Summary: A Look at the Reality and Nature of Hell--Doctrinal Sermon
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CHASM
A Discussion on the Doctrine of Hell
"...and besides all this between us and you is a great chasm fixed,
in order that those that wish to come over from here to you may not be able,
and that none may cross over from there to us." -- Luke 16:26 [NASB]
Hell is out of fashion, or at least the teaching about Hell is. When is the last time you heard a preacher preach on hell, I mean really preach it, not just mention it as part of a sermon, but devote the entire message to enlightening you about hell? How many Bible studies have you been to lately where this was the primary topic? Pretty rare isn't it. The fact is I haven't heard a preacher preach or teach specifically on hell in over two years. It has become so infrequent that when a child hears the word hell they giggle and laugh because the preacher used a "swear" word. Well, let me assure you that while the teaching on hell may have become cold, the eternal fires of hell are as hot as they have ever been.
If teaching on hell is out of fashion it is because people don't want to hear about it. I will be among the first to admit, it's easier to hear a sermon on the wonder and glory of Heaven than it is to hear one on the torment and fire of hell. It's easier to prepare and study for a lesson on love or forgiveness than it is to prepare a lesson on the doctrine of hell. But hell must be taught and preached. We must receive the lesson and heed the warnings. You see, whether you are a Christian or not, we are all going to enter into eternity, the question that remains is, "Where will you spend that eternity?" I want us to take a closer look at hell, as we examine the view on the other side of the chasm and contemplate our eternal destiny.
Let me begin by giving you three reasons why we must teach on hell.
I. THREE REASONS TO TEACH ON HELL
(1) We must teach on hell first of all because it is included in God's Word. If, when I came and you interviewed me I asked you this question: "Do you want me to teach my own ideas and the popular subjects and issues, or do you want me to teach the Word of God?" the answer would have been a resounding, "PREACH THE WORD!!" Paul charged young Timothy with that same challenge. Regardless of how difficult the lesson is to teach and to receive because it is in the Word, I must teach it.
I can teach about heaven and all its glory and splendor, and I can teach about God and His grace and mercy. I can teach about stewardship and the importance of tithing, and I can teach about fellowship and the command to love one another. I can teach about sin and the damage it has done to god's creation, and I can teach about Jesus, God's holy and pure Passover lamb. In fact, I can teach about all of those things, and I must, but that same mandate hods just as true concerning hell. I must teach the glory of heaven, and delight in God's love and grace, but I must also teach the fires of
hell, and tremble in view of God's judgment.
(2) We must teach on hell to awaken sleeping Christians. Listen brothers and sisters in Christ: have we forgotten that there is an eternal place of torment? Have we, like the world, decided that there is no literal hell? Have we believed like so many that in the end, everyone is going to go to heaven? Because if we believe in a literal hell, a place of eternal torment and fire, and we believe that if you are not a Christian that is where you will spend eternity, then why are we doing so little about it? Why are there millions of people who have never heard the Gospel message of Christ? Why are there so many baptisteries filled with cobwebs and dust? If we really believe in a literal hell then why aren't we out there telling someone about it?
General William Booth, of the Salvation Army, once told a graduating class of the Armies training school that he wished that, instead of the many days and weeks of work through the school, he could send them to hell for twenty-four hours. He wished they could experience all the torment, all the heat, all the suffering, all the hell that hell is. He wanted them to be able to hear the weeping and the wailing, see the darkness, feel the loneliness. That would be an experience more valuable than any seminary degree, any mission experience, any training we can hope for in this life because after experiencing that horror we would do all in our power to keep people from going there. Nothing would stop us from teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, witnessing to our family, telling our friends and neighbors about Jesus, and even inviting people we meet on the street to come to church with us.