What is Hell, some think it is a lake of fire,some a pit full of scary images, beasts with horns and pitch forks.What does the Bible really say about it
“Their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Rev. 21:8).
We all have strong memories of the imagery from books and paintings, how about the illustrations done by the 19th-century artist Gustave Dore of Dante’s Divine Comedy.
Modern Christianity and our culture seem to down play what Hell is all about, oh we do hear some messages on it, you know, descriptions of
the torments of Gehenna ,everlasting fire where the “worm does not die”.Hollywood has latched on to a tame yet unconvincing theory of this place of outer darkness and I think has in effect taken the real threat of what it is and made it a theoretical fantasy. I would say Hollywood has had more of an effect on what Hell is than the Church has had. Look at the cartoons on a Saturday morning, watch Bugs Bunny et al chasing around with the Devil in the red suit with the pitch fork. What a shame.
That is the picture we as Pastors need to correct, not preaching or teaching to scare the Hell out of people, but really laying out the fact of Hell, and how to avoid it !!
What really is this place called Hell,
First, hell is described as a state of separation from God
Second, hell is described as a state of being or a condition of existence, eternal
Third, the pain of hell is described in language of fire and worms, pain , separation and loss, “sheep” and the “goats” are separated, with the latter hearing the thundering words: “Depart from me… into the eternal fires prepared for the devil and all his angels.”
Finally, the existence of such a state should be a stern warning to seek conversion, to fall on the mercy of God, and ask for the grace of perseverance, conversion and hope. We need to point beyond the condition of damnation to the hope of eternal life.
God’s mercy is greater than our sinfulness. We need to stress not God’s punishment but God’s mercy and forgiveness. We need to be true to the Biblical teachings about both eternal security and eternal separation, both are as real.
Dante says, “that those who enter hell must abandon all hope.” Damnation, is eternal,do not avoid the subject, we need to confront this fearsome doctrine.
First, Do not be afraid to preach it, remember that Christ died for our sins and, in so doing, redeemed us by making us children of God by adoption. It is faith in Christ and hope in his promises that are the central to our faith.
Second, we are all sinners who, have “fallen short.” and need to seek His Grace.
Do not let people fall into the trap of Hollywood or this Halloween “holiday” that is upon us. Do not ignore the reality of Hell because we do not want to preach Hell and damnation. Do not give up the doctrine of Hell to the movies, preach the full message of the Good News, the saving work of God in Christ and it is a freely offered gift to everyone
God puts before us a choice of saying yes or no. If we say yes it is because God has offered us his love. If we say no it is our choice,