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What Heaven Has to Say About Hell

posted Aug 2, 2009, 10:01 PM by Website Administrator   [ updated Aug 26, 2009, 6:50 PM ]
January 25, 2009
Key Passages: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Luke 16:23-31

“What Heaven Has To Say About Hell”

Let’s be honest – discussions about hell aren’t much fun. It’s a downer of the worst kind. In fact, finding a pastor who will preach about what Jesus says about hell is about as easy as finding a needle in a haystack. And the facts don’t lie – they back this up: according to a recent Barna study, 77% of Americans believe in heaven (curiously, 60% of Americans believe you can attain heaven by being “good enough” or doing enough good works); yet only 30% see hell as an actual location: “a place of physical torment where people may be sent.” Which begs the question: if there is no hell, how do you explain the cross of Jesus? Why’d he bother? You see, hell is exactly what Jesus suffered on the cross. For the only time in eternity, Jesus was totally cut off from the love of his Father. Jesus said, “My God, my God – why have you forsaken me?” People in hell will say for all eternity, “My God, my God, I know why you have forsaken me!” To deny hell is to deny the cross and everything it stands for…and to deny speaking candidly about it is to do a disservice to the saints, but more importantly, to unbelievers. Studying what hell is (and isn’t) should serve as an alarm bell for us to sense the urgency of sharing Christ with a dying world….a world that’s going to hell if we don’t take the time and make the effort to share the Good News!

Q: Is hell “eternal separation from God,” or “a place of actual torment and fire?” Let’s see what Jesus has to say about it. According to our Savior, hell is…
  1. a place of eternal punishment Matthew 25:46
  2. a place of fire and worms Mark 9:42-48  (*note: many theologians believe “worm” actually refers to the memory of lost opportunities)
  3. a place of torment Revelation 20:10; 15
  4. a place of consciousness and feeling Luke 16:23
  5. a place of memory and remorse Luke 16:25; 27-28
  6. a place of unquenchable thirst Luke 16:24
  7. a place without hope of escape Luke 16:26
  8. a place of unfulfilled desires and unanswered prayers Luke 16:27-31
  9. a place of frustration and anger Luke 13:28
  10. a place of utter darkness and isolation Matthew 25:30
Q: How could a loving God send people to hell?
A: The real question should be, “Why would a loving God force unrepentant sinners to go to heaven when they have no desire to fellowship with Him?” The character of God demands the need for hell.
  1. Let’s define “loving” – the world defines a loving God as an aloof, all-forgiving deity who slaps people on the wrist when they’ve done wrong. The Bible defines God’s love as such:

a. Ezekiel 33:11

b. 2 Peter 3:9

c. John 3:16

   2. Does God send people to hell? Or do they send themselves? What is the absolute worst thing a person can do while on earth? Hebrews 10:26-31

    3. What about those who’ve never heard the Gospel, aren’t they innocent? Romans 1:19-20

BOTTOM LINE: “going down, party time – my friends are gonna be there too…I’m on my way to the Promised Land…I’m on the highway to hell…” Guess again, my friend. As we’ve seen, Jesus had quite a bit to say about the realities of hell – and it’s not party time with your friends! Is it pleasant to speak or think about? Nope – but that doesn’t diminish the critical need to understand exactly what’s in store for unbelievers. C.S. Lewis once said, “there is no doctrine that I would rather remove from Christianity than hell…I would pay any price if I could say truthfully that everyone is going to be saved.” Well, they’re not – and that’s a sad, sad reality. “What difference can I make?” you ask – well, like the little boy who tossed the starfish back into the ocean after being told there’s too many and there’s no hope – there will come a day when you can joyfully say, “Maybe so, but I made a difference for that one!”