Do Not Go To Hell (Part 1), Luke 16:19-31

Today’s sermon is a plea.  There is nothing funny about what we’re going to talk about.  I have no entertaining anecdotes because the subject we are occupied with today is too sobering.  This message is a plea.  It is an appeal.  There will never be anything more important for you to hear than what you will hear today.  We are talking about the subject of Hell.  We are going to look at what the Bible says about Hell.

Hell is for real.  Hell is real.  Some people ignore it, talk lightly about it, deny it or making it seem better than it is.  But none of these change the reality of what Hell is.  Hell is still real.  It is what it is and it will be what God made it to be.  God has prepared a place – a real location – for the wicked.  It is a place where His divine retribution will be executed on everyone who has rebelled against Him – angels and humans.

Hell was originally created for Satan and his demons (Matthew 25:41).  But, hell will also house all among mankind who have followed the way of Satan – the way of rebellion.

Let me clear up 2 misconceptions that are quite commonly held.  First, Satan does not occupy Hell right now.  He is free to roam the earth and enter into heaven (Job 1:6).  At the mid-point of the Tribulation he will be cast out of heaven down to the earth (Revelation 12:9).  At the end of the Millennial Kingdom he will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:1-6).

Secondly, another misconception is that Satan is somehow the ruler of Hell.  But, Satan does not govern hell.  God governs Hell.  He created it.  He is the only authority that sends anyone there (Luke 12:4-5).  He is the one executing the punishment on those who occupy Hell.  The Bible does not teach in the slightest way that Hell is Satan’s domain and that He has any authority there.  Satan will be too busy suffering to torment anyone else in Hell.

This is an evangelistic sermon.  This is meant to educate us on the realities of Hell so that no one who comes under the hearing of this preaching would go there.  I do mean to scare you, but not for sake of scaring.  I mean to terrify you simply by letting the realities of the terrors of Hell do their own work of scaring you.  It is a common thing for men to speak flippantly and trite fully of this place of horrors.  But no man who understands the truth of Hell would ever speak so profanely, or so lightly of this pit.

I am going to plead with you:  Do Not Go To Hell.  I’m going to give 5 reasons why you do not want to go to hell.  The passage we will center around is found in Luke 16:19-31.

Context:

Let me just point out 2 things about the context.  First of all, while being rich does not mean you will go to hell, rich people have a particular risk that others don’t:  loving their money more than they love God.  Before Jesus tells this story He taught verse 13 [Read].  The point here is that Jesus is teaching the crowds not to love money.  And we should take that to heart as well.  I would point out here too that we don’t have to be rich to love money.  In Luke 12 Jesus rebuked a poor man for his greed.

Secondly, I want us to see from the context that all of us have “a time”.  In verse 22 Jesus says, “The time came” when both men died.  All of us have a time when we will pass through the curtain of death and slip into eternity.  Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed for man to die once, then face judgment.”  It is unavoidable, inevitable.  I remembered a band named Pink Floyd and they had a song named “Time”.  Apart from having one of the greatest guitar solos in history the lyrics capture the desperation of a man knowing his time in this life is getting shorter:

You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you

No one told you when to run you missed the starting gun

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but its sinking

Racing around to come up behind you again

The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older

Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter you never seem to find the time

Now we don’t go to Pink Floyd to get our theology, but, they are human beings along with us, and they know all too well their own fate is the same as all ours. With the same despairing tune of Ecclesiastes when it says, “For the living know that they will die”, each one of us know our time will come.  You’ve been to funerals, or hospitals where you have thought the same thing as everyone else:  “Someday this will be me.”  Some do everything they can to not think about it, others contemplate the matter.  But be sure of this:  we all have a time.

Why do I say this?  Because once that time comes, and we slip away from this life, we slip into another existence.  And the Bible says that there are only 2 kinds of existence on the other side.  One is heaven.  The other is hell.  And using this passage today I want to share with you 5 reasons why you don’t want to go to hell.

#1:  Don’t go to hell because it is a place of Separation.

Don’t go to hell because it is a place of separation.  Notice in verse 26 Abraham says “And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.” (Luke 16:26).

Separation is the theme throughout Scripture when it describes the eternal destiny of all who have rejected God.  In 2 Thessalonians 1:9 it says that people will be “Shut out from the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ”.  In Revelation 21:8 and 22:15 it says that people will be cast “Outside the city”.  “Outer darkness”; “Their name will be blotted out from the book of life” (Psalm 69:28; Revelation );  “Cut off” in the OT was the penalty for a Jew who could be cut off from His people for certain sins or for failing to observe certain statutes in the Law.  In Revelation 20:11-15 we see a graphic description of the GWT judgment and people being literally “thrown” into the lake of fire.  They are being taken from the place where they were judged – in front of the GWT – and they are being picked up – probably by angels – and hurled headlong into the lake that is burning with fire, brimstone and sulfur.  It is the beginning of their eternal separation from God and all His holy ones, from His City, and from all the blessings of heaven.

Inherent in this separation is the idea of utter rejection.  God has utterly forsaken everyone in Hell.  There are terrible ways to be rejected in this life:  people abandoning their spouses, parents abandoning their children, friendships ending painfully and so on.  These give a whiff of the pain that will come from God eternally rejecting someone in Hell.  In Hell there is no companionship – not with others, and especially not with God.  It is a place of terrible loneliness.

Hell is a real place.  It is not a state of mind that you create in your thinking.  You don’t create hell.  God is the creator of Hell.  It is the location that God has appointed for the wicked to be sent to.  It is a place that is separated from heaven.  It is a place of exclusion.

#2:  Don’t go to hell because it is a place where you consciously exist.

Notice the man “remembers” and he “sees” Abraham and Lazarus and he speaks with Abraham.  He tries to appeal to Abraham.  He is aware of his family still on earth.  The man is conscious.  To say like the 7th Day Adventists and the Jehovah’s Witnesses that there is no hell and there is no consciousness in Hell is contrary to the Jesus’ teaching in the Bible.  Everyone will exist consciously for all eternity:  either in heaven, or, in hell.

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