HELL FIRE & BRIMSTONE
Daniel 12:1And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
Here’s a subject that doesn’t get preached on very often these days.....HELL! That’s right, that eternal place of damnation....where you WILL go if you are not right with God whenever you perish. That’s right, it is a REAL place. Here’s an interesting statistic....In 1997 Time magazine conducted a poll where they found that 63% of Americans believe that hell exists as a place where people will be punished forever in the afterlife. Of course, only 1% of Americans believe they’d be in hell.
Whenever I was being raised, Hell was often taught. Hellfire and Brimstone sermons, they used to call them. I used to get scared out of my.......sin.....because I didn’t want to go to hell! I have told you before that I used to pray that we could be in a car crash on the way home after a really good altar call so I could be sure I would get to Heaven.
I finally realized that Jesus wants us to live or Him, not die for HIm. His will is that noe should perish, and we all should have everlasting life, isn’t it? So how can there be a hell....God wants us all to live. As a matter of fact, turn to JOHN 3:16...I know most of you have this memorized, but I want to show you something. JOHN 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Now, look at the vs right before that one, vs 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. Then, look once more at vs 14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
There is Gods promise of eternal life, isn’t it? But are the conditions of that promise? Well, in vs 16 it says "whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life," so we know we must believe in Him. I don’t think ANYBODY with any Biblical knowledge would think they can avoid hell by NOT believing in Jesus. But we see another condition here, if we look close in vs 14 "as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:"
My question tonight is, are you lifting the Son of man up as Moses lifted the serpent in the wilderness......or are you just wandering around the wilderness. So how DID Moses lift up the serpent? Let’s look....NUM 21:5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. 6And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 7Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. 8And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
Once again, the children of Israel were griping and complaining. One of my first jobs was as a manager for K-MART. I was proud because I had worked my way up from nothing basically, and my first yr was VERY successful for the company. And then, I coveted a bigger, newer store. They had just built on on the S.E. side of Ft Worth, and I knew I was the guy for it. As it turned out, the store never took off and later was closed, but whenever the District Manager would come around and talk about my numbers, I would always remind him of how good a job I did at my previous store. Finally, one day I got it. He turned to me and said "yes, you were great.......last year....but what have you done for us lately?" I remember thinking, HOW UNGRATEFUL!!! I’m glad God, even if He thinks that, doesn’t do what I did....get mad and basically quit! I cannot imagine the extent of His love and grace towards us!
Back in the text we see this in vs 8 it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. All they had to do, when bitten, was look to that serpent on the pole. And that’s what God is calling us to do today, lift up Christ so we and others can look to Him and be saved from the "bites" of this life. We get bit all the time, don’t we?
If we will lift up the Son of man, God makes us a promise of everlasting life. What a glorious promise! But I want you to understand that there is another side to this.....there is something that will happen if you DON"T lift up the Son of man in your life....and it is just as real as Heaven, and it is a place where God doesn’t want any of us to go. But it is up to you to lift up Jesus in your life and to hold Him high so others might see Him that might not otherwise! That is your responsibility! Lift Him up!!!
So, is there a hell? Matthew 10:28-- Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (NIV).
The single person most responsible for the New Testament doctrine of hell is Jesus Christ. Of the thirteen times the word "hell" is used in the New Testament, twelve come from the lips of Jesus Christ himself, and this text here in Matthew 10:28 is just one example. Jesus is contrasting our fear of people who can take away our physical life with the kind of concern we ought to have for God, since he holds not only our physical life in his hands, but our eternal life as well. Reading this text reminds me of the young Christian girl who was reading her Bible when the two gunmen started their rampage in Columbine, Colorado. When the gunman pointed his gun at her and asked young Cassie if she believed in God, I wonder if this verse passed through her mind. I imagine she realized that although her classmate could take her physical life, the couldn’t touch her soul, so she answered, "Yes, I believe in God." And you know the rest of the story.....he shot her in cold blood, ending her life here on earth prematurely. Our physical life can be taken away--Cassie is proof of that--but only God can deal with our soul.
If there would be one thing that we, as ministers could take out of our Bible, it would be hell. Would that NO ONE should go there. We as christians should never condemn people to hell.....God will do that, but we should make sure Jesus is lifted high.....just as Moses lifted that serpent on that pole. Do you know how many of those Israelites would NOT have been saved had Moses NOT put that serpent up on a pole so everybody could see it?
Do you have Jesus lifted up in your life so your unsaved loved ones can see Him? This is not a popular subject, I know.....but it IS a certainty! None of us want to see our loved ones die and go to hell. I certainly don’t. I want you to know that the best possible way for you to help your unsaved loved ones is to lift up the Son of man......let His glorious light shine in you before men. Whose light are you shining tonight? Are you lifting up Jesus, or are you lifting up yourself? Do you want your loved ones to be saved or will you just watch them sink into the pits of Hades because YOU have trouble lifting up the Son of man above yourself?
Yes, there is a Heaven...and a hell. Have you put Him above yourself....only you and God know that. I urge you tonight, right now to "lift Him up" and thereby helping to let others "look upon Him"......