I. Heaven and Hell
Matthew 25:46 - “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
A. I never hear much doubt about heaven.
- When faced with tragedy most people talk about going to a better place.
- When if heaven exist. 81% yes 13% no
B. Talking about heaven is easy
- Talking about hell not so much. Did you know there is more verses where Jesus teaches about Hell than Heaven?
“Hell has become about as politically incorrect a concept as one can find…” Al Mohler
- When asked if they believe in a literal hell: 63% yes 30% no
II. Questions about Hell
A. Is Hell a real place?
1. Jesus taught there was a place called Hell
- As a Christian, we believe his words when he gives us a picture of the afterlife.
Luke 16:19-31 - Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. 20 At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. 21 As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores. 22 “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the heavenly banquet. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and he went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side. 24 “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’ 25 “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’ 27 “Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. 28 For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’ 29 “But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’ 30 “The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’ 31 “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”
2. Hades, place of the dead
- Theologians teach us that this is the holding cell until the final judgement.
- During the old testament, the word Sheol was used to describe this place.
- By the intertestamental period, it was understood that there are 2 sides separated by a huge gulf between the two.
- This where you go when you die without Christ as your savior. Where your soul will await final judgement spoken of in Revelation 20
- This other side, called paradise or the bosom of Abraham, was where people of faith went before Jesus’ death burial and resurrection.
3. Jesus death satisfied God wrath
Romans 3:22-26 - We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
- When Jesus died he went to paradise and took the saints who died in faith to Heaven!
- Heavens definition is “where God is”
1 Peter 3:18a - Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God.
B. Why was hell created?
Matthew 25:41 - “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.
- “PREPARED” It is a big word. Hell is no accident
- Satan is not in hell at the moment he is on earth. 4 times Jesus calls him the prince of this world.
Revelation 20:10 - Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
C. Who will be in hell?
- Satan and his angels
- All of us were headed to an eternity without God
Romans 3:23 - For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
We all fall short.
Romans 3:24 - Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
- God has made a way through Jesus to save us from hell.
C.S. Lewis: There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “Thy will be done.” All that are in hell chose it. Without that self-choice there would be no hell. No soul that seriously and consistently desires joy will miss it.”
D. What happens in hell?
- Emotional and relational torment
- Physical torment
- Spiritual torment
2 Thessalonians 1:9 - They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power.
III. Where do people go now when they die?
A. If you die in your sins without accepting the salvation of Jesus through faith.
- You go to Hades, sheol and wait for the final judgement.
G.K. Chesterton “ Hell is God’s great compliment to the reality of human freedom and the dignity of human personality.”
B. Those who have Christ Go into God’s presence
- Heaven. After Jesus resurrection to life, he has met the ransom set for our sin. We can be in the presence of a holy God through his sacrifice for us.
Philippians 1:23 - I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.
- There is no question about this. We don’t sleep until judgement. Our spirit the thing that makes you you goes to be with God.
- You have your same memories your same personality. You just don’t have your new body yet.
- Theologians call this the intermediate state. You will interact. See people you know and recognize them.
- Here is our great hope written plainly!
2 Thessalonians 4:13-18 - And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. 15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.
When we see death on the scale that happens this week we are afraid. The good news if you have accepted Christ as your savior death is winning. To forever be in the presence of God. The better news is if you haven’t accepted Christ as your savior nothing can stop you from embracing Jesus as your savior right now but you…