Summary: Eternity without God should lead us to shout, "There is nothing in hell that I want!" Yet, far too many of those living about us act as though there is something wonderful about hell. If that were not so, wouldn't we seek to please the Lord? There is nothing in hell that I want.

“There was a rich man who dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. But at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus whose body was covered with sores, who longed to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. In addition, the dogs came and licked his sores.

“Now the poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. And in hell, as he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far off with Lazarus at his side. So he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in anguish in this fire.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things and Lazarus likewise bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish. Besides all this, a great chasm has been fixed between us, so that those who want to cross over from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ So the rich man said, ‘Then I beg you, father—send Lazarus to my father’s house (for I have five brothers) to warn them so that they don’t come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they must respond to them.’ Then the rich man said, ‘No, Father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He replied to him, ‘If they do not respond to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” [LUKE 16:19-31 NET BIBLE] [1]

Reverend W. Leo Daniels, a great preacher of a bygone era, relates an incident from his childhood years in Texas. He was determined to become a successful shoeshine boy. The man for whom he worked asked him to go next door for some change. When he walked into the shop next door, the store owner growled at him, “Boy, what you doin’ coming in through that door? You know you’re s’posed to come in the back door!” When the young boy got to the back, the barber snarled, “Now, what in hell do you want?” The young man responded to the snarled demand, “Nothing.” And with that, he turned and walked out. Rev. Daniels commented that that experience was the end of his shoeshine career. He commented that he wanted nothing in hell.

“And in hell, as he was in torment…” We often pass over Jesus’ words so rapidly that we miss what was said. No doubt each Christian, each one attending church on a regular basis, has heard at some time the story Jesus told of a rich man and a poor man. Their lives intersected for a period, but beyond this moment we call “now,” their lives deviated dramatically. As we examine Jesus’ words on this occasion, bear in mind that the account Jesus provided was not the recitation of a parable. Jesus speaks in the present tense as He relates what took place; that would not be the case in a parable. Jesus provided us with a name—Lazarus, and that would not be the case if this were a parable. In short, there is a man named Lazarus even now rejoicing in the presence of the Lord. And there is a man who once had it all in this life, and that man is in torment even now.

With this message, I am seeking to confront the individual who is moving inexorably toward eternity, and that person is yet separated from the love of God. Perhaps that person is you? To such a one, I ask, “What is there in hell that you want?” The message is intended to confront the woman who has played at being a church member without ever receiving the grace of God in Christ the Lord. “What do you think is of such eternal worth that you would go to hell to find it?” The message is meant to challenge the man who has become cavalier about hell. “What in hell do you want?” is the question that requires an answer from that man. May God be glorified as His Spirit challenges each of us to think soberly, to think clearly, about where the lost will spend eternity. May He prompt each of us to look to Christ for mercy and for salvation. Amen.

WHERE LIFE IS LEADING EACH OF US — Life for each of us is moving inexorably toward death. We are born dying, and death will definitely come to each of us. Sir Walter Scott has presciently observed, “Come he slow or come he fast it is but death that comes at last.” Here is the great tragedy—Death doesn’t end it all! We know this is true, and yet we live as though somehow death is the end of everything. Intuitively, we realise we must one day give an accounting to the Living God, and somehow the reality of that knowledge fails to stir our hearts.

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