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2 Timothy 4:4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (NKJV)

(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)

We live in a time of competition for church members; a time where success is measured primarily by numbers and income. There is no end of teachers, writers or churches who will present what feels good and tickles the ear. There is no shortage of churches that provide programs, support groups and myriads of resource thats will “meet your need”.

This wouldn’t be as critical a development were it not for the fact that many uncomfortable or unpopular issues are avoided because the aren’t “good marketing”. The Bible has many unpleasant topics. I call them “distasteful doctrines”. These are being sorely neglected today and that’s a shame because they are a vital part of Christianity. Over the next few days we will take a look at Christian doctrines that you may have never studied, rarely studied or only lightly studied unless you are in a good, uncompromising Bible-teaching assembly – or you have studied them personally.

  • Hell
    Jesus had much more to say about hell than heaven. Hell is a grim reality that is virtually ignored by Christians today as being too harsh, unloving or uncomfortable. We don’t want to scare people away with talk of hell, so we simply ignore it, or give it a quick passing mention before moving on to more friendly subjects. That’s a shame because our friendly intentions won’t count for much to those who find themselves in eternal torment. We’ll take a look at the facts about hell straight from the Bible.
  • Sin
    It has been said by a very prominent “Christian” preacher that teaching about sin is one of the worst things we can do because it destroys self esteem. Quick, somebody tell Jesus and Paul. Regardless of whether we want to hear it or not, the Bible is very clear about the sinfulness of man. As Christians, we typically believe in the “idea” or doctrine of sin as it applies to humanity as a whole, but very rarely do we get honest about sin when it comes to ME. We’ll take a look from Scripture at the real nature of sin in our lives.
  • Liberty
    You would think that Christian liberty would be a very pleasant doctrine, but to teach it threatens our stranglehold on “truth” as we define it. I’m not talking about the core essentials of salvation, but all the other peripheral issues that have divided Christians into almost 3000 different “flavors”. We don’t hear much about Christian liberty because we’re afraid people might actually take hold of it and not do things OUR way. Christ died to bring us liberty, and we constantly want to rob other sincere Christians of it simply because they disagree with us on some issue or doctrine. We’ll take a look at liberty, where it applies, where it doesn’t apply and what it means to the Christian life.
  • Suffering
    Suffering is seen as something today that either is caused by a lack of faith, or is something to avoid and alleviate immediately as all costs. Does God have a use for suffering? Does He allow it? How are Christian supposed to think about suffering? We’ll examine the Bible to see if God agrees with today’s opinion about suffering..
  • Christian Discipline
    In this age of political correctness, competition for church members and fear of lawsuits, Church discipline has all but disappeared. That’s a shame because a leading factor in the ineffectiveness of the Church today is its hesitation to apply Church discipline. We’ll look at Scripture to find out what it is, how it works and what it accomplishes.
  • Jealousy, Wrath & Judgment
    We hear much about God’s love, mercy and forgiveness – and rightly so. But how much is our concept of those things distorted when we hear little about God’s jealousy, wrath and Judgment? The lack of teaching on these subjects certainly contributes to the lukewarmness of the average Christian. “Yeah, but you’re not supposed to SCARE people about God!” Oh, really? Who says? There are lots of scary and fearful things about God that we would do well to know and understand. We’ll take a look at the “unpleasant” side of God and how it affects our daily walk with Him.
  • Intolerance & Exclusivity
    There is only ONE way to avoid being eternally damned in hell, and spend an eternity with God in Heaven. There couldn’t be a more unpopular message today than that. All the political correctness, ecumenism, tolerance, diversity and inclusivism in the world doesn’t change that fact. We’ll look at the Bible to see how it teaches very plainly this “one way”.

Hell

The Bible is very clear, very direct and very thorough about Hell. No matter how much the subject is ignored, excused or distorted, it doesn’t change the fearful and terrible fact:

One microsecond after a you die without Christ,
you will find yourself in unimaginable terror,
horrific pain and unspeakable torment.
There will never be a single opportunity
to lessen the pain or escape the torment, for all eternity.

We aren’t doing anyone without Christ any favors by hiding, sugarcoating or ignoring that awful fact – any more than we do someone a favor by ignoring the bus that is about to run them down simply because we don’t want to hurt them while getting them off the road. Hell is real. Hell is a fact. Hell is eternal. We warn people constantly about AIDS, disease, drugs, terrorism, scams and a myriad of other dangers, but have been brainwashed to think that warning people about hell is “unloving” or simply offering “fire insurance”. Let’s look at some facts about hell and see if YOU would want to be warned (emphasis mine in all following verses):

  • Hell is eternal, it never stops; it never lessens; it never lets up; it never goes out; you never leave; you never get a rest, a break or a vacation… EVER

    • Matthew 3:12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (NKJV)
    • Matthew 13:42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (NKJV)
    • Mark 9:43-44 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’ (NKJV)
    • Matthew 25:46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (NKJV)
    • Jude 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (NKJV)
  • You always remember what you lost and will always regret your decision to reject Christ
    • Luke 16:19-28 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’
  • You will be thirsty, but never get a drink. You will long for relief, but it will never come. You will beg for rest, but it will never happen. Nothing you wish for will be granted. Hell is a place of tremendous physical suffering and pain that will never lessen or be relieved.
    • Luke 16:24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ (NKJV)
  • You will be bitter, angry, frustrated and desperate for all eternity
    • Matthew 13:41-42 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (NKJV)
    • Matthew 24:51 and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (NKJV)
  • Hell is a place of darkness, loneliness, frustration and desperation. You will be in pitch blackness, all alone, without God, forever and ever; with no points of reference, nothing familiar and no way to get used to it.
    • Matthew 8:12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (NKJV)
    • Revelation 20:3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. (NKJV)
  • Hell will be the ultimate exile and rejection from God where you will never have another chance, ever, to appeal to God, see God, or accept God
    • 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, (NKJV)

Hell is all about extremes. If you make the extreme choice to ignore, deny or reject Jesus, you will suffer the most extreme punishment imaginable by an all-powerful, jealous and angry God. BUT.. never forget that everyone in hell, is there by personal choice. God is never to blame for even one lost soul.

Far from avoiding the subject of hell, we only stand to rescue the lost by warning them of it:

Jude 20-23 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. (NKJV)

Contrary to current popular opinion, it is one of the single most loving things you can do to warn someone who is lost of the impending danger and consequence of death without Christ. We should share the reality of hell along with the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ. A person cannot understand the need for Christ if they do not understand 1) what they have done wrong (sin), and 2) the reality they face (hell) if they choose to do nothing about their sin.

Jesus had a lot to say about hell. If He thought it important to talk about, shouldn’t we?

Lord, Help us to understand that hell is real, and hell is final. Help us to learn to present this truth in love and concern to those who are destined for an eternity of torment away from You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Contemplation: Is hell real to you? Do you believe that it really will be as horrible as we have learned today? Or do you think that the Bible is exaggerating hell in order to scare people? Should we tell the lost about hell? Or just take a “positive” approach?

Application: Hell is real. Hell is imminent for anyone who has not responded to Christ in obedience. Hell is final. Hell is forever. We warn people about AIDS, cigarettes, drunk driving and drugs. Is hell less dangerous, less real, less permanent and less tragic?

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?

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