Hell. Feared by many ignored by fools.
Perfect as Heaven, so perfect it's called the second death.
Jesus spoke of Hell more than anyone else in the Bible. Old and New testament alike it has wracked the world with fear and caused people to wonder just how Loving this God of love really is.
Jesus came not to heal the sick, although he did this, not to perform party tricks, though turning water into wine certainly ranks as probably the greatest party trick ever recorded. He didn't come to raise the dead, yet he did this or to exorcise deamons. He came to teach us how to live a life that glorifies the Father and to avoid Hell. In essence he came to save us from a fait so bad that it was called the second death.
So why do I say that it's perfect?
Because for all the same reasons that Heaven is a perfect reward, Hell is the perfect punishment. Revelation 14:10 gives us a snap shot of Hell that is so compelling that I am going to write it here. This gives us a great reason to pause for thought.
Revelation 14:10. NIV version.
"He too will drink of the wine of Gods fury, which has been poured out full strength into the cup of wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulphur in the pressence of the Holy angels and the Lamb."
It was the custom of the day at the time of writing, to water down the wine before it was drunk. I have heard many reasons for this. Two of them is that i) the wine was made to taste much stronger back then and needed to be watered down. ii) In parties and celebrations, which often lasted for days, it would help the guests not to get drunk and embarace themselves, it also made the wine last longer.
The truth is that neither of those reasons particularly matter to this text but give some idea as the the reason why the wine of Gods fury being poured out full strength would shock those who read it.
God does nothing in half measures. He's not a luke warm kind of God. So when he is righteously angry because we have met the sacrifice of his son with disdain and have chosen to be slaves to sin rather than to Jesus we will be burned in sulphure for eternity. So who will be there? We can't speak for the people of this world. God is the great judge and he will decide. But we can discuss who of the heavenly host will be there governing Hell as we are told here.
The Holy angels will run Hell. There is a great myth that somehow the fallen Angels, "Demons" and Satan are in charge in Hell. I've heard rockers say that they want to go to hell because that's where all the sinners go, so there must be sin there right?
Wrong. There is the same amount of sin in Hell as there is in Heaven... none. Remember who is in charge. The Holy Angels will perform their task there. And the Lord (through the Holy Spirit... equally God) does not call a person or a member of his creation Holy lightly. The Holy are those that live without Sin, that can stand in his presence and that can approach him without fear but with much reverence.
So who is going to the big boss in charge then?
It breaks my heart to tell you this, but It's Jesus. "The Lamb." Jesus is God and cannot, in his heavenly form be in the presence of sin. He can't be a part of it. He is as sinless now as he was when he was alive so cannot live in sin. Therefor we can deduce that in Hell there is no sin.
We can also see the strength of Jesus' character. He is utterly blameless and yet so responsible does he feel for us in his love that he even humbles himself to take charge of how we are punished. Jesus will both be in Heaven and hell. His enemies shall be a footstool for his feet.
So is there a way out?
No. Not once you get there, but like a drowning man in the sea with a lifeboat approaching there is a rescue mission on the way. When Jesus was among us he humbled himself beyond all reckoning so that we might be cleansed of all sin (with one exception) so that if we should choose Jesus we would not die the second death but have eternal life, face to face with him in paradise. Jesus is in the lifeboat, this is him coming for you now. All you need to do is have some faith and raise your hands so that he can grasp you and pull you up from the drowning depths.
Here is how to become a Christian. Firstly, you need to understand that before the father you are sinful. Not only that but you are totally depraved, that is deprived of all goodness. You have not an ounce of decent moral fibre in your body and in spirit you are already dead. You need to realise that the Spirit is working in you right now as you read this. He's making you understand these truths, perhaps making you see them, and yourself in a different light. You need to see the sacrifice that Jesus (God who demeaned himself by becoming human) made for your salvation. Then you need to simply ask Jesus into your life. You pray that you are sorry for the life that you have lead. You need to repent of your sins. Repentence isn't merely and admission of guilt but an understanding of what it does in your life and a committment from you to avoid it at all costs in the future. Then you need to trust that Jesus has washed you clean by his blood. You will become sinless, spiritually, because Jesus will take the punishment that you deserve upon his own shoulder's.
Then you need to read your Bible. If you want to frighten yourself with some of the best descriptions of Hell and the reasons why we might Go there then start with Matthew. If you want to understand the relational offer of Jesus' Love for us then start with John. If you read the Red top news papers and want a condensed Headline with snippet story telling read Mark and if you read the guardian, Telegraph or the Times and want the facts and a more indepth anallysis then read Luke. But if you read Luke then please spare a thought for one of my Biblical Heroes. Theophilus. Theo to you and me. Theo commissioned the physician (Dr) Luke to travel about the Holy land interviewing those who were whitnesses to Jesus' works, death and ressurection from death.
He paid for the whole thing! Then he also Paid for the writing of the book of Acts too. Now sure, this guy probably didn't plant a church or travel about the world preaching the Gospel. What he did was behave in a righteous way with an excessive amount of money and hired a man of very high inteligence who could write a balanced overview of the Miraculous and then have it coppied by scribes before allowing it to form two books of the library that we now call the Bible. He paid so that we might have a truer and more accurate understanding of Jesus's life and of the struggles and miracled that befell the early church. Billions of people have been moved by this accomplishment and I truly believe that his works of the Spirit are still being accomplished to this day. So here is a salute to the foresight and curiosity of a truly great man. Thank you Theophilus!
Be blessed by the spirit and come to church!!!