Today's sermon took on a serious topic that it seems has become less and less prevalent in conversations. Today, we talked about Hell. Hell isn't something that is comfortable to talk about. It is a touchy subject, and it is a whole lot easier to talk about Heaven. As a culture, I think we also don't like to think of God as a god of wrath. We like to think of him as the God of love. We have to remember that Hell is just as real as Heaven is. While that is the current trend we see happening in churches around us. We should be talking about Hell. We should be telling people what it is like, and we should be praying hard for those that we know aren't saved and that could end up there. As Christians, and if we read our Bible like we should, we know just how bad Hell is described to be.
There are people you encounter every day that are not saved. They may be people you just pass by, your coworkers, your friends, or even your family. What we read and know about Hell from the Bible should make us want to be out screaming about Jesus from every rooftop we can find. Our current sermon series is called "A Heart for Souls". If you think about it, that is a good description of what should be happening when we are encountering others.
Luke 16: 24 ESV
And he called out "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame."
To truly understand what is happening here, you have to have some context for what happened right before. The person speaking here is a rich man. He had abundantly more than what he needed. Lazarus was laid at his door and wanted just to eat what fell from the rich man's table. The rich man did nothing for Lazarus. Both of these men died. Lazarus went to Heaven, and the rich man went to Hell. The rich man is saying in this passage that he just wants one drop of water because he is in so much pain. Can you imagine being in so much pain that you think one drop of water might help?? Most of us would be a little annoyed if we were too hot or in pain and were given just one drop of water.
Something that Pastor Jason pointed out really stood out in the sermon today. When you go to Hell, you go with full consciousness. You have all of your memories. You know everything you have ever done, anyone you have ever met, and have forever to look back on it. That is a terrifying thought, is it not? That you have died, been separated from Jesus for eternity, and that you can recall every path you took to lead you to Hell? Now lets imagine being stuck in Hell, in agony, fulfilling an eternity of pain and suffering. Let's add to it that there was no one to tell you about Jesus. You are in this awful place just because nobody ever took the time to tell you that Jesus loves you and that he can lead you to a better place?? Or, lets imagine that you are in Hell and you are remembering all of the chances you had to accept Jesus in your life, but you never did.
This is not a fun picture to paint. Hell is not what people want to talk about. But why? Isn't it exactly what we should be talking about? Should we not be warning people of what lies ahead if they don't accept Jesus? None of us know when the day of salvation will come. All we can do is do what we are called to do until it gets here. What is interesting is that in Jesus's ministry, he warns of Hell more than he talks about Heaven. We as humans however, talk about Heaven more than we do Hell.
Luke 16:27-28 ESV
And he said, "Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house- for I have five brothers- so that he may warn them, lest they also come to this place of torment.
Have you ever been hurt? Usually, people want someone they love there with him. What we see here from the rich man is very different. He is begging Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to go save his family. If we read further in the text, we see that Abraham tells him no. He tells him that they have the same resources to be saved as the rich man has. It is almost like he needs to have God prove himself by sending Lazarus back. God has already proved himself. He sent his son to die for all of the sins we have and will commit.
Let's talk about the idea of being uncomfortable. We think Covid has made us uncomfortable. It has nothing on what Hell has for us. Uncomfortable is not that we had to stay in our homes, or couldn't go out to eat for 6 months. Uncomfortable is being in pain for the rest of eternity. It is an eternity of weeping and gnashing of teeth. I know it can be "uncomfortable" to talk to strangers, or to go up to someone and talk about God if you are just learning how to do it. What we have to consider is, do we really think that brief moment of embarrassment or anxiousness is worth spending an eternity in Hell to avoid?
2 Corinthians 6:2 ESV
For he says, "In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
The day of salvation is now. You have opportunities all throughout your life to be saved. Once you have made the great decision to be saved, you have the rest of your life to build a relationship with the Lord, and to win souls for Him. We have no idea when our day will come and our life will end. Don't waste a moment. Our lives on this Earth is fleeting. It is such a short time in comparison to the eternity that we will face. That eternity will either be in Heaven or in Hell.
Matthew 7:21-23 ESV
Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord", will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the one who does the will of my father who is in Heaven. On that day many will say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?" And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness"
This is the scariest verses in the Bible. What this means is that there will be people that come for judgment thinking that they are going to Heaven. However, if you have not lived the life you should lead as we are called to do as Christians, you can still end up in Hell. You could still end up in a place where you endure endless pain and suffering and can identify every decision you made that led you there.
This is my prayer for you. I pray that if you are not saved, you can't sleep for the fear of Hell. I pray that if you are saved, you can't sleep for thinking of those around you who are unsaved and will end up in Hell.