PULPIT TODAY SERMONS
Robert D. Pace
Hell. The word suggests an eternal abode that is void of God, filled with demons, fraught with eternal wrath, and doomed with inescapable bondage. It is no small wonder that modernity seeks to suppress this topic. It chafes the conscience of mainline thinking and even a significant number of Christians. Hell is simply a topic that most people want to ignore! And voices suggesting that everlasting punishment awaits sinners are characterized as extreme, insensitive, and judgmental. It is such “voices”—those that are proponents of hell—that I want to examine.
For years now, I have heard it said that some people have been turned off by “organized” religion because a bombastic voice asserted they were going to hell should they reject Jesus Christ. Thus, this accusation offended them and turned them against the Bible, the church, and the church’s discourse.
The Apostle Paul clearly instructed messengers of the Gospel in regard to their presentation of Biblical truths. He said, “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people” (2 Timothy 2:24, NLT). Have some preachers breached their deportment of the Gospel? Yes. I admit that, with sincere zeal, some messengers have exported a Bible truth discourteously. But, does a Bible truth told bombastically, or in a thousand different tones, nullify that truth? Let’s answer that by asking another question: Does a meteorologist, warning viewers of a category five hurricane, diminish its strength by assuaging his voice? Can a storm be nullified by any modulation of a meteorologist’s voice? Not at all! Thus, can it not be said that the inflection of the messenger’s voice has any power whatsoever to contravene Bible truths?
Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not excusing a “voice” that has violated Paul’s admonition to disclose the Gospel responsibly, but I am attempting to illuminate a greater truth that Satan seeks to mock and repress. According to the Bible, hell is real and it needs proclaiming! I propose that the real issue has nothing to do with a religious “voice” that at some point consigned someone to hell for their sins. It’s my belief that many of these offended people are living with their conscience convicted by the gracious and patient Holy Spirit. And thank God that the irrepressible Spirit of Truth has not abandoned their conscience!
There is a simple question each person must ask: Is it plausible that a fable or benign myth can carry the power to upend the conscience, sear the soul, and torment the mind? On the other hand, does it seem plausible that the forbearance of the Holy Spirit has kept this truth alive as unnerving as it may be? Thank God that the patient Holy Spirit still pricks the human conscience and holds it accountable to the reality of hell!
Maybe you were once impugned or offended by an unkindly messenger of God’s Word. If so, I urge you to work past the bombast and reconsider what the Bible says about this subject. I appeal to you, by the love of God, to learn of Christ Jesus and his teachings. Perhaps you have long heard the arguments against the reality of hell. You have heard that a loving God would never consign people to such a place. But let me ask this: What if the concept of eternal reward and everlasting punishment is all true? And what if one day you stand before the Judgment Seat of God having rejected it all? Could not that bombastic, accusatory messenger have made a difference in your life? Additionally, should you have yielded to that “voice” (and gained entrance into heaven) would you not then be eternally indebted to that courageous messenger for sharing that warning?
For the next few weeks, I urge you to study hell from a Biblical perspective. Perhaps you can watch some online videos and listen to several Biblical scholars lecture on it. Rather than shut down the divinely implanted voice of your conscience, release your offence and give God a chance to validate what is true about the future and your place in it.
CONTACT ROBERT D. PACE