Summary: A look at some of the basics of why there has to be a hell.
- Hell is a subject that most Christians (and preachers) would just as soon avoid.
- Hell is one of the most difficult subjects in the Bible. What do you do with the mocking “God is love and if you don’t love Him He’ll send you to hell!”?
- We’re going to address this subject this morning as we see Jesus close out His parable with some disconcerting words.
Would Jesus Really Condemn Someone To Hell? The person who talks the most about hell in the New Testament is Jesus.
- Luke 19:27.
- Of the 12 times the word “gehenna” (a Greek term for hell) is used in the New Testament, 11 of those came from the mouth of Jesus.
- References to hell or judgment in Luke: Luke 3:9, 17; Luke 10:12-16; Luke 12:5; Luke 13:3, 5, 8-9, 28; Luke 14:24; Luke 16:19-31 (esp. v. 27); Luke 17:1-2; Luke 19:27; Luke 20:16, 47. [Go through these.]
- Just referring to these is an example (especially v. 27) of how frequently this was a subject that Jesus taught.
- We tend to ignore these passages, reading past them because they make us uncomfortable. But that doesn’t make them any less prevalent.
- Many of us want to recreate Jesus into someone who was completely non-judgmental, non-confrontational, and focused only on preaching love. The simple fact is, though, that is not the true picture of Jesus.
- We have to be willing to understand Jesus for who He said He was, not who we wish He was.
Why Is Hell Even Necessary? Three reasons: 1. Genuine human freedom; 2. Need to judge evil; 3. Our unwillingness to give up our sin.
- No doubt there is a part of us that wishes that we could just cast aside the idea of hell. That would be pleasing in so many ways. Yet there are reasons that the existence of hell cannot be avoided.
- Knowing Jesus is a person of love, we can presume that He wouldn’t allow hell if it wasn’t necessary. Why, then, is it necessary?
1. Genuine human freedom.
- God has given us genuine freedom to do what we desire.
- Why would He do that? Because our love and our actions only count if we have the freedom to choose against God.
- If we didn’t have that freedom, then we would essentially be robots. Our love is meaningful only to the extent that we can choose not to love.
- Because God has given us that genuine freedom, there must be an outlet for those who in the end choose to reject God’s love and God’s offer of reconciliation. Hell, in its deepest sense, is a place away from God’s presence.
- The Bible uses images like fire and darkness to describe what hell is like, but ultimately the core of hell is the absence of God.
- In the end, God allows us to be ruled by what we choose.
- C.S. Lewis: People can either say to God “Thy will be done” or God will say to people “thy will be done.”
- It’s odd that so many people want to spend their entire lives on earth rejecting God’s will and God’s ideas, yet believe that spending an eternity with Him is something to look forward to.
- If you hated even thinking about God here on earth, what makes you think you’d enjoy being in a place inundated with His thinking?
- Comparison of doing something you hate (say, shopping) vs. doing something you love (say, golfing).
- If you dread being in the presence of God here on earth, what makes you think you’d enjoy being in a place inundated with His presence?
- Comparison of me being in my wife’s presence vs. being in the presence of a used car salesman.
2. Need to judge evil.
- A second reason that there has to be a hell is that God has promised to judge evil.
- This is something that we’re in favor of in the abstract. We hear of atrocities around the world and we want evil judged. We hear of horrific acts of personal violence and we want evil judged. We hear of children’s innocence lost and we want evil judged.
- We are not merely sympathetic to the idea - we’re enthusiastic for it.
- We are less enthusiastic, however, when it comes to our own evil. We have a laundry list of excuses to explain and justify our actions. Sure, we gossiped about that person, but who did it hurt? Sure, I looked at porn online, but what’s the big deal? Sure, I chose what was selfishly best for me, but doesn’t everyone do that?
- God has promised to judge evil. Both the world’s and our’s.