Jude 21 – keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (NKJV)
In the first part of this series, I attempted to get you to really stop and think deeper about the concept of “eternity”. As you read today, I want you to keep in mind that HELL IS ETERNAL. There are no second chances. It NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER ends. After a billion years times a billion times a trillion trillion trillion trillion years, God will not look down and say “okay, that’s enough”. Hell will never end, never stop, never cease, never lessen and never give you a “break”.
“Hey! Wait a minute! You sound like one of those hellfire and brimstone preachers! Don’t you realize that you are not supposed to scare people about God? That is not the way you do it today. We’ve learned that talking about God’s love and how many blessings He will give you is how you bring people to Christ, not talking about hell.”
It constantly amazes me that we are not supposed to speak about how scary Hell is and try to instill fear in people about ending up there. We constantly convince people to be fearful of cigarette smoking or cancer or driving too fast without a seatbelt, but it’s considered unloving and archaic to scare people about eternal torment, punishment and separation from God.
Yeah, that makes sense.
Like all things Biblical, it is not our place to decide how much or how little to talk about anything. Our responsibility is to look at Scripture and where the Bible speaks often about a subject, we should speak often. Or if the Bible speaks scarcely about a topic, we should speak little about it. Where the Bible is soft and gentle concerning an issue, we should be soft and gentle. Where the Bible is forceful, blunt and to the point, we should be forceful and to the point. It is not our place to determine that God’s presentation or emphasis on a certain matter is not the most effective way. It is our duty to mimic God, not to adjust Him to fit our current market-driven society.
When it comes to the subject of hell, the Bible talks about it more than it talks about heaven. Jesus was forceful and blunt about hell. Evidently the Lord thought that scaring people about the reality of hell was exactly what they needed to hear. If you remove all of the wishy-washy-seeker-friendly-market-driven influence that has drastically changed the church’s message today, even simple common sense leaves us with no other choice but to be honest and forthright when it comes to teaching about hell.
The reality of hell should reduce the lost sinner and the lukewarm Christian to trembling mush. The lost sinner should fear because they may very well end up there with no chance of parole. The lukewarm Christian needs to be afraid when considering hell because their lukewarmness should cause them to be concerned about the authenticity of their Christianity.
If there is ANYTHING that a person should be afraid of, it’s ending up in hell.
That’s not hellfire and brimstone,
that’s just good old-fashioned common sense and truth.
Think about it. We are constantly warned to be fearful of an ever-increasing list of dangers: Cancer, cigarettes, power line radiation, nuclear bombs, global warming, asteroids hitting the earth, and an endless parade of commercials steering us into thinking that we have some disease and don’t even know it (which of course the advertiser has a pill that will relieve that fear; but that’s a whole other message). The whole world runs around pronouncing fear after fear after scare after scare that we should be concerned about, but if you dare mention that a person should be scared of hell, immediately the choruses of “hellfire and brimstone” and “judgmentalism” began to ring. Insanity!
Let’s look at a few of the facts about hell and as we do so, I want you to keep reminding yourself and your family and your friends, that these facts are never ending, period. God will not change his mind a quadrillion years from now and give everyone in hell a second chance. Hell will never end, never change, never get better, never lessen, never ease up and never cut you any slack – not for a second, not for a moment, not for breath.
That is why God gives every person chance after chance to realize they have a choice and that it will be their choice whether they receive eternal life or in eternal, never ending punishment in hell.
1 Timothy 2:4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (NKJV)
God does not want one single person to end up in hell. That is why God did everything needed including sacrificing His own Son to provide each and every person the opportunity to choose eternal life over eternal death and punishment. What’s more, God makes this provision in such a way that we don’t even have to pay for it or earn it! It is simply a free gift from God available to all who will simply accept it on God’s terms.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (NKJV)
On with the list now, but I wanted to make sure I laid that foundation so that as you read this list, or you teach it to others it will sink in that this is not simply a list of Biblical facts. It is a list describing the reality of what all eternity will be for those who ignore or reject God.
- Hell was originally created for Satan and his demons who rebelled with him. God did not create hell because He wanted to send billions of humans into eternal punishment. That is exactly opposite of the character of God that is revealed in the Bible. God went to extraordinary lengths and great personal sacrifice to make sure that no human would ever be in hell and yet, billions upon billions of prideful, sinful people will ignore or reject God and choose Hell instead.
- Matthew 25:41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: (NKJV)
- Matthew 25:41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: (NKJV)
- Hell will be a place of misery, torment, punishment and pain. Unlike the ridiculous caricature that we see today, Hell is not a cave where Satan throws a big party and plays “pin the tail on the sinner”. In fact it is a misconception even among Christians that Satan will be in charge of hell. Wrong! Satan will be in charge of nothing. God is in charge of hell and Satan and his demons will be suffering and powerless just like every other occupant of hell.
- Revelation 14:10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. (NKJV)
- Hell will be a place where your thirst is never quenched and this is not simply a thirst for water. It is a thirst of the highest intensity for every lust, sin and the wicked pleasure that was ever chosen over God. Child molesters will burn in their lust for children. The greedy will burn in their lust for more money. Those who craved pornography in this life will forever crave pornography but never receive it nor be satisfied in any way by it. Whatever sinful thirst you die with it that is not covered by the blood of Christ will forever burn inside of you with no hope or chance of even a moment’s relief or satisfaction.
- 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)
- Hell will be an eternity spent in remorse, regret and the memory of all the times you turned down God’s gift of eternal life. You will be haunted by lost opportunity, lost chance and the inability to ever have a second chance to correct everything you did wrong.
- Life in Hell will be one of frustration and anger. It will not be just punishment but it will be wailing and anguish and other hopelessness. One second after you enter Hell you will be totally and utterly aware of the eternal mistake you made rejecting God. From the first moment, you will experience an imaginable anguish knowing that your chance to escape is forever lost.
- 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 24:50-51 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (NKJV)
- Again, Hell is not a place where Satan and lost sinners throw a party and kind of snicker at God and all the holy rollers up in heaven. There will be no companionship, no camaraderie, no togetherness, no comfort and no banding together to ease the suffering. Hell will be a place of utter darkness, blackness, lostness, loneliness and separation. You won’t have a sense of location, you’ll have no company and you will grope about in utter darkness never finding your way or arriving at any location or circumstance that will give comfort or ease your suffering for even a moment.
- Matthew 25:30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (NKJV)
- 2 Peter 2:4-11 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord. (NKJV)
- 2 Peter 2:17 These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. (NKJV)
- Those in Hell will experience the unrelenting, undiluted and full divine wrath of God who offered to all men, at the cost of His own Son, the free gift of eternal life. Those who rejected that free gift willingly instead accepted to receive the wrath of God in exchange for one lifetime of personal pursuit.
- Romans 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, (NKJV)
- Revelation 14:10-11 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” (NKJV)
- Hell will be a place of torment, punishment and unquenchable fire. Though the pain and destruction from the fire will be real and tangible, the fire will not consume those whom it burns but instead burn as if for the first time for ever and ever without diminishing or lessening. Don’t ask me how it can both be darkness and tormenting fire at the same time because I cannot explain it. But just like other things I cannot explain that are beyond human understanding, it makes the reality of Hell no less real.
- Matthew 13:40-42 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 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)
- 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)
- Hell is eternal. It will never end. God will not decide down the road that you have enough punishment and give you a second chance. Nor will He decide to snap you out of existence and annihilate you. In reality, the thought of being in hell for five minutes it is utterly and completely unbearable. However the truth is that after you have been in hell for a million trillion billion quadrillion years, you will not be one day closer to getting out or in any way ending that hellish existence.
- 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)
Does that scare you? Does the thought of our God who will pour out his wrath for all eternity on those who reject Him cause you to tremble? Does the knowledge that God will never ever ever change his mind and give those in hell a second chance make you think “unfair”? Or does it cause you to think “I better choose God now while I have the chance”?
A second chance in eternity renders Jesus death on the cross useless.
That’s exactly the whole point. If God were to say, much like the doctrine of purgatory represents, that sinful humans who reject him now were going to be punished for a while and then get a second chance, it not only lessens the urgency and importance of the Gospel, but it also means that the sacrifice on the cross by Jesus Christ is not necessary for salvation. If Hell is not eternal, no matter how long it may be, the occupants would still know that there would come a time when they can either get to heaven or cease to exist by their own strength and effort, even if it is soley the effort to endure hell. People WILL endure hell. They will have no choice. They will not be consumed, they will not die, and they will not diminish in any way. They will endure hell. If there is a second chance after any length of time in hell, then you have in effect presented a new gospel that says people can earn their own salvation by simply spending some period of time in hell rather than by accepting the shed blood of Jesus Christ as a just and satisfactory payment for sin.
So you see, doctrines like purgatory, and ideas like second chances, or “a loving God couldn’t possibly send someone to hell for all eternity” are simply an insult to the price God has already paid for your salvation.
Is this lesson scary? Is it full of threats and danger? Is it fire and brimstone rant meant to scare you into heaven? Is it presenting a God full of wrath and fury? Is it a lesson meant to convince you that a loving God WILL send those who reject Him into an eternal and unimaginable torment and punishment beyond any description that will never end, never diminish and never relent?
The answers are yes, yes, yes, yes and absolutely positively without apology, YES! Tomorrow we’ll look at the alternative.
Lord God, Help us to admit and understand that hell is just as real as heaven. Help us to believe and teach to the lost that the punishment of Hell is just as much a possibility as the blessings of eternal life. Help us to never avoid or sugarcoat the truth about Hell as we also strive to share the truth about heaven. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Application: We have the idea today that teaching about hell is not loving and presents to a lost world the idea that God is vengeful and full of wrath. What we don’t realize is that what is TRULY unloving is to fail to teach people the truth about God’s wrath and about the place of punishment that has been prepared for those who reject Him. Of course we teach about God’s love and salvation but think about this: why would people think they need God’s love or need to be saved if they don’t understand what it is they are being saved from or why they need to be saved? Far from being unloving, teaching people about hell is like explaining to them about cancer. A person will not give their entire being to lay hold of a cure for their cancer if a doctor has not adequately explain to them what cancer is, what it will do to them and how they will end up. People don’t seek the cure for cancer because you explain to them that it will make their life happier. They seek the cure because they know it will save their lives. Once a sick person knows and understands the true nature and the results of their sickness, then they are ready to hear about the cure. Once they know about the cure there is nothing that will keep them from it because they know the truth about the sickness. Once people understand about the sickness of sin and how it will result in eternal punishment in hell, THEN they are ready to hear about the cure, Jesus Christ, and nothing will keep them from embracing that cure if they truly believe.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?