I have never liked fire and brimstone preaching. It is His kindness that causes us to turn to Him. I believe that when people understand the love of God, that is the fact that draws us to Him. However, if we read the rest of this verse there is a warning of the dangers of rejecting Christ.
Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. – Romans 2:4-5
Talking about Hell isn’t pleasant. No one should enjoy it, but it is important. In over a dozen years of preaching I’ve never devoted a sermon to the reality of Hell. So we decided that it was time to address the reality of Hell.
As an introduction our media team did “on the street” interviews in Albany. In over an hour during the First Friday celebration, they could not find one person who believed in Hell. Our Youth Director Michael commented in his blog that it saddened him. A friend of his then publicly rebuked him on Facebook for his condemning people. She was doing what she accused him of, condemning Michael for his views. Here’s my problem with it…it’s not Michael’s view. It’s a biblical fact.
Described in many places in scripture as a place of fire (Mark 9:43-45, & 13:49-51) and torment (Revelation 14:10-11) Hell wasn’t meant for us. It was created for the devil and his demons (Matthew 25:41). God doesn’t want anyone to go to Hell (John 3:16). It is our rejection of Christ that causes us to go to Hell.
It’s like this, light can’t exist in the darkness. You turn a light bulb on in the room darkness is expelled. God is light. He is holy. Sin or darkness can’t exist in His presence. It’s expelled. We are all sinners (Romans 3:22-23) and therefore can’t enter heaven on our own.
Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind. 48 When the net was full, they dragged it up onto the shore, sat down, and sorted the good fish into crates, but threw the bad ones away. 49That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous, 50throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51 Do you understand all these things?” – Matthew 13:47-51
We are all wicked but some are made righteous by the blood of Jesus.
The response to a discussion on Hell is sometimes, “But Jesus taught about love and forgiveness, not hell.” Actually, the quote above from Matthew 13 is Jesus talking. He never wanted anyone to go to Hell, that’s why He came to make a way for us to heaven.