I realize that preaching on hell is not a popular topic. I mean face it no one wants to hear about a place where the fire is never quenched and their worm never dies. Hell was never designed for mankind. Hell was designed for Satan and the fallen angels. Yet scripture teaches us that Hell enlarges is borders. Hell is a place of eternal torment and damnation. Hell needs to be preached. Today I am going to preach on hell. Hell has what the church needs!
The first thing that Hell has is vision. The first thing that the rich man did when he woke up in Hell was look at Father Abraham with Lazarus by his side. Hell opened up his vision of the prize. I am afraid that many many Christians have forgotten that we are chasing after the prize of Eternal Life with Christ.
Philippians 3:7-14 — (7) But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. (8) What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ (9) and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. (10) I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, (11) and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (12) Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (13) Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, (14) I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 12:1-2 — (1)Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (2) looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We are running a race to obtain the prize of Christ. The contestant of any race should always be focused on the finish line of the race. When we become weighted with the weight of the world and the things of our flesh we lose sight of prize. Hell opened the vision of the rich man. Tonight if you have become blinded by the things of this world I encourage you to lay them down and allow yourself to focus on the prize of the high calling of God.
The second thing that Hell has is repentance. The rich man said to 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. Abraham said to the rich man, in your lifetime you received good and Lazarus received bad things. Now he is comforted and you are in agony. Beside this there is a great gulf between you and us. You can’t come to us and we can’t come to you. In essence Abraham was saying that once we get to hell the opportunity to repent has passed us by.
What a sober reminder that salvation is today and not tomorrow. Never put off for tomorrow what can be done today. Today seek the Lord while he may be found. The Spirit of God does not always strive with man. We are given seasons in our lives where God deals with us. During those times we need to be sensitive to God to repent before it become everlasting too late.
The third thing that Hell has is compassion. The rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus to his five brothers to warn them of hell and the torment to come. The church has lost its compassion for the lost. We have become complacent in our walk with Christ. We have made church more about us than about winning lost people to Jesus. The Apostle Paul said that he would change places with his fellow brethren if it were possible. Do we love the lost person enough to trade places with them?
Are we compassionate enough about the lost? How many lost people are we winning? Who are we praying for to get saved? Who are we inviting to church? Who are we bringing with us? We are called to go out into the world and make disciples. We are sent to tell the world about Jesus and His Amazing grace.
Abraham tells the rich man they have Moses and the Prophets to listen too. Look what the rich man said to Abraham. No father Abraham if one was sent dead they will repent. Abraham says if they will not listen to Moses and the prophets neither will they listen to one from the dead.
Rev. Gary Wilson is pastor of Abundant Life Worship Center at Wilkinson and a member of the Logan Ministerial Association.