I believe one reason we don’t see more multiplication happening is because believers don’t care as much as they should about the lost.
In Luke chapter 16:19 – 31, Jesus tells a story. It’s the story of the rich man and Lazarus. You’ll remember the rich man was dressed in purple, he feasted every day, he lived in luxury. Lazarus was poor, he was covered with sores, he was laid at the gate of the rich man’s house, even the dogs would come and lick his sores and he was longing to be fed even with the crumbs that might fall from the rich man’s table.
Then both men died. Lazarus went to paradise. He was with Abraham. And the rich man died and he went to Hades. So he’s burning in hell, and it says that the rich man could look and in the distance he could see Lazarus with Abraham. So he calls out, “Father Abraham, please send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and touch it to my tongue because I’m in agony in these flames.”
And Abraham said, “No. During your life on earth you were comforted, you had luxury and Lazarus suffered. Now the situation is reversed. And besides there’s this great chasm fixed between us so that none can pass from there to here or from here to there.”
Then the rich man says, well then please send him to warn my five brothers, lest they also come to this place of torment.
Then Abraham told him, they have Moses and the prophets, let them listen to them.
The rich man said, “No. But father Abraham if someone would rise from the dead, then they would believe.”
And Abraham said, “If they will not believe Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe even if someone should rise from the dead.”
Now this is an interesting story, and you’ll note it’s not a parable. This is a story Jesus is describing an actual situation.
And as an aside, I love this story for the very unreached world, for places where the gospel has never been shared. Because if you’re sharing in a place like that, it’s common that you’ll hear this, “Why didn’t you come sooner, what about my parents, my grandparents, my great-grandparents, I cannot bear the thought of receiving this message and being eternally separated from them”.
In that situation, I can take them to this passage. I can explain to them the one thing they can do to bring a measure of comfort to those whom they love that have died apart from Christ is to avoid that same fate. That’s a powerful message, but I think there’s an equally powerful message for the church.
You see, we’re all very familiar with the idea that God loves deeply. “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life”.
We know about God’s love and we rightly think, I can never love like God loves. Fair enough, but here we see the rich man burning in hell with a passionate desire born of his love for his brothers, that they hear the message of salvation and that they avoid dying apart from God, separated from him.
So, hell has this deep love for the lost. If we can’t have God’s love for the lost, let’s at least aspire to have hell’s love for the lost.
Hell has something the church needs. We need to love the lost. We need to care. And I think the lack of us caring is one reason that we’re not concerned with multiplication. We’re safe. Maybe those that we’re closest to are safe. Why should we bother reaching those who don’t know God.
Let’s try to love like hell loves.
More Multiplication Concepts
This concept is part of the “Multiplication Concepts” series by Curtis Sergeant. Consider working through the entire series and challenging someone you know to do it with you. See an entire list of the concepts in the article titled “Multiplication Concepts”.
This same concept is taught in the Zúme Training course using video animation and is translated into 40 languages. Find the heart of this idea in “Eyes to See Where The Kingdom Isn’t” in session 4 of the Zúme Training.
Zúme Training is an on-line and in-life learning experience designed for small groups who follow Jesus to learn how to obey His Great Commission and make disciples who multiply.