Welcome to a super rosey edition of the 5pm Update. Let’s talk about Hell!
Over the next few weeks I want to spend some time talking about this unpopular subject.
Why talk about hell, I hear you ask?
1. The Bible has lots to say about hell
Interestingly the Old Testament doesn’t mention the word ‘hell’ at all, instead it uses the idea of ‘Sheol’ which means grave or pit. That said, you don’t have to be a discerning reader to pick up that judgment is real and that it leads to something.
When we get to the New Testament we find that is not shy about mentioning hell – in fact – you might find this interesting, of the 22 specific mentions of hell – 19 of them come from the mouth of Jesus. He says more about hell than he does about heaven!
And then of course is the wider ideas of God’s wrath and judgment which comes through in every book of the Bible – and more frequently than the mentions of the love of God.
The Bible has a lot to say on the topic.
2. Hell is real
It may not be a popular thing to say, but Hell is real, Satan is real, he really wants people to join him and people really are going there!
A couple of weeks ago Australia hit 23 million people – and it was reported that we as a nation increase in number a person every 1 minute and 23 seconds. That number takes into account that every 3 minutes and 32 seconds someone somewhere where in Australia dies. That means that if you are reading this 5pm Update soon after it is released, then by the time we all get together at 5pm Church this Sunday approximately 720 people will die in this nation – and they will go to either heaven or hell. With that kind of number – should we not talk about the possibility of hell?
Hell is real – people we know will go there.
3. Hell is not remote from our experience
Hell is not something that we can afford to be agnostic about – in fact we’re forced to reckon with, because like it or not, we all face death. There are many from 5pm Church who have had to deal with the loss of loved ones over this past year. Tragedy is real for many. We can not be spectators in this reality – even if we would like to be.
There are some biblical doctrines which, depending on your circumstance, you can ignore. Ladies, the doctrine of circumcision is largely one of those doctrines you can ignore! The Bible says a whole bunch of things to parents – if you are not a parent, you can sit back and watch that doctrine sail on by! But not the doctrine of death – we ignore at our own peril!
Unsaved sinners go to hell, we are all sinners, so we should probably do something about focusing on the ‘salvation from death’ bit. Hell is not remote from our experience.
4. There is a way to escape from it.
But, it is not all doom and gloom – there is a way to escape from the prospect of hell!
Jesus tells us quite clearly the way to escape it – John 3:36
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”
Friends, Hell is not inevitable.
But I tell you something, that is, lose the cross, lose what Jesus has done for you – and you will also lose the fear of hell.
Let’s be a people at 5pm who reflect on the hard truths (rather than ignore or remain nonchalant). But also a people who trust in the one who turns the inevitably bad into the inevitably good. In Christ we need not fear.
Please apply yourself to reading these posts over the next few weeks. And feel free to make comment in the Facebook Group – the conversation will help us all, if we are brave enough to have it!