“And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
Do you believe in heaven? A recent survey found that approximately 68% of Americans do. No doubt the popularity of the book and movie, Heaven is for Real - the account of a young boy who claims he went to heaven - has spurred discussion about the issue of heaven and the afterlife. Perhaps some who were previously skeptical are rethinking their position. I hope so.
Regardless of who believes or who doesn’t, heaven is for real. It is not because little Colton Burpo says so, but because God makes that fact clear in His Word. Heaven is indeed a real place where the Lord lives in all the fullness of His glory.
And just as heaven is a real place, so is hell. The same Savior who told us of the wonders of heaven also told us of the horrors of hell. Interestingly, the same survey that found 68% believing in heaven, only found 58% believing in hell. Obviously, the idea of a place of eternal fire for those who reject Christ is something a great (and increasing) number of people choose to discard as unpalatable, unconscionable, and untrue.
Tragically, many preachers today never even touch on the subject of hell for fear of turning off the crowd. Jesus, however, had no aversion to talking about hell. In fact, He talked quite a bit on the subject. Why? Because He knows it's a real place... and He doesn't want anyone to go there.
PEOPLE NEED TO BE WARNED
In Luke 16, Jesus told of a rich man who went to hell. (Technically, this rich man went to Hades, which differs only slightly from hell. Hades is like the county jail where criminals are held, and hell is like the state penitentiary where convicted criminals end up after their sentencing by the judge). Describing Hades/hell, this rich man said, "I am in agony in this flame." He called to Father Abraham, "I beg you, Father, that you send him (Lazarus) to my father's house-- for I have five brothers--that he may warn them, lest they also come to this place of torment" (Luke 16:27-28).
Did you catch that? The rich man wanted his loved ones to be warned of this terrible, horrible place. It was too late for him, but not for them. He wanted to get the message to them ASAP.
WE NEED TO SHARE IT
I believe the job of every preacher (and every Christian) is to share the good news of Jesus... and warn the people of the severe consequences of rejecting Jesus. God says, "When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die'; and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand" (Ezekiel 3:18). No doubt, God takes our job of warning people very seriously.
When I was seventeen years old, the gospel penetrated my heart. God showed me my great need of Him. He showed me that if I died, I would go to hell, and rightfully so, because I was a guilty sinner deserving of death. When I realized that critical truth, I received Christ willingly and gratefully, and my life was forever changed.
May we get back to the place in our churches and in our witnessing where we share "the whole counsel of God." Eternal, righteous judgment is coming to those who reject the unfathomably gracious and loving sacrifice of God's dear Son. People need to know that hell is for real. They need to know that God has made a way of escape. It is found only in Jesus Christ, and it is offered freely to all who will repent and believe.
Have you done that? Will you tell others before it is too late?
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries
P.S. Discover that you are not alone in prayer. Allow many people to join you in prayer. Go to www.fromhisheart.org/prayer.
Jeff Schreve founded From His Heart Ministries, www.fromhisheart.org, in 2005 with the vision to reach as many people as possible with the good news of God's love. Jeff believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a great plan just for you. He broadcast on radio, TV and in the internet around the world from his pulpit ministry as Pastor of First Baptist in Texarkana, Texas. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.
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