Summary: Today is Halloween. The day when we think about scary places like graveyards and haunted houses. I thought it would be pertinent to talk about a place that’s scarier than any graveyard or haunted house. Today I’m going to talk about a place called Hell.
THE SCARIEST PLACE OF ALL
INTRODUCTION: Today is Halloween. The day when people talk about scary things like ghosts, witches and vampires. The day when we think about scary places like graveyards and haunted houses. I thought it would be pertinent to talk about a scary subject on this scary holiday. In fact, there is no subject more frightening. Today I want to talk to you about a place that’s scarier than a graveyard or haunted house. I’m going to talk to you today about a place called Hell.
1) Hell is a real place.
• Some people believe hell isn’t an actual place but just an anguished state of existence. If you want to follow that logic then perhaps heaven isn’t a literal place but rather a blissful state of existence. And therefore, God and Satan aren’t literal beings either, just personas. Some would have us believe that all of this is just a figment of our imaginations. If that’s true I guess I’ve got nothing to lose. I live my life striving to practice good principles and then I die and that’s it. But, if I’m right and you’re wrong you have everything to lose. So, it’s a win-win for me either way. The same can’t be said of you though. The chance that hell doesn’t really exist is not one I’m willing to take. To Hell and Back-pg 432. The bible illustrates Hell in literal terms. In the New Testament the word ‘hell’ is also translated as the Greek words, ‘Gehenna’ which means, ‘the place of punishment’ and also ‘Hades’ which means, ‘the place of the dead’. Jesus describes it in Matt. 8:12 as a place where there is darkness and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. In Matt. 25:41 he explains it as eternal fire and in verse 46 as eternal punishment. In Mark 9:48 Jesus depicts hell as a place where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus. Both had died and Lazarus went to ‘Abraham’s side’ which is another way to say, ‘the home of the righteous’, and the rich man went to hell. He described it in vs. 24 as ‘being in agony in the fire’ and in vs. 28 as ‘a place of torment’. Rev. 20:14-15 talk about it being a lake of fire. And anyone whose name was not found in the book of life was thrown into it. And 21:8 says it is a fiery lake of burning sulfur. Hell is a real, literal place.
2) Hell is real scary place.
• One reason hell might not scare us is because we believe we’re not going there. If we believe we’re automatically going to heaven we don’t need to think about hell. The reality however, is found in Romans 3:10, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” And in verse 23 we read, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That word all is sobering. That means everyone sins so no one is exempt from this fate. But we might accept the fact that we’re sinners but still think we haven’t done anything to deserve hell. “Well, I might have sinned but I didn’t do anything that bad?” The problem with that is we judge by a different standard than God does. We judge by a system of checks and balances. If our good deeds outweigh our bad ones we should be granted access into heaven. First of all, have you really been keeping track of your deeds all along to know the ratio? Second, it just doesn’t work that way. God’s system of judgment is on a basis of holy vs. unholy, righteous vs. unrighteous, sinner vs. saint. God, in his holy nature cannot look upon sin with favor. That’s why when Adam and Eve sinned against God he banished them from the Garden of Eden. Isaiah 59:2 says that our sins have separated us from God. Therefore, just like Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden for disobeying God’s command, we too are separated from Him because of our sin. And just as in Gen. 2:17 when God told Adam if he disobeyed him he would die, so too when we sinned against God we became spiritually dead as Ephesians 2:1 tells us. And since we’re spiritually dead, if we stay that way and we die then we will be eternally separated from God. Then, unfortunately, the idea of hell suddenly becomes our reality.
• Another reason hell might not scare us is because if I think there’s a chance I might end up there, it’s won’t be that bad. Hell is even thought of as a place of destiny; like it’s going to be one big party with all my friends. In 1979, AC/DC released an album titled, “Highway to Hell”. The title song by the same name became one of the band’s most popular songs. The lyrics personify too many people’s attitude toward hell: ‘Living easy, living free; Season ticket on a one-way ride. Asking nothing, leave me be; Taking everything in my stride. Don’t need reason, don’t need rhyme; Ain’t nothing I'd rather do. Going down, party time; My friends are gonna be there too. I’m on the highway to hell.’ No stop signs, speed limit; Nobody’s gonna slow me down. Like a wheel, gonna spin it; Nobody’s gonna mess me round. Hey Satan, paid my dues; Playing in a rocking band. Hey momma, look at me; I’m on my way to the promised land. I’m on the highway to hell.’ Interestingly, within a year after this album’s release, their vocalist, Bon Scott, died after a night of partying. I wonder if his own lyrics came back to haunt him. Satan loves it when we minimize hell. Hell doesn’t scare us because we’ve watered it down and make it more bearable; we’ve made it into something it’s not. Instead of protecting ourselves from facing the reality of hell, we need to come out of denial and get a handle on the magnitude of its evil and grasp the severity of its torment.