I am sure that many of you have seen videos of someone being harassed with the people passing by ignoring and avoiding the situation. I am thinking of a video that was staged with a young girl screaming, “You are not my dad!” at a man trying to force her towards a car. What was shocking is how many people walked right by. Now, I wonder if their response would be different if it was their child or grandchild.
I would hope that every follower of Jesus would do something, at least dialing 911 to report the incident. I am sure that you would definitely respond if it was one of your children. The reason why you would respond is because you care. It is easy to become indifferent in our times. I believe this also would hold true for why followers of Jesus remain silent to the needs of those around them.
I was recently listening to an exposition that touched on the reality of Hell (Link). Yes, the place that is a bad word. Do you know that Jesus talked about Hell more than every other person in the Bible combined? What makes Jesus’ emphasis on Hell so important is that He created Hell as the place of punishment for Satan and the fallen angels that joined his rebellion against God.
Let’s briefly remind ourselves of what Jesus revealed about Hell. First, it is a real place. It is not some metaphorical concept to teach a spiritual lesson. Jesus is speaking to the congregation of the practices of a genuine follower of Jesus. And it is in this context that He reminds us that there are only two kinds of people. Those that are known by Jesus and those that are not. It is our voluntary acceptance of the Gospel that brings us into a relationship with Jesus.
Second, Hell is the destination for those that have refused to accept Jesus’ sacrifice to pay the penalty of their sin. ““Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41) It is easy to many to make fun of “going to hell.” I have heard some say, “I will be with all my friends.” Some believe that it is not a real place. Some believe that the human soul that does not know Jesus stops to exist. The reality, according to Jesus is that hell is a place of incredible torment. “It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’” (Mark 9:47–48)
Third, the Bible does not teach that suffering in hell is temporary. It teaches that this unending torment will continue through all eternity. These are Jesus words, “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46) I want you to notice that word “eternal” that is used twice. Just as the redeemed follower of Jesus will spend eternity with their Savior, those that reject Jesus will spend eternity enduring the punishment of hell.
The real question is, “Do I really care about those that are on a trajectory to Hell?” If I grasped the awful consequence of rejecting Christ I should be more motivated, first to live for Jesus and second to work to bring God’s truth into the lives of those that the Lord brings into my life.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson