This is taken from a sermon that I wanted to use for my blog.
|Continuing with yesterday's thought about longing for "home" (heaven), today we look at the other side - hell. Something many don't believe is real, if they've ever thought about it at all. Many have never been taught there is a possibility of being lost and are surprised to hear of such a place and such a judgement. Others deny the existence of hell and argue a loving God wouldn't send his children to such a horrible place.
Bible scholar Phillip Keller said, "For the child of God, death is not the end but merely the door into a higher and more exalted life of intimate contact with Christ. Death is but the dark valley opening out into an eternity of delight with God. It is not something to fear, but an experience through which one passes on the path to a more perfect life."
And what does the Bible say? Jesus preached:
Hell is a real place
It is easy to get there
Only He can keep us from going there
Death is as real as it can get.
Ecc. 3:1-2 "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die..."
Heb. 9:26 "But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."
Psa 39:4-5 “O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
5 Behold, you have made my days a few hand-breadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!
When Jesus described hell to the Jews, they knew exactly what he was describing. He called it "Gehenna." Gehenna, or the village of Henna, was the garbage dump just outside Jerusalem. Not only was all kinds of garbage dumped there, but also all the dead bodies. It was full of maggots and worms, nasty with a terrible stench. And when they burned the garbage and bodies the stench would overcome Jerusalem.
He also taught it was like a prison with no pardon, no parole. In Heb.9:28, he taught the parable of the unforgiving servant, and just as he was unwilling to forgive one who owed him little, God, who had forgiven him much, punished him eternally for his attitude. We need to be forgiving to everyone, no matter how large or small the infraction.
In Matt. 8:12, we see hell as a place of complete darkness, spiritual darkness, there is NO GOD, nothing good, and God will NEVER be found there. To me, that's the saddest thought of all. To be forever separated from God. To have no one to hear my prayers. Unimaginable...
And lastly, in Luke 16:19-31, Jesus taught about the rich man and Lazarus in a story about hell. The rich man lived lavishly, greatly enjoying his sojourn on earth. Lazarus, on the other hand, covered with sores, sat at the foot of the table and ate the crumbs that fell to the floor, while the dogs licked his sores.
When their time came, Lazarus was carried by the angels to Abraham's side, where he was in the constant presence of God.
The rich man, on the other hand, was sent to Hades where he was in so much torment he begged Abraham to touch his tongue with just a drop of water. He also begged him to go to his five brothers who were still alive and warn them. He didn't want them to go there.
People in hell will suffer
People will be conscious and know why they are there
People will stay there forever
Rev. 20:15 says we will either be in the Book of Life, or thrown into the "lake of fire."
We know that sin separates us from God, but we also have way out. How can we be assured our name is in Book of Life.
Acts 2:38 gives us the simple answer. "38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Heaven and hell are both real... the choice of where we spend eternity is ours.