Series: “THE OTHER PLACE:”• Pastor David R. Stokes
Today: “The Inconvenient Truth about Hell”
5 All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you aresuffering. 6 God is just:He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
Talking about hell is not popular. It’s also not comfortable. I suppose there are some preachers who can talk about it almost as if they delight in the fact that some people will go there, but not me. The famous evangelist in the 19 th century—D.L. Moody—used to say that no one should preach about it without a tear in the ear. The Apostle Peter reminded us about God’s grace and mercy and how God’s heart is for people to repent and not perish (II Peter 3:9 NIV).
I like the way C.S. Lewis talked about hell in his book, “THE PROBLEM OF PAIN”: “There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power. But it has the full support of Scripture and, specially, of our Lord’s own words; it has always been held by Christendom; and it has the support of reason.”
Hell is the ultimate inconvenient truth. It doesn’t fit at all with the spirit of our age—one of undiscerning tolerance. Actually, tolerance is not enough in today’s world. We must not only accept all religions and lifestyles—we must celebrate them.
But when you get serious about Jesus and the Bible you realize that hell is real and is ignored at our peril. The Bible also describes hell in a way that doesn’t match caricatures from history or popular culture.
- How does the doctrine of hell fit with the idea of the love of God?
- How should the doctrine of hell influence those of us who are going to heaven?
- How does hell relate to the idea of separation from God?