Summary: Hell is an unpopular subject you don't hear much preaching about anymore. But I must speak about hell because the Bible speaks about hell.
Before George Carlin or Woody Allen ever said, it comedian Sean Morey spoke these words on the Johnny Carson show in the 1980s. “I think that the life cycle is backwards. You should die first; get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You are kicked out when you’re too young. You get a gold watch and you go to work. Then you work forty years until you are young enough to enjoy your retirement. You go to college; you party until you’re ready for high school. Then you become a kid; you play all day with no responsibilities. You become a little boy or a little girl. Then you spend your last nine months floating. And you finish off as a gleam in someone’s eye.”
It might be nice to think about living life backwards, but the truth is we’re all growing older. Because we are slaves to chronos, or chronological time, we are moving closer to the moment when we will meet the Lord, either in physical death or in the rapture, when Jesus returns. We are exactly one day closer to our deaths, or the rapture than we were this time yesterday.
Paul visited the city of Thessalonica to establish a church. By the way, a few weeks ago, we had a couple from Greece visit Green Acres and they told me they were from the city of Thessalonica. They reported that there are many believers there to this day.
Paul got run out of town by a mob after only two weeks, but he stayed in touch with the new Christians there through his letters and through Timothy. Paul preached that Jesus was going to return soon. When some of the believers started dying, their loved ones were confused and heartbroken. They thought they had missed the big event. They wondered if they would ever see their loved ones again. That’s still a question family members are asking. “Will I see my Loved Ones again?” Paul’s answer to believers was a resounding “Yes!”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.”
Let me give you some statistics on death in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 2.5 million Americans die every year. That means during the hour we’re together, about 300 Americans will die from disease, by accident, or violence. Of course, the CDC doesn’t factor in the one million babies aborted every year in the U.S, and when you add those numbers, about 425 Americans will die every hour.
The three states that lead in the number of abortions are: New York, Florida, and Texas. Abortion is the leading cause of death in America. About 600,000 Americans will die from heart disease this year, and about 550,000 will die from cancer. But a million beating hearts will be stopped by abortion. How can this be in a country where our Declaration of Independence says that one of the inalienable rights God has given us is life?
So, I encourage you to join Representative Matt Schaefer and other pro-life proponents at the Stand4Life Rally tomorrow evening, July 8, at 7:00 p.m. on the south steps of the Capitol Building in Austin. The pro-abortion crowd was yelling, “Hail, Satan” this past week while pro-lifers were singing “Amazing Grace.” We need to show up in large numbers, but we also need to show the grace and love of God to those who disagree.
Speaking of statistics, here’s one. Did you know that 78.9% of all statistics are made up on the spot? But there’s one statistic about death that isn’t made up: 1 out of 1 people die. If the Lord tarries, all of us have an appointment with death. This is one appointment you won’t miss or you won’t be late for!
When I was in college, I had forty or fifty scripture memory cards to help me hide God’s Word in my heart. One I’ve never forgotten is Hebrews 9:27, which says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”