What In Hell Do You Want, When Heaven Is A Better Place?
by VAN A. WILLIAMS SR.
A Sermon by Rev. Van A. Williams Sr. (May 5, 2009)
For the First Baptist Church, Mt. Vernon, Alabama
Introduction: There are three subjects that are very unpopular these days; do you know them? We don’t like to talk about them, discuss them or consider them. We definitely don’t want to hear sermons about them or attend classes where they are the subject of instruction. What are these subjects? The subjects that trouble us the most and we want to hear about least are: Sin, death, and hell. While we don’t like to think on these three, they are extremely important aspects of our faith:
Our faith is based on biblical teachings about two conditions and two places: Heaven and Hell. Heaven as a condition describes a state of paradise where all needs are met and conditions are more than satisfactory. As a place, it describes the homeland of the soul and the place of our eventual end. Hell when viewed as a condition is a state of misery, discontent, trouble and despair. As a place, hell describes a place of torment and destruction populated by the devil and the false prophets.
There is a second word in the New Testament that also refers to hell; that word is Gehenna. It means the place of whining and torment. Hell is described as a lake of fire and brimstone into which the ungodly shall be thrown to receive their eternal judgment.
Romans 6:23 says that the “Wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life.” Those who follow Satan, and false prophets will be thrown into this lake of fire (Rev 19:20) where they shall receive the punishment promised in Romans 6:23. Satan, and the false prophets will burn and be tortured without even receiving the mercy of death. (Rev. 20:10).
Hell won’t be a cool place. The temperature of boiling water is 100 degrees Celsius; molten lava is about 1,160 degrees Celsius. Hell will be hotter that volcanic lava.
That means there will be no ice cream in hell. Neither will there be air conditioning, cool dips in the pool, Icees, frozen margaritas, snow cones, window fans, or ice water.
If there is no cool aide, ice tea, frozen daiquiris, or snow; if there is no cool summer breeze or chilling winter wind; if there is no skiing, snowmen, ice skating or snow boarding; if there are no bully pops, push ups or Eskimo pies…What does hell have to offer that you want?
For believers the answer is simple, there is nothing in hell that we want, especially since heaven is so much better.
Satan offers non-believers a life bathed with Jalapeno peppers and sprinkled with hot sauce. He offers us both men and women that make us “hot.” He offers us hot cars, and sells us hot CD’s, hot purses, hot clothes and even hot pork chops and steaks. The late Marilyn Monroe guessed it right in her hit movie, “Some like it hot.”
However, the word of God reminds us that the day is coming when those who like it hot, will get more than they ask for because hell is waiting for those who like the hot life.
Believers may eat spicy chicken and hot wings, but when it comes to living; we have no attraction to Satan’s program. What is it in hell that we want? Nothing!
As Christians, we know about hell, but we focus on heaven. There is nothing in hell that we want, because heaven is so much better!
This text focuses on a story Jesus told to illustrate the reward of the righteous and the punishment of the unrighteous.
At the time Jesus walked on earth the Jews believed that, at death, that all persons went to “Hades/Sheol” or hell. They believed Hades was divided into two parts: a place of paradise, called Abraham’s bosom and a place of torment for those who were evil.
Christians do not share the ancient Jewish belief because Ephesians 4:8-10 tells us that Christ descended into the places of the dead and took with him all of the Old Testament godly and deceased saints and carried them to the presence of God. The rest he left there until the day of general judgment.
The New Testament teaches that there are no believers, either past or present in the grave. All believers are in the presence of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8 notes that when a believer dies he/she instantly joins all other saints in the presence of the Lord. All others, remain in their graves until judgment.
When that judgment comes, many will come to Christ looking for mercy but Matthew 25:41 says Christ will say “Depart from me” and they will be thrown into a literal lake of fire that will burn forever. This is the place that is prepared for the devil and his followers.
The followers of Satan will go to hell and be eternally separated from God after suffering a miserable torment. Satan and the false prophets will suffer eternally in this lake of fire (Rev. 20:10)
This text, shows Christ using the belief that Jews had at that time to illustrate the reward of the righteous and the punishment of the unrighteous. He gave them another parable or story to illustrate his point.
A certain poor man by the name of Lazarus was treated wrongly by a wealthy man. They both died and went to the place of the dead; because of his evil spirit, the rich man went to the tormenting section and Lazarus went to the bosom of Abraham.
Being tormented in flames the rich man cried out for “Father Abraham” to let Lazarus dip his finger in cool water and cool his tongue. Abraham reminded him of his horrible life and reflected on the good life Lazarus led and the results of each. He noted that even if he wanted to do as he asked, that there is a gulf that separates them.
The rich man begged Father Abraham to send Lazarus back to tell his five brothers to straighten up or they will come to the place of torment, of fire, brimstone and misery. Abraham refused because they had ample opportunity through the teaching of Moses and all the sermons of the prophets, even if someone came from the dead to warn them, they still would not listen.
The parable emphasized one truth: The righteous will be rewarded in paradise. The ungodly will experience hell. No one in the place of the dead can warn those who are living: There is ample opportunity given through the preached and written word of God to know their future, but some will not hear.
The Ungodly want Hell.
There is no way a message can be sent back to warn those of us who are living about the dangers of hell, but that message is being declared to millions daily. Many hear the sermons and read the scriptures but ignore them because there is something about the hellish lifestyle that attracts them.
In 1971 a Motown group called the “Undisputed Truth” released a song called, “You make your own heaven and hell right here on earth.” It didn’t make it any further than #72 on the charts but its message is nonetheless true: We determine our own destination right here on this earth.
Living for Hell.
In this life hell means: misery, torment, discomfort and trouble; there are many of us today who are living in hell and want what hell has to offer. They know there is a risk but they want what their living hell offers so badly that they are willing to risk death, imprisonment, disease and failure to go to hell.
Lazarus said, ”Send word to my five brothers so they can avoid hell.” Many don’t want to hear. Many hear the warnings, but there is so much in hell that they want.
They want sex even though the threat of the living hell of AIDS, syphilis and gonorrhea is real.
They want drugs even though the living hell of drug addiction and death awaits them.
They want the thug life even though it promises, in most cases, early death and for the most part a living hell in a jail cell.
They want to drink alcohol even though life without working livers and poor health means living in a literal hell.
They want to be pedophiles even though they know they will be hunted down, charted, identified as molesters forever making their lives a literal hell.
They want more than they can afford so they steal, shoplift, rob, and embezzle to get it, even though the prospect of ruined lives and reputations will make their lives hell.
While all of us live in hellish conditions, from one degree to another, the ungodly person is tragic because not only does he live in hell here, but after he dies he goes to hell.
Heaven Offers More.
Finally, brothers and sisters, we must consider that there is nothing in hell that a real Christian wants, because heaven is so much better.
There was a time when believers were attracted to the world, but we have found a better way and a better place, that offers so much more.
Many reached what Tyrone Davis called, “A turning point” in our lives. That was the day we decided to make heaven our home.
That was the day we read 1 Corinthians 6:11, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
From the day we accepted Christ, there is nothing in hell that we want, because heaven is so much better!
In heaven, we will live our lives in the presence of God; that is so much better!
In heaven, we will never thirst or hunger or be in want; that is so much better!
In heaven, we will never grow old, get sick or die, that is so much better!
In heaven, we will never cry, feel pain or hurt; that is so much better!
In heaven, we will never experience the loss of a child, parent or sibling; that is so much better!
In heaven, we will never be poor or experience the lack of anything, that’s so much better!
In heaven, we will never be discriminated against, hated on, cheated or robbed; that’s so much better!
In heaven, we will never worry, wonder or doubt for all doubts will be settled; that’s so much better!