Summary: Because He died, we can live for eternity. We have the freedom to make a choice between eternal life and perishing.
• SLIDE #1
• Life is all about making choices. Our lives are what they are based on choices we have made throughout our lives up to this point.
• Generally if life is good, it is because we have made wise choices and if our life is a mess generally it is because we have consistently made bad choices.
• Sometimes things happen of no fault of our own, BUT how we deal with what life gives us is still up to us, it depends on how we choose to deal with what has happened to us.
• If you have raised or are raising your children, the issue of choice is a bit scary at times.
• Imagine that you have done all you could possibly do to raise your child right, then you send them to college and you HOPE! You HOPE they make the right choices.
• You pray for them, and you most likely bring your own parenting skills into question wondering if you did enough.
• As a parent, you can feel the joy of seeing your child grow up loving Jesus, having a great marriage of their own and seeing them succeed.
• For some you have felt the agony of seeing your child make bad choices all along the way, you feel pain for them, you hurt, cry and pray for them.
• Let us look at our John 3:16 passage again.
• SLIDE #2
• In this eye-opening passage we have thus far learned that God loves us, and His love for us led Him to give us His Son.
• We have learned that we are to respond to that love by believing in Him.
• Today we learn WHY we need to respond to Him in faith
• Just as this life is about choices, the next life is.
• WE have the choice between to eternal realities, hell (perishing) and Heaven (eternal life)
• On the bad side: Max Lucado states: Some people want nothing to do with God. He speaks; they cover their ears. He commands; they scoff. They don’t want him telling them how to live. They mock what he says about marriage, money, sex, or the value of human life. They regard his son as a joke and the cross as utter folly. They spend their lives telling God to leave them alone. And at the moment of their final breath, he honors their request: “Get away from me, you who do evil. I never knew you” (Matt. 7:23 NCV). This verse escorts us to the most somber of Christian realities: hell. (3:16- The Numbers of Hope- p.94)
• On the good, we find that God desires all to be saved, to be with Him for eternity! 2 Timothy 2:4
• Today let us begin by looking at the tragedy of hell.
• SLIDE #3
I. THE TRAGEDY OF HELL.
• This subject is one that people do not want to talk about; it is something that we make light of in many ways.
• We do not want to think about the possibility of an eternal punishment, and as for me, I do not like the thought either.
• Atheist Bertrand Russell states “I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment.”
• Or, as is more commonly believed, “A loving God would not send people to hell.”
• Before we go too deep we need to examine with is hell.
• SLIDE #4
A. What is hell?
• Hell is a place, it is a place that is totally void of God and totally void of any goodness, kindness, compassion or love.
• We look at just a few of the passages that give us insight as to what hell is all about.
• SLIDE #5
• Matthew 10:28 ( ESV ) And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
• Jesus is speaking in concrete terms, not hypothetical or using some cryptic figure of speech.
• He speaks of a real event in a real place.
• In Luke 16:19-30 we have the story of the rich man and Lazarus. In the story Jesus relays to us, the rich man was in eternal torment and Lazarus was in paradise at the side of Abraham.
• Listen to what the rich man had to say about where he was.
• SLIDE #6
• Luke 16:24 ( ESV ) And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’
• Words such as body, finger, and tongue presuppose a physical state in which a throat longs for water and a person begs for relief—physical relief.