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Hell, and the Missing Discussion on its Existence


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I had a colleague call me the other day and asked me why hell was an ‘off the list’ topic for pulpits on Sunday morning. I told him I wasn’t sure it was off the list, but probably wasn’t talked about much because it is a negative theme that makes two sets of people uncomfortable.

 

The first set of people are those who don’t think a good God would send anyone there, and the second set of people are those who have a paved path to it. In either case, Hell is not a popular theme in today’s church life. Many church-going people also don’t want to hear about Hell because people going there are doing so as a direct result of us not being willing to share Jesus with them. So, in the end it’s our fault! Who wants to have a congregation full of people feeling guilty?

 

Sin is the main reason Hell was created. It was originally created for Satan and the angels who rebelled against God. It is a place of torment, and its original name Gehenna means, ‘a place or state of misery.’ The Scriptures call it ‘the lake of fire’ a place of torment forever.

 

The Bible speaks of sin as an act of disobeying God and living a life apart from Him. Sin is judged in two places as we read in the Bible:

 

      1.            At the cross of Jesus

      2.            In the place called Hell

 

Hell has been called by other names, but still means a place of torment. It is the place or state of punishment of the wicked after death; the abode of evil and condemned spirits; Gehenna or Tartarus. It is a place or state of torment or misery.

 

Jesus died for the sins of mankind, and therefore judged sin forgiven once and for all time. Hell is judgment for sin that has not been forgiven because God’s remedy of Jesus was ignored or refused. So, when people say how can God send anyone to the punishment of Hell, they are misinformed. Hell is a choice of every person who refuses to accept the provision of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. In essence, they send themselves to Hell.

 

Jesus had an encounter with someone who asked him an interesting question:

Luke 13:23-25 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ But he will answer, “I don’t know you or where you come from.”

 

Notice the question, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” His response was that the way of salvation is very narrow because He is that way, He is that door that leads to life.  He goes on to say that there will be a closing of that door. and it won’t be opened again. When those left outside begin knocking, the Lord says, “I don’t know you.”  What that says to me is that when that door closes, the opportunity to receive God’s grace is over, and those who accepted His grace are inside and those outside will suffer the judgment of God because they refused the offer of forgiveness in Jesus.

 

This is not a popular Scripture theme in the modern church. Why? Because it means not everyone gets a place at the table. In the philosophy of our modern age, everyone gets a place at the table, no matter what. According to the Bible that is not true. Jesus said that the broad way, the way that is most popular among people, is a highway to hell:

 

Matthew 7:13 You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.

 

So, what can we conclude from my comments today?

 

  1. Hell is a real place, and it is a place of torment.

  2. People end up in Hell because they chose their way, the broad way, instead of God’s way which is through Jesus.

  3. It is not a popular message today in the modern church, because it doesn’t make people feel good about God.

 

It has been said that Jesus spoke about Hell and its reality more than He did about Heaven:

 

Jesus spoke of hell more than anyone else in the Bible. He referred to it as a place of ‘outer darkness’ where ‘there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 8:12). In other words, all the joys that we associate with light will be withdrawn, and all the fears that we associate with darkness will be multiplied. And the result will be an intensity of misery that makes a person grind his teeth in order to bear it. ~Dr. John Piper

 

Jesus said that it is not worthwhile to fear this world or what’s in it because it has no authority in eternity:

 

Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

 

Yet when Jesus, God’s Salvation turns to become God’s Judge. He condemns those whose name was not written in the Lamb’s book of life:

 

Revelation 20:12-15 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

 

This is why Hell should be a big deal to the modern church. This is why we share and preach the Gospel, to get people’s names into the Lamb’s Book of Life, because without being in His book, it will mean an eternity in Hell.

 

Don’t take my word for it … read it for yourself. Remember, you can make Jesus Lord of your life today.

 

Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler

 

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