Summary: A sermon on the reality of Hell.
WHY BELIEVE IN HELL?
INTRO: Dante wrote Divine Comedy in the 14th century. He is the chief character. In the epic poem, Dante is lost in a dark forest which symbolizes his own unworthy life, and the evil he saw in society. On Good Friday, he meets Virgil, a Roman poet, who promises to lead him out of the forest. They reach Hell, where Dante sees suffering individuals tormented by monsters and devils (World Book Encyclopedia).
People today scoff at the mention of a literal Hell. People in Jesus’ day believed in Hell. Jesus spoke of Hell (gehenna— ãåçåííá). He warned the people about it. He told his disciples to fear Hell. When we forget about Hell today, it is because Satan has blinded our eyes to the awfulness of it. When a person follows or is in the control of someone like Satan, he doesn’t tell them about the bad.
I. THE DISCIPLE IS LIKE HIS TEACHER (vv. 24-25).
Jesus has been instructing his disciples about their work. He is telling them the cost of their discipleship. He tells them that they will be associated with their teacher, and what they say reflect the training they have had. They will give witness to what they have been taught.
ILLUS: Our convictions today are what we have heard in the past by our Sunday School teachers, pastors, etc. Think about the former pastors you have had and how you have seen their preaching improve and reflect what they have been taught.
The same thing applies to us. We are showing the world whose disciple we are. The attitudes we have, the vocabulary we use, the things we do show our training. It tells the world whether we have been the disciples of Christ or of Satan.
II. ALL THINGS ARE REVEALED (vv. 26-27).
Jesus was having private teaching sessions with his disciples, but he instructed them to shout from the housetops what was being told them in private. Christianity is not a secret religion. Jesus said that everything would be revealed, nothing hidden.
ILLUS: In the early days of the history of our country, a town crier would announce to the people what a person had done who was being placed in stocks as punishment.
All of our secret sins, all of those unchristian actions, every idle word we have spoken will be made known.
Instead of telling our friends and neighbors the latest piece of juicy gossip, we should be warning them of the dangers of Hell. We have been instructed to shout it from the housetops the same as the disciple.
III. FEAR THE ONE WITH THE POWER OF HELL (v. 28).
Jesus is telling them not to fear Satan but God. He is the one with the power over life and death. The disciples would face the persecutions of men, but they should be afraid of God’s judgment rather than man’s threats. Destroy as used here does not mean annihilation, but eternal punishment in gehenna (ãåçåííá).
ILLUS: Our nation is afraid of North Korea and Communist China. We ought rather fear God’s judgment than Communist threats.
We act as if we don’t fear God. We live our lives as if we didn’t believe in a God who controls man’s future. There is a literal Hell and God will condemn those who reject Him into that place of eternal punishment.
ILLUS: Some time back 20/20 reported that a mountain in West Virginia had been afire from inside for twenty-five years. This fire is a coal fire. The mountain is slowly crumbling away and may eventually fall on a village below.
The mountain is also emitting dangerous fumes that are slowly killing the people. The villagers will not leave their roots.
One man said “This is a Hell on earth.” Another said, “Even if the mountain falls, I would rather die than leave.” As bad as this is, it does not compare to the everlasting Hell that awaits those who leave this world without Christ.
CONC: Who have you been a disciple of this past week? What things have you done that you would not want revealed? ILLUS: A young man at one of the iron works at Sheffield, Ala, was thrown accidentally on a red-hot armor plate. When he was rolled off by fellow workmen, it was doubtful that he would live.
His work mates cried, “Send for a doctor.” But the suffering man cried: “Never mind the doctor. Is there anyone here who can tell me how to be saved? I’m dying without God. Who can help me?”
Although there were three hundred men around him, no one could tell him the way of salvation. After twenty minutes of agony, he died.
One man who witnessed the accident and heard the cries of the dying man was inactive in his church. When someone asked him later about the accident, he said, “I have heard those cries ever since, and I wished I could have stooped down and pointed him to Jesus, but my life closed my lips.” Does your life close your lips to those around who need to know about God? Can he count on you to be his disciple? If not, why not?