We have peace in our hearts. We have him in our hearts. We know what that is and what it means. I want to direct my thoughts to God. I really want to cry to him. I want to know how he wants me to respond, what he wants me to do and what he wants me to act and
say. Protect myself from the lies and the parroting of this world that we see so often. Amen.
P. Schaller –
Wow. That was excellent. Do we have Bella? Is she going to do the rap? I didn’t
want to turn my microphone off. Is that Bella? In the rap P. Scibelli, myself and P. Pete and
Bella. That will be a good fun time. Normally if you were here in the room tonight, I would have
you turn to your neighbor and talk and explain to your neighbor what P. Pete just preached
because it’s so good. Why not do that right where you are seated? If you are in a car on an
iPhone and no one is with you then enjoy the moment while everyone is talking to your wife or
son or daughter or your friend or if you are alone.
Rehearse what P. Pete said in his message. It was very good. The world is filled with advice and sometimes the wrong people are very much motivated to say what they think and what they think is not solid. I cannot build my house on the counsel of men. We are the ones that cry Barabbas, Barabbas and crucify Christ. The
wisdom of this world does not know the wisdom of God. The way of the world, the strength of
man is in no contest with the weakness of God. The weakness of God is stronger than men. The
foolishness of God is wiser than men. The foolishness of God is the wisdom of God but in the
eyes of man it is foolish. It is foolish to hang on a cross to save mankind. It is weak to hang on a
cross and not come down.
We labor and make the effort to learn our Bible and the Spirit speaks
to us and lead us in his mind. Tonight I decided to share on a portion from Luke 16. Just to read
the text and make comment on it. We look at one verse in James 4 that life is like a vapor. This
week at the church as we keep maintaining our activities, our property and there is online
teaching, GGCA and MBC&S and there is counseling happening and we are operating. I want to
thank God for an amazing staff here.
Also our international ministries that is going on by online ministry and by phone. We are learning in this time and processing what is happening and actually finding many opportunities. My wife and I went for a walk this afternoon. I believe we met 6 neighbors as people were out and walking that maybe otherwise we would not have
met. We are thinking of God’s mind and way and how he is speaking to the world about death.
This is one thing that caught the attention and some authority dictated to major governments
of the world to shut down and change things and it’s coming from death. Hebrews 2 the fear of
death. It’s powerful.
That’s important for us to know and recognize. Much of what we do is connected with that. This verse helps us. James 4:14. This is one Bible verse that people struggle with. I would even say many do not believe it. They believe they will live a very long time. They believe somehow death will not happen to them. But it is obvious. If we were at
least a little objective we would recognize this. Of course this is profound. Life is a vapor. More
than almost nothing. Gas in the air. Steam. A vapor and it’s gone. Momentarily it disappears
and the person is gone from this life. Imagine. They are gone. They have died. They have
They are gone. It would be foolish for any of us to live our life without recognizing this
imminent definite reality that we will one day die. Jesus tells us the story, apparently a
historical story from Luke 16:19. Certain rich man. He had everything. How he was dressed,
where he lived, how he ate, friends he had, what he did, reputation he had, newspaper article,
trophies, everything you ever want. I’m adding to that, but you get the idea. Vs. 20. The rich
man’s name is not in the text. Bible teachers taught when Jesus gives a proper name, he is
referring to a historical event.
There really was a man named Lazarus. Vs. 21. Man is very poor.
He is very sick. He is unclean. He is outside the gate. His life is a vapor. He’s going to pass very
soon. He’s going to pass from this life into the next. Vs. 22. I’ll put in tuberculosis just to use a
term. We don’t know what Lazarus died from, but his lifestyle brought him to death. We don’t
know the story of salvation and what actually happened. We know many people that suffer are
humble. Many are brought down. Many are humble but some are not. This man was humble
and believing. Perhaps someone came along on the way and gave a message. The man received
grace or was changed. He was born again.
The man was saved. He was looking for something more than this life. He was thinking in his poverty there must be something more. The Spirit undoubtedly spoke to his heart and taught him something and brought him to faith. Abraham was justified by faith. Anyone comes to God must come by faith. Our sins condemn us and the
fear of death and the trouble we are in. These things work in us a capacity to hear the gospel
and hear the message. It works in us like it happened with this man. The rich man died also.
Maybe we could put in there the coronavirus.
You know that virus is not a respecter of person. A rich man can die like any man. Is he prepared? Has he been thinking about it? Has he been convicted of his need? Has he heard the gospel? Has he paid any attention that my life is a vapor and one day death will knock on the door? Jesus said it. It was hard for a rich man to
enter the kingdom of heaven. James 2 the poor people are rich in faith. The rich people
sometimes, and it’s all by his grace he saves any of us, but sometimes the rich are so occupied
with their life they don’t stop and realize this is a great need. I need salvation. I need my sins
forgiven. I need help. I need God. I need Christ.
Why did Christ come? It must be we are in a lot of trouble and we don’t know it. We are proud and we don’t realize it. Our life is short, and we don’t think about it. Our sin is great, and I don’t realize it. I’m in trouble with a holy God and I
don’t know that. This is what we are thinking when we read this story. Vs. 22-23. Lazarus
hugging Abraham, Lazarus in his bosom or Lazarus just there connecting with the family of
believers that have entered into heaven by faith, by the blood of the Lamb by the salvation
given to us by Christ. Even though Abraham’s bosom isn’t yet heaven it is Paradise. He does go
to heaven one day but until then is in Paradise.
The rich man is able to see him. There is a great gulf, vs. 24. These words are so strong and so powerful. Hell. A reality. A flame. A man tormented with a body that doesn’t deteriorate. The physical body is buried in the cemetery,
but he has another body in hell. He has a tongue and eyes and he can see. He realizes where he
is, and he is aware of it. He lived this life on this earth but didn’t realize his life was a vapor and
didn’t realize he’d be held accountable to the living God. vs. 25. It should have been the riches
of the rich man should have brought him to humility and seeking and desiring and looking and
being thankful and relating to God just like any of us can do. It seems that he was showered
with grace and grace blessings.
He didn’t recognize God in his life. Vs. 26-28. He actually has a
plan in his mind. He wants his five brothers to hear. He wants Lazarus to be sent to his brother’s
house, so they won’t come there. He has this sense. He realizes it’s very real and he cares about
his brothers. Vs. 28-29. Abraham has a message. They have Moses and the prophets. It’s
another way of saying they have the Bible. Lazarus doesn’t have to go to their house. They have
the Bible. They have someone sharing the Bible. They have the Bible. They have the prophets,
the Jewish people, the covenants, the history, the psalms, the gospels, the epistles, the book of
Acts. This is what is needed in the world we are living in.
Because we are in a pandemic. There are thousands of people passing into eternity and this has our attention. The whole world is talking about it and thinking about it. We have a care in our hearts for people that are alive
today and one day will pass into eternity. We have Moses and the prophets. We have the
message of grace. We have a lot of kindness. We have listening ears. We have hearts of faith.
We have prayers of faith. We have our telephones. We have our manner of life and our
sweetness and kindness and our fellowship. We have a sense in our own lives what God has
done for us. We are the church.
We are the testimony of the reality of God’s love. We are those
loving one another. By this love they know Jesus was sent by God to save us from hell. Hell. This
could not be clearer. This is it. P. Pete said we have to realize not everyone talking to us is
telling the truth. They don’t know it. Look what Jesus is saying to us. This is what Jesus is saying
to us. We realize life is short and it’s a vapor but where I go forever and ever is on the table.
That’s on the block. That’s the issue at hand. Are you going to go to heaven or not. Are you
going to come to God or not? Are you going to respond to him or not?
Are you going to come to Christ by faith or not? Maybe that’s why Paul wept three years in Ephesus in Acts. 20. He said to Timothy, I remember your tears. It’s in our lives. Sometimes we get very serious about it and
realize what it is. We say oh no, God. Please. Oh, God. Maybe that’s why Jesus is called the man
of sorrows. Maybe that’s why he stayed on the cross. To be the atonement that is acceptable,
the blood that will take away our sin. Without the blood there is no remission. I think people
are misled. The rich man could say I have favor with man and favor with God. Then he died and
in hell lifted up his eyes. I thought I had favor with God.
No, your personality isn’t great. Your temperament isn’t excellent. Your moral fiber is sickening. We are filled with wounds and purifying sours. Our sin takes us to hell. Our sin is serious. He is a holy God and we need
redemption. This is why Christ came. Nothing less than a resurrected, living Christ is able to
save us from hell. If a man was raised from the dead, my brothers would believe. Abraham said,
no. Read the rest of it. Vs. 29-30. The man said, no. He disagreed with Abraham. Abraham said
they have Moses and the prophets. The man in hell said, no, no. He’s as deceived in hell as he
was on the earth. He thinks he knows but he doesn’t. On the earth, he thought he knew but he
did not. He did not know the danger he was in. He didn’t realize his need. He wasn’t convicted
of his sin. He did not realize how much he needed Christ. Now in hell, he has his own opinion
about it. Vs. 31. What’s more powerful, this preaching tonight and anything like it tonight
through history. When a man or woman opens this book and delivers a message and it’s the
Word of God. It’s more powerful than a man raised from the dead.
I heard on YouTube a man in front of his garage he put a chair out and got up and sang a hymn and preached a message in his driveway and the neighbors came around and sat in the chairs distance from each other and
there was a message and ministry he gave in front of his garage. I love when the Spirit of God
takes this book and makes it clear. And the heart of man might say I will believe what God has
said instead of myself. I will accept what God says instead of my own opinion. I’ll live based on
what God is saying instead of my feelings or preferences or cultural orientation or whatever it
might be. When we humble ourselves under the hand of God and what he is saying, he will
protect us, help us, heal us.
If any of us get the coronavirus, of course we don’t want that, but I believe our God is a healing God. I believe our God is a miracle working God. Our God is a God that cares for us. If we respect and honor him in what he says then John.12: 24-26, he honors us. People are dying. The whole world is concerned, and we are saying this is the time of the Gospel. For sure there are people that are willing to hear and humble themselves under the
hand of God and find his grace. That grace will cleanse us, save us, purify us. That grace will
help us. We’ll see. That grace will encourage us and bring holiness and satisfy us deeply. We’ll
drink of that foundation that satisfies us.
At his right hand in Psalm 16:11 are his pleasures forevermore. Imagine that the right hand of God is everything we need that will satisfy and fill us. This is serious. The story is maybe the most serious story in the gospels. Jesus told it. It is written there so think about it and have it in your heart and mind and relate it to situations in
your life. Realize there are people among us that need to know this great message.
God bless you.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace