|Messages By Ovid Need|
This last week was a fast week, to say the least. We arrived in Arcadia at 4:45 AM, Monday morning. I learned one thing, this vertigo will not tolerate exhaustion and tiredness. By force of will we can usually carry on after being up 24 hrs, but the vertigo will not permit this. I was incapacitated Monday. I could hardly stand up or lay down until tuesday morning after I had some rest.
As usual, I have several series that I want to get into, and one most pressing. It has to do with the world's usurpation of wisdom. This is dealt with by Paul in the first three chapters of his first letter to Corinth.
But before I start anything lengthy, we have some things we need to cover.
My background in the Baptist Movement has had a tremendous effect upon me and my current preaching. In every Baptist Church I have been in and all the Bible conferences I have been to that were Baptist in theory, they only had one theme, Hell and salvation. They preach this three times a week, Sunday morning, Sunday night and WN. Some will go even farther and mock any preacher who tries to give his people any thing other than SW and Salvation.
I suppose I would not have been so negatively affected by this if this crowd had not corrupted the plan of salvation so much that you can not even recognize it from the word of God.
I have tried to make my ministry far more inclusive than this basic thought, although this is basic. It must be emphasized, because without the preaching of the cross and salvation, the rest of the message of God is useless.
So this morning I want to deal with one of the most basic of principles of the Christian faith, Hell. Regardless of what some might think, I am still a Hellfire and brimstone preacher. The word of God is as clear on this point of a literal place of eternal torment as it is on the literal cross of Christ and a literal heaven where the redeemed will forever be with the Lord. If we compromise the doctrine of a literal hell, we will have to compromise the blood and cross of Christ, we will also have to compromise the scriptures.
There are over 162 texts in the NT alone which speak of Hell, and 70 of these were spoken by our Lord Himself. He certainly considered it a literal place to be avoided at all cost.
In the first half of this message, I would like to look at a few things that we are told about this terrible place of torment.
I. Where is Hell?
The indication in Ez. 32:27 is that Hell is located down, Matt. 22:13, although our Lord identified hell as a place of outer darkness in places such as Mt. 22:13. This indicates to me a place separate from this earth. The theory that places the location of hell as in the center of the earth is a recent development, within the last 200 years.
All we know is what we are told, and that is that Hell is a literal place of eternal torment and separation from God. Much more than this is speculation.
II. Where did Hell originate?
Regardless of what the antiChrist crowd might think or try to teach, it did not originate in the mind of some people who wanted to hold others in bondage.
It was prepared for the devil and his angels. This person, the devil, has been at war with the Lord since his original rebellion, so we can not imagine what kind of place is prepared for him. We can also assume that the Creator created this place of torment after the 6 days of creation, and after the fall of Satan.
III. What is the size of Hell?
Although we have no size given, we are told that it is large enough to hold all who are in rebellion against the Lord. In fact, Pro. 27:20 tells us that Hell and destruction are never full, just as the eyes of man are never satisfied.
IV. What is Hell like?
Our Lord gives the clearest description of this place in Lk. 16. But before we get there, let's look at some other points.
1. Mt. 3:12 It is a place of unquenchable fire.
The picture in Mt. 13:40, 42, 50 is one of tares being bound and cast into a furnace of fire. We can imagine what kind of a fire is involved when dried tares are cast into it.
2. Mt. 8:12 It is a place of total darkness.
It is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth for the pain which is involved.
An interesting point here in Mt. 8:11 & 12, is that a great many who expect to enter into eternal life will end up in eternal death. On the other hand, a great many who we do not expect to be with the Lord, will be.
In fact, the Lord goes on to say in Mt. 13:30, that the wheat and tares look so much alike that only the Spirit of God can separate them.
3. 2 Thes. 1:9, describes Hell as a place of punishment with everlasting destruction and separation from the presence of the Lord.
4. As we said, our Lord gives a actual account of two men, one a rich man who depended upon his riches; the other a poor man, who depended upon the Lord.
Lk. 16 starting in v. 19
V. 23 gives us the key word, torments. Clearly, this is more than one. In addition to the ones we have already seen, we have several more here.
1. V. 24, the rich man calls out to Father Abraham. This indicates that this man was convinced that he had a home reserved for him in heaven, and was quit surprised that he didn't make it at death.
I am afraid that death is going to hold some surprises for even some people in here today.
2. Flame which will not consume those who are present in it.
3. Ability to see and recognize those who are in heaven. Also this indicates that the ones in hell will see and know what is going on in heaven.
4. Unfulfilled desires. We would suppose that every desire of the body which we can imagine, will remain unfulfilled. Lust for that drink of alcohol, that cigarette, water, food, sleep, drugs, whatever it might be. All of these will be present, forever and forever.
5. V. 25, memory of the past. Maybe memory of missed opportunities, of past good things in life, or past evils done to others.
I think the indication here is that those in hell will have a better memory than will the ones in heaven. In heaven, we will have our tears wiped away, which shows us that we will have bad memories removed. Those in hell will be controlled and consumed with the past memories.
An out-of-control memory is one of the worse things that can grip a person. In fact, this was one of the greatest blessings promised by the new covenant, Ph. 3:13, 14, Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
6. V. 26 The total lose of all hope of any relief.
As the lusts demand fulfillment, the mind will know that there is no way that they will ever be fulfilled. I don't know about you, but I can tolerate about anything, if I know the end is in sight. Here the person will know that there is no end.
7. V. 27 Memory and knowledge of others, especially loved ones, who are headed for hell.
This man would have been the greatest missionary ever if he had been able to come back. Notice what he requests of Abraham-- That Abraham would send someone to his lost loved ones. He prays for the Lord to send labors into the harvest. He prays for his lost loved ones, but it is too late.
This request for someone to go to the lost sounds like our Lord's command in Mt. 28:19, 28. Also, Matt. 9:38. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
8. V. 28, this man in torment was confident that the ones he was concerned about, would receive the word of God, and turn from their wicked ways.
* This man was now praying this prayer, but it was to late.
It is too bad that we cannot have this kind of confidence in the power of the word of God. When we see the wicked around us, we find it extremely difficult to believe that they would respond to the gospel, so what do we do? We say, "Well, they wouldn't believe anyway." Actually, this is little more than justification for our fear of talking to them. At least we could give them a tract.
9. Another point about v. 28; this rich man's desire for the ones he was concerned about, was a selfish desire.
In my concern for Jessica, the desire was that she would not bring shame to the name of Christ, not necessarily that she was on her way to hell. My desire to see the Lord work in her heart was for the glory of God and the sake of Christ, not for her benefit that she would avoid this terrible place described here.
I am afraid that much of our desire to see others saved is very selfish. It is not that the Lord would be glorified and His name exalted, but our desire is for that person's benefit. It is to see them miss the place of torment. This is humanism and ungodly.
10. V. 30, he pleads with Abraham.
He gets down to business. To bad that we as professed Christians cannot get this serious about the most serious business in the world. The salvation of our loved ones, especially.
How much pleading have we done for those we are concerned about?
How many sleepless nights have we spent in prayer for them?
What kind of price have we committed ourselves to pay for their salvation?
11. V. 31 as an added note. A person who cannot or will not accept the word of God by faith, even the OT, they cannot be saved.
In conclusion here.
MT. 18:7-9, our Lord tells us that any price that needs to be paid to keep from going to this terrible place, should be paid.
The eyes. How many have rejected the Lord because they see something else that they want? The lust of the eye!
The hands and feet. How many have missed heaven because they want to do something or go somewhere that they know they cannot do as a Child of God?
They chose the pleasures of this world for a season, over the prospect of being a Child of God with the promise of His eternal blessings.
Our Lord says that any thing which might prevent our coming to Him, should be laid aside. Many will not lay aside something as simple as their pride, let alone the desires of the flesh.
Hell is real. It is literal and is beyond any description of horror that the human mind can conceive.
The next thing we need to see in the first part of this message, of course, is the method which God has established to avoid this judgment against sin.
Of course it is through the shed blood of the Lamb of God. It is by trusting in the payment that He made 2,000 years ago in place of the sinner.
Let me make a couple of points here.
First. I know of people who are still hanging on to a profession which they made as a child, maybe at the age of 8, 9, 10, or even eleven or so, years old. Almost without exception, a child that age is not able to comprehend the gospel. This is why, according to ACE, they use the corrupted gospel, Ask Jesus into your heart, which is no gospel at all.
In order to deal with children who are not yet able to understand the 'full doctrine of Salvation,' they water it down to one or two points, and these points corrupted.
I do not know how many people I have talked with who will admit that they never heard or understood about the payment of Christ for their sins, and the covenant that Salvation brought one into, until after they made their profession. Yet they hold on to that profession. It is impossible to have salvation without hearing and understanding the gospel first.
Very seldom is one able to comprehend the substitutionary death, the payment for sin which Christ made and the covenant entered into with the Lord of their salvation, before they are a teenager. But only the Lord knows at what age they are able understand this.
We do know from Eph. 1:12, 13, that a person, no matter what age, must hear and understand the gospel before they can be saved. (That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.)
We also read in Rom. 10:14-17 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
It is absolutely necessary that the gospel be heard and understood, before there can be any salvation.
Second. And this is one of the most overlooked aspects of Salvation. As a rule, salvation is presented as a means of Escape from the terrors of hell.
One of my favorite authors, E.W. Hengstenberg, said this back in 1865, "To believe is nothing else but to recognize this, to perceive in Christ the Son of God, the Saviour, and the Bestower of eternal life. He who regards Him only as one who can procure for him some advantages in this life, is still in unbelief."
In other words, the one who comes to Jesus just for the prospect of some good he might gain in this life, or the next, is still in unbelief.
Salvation is always presented as freedom from both the power of sin in this life, the presence of sin at death and the penalty of sin in the next. Salvation must be seen in three parts; past-which would speak of deliverance from the future penalty-hell; present-salvation from the power of sin over us; future-salvation from presence of sin-heaven.
I reminded my daughter that salvation is a covenant relationship with God. This is a message all in itself, which we will not go into at this time, other than to say this.
The Holy Spirit deals with our heart to bring us to Christ into this covenant. This covenant involves an agreement on our part to live according to the law of the covenant. This involves an agreement that if we do not abide by the terms of the covenant, we will receive the curse of God (as Christians. 1 Cor. 5 is a good example of this), and if we do abide by the terms of the covenant, we will inherit the blessings of God. And this keeping of the covenant is by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The law of the covenant makes provision for unintentional failure, 1 John 1:9, Pro. 28:13, 14.
To know what our Lord requires of us, then intentionally fail to follow His word, is presumption, which places us in the realm of the wicked one for our chastisement, He. chs. 10 & 12. The ultimate end will be the destruction of ourselves, our family and our society.
Now, I have a second point of this message which we will not go into for times sake, other than to give the overall thought.
The first point is on the reality of Hell. This second is on our responsibility as a Born again believer.
Our text here is found in Ez. 3. This passage is almost identical to the one found on over in Ezekiel, ch. 33.
As I said, we will not cover this at this time. All we will say is that
1. If we really believe that hell is real
2. If we really love others like we claim that we do
3. If we are really concerned about our communities
We will do all we can to reach others with the gospel of Christ.
We will give out tracts to everyone.
We will spend the time in prayer.
We will live holy and pure so we can claim the promised blessings of God upon our efforts to reach others.
We will take advantage of every opportunity to witness for the Lord. Actually, we will make time to witness for Him. There are those out there who He is working with. It is our responsibility to live holy and pure, present the gospel to everyone within our reach (even extending our reach), and leave the results up to Him.
We say we are saved.
We say that we believe the Bible.
We say that we believe in a literal heaven and hell.
How much are we doing to reach the lost?
How many hours have we invested in the lost loved one?
How many sleepless nights have we spent in prayer for them?
How many days have we spent in fasting for them?
You say, "Well, not much!" Then do we really love them? Do we really believe there is a hell?
How much time are we investing in trying to reach the lost co-worker? The lost community around us? If we make the claim with no actions, are we any better than the hypocrite of Christ's day?
God help us to invest the time and money in reaching the lost and dyeing around us.
1. Are you saved?
2. Are you concerned?
3. Are you living a life which God can use to reach the worldly crowd around you?
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