Considering Hell? Don’t!
Text: Various Scriptures plus resources from Gotquestions.org
Proposition: The reality of the existence, nature and purpose of Hell amplifies the work of Christ on the cross.
Introduction: Last week we talked about the glory of the Trinity, the description of the three persons of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit that are together One God. Today we are going to move from considering the highest glory to the most disturbing of all truths. Many people would say they believe in heaven, far less would agree about the reality of Hell. Today let’s look straight at this subject, let’s look at what Scripture declares to be certain regarding it. Let me begin with a text of Scripture that bridges us from the discussion on the Trinity to the reality of judgment in John 5:19-24, "Jesus therefore answered and was saying to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and greater works than these will He show Him, that you may marvel. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life'" In the underlined portion of this passage Jesus defines for us what it means to honor the Son and to honor the Father, it means to believe in what He has clearly said. Clearly what Jesus is saying is that apart from belief in what He has said about Himself, about forgiveness of sin, about the nature of God, apart from belief in these things then judgment is a consequence of that unbelief. Who do you think spoke the most in the Scriptures about the subject of Hell? It was Jesus. Who is it that sends people to this place of judgment? The answer again, according to the underlined portion of Scripture in John 5, is that it is Jesus who sends people who will not honor the Son nor Father to Hell. Who do you think knows most about the reality and anguish of Hell? Again the answer is Jesus, along with the other two Persons of the Trinity and therefore that’s why He warns us again and again regarding it. Let’s see what the Scripture says about Hell.
I. Hades or Sheol is not Hell. In the Old Testament the place where the departed dead went was a two compartment place, for the ones who were righteous by faith there was Paradise. For those who had rebelled and lived in unbelief there was Hades. Both Paradise and Hades were what made up Sheol, or the place of all the departed dead. This is holding place until the end of the times of the Gentiles, when final judgment occurs at which point those who have lived in unbelief will be cast into a lasting and final place of judgment called the Lake of Fire. When we think of Hell, this last place is what we are referring to. Psalm 16:10, 11; Luke 16:26; Luke 23:43; Rev. 20.
II. Hell, the Place of Final Judgment, is Everlasting. The existence of Hell was originally created for Satan and the angelic beings who gave their allegiance to him but is also for humanity if they persist in their rejection of Jesus Christ. Matt. 25:41 says, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” The issue of Hell is that of an eternal judgment against sin. It is not about our sense of fairness or justice or the loving nature of God. It is about the holiness of God and His absolute resistance against sin. Scripture describes Hell as “unquenchable fire” Matt 3:12, “shame and everlasting contempt” Daniel 12:2, a place where “the fire is not quenched” Mk 9:44-49, a place of “torment” and “fire” Luke 16:23-24, “everlasting destruction” 2 Thessalonians 1:9, a place where “the smoke of torment rises forever and ever” Revelation 14:10-11, and a “lake of burning sulfur” where the wicked are “tormented day and night forever and ever” Revelation 20:10. Hell is everlasting, there’s no parole and no annihilation.
III. The Anguish of Hell is God Separating Himself From Mankind in Sin. In Luke 16 Jesus tells the story of the rich man who died and went to the holding place of Hades. In the telling of this account we are given details of this place but we are also hearing the voice of a man who never once asks, “Why am I here?” There is no surprise in his comments, only remorse and a plea that others could be averted from it. Is it possible that the anguish of Hell is that people will know that they have turned from God, that they considered Hell and dismissed it’s significance and persisted in their lawless way of living? When God steps back and gives man what he has been wanting, separation from God, then absolute absence of God from them as they remain alone with sin creates an unrelenting torment that we have only glimpsed through our sin natures this side of the grave.
IV. Considering Hell? Don’t! Jesus Christ Has Come as The Savior for You! The wonder is that God’s way of dealing with man’s sin is to send one Person of the Trinity to earth, to incarnate into humanity and then the Father will put the charge of sin upon the Son. 2 Cor. 5:21 says, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” That’s the key, “in Him”, that’s how sin is dealt with. It’s the only hope to avert Hell, good works, great personality, generosity, honesty… they won’t separate the judgment of sin from you. Consider Romans 10:8-10, “But what does it say? The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Today receive Jesus as your Savior.