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LET THEM HEAR THEM

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the combined retreat of Calvary Road 
Baptist Church and the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, September 8, 2002


"They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them" (Luke 16:29).


The thing that makes the sixteenth chapter of Luke so fascinating is that here you have a conversation between a man in Hell and another man in Heaven. I'm not sure exactly how they communicated - but they certainly did have a conversation. When Neil Armstrong walked on the moon I remember him telephoning President Nixon at the White House. The liberal news media never show that, but it was on TV at the time. They do all they can to make the President look bad, and don't want us to remember all the good things he did. We watched President Nixon talking to that man as he stood on the very surface of the moon!

So, given the power of God, it should not surprise us that a man in Hell could talk with a man in Heaven. God made it possible by whatever means He chose.

This is the only place in the entire Bible where a conversation between a man in Hell and a man in Heaven occurs. As these two men talk, we learn a great deal about Heaven and Hell. We learn many other things from their conversation as well.

For instance, the man in Hell wants God to release a man in Heaven, and let him come back to earth - so he can wetness to the Hell-bound man's five lost brothers. But he is refused. The man in Heaven rebuffs him, and gives the words of our text:

"They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them"
    (Luke 16:29).

If you're here tonight, I want you to think about that. You are undoubtedly waiting for us to talk to you after this sermon, in the inquiry room. But we don't have to do that. We are not obligated to do that. Over ninety-five percent of those who have been saved throughout history were never counselled at all. I was not counselled when I was converted. My wife was not counselled. Dr. Waldrip was not counselled when he got saved. Luther was not counselled. Bunyan was not counselled. Whitefield was not counselled. Wesley was not counselled. Spurgeon was not counselled. R. A. Torrey was not counselled. None of them had personal counselling. All they had was a sermon - based on the writings of Moses, the prophets, or the apostles of Christ. All that the apostles spoke was based on what Moses and the prophets said. "Moses and the prophets" is a phrase that just means "the Bible."

"They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them"
    (Luke 16:29).

Why not send Lazarus back from Heaven to witness to the man's lost brothers? Because it wouldn't have done any good if they wouldn't hear Moses or the prophets. That's my first point.

I. First, the text shows that it won't do any good at all for us
to counsel you if you are not awakened by Bible preaching,
by preaching from Moses and the prophets.

If you refuse to let the words of the sermon sink down into your soul what good would it do if a counsellor from Heaven came down and spent two hours with you in the inquiry room tonight? How would that help you? It wouldn't help at all. You would leave the inquiry room as cold and dead and lifeless and lost as when you came into it. An angel from Heaven itself could not counsel you into salvation if you have not been awakened and convicted of sin by Bible preaching!

"They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them"
    (Luke 16:29).

Was Abraham "being mean" when he refused to send Lazarus to counsel those lost brothers? No, not at all. He was simply being realistic. He knew that Lazarus' counsel would not do them any good at all unless they were under conviction from the Bible and Bible preaching. And if they were under such conviction, they still didn't need counsellors from Heaven. Ninety-five percent of all people who get converted don't.

Let me stop here to make this point crystal clear. God has put pastors and other leaders in the churches to guide you, according to Ephesians 4:7-16; Hebrews 13:17; and many other passages of Scripture.

Remember that Abraham said, "Let them hear them." The people in that day did not own their own Bibles. They were done in big scrolls then. They only heard the Bible read in the synagogues and preached by the Apostles and other preachers. "Let them hear them." If they would not hear the preaching, they would not be converted!

It won't do you one bit of good for us to counsel you if you don't hear the preaching and take it to heart!

Also, you need to know that "Moses and the prophets" refers to the whole Old Testament Scriptures. "Moses" refers to the first five books of the Bible, and "the prophets" refers to the rest of the Old Testament. You must hear, and take to heart, Bible preaching if you hope to be converted.

"They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them"
    (Luke 16:29).

It will not do you any good at all for us to counsel you if you are not awakened and convicted of sin by the preaching of God's word first.

II. Second, the text shows that you must not depend on
human beings to get you converted.

The man in Hell thought his brothers could be saved by a human being, sent back from Heaven to talk to them. But he is rebuked by the words,

"They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them"
    (Luke 16:29).

There is a lesson in that for you as well. You have heard many human beings tell you that you ought to be saved, but it hasn't impressed you so far, has it? You have parents or friends who have told you to be saved. But you haven't listened to them, have you? Why not? I think it's because you know they are fallible. They are not perfect. They make mistakes. You see it every day. You see and hear Christian friends and Christian parents. You know they aren't perfect. How can you be sure that they aren't right when they tell you about salvation? I'm sure you think, "These people aren't perfect. They make errors in judgment sometimes. They don't seem like perfect people to me. Why should I listen to them when they tell me to get saved?" Don't you sometimes think that? Of course you do!

That's why Abraham said,

"They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them"
    (Luke 16:29).

If you are ever going to be converted, you have to stop looking at Christians and start thinking about what the Bible says to you!

Young people who keep their minds focused on what "Christians" say and do never move out of an adolescent, childish view of Christianity! I repeat, if you never move away from looking at the Christians you know, you will never be converted. Never! Never! Never!

Some day you will think of church as just a stupid experience you had when you were a kid. Christianity will just be a childhood fantasy you outgrew - unless you stop looking at the Christians and start thinking about what the Bible says to you!

The Bible shows you that you are a sinner. The laws of the Bible were put there to show you that you couldn't keep them perfectly. The law is given to make you see your sin, to goad you into seeing that you cannot be good enough to please God, to make you feel guilty in God's sight, and to drive you to Jesus Christ for cleansing in His Blood!

"They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them"
    (Luke 16:29).

Let the Bible tell you you are a sinner! Let the preaching of God's Word make you see your sin! Let the Bible goad you and push you to see that you can never be good enough to please a holy God! Let the preaching of God's Word make you feel guilty for your sin in the sight of God! Let the Bible drive you to Jesus Christ for cleansing in His Blood!

"They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them"
    (Luke 16:29).

III. Third, the text shows that you must actually be affected by
Moses and the prophets.

It isn't enough to just sit through another sermon. To be converted, you must be inwardly affected by the Word of God preached. The preaching of the Word of God must have an effect on you inwardly.

Take the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses. To be converted you must think about how you have broken those ten laws of God. You must think about your stealing, your dirty thoughts, your sinful acts, your godless heart. You must say, within yourself, "I haven't lived up to those laws God gave to Moses." You must see within yourself that you are a sinner - in the light of God's Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:3-17. You must see that you are a filthy wretch, a truly godless sinner!

Let the prophets show you this as well. Let Isaiah show you your inward corruption, as Moses has shown you your outward rebellion. Hear Isaiah the prophet as he tells you that your

"…whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint" (Isaiah 1:5).

Isn't that true of you? It is, isn't it? Your whole head is sick, isn't it? Don't the things that go through your head make you sick? Aren't you ashamed of the thoughts you have? How can you ever hope to go to Heaven with such a sick head as you have? And isn't your whole heart faint, afflicted and ruined? Isn't your heart far from God? Aren't you even slightly ashamed of your heart? Aren't you sick of having a heart that has no love for God? Aren't you sickened by the shallowness of your prayers? Oh, your

"…whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment" (Isaiah 1:5-6).

Oh, look at your life! Moses shows that you are nothing but a hypocrite - a sinful hypocrite. Isaiah the prophet shows that you are ruined inside and out. Oh, be affected by Moses and the prophets!

"They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them"
    (Luke 16:29).

Oh, come and say tonight, "I am ruined and undone! I am a sinner and cannot be anything else! My righteousness is filthy in God's sight! I am a worm, wriggling through a rotted life in a rotting world. I have no hope! I am ruined, and undone, and hopeless!"

"They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them"
    (Luke 16:29).

Then think of Hell. The man who spoke to Abraham was there. The man to whom Abraham gave our text said, "I am tormented in this flame" (Luke 16:24). Won't you also be tormented in that flame? And won't you deserve to be tormented in it? How can a rebellious, godless, inwardly ruined sinner like you escape from eternal torment? How? How? How?

Moses and the prophets show plainly that you deserve, richly deserve, to be banished from God's presence for all time, and all eternity - and soon it will be said of you, as it was of the man to whom Abraham spoke, "Thou art tormented" (Luke 16:25). Those torments will be great - and they will be eternal. Those torments will never end. We are told, of this man, "And he cried" (Luke 16:24). You will also cry in Hell. But your tears will be scorched away with flames before they can run down your cheeks. And no one will pity you. You lived your life in the world with no regard for your soul. Who will pity such an ignorant fool as you have been, when you cry in Hell? Not God. He will know that you had every chance to be converted and you played and fooled around instead. Not your saved friends! No, no! They will say, with Abraham, that you had Moses and the prophets and were too much of a stupid sinner to listen to them. Don't expect any friend in Heaven to pity you when you cry, "I am tormented in this flame" (Luke 16:24).

If you want pity and mercy and help and salvation, then you must find it now - while you are still alive - now, while God is speaking to your heart through this sermon.

"They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them"
    (Luke 16:29).

Oh, listen to Jesus, as He speaks through the prophet Isaiah:

"Look unto me, and be ye saved" (Isaiah 45:22)

Will you look to Jesus Christ tonight? Will you look to Him and be converted from your sins by His eternal Blood? Will you say in your heart, in the secret place of your soul,

Just as I am without one plea But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd'st me come to thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come?
    ("Just As I Am" by Charlotte Elliott, 1789-1871).


(END OF SERMON)


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. John S. Waldrip: Luke 16:19-31.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"What Will You Do With Jesus?" (author unknown).

THE OUTLINE OF

LET THEM HEAR THEM

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them" (Luke 16:29).

I.   The text shows that it won't do any good at all for us to
counsel you if you are not awakened by Bible preaching,
by preaching from Moses and the prophets, Luke 16:29;
Ephesians 4:7-16; Hebrews 13:17.

II.  The text shows that you must not depend on human beings
to get you converted, Luke 16:29.

III. The text shows that you must actually be affected by
Moses and the prophets, Isaiah 1:5-6; Luke 16:29,24-25;
Isaiah 45:22.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."