I heard a sermon on Hell recently and it was exactly what I needed to hear. I realize that sounds a bit weird. Normally we like encouraging sermons, or sermons that speak to the daily issues we’re dealing with. And a sermon on Hell seems to be neither of those. But, there’s a sense in which thinking about Hell’s reality is oddly encouraging and it has everything to do with our daily lives — for 3 particular reasons:
Why You Should Think About Hell:
#1 Hell reminds us of God’s love.
Sometimes we need to be reminded of the great love of God that snatched us from the fire we were running towards (John 3:36). We need to remember that we will escape the wrath of God, only because Jesus took our punishment (1 Peter 2:24). All in all, thinking about eternal death makes the gift of eternal life freshly relevant. And occasionally we need to revamp our gratitude.
#2 Remembering Hell helps wash away the unimportant stuff.
Imagine you were on a train and you heard a hidden bomb is going off in 5 hours. Though you intend to get off the train before then — you’d suddenly realize the discomforts of the hard seats don’t matter, the muggy air would seem less problematic, and the adjacent rude gentleman wouldn’t bug you that much. Potential impending doom brings perspective.
So it is with remembering Hell. Soon it’s going to be very bad for anyone on that train. And the fact that you have been rescued from such peril should put all the pains and discomforts of this present life in perspective. On top of that, not only are you avoiding future suffering, whatever you are dealing with now will soon be over and you will be with Jesus forever.
Every once in a while we should let Hell put our problems in perspective.
#3 Thinking about Hell renews our boldness.
Most importantly, when we think long enough about Hell, we’re reminded that we must speak up about the gospel. We can’t forget how real Hell will be. We can’t forget how horrible Hell will be. And we have the news that will spare people from suffering “the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:9)! We can help people avoid the place in which “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12). We can tell them how to keep from being “thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15)!
Everyone we know can avoid hell if they just turn from their sins and trust in Jesus’s payment for it — we must speak up.
We should take time regularly to think about what exactly our friends and family and neighbors and co-workers will experience if they don’t turn to Jesus. And then we must be bold and share the news that will save them from it.
Start Soberly Studying
I don’t recommend you think about hell so much that it becomes just another biblical topic. And I don’t recommend you approach it from a purely academic angle. With a sober mind and a compassionate heart, I suggest you think about hell whenever you need a good dose of eternal perspective, or a helpful push in evangelism.
When that’s what you need, here’ a couple resources I’ve come across that may be helpful to you:
- Sermon: The teaching that recently impacted me can be found HERE
- Passages to study: Luke 16:19-31, Mark 9:42-48, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, Revelation 20:11-15, Romans 2:5
- Book: “10 Mistakes People Make about Heaven, Hell and the Afterlife” by Pastor Mike Fabarez (Click HERE)
- Book: Several authors join together to defend and explain the biblical position on Hell in “Hell Under Fire”. (Click HERE)
- Podcast episode for parents: “How should we talk to our kids about Hell?” With Rebekah Valerius (Click HERE)
I know Hell isn’t fun to think about, and studying the topic is never light reading (or listening). But it is worth occasionally reflecting on where life is headed for all of eternity–And sadly for many (Mathew 7:14) that’s in a place of darkness, weeping, and gnashing of teeth. Without a doubt, that reality should impact our lives.
Ultimately, remembering Hell should actually encourage us — not in the “positive feelings” type of way, but in a perspective building – gratitude increasing – boldness empowering type of way.
So think about Hell sometime soon, and I pray it greatly impacts your life.