Preventing the fire / Luke 16:19-31 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Sunday September 25th, 2022 / Season of Pentecost / Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Text: Luke 16:19-31
Theme: Preventing the fire
Intr – (Boiled egg maker) This is a boiled egg maker that my wife decided to buy one of these days, as she noticed me consuming more of them regularly. You can also make a couple different things with eggs in it, but boiled eggs are the main reason for this to be on our countertop.
Now this is more than a boiled egg maker. It is a tool against a potential danger.
Here’s the back story: I had been boiling eggs in the traditional way – a pot of water heated on the cook top. In more than one occasion, I left it there and went about doing other stuff and forgot they were boiling. In all those times I managed to remember it in time and rush to the cook top while there was still water in the pan. But we know what could happen if it would stay there longer – it could start a fire. Now the boiled egg maker does all the process, and it sounds an alarm off as it finishes the process. It is loud enough for me to quickly turn it off and get my boiled eggs ready for consumption.
After the first time I used it, my comment with Jay was: “You have prevented a fire in this house.”
The Gospel for today may bring us several lessons, but I think one of the main reasons Jesus gives us this story is as a way to prevent a potential danger. He wants to prevent the fire.
We see a Rich Man - He dies and he is carried into the fire. That happens not because he was rich, but because his heart cleaved to his possessions. In his life he enjoyed all his possessions on a daily basis. A continuous state of holding on to what’s immanent and being disconnected from what is transcendent.
This is a strong feature not only of our time, but it has become stronger recently. “What is not measurable doesn’t exist”. Therefore, life must should be lived attached to what is material, what can be seen and touched. Even better, with what can be spent.
Worst of all, even we Christians may sometimes act like the rich man, as we heard in Amos 6 today - when Christians stop caring for what is spiritual, “Joseph” in need of Word and help.
We see also the poor man, Lazarus - He dies and is carried to Abraham’s side. He was saved. Not because he was poor, but because he rested in faith in Christ.
What is external doesn’t determine the reality of faith, which is an active connecting in our hearts to Christ.
There are details in this parable that could call our attention like, what the bosom of Abraham is; how can a soul speak without a body, which is buried on the ground awaiting the last day; what is that chasm between the man an Abraham and how can they speak to each other? I will provide a link to a Martin Luther’s sermon on our website, and I encourage you to read it during the week. Including Luther’s comments of if we should pray for the dead or not?
I want to focus our attention to the fact that Jesus gives us the way of preventing the fire. The boiled egg maker for our soul. He extends to us that which prevents us to start a fire, to be in the midst of fire, to be thrown in the fire forever.
That rich man had 5 brothers he wanted somebody from the dead to preach to. Sometimes those could be related to… you; and me. All of us still alive. It is a warning that we should be paying attention to the right words, the right preaching, the right teaching. Even as Christians we might be tempted to draw our attention away form Moses and the Prophets favouring other views of faith, religion, and life and death. We need be on the preventative side lest the fire would consume our entire house.
The only thing that can prevent eternal fire is the Eternal Word. Moses, the Prophets. The Old and New Testament. The Word of God. It is complete / It is secure / It is the Truth.
Abraham’s response to the man is: “They already have the Bible, if they don’t pay attention to it, they won’t listen to a walking dead.” That is so much true, beyond what we even realize. What do you think would happen if God gave me the power to raise a departed member of our Congregation from the dead in order that he or she would bear witness to the entire world about after death affairs? We might hear or read things like:
_"Rev Lucas Copperfield tricks an entire congregation, now wants to trick the whole world";
_"Who is this person talking? Wasn’t she a previous member of that congregation? Sounds like a rigged story";
_"Oh, no, another Christian priest trying to fool people, like when they talk about virginal birth, water into wine and bread and wine being a body and blood of a person. You can’t take them seriously";
_"This person died in a position of privilege. We should hear other voices and experiences to establish a more colourful view of this possibility";
_"Are you saying that your Christian opinion about heaven and hell is the only truth, invalidating all other religion traditions?"
What else would be said about the phenomenon? Probably everything except what is in the Bible.
And if what is in the Bible would be said, why would we need a person to come back from the dead? We have it already written that we may believe and know the Truth.
One interesting aspect of the story is that the rich man doesn’t have a name. The poor does: Lazarus. In Luke we find Jesus saying “rejoice because your names are written in Heaven”. On the other side of the chasm, no names, no riches, no nothing only fire. And suffering.
It all boils down to what Jesus offers us: the bosom of Abraham as our resting place – His Word and Sacrament – while we await for the last day. In Him we live in peace and forgiveness. We will still have fire, temptations, hot water in this world as we live our faith. No problem. Like boiled eggs need to undergo hot water or hot temperatures to become what they are, trials and hot water of the world will strengthen us and make us remain who we are to be – saved Children of a loving father. We may stumble, fall and crack sometimes(cracks one of the boiled eggs). But deep inside we will be firmly standing in Him who gives us the resting place at His side when our life here ends.
Still, remember I’ve mentioned that my wife bought this appliance? I think I wouldn’t probably realize its need until she brought it home. In the same way, we can also pay attention to people God places in our lives that may point out dangers to our faith in daily life, and point our eyes to the Word that prevents the fire.
Cc - The fire is real. But completely avoidable. The prevention is at hand – God’s Word, pointing Christ as the way to the peace and rest with Abraham, David, Paul, your loved ones. Every time you come to Church, every time your faith is strengthened in the Word, remember: You have just prevented the fire.
 Text: https://www.oursaviormuscatine.org/sermons/luther/trinity1
 Luke 10:20