July 30, 2016
As Danny’s message is so good and to aid in discussion I thought I would include most of it so that you can not only be able to read through it and be reminded but choose the parts you want to particularly discuss in your group. I have also included some questions (in brackets, underlined and not in italics) with some sections to consider and discuss.
(Do you find it difficult to talk about the subject of “Hell?” How do you think about family/friends who have died and as far as you know have not acknowledged Jesus as their Saviour? Share your answers with your group.)
“If you asked the question about heaven, most people would tell you that they believed in it – especially if they are on their death beds.
Most people would agree that they deserve go to heaven – because that is the place where good people go.
Out of the fewer people who acknowledge that there is a hell, not many people would say that is where they are going because hell is reserved for the likes of Hitler, Starlin, Sadam Hassain, murderers, those people that have committed the most vile and indecent crimes – because that is where they deserve to go.
But this morning I would like for us to dig a bit deeper on the subject of hell.
Some people have asked ‘why preach on hell”?
As a minister of God’s Word, – I am called to preach the whole truth of the Bible, not just the easy bits, or parts that we, or society, finds more palatable.
Interestingly, Jesus had more to say about the subject of hell, than any other prophet or biblical writer.
I have wept many tears while researching, reading and praying over this sermon and for the people that will experience its realities.
I have 5 points for us to ponder this morning.
1. Gods Plan – Creation
In the beginning, when God created this world, it was perfect. We were made in His image and we were made to live eternally with Him in the Garden of Eden.
We were not created for Hell, nor were we created to live in rebellion to God.
We were created to live in a relationship with God that was mutually satisfying and fulfilling.
And then Adam and Eve sinned, by eating from the “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. The very tree that God told them, not to eat from!
Do you know what they did first, after eating the forbidden fruit – they hid themselves from God. Why – because of their sin, they could no longer stand to be in the presence of the Holy God. Their sin severed their relationship – with God.
And there was a cost to us all – a punishment given for their disobedience.
They and all of their other descendants forever after (including us) have been banished from the Garden of Eden – forever.
(Read how Adam and Eve’s punishment for their disobedience has been passed on to all their descendants and about God’s gracious gift? Read Romans 5:12-19)
2. We are all given the same choice
Our lifespan on earth, instead of being eternal, as like in the Garden of Eden, is now approximately 70 years.
And in our lifetimes, we are all given the choice to follow God and surrender our life to Him. That will result in either eternity with God, or eternity without God.
From the beginning of time, we are all personally accountable to God Himself for what we do in our body. Each of us will personally give an account to God.
And we are still hiding our sin from a holy God today, trying to justify, that our sin isn’t actually all that bad!
There will be two types of judgements after we die – The first one is for those that have accepted the forgiveness of Christ (who have become Christians) called the Bema seat.
This I believe will take place immediately after the rapture.
The Christian will be judged, for what they did for God while they lived on earth – not about if they go to heaven or not but for what kind of rewards they will receive in heaven. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 and 2 Corinthians 5:10.
The second judgement will be for those who have rejected Christ – those who are not Christians.
I need to stress this point, before moving forward.
“The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise (about coming back), as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” 2 Peter 3:9.
Jesus – is calling each of us to repent of our sins and come to Him. He does not want anyone to endure hell. We need to keep this fact in mind – we only get this chance here on earth.
(Read Romans 1:19-20 where Paul says why no one has any excuse for not knowing God.
Discuss the difference between the two judgements. Read John 5:24 as to why Christians will not be judged (and condemned) for their sins.)
3. Judgement for those that reject Jesus
Christian – we don’t do anyone any favours by downplaying the truth of God’s wrath or neglecting to mention the severity of His judgment. We certainly don’t eliminate the threat of hell, by refusing to speak or think about it.
This is the message we must declare to a worldly culture that lacks any real fear of God.
Hebrews 9:27 tells us…“Just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment.”
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
God is God. He is the Infinite, Holy, Righteous, Perfect, and the Creator of all things. It is not up to me or you, the created, to tell God the Creator, how He should operate His world – or how He should judge the world.
It is His call – no matter how I actually feel about it – it is God’s call.
Jesus will Judge His Creation.
We all have a choice in either accepting or rejecting His offer of relationship and forgiveness to us.
Jesus warned us all….
“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him.” Luke 12:4–5
Jesus the loving, caring and forgiving Saviour is also the same Saviour that will be the Judge of all mankind.
In Revelation 20:11-13 we read this….
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. 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. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave (Hades) gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds.”
In this judgement, everyone, regardless of their stature or position, died without acknowledging and accepting Jesus Christ’s payment for their sin.
Whether in the earth or sea, a grave or mausoleum, the ashes or remains of the deceased, will one day be raised and united with their souls so they can stand before the Great White Throne.
During this judgement, books will be opened that contain the records of every deed and thought (Ecclesiastes 12:14) including every secret thing, whether good or evil.
The actions and intentions of those who have chosen not to have their sins forgiven, by the sacrifice of Jesus, will be judged.
Hebrews 2:2 tells us that they will be punished for every violation and act of disobedience.
I believe that the Bible seems to indicate, that is also consistent with the justice of God, that there will be different levels of punishment in hell.
An upright moral person vs. someone like Hitler who murdered millions of God’s chosen people, will have different levels of punishment due to what they have done in their lives.
Revelation 20:14-15 says this
“Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.”
The other book that is opened it the Book of Life. If that person’s name doesn’t appear in that book, and it won’t be because they wouldn’t be there if it did, they would be cast into the lake of fire (hell) for all eternity.
(Why do you think we can tend to hold back from talking to Non-Christians about hell? What is the solution that will help us be more bold?)
4. So what does hell look like?
Daniel referred to hell as a place of shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2.
Paul called it a place of endless destruction and punishment. 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10.
Jude called hell a place of eternal fire and darkness. Jude 7.
The Apostle John described hell as a place where sinners suffer everlasting torment, with no rest day or night. Revelation 14:9-11.
The New Testament describes hell as a place of unimaginable torment and unspeakable horror, and most of the time they’re merely quoting what Jesus said about hell….
While it’s true that hell is a place of untold physical pain and suffering I think we often overlook the mental agony of being completely forsaken abandoned for all eternity.
After all, the most chilling cry from our Lord as He suffered God’s wrath on the cross came not from physical pain, but from being forsaken by the Father.
Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46.
CS Lewis wrote in The Great Divorce….
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done’.
(Read Matthew 26:36-39, where Jesus was in great agony as He contemplated being separated from God…. the only time in eternity as He was to become a sin offering and die.)
5. Gods Desire is your invitation
Hell is so awful – God gave us His one and only Son to Rescue us from the pit of hell and invite us into His heaven.
Because of what Jesus Christ did on that cross God is offering us the opportunity to have our sins forgiven and a chance to repent and be restored to Him.
Christian, we have a message to the world which we cannot shrink back from telling.
I pray that each of us has a renewed burden for the lost, for those that are on the broad road to destruction.
How can we remain silent for those that do not know Jesus, when this is their eternal future?
Friend, if you are listening to this sermon today it is God’s truth to you.
We are all sinners from birth.
Those who spend eternity in heaven will only do so because they have accepted Christ’s payment for their sins while they were alive here on earth.
Those who end up in hell do so because they died without receiving Jesus as their Saviour.
Only through Christ Jesus can we gain access to God. Only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His work on the cross can we escape.
There is no other way and no other chance
No one can get to heaven by doing the best they can. You can only get to heaven by believing that Jesus alone paid for your sins
He alone is good enough to get you to heaven
He did everything necessary to secure your salvation when He died on the cross for your sins
In the Bible, God invites you to trust Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour.
The Bible tells us that….
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you will be saved ………for whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:9,13
If you have never done this, or you feel you need to recommit your life to Him, call on Him right now.
Express your faith and pray to Him right now, by sincerely repeating this prayer not to me but to the Holy and Righteous God.
God, I know that I have sinned against You and that I need Your forgiveness.
I do believe with all my heart that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and that He rose from the dead, conquering sin.
I am trusting Jesus alone to forgive me of my sins, save my soul, and give me eternal life.
Right now I take Him as my personal Saviour and place my faith in Him.
I pray this in Jesus name. Amen”
(Did you pray the prayer above? If so share with the others in your group.)
(Do you have a stronger desire to share the Gospel with non Christians to show them God’s plan to save them from an eternity in hell to an eternity in Heaven with Him? Finish by praying Paul’s prayer. Colossians 4:3-4.)