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WARNING! HELL IS REAL!

 2 Peter 1:12-13, “For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.  Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you

                 We live in a society that in many ways has lost its sense of fear and accountability, especially toward God.   There are many reasons for this including an increasing attitude of disrespect for others and the laws of the land, as well as a de-emphasis on God in everything we do.   When God is removed from the picture, spiritual disaster is inevitable.  

                What is truly pitiful is that this is not exclusive to the secular community.  It is also being found in the religious community.  Far too many so-called churches have softened their teachings on accountability to God and reverence toward His word.  Their messages lack the warnings of repentance from sin and the inevitable doom that awaits those who do not fully obey God and remain faithful to Him (2 Thess. 1: 8-10).  Total and sacrificial obedience is treated as an option rather than the standard upon which we will be judged (John 5:26-29).   As a result, some of these churches are growing so rapidly that they cannot contain their numbers in their present structures, so they build “bigger and better barns” (cf. Lk. 12:16-21) But for many who attend such institutions, they are simply “playing church” and are under the delusion that everything is fine.  They continue to live their lives in ignorance, which we are told is no longer an excuse (Acts 17:30-31).  However, I cannot help but wonder what part the leaders of a congregation will have because they have failed to proclaim the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:20-21, 26-27, 2 Cor. 5:10-11).  I shudder at the thought of what will happen to me if I fail to warn you when you are in sin and I know about it (James 3:1, cf. Ezek. 3:16-21, etc.).  BUT sadly, even among our brethren in churches of Christ, there are some who have chosen to take a less offensive path for sake of peace and (artificial) growth.  They avoid subjects that will cause some to leave because they do not want to repent. 

                One subject that I am fearful is being ignored or down-played in many congregations is the reality of hell.  There are even those who have determined that hell, as we have taught it in scriptures for centuries, is not real.  Others have softened the list of those who are doomed to that place unless they change (i.e. repent). 

                Well, I am here to warn you that HELL IS REAL!  It is just as real today as it was when Jesus was upon this earth.  He had more to say about the subject than any other person we read of in scripture.  And His warnings were strong and hard to misinterpret.  Among the warnings of Jesus about this place we read, “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” (Matt 5:29-30).  “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. “ (Matt 10:28-29);  Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?” (Matt 23:33);  The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,  and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  (Matt 13:41-43); "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:”  (Matt 25:41); “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."( Matt 25:46)

                But Jesus was not alone in such warnings.  Paul warned us in passages such as Romans 2:5-9 we read, “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who "will render to each one according to his deeds": eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness — indignation and wrath,  tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; “  In 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10 we read that the Lord will be, “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

                    Even Peter issued the following warning , “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.  For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.” 2 Peter 2:20-21.  While this text does not mention hell by name, it describes a place of eternal torments which is the consequence of falling away (i.e.  If hell is not real, how is one worse off than before he obeyed the gospel?). 

                In Revelation where we read scenes of judgment we find the following, “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Rev 20:10) and “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev 20:14-15)

 And “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Rev. 21:8)

                Friends, these passages and others clearly point to the existence of a place of eternal torments after this life.  That place is prepared for the devil and his angels, but it will be FILLED with those who refuse to obey the gospel and refuse to live lives of repentance and service to God.  And just because many so-called preachers choose to ignore this subject and others attempt to explain it away, does not change the reality we find in the scriptures.  IT doesn’t change the reality of hell anymore than ignoring your doctor’s warning about a tumor will make it go away.  If you have a tumor you need to get it treated.  If you are headed to hell, you need to get it taken care of.  And there is only ONE way to do that: study God’s word and do what it says (Matt. 7:21-23), ALL OF IT!  Friends, are you fearful of your eternal destiny?  Think about it!