Summary: Looks at the spiritual realities versus worldly realities - and answers the question ’is there a literal hell?’
What about hell?
Eternal Realities (2nd Co. 4:16-18)
Good morning. Do you believe in a literal hell? An American survey revealed that just one-half of 1% expects to go to Hell upon their death. Try to talk to someone about hell and the reply you get will not be positive. Jesus talked about hell more that heaven.
One person told me that they believed when you die that is it. The world teaches there is no literal hell. That is the message your children are getting out there. Is there an afterlife? Let’s listen to common beliefs in our world.
Everybody wants to know the answer to that question. What happens after I die?
The Bible tells us what we see is not going to last. My body is not going to last. That’s obvious. This building is not going to last, that is obvious. Our cars are rusting out.
The things that are going to last are things we can’t see. We can’t see God, angels, God’s Holy Spirit, heaven. The Bible says those things are going to last forever. The Apostle Paul says ‘fix your eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Paul’s point is spiritual realities are forever; physical realities are temporary.
What are the realities of life that the Bible teaches?
First I want us to look at five spiritual realities. We’ve covered these in the Purpose Driven Life but they are foundational.
1. The first reality of life is this: God made you to love you.
And He wants you to learn to love Him back.
You were made by God and you were made for God. Until you understand that, life isn’t going to make sense. Life is all about God and His glory. There has never been a person made that God doesn’t love, so show God’s love to everyone you meet. Not only does God love you, He’s given you the capacity to learn to love Him back. That’s the first purpose of life – to learn to love God back.
Jesus summarized all the great commandments “Love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.” It’s all about love. So God says I made you to love you and I want you to learn to love Me back.
God says this in the book of Jeremiah 31:3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love. And with unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself.” God loves you. So don’t pull away from God because He wants you to know and love Him back.
2. The second great reality of life is this: you were made to last forever.
One day your heart, my heart is going to stop. But it is certainly not going to be the end of me. The Bible says that God made you. It says this in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “God has planted eternity in the human heart.” That’s why everyone has a spiritual longing, an emptiness inside. Many people think ‘there’s got to be more than this.’
They are right. It is heaven. You’re going to spend far more time on the other side of death than on this side. But life after death is forever.
When you watch the Olympics they have years of preparation for the real event. This life is the warm up act for heaven, the real event. Make things right with every Christian here and now. You’re going to spend all eternity together living in the same house – heaven.
The Bible says that life is preparation for eternity. And He put eternity in your heart. You were made to last forever.
3. The third great reality is that God has prepared two eternal places – heaven and hell.
Heaven is real and hell is real. They are not like the movies – a place to float around in the clouds. That is boring. They are literal places. There’s a real place called heaven and there is a real place called hell.
Jesus said this in John 14:2-3 “I’m going to prepare a place for you.”
Heaven is not an accident. It’s a prepared place. He says “I’m going to prepare a place for you.
And who is heaven prepared for? It says, for you. God prepared it for His family. He says “And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am you may be also.” He says where I’m going I want you to go too. Heaven is a place in the presence of God.
Earth is not your permanent resting spot. Red Lake is not your permanent home. I’m grateful that we don’t live forever on this planet. Why? Because this planet is broken because of sin, suffering, sorrow, sickness, evil.