Summary: 35% of Baptists; 54% of Presbyterians, 58% of Methodists, and 60% of Episcopalians do not believe there is a literal place called hell! Worse yet is the fact that 71% of the students studying to be ministers
HELL: Just Suppose It is Real
TEXT: Mark 9:43-48
INTRODUCTION: Recent surveys conducted among church-going folks concluded that only a small minority actually believe in a literal hell. The survey concluded that 35% of Baptists; 54% of Presbyterians, 58% of Methodists, and 60% of Episcopalians do not believe there is a literal place called hell! Worse yet is the fact that 71% of the students studying to be ministers in the 8 leading seminaries in the United States do not believe in either a literal Heaven or Hell.
More and more of the leading evangelical churches in America are leaning towards what is commonly referred to as "the love gospel." There is a refusal among preachers to preach on subjects such as judgement, hell and sin. These have come to be referred to as unnecessary scare tactics. The messages refer only to love and goodness. There really is no reason to use scare tactics to try to coax people who God loves away from a place that a loving God would never send His creation to anyway. The truth of the matter is hell is real and God does not send people there, people send themselves there. Whether we accept that fact or not, hell is real. In the New Testament alone, the "eternality of Hell" occurs 126 times. While Jesus spoke of Heaven only once; He spoke of Hell 11 times! Churches are making a grave error when they eliminate the sin factor which eventually leads to elimination of the salvation factor.
Christian Science, founded by spiritist Mary Baker Eddy, teaches that "there is no death. Heaven and hell are states of thought, not places. People experience their own heaven or hell right here on earth." New Age cult leader, Sun Myung Moon of The Unification Church, believes that "God will not desert any person eternally. By some means...they will be restored." Mormonism, founded by occultist Joseph Smith, argues, "The false doctrine that the punishment to be visited upon erring souls is endless...is but a dogma of unauthorized and erring sectaries, at once unscriptural, unreasonable, and revolting." Jehovah’s Witnesses, founded by Charles Taze Russell, maintain that the wicked are forever annihilated because "the teaching about a fiery hell can rightly be designated as a teaching of demons."
Most of the cults have always denied a literal hell. That is just a part of their lies. The sad part is that these lies have crept into evangelical churches across our nation. I believe one of Satan’s greatest goals is to dupe people into believing that Hell is not real, that a God of love would never send anyone to hell. In truth, He doesn’t. John 3:17-18 says: "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son." We are born with a spiritually terminal disease called sin - of which there is only one cure. The cure comes through personal choice - acceptance of Jesus Christ as personal Savior. God doesn’t make us a sinner. But He does provide a cure for the sin - that cure is only found in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way.
As we set out to establish the reality of hell, I want to go directly to the Scriptures. The Scriptures teach us at least three things we should know and accept about hell. It is a place of eternal torment; it is a place of eternal memory; and it is a place that is completely avoidable. FIRST, we should know that hell:
I. IS A PLACE OF ETERNAL TORMENT
Mark 9:48 - "their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched."
A. When confronted with the subject of hell, a Jehovah’s Witness will make the following statement: "even if it was a literal place, if you light a piece of paper it burns up and is gone, annihilated." The problem with that logic is that our soul is not a piece of paper.
1) Those in heaven will be given an eternal body for joy, peace, and pleasure.
2) Those in hell will be made eternal for suffering, an eternal state of dying and torment.
B. Luke 16:19-24 - "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire." Many have attempted to describe the agony associated with hell, but there is nothing in this world to even begin to describe the awfulness of hell; nothing that will even come close.