Summary: Hell is real, but so is the salvation of the cross.
Title: Why Hell?
Text: 2 Peter 3.12-13
CT: Hell is real, but so is the salvation of the cross.
FAS: British evangelist Rico Tice says, "Loving people means warning people." He illustrates with the following personal story:
I was once in Australia visiting a friend. He took me to a beach on Botany Bay, so I decided I had to go for a swim. I was just taking off my shirt when he said: "What are you doing." I said: "I'm going for a swim." He said: "What about those signs?" And he pointed me to some signs I'd not really noticed— Danger: Sharks! With all the confidence of an Englishman abroad, I said: "Don't be ridiculous— I'll be fine."
He said: "Listen mate, 200 Australians have died in shark attacks— you've got to decide whether those shark signs are there to save you or to ruin your fun. You're of age—you decide." I decided not to go for a swim.
[Many of the words about hell found in the Bible] are all straight from Jesus' lips. And they're a loving warning to us. The reason Jesus talked about hell is because he does not want people to go there. The reason Jesus died was so that people wouldn't have to go there. The only way to get to hell is to trample over the cross of Jesus. That is a great motivator for our evangelism.
Rico Tice, Honest Evangelism (The Good Book Company, 2015)
We don’t like to talk about hell do we? We speak of it today by necessity not by choice. I didn’t decide to preach on hell to fire us up to go out and spread the word about hell. We don’t go around shouting out how bad hell is and the horror it will be for those who don’t know Jesus. Do we?
But maybe we should. There is an apocryphal urgency that those without Jesus stand to go to hell if the Day of the Lord comes too soon before they accept Jesus as their Savior. Not holding back today guys. We need Jesus to save us.
But hell is real and before we speak of hell we first need to speak of the basic goodness and fairness of God. To understand why there must be a hell we must look at the nature of God and who He is.
Who is God?
God is Creator. The world and all creatures are His. He has the authority to do with the world as he sees fit.
But in addition to this it must be stressed that God is loving. God has got to be tired of man’s disobedience and rejection of Him yet He makes a way for us to escape the wrath we so deserve. God has got to do something about the wickedness of the world.
As a holy God He cannot let it go or condone the behavior of wicked men. When people persist in doing evil and Gods looks upon them he is angry and has got to do something. The wrath of God is rightly poured on those who choose to follow the devil and live in moral darkness. God is capable of doing whatever He wants with them, but He does all He can to save them. Yet when they continue to reject and turn from Him to follow the ways of evil, God has no choice. Hell comes into play.
So today let’s look closer at whom God is. Next week we will look at what Jesus says about Hell itself. But today we look at why there has to be a hell.
In the beginning was God.
God is the Creator. He made the earth and all in it. If He chooses to destroy it He can.
2 Peter 3.12, as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.
God does it to release the earth from its bondage to decay.
Romans 8.21, that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
God created us in his own image and if we choose not to reflect that image God will have to deal with that.
David understood this, Psalm 24.1, The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
It is all His to do with as he so pleases.
But God is Loving. He showed His love for us even in the Garden of Eden. God’s love was shown in all He did at the creation.
God announced His love to His chosen people. Exodus 20.5-6, You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.