"God be merciful to us & bless us, & cause His face to shine upon us.
That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.
Oh, let the nations be glad & sing for joy!"
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Hell Pt 2: "What Is Hell?" - (Matthew 25.31-46) Luke 16.19-31
stand at the edge, Lord God, and we tremble! Dare we look into this subject?
Should we risk it, and glance over the brink? O God, O our God! Have mercy on
us, and show us the things we need to know, and make even clearer to us how
deep is your love for us in Christ. Amen.
Os Guinness once wrote: “Hell is nothing
less than the truth known too late” (“The Dust of Death,” 358). On one hand, I
would disagree. Jesus talked about hell more often than he talked about heaven so that we would know now and
turn to him now. On the other hand, Guinness was right – the truth about hell
will become personally real for many and truthfully experienced by many – but
it will then be too late. This evening we will take a serious look into this terrifying
truth to see what we can, for four reasons: (1) Because Jesus mentions hell
more than any other person in the Scriptures; (2) So that we might see better
what it is that Christ has saved us from; (3) So that we might better know what
the Scripture means when it repeatedly warns us to Flee From the Wrath to
Come; (4) Finally, to answer the voices clambering in our own hearts and
our own heads that often ask: “How can a good God send someone to an eternal
What is Hell?
It is a
Real Place (Luke 16.19-31):
a. A Real Place Created and Ruled
by God and Exists for His Glory! V. 28! Rev. 4:11 – The Devil will NOT
reign in hell (contra Milton in Paradise Lost) – And it is not a
mistake or an accident.
b. A Real Place with a Real Population:
My buddies in the Air Force used to say – I’d rather go to hell because all my
friends are there. Really? “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart
from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his
angels’” (Matt. 25:41). “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the
detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and
all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur,
which is the second death.” (Rev. 21:8).
c. A Real Place of Justified
Punishment. V. 23-25 and 28 (grounded in v. 14-15). I know that some will
consider this kind of punishment barbaric. But it is a punishment which marks
God’s hatred for moral wrong and His commitment to right. (Westminster
Shorter Catechism 84: What does every sin deserve? Every sin deserves God’s
wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.). Therefore Hell
is not remedial – 16.25-26. It isA Place of Unchangeable Destiny for the Non-Believer at Death. This is
why the Gospel is so urgent NOW – “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold,
now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2b). “Whoever believes in the Son has
eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath
of God remains on him” (Jn. 3.36).
d. A Real Place of unceasing
sinfulness! V. 24 and 27-28. If we are conceived in sin, born in sin, and die
in our sinful state, then we will go on into our everlasting abode as perpetual sinners, perpetually guilty of defying God’s
perpetual Justice! Our whole
existence without Christ will be a continuation of the downward spiral of sin.
It is only by trusting in Christ, being reborn by the Spirit of Christ and
filled with God in Heaven will sin utterly cease!!!!! Westminster Shorter Catechism
37: What benefit do believers receive
from Christ at death? The souls of believers are at their death made perfect
in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; etc.”! Can you see
the greatness of what Christ did for you – He died to bring you everlasting,
indestructible, unconquerable life in
place of never-ceasing death of sin.
a. Abandonment: ““in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on
those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord
Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and
from the glory of his might,...” (2 Thess 1:8-9). “Come” (Mt. 25.34) vs “Depart from Me,” (Mt 25:41). Why? “God
is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). “And this is the
judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness
rather than the light because their works were evil” (Jn. 3.19). A
self-generated abandonment! May not sound too bad to some folks, but realize,
that no one lives without God or the gracious kindness of God! Reflect on these
questions: Have you ever experienced the joy of love; melting affections for a
husband/wife; pleasurable time with parents, siblings, children; warm glow of
friendship; that “High” at sporting events...the satisfying sense of
fulfillment? All of these are gifts of God. But Hell will be the deprivation –
the depriving you – of those things: no flowers, friendships, laughter,
fulfillment, no love, and no joy. Those in Hell will recognize the extent of
their indebtedness to God with piercing clarity forever….too late!
b. Deconstruction: “They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the
presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thess 1:9). They will
not evaporate in thin air and ashes, but they will continue to be eternally
perishing; experiencing the ruin of all that was once worthwhile in themselves.
Matthew 25.41 and 46. They will lose everything “good” about themselves, and
everything bad in themselves will be let loose – all their evil passions,
bitterness, anger, lusts, greed, envy, etc, will burn in them. They will be
consumed in the fumes and flames of their own rage, greed, self-centeredness,
lust, etc...The only people in hell will be perpetual
sinners perpetually guilty of defying
God’s perpetual Justice! Think of Romans 1.24, 26, and
28…Illustration: Hymnbook and Hand.
c. Racking Agony: Matthew 8:12, “In that place there will be
weeping and gnashing of teeth” [Used by Jesus in 13:42, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30].
The rich man cried out; “I am in anguish in this flame” (Luke 16:24).
d. “Our God is a Consuming Fire” (Hebrews. 12:29). It is important to
contemplate this: the Lord is the enemy of those who make themselves His
enemies. “( . . . ) his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence” (Psalm
11:5). And “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb.10:31),
and “Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his
anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces
by him” (Nahum 1:6). Look at it this way, God will be the heaven of one person,
and the hell of another. Think of the good policeman – he’s the delight of the person
being mugged, and the scourge and fear of the mugger. There is no contradiction
in the police officer himself over this; no contradiction in the mind of God, or
in the being of God over this!
You who can hear me, I ask you: Which will
God be for you? Will He be your heaven, or will He be your hell?
Please, please – I implore you - hear this
good news: Jesus said; “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and
believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but
has passed from death to life” (John 5:24). “There is therefore now no
condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8.1). “And you, who
once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now
reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and
blameless and above reproach before him” (Col. 1.21-22).
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