Summary: heaven or hell, you get to make the choice
Intro: according to a recent study: less than 3% of sermons are on sin, rebellion, judgment or eternal punishment. Because of this, 67% of Americans don’t believe in a literal hell. These attitudes are main factors why the American Pastor is now viewed as disposable, if there is no hell, than what do we need a preacher for anyway. It is like the story of the group of G.I.’s that went to a new chaplain and asked if he believed in a literal hell. He said, of course not, they said, then we need a new chaplain. If there isn’t a hell we don’t need you, and if there is a hell we sure don’t need you.
Before we get into our sermon: here are four main points about hell that we get from the story of the rich man and Lazarus that everyone should realize about hell.
Verse 24- I am in agony in this flame—hell hurts, hell is eternal punishment for rejection of Jesus Christ.
Verse 25—Remember—one of the great tragedies about hell is remembering your life with all of it’s opportunities that God placed there for you.
Verse 26—a great gulf fixed—there is no crossing over the line—you don’t get out of hell, you don’t just spend a little time there and get out, this is an eternal separation.
Verse 27—probably the worst thing of all, is that prayer will be unanswered. I am sure that people will pray in hell that never prayed before. What is so amazing is this: we don’t pray now when all our prayers can be answered, but in hell everyone will pray where their prayers can’t be answered.
“One day, when Vice-President Calvin Coolidge was presiding over the Senate, one senator angrily told another to go “straight to hell.” The offended Senator complained to Coolidge as presiding officer, and Coolidge looked up from the book he had been leafing through while listening to the debate and wittily replied. “I’ve looked through the rule book,” he said, “You don’t have to go.”
That is my sermon title today: Hell, You Don’t Have To Go
1. Because it wasn’t prepared for you anyway—Matthew 25:41-this is a verse that everyone should read and understand.
a. It gives us the central reason and purpose for hell. It was prepared for the devil and his rebellious army of angels. If you read the Word of God you find that 1/3 of heaven revolted against God, and God’s judgment came against Satan, ie. Lucifer. Hell, or the Lake of Fire is a place that is prepared for this army of demons.
b. demons cried out to Jesus—have you come to torment us before the time. Every demon knows that eternal punishment is their destiny, the sad part is this: they work overtime to bring souls into eternal punishment with them. Their hatred of God leads them to desire your soul.
2. Experienced by Christ for us—Ephesians 4:9—not only that he ascended but also descended into the lower parts of the earth. I realize that this is theological in nature but not only did Jesus taste death, experience all temptations that are common to man, yet without sin, but He also descended into the lower parts of the earth.
· Jesus conquered sin and the flesh, by being offered the spotless lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. John the Revelator was told not to weep, because the lion of the tribe of Judah had prevailed to take the book and loose the seals. When he looked it was a lamb as it had been slain.
· Hebrews teaches a great concept that many people don’t fully understand. God rejected the blood of bulls and goats, not only that, He did away with the Old law and brought in a better testament built on better promises. The old sacrificial system was repetitive and was only a covering of sin. But Jesus, once for all, died on the cross. There remains now no sacrifice for sin, meaning, Jesus paid it all.
3. Simple By-Pass Surgery—Romans 10:9-10—if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart man believes resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
· According to Romans the first Adam brought sin on us all. We now were all given the sentence of death, and eternal judgment. But the second Adam, who is far greater brought grace. What the first Adam did to us, the second Adam undid. Where sin abounded, Grace abounds the more.
· We all have a heart problem, man’s heart was made of stone. Because of Adam we all had the Adamic nature, all of us needed a new heart. Through Jesus Christ we are given a new heart and a new spirit. Revelation 3:20—a favorite salvation verse gives us the thought that Jesus desires to live in every heart, and if we open the door to our heart He comes in.