What Do We Need to Be Saved? | Live the Word #7

Have you ever felt spiritually unprepared? Have you ever feared that you just didn’t
have enough of what you needed to actually live like a Christian? Have you ever missed opportunities that, in
retrospect, were would have helped develop your heart and bring you closer to Christ? Hey everybody this is not Steve and God gives
us everything we need to be saved. I’m in New York for a BeeTreat so, since I’m
here at Y2AM headquarters, we thought it would be cool if I take over this week’s main video
and Steve handles the response on Thursday. Yeah that’s right Steve. This week, *Christian* asks the questions. This is our 7th episode of Live the Word but,
because of the funny way the Church calendar works out, we’re actually getting ready for
the 5th Sunday of Luke. In this week’s Gospel reading, Luke gives
us the powerful parable of the rich man and Lazarus. And in this week’s Epistle reading, Paul reminds
us to focus on Christ and His Gospel; to glory in the Cross of Jesus and the new creation
it brings us. The Gospel reading is probably familiar: a
rich man spends his life ignoring Lazarus, a poor man who lives right at his gate. When they both die, Lazarus finds himself
in the bosom of Abraham while the rich man finds himself isolated, alone, in torment. The rich man was blessed in this life. He was wealthy, comfortable, secure. He had all he could eat, all he could drink. He feasted sumptuously every day and dressed
in purple and fine linen, like a king. He had everything he needed to live comfortably. And every day, the rich man is given an opportunity
to let his material things become instruments for his spiritual well-being. Because there is Lazarus, covered in sores
rather than fine clothing. Lazarus, who does not feast every day: who
is desperate for even the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Who sits every day, not off in some corner,
but right there: at the rich man’s gate. That means that, every time the rich man comes
or goes, he passes by Lazarus. He sees Lazarus, in his pain and isolation. Except, it seems that he doesn’t actually
see Lazarus. He ignores him, day after day, returning to
the comfort of his material things. The rich man doesn’t realize that each time
he passes Lazarus, each time he steps over this sick, hungry man to enter into his fine
home, each time he denies Lazarus even the most basic necessities, he becomes all the
more ensnared by his earthly riches, keeping them all to himself. Each time he ignores the need of his brother,
the rich man misses an opportunity to grow in love, to turn his material wealth into
a spiritual treasury. Because, the rich man actually has everything
he needs to become Christ-like. As Christ emptied himself for us, the rich
man could have emptied his coffers for Lazarus. As Christ united himself to our suffering,
the rich man could have united himself to the suffering of Lazarus by attending to him,
by acknowledging him, by sharing his table with him. But instead of becoming a spiritual man by
serving his neighbor, instead of perfecting the likeness of God within Him, the rich man
ignores the opportunity, he ignores the person that God has placed before him. The rich man finally does see Lazarus after
they both die. He sees him in the bosom of Abraham and is
jealous of what he has. “Have mercy,” he cries out to Abraham. “send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger
in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.” At first glance, it seems like the rich man
has realized the error of his ways, but a closer look reveals him to be the same man
who clung to comfort in his Earthly life. Even after death, the rich man doesn’t seem
to regret his hard-hearted selfishness. All we see is jealousy of Lazarus, and even
contempt: he doesn’t seek forgiveness, he doesn’t even ask to be rescued from the fire
and to join Lazarus; instead he asks for Lazarus to be sent to him, to serve him. St Macrina, as recorded by St Gregory of Nyssa,
notices this lack of repentance and says that *this* is the chasm between the rich man and
the bosom of Abraham: “Once one has chosen the pleasure of this
life and has not remedied this bad choice by a change of heart, he produces for himself
a place empty of good thereafter. He digs this unavoidable necessity for himself
like some deep and trackless pit.” (On the Soul and the Resurrection) The rich man had fallen into a state of forgetfulness,
of complete indifference to others. Lazarus was right there, sitting by his gate,
a constant call to be merciful. Yet the rich man didn’t see him. He ignored the call to love God and neighbor. He ignored the call to be generous and merciful
and righteous. And God gave him plenty of food, plenty of
fine clothing, a spacious home with plenty of room, everything he needed to take care
of Lazarus who was right there, at his front gate. The rich man had everything he needed right
in front of him, and yet he had no room in his heart to share from his abundance. So when the rich man asks Abraham to send
a message to his brothers, to send someone from the dead to warn the living to protect
them from punishment, Abraham responds with a powerful observation: “‘If they do not hear
Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the
dead.'” If we allow our hearts to sink into such a
hardened state, then not even something as dramatic as someone coming back from the dead
will be enough to snap us out of it. Abraham tells the rich man that his brothers
already have everything they need–the law and the prophets–to point them in the right
direction, to soften their hearts. But, just like the rich man ignored Lazarus,
who was there at his front gate, He also ignored the Scripture: Moses and Prophets and all
the deep wisdom about loving God and neighbor. And his brothers, who were apparently just
as hardhearted, ignored Scripture, too. If the brothers–or we–cannot trust or follow
the commandments given to us by God, then not even the resurrection from the dead will
compel us to repent. Not even Christ’s own resurrection will convince
us that we need to repent, that we already have everything we need to open the eyes of
our hearts. Paul writes to the Galatians a similar message
about recognizing that God has already given us everything we need for our salvation. One of the major themes in Galatians is the
foolish way the people were substituting the true Gospel with a gospel of their own creation:
rather than seek to unite themselves to Christ in the sacraments, they sought salvation in
the law and taught circumcision. But Paul reminds them that they need only
to glory in the cross of Christ, to unite themselves to Christ by crucifying their worldly
desires and needs and allowing themselves to be emptied for the sake of the world. (Galatians 6:14) Paul tells them if only they could see that
they, like the rich man and his brothers, already have everything they need to follow
Christ, then they would not be led astray by false teachings. We’ve covered a lot of ground today. And to help work through what this all means
for each us, we’ll end as we always do: with 3 questions. First, what has God already given you to equip
you to be His follower? What blessings or knowledge or material wealth
or gifts has He provided for you? Second, in what ways have you ignored or misused
the very things God has given you to come to know Him? How have you stepped over your own Lazarus
every day, preferring your own comfort to caring for others in their loneliness or need? How have you heard God’s commandments every
week in church but not really done anything to let them sink into your own heart? Third, how have you repented or failed to
repent when you’ve realized you’re not on the right path? Have you taken the opportunity lately to go
to confession, for instance? What are you doing to close the chasm between
you and our Lord through repentance? We’ll be back with a new episode on Monday. And my buddy Steve will have a short response
video up on Thursday as he wrestles with these questions. I hope you’ll read the Gospels and Epistle
passages we covered today. And, whether it’s with family or friends or
a Bible Study group, I hope you’ll talk about what we’ve covered and wrestle with what God
has for you, in your life. Most importantly, I hope you’ll celebrate
with us this Sunday and every Sunday, to hear the beautiful Scripture readings proclaimed
during the Divine Liturgy and to learn how you can Live the Word. Thanks for watching. You can click on our logo to subscribe to
our channel, and make sure you turn on notifications so you never miss a video. You can find lots more from us at our website:

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