You Can Escape the Horrors of a Place Called Hell
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
You Can Escape the Horrors of a Place Called Hell
God is sowing His Word in human hearts and looking for fruit. He is sowing His people in the world where they can produce a harvest. At the end of the age, He will separate the true from the false and the good from the bad.
The reference here, in the verses that we are going to study, is to the end of the world. It is then, and not until then, that there will be this dividing. The wicked will be separated from the righteous. It is the angels of heaven that will sever the wicked from among the just. They will be able to distinguish those that are His because their commission and instructions will be from the one who knows all men and particularly knows those that are His and those who are not.
Our text is Matthew 13:49-51 (NCV):
49 It will be this way at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the evil people from the good people.
50 The angels will throw the evil people into the blazing furnace, where people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.”
51 Jesus asked his followers, “Do you understand all these things?” They answered, “Yes, we understand.”
Jesus wanted to know if His disciples understood what he just said. It was important that they understood, and we should too.
We are told to rightly divide the Word. We are told to study to show ourselves approved. We are told to be ready to give an answer to any man that asks. So we need to know and understand the word of God. Therefore, let’s look closely at what Jesus is teaching about hell.
You do not hear many sermons about hell because it is one of the most neglected doctrines in all of scripture. When hell is mentioned today, it is usually ridiculed, as if the whole idea of hell is so old-fashioned that only the naïve and ignorant would really believe that such a place actually exists. People don’t want to talk about hell because they don’t like the idea of being held accountable for their sins. The mind will throw up objection after objection to the thought that there is a holy God, who hates sin, and who will judge sin. However, it doesn’t do any good to ignore what the Bible teaches about hell, and it doesn’t do any good when some religious leaders attack the doctrine; the objections of the foolish will not do away with hell.
Jesus described hell as a place of punishment.
Let’s see why hell is a necessary place.
First, hell is a place where God will deal righteously with the Devil.
In John 8:44, it says of him, “The Devil was a murderer from the beginning and has always hated the truth. There is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” And in Matthew 25:41 we are told that “Everlasting fire was prepared for the Devil and his angels.”
Second, hell is where God will deal righteously with the damned.
It says in John 5:29, “And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” Hell was created for the Devil and his angels, but when man fell, he also became subject to eternal judgment; therefore the wicked also go to hell. But listen! God doesn’t want anyone to go to hell. It says in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
But on the other side of the coin, the Devil wants everyone to go to hell. John 10:10 says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” But very sadly, man will sentence himself to hell. Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, “When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” And then in Matthew 25:41 we read, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”
We have seen why hell is a necessary place, so now, let’s look at what hell will be like.
First, it’s a place filled with unimaginable fear. Jesus made that clear when He repeatedly spoke about outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Second, it’s a place filled with unquenchable fire. The Lord Jesus said, “It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell.” And then He said, “In hell the worm does not die, the fire is never put out.” He describes hell as a furnace of fire. The book of Revelation describes hell as a “lake of fire burning with brimstone.”
Third, it’s a place of intolerable filth. In Mark 9:46, Jesus describes hell as a “place where the worm never dies.” In the time of Jesus, the Valley of Hinnon was used as a garbage dump for Jerusalem. They threw all the filth and garbage of the city into it, including the dead bodies of animals and executed criminals. Fires were made to burn continually, to consume all this. Maggots worked in the filth. When the winds blew from that direction over the city, the stench was overwhelming. At night, wild dogs howled as they fought over the garbage. Jesus used this awful scene as a symbol of hell. In effect, He said, “You want to know what hell is like? Look at Gehenna.” So hell can be described as God’s cosmic garbage dump. All that is unfit for heaven will be thrown into hell.
It’s all here in the Bible; Jesus talked about hell a lot, but some people question whether hell consists of actual fear, fire, and filth. Listen! The reality is more horrible than I can express. The Bible exhausts human language in describing heaven and hell. The former is more glorious and the latter more terrible, than language can express.
One of the most horrible aspects of hell is the eternal time that is spent there. Hell is eternal. Hell will last forever. Can you comprehend eternity? No mathematical formula or equation can explain it. Your mind cannot conceive of eternity, but it is nonetheless real. The prospect of hell alone should cause men to cry out in repentance. Revelation 20:10 says that those in hell “shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.” What could communicate the duration of hell better than the phrase “forever and ever?” It was said, “This is man’s misery in hell, he shall be in no more hope of coming out after he hath been there millions of years, than he was when he was first cast in there; for his torments shall be to eternity, without end, because the God that damns him is eternal.” Everlasting punishment involves banishment from the presence of God and Christ forever; a fate made vivid by the image of eternal fire.
Now, what do we need, because of this place called hell?
First, we need to have a new name, and to have it printed in the Book of Life, because it says in Revelation 20:15, “Whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
The Bible tells us that God gives us a new name. You can read in Isaiah 62:2, “Then you will have a new name, which the Lord Himself will give you.” And in Revelation 2:17 it says, “I will also give to each one who wins the victory a white stone with a new name written on it.” In John 1:12 it tells how God gives this new name, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”
Second, we need a new nature that was purchased by the blood of the Lamb. When a man is born again, God gives him a new nature after His likeness. Ephesians says of this new nature, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” This new nature is a product of the new birth. The new man is created after God and in the family likeness of God. This brand new man is known by the Christ-likeness that he exhibits day by day as he lives out the new life. Righteousness refers to his new conduct toward his fellow men. Holiness refers to his new conduct towards God. These two qualities are evidence of the new man in Christ. Colossians 3:9 talks about this new man, “You have stripped off your old evil nature and all its wicked deeds. In its place you have clothed yourself with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you.”
There are a couple of things to consider about this new nature.
First, the new nature has a reverential fear of God and His word. Mathew 10:28 says, “And fear not them, which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him, which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.” God is the only one who can send body and soul to hell. “Fear of God is the beginning of knowledge.” We fear the robber when he points a gun at us; how much more should we fear God?
Second, the new nature has a righteous fear of sin and its wickedness. I hope that you are never more afraid of men than of sin. Sin is your real enemy. Sin is worse than hell because sin gave birth to hell. "If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out, and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than having two eyes, to be cast into the fiery hell" (Matthew 18:9).
Now this is the Conclusion:
HELL IS A REAL PLACE WITH REAL PUNISHMENT & PAIN- LET THIS HORROR SCARE YOU OUT OF GOING THERE.