Summary: God doesn't want anyone to go to hell. That's why He has set up roadblocks along the way.
How does one keep from going to hell? Jesus answers that question for us in Mark 9:43-48. In a nutshell Jesus is saying that we must do whatever it takes to keep from going to hell. But too often we leave the impression that that the road to hell is a slippery slope, a steep grade, and once you are on it there nothing to stop you from sliding right on into hell. But we must understand that hell was never prepared for humanity and because it was not prepared for us God does not want any of to go to there. Is that not what Matthew 25:41 and 2 Peter 3:9 teach? And since God does not want us to go to hell He has placed roadblocks on the road to hell to stop us, to arrest our attention, to get us to turn around. This morning I would like to look at four of those roadblocks that God had put in the road that leads to hell:
Roadblock #1: His Love
The first roadblock is His love. In the scriptures, God presents Himself as a loving Father (Luke 11:2) who cares for His children (Hosea 11:3-4). He demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners He sent His son to die for us (Romans 5:8). My friend, in the middle of the road to hell stands a roadblock in the form of a cross. It is the testament of God’s love for you designed to keep you from going to hell.
But, as with all roadblocks there are times when we try to get around them. The same is true with the cross of Christ. Paul talks about people who reject God’s love because of the hardness of their own hearts (Romans 2:4-10). And the Hebrew writer (who was writing to a group of people who were not heeding God’s roadblocks) says that some Christians will crucify Christ again in the way they try and go around God’s roadblock of love (Hebrews 6:4-6). Additionally he says they will be punished for profaning the blood of Christ, the symbol of His love (Hebrews 10:29-31).
Roadblock #2: His Word
The second roadblock for us to consider is the roadblock of His word. Paul told Timothy that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16) Best kind of test I ever took in school was an open book test. I could pass an open book test. Do you realize that life is an open book test? In the last day we will be judged (receive our grade) based on the words of this book (John 12:48). He has told us how to live so as to receive a heavenly reward. His word is a roadblock.
But some people have tried to remove the roadblock of His word. People like Jehoiakim tried to burn the words of God (Jeremiah 36:21-25). Others have just cutout of their bibles the passages they do not want to believe. Such as the time a preacher tried to teach baptism to a person who had cut out Acts 2:38 from their bible so they wouldn’t have to believe it.
Roadblock #3: His People
The third roadblock for us to consider is the roadblock of His people. God places His people in the way of the sinner as a roadblock to turn them from the error of their way (James 5:20). Everybody here is the product of some Christian taking an interest in them and showing them the way. For some it was their parent(s) or a family member (2 Timothy 1:5; Acts 16:32-33). For others it was a preacher (Acts 17:1-4). Or maybe it was some special friends who more accurately explained God to you (Acts 18:26-28). And certainly God uses His church, the collection of His people, to stir up love and good works that we might remain faithful (Hebrews 10:24-25). God uses His people as roadblocks.