Luke 16:19-31 & Matthew 7:13-14
I was looking through some old papers this week and came across a prayer list from July 1993. I think I must have saved that list because it told of a traffic accident in Quebec, Canada that resulted in the deaths of 19 people. Doing a little research online, I discovered that for the past several years there have averaged 40,000 highway fatalities a year in the USA.
I would suggest to you that Jesus, in Matthew 7, told of the greatest highway tragedy of all – people traveling the road to Hell. Many, so-called Bible scholars, now teach that Hell is figurative or anecdotal. They contend that Hell is not a literal place but a state of being in which an individual is separated from God. The biggest problem they have in making their case has to do with the evidence to the contrary. Without a doubt, the greatest hell-fire preacher of all time was Jesus Himself! In the book of Matthew alone there are numerous references - Matt. 5:22; Matt. 10:28; Matt. 13: 40-50; Matt. 23:33; and Matt. 25:41, 46.
To Jesus, Hell was a horrible fact. He preached against sin and warned of its results. Just look at Luke 16. Jesus made it plain that this story is not a parable. Two men are called by name, Abraham and Lazarus. I have no doubt Jesus would have given us the name of the rich man but for the fact that members of his family might have heard it.
If I do not believe this passage, I do not trust the words of Jesus! If this word be not true, how can we believe anything the Bible says? Are Jesus’ instructions for life, or ministry, or Heaven to be believed? I believe there is so much doubt concerning Hell because it is in Satan’s best interest that we not believe.
I. Satan’s Great Deception
A. There is no Hell – the term is figurative
B. Hell is the grave – all consciousness stops at death
C. The torment of Hell is quickly ended
D. Even if Hell exists, a loving God would never condemn anyone there
Note: Why so many lies? To keep men sinning! Three theories:
1. Misery loves company – Satan is destined for Hell and wants to drag as many humans down with him as possible
2. Satan desires that God suffer – God loves us and would not have any to perish
3. Satan hopes to get off the hook – Should God let one human off the hook Satan is free as well
II. The Truth Of the Matter
A. Hell is not the grave – We are eternal creatures
1. The rich man was tormented in the flame
2. The rich man desired to spare his brothers
B. There are no stops between life and Hell
1. The rich man’s brothers were still alive
2. There is no purgatory or limbo
C. Hell is eternal punishment for sin – A natural consequence
1. Not just the end of existence
2. Not just missing Heaven
3. Not just until judgment
4. The rich man has been in Hell for more than 2,000 years!
D. God is not responsible for anyone being there
1. We are free to choose
2. We do not excuse men their crimes and neither will God
III. Hell, Who Will Be There?
A. Hell’s population far exceeds that of Heaven
1. The majority of those that have lived and that are alive today
2. Many good and moral people
B. Many will be surprised
1. They were active church members
2. They didn’t believe in Hell
May you be inscribed! Is your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life?