Five Minutes on Hell

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by Dan Amos

Before Pastor Martin’s latest sermon, he mentioned to me that he’d be preaching on my “favorite subject.” That could have meant all kinds of things, so I hesitatingly asked him what that would be. His answer was, “Hell.” I’m pretty sure I don’t want to be known as the guy whose favorite sermon topic is Hell. It’s definitely not my favorite topic, but it is one I’ve been known to say we need to hear about more often.

Hell is one of those uncomfortable topics. The reality is we will exist eternally and we will do so in one of two places. You can think of it as a carrot and a stick. Heaven should motivate us in a positive way, and Hell should be a negative motivator. Once we die, our opportunity to repent and be saved ends and our eternal fate will ultimately be judged.

For those who have received Christ, Heaven will be a place of indescribable beauty and constant wonder. It will be a place of absolute fulfillment, intimate communion with our Creator, and productive activity. It won’t be sitting on clouds, dressed like a cherub and strumming a harp. Who would want that?

The other option, as well as the antithesis to Heaven, is Hell and the lake of fire. It won’t be a party. It won’t be a place of torment by Satan and his demons; it was created as a place of torment for them. In our rebellion, we chose that as our default destination, too. It will be a place of unending, infinite torment, loneliness, separation, unquenchable desires, and pain.

Those are the two options. None other exists. It is a difficult reality, but it is the reality Jesus repeatedly and fervently told us about. He died to save us from one and adopt us into the other. And we believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. And for salvation, there is no other choice.

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Two minutes on Hell

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by Dan Amos

Doctrine is not about religion; it is our core beliefs, and they are constantly under attack.  This is why Pastor Martin is beginning a series on doctrine this week. It is no surprise the doctrine of Hell is being challenged so strongly right now; it was one of the first doctrines Satan questioned when he offered the fruit to Eve and asserted, “You will not certainly die.” In reality, the truth says everything about how we view sin and its consequences.

Surveys show the majority of people believe in Heaven, about half their number believe in Hell, and only a few percentage believe they are destined for Hell. The truth is we are all sinners against a holy God. Even our “littlest” sin disqualified us from relationship with God and eternity in his kingdom. Additionally, it is so vile we must be punished for our sin in a literal, eternal, conscious Hell. Our rebellion does not want to accept that and so we deny hell, alter its reality only in our minds, and minimize our sin as of no consequence.

But it is real and it is terrible. It is so horrific that God, the creator of the universe, sent his Son from glory to live a sinless, perfect life on Earth ultimately breaking constant communion with himself (listen to Martin’s sermon on the Trinity this Sunday) as he bore our punishment for our sin on the cross. By believing in him we are adopted into his family and the wrath of God’s holy justice which we deserve is satisfied by Christ’s blood. Our belief must be founded on the truth which is the doctrine we will be taught once more over the course of this series.

If we ignore Hell, if we minimize our sin, there is nothing to be saved from, but the truth is we and everyone else who doesn’t know the truth are destined for Hell. It can’t get any more basic than that.

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