Summary: Do we really understand what Hell is all about? why should we fear the second death? Is there a realization that all souls exist for eternity and eternal punishment is just that, eternal.
Opening Illustration: The October 25, 1999 crash of golfer Payne Stewart’s plane was a bizarre incident. He and three companions and two crew, boarded a twin-engine, $2.4 million Learjet which left the runway at 9:19 A.M near Orlando, Florida. There were two pilots, and all seemed fine when they checked in with air traffic controllers a few minutes later.
But for unknown reasons, the pilots apparently lost consciousness shortly before they were to turn west toward their destination of Dallas.
When they couldn’t be raised by air traffic controllers, several flights of Air Force F-16 jets went aloft to investigate.
The first F-16 to investigate was from Eglin AFB and he was already in the air on a test mission when asked to intercept the Learjet. The Learjet, on autopilot, had climbed through its assigned altitude of 39,000 feet and was now above 45,000.
No one was at the controls. There was no movement in the cockpit, and the windows were fogged/frosted over, suggesting that the cabin had depressurized and become chilled with stratospheric air some 9 miles high above the earth.
One of the Air Force pilots said, “It’s a very helpless feeling to pull alongside another aircraft and realize the people inside that aircraft potentially are unconscious or in some other way incapacitated. And there’s nothing I can do physically from my aircraft even though I’m fifty to one hundred feet away, to help them at all.”
When one of its two engines finally ran out of fuel, the plane roller-coastered through the clouds, heading toward final, cataclysmic destruction. After a total flight time of 3 hours, 54 minutes, the aircraft hit the ground at a nearly supersonic speed and an extremely steep dive angle. The Learjet crashed in South Dakota, just outside Mina. All were Lost
One air safety investigator from the NTSB said that airplane depressurization can be “very insidious.” He explained that the problem, called hypoxia, could slowly deprive the crew of its ability to know what was happening. “It could be one of those things where you’re feeling good, you’re feeling happy, and you don’t know what’s going on.”(1)
Picture humanity on a runaway airplane, on a collision course with death , with only moments of time remaining. Yet people are so caught up in their pleasures and pressures and pursuits that they don’t realize the urgency of their plight.
Just like hypoxia, people do not realize, do not see, have no comprehension of the fate that awaits them.
Jesus was talking to those that had hypoxia of the soul. The Jews were plotting to kill Jesus because He had healed on the Sabbath and calling Himself the Son of God, making Himself equal with the God.
This Jesus is who is both fully God and fully human, is uniquely qualified to be the Judge of all the living:
John 5:22 (NKJV)
For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,
And because Jesus is judge of all, He deserves honor from all:
John 5:23 (NKJV)
that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
To not give honor to Jesus is not giving honor to God.
To reject Jesus is to reject God. Many claim to know and worship God, but they deny Jesus. Jesus says:
Matthew 10:32–33 (NKJV)
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
To deny Jesus will bring spiritual death.
And here is the Gospel.
John 5:24 (NKJV)
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
Those who have heard His voice, read and understood His word, have come to faith in Jesus, bypasses all judgement and truly gains life – we would say, have been born again.
Our condition before coming to faith in Jesus, we were dead.
Ephesians 2:1 (NKJV)
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
We were dead until we heard from Jesus:
John 5:25 (NKJV)
Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.
The dead here in this verse refers to our condition before Christ.
Everyone without Jesus is spiritually dead.
If you hear from Jesus, today is the day of salvation.
We read from Hebrews a few weeks ago:
Hebrews 4:7 (NKJV)
again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: