The Doctrine of Hell
Shocking but true. A truth that should disturb and motivate us. A horrific place. Yet it points us to the love of God at the cross, where we can find refuge from wrath. Where is Hell? At the end of a Christless life.
Preachers are duty bound, and called upon to deliver Objective Truth, Ultimate Truth – to declare the whole counsel of God.
I HAVE to tell you THE TRUTH… to declare what is ABSOLUTELY TRUE.
The TRUTH can often be OFFENSIVE.
Today’s message is…
- A SOLEMN doctrine
- A SHOCKING doctrine
- A DREADFUL doctrine
- A NEGLECTED doctrine
- Yet TRUE.
THE DOCTRINE OF HELL.
A doctrine largely ignored.
But it is the truth.
The TRUTH of HELL should…
- DISTURB us
- MOTIVATE us
- CONCERN us…
67% of American adults believe in a hell. But less than 25% believe they will go there, while 25% believe their friends will be there.
USA Today poll, December 1986.
People can hate the idea of being held accountable for their lives to a holy God.
They can love their sin and want to stay in their wickedness.
But this doesn’t make Hell any less real.
So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, (50) And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Hell is a place.
It is the place of final judgment for unbelievers.
Hell speaks to us of…
- The JUDGMENT of God
- The SEVERITY of God.
The doctrine of Hell should stir us TO SEEK GOD.
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
God forbid that you leave it too late.
When Sir Francis Newport, head of an English infidel club, was on his deathbed he said this:
You need not tell me there is no hell, for I already feel my soul slipping into its fires! Wretches, cease your idle talk about there being hope for me! I know I am lost forever.”
It should prompt us…
- To URGENCY
- To flee from the wrath to come
- To flee to the sure refuge and shelter that Christ is for the believer
- To find HOPE.
It’s been said that men’s natural instinct is to IGNORE Hell or SOFTEN it – to TONE it down, REDEFINE it, or FLAT-OUT DENY it.
But all this dishonours God’s Word.
Others would AVOID the subject. They think maybe Hell is TOO HOT TO HANDLE.
Yet the Bible is clear about HELL, the SECOND DEATH… And Hell must be spoken about – because the enduring, unchanging Word of God speaks of it often, and very clearly.
(11) And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
(12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
(13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
(14) And death and hell were cast into THE LAKE OF FIRE. This is THE SECOND DEATH.
(15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into THE LAKE OF FIRE.
The truth of Hell is tied in with other Biblical truths: of man’s sin, God’s holiness, and of the cross of Christ.
Man’s sin and guilt OFFENDS the HOLINESS OF GOD. God is infinitely HOLY and JUST.
God in His mercy has made the way possible for man’s redemption. But the sinner outside of Christ stands guilty, condemned, and must be punished.
Hell shows GOD’S LOVE. As we see – God’s love was demonstrated when He took His only-begotten Son to the Hell of the cross – for our sake.
The strongest support for teaching THE DOCTRINE OF HELL comes from OUR LORD JESUS Himself. He was probably THE GREATEST HELLFIRE PREACHER this world has ever known.
Our Lord described HELL in GRAPHIC TERMS, with terrifying imagery…
We hear, from His own lips, of…
THE TERRORS OF HELL…, of…
- WEEPING and GNASHING of teeth (8:12)
- SPIRITUAL and BODILY DESTRUCTION ( 10:28)
- A FIERY FURNACE (13:42, 50)
- OUTER DARKNESS (22:13)
- UNQUENCHABLE FIRES (Mark 9:48-49), and
- ENDLESS TORMENTS (Luke 16:23-24).
These shall go away into everlasting punishment.
Hell is a picture of absolute…
- SEPARATION, and
The Bible describes Hell in HORRIFIC terms, as…
- A pit of darkness,
- A burning wind,
- A place of torment,
- A place where the soul never dies, and
- A place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.
THERE IS A PLACE CALLED HELL.
It is a horrible REALITY.
A difficult reality.
It is REAL.
It is not symbolic.
It is AS REAL as Heaven.
And it is AS ETERNAL.
2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
(7) And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
(8) IN FLAMING FIRE taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
(9) WHO SHALL BE PUNISHED WITH EVERLASTING DESTRUCTION FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD, AND FROM THE GLORY OF HIS POWER;
(10) When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
Hell is a place of FLAMING FIRE.
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Hell is a place of NO REST DAY NOR NIGHT – NO SLEEP. No relief.
WHY DO I PREACH ON HELL?
For one thing – because HELL IS IN THE BIBLE.
Another reason we need preaching on HELL is because there are LOST SOULS sitting in Church pews.
We need preaching on HELL because people need their CONSCIENCE AWAKENED – and to come to know what lies ahead for those who reject Jesus Christ.
When someone gives WARNING to a lost soul about HELL, it is an act of LOVE, not an act of condemnation.
We also need preaching on Hell to AWAKEN CHRISTIANS who have grown complacent about winning the lost.
WHY IS THERE A HELL?
I have heard it put that Hell is what Hell is, because God is Who God is. When Isaiah, the prophet of God, saw God upon His throne, he fell upon his face, terrified. He was sure that he was about to die (Isaiah 6:5).
God is absolutely holy. We should tremble before His majesty and might. God will not tolerate sin. That is a good thing.
Why is there a Hell?
Because there is an absolute necessity for PUNISHMENT.
Once there was a certain preacher who did not believe there was a Hell. And he taught that everyone will be saved. Then his wife died and left him with a little girl. She was the idol of his heart. When she was almost grown, a man enticed her into sin, ruined her and broke his heart.
Then that preacher said, “If God Almighty doesn’t have a Hell for fiends like the one who ruined my child and wrecked my life He ought to have one.”
The just God does have a hell for such fiends. His justice also demands that all sinners be punished for the sins they have committed unless they repent and accept the pardon offered by Christ.
Why is there a Hell? The reason for the existence of hell is grounded in the very nature of God, Who He is and What He is.
He is SOVEREIGN and He is JUST.
He is, as we read in
‘…of purer eyes than to behold evil’.
GOD is LOVE…but God is HOLY.
He loves holiness, and purity.
God has both LOVE and WRATH.
Because God loves purity He also hates iniquity and sin wherever He finds it.
LOVE demands an absolute HATRED for evil.
(End of quoted section)
HELL POINTS US TO THE CROSS
Hell shows us the awesome extent of God’s love in saving us.
Our Lord’s punishment that He suffered at the cross was indescribable…
- The immense pain
- The grotesque wounds
- He was disfigured
- His face more marred than any man.
It shows how far God went for us to be saved.
People question, WHY is there a Hell? In a very real way, God does not send anyone to Hell; people choose to go there.
All who go to Hell have only their own selves to blame.
The Lord, by the cross, has made possible the way of salvation to those who will receive it.
As it’s been said, ‘When we look back on our lives from eternity, what will amaze us is not the severity of his justice, but the magnanimity of his mercy.’
Really nobody deserves to go to heaven, yet God grants a way we can go there…
HELL IS A PLACE.
A state of final punishment.
A Day of Accountability is coming… as we read in the closing chapters… in…
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Many like to accept that HEAVEN is a place while rejecting HELL as a place.
Just as God has a place of happiness for the redeemed, so God has a place of punishment for the rebellious who serve the Devil.
WHAT WILL HELL BE LIKE?
It is a place where the devil and his demons will go.
It is such an awful place to be, that our Lord said it would be better to cut off your hand or gouge out your eye, rather than to go there.
There is crying and total darkness there. It is described as a lake of fire, which cannot be put out and causes intense pain and agony.
It will be a place of fire and brimstone.
Revelation 19:20, 20:10, 14-15.
It will be a fire that is never quenched; Mark 9:43, 45.
It will be a place of intense torment, pain & weeping; Matthew 13:42, 50.
It will be a place of blackness and darkness; Jude 1:13.
It will be a terrible place, away from the presence of God and the Lamb, the holy angels and the redeemed. Some speak of Hell as a separation from God… But actually God will be PRESENT, in THE FULLNESS of His DIVINE WRATH.
In Hell there will be no light, life, peace, joy righteousness, nor salvation.
There will be a dismal darkness and torment of conscience for those who rejected and despised the grace of God.
This is the Hell Jesus Christ died to save us from.
No one who is ever in hell will be able to say to God, “You put me here,” and no one who is in heaven will ever be able to say, “I put myself here.” – John Hannah.
WHO WILL BE IN HELL?
Many people will end up in hell.
They will come from every background, society, religion, and culture.
Among them will be:
- Those who do not know God (2 Thessalonians 1:8)
- Those who do not obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:8)
- Sinners and hypocrites (Isaiah 33:14)
- Those that practiced lawlessness (Matthew 13:41)
- Cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murders, sorcerers, sexually immoral, idolaters, and all liars (Revelation 21:8)
- Homosexuals, adulterers, thieves, covetous people, drunkards, extortioners (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
WHERE IS HELL?
A young man who was converted during special evangelistic meetings held in a mining village, wanted to do something for God. He bought some tracts.
He was distributing these one day when he met some of his old companions, who derided him as he spoke to them of Jesus.
“Here,” said one of his companions, “can you tell me where hell is?”
After a moment’s hesitation, the young man looked up and said: “Yes, it’s at the end of a Christless life.”—Selected.
HOW DO YOU GET THERE?
The Bible says the highway to hell is wide and the road to heaven is narrow.
Which road are you travelling on?
Hell is forever.
Separation from Christ will be utter darkness. And men love darkness rather than light. So they are getting what they have loved. They will get darkness, but in a way we can’t imagine.
There is no exit door in hell.
The good news is there is a way to be saved from Hell.
HOW CAN WE BE SAVED FROM HELL?
There is just one way we can be saved from hell and that is by accepting Jesus Christ who went to the cross and died for our sins.
On the cross Jesus shed His blood for everyone who will give their lives to Him. He stands today with open arms, saying, “Come unto Me and I will save you forever.”
HELL SHOULD MOTIVATE US in many ways…
HELL SHOULD MOTIVATE US TO PASSION.
If you in any way abate the doctrine of hell, it will abate your zeal. (R.A. Torrey)
HELL SHOULD MOTIVATE US TO FEAR GOD.
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
HELL SHOULD MOTIVATE US TO FLEE FROM THE WRATH OF GOD.
…who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
HELL SHOULD MOTIVATE US TO ACTION…
To warn others to be saved…
And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire…
As someone has said, “If we really believe in Hell like we say we do, then why aren’t we telling more men about the Saviour?”
“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for.” – Charles Spurgeon
General Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, once said he would like to send all his officer candidates to hell for 24 hours as part of their training. Only then would they see the need for the lost to be saved and be able to accept the sacrifice necessary to seriously reach out to those outside God’s saving grace.
HELL SHOULD MOTIVATE US TO WORSHIP THE LORD JESUS.
1 Thessalonians 1:10
And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
What HAPPENS, after DEATH, for you?
Will you receive the gospel of grace, while you yet have time?