Summary: This Sunday’s message we’ll be looking at the major highlights of both heaven and hell as outlined in God’s word, which should explain what eternity in both will be like.

Sermon - Heaven and Hell Highlights

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Thomas Huxley, a nineteenth century anthropologist and agnostic, was rushing to catch a train in Dublin. He climbed aboard a horse drawn carriage and said, “Hurry, I’m almost late ... drive fast.” The driver set off at a furious pace and Huxley sat back and closed his eyes. After a while Huxley opened his eyes and glanced out the window to notice that they were going in the wrong direction. Realizing he hadn’t told the driver where to take him he said, “Do you know where you’re going?” The driver replied “No your honor, but I am driving very fast.”

Unfortunately, this is the reality we are living in. Life today is lived at a fast pace, and is full of activities, but it is a life lived without direction. And whether people know it or not, everyone is headed somewhere in the end. And that end is either heaven or hell, whether they want to acknowledge it or not.

Back in 2003, Barna Research Group said, “8 out of 10 Americans believe in an afterlife of some sort.”

In another survey over a decade ago they found that most Americans believe in life after death, and in a heaven and a hell, but not everyone was clear on their ultimate destination.

And so with little if any thought about their eternal destiny, people live life to its fullest without thinking about where they’re ultimately headed, that is, until it’s too late.

Seeing that death is the inevitable end of this life, and there is an afterlife, shouldn’t that be one of the things, if not the major thing, we should be certain about?

The Bible says that it has been appointed by God that each person die only once, and then they are to face His judgment (Hebrews 9:27). There are no do overs. It’s one and done, not one and then another one.

What God is saying is that we only have one shot at this life, so we better get it right. The only problem is that everyone is making up their own definitions of not only what heaven and hell are like, but also what it takes to get to either one.

They think it’s about what a person does, whether they are good or bad, or what religion or church they belong to that determine one’s fate. Literally, what they are doing is becoming judge and jury as to those who are worthy, which they believe they are, and those who are not worthy, which is never themselves, but always someone else.

But ultimately, it is the Lord’s judgment we will face. So, what does God say?

The Bible says there is no one who is righteous enough and does not sin (Romans 3:10), and that the wages of sin is death (Roman 6:23a). But God doesn’t leave us in limbo to try to make it to heaven on our own. Instead He goes on to give us a way out saying, “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b).

And because eternal life in heaven is a gift, it cannot be earned or worked for; it only comes through faith in Jesus Christ and in God’s wondrous grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Therefore, God’s grace through our faith is the determining factor, that’s what determines our ultimate fate.

In the Bible there is no doubt about the reality of heaven and hell and what it takes to get to either one. For those who believe in Jesus Christ and the death He died upon the cross for the forgiveness of sin, heaven is their final destination when this life is over. But the opposite is just as true. For those who do not believe in Jesus Christ, and who do not get their lives right with God by being reconciled to Him through their faith in Jesus Christ, hell is their destiny and final destination, and it doesn’t matter whether they believe in it or not!

D.L. Moody, evangelist and pastor, said of heaven, “We talk about heaven being so far away. It is within speaking distance to those who belong there. Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.”

And of the existence of hell and of our need to talk about it, Billy Graham said, “If there was more hell in the pulpit, there would be less hell in the pews.”

For our teaching on heaven and hell, I’d like to look at some highlights for each, that is, if we can call any life in hell a highlight. Now, there are a lot more of these than what I am going to share, but these should explain the whole of what it will be like to live in either one of them for all eternity.

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