Summary: The Bible simply says, “....the rich man also died and was buried.” But the funeral must have been a grand affair. The rich man was most likely laid in the best casket, and there was a procession of mourners to accompany him to his grave . . .
Title: The Horrors of Hell
Text: (Luke 16:23)
Scripture Reading: (Luke 16:19-31)
Our text for today is Luke 16:19-31.
I want to read for you, the results of a poll taken by Time Magazine and CNN News. It was a telephone poll of 1,018 American adults who were asked these questions:
1. Do you believe in hell, where people are punished forever after they die?
• Yes: 63%
• No: 30%
2. Do people get into heaven based mostly on the good things they do or on their faith in God, or both (asked of 809 who believe in heaven):
• Good things they do: 6%
• Faith in God: 34%
• Both: 57%
3. Immediately after death, which of the following do you think will happen to you? (asked of 809 who believe in heaven):
• Go directly to heaven: 61%
• Go to purgatory: 15%
• Go to hell: 1%
• Be reincarnated: 5%
• End of existence: 4%
Billy Graham has been quoted as saying, “As hell was becoming for many no more than a swear word, sin was also an accepted way of life....If people can ignore what the Bible calls sin, then they can quite logically discount what it says about the reality of hell.”
One of the most solemn doctrines in the Bible is eternal punishment. During recent years, little has been written or preached on the subject of hell despite its prominence in the Bible, but we dare not neglect this matter. The well known Pastor of a Methodist church in Washington D.C. said, “My congregation would be stunned to hear a sermon on hell.” However, Jesus spoke more of hell than of heaven, and our text is one of His plainest statements on the subject.
Our text is the only passage in Scripture that describes the feelings of the unsaved after death.
Read Luke 16:19-31
19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.
20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,
21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.
23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’
25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.
26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house,
28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’
29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’
30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’
31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”
Friends, hell is a real place, and a horrible place.
I don’t believe anyone would want to go to there. But in 2004, too many people are acting like this rich man. They never think about it. They’re not worried about it, because life is good, and they are happy, at least by the world’s standard. And just like this rich man, the only thing between them and hell is life itself. I believe that I am talking to Christians, but just in case there is someone here who is not a believer, I am going to ask you to consider nine facts that can be found in these verses.
Consider The Place itself.
The Bible identifies hell as a specific place. One noted preacher told his congregation, “The Lord Jesus tells us plainly that after death the rich man was in hell, tormented with flame.” Another preacher defined hell as “that dark, obscure, and miserable place, far from heaven, where the wicked shall be punished forever.” The apostle John was given a revelation of heaven and hell, and he wrote this about what he saw, “The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”