Summary: What we believe about Hell is as important as what we believe about Heaven. What we believe about how to avoid Hell through the saving Grace of Jesus’ death and resurrection is as important as all other scriptural teaching.
What Everyone Should Know About Hell
When it comes to talking about Hell there are many different responses:
From Avoidance……………to Fear
From Minimizing…………to Over-Emphasizing
From Joking about it…………to Christians not caring if others are headed there
It’s amazing how some people avoid and minimize the topic of Hell during funerals. The secular culture that we live in seems to have collective amnesia when its time to eulogize their friends. Everybody in the county knows that Joe Schmo was a liar and cheat, adulterer and never gave God any credit or attention. Yet some preachers and most of his friends will assign him a big mansion in Heaven...because “don’t you know everyone goes there when they die except maybe Hitler and Osama bin Laden”.
We must not trust our Eternal Destiny to our culture or man’s opinion.
During his time on earth Jesus talked as much about Hell as He did about God’s Love. What does that tell you? That Hell is to be avoided at all costs!! But don’t miss the fact that though Hell got just as much press, God’s Love for us is more powerful and wonderful. Throughout everything you hear about Hell in these next moments, remember that God sacrificed His only begotten Son on the cross of Calvary “that whosoever would believe in him would have everlasting life..” and thereby avoid the consequence of hell fire.
When Jesus used Parables to make a point about spiritual truth, the topics he dealt with the most were Stewardship and Hell.
I. Hell is a Real Place Mark 9: 42-49
In this parable, we must understand the difference between what is real and what is figurative. Hell is a real place…whereas cutting anything off one’s body to avoid the place is figurative. No where in the scripture is it taught that salvation can be earned through mutilation or self-sacrifice. The looping off of hands or feet, or the gouging out of an eye is hyperbole…figurative to make a strong point.
In other words this is such a serous topic, we had better pay attention. This is such a serious topic that if the only way to avoid hell was to cut off an offending hand or foot or gouging out an eye, then it would be worth it figuratively! Avoid Hell at all costs!!
But since there is a sure-fire way to avoid Hell- by accepting Jesus as Savior because He died for us on the old rugged Cross - then we don’t have to rely on useless-self-sacrificing acts.
a. Upon death every person will appear before God for Judgment- Hebrews 9:27
b. God is the final authority to where people spend eternity- Matthew 10:28
c. Those who have rejected Christ will end up in Hell
II. Why does Hell Exist? Matthew 25:41
a. For the devil and his demons / angels – because of their disobedience
b. For unrepentant people- who made a free choice to live without God in their life while on earth…God would not force them to live with Him in Eternity.
c. For Righteousness Sake –sin cannot enter heaven because God is Holy
d. To support God’s Justice & the value of Christ’s death
III. What is Hell like? How does the Bible describe it?
Will it have a party atmosphere? Some people brag about how they will behave in hell-you’ve heard them… the “party hardy” crowd.
But I’ve got to tell you my friends there’s no big sign hangin’ in Hell that says “No Parties Allowed”, because no one will feel like it.
The Bible describes Hell with the term ‘Gheana’- a place of fire and terrible odor. Gheana was a dump outside of Jerusalem where refuse of every kind was thrown. During Old Testament times, not only was normal garbage placed there, but so were the dead bodies of animals and the remains of human sacrifices that were offered to false gods. It was the most wretched- putrefying – smelly place in all of Israel. And it burned day and night – it was the grossest place around with the smell of burning flesh wafting through the air.
a. A place of great eternal pain – Matt. 13:50- there will some kind of emotional, eternal and physical pain” – I don’t know how a spirit can be in agony, but God says so- so obviously it is possible.
Gnashing of teeth”- describes someone who is very angry, someone who has lost control, like the men who stoned Stephen to death- just before killing him they “gnashed their teeth” at him.
b. A place of darkness – Matt. 8:12- fire yet darkness- eerie, demonic
c. Bottomless- Rev. 20:1-2
d. A place of No Hope Luke 16:19-28 Rev. 20:1-2
IV. Who will end up there for Eternity?
a. The Surprised Matt. 25:41-46 I Cor. 6:9-11