The Message I Tried To Talk Myself Out Of
Our topic this time is a controversial one. Dr. Rogers said,
“I’ve actually tried to talk myself out of this message. And I’ll tell you why. It's not a happy one. I'd much rather say something about joy, life, victory—but I’m convinced the missing message in today's church and especially on the air waves is the message concerning Hell. And I believe we're reaping the consequences of failing to bring that message. The reason we have so much so-called Hell in our world is because we have so little in our pulpits.
I’m not speaking primarily to the lost. Most lost people are not saved by hearing a message on Hell. I’m preaching primarily to the church—those of us who are saved—because so often we fail to be properly motivated to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
One great motivation is “the love of God that constrains us.” Another is “knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:11).
Some of you have loved ones who will die and go to Hell unless you bring them the message of salvation and redemption. We need to be shocked out of our lethargy.
If I am to be a faithful preacher of the Gospel, I have to preach the whole counsel of God and preach as Jesus preached. Jesus had more to say about the place called Hell than any other person in the Bible.
Let’s begin our study. First the good news, then the bad:
1. Turn to Revelation 21:7, filling in some key words as we go:
He that ___________________ shall inherit all things, and I will be his ______, and he shall be _____ ______."
So far, wonderful. Continue to v. 8:
"…but the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the ________ which ____________ with ______ and _________________, which is the second death.”
Hell—It’s No Joking Matter
Hell is often the subject of jokes, but it’s a somber, serious fact. As you go through this study, you can choose to do one of several things:
1. You can reject it. That's your privilege.
2. You can ignore it.
3. You can accept it and do something with it.
When people think of Hell, they picture the devil as a comical character wearing a red suit with horns, a tail and a pitchfork, making people shovel coal. Satan loves that image because we laugh at it.
Satan promotes laughter about Hell because if people don’t understand the teaching of Hell, they’ll not prepare to go to Heaven, to give their hearts to Christ.
It makes no difference if all the scholars, preachers, scientists, statesmen, politicians and liberal theologians put together say there is no Hell, it wouldn’t change one letter of what the Word of God says.
Often the minister who preaches on Hell is accused of being unloving. With a sneer the world loves to call him a “hell-fire and damnation preacher.” The late, great Dr. Robert G. Lee said,
I know some people call the preacher who stands squarely upon the teaching of Christ and His apostles narrow, harsh, and cruel. As to being narrow, I have no desire to any broader than was Jesus. As to being cruel, is it cruel to tell a man the truth? Is a man to be called cruel who declares the whole counsel of God and points out to men their danger? Is it cruel to arouse sleeping people to the fact that the house is on fire? Is it cruel to jerk a blind man away from the rattlesnake in the coil? Is it cruel to declare to people the deadliness of disease and tell them which medicine to take? I had rather be called cruel for being kind, than to be called kind for being cruel.
The cruelest thing we could do would be to fail to warn people about Hell and what the Bible has to say about it. To ridicule a preacher who warns of Hell is like ridiculing a doctor who warns of cancer. Hell is not a pleasant subject, but it is a reality.
Sometimes it can be a shocking reality. Each day we hear of someone who met a sudden, unexpected death. In a recent news event, one minute people were alive and well and the next split second they were in eternity, facing Almighty God. For many of us, death is not way out there in the future. The only thing between some people and a literal, burning Hell is a heartbeat. Thank God, between me and Hell is the cross of Jesus Christ.
2. One reason people ridicule is that they don’t like to think about it. Turn to Proverbs 28:5:
Evil men understand not _______________.
Since our sinful nature recoils at the thought of hell and judgment, people think of ways to refute the idea.
- “Well, I just don't believe in life after death.”
- “Well, I believe in life after death for the saved, but not for the lost”—a doctrine known as “annihilation,” the belief that the lost will just be “gone,” like an earthworm or an amoeba.
- “Everybody, eventually, is going to heaven”—the doctrine of “universalism.” Universalists believe in life after death; they don't believe in annihilation but that God may have some remedial place where He keeps people until they finally come to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Being a loving God, He’s going to say, "Oh, well, that's alright. I’ll overlook your sin and bring everybody to Heaven."
A CLOSER LOOK AT “ANNIHILATION”
There are those who knock on your door with their religious pamphlets and tell you there is no everlasting place called Hell. They'll tell you that when you die, you die like a horse, a dog, a cow—that there’s no conscious existence in Hell. That’s not what God says about it. Revelation 14:10-11 dispenses with that idea, and we’ll get to that in a moment. The only thing you, I, or anybody else knows about life after death is what God's holy Word says about it. An ounce of what God says is worth a ton of what some philosopher has to say.
Is “Hell” Literal or Figurative?
As we open these passages of Scripture and read the Bible’s description of Hell, the question will come to your mind:
“Are these passages to be interpreted literally or figuratively?”
Whether we take it literally or figuratively, I want us to take it seriously. I teach it like it's written. When I face God, I’d much rather Him say, “Adrian, you took My Word too seriously” than to hear, “Adrian, you explained it away.”
What Hell Will Be Like
A. A Place of Vile Associations
3. Back to Revelation 21:8, in Hell who would your companions be?
"but the ____________and the ____________________ and the ________________, and ________________, and ________________, and ____________, and ______________, and all ________ shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone which is the second death."
Have you ever heard someone say, “If I go to Hell, I’ll have plenty of company"? Hell is a place of isolation, and this is who you’ll be in isolation with.
4. Turn back one chapter to Revelation 20, verse 10. Look who you’ll have for a roommate:
"and the ___________ that deceived them was cast into the _______ of ______ and brimstone."
At times Scripture refers to him as “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), the father of lies (John 8:44), a murderer (John 8:44), your adversary (1 Peter 5:8), your enemy (John 10:19, Matthew 13:39), and a destroyer (John 10:10, Psalm 17:4).
5. Where is Satan right now? Is he presently in Hell? Google maps won’t help, but to some extent we can GPS him.
a. Turn to Ephesians 2:2:
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that ____ _________ ___ ____ _______________ ___ __________________.” This nefarious activity can only be carried out where people are.
b. Turn to Job 1:7:
And the Lord said unto Satan, “Whence comest thou?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro in the ___________, and from ___________ up and down _____ ______.”
c. Turn to 1 Peter 5:8:
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, _____________ about, seeking whom he may devour.”
Not literally walking, because Satan is a spirit, but he—or more likely one of his minions—is tracking you.
So the devil is not in Hell yet, but one day he will be.
When he goes, it will be a one-way ticket. He will be cast into a lake burning with fire and brimstone and will suffer there like everyone else. He is not going to be running around as “the lord of Hell,” any more than prisoners in maximum security go around running the place.
6. Turn to Matthew 25:41. Beside Satan and those who rejected God’s offer of salvation through Jesus Christ, what other group will be there?
Once bright shining creatures, they fell from the glories of Heaven. Now foul spirits under Satan’s command, they too will one day be incarcerated in Hell.
7. Turn to Matthew 25:41. For what purpose was Hell originally created?
8. So we have seen in Revelation 21:8 the people who will be there. In case you look at the list and think, “Well, I’m not in that category—I’m not that bad,” look at the first two types of people in the list. Who are they? The ___________ and the ____________.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE GREATEST SIN
We’re not talking here about “the unforgiveable sin,” but the greatest sin. For a more complete look at this, read Mark 12:28-34. It is not sexual perversion, rape, murder, arson or thievery. The greatest sin is unbelief, to fail to love God with all of your heart. Many who don't love God, who’ve never surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ, think Hell is for the drunkard and thief, but not for them. But if you've never bowed before the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ and said, "Oh God, I’m a sinner. I repent of my sin, and with all of my heart, dear Lord, I believe in you," you head the list of those who one day will end up in the place called Hell. Those who don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ, the fearful and unbelieving, will spend eternity there.
B. A Place of Separation from People You’d Want to Spend Eternity With
Hell is not only is company with the ungodly but separation from those who are godly.
9. Turn to Revelation 21:27:
a. “ And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: They that are ____________ in the __________’s _________ of _________.”
b. What place is our Lord describing here?__________________. We’ve seen who will not be there. Who will be there?
10. If your name is not there, you will be separated from the saints. And what will you experience? Turn to Luke 13:38:
"There shall be ______________ and gnashing of teeth when ye shall see _______________, and ____________, and ___________, and all the ______________ in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves __________ _____."
If you have refused the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, not only will you be in Hell with the devil, the beast, the false prophet, all of the demons, all of the ungodly, all of the unbelievers of all of the ages, but you'll be separated from the godly and the righteous for all eternity.
C. A Place of Sensual Misery
11. You will feel in Hell. Turn to Luke 16 and look in verses 23, 24 and 25. Jesus is contrasting the eternal destiny of a certain rich man and a poor beggar named Lazarus. Upon his death—not because of his wealth but because of his rejection of God—the rich man is in Hell. What word does Jesus use three times to describe his condition?
23 And in hell he [the rich man] lift up his eyes, being in _____________, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am ____________ in this flame.”
25 But Abraham said, “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime received thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art _______________.”
Whether Jesus is speaking here of literal fire or in a metaphor of something even worse, it makes no difference. Whatever Jesus intends to convey by the word “fire,” you do not want to go there. You’ll be tormented if you go to Hell.
D. A Place of Emotional Misery
12. Look again at verse 25. Abraham says to the rich man, “Son, _______________.” What does this word tell you about Hell?
If you go to Hell, you’ll take your memory with you. Memory will sting like a hornet in Hell. You will remember the prayers of your mother, every message where the speaker implored you to give your life to Christ, every opportunity you had to be saved, and every time you stubbornly said no to the Lord Jesus Christ.
E. A Place of Eternal Darkness
13. Go back to Revelation 21:23:
…and the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it: for the _______ of ________ did light it, and the ___________ is the __________of it. And the nations of them who are saved shall walk in the ________ of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their _________ and _________ into it.
Heaven is a place of fantastic beauty and light. But Hell is a place of darkness. How do we know this?
14. a. Turn to the book of Jude, verse 13:
Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the ____________________ of _______________ forever.
No man's art can fashion a window that will let in the slightest ray of light.
b. Turn to Matthew 8:11-12. Jesus said,
And I say unto you that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
But the children of the kingdom [of Satan—those who rejected Christ] shall be cast out into __________ ________________: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Those who die without Christ never again see a glimmer of light. Never will you see the twinkle of a star, the glory of the sun, the luster of the moon. The Bible calls it “outer darkness.” If you die without Jesus Christ, you will never again see a morning, a sunrise, the smiling face of a child or the beauties in this city of light God described in Revelation 21. The “blackness of darkness forever”!
AN ASIDE HERE
You know, as Christians we go through some very dark times right here on this earth. We think sometimes we won’t survive. But the Bible comforts us with this truth: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." (Psalm 30:5) Darkness may endure for you for a season, but you will know joy again. Joy comes in the morning. We who belong to Christ have that hope. For us, there is an eternal morning.
F. A Place of Everlasting Dying and Separation from God
15. The child of God will only die once—we will experience physical death. But for the lost, there is a second death that’s spiritual and eternal. Look again at Revelation 20:14.
…and __________ and Hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the __________ death….
The Bible calls this everlasting, eternal separation from God “the second death.” It is the separation of your soul from God for all eternity.
16. Turn to 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9. There is both comfort and terror in this passage:
And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with __________________ destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power;
You will be shut away from the presence of the Lord for all eternity. You will walk the burning corridors of the damned, alone, separated from God. Never can your prayers be answered. Never can you have fellowship with God.
BUT JESUS TOOK THAT FOR YOU
Separation from God is what Jesus suffered on the cross for you. When He died, He took your Hell, crying out, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Jesus suffered your Hell on the cross, being forsaken of God, His Father.
In Contrast, Heaven is a Place of Everlasting Life
For the child of God, Heaven is a place of union with God for all eternity.
17. Turn to 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 for some reassuring words from the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul:
Therefore we are [how often?] ___________ ________________, knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
8 We are _____________ [there’s that word again], I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
Paul knew that upon his death (separation of soul from body) he would be in the presence of the Lord. Death is not annihilation. It is separation of the soul from the body. When we die, our body will cease to live. We will simply move out. But those who have trusted Christ will be kicking up gold dust on the streets of glory.
G. A Place of Everlasting Hopelessness
Bernard Baruch said, “‘Hopeless’ is the saddest word in the English language.”
18. Turn to Proverbs 11:7:
When a wicked man dieth, his __________________ shall perish: and the ________ of unjust men perisheth.
At this point in time, you can be saved if you want to be saved. You may accept Christ as Lord now. If you have rejected Christ, when you die, hope dies with you. After death there is no chance, no repentance.
It would be bad enough to have your doctor or your banker tell you, “It’s hopeless.” But think how sad it would be to be in Hell, knowing it was hopeless—that there is never, ever a way out of Hell—for eternity.
19. If you have the idea that you could spend, perhaps, a few thousand years in Hell and then get out, there would be some hope. But turn to Revelation 14. You may want to read the entire chapter for context. The setting is the time of the Tribulation on earth, when people are aligning themselves with the Antichrist. Those who do face great judgment. For our purpose, we are looking at verses 10 and 11 to understand the length of time involved.
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for _______ _____ _______: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
What is the length of this judgment?
This judgment is not just for those who pledge allegiance to the Antichrist but for all who reject God’s offer of salvation. If you go to Hell, you'll be there for eternity without hope.
H. A Place of Everlasting Burning
I saved this for last not because I relish it, but because so often when people want to ridicule the idea of Hell, they ridicule the idea of fire. Is there fire in Hell? Listen not to Adrian Rogers but to Jesus Christ.
20. a. Turn back once again to Matthew 25:41:
Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting ________, prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Again, look at Revelation 20:14. Remember it says, “and death and Hell were cast into the lake of ________. This is the second death.”
b. Back to the verse we began with, Revelation 21:8:
… shall have their part in the lake which ______________ with _______ and brim-stone, which is the second death."
You know, people who scoff at the idea of fire in Hell do not put the fires of Hell out. They laughed at Noah when he spoke of the flood. They scoffed at Lot when he warned that God was going to destroy Sodom with fire and brimstone. They disbelieved Daniel when he said Belshazzar would be slain and the kingdom overthrown. Whether literal fire or metaphorical, when Jesus said in Mathew 18:8 that it would be better for you to cut off your right hand and cast it away from you than to enter into everlasting fire, He was not saying we have to cut off our hand to go to Heaven, but "Whatever price you have to pay, miss Hell. Don't go to Hell, no matter what it costs."
Why I Believe in Hell
- The words of Jesus teach it. There are at least 162 texts in the New Testament that speak of Hell and the judgment of the lost, over 70 issued by Jesus Christ Himself. I believe in Hell because I believe in Jesus.
- The death of Jesus demonstrates it. If there’s no Hell from which men need to be saved, Jesus did not need to die and Calvary is the blunder of the ages.
- The justice of God demands it. God is just. Acts of unspeakable injustice on earth will be accounted for. There is a judgment to face, a time when things are made right, when equity does come.
God doesn't want you to go to Hell. I want to tell you, dear friend, God has placed a blockade on the road to Hell, and it is the cross of Jesus Christ. If you go to Hell, you'll have to climb over His cross to get there. God is lifting up the blood-stained cross of the Lord Jesus Christ saying, “Please, don't go to Hell!” It was created not for you but for Satan and his minions. God is pleading with you today. With nail-pierced hands Christ is pleading with you today. The Holy Spirit is pleading today. And if you have loved ones who are lost, tell them about the Lord Jesus.
Soon we're going to meet the Lord. Jesus died to save you from Hell. With His blood He paid your sin debt. Your sin will be pardoned in Christ or punished in Hell, but it will never be overlooked. Come to Jesus. Trust Him. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” You don't have to go to Hell if you don't want to.
If you would like to know Jesus for the first time or to learn more, visit “Discover Jesus” at our website.