When did we stop talking about Hell?
Isaiah 5:13-14 (ESV) 13 Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge; their honored men go hungry, and their multitude is parched with thirst. 14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure, and the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude will go down, her revelers and he who exults in her.
If ultimate, eternal judgment would visit God’s very people, Judah and Jerusalem, due to their drinking and partying ways, what is to become of those who openly rebel and reject God and his mandates?
The church has done itself a grave injustice by refusing to connect sinful living with the clear expected outcome of eternal torment. Our arguments against the homosexual movement and the horrifying evil on display at Planned Parenthood clinics in our nation have been reduced to a debate about morals and human rights. It’s no wonder we are accused of hatred when we are standing in the way of behavior that so many argue has no real impact on society. We have been forced into a position of analyzing metrics that reveal debatable negative trends in our culture that are a result of the behavior that we abhor.
For pro-lifers it’s extremely easy to be sickened by abortion—and certainly by what’s been uncovered in the recent undercover videos that have exposed the evil practices at Planned Parenthood. However, the pro-abortion crowd is convinced that legal abortion is healthy and appropriate. Is our best, most effective tactic trying to convince them that the baby is a person or is there another approach that would be more impactful?
Homosexuality has an even stronger position that their behavior is personal and private and what happens behind their closed doors has no impact on you or me. Of course, I disagree that their behavior has no impact on my life or on our nation. Their agenda has been possibly the most aggressive in recent history by forcing their beliefs on us through parades, sitcoms, legislation and other advances. However,the church’s response can easily be seen as selfish and hateful as it demands everybody adhere to a code that doesn’t even apply to those not in Christ.
I do feel there is a place to meet the mission of Planned Parenthood, the homosexual movement, immorality in Hollywood, corruption in government and the innumerable other strategies that the spirit of the age has been pushing on our nation at various more natural levels. We can and should support the defunding of Planned Parenthood. We absolutely must reject impurity that comes through movies and other media. We should be wise and understand that our liberties as Christians are at risk when we can’t even refuse to bake a cake for an event we don’t support. It’s important that we vote for political candidates that will help restore our nation to its Christian roots by confronting the advances of various special interest groups.
Additionally, as many Christians propose, we should function in great love when dealing with others who don’t support our biblical world view.
However, as I said, stopping there compromises our efforts.
We will always look like haters if we demand people adhere to our code of values.
We will always look passive and with little concern if we simply grin and tell people that Jesus loves them.
The reason we so passionately sound alarms and alert homosexuals, abortionists, pornographers, liars, thieves, murderers and others who are living outside of God’s brilliant plan for their lives is simple—we are broken over the fact that they will be tormented non-stop, forever with no relief in Hell.
We need to let them know that Heaven won’t be the same without them! Hell must not win on the day of their physical death!
Matthew 3:12 (ESV) 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
I had an encounter of being dragged toward Hell by an invisible demonic entity over twenty years ago. I almost went mad in that indescribable, horrifying experience. I can’t even think of that moment for more than a few seconds before I have to shut the thought down. It’s that terrible.
After I came out of that life-changing, uninvited revelation God spoke clearly to me: “John, many Christians will be shocked to find themselves in Hell one day.”
Just like those addressed in the passage I shared above from Isaiah, today many professing Christians will soon be in Hell with no chance of ever leaving. Some of those are people who are convinced they are Believers but who are following Jesus in an unsaved condition. Others are truly saved and will one day choose to fall away. That falling away will be great—and terrible.
If this is true for Christians, what than is to be expected for those who openly defy God?
We must see a return to Holy Spirit anointed preaching on Hell. We must warn people, with tears in our eyes, that they are headed there!
Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV) 13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
GOD DOESN’T NEED A PUBLICIST.
I’m dismayed by the radical shift away from full counsel preaching of the Word of God.
I don’t know how often I’ve heard people say that preaching on Hell results in fear—and there is no fear in love—and so we must avoid it at all costs.
This demonically twisted wisdom has resulted in a massive resistance to large segments of the Bible in the hopes that highlighting the benefits would be enough to woo people to Christ.
Luke 12:5 (ESV) 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!
Today we have evangelism that communicates how much God loves people without communicating how great their sin is, and what the result will be if they do not repent. This results in a new breed of deceived religious people who believe they are safe but are most likely not. Repentance is non-negotiable.
God does not need you or me as publicists, carefully reframing his words so they are received by the greatest number of people. We are preachers not politicians!
When people see how convicted we are that they are on a path to a place as horrific as Hell, they will at least see our love for them. They all won’t agree with us but they will say, “Wow, they may be nuts but I really think they are convinced that harm is coming to us. They don’t hate us after all.”
When we use more natural tactics alone to confront the various evil agendas in the land we communicate that we are more interested in the preservation of the society that we prefer—one fits into our definition of appropriate.
However, if we have the courage to take the battle to a higher level we can boldly preach the reality of eternal damnation as a passionate yet heart broken church. Our identity will be transformed from one that watches out for our own interests to true watchman—those who are invested in the eternities of others.
Ezekiel 3:17-18 (ESV) 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.
Our cry must be, “No! Please! Understand that your lifestyle will result in a horror that you can’t even imagine. You will never have even a moment of relief. Please, repent, turn, let God’s love overwhelm you!”
Some might suggest that I’m suggesting that behavior modification is the key to salvation. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The keys to death, hell and the grave were retrieved by Jesus Christ, the only one who could do what was necessary to save mankind from destruction.
Revelation 1:17-18 (ESV) 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
However, it does remain true that unrepentant participation in sin absolutely does disqualify us from a relationship with Jesus. The fact that homosexuals unapologetically confess to participating in behavior that is forbidden by God is a clear indicator that they are not saved. The fact that those who are pro-abortion are set in their ways and determined to keep murder legal in America is evidence that they are clearly not in a legitimate relationship with Jesus.
It is fully appropriate to preach without apology that continuing in those (and other) sins without repentance and without making Jesus the Lord and Master of their lives will end terribly for them.
People need to hear the prophets shouting the alarms of eternal destruction that comes to those in rebellion to God!
Luke 16:24-29 (ESV) 24 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.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’
WHAT ABOUT SIN IN THE CAMP?
The next argument is that a focus on sin in the world while avoiding dealing with sin in the church is the perfect definition of hypocrisy. I agree.
As I shared above, many Christians will be shocked to find themselves in Hell one day. It’s a reality that haunts me every day.
Those who live in sexual sin outside of the camp will be judged as will those who live in sexual sin in the camp will. Unforgiveness, hatred, lust, gossip and many other sins will have the exact same result as those in the world who we would call wild and deviant.
Matthew 5:21-22 (ESV) 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
Matthew 5:27-30 (ESV) 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
However, the truth that we must deal with sin in the camp doesn’t erase our responsibility to preach the full counsel of Scripture to all. It highlights it.
Hell is awaiting millions of people, both in and out of the church, and we must make that known! So few actually even know or believe that Hell is their future. They presume all is well. My God! So few are letting them know that they are but a breath away from horror!
Matthew 13:24-30 (ESV) 24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
It’s time for us to preach truth and to see the planet shaken by the fire power of God’s Word again.
It’s true love that will give people an opportunity to decide where they will spend their eternity.
2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 (ESV) 7 …the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 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. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might…
Isaiah clearly revealed truth and people had a choice. They scoffed at the idea that they would go to Hell, but at least blood would not be found on Isaiah’s hands.
Isaiah 28:14-15 (ESV) 14 Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers, who rule this people in Jerusalem! 15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have an agreement, when the overwhelming whip passes through it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;
PEOPLE MUST HEAR THE TRUTH ABOUT HELL TODAY.
Matthew 13:47-50 (ESV) 47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. 48 When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
2 Peter 2:4-14 (ESV) 4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13 suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!
Contrary to popular belief, a revelation of Hell absolutely does result in people running into the arms of a loving God.
When did today’s popular teachers presume it was appropriate to deemphasize clear, pure truth in favor of what is more pleasing? It’s truly an abomination!
Revelation 20:15 (ESV) 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Human wisdom would say we should focus on the benefits. Listen, we aren’t selling a time share. We aren’t trying to convince someone on the fence of buying a new car of how much their life will be better by driving it.
The truth is that outside of Christ we are evil people who should burn forever in Hell—and who will without an admission of our deviance and rebellion. Our decision shouldn’t be based on benefit. How selfish that is! It should be based on the reality of the punishment that is awaiting us and the revelation of God’s intense rescue mission to save us from torment.
God’s love is made more evident when contrasted with the truth of Hell.
The bottom line is simple: We cannot erase the Word of God. It must be preached in fullness. The result will be many current homosexuals, liars, adulterers, murderers and others falling desperately in love with Jesus.
Revelation 22:18-19 (ESV) 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
Revelation 21:5-8 (ESV) 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 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.”
That’s the contrast we must have in today’s preaching. Reveal the spring of the water of life and the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. It’s how Jesus preached after all.