Wednesday, April 9, 2008

H - E - Double Hockey Sticks

Church got a little bolder these last two weeks. Churches are turning away from fire and brimstone preaching because no one wants to be told anything negative, so it was good for me to hear a reminder of some important facts that should not and simply cannot be overlooked. I went back and forth about posting this blog. I understand why churches don't preach this way as it turns people away, but as I have said before, if this helps one person in someway come to God then good has been done. It has been put on my heart to go ahead and blog it out besides, who am I to deny that person? So the topic was Hell and here were my reminders....

1.) There is a Hell

Not many people like to think of death and Hell. I don't blame them, it is a very scary place full of agony and torture, and it is real. I don't think that the Bible writes about it so that people are scared into doing what it is right, but it is there as a warning.

Mark 9:43-48 says, "So if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off! You would be better off to go into life crippled than to have two hands and be thrown into the fires of hell that never go out. If your foot causes you to sin, chop it off. You would be better off to go into life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. If your eye causes you to sin, get rid of it. You would be better off to go into God's kingdom with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell. The worms there never die, and the fire never stops burning."

2.) People will go to Hell

Only God will determine who goes to hell and no one will go there by surprise. God really doesn't send people to Hell, people basically volunteer for it. It is our choice to follow God or to follow the devil. Yes, God is good, full of grace, and merciful, but he will not tolerate sin. Sin is what separates us from God. Too often, we try to gloss over this part of God, but it cannot be ignored. There are many accounts in the Bible of God punishing, even by death, people who were sinning against him.

2 Peter 2:4-10 says, "God did not have pity on the angels that sinned. He had them tied up and thrown into the dark pits of hell until the time of judgment. And during Noah's time, God did not have pity on the ungodly people of the world. He destroyed them with a flood, though he did save eight people, including Noah, who preached the truth.

God punished the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and this is a warning to anyone else who wants to sin. Lot lived right and was greatly troubled by the terrible way those wicked people were living. He was a good man, and day after day he suffered because of the evil things he saw and heard. So the Lord rescued him. This shows that the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their sufferings and to punish evil people while they wait for the Day of Judgment.

The Lord is especially hard on people who disobey him and don't think of anything except their own filthy desires. They are reckless and proud and are not afraid of cursing the glorious beings in heaven."

3.) There are many actions that can save you a place in Hell

Here are two verses that are very straight forward. If your life resembles any of these and you have not turned from them and asked for forgiveness, you might want to take a step back and rethink your actions.

Galatians 5:19-21: "The wrong things the sinful self does are clear: being sexually unfaithful, not being pure, taking part in sexual sins, worshiping gods, doing witchcraft, hating, making trouble, being jealous, being angry, being selfish, making people angry with each other, causing divisions among people, feeling envy, being drunk, having wild and wasteful parties, and doing other things like these. I warn you now as I warned you before: Those who do these things will not inherit God's kingdom."

Keep in mind, if you are not inheriting God's kingdom....then what does that leave for you to inherit?

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 says, "Don't you know that evil people won't have a share in the blessings of God's kingdom? Don't fool yourselves! No one who is immoral or worships idols or is unfaithful in marriage or is a pervert or behaves like a homosexual will share in God's kingdom. Neither will any thief or greedy person or drunkard or anyone who curses and cheats others. Some of you used to be like that. But now the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the power of God's Spirit have washed you and made you holy and acceptable to God."

According to the last two sentences of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, all is not lost. Jesus died for our sins. You can be free from all the negativity that sin causes in your life. All you have to do is believe that Jesus' death on the cross was for you, turn from the things you were doing, be baptized to wash away that old life, and follow the teachings of God. If you have already done these steps but fell away from God, you can still go back. Remember the prodigal son?
God and the angels in Heaven will rejoice in your choice. (Luke 15:10)