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A glimpse of Hell

 

A text transcript of the message preached at Elijah Ministries in March 2008

 

 

Good morning brothers and sisters…

 

The topic that’s been put on my heart this morning is a subject that the Lord has brought to my remembrance the last 4 or 5 times I’ve preached, but each time, I’ve gotten half way through the study, I’ve chickened out. And this time, it was no different - I got half way again, and was on the verge of quitting, but it occurred to me that I would be disobedient if I didn’t complete this sermon.

 

What I’m talking about is the subject of Hell, which is what we’re going to be studying this morning. It’s a burdensome subject and has a certain heaviness about it, but it’s a subject that needs to be tackled – not so much from the Christian walk perspective, but more from the point of view of being a tool to reach the unsaved.

 

It’s not a subject that people particularly want to hear and it’s not a subject that I particularly want to preach. But in obedience, so be it, and I pray that it would bless someone out there today.

 

 

Shall we pray:

 

Father we humble ourselves before you this morning and we thank you for the opportunity to worship you and the privilege of studying your Word.  I ask Lord that you would give us wisdom and understanding and that you would reveal to us the utter importance of our eternal destinies. Break our hearts as we consider the fate of the unsaved, and light our passion as we dream of our blessed hope, the inexpressible joy that awaits us in Heaven.

 

Do not let me stand in the way of your Word, Father. Let there be less of me, and much more of you. I pray this in Jesus name.

Amen.

 

The title of today’s sermon is a glimpse of Hell…. A glimpse of Hell…

 

and hopefully, if you are saved, you will be motivated this morning, to have a burden for the lost; and be encouraged to preach the Gospel to those who are headed to this awful place.

 

And if you are unsaved, may you see your urgent need of coming to Jesus for salvation this morning.

 

God help us to do what we need to do today!

 

 

Life after death, the afterlife – it’s one of the most important truths of Christianity. A truth that is often neglected in the church of today…  the truth that there is an afterlife, either in heaven or in hell. 

 

When I started studying this topic, it quickly became clear to me that the world doesn’t take this subject seriously at all. And this is one of the Devil's greatest victories. Over the years, the apostasy of mankind and his depravity, has made the fate of your eternal soul the source of jokes, clichés, and tired Hollywood movies. In the world out there, heaven and hell is a joke, no-one really takes it seriously.

 

Let me give you some examples…

 

How many jokes do we hear about St Peter and the pearly gates?

How many blasphemous movies have been made about heaven?

 

Heaven can wait…. Escape from Heaven… the comedy about the angel Michael… and the worst one yet, Bruce Almighty….

The afterlife is a soapbox…. Heaven has become a myth…. Unimportant.

 

 

Just consider the cliché’s that exist, the figures of speech, that are used in everyday language, trivially by most people.

 

The phrase, "All Hell broke loose" was coined by the poet Milton in Paradise Lost, which referred to the tragic consequences of the original sin. But in it, hell is still trivialized, made something less that what it really is.

Can you imagine if all hell really broke loose…? If all the demons in hell were let loose? The mere thought sends shivers up my spine…

 

Then General Sherman, made hell smaller than it is, when he told us in a famous speech that "War is Hell." Now having fought in a war myself… sure war is bad, it’s horrific and it’s tragic, …. but it’s not hell, nowhere near.

 

Then the idea that "Hell has no fury like a woman scorned" came to us from a play written in 1963, written by William Congreve. Now there is an element of Truth in that statement…. but Mr. Congreve apparently missed the fact that Hell is actually the fury of the Almighty God scorned.

 

In the 16th century, St. Frances de Sales, the patron saint of Roman Catholic writers, told us that Hell was full of good intentions. Samuel Johnson later informed us, that “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

 

Apparently, we can avoid Hell as long as we put our good intentions into action.

 

Ultimately, Heaven and hell have become trivialized, made unimportant, clichéd, and the source of many blasphemous jokes, all of which detracts from how important eternal destiny is to modern man. Hell is rarely even preached on anymore…

 

And sadly, if you do a Google search on heaven and hell, you will be disappointed to find that there are more pages that discuss homosexuality than discuss both heaven and hell combined. There are more pages that discuss stamp collecting than heaven and hell.

 

The only conclusion I can draw from this is that the modern mind finds this topic not only uncomfortable, but difficult to even think about.

When –a- critical- life- skill- like stamp collecting becomes more important than your Eternal destiny, it's another clear sign how really close we are to the end.

 

What happens after you die should never be reduced to a joke or dismissed as  a cliche. This morning, I want to assure you that there is an Afterlife. And I hope to show you too that Heaven and Hell are both very real places, and every single human will be going either to Heaven or to Hell, to spend all eternity there.

 

 

And Eternity is a long, long time. The question this morning then is, where are you going to be spending all eternity, because while you are still alive, you can determine your eternal destiny, while you are still alive, you still have that choice…

 

The bottom line is this….

 

·        if you walk out of here today and you haven’t made a decision to repent and place your trust in Christ, and God suddenly requires your soul, you’re not going to be seeing a tunnel of light to a happy place in the sky.

 

If the Lord requires your soul tonight, do you know where you’re going?

 

And if this is making you uncomfortable, I apologise, but here's the deal: sometimes we need a wake up call, a call to reality.

 

Without Christ and his gift of salvation, we are doomed and on our way to Hell… Forever. That’s the bottom line…

 

 

 

It’s crazy, but if you do a survey on whether people think they’re going to Heaven or Hell, 119 out of 120 people will say they’re going to heaven. 1 out of every 120 people will admit they are going to Hell!

 

 

Turn with me to Matthew 7:

 

Matthew 7:13  "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are… many who enter through it.  (14)  "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are…. few who find it. 

 Does this sound like most people are going to heaven? It says exactly the opposite to me! And why is that? How come people are so deceived on these critical statistics? I think the following verses give the reasons why…

Verse (15)  "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  (16)  "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?  (17)  "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  (18)  "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.  (19)  "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  (20)  "So then, you will know them by their fruits.  (21)  "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  (22)  "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'  (23)  "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

 

False prophets and false doctrine lead to bad fruit and bad conduct, or sin. Without proper doctrine, you cannot have proper conduct. Wrong teaching, wrong doctrine leads to wrong conduct and sin.

And what is critically important for us to recognize, is our own sinfulness, that our God hates sin, and that there is no place in Heaven for sin.

No place whatsoever, in heaven, for sin.

 

And the only way you can get rid of that sin is if you’re covered by the Blood of Christ's sacrifice. Without Christ dieing for your sin and the gift of salvation, your and my destiny is Hell. Forever.

 

 

Now most people, even heathens, believe that there is a heaven. But strangely, not very many people believe that there is a hell… and this is another reason why the statistics, on where people think they are going, are so skewed. Most people don’t even believe that hell exists.

 

Even some churches now teach, that hell is

·        just a figure of speech,

·        it’s just symbolism,

·        it’s interpretive – in other words, hell is whatever the individual reader makes of it or wants it to be,

·        They teach that it’s not really a literal place.

 

And so, with the comfortable doctrine that is prevalent in the church of the last days… the church of Laodicea… people are lulled into a false sense of security regarding their need for salvation, a false sense of comfort – comfortable Christianity – where the Word of God is true, but only when we feel like it.

 

They keep the good parts, the parts of how good and wonderful the loving promises of God are, (and that they certainly are), but they conveniently forget about the bad parts, the parts where

 

·        Judgement is also a promise of God,

·        where punishment of sin is also a promise of God and

·        where the very real Doctrine of Hell is either perverted or ignored, and swept under the carpet.

 

 

And as we learnt last week, these false messages all have covetousness as their basis… the doctrine preached depends on the size of the offering. The more they preach on what the people want to hear, the bigger the offering. So sorry PJ, we’re going to have 2 bad offerings in a row…!

 

The warnings of the Bible are not what people want to hear, it makes them uncomfortable when faced with these realities in God’s Word.

 

Instead people want to hear about

·        Revival, they want a new outpouring of the Spirit, where they actually allow themselves to become drunk with a familiar spirit, where they fall on the floor laughing and barking like dogs.

·        They want to rush around to wherever the latest anointing is, to where the latest prophet of the moment is.

·        They want to hear about how the healing pools of Bethesda have come to South Africa,

·        about how you can travel to a certain place every Wednesday night to be healed by a special prophet, right here in South Africa,

·        they only want to hear about miracles, signs and wonders and power.

·        They want to hear about being able to buy a miracle cloth and when you touch the cloth that you bought from the prophet, all you need to do is agree for your miracle, and it will happen.

·        They want to hear about being healed by the prophet, when you touch his face on the TV screen…

·        People want to hear about power, about  taking control of the world, about a purpose driven life, where they are so in control that one day they might consider inviting Jesus back…

 

The church of Laodicea, the church of today, is sadly more interested in hocus pocus than the Word of God, where unfortunately, the truths of eternal life are just swept under the carpet.

 

The Truth is…

There is an afterlife.

The Truth is …

that that afterlife is eternal…. Forever and ever and ever….

The truth is …

that Judgement is coming.

The Truth is….

that Hell is real.

And perhaps the greatest truth of all, is that Heaven is real.

 

It’s time to wake up.

I want to show you this morning that contrary to popular belief….

Hell is a very real place.

 

 

It’s interesting to note that throughout history, all societies have demonstrated a belief in and a desire for the afterlife. In all religions and beliefs, there is a goal, a reason for living, a desire for an afterlife. This desire, common to all people,  , is inborn, it’s innate, it’s natural, and it’s consistent in all cultures.

 

Humans have a desire for food, for happiness, for friendship, for love, for knowledge…. all these desires are completely natural and arise in us at an early age. I suppose you could compare it to instinct.

 

And in every case these natural desires point to a real object or reality. That’s the beauty of Creation, a desire in our heart points to something that needs fulfilment, something that can be fulfilled, why? because God created us that way.

And it’s just like that with heaven and our desire to find a meaning and a purpose to life.

 

Turn to Ecclesiastes 3…

 

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, He has made every thing beautiful in his time: also he has set the world in their heart, now the word “world” in the KJV is the Hebrew word “Olam”, which actually means eternity – he has set eternity in their hearts.

A much better translation of this verse therefore reads: 

He has made everything appropriate in his time; he has set eternity in their heart, yet, so that no man can find out the work that God makes from the beginning to the end.

 

What Solomon was saying is that there is an inescapable longing in the hearts of men, put there by God… a desire for something that this world cannot ever satisfy. Solomon tried to fill this inner void with work, alcohol, laughter, philosophy, music, sex, but his disillusionment just grew. He became more and more depressed. Only when he turned to thoughts of a final judgment and afterlife could he find something big enough to satisfy the longings of his heart. The entire book of Ecclesiastes was all about Solomon looking for the meaning of life and what was his conclusion….

 

Go to Chapter 12 of Ecclesiastes

 

Ecclesiastes 12:13  Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  (14)  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

 

And so it is true that at some point in their adult life, everyone will ask, "Is this what life is all about? Is this all there is? Surely there must be a reason to our existence."

And then they embark on a “spiritual” journey to try find the meaning of life, the reason we are all on this earth.

 

But the truth is that we don’t go looking for that reason, for the truth… we are actually just running away it.

The truth stares every human in the face. The glory of creation, nature and the stars all declare that there is a God. And if that wasn’t enough, eternity is written in all men’s hearts… so when someone goes off on a study to try become spiritually awakened, they are not looking for the truth, they are actually running away from it.

The truth is that you don’t have to go looking for God, He is there… all the time…. all the time, waiting for you to bow the knee…

 

If you are looking for the real meaning of life, I urge you to stop running away from it. It’s there all the time, staring you in the face. If you want to research what our purpose on earth is and who God really is – I urge you to pick up the Bible first, because the Bible says that all other religions are wrong, and by doing that, you will save yourself a lifetime of pointless study. You don’t have to go looking for God… He is there all the time, waiting for your commitment, for you to bow the knee.

 

And the mere fact that we ask these questions, points to a reality beyond this world. The desire reveals the reality.

 

And the reality is that there is more.

Life on earth is not what life is all about, life on earth is not all there is.

And we thank the Lord for that! Amen?

 

There is a reason for our existence. There is more.

Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for these desires exists.

 

 

CS Lewis said: If I find in myself a desire which has no experience that this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is, that I was made for another world. Hallelujah! What a fantastic truth for every human being.

We were made for another world.

 

And so, all humans have this desire that there is more to life, that there is an afterlife; And if this is true, then where your soul goes after death is a matter of, grave importance, ‘scuse the pun…..!

 

But lets look at this a bit closer….

 

 

Turn with me to Luke 16.

 

 

 

 

 

Luke 16:19  "Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day.  (20)  "And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores,  (21)  and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man's table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.  (22)  "Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.  (23)  "In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.  (24)  "And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.'  (25)  "But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.  (26)  'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.'  (27)  "And he said, 'Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father's house--  (28)  for I have five brothers--in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'  (29)  "But Abraham *said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.'  (30)  "But he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!'  (31)  "But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'"

 

 

Hell….. what a horrible thought!

 

This place of eternal torment where damned souls cry in vain for cool water, surrounded by flames they can never escape… ever!

This has got to be the most terrible and alarming fact in all the universe! The very possibility that such a doom exists, is so shocking, that no other question can compare with it in importance. Nothing on earth, whether wealth or poverty, sickness or health, pleasure or pain…. Nothing… can compare in importance with a million years of pain, torment of body, mind, and conscience?

 

It’s a staggering concept and for both saints and sinners alike - the question of Hell should be one of alarming importance. And we ought to learn about Hell to make sure we escape it ourselves, and to rescue others from it as well.

 

And how do we learn about Hell? The Bible is our only source of information about Hell - because man’s science knows nothing beyond death. Human experience does not reach beyond the grave. If men on earth want to know what is beyond this life, they have to learn it from God, because He is the only one who knows.

 

Jesus was the greatest preacher of all Bible preachers on the subject of Hell. His message of warning against the terrible consequences of sin was the plainest and sharpest in all the Bible.

 

If you are unsaved, I beg you to consider what God says about Hell.

 

There are 162 references to Hell and eternal judgment in the New Testament alone, and almost half of these, 70 to be exact, were spoken by the Lord Jesus! Consider just a few of them…:

 

·     Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell”.

·     Matthew 13:40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth”.

·     Mark 9:43  "If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having two hands, and to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched,  (44)  where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.

In a decomposing body, worms, the larvae of maggots eat the flesh off the bone – in hell, these maggots will cover you, but they will never die.

 

(45)  "If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having two feet, and be cast into hell,  (46)  where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched  (47)  "If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, and be cast into hell,  (48)  where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.

 

And there are many others…

 

 

You see, to Jesus, Hell was a fact, a terrible, horrific fact. He preached against sin and with a solemn warning. He urged men to flee from the wrath to come. Those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ, should be doing the same.

 

At the same time, warning against the lies of the devil… because it is the business of Satan to make men believe that sin will not be punished.

 

The devil tries to get men to believe

that there is no Hell, or

that Hell is just the grave, or

that Hell is just symbolic, just a figure of speech, not a literal place, or

that men who go to Hell will be burned up quickly without much pain, or

that they will have another chance to be saved, or

that, after all, God is too good to send anyone to Hell; a loving God would never send anyone to hell….

 

If he can get men to believe any of these things, to belittle the bible doctrine of hell, then the devil accomplishes his purpose. And judging by the lack of human interest shown in hell, he is doing an excellent job.

 

If hell is not that bad, then men will take their chances and continue in sin,

and end up in Hell. It is the devil’s business to deny and make light of the Bible teaching on Hell.

 

From the garden of Eden until now, Satan has been busy leading men to rebel against God. The best argument the devil can bring to get men to sin is to say that God does not punish sin.

 

God said to Eve in the garden of Eden “In the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die,” but the devil answered, “You will not surely die. You won’t really die… it’s just a figure of speech…!

 

And even in Malachi’s day, Satan made Israel believe that “It is vain to serve God,” and that the Lord delights in wickedness.

 

 

Keep a bookmark in Luke and turn to Malachi 3…

 

 

Malachi 3:13  "Your words have been arrogant against Me," says the LORD. "and you say, 'What have we spoken against You?'  (14)  "You have said, 'It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His ordinances, and that we have walked in mourning before the LORD of hosts?  (15)  'So now we call the arrogant blessed; not only are the doers of wickedness built up, but they also test God and get away with it.'"

 

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

 

Go back to Chapter 2:17 

 

You have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet you say, "How have we wearied Him?" In that you say, "Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them," or, "Where is the God of justice?"

 

Saints, times can be hard, sometimes it seems that the blessings of the Lord are so far away, how long do we cry out for Justice! But the Lord says His Justice will prevail, and Satan will be crushed. But we need to persevere like Lazarus did. Go back to Luke 16…

 

The passage about the rich man and Lazarus. This is a very important scripture in the context of our study this morning and you’ll soon see why.

Many people think that this passage is a parable. But it’s not a parable at all. In all of Jesus’ parables that He spoke, in every one of them, the characters in the parables never have names.

This passage does not have the marks of a parable. And it’s not poetry nor apocalyptic literature… nor prophesy.  This scripture is plain…history. It is solemn history. Father Abraham, is a historical character, he was a real person, he is mentioned by name. The beggar has a name too – his name is Lazarus. These are real people, they are not imaginary characters….

This passage is not symbolism, or metaphor. This passage is recorded history – it happened, and is a recorded historical encounter in the afterlife.

Recorded by …Jesus.

 

So if you want proof that Hell is real, that Hell exists, this is it. History… recorded not by man, but by Jesus.

 

And if the Bible is true, then I must believe what it says about Hell.

 

Lets go through this passage again…

 

Luke 16:19  "Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day.  (20)  "And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores,  (21)  and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man's table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.

It’s interesting to note, for what it’s worth, that because of this passage, Lazarus was chosen as the Catholic patron saint of leprosy.

 

 Verse 22:  "Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.  (23)  "In Hell (or Hades or Sheol), he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. 

 

Now the place that the rich man finds himself in, as mentioned in this passage, is Sheol in Hebrew, or Hades in Greek, which is loosely translated as hell in English. This is where unsaved souls go when they die. It is a temporary holding area for the sinner. When a person dies and leaves this world without Jesus as their Saviour, they go to this place, and they stay there until they are called out to face God on Judgement Day. On that Day of judgement, everyone who is dead will be resurrected and their souls and bodies will be re-united to face Jesus on the Great White Throne.

 

Keep your place in Luke and turn to Revelation 20

Revelation 20 tells us when the resurrection of the dead will take place.

 

Revelation 20:11  Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.  How unbelievably great is the presence of Jesus, where even Heaven and Earth have to permanently flee His presence!

 

Verse 12:  And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.  (13)  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.  (14)  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.  (15)  And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

 

 

The Bible says that every single knee that ever lived will be forced to bow and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord.

 

But for some, it will be too late, and after their judgement, they will be cast into the Lake of Fire, the permanent Hell. This lake of everlasting Fire – the Hebrew word Gehenna - was originally prepared for Satan and his fallen angels – that was the original reason for the creation of the lake of fire.

Matthew 25:41 reads Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

 

And when Adam and Eve made their terrible choice, man was corrupted, and Hell became our default destiny.

 

So to summarize then, when an unsaved person dies, their body goes to the grave, but their souls go immediately to Sheol – a temporary hell. Then their bodies are re-united with their souls in the resurrection of the dead, then they face Jesus on Judgement day, and are cast into - the lake of eternal fire – Gehenna.

 

Make no mistake, both these places, Sheol and Gehenna, are horrific beyond words.

 

Back to Luke…

 

Verse (22)  "Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.  (23)  "In Hell or Hades or Sheol, he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. 

 

The Scripture says that Lazarus died and immediately was carried by the angels to Paradise and found himself with the beloved ancestor, Abraham. Notice that:

 

·   There was no delay.

·   There was no soul sleeping.

·   There was no probation period for Lazarus.

·   There was no purgatory.

 

The soul of a Christian who dies goes immediately to be in the happy presence of God.

 

And this is confirmed in several places in Scripture.
When the thief died on the cross next to Jesus, he went to Paradise the same day, according to the promise of Jesus in
Luke 23:43.

 

Paul said in 2 Cor 5:8  We are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
For a Christian, to be absent from the body (in other words, dead), means presence with the Lord.

 

Notice too, that the torment of the rich man mentioned here took place during the lifetime of his brothers. He was in Hell while his brothers were still alive, so do not be deceived into thinking that a sinner will be given another chance to repent after death. There is no such thing.

 

 

Verse 24:  "And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.' 

 

Now I want to ask a question here. Some people say that there is no hell and that Hell is just the grave. If Hell is only the grave, why does the rich man cry out, “I am tormented in this flame!”

Notice that he wanted his brothers to repent, “lest they also come to this place of torment.” Now I ask you… would repenting have kept his brothers out of the grave? No, even if they repented, they would still die and go to the grave, but repenting would certainly keep them from Hell, and the torment of the flames. The grave has no flames, but Hell certainly does.

 

 

Verse 25  "But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.

 

What does Abraham say to the rich man in Hell? Remember… Remember!

 

This man in Hell is the same person that he was on earth. He has the same mind and he still has his memory. He recognised Lazarus. He remembers his brothers. He remembers that he did not repent. He has the same desires that he had on earth and longs for one drop of water to cool his tongue! Even though his body is in the grave, he still experiences pain and suffering! Can you imagine anything worse?

Can you imagine having to remember all the bad things you did, for all eternity?

 

(26)  'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.' 

 

That great gulf between Heaven and Hell, is fixed, that is, it is permanent. No one can ever pass from one to the other! There is no limbo, no purgatory, no middle ground, no soul sleep! Beyond this life there remains only an eternal Hell and an eternal Heaven, eternally separated!

 

And that, is perhaps the greatest punishment of all… the eternal separation from the presence of God.

 

Turn to 2 Thess 1.

And to those of you who are suffering and afflicted, this passage will speak to your hearts…

 

2 Thessalonians 1:5  This is a plain indication of God's righteous judgment, so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering.  (6)  For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you,  (7)  and to give relief to you who are afflicted when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, (8) in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  (9)  These will be punished with eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,  (10)  when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be admired in all who have believed--.

 

 

 

 

Imagine being in a place where there was no mercy, no grace, no love and no presence of God. Imagine… no hugs, no affection, no happiness or joy… Nothing but an endless Hell and an endless separation from the One who is love.

 

Unbelievers love to say that a loving God would never condemn his children to Hell. And they’re absolutely right. The only problem is that no adult is a child of God until they have been born again.

 

Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Your father is the devil” John. 8:44.

God’s children never go to Hell, but the children of the devil do.

 

How foolish to blame God because men go to Hell.

Hell is the result of men’s sins. Men go to Hell because they choose to, not because God hates them.

Men go to Hell because they choose to.

 

 

I told you it was a burdensome subject, but through all this heaviness, one blessed fact comes back again and again…..

Nobody need go to Hell! No-one needs to go there…

 

Jesus said about this matter:

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  (17)  "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

 

2 Peter 3: 9. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

 

The appealing cry of God, not only to Israel, but to all mankind, is:

 

Ezekiel 33:11  "Say to them, 'As I live!' declares the Lord GOD, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you choose to die, O house of Israel?'

 

In closing, Turn with me to John 14

John 14:1  "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  (2)  "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  (3)  "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.  (4)  "And you know the way where I am going."  (5)  Thomas *said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?"  (6)  Jesus *said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.  (7)  "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him."

 

 

In my Father's house are many mansions and I am going there to prepare a place for you.

Heaven is our home. Heaven was created for us. Heaven promises joy, comfort, and love like none you've ever known before. Jesus promises, that in His presence, is joy never-ending. There will be no anxiety, no sorrow and no tears.

 

And as real as Hell is, so is Heaven real, and it's more like home than any you’ve ever had. And if you think that’s good news, then here's the really good news.

 

You can go to heaven. Heaven can be your home. You can make heaven your home through the one relationship that makes it possible. Through a relationship with Jesus.

 

Amen.

 

Today, whether you believe in Jesus Christ as your Saviour or not, I want to issue you with a personal challenge: Sometime today, just take a few moments and sort this out in your own mind. If you believe your soul never dies, or that your consciousness continues after death, or if you believe that you can actually do something about the fate of your soul, then doing something about it in this lifetime will be the most important thing you will ever decide. Because that decision will follow you through all eternity.