Week 2 of :

Heaven, Hell, And the End of the World


Last week…

Rules for the road

Rule 1: We Always Keep The End In Mind

Rule 2: We Major On The Majors and Minor On The Minors

Rule 3: We Trust The Story The Bible Is Telling

Rule 4: We Believe With Both Our Minds And Our Hearts

Rule 5: We Research Before We Repeat

  • We’ll see some of these again today


Today is all about Eternity
Why is it important to talk about these things?

Research says…

  • Current Death Rate = 99.999%
  • So far, only one person who died has permanently come back to life (Jesus)


What was accepted by one generation, is NOT by another

  • That’s okay for some things, but not ok for others.

Our current generation has a hard time with the IDEA OF HELL

“Why would a “LOVING” God send people to Hell?”
Because our generation has bought into the ASSUMPTION that People are inherently “GOOD”

  • The 20th Century tells us otherwise…

20th Century Death Tolls:

  • World War I – 20 million)
  • Soviet Revolution – 5 million
  • Stalin’s purges and gulags – 2.5 million
  • World War II – 55 million (including holocaust)
  • Korean War – 3 million
  • USA-Vietnam War – 3 million
  • Mao’s “Cultural Revolution” – 11 million?
  • Sudanese civil war – 2 million


Obliviously, something is VERY WRONG

  • The Bible teaches that there is NO ONE INNOCENT


If God is GOOD and LOVING and JUST…

  • Then it makes sense that all this would just TICK HIM OFF
  • What have we done to his world?


Rule 3: We trust the story the Bible is Telling

  • That story is that humans have BROKEN God’s world

So, let’s look at the story the Bible is telling about Hell…

1: Hell Is Real


Jesus talked about hell the MOST

  • was the only person to use the word “HELL” except in one verse in James


Hell is a transliteration of a word called Gehenna


Valley of Hinnom


Hear about it here…

2 Chronicles 28

1 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not do what was right in the Lord’s sight like his ancestor David, 2 for he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and made cast images of the Baals. 3 He burned incense in Ben Hinnom Valley and burned his children in the fire, imitating the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites.

  • Sacrificed children here
  • This a place of WICKEDNESS and REBELLION against God
  • A Place of GOD’S JUDGMENT


During the Days of Jesus…

  • Outside the old city walls
  • Gehenna later becomes a place of burning dead bodies and trash
  • The constant smell of death and fire and disease


With that picture in mind, let’s see what Jesus says about it…

Mark 9

43 “And if your hand causes you to fall away, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and go to hell, the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to fall away, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to fall away, gouge it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48 where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.
Sin is a big deal to Jesus

  • Because of what it does to us
  • And those around us



Jesus is using this place as a METAPHOR

  • Just because it’s figurative language, DOES NOT mean that he is not describing a REAL PLACE
  • The metaphor speaks to something we don’t have words for


Other Metaphors used…

  • Outer Darkness (Mt 8:12)
  • Fiery Furnace – Weeping/gnashing of teeth (Mt 13:42
  • Unquenchable Fire (Mt 3:12)
  • No Rest (Rev 14:11)
  • Separated from God’s presence (2 Thes 1:8-9)

Hell Is REAL

  • Don’t listen to those who say that Jesus never meant it to go this far
  • Jesus and the Bible point to a place of EVERLASTING REJECTION


If I were satan, I would try to either:

  • Get people to NOT believe in hell
  • Get them not to take it seriously

The story the Bible is telling says that…

2: Those In Hell Chose It


What is a key component in love?

  • Choice
  • Not love if there is NO CHOICE

Hell is a necessary possibility for creatures designed to experience their Creator’s eternal love

  • For love to exist, there must also exist the possibility of being rejected.
  • Hell is a necessary possibility for creatures given genuine freedom to choose good or evil

Luke 16

19 “There was a rich man who would dress in purple and fine linen, feasting lavishly every day. 20 But a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, was lying at his gate. 21 He longed to be filled with what fell from the rich man’s table, but instead the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 One day the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torment in Hades, he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off, with Lazarus at his side. 24 ‘Father Abraham!’ he called out, ‘Have mercy on me and…

  • Get me out of here!
  • Rescue me!

‘Father Abraham!’ he called out, ‘Have mercy 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 flame!’


The rich man did NOT ask to leave

  • He wanted Lazarus to come to him


The common complaint about Christianity is…

“I don’t want to serve a God who would send people to Hell just because they rejected him”

  • God seems petty, jealous, and angry


But what kind of benevolent being FORCES those who have rejected him to spend eternity with him?

  • That is a tyrant


C.S. Lewis Says it this way…

Hell is God-honoring human freedom to choose an existence independent from their Creator. In the long run, the answer to those who object to the doctrine of hell is itself a question: What is it that they are asking God to do? To wipe out past sins and, at all costs, give them a fresh start? He did that, on the cross. To forgive them? But they don’t want forgiveness. To leave them alone? That’s what hell is. There are only two kinds of people in the end: Those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in hell, choose it. Without that self-choice, it wouldn’t be hell. ~C.S. LEWIS, THE GREAT DIVORCE


Hell is the result of God respecting man’s decisions

  • Hell is LOCKED from the INSIDE
  • Those in there are miserable but do not desire to leave


NOTE: Read The Great Divorce By C.S. Lewis if you haven’t
The story the Bible is telling says that…

3: Heaven And Hell Begin Here And Now


That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, “No future bliss can make up for it,” not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backward and turn even that agony into glory. And of some sinful pleasure, they say, “Let me have this, and I’ll take the consequences”: little dreaming of how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin. Both processes begin even before death. The good man’s past begins to change so that his forgiven sins and remembered sorrows take on the quality of Heaven: the bad man’s past already conforms to his badness and is filled only with dreariness. And that is why, at the end of all things, when the sun rises here, and the twilight turns to blackness down there, the Blessed will say, “We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven,” and the Lost, “We were always in Hell.” And both will speak truly.’ ~C.S. LEWIS, THE GREAT DIVORCE


Heaven and Hell is a trajectory we are ALL traveling towards

  • It’s the direction of our life
  • The culmination of our actions


Those whose direction is Heaven

  • All the sorry will make heaven sweeter

Those whose direction is Hell

  • All the joy will be tainted by constant sorrow


The truth about hell concerning humanity is that we like it

  • We love it, actually, because we’re constantly choosing it.


If hell is things outside of gods, good order, and design, then human history points to the fact that we typically love far more than God

  • For those that reject God, hell would be placed in the presence of holy, all-consuming Glory


God, in His great mercy, HAS made a way

  • Not rules
  • Not rituals
  • Just Jesus


John 3

16 For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Anyone who believes in him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. 19 This is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. 21 But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.”


Come to the light!


As Christians, this should fuel us to be the people of GOOD NEWS (Gospel)

  • God has made a way through Jesus Christ
  • His salvation saves both now and FOREVER!


Closing Question:

What steps are you taking to ensure that those you know have had the opportunity to understand what they are choosing for their eternal life?

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