Summary: A message of Hell in a two week message on life after death.
Life after death: Hell
Introduction: I have a 2 part message on Heaven and Hell. Let's just say we will be preaching on Heaven next week. I feared I might lose some of you next Sunday if I reversed the order. I'd rather preach on the joys of Heaven but if it is in the bible; it must be preached, whether it is plain or mysterious, intriguing or dull, hopeful or worrisome; The coming of the LORD was described in Malachi 4:5 as “the great and dreadful day of the LORD.” For some, that day is great and for others, that day will be dreadful. Two sides of the same coin, we can't look at one never looking at the other. Billy Graham once said “If there was more hell in the pulpit there would be less of it in the pew.” Preachers who refuse to mention Hell for fear of offending someone should be thrown out of the ministry. After all if the Holy Ghost laid something on their heart to preach, they should preach it, but many fear offending their congregation, losing them and losing money. Carlton Pearson founded the higher dimension church in Tulsa, and you may remember he started claiming there was no hell. And many of his congregation left, and it was a good thing they did, not for his sake, but for theirs. It's astounding to me how someone can totally ignore what is clearly written in the scripture and then question God about it. A.W. Tozer remarked “The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions.” So true. No hell means no consequence, no consequence means no sin, no sin means disobedience without guilt, disobedience without guilt means we can make ourselves god.
Here is a popular question that causes a lot of discussion, “Is there life after death?” And the answer is Yes, yes there is. More than you might realize. As hard as it is to explain, I believe that the spiritual life is more realistic than the physical life, the spirit is eternal the body is temporal. Heaven and Hell are so real that it will make this life seem like a dream. Our life is a vapor that vanishes as quickly as it appeared. In light of eternity it was a mere blink, a short dream. A dream you will either long to have back, like the rich man; or one you are glad is over with, like Lazarus.
You might be tempted to think how can a good God send someone to hell. The answer is he doesn't. I mentioned last week Matthew Henry's statement that God is good to all. Absolutely. When a person prays for rain in the middle of a drought, even their wicked neighbor receives a blessing. (It rains on the just and the unjust alike) but He adds this caveat: “all but devils and damned sinners, who have shut themselves out of his goodness.” and it's upon that point we begin our message. John Hannah once told someone “No one who is ever in hell will be able to say to God, “You put me here,” and no one who is in heaven will ever be able to say, “I put myself here.” You can't earn your way to heaven but you can earn your way to hell.
It isn't the fault of God that men refuse to open themselves – their minds, their hearts, their souls to him. He knocks at your door but you keep it shut and you refuse to let him in. Conviction reminds you that a Savior is at your doorstep but you leave him waiting. He won't force his love or his salvation on you, because he respects your decision, you have to decide to receive it. Some people will try to reconcile themselves to Christ at the last moment or at a more convenient time – they want the pleasure of sin now; and the promise of paradise of heaven later. If the LORD isn't good enough to follow now, why is He good enough to follow later? You want the most of sin and salvation at the same time but He reminds you that no man can serve two masters. You must choose one and let loose of the other.
But for those who refuse his grace, he says about them in Matthew 8:12:
Scripture: “But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” -Matthew 8:12
“Children of the kingdom”
This refers to the Jews of the day who were the rightful heirs of God's kingdom, but the denial of the kingdom will extend to anyone who refuses the grace of Jesus Christ. Not just self-righteous Jews, but maybe those who call themselves Christians as well, those who think they are the Lord's sheep but on the last day they will be put to his left as goats. They carried bibles and hymn books and while their body may have been in church their heart never was. C.S. Lewis said “The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” What a scary thought that we may think heaven is our destiny when the opposite is true.