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Highway to Hell

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Highway to Hell

My very first CD was AC/DC’s High Voltage. I was a big fan, and, guiltily, still enjoy a little Back in Black or Dirty Deeds and a done dirt cheap from time to time.
How often do we listen to songs without ever paying attention to the lyrics?
In 1979, AC/DC released the album “Highway to Hell” and the title track, written by the lead singer Bon Scott started like this:
Living easy, living free Season ticket on a one-way ride Asking nothing, leave me be Taking everything in my stride Don't need reason, don't need rhyme Ain't nothing I would rather do Going down, party time My friends are gonna be there too
I'm on the highway to hell On the highway to hell Highway to hell I'm on the highway to hell
4 months later, Bon Scott was found dead in a car from what was deemed “acute alcohol poisoning” or, as the English call it, “Death by MISADVENTURE.
One writer wrote of Scott’s death:
The words to "Highway to Hell" took on a new resonance when Scott drank himself to death in 1980.
AllMusic's Steve Huey observes: The lyrics displayed a fierce, stubborn independence in his choice of lifestyle ("Askin' nothin', leave me be"; "nobody's gonna slow me down"), but not really loneliness (of hell: "goin' down! party time! my friends are gonna be there too"). It's ironic that Scott seems most alive when facing death with the fearless bravado of "Highway to Hell"
Bon Scott, like most everyone in this room, must have at least had an thought that there was something else after we died.
His particular view seemed to be “It ain’t gonna be all that bad”.
It may even be a pretty fun place.
The bible, and Christ Himself, paint a very different picture.
My goal today is not to manipulate you into making a decision or scare you into submission to Christ.
That is always the risk in preaching about hell.
My prayer is that the horror of hell would lead each and everyone of us to a newfound awe and amazement at the wonder of Christ and His Gospel.
That those who have not yet come to Christ for salvation, would give their hearts and lives to Him today.
And to us who have trusted Christ, we would be encouraged and challenged by the picture of what we have been saved out of.

The Truth about Hell

1) Hell is LITERAL, ETERNAL PUNISHMENT.

There is a lot of imagery in the bible concerning hell.
Just listen to what Jesus says about hell
Matthew 13:40–43 ESV
40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
There will be “a fiery furnace and weeping and gnashing of teeth.
- There will be “a fiery furnace and weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 25:41 ESV
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
It is a place of “eternal fire” prepared for the Devil and his Angels.
- It is a place of “eternal fire” prepared for the Devil and his Angels.
Mark 9:43 ESV
43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.
the fire “never goes out”
- the fire “never goes out”
Luke 16:23 ESV
23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
It is a place of torment.
- It is a place of torment.
The question that is often asked “Are these literal descriptions of heaven or figurative?
In the 14th Century, Dante Alighieri took the biblical imagery very seriously and created his famous “9 levels of Hell” including:
people getting tossed around by storms
buried head down and their feet caught on fire
forced to push large boulders around endlessly
being whipped by demons while walking around
Being immersed in human excrement
among many other ideas.
Dante took the biblical ideas about hell to a whole-nutha-level.
And the pictures in most of our minds are probably pretty similar to Dante’s
And though Dante’s depiction of hell should never be considered an accurate depiction, it does capture the seriousness and horror of hell.
It does capture the seriousness and horror of hell.

Darkness, fire, separation, gnashing of teeth

Like most imagery used in the bible (and outside the bible, it undercuts the real thing.
Most scholars believe these descriptions are not to be taken literally, but to be considered metaphoric.
Tom Ascol says this about biblical depictions of Hell:
To be separated from God is to be separated from anything and everything good. That is hard to conceive because even the most miserable person enjoys some of God’s blessings. We breathe His air, are nourished by food that He supplies, and experience many other aspects of His common grace. But in hell, a person will be forever separated from God in His kindness, mercy, grace, and goodness. He will be consigned to deal with Him in His holy wrath.
The greatest punishment of Hell is not the fire or the brimstone, it is the absence of the goodness and kindness of God.
Like most imagery used in the bible (and outside the bible) it often sells the real thing short.
With Heaven, the biblical imagery is meant to illicit hope, joy and longing for heaven.
Though the pictures we are given are glorious, the real things is immensely better than we can imagine.
With Hell the imagery is meant to cast light on the seriousness of sin and the severity of sin’s consequence.
Though the picture we are given is harsh, violent, and terrifying, the real thing is likely much worse than we are able to fathom.
What we DO learn about Hell is:
That it is eternal, unending, never ceasing punishment for man’s sin and rebellion toward our Holy God.
We may not know the specifics of the punishment, but it is clear that whatever it is it will not be “a party with our friends”.

2) Hell is JUST and PROPER PUNISHMENT.

The question often asked is why is hell eternal punishment?
Isn’t God overreacting, charging finite sin with infinite punishment?
At the heart of that question is the natural impulse of the human heart—to minimize the severity and seriousness of our sin.
The misery and torment of hell point to the wickedness and seriousness of sin.
The eternal nature of Hell point to the eternal nature God who was sinned against.
Tom Ascol points to our minimization of sin when he says:
I’m convinced the way we think about hell is always a reflection of how we think about sin and, in turn, how we think about Christ. Problem is, it’s all too easy for Christians to think of hell as something “out there,” something other people deserve—people who don’t think like us or vote like us or live like us. Eventually, this way of thinking makes us callous and cold to both the gospel and other people.
John Piper says
If we preach a hell we don’t think we deserve, we will eventually begin preaching a Christ we think we do.
John Piper says
"Hell is all about the outcome of a life of sin. Sin is all about falling short of God’s glory; that is, failing to see God as glorious and to honor him and thank him as glorious, and to follow him and praise him and glorify him."
The just and proper punishment for sins against a glorious, holy, and infinite God is eternal, unending punishment in Hell.
But that is not all the bible has to say about the justice of Hell.
Revelation 22:11 ESV
11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
The people in hell never repent. They remain filthy; they remain haters of God’s authority. Their hearts remain unjust and corrupted.
CS Lewis wrote an allegorical story about a man named Narrator who, in a dream, boards a bus for a journey through heaven and hell.
While in hell, Narrator hears of what Hell is like
It describes hell as a drab and gray city with miles and miles of abandoned and boarded buildings. Why? Because people can’t get along with each other in hell so they continue to move further and further away.
-It describes hell as a drab and gray city with miles and miles of abandoned and boarded buildings. Why? Because people can’t get along with each other in hell so they continue to move further and further away. Napoleon, for example, lives on the outskirts of town, “about fifteen thousand years of our time “[1] away from the center and spends his days pacing back and forth in a huge house muttering to himself and assigning blame to everyone but himself for his failed life. It is a picture of loneliness, brokenness, ego, and misery.
Napoleon (the deposed emperor of France in the 1800s), for example, lives on the outskirts of town, “about fifteen thousand years of our time” away from the center and spends his days pacing back and forth in a huge house muttering to himself and assigning blame to everyone but himself for his failed life.
It is a picture of loneliness, brokenness, ego, and misery.
It is a picture of sin taking over like cancer ravaging someone’s body.
Though Lewis’s depiction of heaven isn’t probably any closer to Dante’s Inferno, the reality that people in hell remain rebels against God rings true.
The only things keeping sinners from living out the full extent of their sinfulness is the grace and power of God.
Hell is where the sins you wouldn’t repent of on earth consumes you, burning like a never-ceasing fire in your heart.
Hell is where the sins you wouldn’t repent of on earth consumes you, burning like a never-ceasing fire in your heart. You become your jealousy or your insecurity. Selfishness or materialism. Or racism. Or hate. Pride. Bitterness. Dishonesty. Suspicion and lack of trust. Fear.
You become your jealousy or your insecurity. Selfishness or materialism. Or racism. Or hate. Pride. Bitterness. Dishonesty. Suspicion and Fear.
People in Hell are not turning their hearts toward love of God, even if they are deeply aware of how great and glorious He is.
Hell is a proper and just punishment.

3) Hell is AVOIDABLE PUNISHMENT.

Hell is really bad news, not just for bad people, for all people.
john 3 1
Most people would assume God would let them into Heaven since they really haven’t done anything all that evil.
revelation 22
But listen to John’s revelation in Rev 21.
Revelation 21:8 ESV
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.”
It isn’t hard to hit this target, cowardly, faithless, idolaters, liars...
1
2 cor 5
Romans 10:9 ESV
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 3:10–12 ESV
10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Romans 3:10–11 ESV
10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.
We are all born “under the wrath of God” not in a neutral state.
No one here
John 3:17–19 ESV
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
John 3:18 ESV
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Hell is the default destination of all mankind because of our rebellion against our Holy and Righteous God.
That is what makes the Gospel so good.
John 3:17 ESV
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
The purpose of Jesus was to provide THE way of escape.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
1 Peter 2:24 ESV
24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
Tom Ascol “The dreadfulness of hell deepens our grateful praise for the salvation we have in Jesus Christ. Hell is what we deserve. And hell is what He experienced on the cross in our place.”
Romans 10:9 ESV
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
The invitation at the end of Revelation is incredible.
Revelation 22:17 ESV
17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
Revelation seems hopeless, but the reality is there is yet hope while there is breath in our lungs.
Romans 10:9 ESV
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
And there is hope for those loved ones, friends, coworkers, and lost people all around the world who do not yet believe.
What we told about Hell should not just motivate us to give ourselves to Christ, but should break our hearts for those who do not know Him.
Believing the truth about hell also motivates us to persuade people to be reconciled to God.
By God’s grace those of us who are trusting Christ have been rescued from this horrible destiny.
How can we love people and refuse to speak plainly to them about the realities of eternal damnation and God’s gracious provision of salvation?
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