This post assumes you believe in the (not optional) doctrine of heaven and hell. Any teaching that suggests hell is not real, merely an “idea”, does not involve or require Jesus, not something a loving God would allow, etc… is wrong teaching. Hell is real. For anyone that may post a comment to the contrary, I probably will not engage in the conversation. Truth exists outside of my or your opinions or beliefs. I definitely encourage you to review and pray over the sermon below. There will be many “good people” in hell.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the question “Do I really believe in eternity?” … but, Francis asked and talked about the question “Do you really believe in Hell?”
Since most people may only read the top of this post, I am going to write it in reverse.
How Does Hell Change Your MY Life Change?
This is a really heavy question. This is a real question. Here are some of the thoughts and feelings I cannot seem to push out of my heart. However, that is good. I need to pray and meditate over the question… and respond with my actions.
We do not know how long we, our family, our friends, or the people around us will live. Based on that and the reality of hell:
- How does the urgency of sharing my faith change?
- How much more important is the unity in your marriage as you live to love and serve?
- How much more important does basking in the glow of scriptural truth change
- How much more important is deeply knowing the Bible?
- How much more important is fortifying my family with prayer?
- How much more important is making the Bible a central focus of my family?
- How much more important is soul-transforming
- How is EVERY single day I am blessed with waking up in the morning change?
- How much LESS important are possessions?
- How much LESS important is entertainment (trips, TV, movies, etc)?
- How much more of a purpose do I, my family, and my church have in life?
- How does my life change right now?
We could go on… but those questions alone should transform every nook and cranny of my mind, heart, and soul.
Hell is Real… Whether or Not You Agree or Like it
My opinion about hell is 100% irrelevant. Your opinion about hell is 100% irrelevant. Truth transcends you and me. Isn’t that awesome?!
The best visual depiction I have ever seen of hell was in the movie Constantine. That movie is in no way “Christian”. It put some kind of visual to the amorphous image my mind has developed over my life. The crazy thing though is that we are absolutely incapable of understanding the reality of the deep depravity of hell. Hell is much much much worse than our most creative imagination.
Hell is COMPLETE separation from God. That statement should be enough to overwhelm our reality.
Life on Earth is already filled with so pain, sickness, and death… and we actually have the opportunity to participate with God. In hell… God is nowhere. The opportunity to commune with God is forever cast away. In hell, there is no God… this means there is no love, there is no joy, there is no goodness, there is no peace, there is no kindness, and there is no hope.
The reality is that hell is self-selected. Christ died so no one has to “go there”. Christ openly invites and begs you to accept his saving grace.
Hell: Parable of the Rich Man & Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)
The first two words of this parable are the definition of truth: “Jesus said… “. This means you should listen. “Jesus said…” is Truth. “Jesus said…” means you throw your face and knees to the floor and obey. If you ever feel like you want to “hear from God”… open your Bible and listen.
19 Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. 20 At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. 21 As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.
22 “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.
24 “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’
Imagine that reality: the pain and torment is so unbearable that all the rich man wants is a literal drop of water or a fleeting moment of connection.
25 “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’
27 “Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. 28 For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’
29 “But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’
30 “The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’
31 “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.’”
“they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead” … Jesus rose from the dead.
Other Scripture on Hell…
2 Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace. Daniel 12:2
22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. Matthew 5:22
28 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28
7 “What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting. 8 So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet. 9And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. Matthew 18: 7-9
9 They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. 2 Thessalonians 1:9
9 And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God’s people and the beloved city. But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them.
10 Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
11 And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. 12 I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. 14 Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. 15 And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:9-15
21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ Matthew 7:21-23
- How does hell change your life, death, actions, focuses, and words?