Summary: In Christ, we have the way of escape from the agonies of hell and the only way to the promises of heaven. This is what we celebrate during Communion.
“The Promises of Heaven and the Agonies of Hell”
Living with the Reality of Heaven and Hell Series
(verses taken from NKJV unless noted)
Wakelee Church ~ October 3, 2004
Theme: In Christ, we have the way of escape from the agonies of hell and the only way to the promises of heaven. This is what we celebrate during communion.
I. Introduction – A letter from a departed husband…
A couple from north Oklahoma decided to go to Florida for a long weekend to thaw out during one particularly icy winter.
Because they both had jobs, they had difficulty coordinating their travel schedules. It was decided that the husband would fly to Florida on Thursday, and his wife would follow the next day.
Upon arriving as planned, the husband checked into the motel. He decided to open his laptop and send his wife an e-mail back home. However, he accidentally left off one letter in her address, and sent the e-mail without realizing the error.
In Houston, a widow had just returned from her husband’s funeral. He was a pastor of many years who had been called home to glory. The widow checked her e-mail, expecting messages from relatives and friends. Upon reading the first message, she fainted and fell to the floor.
The widow’s son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:
TO: My loving wife
FROM: Your departed husband
SUBJECT: I’ve arrived!
MESSAGE: I’ve just arrived and have been checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. I am looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.
P.S. Sure is hot down here!
Where we go relies entirely on our decision making. C.S. Lewis once wrote:
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done", and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done". All that
are in Hell choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.[C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, ch. 9]
And I would go one further to say that without that self-choice there would be no Christianity. It amazes me that some preachers, who claim to preach the Good News message every Sunday, will neglect warning their congregations about the bad news.
Think about it…if there was no bad news would we need the good news?
II. The Agonies of Hell (Luke 16)
It may or may not surprise you to know that the person in the bible who spoke the most often (and in the most graphic terms) about hell, was not one of the fiery Old-Testament prophets, or John the author of Revelation, but Jesus himself. 12 times in the gospels Jesus talks in explicit terms about hell. (More than any other single Bible person).
A Place of Suffering – (vs. 23-24)
A Place of Fire – (v. 24)
A Place of Punishment – (v. 25)
A Place of Abandonment with No Hope – (v. 26)
Reading from Revelation 21:1-22:5
But there is a different option…and our lay speakers would like to share with you what the Bible has to say about that option… (Lay speakers read Rev. 21:1-22:5 responsively)
Did you see it? Did you see what heaven is going to be like?
III. The Promises of Heaven (Revelation 21:1-8)
A Place of Newness – (vs. 1, 5)
A Place of Togetherness (v. 3)
A Place of Overcomers (vs. 4, 7)
A Place of Providence (v. 6)
But it’s a place reserved. While all have received the invitation, not all will make the reservation.
IV.Conclusion –“The Thinker”
THINKING ON HELL- COMMUNION MEDITATION
Maybe you’ve seen the famous sculpture "The Thinker." The statue was originally created in 1880 as part of Auguste Rodin’s larger work ’The Gates of Hell’, an ornamental door for a proposed Palace of Decorative Arts.
What is the thinker thinking about? According to the artist "the Thinker" is sitting in mute amazement as he contemplates lost people in hell.
When we come around the Lord’s Table, we become "Thinkers" also. We contemplate the Body of Jesus that was broken for us and the blood that He shed for our forgiveness. We remember that "...Having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him."
[SOURCE: Timothy Peck, edited for communion by SermonCentral staff. Citation: Larry Dixon, The Other Side of the Good News, pg. 11. (Bridgepoint, 1992)]
The choice remains ours. And it is our responsibility to share that choice with others.
It is in Christ, we have the way of escape from the agonies of hell…
and it is in Christ that we have the only way to the promises of heaven.