Summary: According to a recent USA Today survey, only 52% of adults in America are certain there’s a hell.
TEXT: Mark 9:43-49 (LB) – “If your hand does wrong, cut it off. Better live forever with one hand than be thrown into the unquenchable fires of hell with two! IF your foot carries you toward evil, cut it off! Better be lame and live forever than have two feet that carry to hell.
And if your eye is sinful, gouge it out. Better enter the Kingdom of God half blind than have two eyes and see the fires of hell, where the worm never dies, and the fire never goes out – where all are salted with fire.” (That’s Jesus commenting on hell.)
INTRODUCTION: Illustr. – “Oops, wrong e-mail address! Sure is hot down here!”
Beatle John Lennon summed up the thinking of a growing population of Americans today when he wrote the following lyrics to his popular song, “Imagine,”
“Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try.
No hell below us, above us only sky.
Imagine all the people living for today.”
I wonder how John would re-write those words if he could come back today?
Illustr. - According to a recent USA Today survey, only 52% of adults in America are certain there’s a hell. Of that 52%, 48% think it is a real place where people suffer eternal fiery torment, 46% think it is simply an “anguished state of existence rather than an actual place” and 6% said they believe in it but don’t know what it’s like.
Well, you can’t blame people for wanting to get rid of hell. After all, the thought of a place of eternal torment – fire, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, where the “worm dieth not.” A place of utter darkness created for the devil and his angels, a place where all the wicked who have ever lived down through the ages will be – doesn’t sound very appealing to me! Hot, crowded, painful, tormenting, forever. Nah, I’d rather go to Florida and ride “It’s a Small World After All” a thousand times in a row at DisneyWorld!
Seriously, hell doesn’t sound like a good time to me, so I say we get rid of it!
PROPOSITION: I HAVE COME UP WITH SOME GOOD ADVICE FOR HOW TO GET RID OF HELL.
But I’m going to need your help! I need you to help me decide…
INTERR. SENTENCE: What’s the best way to get rid of hell?
I. GET RID OF THE BIBLE. Illustr. – “Do you really believe what you read in that Bible?”
Listen to me, if we’re going to get rid of hell, the first thing we’ve got to do is get rid of this book (the Bible)! I’m telling you, it’s nothing but trouble! It’s got all these reminders and examples and warnings about hell in it. We don’t want to be bothered by that stuff. Too depressing. Too scary. Makes a guy uncomfortable when he’s roasting marshmallows around the campfire or when he goes to a funeral or when he’s burning a beetle with a magnifying glass. Ouch! I say we get rid of it!
Get rid of verses like the one we read as our text today. Get rid of 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.”
Get rid of Matthew 13:49-50 – “This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”