Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | November 23, 2008

2. The Call from Below

The Bible teaches that there is a call to evangelism that originates from above and is directed at every Christ-follower (read The Call from Above). And, according to Luke 16:19-31, there also is a call to evangelism that originates from below. Jesus told a parable about a certain unnamed rich man and certain poor man named Lazarus. Lazarus was a sick man whose body was covered with sores. He was so poor that he longed to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table.

One day Lazarus died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died, but he went to hell. While in hell the rich man saw Lazarus being comforted in the bosom of Abraham, far away across a chasm. The rich man then cried to Abraham, asking that he send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool his parched tongue and thus relieve a little of the agony he was experiencing in hell’s flames. But, his request was denied.

The rich man then made another request: “Then I beg you, Father, that you send him to my father’s house — for I have five brothers — that he may warn them, lest they also come to this place of torment” (Luke 16:27-28). This request was also denied.

This parable paints an awful picture of the terrible reality of hell. I am convinced that if we could intrude upon the fiery depths of hell with a listening device we would hear a distinct call to evangelism, pleading with us  — “Go and tell my brothers…”. I also am convinced that if you and I could hear the cries of those in hell we would hear familiar voices calling us to go and tell. Perhaps we would hear the voice of a family member or friend or neighbor calling us to evangelism — urgently pleading with us to warn others lest they also go to that awful place of torment. These are unpleasant thoughts, but the fact of the matter is that if each of us took the time to listen we would hear a cry from below calling us to evangelism.

William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, said the following in a speech he made to the first class of graduates after they had completed two years of intensive study and training…

“Young men, I’m sorry that is has been necessary to keep you here for two years before we could send you into the world to preach the gospel. What would have been better is if you could have had five minutes in hell! That would have been all the preparation you would need in your zeal to reach the lost.”

Booth was right. Many will never see heaven because we have never seen hell. Many will never hear and respond to the voice of God because you and I have not heard and responded to the cries from hell. As Christ-followers, we cannot escape the call to tell others the good news. If we look up to the heights of heaven, we will hear a commanding call to evangelism. And, if we look below to the depths of hell, we will hear a distressing call pleading with us to go and warn others lest they go to that place of torment. Are you listening?


  1. The call from below was given to my next door neighbor who was not a Christian. She had an experience that caused her to lock herself into her bedroom for 3 days. Her husband saw me in my yard after coming home from worship and asked to speak to me about his wife. He told me that she would not come out of the bed room until he (anglo) go and get the black preacher next door. He did not know that I had been praying and fasting for them that weekend. I was asking God to give me an opportunity to have a spiritual conversation with them about His love for them.

    Well to make a long story short, I went to his home and immediately his wife came running out of her bedroom upon knowing that the black preacher had arrived. She told me that she had a dream about her father who had recently died from the complication of cancer. When she awoke from her dream her deceased father stood at the foot of her bed. He told her that if she did not get right with God she would go to hell where he was. She went on to say that he told her to go and get that colored preacher and he will tell you what to do to stay out of hell. That day I lead her and her husband to the Lord. I know this may sound weird but so does the parable of Lazurus and the rich man.

    Rickie B

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