The Place No One Wants to Go
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43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: 48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
There are many places in this world that I would like to go to. I would love to go to Israel some day. I would like to go to Alaska, Africa, China, Europe, England, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, etc. There are lots of places I want to go. I am sure you have a list of your own. Of course, there are some places I do not want to go. I don't care anything about going to Saudi Arabia or Iran. I don't want to go to jail or to the hospital either. There are just some places folks don't want to go.
Well, there is one place where no one wants to go and that place is the subject of Christ's teaching in these verses. The place no one want to go is Hell! Some people may indicate that they would like to go there, but when it comes right down to it, no one wants to go to Hell! Yet, Hell is a place to which everyone is headed! That is, until they meet Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
The Lord Jesus has something to say about that horrible place called Hell. What He has to say needs to be heard by everyone in this room today. In fact, what He has to say about Hell needs to be heard by the whole world! Jesus wants us to know that Hell is real; that Hell is terrible beyond all description and that no one ever has to go there! You may be headed to that place to which no one wants to go, but it is my duty today to tell you that you do not have to go there! Let's see what Jesus has to say about Hell and about how to avoid going there. I want to preach today about A Place No One Wants To Go!
I. Hell Is an Actual Place
Jesus speaks about Hell in the New Testament as though He actually believes that Hell is real! In fact, Jesus only spoke about Heaven once, while He spoke of Hell 11 times.
A. Hell's Reality
In our modern day, many have rejected the notion of Hell altogether. In a recent poll, 60% of Americans surveyed said that they believed in Hell, while 25% did not and 9% were undecided. I don't know how the other 6% felt. In religious circles, Hell is made light of as well. Another recent survey found that 35% of Baptists; 54% of Presbyterians; 58% of Methodists; and 60% of Episcopalians do not believe in a literal Hell. 71% of those attending the 8 leading seminaries in the United States do not believe in either Heaven or Hell. Well so much for man's views on the subject. What does the Word of God say about the reality of Hell?
The Bible is clear, God's Word teaches us that there is a literal place called Hell, Psa. 9:17; Luke 12:5; Luke 16:19-31! You can either believe the clear Word of God, or you can believe the lies of Satan. I say, “Let God be true but every man a liar!” (Rom. 3:4)
B. Hell's Residents
If Hell is real, and it is, then who will be there? Jesus tells us very plainly why Hell was created. It was designed as a place of eternal punishment for Satan and his demonic followers, Matt. 25:41. And, we know that at the end of the Tribulation Period, Satan, along with the Antichrist and the False Prophet will be cast into Hell, Rev. 20:10. But, there are others in Hell! Jude speaks of certain angels “which kept not their first estate” as being in Hell, Jude 6.
Is Hell then just a place for spiritual beings who have rebelled against God? No! In Matthew 25:41, Jesus sends a group of people away into Hell! In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus tells us the story of a rich man who died and went to Hell. The Bible is clear about who will be in Hell. Psalm 9:17 tells us that the “wicked will be turned into Hell”. The bottom line is this: everyone who rejects God's plan of salvation through Jesus Christ will go to Hell, John 8:24; 2 Thess. 1:9-10.
What this means is that anyone who has not trusted Jesus Christ by faith is headed to Hell. Religious people, moral people, decent people, friends, relatives, family members, anyone who is not saved is surely headed for the destruction and torment of Hell! It is not that they will be lost someday, the fact is, they are lost this day, Eph. 2:1-3, 12, and the wrath of God already dwells on them, John 3:18, 36. They already have their ticket to Hell and the only thing that will save them is coming to Christ for salvation, John 3:16! The sad fact is, there may be several in this very room who are headed to that awful place. Friend, if you have never been saved, you are one of those who will populate hell!
II. Hell Is an Awful Place
II. Hell Is an Awful Place
(Jesus speaks of “fire, worms and hell” in these verses. He uses some pretty graphic language to describe that terrible place. What is it about Hell that makes it so terrible?)
A. Hell Is Awful Because of the Damnation
Lost men are condemned by God already, John 3:18, 36. Sadly, most do not know they are separated from God. Why? They are blind to their own spiritual condition, 2 Cor. 4:4. They are dead and do not sense God or know Him, Eph. 2:1. They cannot see the glories of God which have been revealed in the world, Psa. 19:1-6, and through Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, John 1:4-5. This is the condition of the lost person, but as they say, “Ignorance is bliss!” They are separated from the Lord, but they do not know it and they do not see the need to come to Him.
However, in Hell, their separation will be made painfully clear to them, 2 Thess. 1:9-10. To be separated from Him here is horrible, but to be separated from His love, His grace, His glory and the hope He gives is awful beyond all description. To be separated from everything that is good for all eternity with no hope of escape is too terrible to imagine! Yet, that is the fate of every lost sinner who dies without Jesus Christ!
Listen to the words of Jesus and let Him speak to your heart, Matt. 7:21-23; Matt. 25:41. In the end, at the Great White Throne, every lost sinner will be cast into the lake of fire, Rev. 20:11-15. The word “cast” means “to throw something without caring where it falls”. What a horrible thought! Is that the end that awaits you!
B. Hell Is Awful Because of the Duration
There are many people who believe that Hell is real, but they believe that it will be short in its duration. They believe that those thrown into Hell will burn up quickly and be gone, like a broom sage field. If that were true, then Hell might be tolerated. But, the Bible teaches us just the opposite. He is real and Hell is eternal, Matt. 18:8; Matt. 25:41; Rev. 14:10. Friend, eternity is a long time, be sure you spend it in the right place!
C. Hell Is Awful Because of the Documentation
When we take the time to look at what the Bible says about Hell, it is easy to see the awful nature of that place called Hell.
1. Unquenchable Fire — Mark 9:43; Luke 16:24
2. Memory and remorse — ⇒ Rich man — “Son remember” Luke 16:25, 27-28 (⇒ The Worm! Is it an actual creature that eternally seeks to consume an un-consumable body? Is it something within man like memory that gnaws at him throughout eternity? Whatever it is, every inhabitant of Hell has one and it never dies!)
3. Intense, unsatisfied thirst — Luke 16:24-25
4. Misery and pain — Luke 16:24-26; Rev. 14:10-11
5. Frustration and anger — Luke. 13:28; Matt. 24:51
6. Eternal separation — Rev. 21:8 — ⇒From what? Everything beautiful!
7. Undiluted wrath — ⇒ Rainbow, Hab. 3:2! In Hell, the full fury of God's wrath will be unleashed! (⇒ This was the same wrath Jesus bore on the cross! You can receive what He did for you, or you can go to Hell and feel the full force of God's wrath for yourself!)
Friend, does Hell sound like the place you want to spend your eternity? It is an awful place, but you do not have to go there! God has given people a means of escape, if they will avail themselves of it! Let's look into that blessed thought for a moment.
III. Hell Is an Avoidable Place
III. Hell Is an Avoidable Place
A. The Pathway to Avoiding Hell
Three times in our text, verses 43, 45, and 47, Jesus refers to “entering into life”. I would just remind you this morning that He is the Life, John 14:6. What He is referring to is entering into a faith relationship with Himself. How is this accomplished? Very simply, it is achieved by faith in Jesus and in what He did when He died on the cross and rose again from the dead.
The steps for entering life in Christ and thus avoiding Hell are very simple. Here they are:
1. Recognize the fact that you are a sinner - Rom. 3:10, 23; Rom. 5:12.
2. Understand the penalty that God has placed on sin - Rom. 6:23.
3. Know what God did to save you from your sins and from that penalty - Rom. 5:6-9.
4. Come to the place where you are willing to turn from your sins and place your faith in Jesus alone for your salvation - Rom. 10:9-10, 13.
5. That is all there is to it! God's plan for being saved is as simple as pure faith in Jesus and His finished work, Eph. 2:8-9; Acts 16:31; John 3:16; John 6:47; John 5:25.
B. The Price of Avoiding Hell
In these verses, Jesus speaks of amputating body parts if necessary to make a clean break with sin and temptation. What He is talking about is the radical steps that must be taken to make a break with the past life. Getting saved will probably not require you to pluck out your eye, or cut off your hand or foot. It may require something even harder. It may require you to deal with your pride so that you can walk down this aisle and come to Him. It may require you to break off relationships with friends and associates. Whatever it is in life that would prevent you from being saved is not worth going to Hell over! Whether it is a relationship, a pet sin, family, friends, pride or whatever it must be cut out of your life so that you can get to God! Salvation is free! Thank God, Jesus paid the entire price and we can be saved without charge, Rev. 22:17; Isa. 55:1; John 7:37. But, coming to Jesus will almost certainly cost you dearly as you take the necessary steps to cut yourself off from the old life of sin. Friends, getting to Jesus is worth the cost, whatever it is! Don't let anything stand between you and your getting to Him, Mark 8:36-37.
There are some subjects in the Bible I would just as soon never preach about, but they are all helpful and this one is just plain essential! One of the reasons it is so important for us to understand the truth about Hell is because some who have heard this are going there and even if we are saved, we all know someone who is going there. May the Lord help you to be sure you are saved and may He help those of us who are saved to get a greater burden for those headed to Hell.
As I close, I want to let you know that your life is going to be sacrificed somewhere. There are some people who will give their lives on the altar of sacrifice and service for the glory of God, Rom. 12:1. These are the people who know Jesus and are headed to His heaven! Others will sacrifice their lives on the altar of sin. Those are the ones who will go to Hell. My questions for you are these: Which altar is your life on today? And, if it on the wrong one, would you like to change?
If you are headed to Hell and need to come to Jesus, this altar is open. If you are saved, but are concerned about your own walk with Him, this altar is open. If you are saved and are burdened over those you know who are headed to Hell, then this altar is open. If you are saved, and just want to thank God that you do not have to go to Hell, this altar is open! You mind Him today!