I walked past a pool shop this morning that has been in the area for many, many years. They renovate and build pools as well as sell all the accessories. It seems as though very recently a fire raged through part of their building, damaging at least half of their floor area, forcing the business to close down. It is a frightful thing when your business (or house) catches fire. This tends to happen during the cold winter months quite often. Homes or shacks are razed to the ground. Lives are lost, people suffer severe burns and/or possessions are lost.
Naturally, the fire to the pool business caused me to think of the fires of the eternal hell … possibly the most horrendous and gruesome picture one could ever imagine. Yet, there are multitudes who would say the concept of burning in hell is a scare tactic preachers use to put fear into people to cause them to join their movements! Others would say burning in hell is a myth or a fable … a picture to complete a bigger imaginary story of good triumphing over evil.
Very few today want to face the reality of punishment for wrong in spiritual and eternal terms. Due to man living in the present and enjoying whatever he desires and wishes to do, he removes any thought of the possibility of “consequences” at the end of his life. The theory of “eat, drink and be merry today because you only live once” tends to possess the hearts of many to the point where they ignore any thought crossing their minds that there just might be a God who does not agree with or permit their lifestyle or behaviour! Jenny and I took our first born out of a Sunday School because his teacher did not believe there is a real devil or a real hell. Why run a Christian Sunday School insisting the children learn Bible verses if you don’t believe the whole Bible to be the word of God?
The other day I included this passage:
Rev 20:14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
In two verses, we find the term ‘lake of fire” mentioned three times. John the Baptist pointed to the work of the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit, saying:
Mt 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
The wheat and chaff were separated … the wheat for use and the chaff for destruction. The “unquenchable fire” John referred to is what Luke talks about:
Lk 16:22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity 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 fire.’”
Jesus describes hell:”“
Mat 25:30 “‘And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
Mt 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
In Mark, Jesus addresses the need to make serious sacrifices to walk in holiness, because if you don’t, the consequences are disastrous:
Mk 9:43 “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck 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.’”
Few people understand that the God of Love came into our world to save people from the eternal flames of hell … the flames of punishment that never die down and where the elements that are burning … people … never burn up. That is why it’s called the eternal fire! My friend, as Jesus walked and taught upon our planet, He spoke more about hell than heaven! He did this is persuade people to turn in repentance and follow Him to heaven … yet the multitudes tended to follow Him for the physical food, the healings and miracles. Read John chapter 6 for His explanation of what the people wanted.
Jesus taught that there is a real heaven and a real hell. You can’t have Jesus and His heaven without understanding that there is a hell for everyone who persistently rebels against Him and refuses the free offer of salvation. The Christian worker, be it the Sunday School teacher, youth leader, lay preacher, pastor or any other worker, who denies that the purpose of Jesus’ coming is to save people from eternal destruction is a false teacher and ought to be avoided, for such a person will lead you all the way to hell.
What we need today are congregations of people who pray passionately for their Christian workers to be men and women of the Gospel who seek holiness and Gospel alertness. We need Christian Workers who are single in focus to the point where nothing comes between them and the Cause of Jesus. We need all believers to pray for a real Holy-Spirit-empowered spiritual revival in the Church so that the Church can conduct practical, pointed evangelism where true conversions are witnessed … where men and women and boys and girls fall on their knees in agonizing sorrow until the Lord saves their souls for Himself and glory.
Blessed Holy Spirit, please come and revive the Church so that the people of God will start living dedicated Gospel lives where the world out there can see there is a real heaven to look forward to and a real hell to avoid. Change my heart, too, to be totally surrendered to You. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.