Summary: This message is in response to a recent book published by Rob Bell that questions the doctrine of Hell. This sermon is a fresh look at what the Bible says about Hell.
The reality of Hell
In a national poll conducted several years ago by USA Today “67% of American adults said they believe in a hell. But less than 25% believed that they would go there, while 25% believe their friends will be there
In one article for Newsweek Kenneth Woodward wrote, "Churchgoers take comfort: hell has all but disappeared from modern Christian theology.
Last month there was a book published by Rob Bell,, who is the pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville Michigan. The title of the book is Love Wins: Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.
In this book Rob Bell questions whether or not God sends anyone to hell. His logic is that is God is love and God wants everyone to be saved that ultimately. God will win over evil hence the title Love wins. Yet, Bell stops short in calling himself a universalist, which is someone who believes that everyone goes to heaven. The book really ask a lot questions but gives no answers and is written in a way that brings doubt to fundamental Christian beliefs.
Bible teacher John Macarthur says that Bell disavows the hard truths and ridicules the the most important features of the gospel and he also says that he is a wolf in sheep clothing that is to be avoided. Because what he has written is nothing like New Testament Christianity. It is a man-centered religion totally devoid of both clarity and biblical authority.
Theologian John Piper upon hearing of Rob Bells book simply posted one sentence on his Internet blog- “Farewell Rob Bell.”
This morning I don’t want to spend our time together critiquing Bell or his position on hell, because in the end it doesn’t matter what Rob Bell says, or John Macarthur, or John Piper. In the end it only matters what the Bible has to say about heaven and hell and eternity. Our opinions of God, our opinions of heaven and hell do not have the power to change reality
I do want to say that there is some good that has come out of Bell’s book and that good is that there are churches all throughout the world that are preaching on this topic this month in response to this book being published.
It should also be noted that Christian book publisher Zondervan who publishes the NIV Bible refused to publish the book love wins because they said it did not align with their mission statement which is to publish material that glorifies Jesus Christ.
-To understand this passage here this morning you have to back up a few verses to 13 &14
Luk 16:13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money."
Luk 16:14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him.
The Pharisees had ridiculed Jesus for his teaching, so in response he gives them the story of these two men- the rich man and Lazarus the beggar and he pulls the curtain back and he lets us see the other side of the grave in the most vivid of ways.
-One thing to point out if you are using a KJV of the bible it gets a little confusing at times because when the KJV was translated the word “Hell” was used as a generic word to mean the unseen place of the dead. So in the KJV the word “Hell” may mean the grave, the bottomless pit, or Gehenna which is the place of eternal torment. That’s why if you have a newer translation this word in verse 23 is translated as Hades the unseen place of death.
In this passage today we have a story that Jesus told, some people debate whether or not it’s a parable or an actual account of something that happened, but that’s irrelevant to the discussion
You have a rich religious man who in this life seems to have it all and you have a beggar who in this life is suffering. Then they both die and there is a great reversal of circumstances that take place.
The rich man is tormented, and the beggar is living in pleasure.
The Bible makes it very clear that those who reject Christ and live for themselves in this world will one day be judged and will be tormented in a place called hell or often referred to as a lake of fire. One day there will be a resurrection of both the saved and the unsaved. The saved will be spend eternity in Heaven with our Lord in a perfect, holy place and the unsaved will be cast away from God and his presence.