Summary: The greatest concern of hell is soul winning; the greatest joy of heaven is soul winning; the greatest responsibility of Christians on earth beyond our personal relationship before God and our families is soul winning.

TEXT: Luke 16:27-31; Luke 15:1-7, 10; Mark 5:18-20


Luke 16:27-31 – The greatest concern of hell

Luke 15:1-7, 10 – The greatest joy of heaven

Mark 5:18-20 – The greatest responsibility of earth

These three things are really one and the same. The greatest concern of hell is soul winning; the greatest joy of heaven is soul winning; the greatest responsibility of Christians on earth beyond our personal relationship before God and our families is soul winning.

The Greatest Concern of hell

The rich man in hell had 2 concerns: (1) That maybe someway he might be relieved of his awful suffering. Abraham of course assured him that there was no way that he could ever be released. That tells us, that once a man dies, his character is fixed forever. When a man dies there is no second chance, there is no parole there is no reprieve, there is no appeal. His character is fixed forever. This man did not love God on earth; he didn’t love God in hell. He didn’t repent on earth, he couldn’t repent in hell. As a man dies, so he remains for all eternity. (2) This second concern overpowered the first. Since I cannot get out then I want you to make sure that somebody wins my 5 brothers so that they don’t come here. This man loved his 5 brothers on earth and he still loved them in hell.

Some have foolishly made the statement, “If I go to hell I will have plenty of company.” The truth is that people in hell don’t want anymore company. They don’t want anybody else to come and especially members of their own family. So he said I want you to do something to see that my 5 brothers get saved so that they don’t come where I am. What kind of place is hell if the people who are there don’t want to see anyone else come to that terrible place?

So we must conclude that the greatest concern of hell is for Christians on earth to win sinners so that they don’t go to that terrible place. The greatest concern of hell is soul winning.

Why is it that he now has such an interest in his brother’s salvation when he didn’t have that concern when he was on earth? It is obvious, he is now finally convinced that there is a judgment to face. He now knows from personal experience that there is a burning hell for men to spend eternity in. That knowledge made him want to see his brothers saved above everything else. Obviously he did not fully believe that there was a judgment to face when he was on earth or he would have been concerned about his brother’s salvation on earth.

I have a question to ask you now. Why is it that a majority of Christians especially in the U.S. are really not interested in winning people to Jesus Christ on a personal basis? The answer has to be that we have reached the time that we are no longer really convinced that there is a judgment to face and a place where people will spend eternity in hell. We know it as a doctrine, we accept it in theory. We say we believe it because the articles of faith teach us that we are supposed to believe it. But in reality, if I believe that a man is going to spend eternity in a burning hell I cannot meet him day after day and not do anything to try to keep him from going to hell. If every Christian could go to hell for 5 minutes and then come back we would evangelize the world in 5 months because then we would be convinced that there is a judgment and a place called hell.

There has been a shift, we are more concerned about the present than we are about eternity. We tell people how to live on earth today instead of how to live for eternity. We are more concerned about getting people to see what God can do for them now than what He can do for them in eternity. Don’t misunderstand me, God is interested in His people today. God does want you to make it through. But God is far more interested in where you are going to live in eternity. The main interest of Scripture is not on today but eternity.

The Bible says 10 times as much about hell as it does about heaven. There is a reason for that, because God wants to keep us reminded that there is a burning hell and that we will be soul winners if we are convinced of it.

Until you are convinced that men are lost and going to hell you will never be a soul winner.

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Mark Deckard

commented on Dec 14, 2018

I would question some of the conclusion regarding hell. If the story of the rich man and Lazarus is closely examined, there is nothing in the text to support the conclusion that no one can ever leave there. Abraham specifically identifies the powerlessness of both the rich man and himself to cross over the gulf between them. That is a very limited bit of information which cannot be extrapolated to mean hell is inescapable. In fact the Lord says to us that He holds the keys of hell and death. Also he holds the key of David and the doors that He closes no man can open and the doors that He opens no man can close. Therefor we must conclude that Jesus has the power to open and close hell as He so wills. What would cause Him to open hell? To throw people in? Yes. To bring people out? That is the question that should truly haunt us. Why does Jesus need to burn lost souls forever? How does that glorify Him? How is it that God is love towards all sinners but only as long as your heart is beating. Then when you die, if Jesus never captured your heart, that love turns to a hate so fierce and volcanic that he burns you forever. Therein lay the bigger problem for soul winning. Intellegent people find that image of God mythological and repulsive. As the world becomes more intellegent and critical in its think capacity, the threat of eternal hell becomes more and more a stumbling block for the gospel. For millenium most people were simple and uneducated and cowered under the authority of the church or the empires. They dare not ask such questions but merely accept or be punished. It was easy to beleive in a God who would burn you in hell forever when His church had been granted power to burn you at the stake. But civil rights as we know them forbids such barbarism yet our civil rights so refined are in fact the product of Christian teaching on love and value of humanity. So is freedom of thought and development of intellect and the doctrine of human rights the enemy of salvation? Yet these are the three forces that have brought the framework by which eternal conscious torment exists into serious disrepute. Of course appealing to the scriptures on hell depends not so much what God said, but what uninspired and even corrupt human translators say He said. Aionios Kolasis were the greek words chosen to represent the Aramaic that Jesus spoke. From there our English translators said it translates as eternal punishment. The problem is we dont know what Jesus said in His native toungue. Its a lost phrase in literature. What we do know is that he Pharisees according to Josephus did beleive in eternal torment. Their phrase in the Greek was Adios Timoria which means eternal torment. The greek attributed to Jesus was strikingly different. Aionios Kolasis to the greek expert would always translate, Age of Discipline. Kolasis was a word for punitive actions which was derived from an agricultural term used to describe the pruning of a tree to make it more fruitful and healthy. Aionios was used to speak of undetermined spans of time. Most often translated as and age. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbeleivers. Age is aionios. Satan could not be the god of eternity. So you see this opens up serious problems for the doctrine of eternal hell. Why else would Paul have said “God is the Savior of all men, especially those who beleive.” And again, “God has bound all men over to disobedience that He may have mercy on them all”. Yet again, “As through one man death came upon all men, so also through one man life comes to all men.” Hell is real. But it is not forever. To God be the glory for his unsearchable riches of mercy!

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