What Proof Would You Need?
Discuss – What proof would you need to believe 100% that:
• aliens exist
• man has never set foot on the moon
• angels exist
• ghosts are real
• Elvis Presley is still alive
• Jesus Christ is the Son of God
If you believe any of these things, what proved it to you? Is there anything on the list that you would never believe, no matter what you saw/heard/experienced?
Prior to meeting, the leader should contact group members and ask them to find an old yearbook picture of themselves. If a yearbook is not available, any photo from their teenage years would do. The leader can decide if group members should have the photo available to show during their virtual meeting or if group members should send an electronic version of the photo to the leader, who can then put them all together in a collage.
During the meeting, either screen share the collage of photos or have group members take turns showing their photos. Have each person share something that their identity was wrapped up in during that time in their life (e.g., sports, friends, popularity, band, grades, etc.). Then have everyone share what they place their identity in now.
1. Read Luke 16:14-15. What are some examples of things esteemed by people but detestable to God?
(Intent: Some thoughts may be love of money and the things that it can provide, fame, power, self-fulfillment, and self-sufficiency.)
2. Read Luke 16:19-31. Abraham was rich, yet he is esteemed by God and is in heaven. What was the difference between him and the rich man in the parable?
(Intent: The rich man knew Lazarus, encountered him continually, and had the means to help him. Yet he didn't. He had a heart of selfishness, but Abraham had a heart of selflessness and faith in God. For example, when Abraham and Lot separated, Abraham showed preference to Lot over himself by offering him the land of his choice. See Genesis 13:8-9.)
3. Compared to most of the world, we are rich. In light of the eternal consequences the rich man received as a result of living for the world in this story, how can we use our riches to live in a way that's pleasing to the Lord?
(Intent: Have the group explore how we are using our resources – either for temporary gain or eternal reward.)
4. Read Luke 16:31 again. A. Why would a person not believe even if someone rose from the dead to warn them? B. When has this happened?
(Intent: A. Belief in Christ has consequences. One reason for continued unbelief may be that people do not want to change their lifestyles. Other reasons could be pride, self-sufficiency, unwillingness to change, fear, and continued blindness to Christ. Encourage the group to think through the reasons that they, or others they have known, had not believed. Satan encourages all these thoughts and our sin-nature reinforces them. Also, time and circumstances can cause an experience to blur, but faith grows in the field of daily heat. B. Biblical examples include the unbelief of many people even after witnessing Christ’s many miracles, including raising the widow’s son (Lk. 7:14-15) and Jesus’ friend Lazarus (Jn. 11:43-44), and Jesus Himself rising from the dead. This also happens frequently today when people are confronted with overwhelming evidence of the truth of Christianity, including the resurrection of Christ.)
5. Jesus talked a lot about heaven, hell, and the eternal consequences of the way we choose to live. When talking about the Lord with non-Christians, how and when should we bring hell into the conversation?
(Intent: The answers given to this question may vary. We always frame the discussion in a heart of humility and with love, but it is important that people understand that our choices in this life have a very real and eternal result.)
6. Why do you think Jesus used a story with specific named individuals to contrast living for the world with the eternal consequence of that choice?
(Intent: Many Bible commentators do not believe this story has the flavor of a parable because of the mention of specific names, which no parable does. It may be that Jesus was describing an actual event from heaven’s perspective. The approach of describing an event involving Abraham, whom the Pharisees highly regarded, would have been particularly convicting to them. The Pharisees lived for this life, even though they believed in an afterlife. Jesus wanted them to see clearly that as humans they do have an expiration date and that they had more than enough knowledge to believe - they needed a change of perspective and of heart.)
Spend some time alone with God and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you where you may be living your life independently of Him with a focus on the here-and-now with no thought of the eternal results.
In light of the story of the unnamed rich man whom God “never knew” (see Matthew 7:22-23) and the named (and remembered in heaven) Lazarus and Abraham, ask the Lord what changes you need to make in your life. This may be choosing to finally take the promises of Christ by faith, a re-balance of your time and resources, or accepting a “call” from the Lord for a specific ministry, direction, or purpose for your life.