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The Horrors of Hell

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Title:        The Horrors of Hell.

Text:        Mark 9:43-48.

CIT:         Jesus teaches about the horrors of Hell and discipleship.

Theme:    The place you don’t want to live in

                forever.

Purpose:  Salvation/Discipleship.

Introduction

        Recent surveys conducted among church-going folks concluded that a small minority actually believe in a literal hell.  The survey concluded that 35% of Baptists; 54% of Presbyterians, 58% of Methodists, and 60% of Episcopalians do not believe in hell!  Worse yet is the fact that 71% of the students studying to be ministers in the 8 leading seminaries in the United States do not believe in a literal Heaven or Hell.  God help us.

        This has led the sophisticated and liberally educated to say that the doctrine of Hell is passe’.  They a hard time believing a loving God would send people to a place like hell.  Those who talk that way have not read their Bibles, especially the Gospels.  The strongest teaching in the New Testament on hell as a place of eternal punishment is found right here in Mark’s Gospel.  It is taught by our loving and caring Savior, Jesus.  Folks, we cannot accept Jesus’ teachings about the lilies and sparrows, about love and light, and reject His place warnings about hell.  You cannot have the one and exclude the other.

        What kind of place is hell?  Did you know that Jesus talked more about hell than He did about heaven?  Did you know that Jesus taught more about hell than anyone else in the Bible?  How do you explain that if the doctrine of hell is passe?  You can’t.

        The word translated “hell” in verses 43, 45, and 47 is the Greek word “Gehenna”.  It is a transliteration of two Hebrew words “Ge Hennom” or “Valley of Hinnom.”  Geographically, it is a deep valley on the south and west sides of Jerusalem.  Historically, it was a place where child sacrifices were made to Molech.  Molech was a great metal idol which was hollow inside and the priests would stoke a fire inside the idol where it would be white hot.  Then people would bring their little babies by and place them in the searing hands of the idol where they would die immediately.  King Josiah condemned this practice and claimed it was unclean.  It has since become the waste heap of Jerusalem where the fires smolder on seemingly forever.  What a wonderful illustration of hell.

        What about this place called hell?  What does Jesus teach us here?  First,

I.  Hell Is A Place of Eternal Suffering.

If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.  It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched -

And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off.  It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell,

And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.  It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire - where

‘Their worm does not die

And the fire is not quenched.

        Those who die in Christ go to heaven and are given an eternal body for joy, peace, and pleasure.  Paul tells us “to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord.”  But, those in hell will be made eternal for suffering, an eternal state of dying and torment as they are placed “into the fire that shall never be quenched ... to be cast into hell fire – where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.”  Eternal torment.

        Then, in Luke 16, we are told of a rich man and Lazarus.  They both died, the rich man ended up in hell and Lazarus ended up in heaven or Abraham’s bosom.  “The rich man ... In hell, where he was in torment, looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.  So he called to him, Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.”

        Many people have attempted to describe the agony associated with hell, but there is nothing in this world to even begin to describe the awfulness of hell; nothing that will even come close. 

        The lost who die will receive an immortal body.  Jesus said in our text that hell is a place where “the worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.”  The flames and the burning will last forever and let me point out, there are few pains comparable to being burned.  Jesus, in Matthew 13 said, hell is aplace of wailing and gnashing of teeth.  These terms signify enduring, excruciating pain.  One man commented, “What about those of us who have no teeth?”  His pastor replied, “Teeth will be provided!”    Imagine a person thrown into a volcano.  In the earth’s inner core, the temperatures are 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Hell is a place where all who are there will be eternally tormented beyond their wildest imagination.  If a person dies without Jesus, they have had their last rest.  Second,

II.  Hell Is a Place of Eternal Separation.

It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire - where

‘Their worm does not die

And the fire is not quenched.

        At death, a lost person is taken from the earth and from all good things and is separated forever in hell.  Hell is an eternal prison prepared for the Devil and his angels.  Hell was never intended for people and the people who end up there choose hell over Jesus.

        We also find in Luke 16 that there is a “great gulf fixed” that prohibits any rejoining of the good things or heaven, which can be seen from hell.  Eternal and forever is a long time and it defies description – time without end.  Third, we find

III.  Hell Is a Place of Everlasting Darkness

and Sorrow.

It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire - where

‘Their worm does not die

And the fire is not quenched.

        There are those who believe that hell will be like an exclusive country club.  Where there will be golfing, swimming, smoking, drinking, watching “R” rated movies with old cronies; they believe it’ll be a great time in hell.  I had someone tell me, “All my friends and family are in hell, that’s where I want to go.”  Those that are there are like the rich man, they are begging God to send someone to warn you not to follow in their footsteps.  Peter tells us that a person without Christ will be placed into “chains of darkness” and be forever in the “blackness of darkness.”  It will be a place of eternal darkness and sorrow.

IV.  Hell Is A Place of Exceptional Memory.

It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire - where

‘Their worm does not die.

        In Luke, Abraham told the rich man, which was in hell, “Remember that in your lifetime you received your good things...”  People in hell will have their conscience accusing them forever.  They will remember the songs, prayers, and words of witness.  They will remember their mother, father, pastor who loved and warned them.  An unstoppable bad memory is a symptom of hell.  Hell is a place of exceptional memory.

        People who have had limbs amputated say they feel pain or an itch even though there is no limb.  In Luke, the rich man craved water and had an unquenchable thirst.  Lost people will crave the good things they enjoyed on earth but will be unable to satisfy those eternal craving.  Hell is a place of exceptional memory.

        The rich man in Luke remembered his lost brothers in hell.  He wanted Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers that they didn’t want to come to where he was.  I wonder how many mothers, father, brothers and sisters are begging God to send someone to you and warn you about the horrors of hell?  Today, this sermon might be your only warning, please choose heaven and not hell.  That is the last thing I want us to see this morning.  That is,

V.  Hell Is A Place That Is Entirely Avoidable.

If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.  It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched -

And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off.  It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell,

And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.  It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire - where

‘Their worm does not die.

        All the way through this passage of Scripture is the underlying reality that you have a choice.  In these verses, Jesus isn’t talking about amputation or self-mutilation, He is talking about making a choice about sin.  The hand refers to actions which are sinful and evil.  It may refer to business dealings.  To avoid sickness, we should wash our hands regularly.  Spiritually speaking, our hands can get us into trouble – wash regularly.

        The foot carries us to places that can corrode.  Lot walked too close to Sodom and lived to regret it.

        The eye refers to unholy desires and passions.  Jesus says we are to deal drastically and seriously with sin.

Conclusion

        The Bible is very clear, at the moment a person dies they either go to heaven or hell.  When a person takes that last breath and the heart stops beating, there is no delay in going to one of these two places.  Where would you go if you were to die this very moment?  Are you sure you would go to heaven?  If not, we want to invite you to come this morning and take Christ.  You can know you are a heaven bound saint and if you don’t know for sure, we invite you to come.  Peter tells us:

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

        So we invite you to come this morning turning from your sin and turning to God.  Won’t you come as we sing?

FBC, Hughes                           07/08/07

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