Summary: Is there anyone who still believes in Hell?
“Who in Hell Does the Church Need?”
TEXT: Luke 16:19-28
“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
In 1996, the Church of England issued a theological report on Hell…
The report proposes that if there is a Hell, it is empty.
The report says:
“In the past the imagery of hell-fire and eternal torment and punishment…has been used to frighten men and women….”
“Hell is not eternal torment, but is the final and irrevocable choosing of that which is opposed to God so completely that the only end is total non-being.”
It used to be that the vast majority of Christians, regardless of denominational affiliation, believed that Hell was a real place where the wicked and the sinner go when they died.
The very thought of the pains and torments of Hell was enough to scare sinners straight.
It used to be that ministers of the Gospel would preach on the horrors of Hell to persuade reprobates to repentance.
But not anymore.
Most American mainline churches stopped preaching about Hell years ago.
Most mainline ministers stopped believing in Hell years before that.
Roughly 80% of many mainline preachers do not believe in a LITERAL HELL… (according to a survey taken by Christianity Today magazine)
Preaching about Hell makes people uncomfortable.
Hell is too “old-fashioned.”
Hell damages people’s self-esteem.
The topic of Hell is bad for the bottom line…
filling pews & the offering plate.
I. Is There Anyone Who Stills Believes in HELL?
a) Satan believes in Hell…
1. That is why he is working so diligently while he still has time, to drag as many souls as he can to Hell with him!
2. The demons Jesus cast out of people believed in Hell and pleaded with Him not to send them there.
b) Jesus certainly believed in Hell.
1. The top three topics our Lord spent most of His time speaking about in His earthly teaching ministry were money and material possessions, Hell, and the Kingdom of Heaven.
His constant admonition to His hearers was this:
“Do whatever you must to avoid Hell.”
Hell may be in your future even if you are presently prospering.
In 1993, President Clinton named Kristine Gebbie, a lesbian, as the new AIDS czar. Four months later she spelled out her perceptions on traditional morality.
She said, “The United States needs to view human sexuality as an essentially important and pleasurable thing. Until it does so, we will continue to be a repressed, Victorian society that misrepresents information, denies homosexual sexuality, particularly in teens, and leaves people abandoned with no place to go. I can help just a little bit in my job, standing on the White House lawn talking about sex with no lightning bolts falling on my head."
This lady reasoned that since she was doing all right at the moment, then everything must be all right.
Today you may be healthy, prosperous, and successful but that does not mean everything is ok with God.
You may live in a two-story house and go on extravagant vacations around the world but your final trip may still be to Hell.
You can be a member of the church, a deacon, elder, or even a pastor and still go to Hell.
Your present status is no indicator of your future destiny.
II. HELL is no joke!
a) A place of eternal FIRE… (Luke 16:24)