I was 18 or 19 when I walked into the Calvary Baptist Church in Lansdale, PA for the first time. I heard this short but dynamic preacher preach a brief sermon called “Hell is No Joke”. It wasn’t for a regular church service but a youth activity where they had brought a great number of teens in after playing all kinds of games outside and culminated it with a good gospel message. I saw many teens get saved that hot summer evening ! I had been saved the year before but became thrilled that I’d now met and heard someone that believed the Bible and wasnt afraid to say so. He also spoke on a subject I don’t hear many Christians preachers tackle these days: hell ! And though his message was negative as to the matter of hell it was positive as I saw his love for God and those kids and the end result of many turning to the Lord that evening.
Not long ago one of those emergent type megachurch preachers, named Rob Bell, came out with a book that claims there isn’t a hell. His ideas are revealing him to not be the Bible believer he has claimed to be. Yet he strikes a chord with many who want to have a set of beliefs that are “nice”, neat and all in conformity with how we would like things to be. But that’s not reality. Reality is God says there is a hell. Just read a snatch from Jesus’ words in Luke 16:23 about a man who ended up there, “And in hell he lifted up his eyes being in torments” & in v24 “. . .send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue for I am tormented in this flame”. and then in Revelation 20:15 John saw the dead stand before God and he wrote, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into a lake of fire.” The point there is the unsaved’s names will NOT be entered in God’s record and end up in hell instead of heaven. This jives perfectly with what Jesus said in John 3, that the ONLY requirement to get into heaven is to be born again by simply but sincerely asking God to forgive you for being a sinner and asking Him to save your soul.
Well, we’d often like a blog, devotional or sermon to be about some pleasant platitude or send us on our day with some nice thoughts but reality is we need to hear the not so pleasant things too so that we are brought to a place of joy in the end ! What about you? Have you made sure YOUR name is enrolled in the Book of Life? What about those you love & work around? Reality is they need Christ as their Savior too before it’s eternally too late. Let the negativity of hell be turned to a positive prayer or witness so that like those teens so many years ago on a hot summer night, others too can come to heaven ! Yes it’s been a hot July, but it’s hotter where the lost end up and it won’t end there. Only a few years after I’d heard that sermon I met a young man who told me he was an atheist, and as we chatted about the Bible I said to him “If I’m wrong then I waste my life serving God instead of partying hard, but if I’m right you end up in hell !” He gulped in realization that his was a great, great gamble. Hell is no joke, it’s very real because God says so. So today let the reality of hell move you to pray for the unsaved, reach out to them in love and be a better witness ! The Gospel is THE antidote to hell !!!