What is Hell Like?
I. Read Luke 16:19-31
A. In every parable of Jesus, the illustration is used to teach a larger message. But every parable is based on true facts. People do purchase fields, widows do lose coins.
B. Notice the facts in this story:
1. Two men lived
2. Two men died
3. Their situations in the next life were the exact opposite of this life
a. The rich man became a beggar in Torments.
b. The poor man was clothed in purple and fine linen in Paradise
C. This is the clearest glimpse of what the next life is like.
D. Tonight we will only address one question from this story. What is Hell like?
II. Hell is Eternal
A. What is eternal?
1. Mt. 25:46 - Everlasting punishment, eternal life
2. Rom. 16:26 - Everlasting God
3. Heb. 9:14 - Eternal Spirit
4. All three passages use the same Greek word to describe four things. “Aionios” - eternal, everlasting, without end, never to cease or indeterminate as to duration.
B. There is not one argument against Hell that cannot be equally applied to Heaven
1. If Hell only lasts 1000 years, then Heaven will cease then as well for the same word is used to describe both. God and the Spirit would cease as well.
2. The punishment in Hell will last for ever and ever and ever and ever ...
3. Some say this is too long
a. It isn’t right to punish a man who was disobedient for 5 years and condemn him for an eternity.
b. Then it is wrong to take a man who was obedient for 5 years and bless him for ever!
c. This is a slap at every justice system in the world
(1) How do you determine the hideousness of a crime?
(2) By the time it took to commit the act or by the act itself?
(3) How long did it take for a mass murder to kill a number of people with a semi-automatic weapon? 30 seconds?
(4) How long show the punishment be? 30 seconds? 60? 90? Would that be fair?
(5) If they escaped the death penalty, the would be locked up for the rest of their lifes - 40 to 60 years for doing something that only took 30 seconds!
(6) Obviously punishment is based on the hideousness of the crime.
d. What man doesn’t realize is the hideousness of sin. The most horrible thing a man can do is live in rebellion to God!
e. Live 5 years, or 5 months, or 5 weeks in stubborn rebellion to God and die in that condition and be punished in Hell forever.
4. Hell is too ugly
a. Then Heaven is too beautiful!
b. If Hell is too horrible, then Heaven is too wonderful!
C. “Oh, I believe Hell’s fire will burn forever and I believe the punishment is everlasting, but I think you misunderstand the word punishment”
1. They believe when a man dies, he ceases to exist.
2. If that is true, then what is resurrected? We could be recreated but not resurrected.
3. Some believe we die like the animals, like the dog Rover who was dead all over. At the resurrection, the wicked are casted a way and die a second physical death in the lake of fire. Like the dog, they say there is no consciousness - one becomes dead eternally.
4. This is false at it’s very core!
5. Mt 25:46 - punishment, “kolasin” - to chastise or torment.
6. Also used in I Jn 4:18 where it is translated torment.
7. Look at Luke 16 again. The rich man was in torments. He wanted a drop of water for his tormented tongue. He wanted Lazarus sent back to warn his five brethren, lest they join him in that place of torment. Abraham said the rich man was tormented and Lazarus was comforted.
8. Also used in Rev. 20:10 - The devil, the beast and the false prophet will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
9. Rev. 14:11 - The smoke of their torment will ascend for ever and ever with no rest.
10. You can’t be tormented if you are unconscious.
D. Hell is everlasting, conscious, suffering torment!
III. Hell is a place of darkness
A. II Pet. 2:4 - The fallen angels are in chains of darkness waiting for judgment.
B. Jude 13 - False teachers have darkness reserved for them for ever.
C. Mt. 25:30 - The unprofitable servant was cast into outer darkness.
D. Why darkness?
1. James 1:17 - God is the father of lights.
2. I Jn 1:5 - God is light and in him there is no darkness
3. God is not in Hell! II Thess. 1:7-9
4. Ps. 139:7-12 - God is everywhere. It is impossible to get away from God as Jonah found out.
5. But there is one place God is not. He is not in Hell.
6. It must be Hell if God is not there.
a. There won’t be a God to hear your repeated prayers in torment.
b. There won’t be a God to listen to you scream and beg for mercy.
c. No mercy will be granted, because God is not there!
7. Since God is the source of light, where He is not must be a place of darkness.
IV. Hell is a place of fire
A. The verses
1. Mt. 13:42 - a furnace of fire
2. Mt. 25:41 - everlasting fire
3. Mk. 9:44-45 - the fire is not quenched
4. Rev. 20:10 - fire and brimestone
5. Rev. 20:15 - a lake of fire
6. Mt. 3:12 - the baptism of fire
B. There is no doubt about it. FIRE FIRE FIRE for all eternity
C. It is likely a metaphor - “I am the door”, “I am the vine”
1. God is an infinite God and Hell is an infinite place.
2. How do you describe what cannot be described?
3. We do not have an absolute description of Heaven or Hell.
4. Can you imagine describing an airplane to George Washington? What do you say “Well, it is like a bird” - image of a machine flapping its wings. “Well, not exactly, its wings don’t move” - image of bird falling through the air. You give a rough description, but you haven’t even started describing what a jet is.
5. This is the problem with Heaven and Hell. They are beyond our experience, so how does God describe them?
a. Heaven is said to have Jade walls, golden streets and gates of pearl. Is this literal or a way to tell us that Heaven is far more wonderful than anything we have ever known?
b. The description of Hell is to tell us that Hell is far worse than anything we have ever considered. The nearest thing on earth is fire.
D. Have you ever burnt yourself? Hurt didn’t it and I’m sure you only experienced it for a brief moment. Firemen say that to burn to death is the most angonizing way to go.
E. If Hell is just 1/10 as bad as the Bible describes, it should produce fear in the heart of anyone! But the truth is that Hell is a 1000 times worse than any description found in the Bible!
V. Hell is a place of pain
A. Intense pain
B. Mt. 25:30 - the punishment of the one talent man - weeping and gnashing of teeth.
VI. No rest in Hell
A. Rev. 14:11 - no rest day or night
B. Rev. 20:10 - Why, because they are being tomented
C. There is nothing like laying down when you are exhausted.
D. No opportunity for rest in Hell
VII. No relief in Hell
A. The rich man want just a drop of water, but he didn’t get it.
B. “How cruel!” But you see the rich man didn’t have to be there. He could have obeyed God. He negelected his opportunity.
C. You can stay out of Hell. But if you ever get in, you cannot get out!
D. There will be no relief if you ever go there.
VIII. No hope in Hell
A. Mt. 25:46 - everlasting punishment
B. How long is eternity? If a dove flew between the sun and the earth, depositing one grain of sand every 10 years, by the time the earth was entirely consumed, Hell would just be beginning!
C. If Hell were only 100 years, I could stand it. After one day, I could say “only 99 years, 364 days to go”. If it were only 1000 years, I could bear it. That faint glimmer of hope would cause me to hold on.
D. But after a man has been in Hell for a trillion years, he has no less time to stay.
E. When you look at person, what do you see?
1. A rich man, poor man, black, white?
2. We ought to see an individual made in the image of God for whom Jesus died. Who will in in the prescense of God or burn in the fires of Hell.
3. The only things that will last in this world is people.
4. Nations rise and fall, cultures come and go, but people will live on and on.
F. How many people do you know who have died this year without Christ? How many loved ones? How many relatives? How many friends?
1. How many people are in Hell now because you never opened your mouth one time to turn them to the Lord?
2. Oh, tragedy of all tragedies to die without Christ!
G. The number one issue facing everyone here is to get right with God and stay right with God.
1. Yet we are worried about food, shelter, and clothing when only one thing is needful!
2. We must become children of God and serve the Lord.
3. I don’t want to be lost and I don’t want you lost either!
IX. In Hell, a man retains his mental faculties
A. After the rich man died, he could feel, see, hear, talk, and remember.
1. Abraham said son, remember that you in your lifetime received good things
2. He remembered his five brethren on earth and he wanted to warn them
B. It is reasonable that he remembered the times he neglected to do the Lord’s will.
1. If you lose your soul and wake up in torments, one of the horrible things is to be haunted by memories “if I had only listened to my wife; if I had paid attention to my husband, if I had only listened to that Christian, if I had only answered that invitation that night in La Vista”
2. If, If, If, but it won’t change your situation.
3. In torment, you may say “If I had only obeyed the gospel”. If ifing is not going to change you eternal destiny. Your memory will plague and haunt you day after day.
C. A man can also recognize.
1. The rich man recognized Lazarus.
2. Will we recognize one another in eternity? The answer is yes. But if we recognize one another and or loved ones aren’t with us in Heaven, won’t we be unhappy?
3. Consider the other side. If we know only ourselves, then we will think that all of our loved ones missed Heaven.
4. Many of us have tried to lead people to Christ only to hear “ I couldn’t make a change because daddy, mother, brother, or sister wasn’t a child of God.”
a. There couldn’t be anything worse than meeting mother, father, sister, or brother in the torments of Hell!
b. You would add to their afflictions and to your own.
c. If you have relatives who have left this world unprepared to meet Christ, believe me, they never want to see you again!
d. The rich man was praying that his five brethren would not join him in torments.
e. Surely you don’t want to go to Hell because some relative has gone there.
X. Our Lord has said to every lost person in this audience, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.”
A. If you will trust the Lord and be baptized by immersion for the forgiveness of sins, you can leave here this night saved.
B. The Bible says to every erring brother or sister, “Repent and pray, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.”
C. There are people here who are lost. I wish everyone of you would come as we stand and sing.