Robert Jeffress - Answers To Those Who Who Say "Hell? No!" - Part 2
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. Atheist often criticize Christians for being too hellfire and brimstone. Dismissing biblical teaching about eternal judgment is nothing more than a scare tactic. Well, preachers do a tragic disservice by withholding the truth about hell, and as you likely know, I'm not want to dismiss words when somebody's eternal home is at stake. So today, I'm going to tackle an unsavory but necessary topic. My message is titled, "Answers to Those Who Say, 'Hell? No!'" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
And when you reject Jesus Christ, what the writer is saying is, you are treating the death of Jesus Christ as worthless. It is as worthless as salt that is no longer of any use. You are trampling underfoot the Son of God. Can you imagine what that does to God's heart to say, the death of his son was worthless? I think of the comment media mogul, Ted Turner, made years ago when he said "If Jesus Christ came to die for my sins, he need not have bothered. If having a few drinks and a few girlfriends is going to send you to hell, so be it". That's to treat the death of Christ as worthless. Now that's bad enough, but it gets worse. He says, "Not only does a person who rejects or neglects Christ treat it as worthless, but it says he is regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified". That word unclean is the word that was used to describe the non-Jews, the gentiles, they were called unclean. In fact, it was a word that was originally used to refer to dogs.
You know, the gentiles were called dogs. As I've said before, it doesn't mean these pet poodles that we, you know, cuddle today. The word dogs referred to those scavenger, mangy, dirty, filthy dogs that would roam the streets of Jerusalem. Now that's the same word used here. And when a person says no to the gospel of Jesus Christ, what he is saying is the blood of God's own son has no more value than the blood of a mangy, scavenger dog. It is unclean, it's unholy. It gets worse. A person who rejects and neglects the gospel, not only treats it as worthless, not only says it has no more value than the blood of a dog, notice what else happens. It says, and he has insulted the spirit of grace. That word insult means to treat with spite, to insult. Perhaps this illustration will help you understand what he's getting at here.
Imagine you're looking out your window one morning and you notice that your neighbor's yard is flooding with water. You realize there's a broken water pipe. And so you send your eight-year-old son over to tell your neighbor what's going on. So he walks across the street, your son knocks on the door. The neighbor opens the door. Your son begins to explain to him the problem. And the neighbor says, "You snotty nose, little kid, get out of here. I don't want to listen to you". And so your son comes back and tells you what the neighbor said. You're insulted, but nevertheless, you don't want your neighbor to have to suffer from a flooded yard and an inflated water bill. And so next, you send your mate, your husband or wife to go over and warn him. Your mate goes over there, knocks on the door. The neighbor opens the door, sees your mate standing there and this time calls your mate every filthy name in the book and says, "Get off my property or I'll have you arrested for trespassing".
Let me ask you, how are you going to respond to that? Your son has been insulted, your mate has been insulted. Do you feel any compelling need to say anything else to your neighbor? He has insulted you. Now, ladies and gentlemen, when a person not just outrightly rejects the gospel and says, "I don't believe it". The person who says, "You know, I just really don't have time for that," or, "That may be good enough for some people, but I don't need the blood of Christ to save me". That person has treated the blood of Christ as worthless, has said, it's like a scavenger dog's blood, and not only that, he is continually insulting the Holy Spirit of God who is moving in his heart to cause him to repent and accept the gospel. No, the fact is every person who will occupy hell deserves to be in hell. They have rejected. They have neglected the death of Christ.
Argument number three people make against hell. It's the idea that it's unfair to condemn those who have never heard the name of Jesus. It's just unfair for God to condemn those who have never heard the gospel. Haven't you heard that before? I bet people have asked you before. "Well, what about the heathen in Africa"? Have you ever heard about that before? "What about those who have never heard the gospel? It's unfair that God would send them to hell". So let's put that argument in sharp focus. Let's imagine there is a 10-year-old girl living in Africa who has never heard the gospel. Are we willing to say that she is going to be confined to an eternity of suffering and torment because she's never believed in a Christ in whom she has never heard?
Now some people would answer, "Well, just look at Romans 9:14, there is no injustice in God. God's free to do whatever he wants to do". And leave it at that. But I want us to probe this argument just a little bit and what's wrong with this argument. What's wrong with this argument that it's unfair for God to send people to hell who've never heard the gospel is first of all, that argument assumes the innocence of the heathen. It assumes the innocence of the heathen. That is, it assumes that that little 10-year-old girl is innocent and it would just be blatantly unfair for God to ever send her to hell. But is that what the Bible teaches? Does the Bible teach a 10-year-old girl is innocent before God?
Now I want you to fasten your seat belts for just a moment, 'cause I'm going to shake some of you up, okay? You know, we Baptist have concocted this term we call the age of accountability. The age of accountability. How many of you have heard of the age of accountability before? And we have twisted that idea to say, "Now people, before they reach a certain age, they're innocent. They're not accountable before their sins before God". Is that true? Does the Bible teach that there's anybody born into this world who is innocent? No, the Bible says we are born into this world guilty. Every person born into this world is born not innocent. We are born guilty. Romans 5:12 clearly says, "For through one man, Adam, sin entered the world and death spread to all men," why, "Because all men sinned," past tense.
We're guilty, not because we sin, but because we all sinned in some inexplicable way when Adam sinned, the whole race fell and that means every one of us has inherited a sin virus. You say, "Oh, Robert, you can't tell me that little precious baby who's born into the world. You're saying that baby is sinful"? Listen to what the Word of God says. The evidence that every one of us has been born with that sin virus is the fact that we die, for through one man, Adam, sin entered the world and death spread to all men because all sinned. The fact that people die is evidence that they have received the virus of sin. Let me ask you, do babies die? Yes. Do children die? Yes. Do mentally handicapped people die? Yes. Everyone has inherited the sin virus. Everybody is guilty.
Now let me be quick to say, I do believe babies do go to heaven. I believe children who cannot grasp the gospel or adults, mentally handicapped people who can't grasp the gospel, I believe they go to heaven, but it's not because they're not guilty. The mercy of Jesus Christ somehow saves those people. But the fact is we are all born into this world guilty. Romans 3 says, "There is not one righteous among us, no, not even one for all of us have sinned and all of us have fallen short of the glory of God".
And ladies and gentlemen, when you understand that truth that we're all guilty before God, the question is no longer, why doesn't God save everybody? The real question is, why does God save anybody? If we're all born into this world pronounced guilty, read Romans 1-3, if you don't believe we're all pronounced guilty. If we're all pronounced guilty and we're all on death row awaiting our final execution, why does God save anybody? It is only because of his mercy. It's only because of his mercy that anyone is saved. Let me illustrate it this way. Let's say it's thanksgiving. And let's say that president bush decides to give a pardon to a convicted killer on death row in Huntsville, because of some strange circumstances around the case or perhaps just because the president's feeling especially nice around thanksgiving, he pardons a prisoner.
Now what are people going to say about the president's action? Are they going to say he's unfair, he's unmerciful, because he didn't pardon everybody on death row? Not at all. They're going to celebrate his kindness, because you see, nobody has been treated unjustly. The man who was pardoned receives the president's mercy, the remaining prisoners receive justice but nobody acted unjustly. And it's the same way when people are saved. Those of us who have been saved, we have been the recipients of God's mercy. Those who are not saved are the recipients of God's justice, but God has not acted unjustly in either case. There's none righteous among us, no, not even one.
The second false assumption about it's unfair for the heathen to be judged is, it assumes that the heathen don't have an opportunity to be saved. It assumes that the heathen don't have a chance to be saved. And we saw last week that everyone who is ever born has a revelation of God they can see from nature. They can know there is a God. They can know they didn't create this world. And while that acceptance of that knowledge is not enough to save us, it is enough if rejected to condemn us. As we saw in the Bible last week, whenever God sees a person who responds to that truth, that general revelation of God, God will send them the truth of the gospel just as he did with the Roman centurion, Cornelius, or with the Ethiopian official, or with the 12 disciples of John.
Listen to me, God is not trying to save as few people as possible. That is where I differ from my hyper-Calvinist brethren and brother. God is not trying to save as few people as possible. He wants to save as many people as possible. And I believe where God sees a heart that is open toward him, God will send that person more revelation. So this idea that somehow God is acting unfairly, it does not take into account that the heathen do have a chance to be saved. And thirdly, this argument assumes that hell will be the same for everyone. This argument that it's unfair for God to send this 10-year-old girl to hell because she's never embraced the gospel. That assumes that there's going to be the same hell for everyone. That's not what the Bible teaches
I mean, are we to really suppose that God is going to treat that 10-year-old girl who's never heard the gospel the same way that he judges someone like Bill Maher from HBO, that commentator/comedian who has just released this blasphemous film that ridicules God and Jesus Christ. Did you see the interview in which Bill Maher said... Compared Christianity to some myth in which a space alien God sent his space alien son to earth on a suicide mission. It's amazing God hasn't struck him dead already, but his time is coming as is anybody who has received the knowledge of the truth rejected it and ridiculed it. No, the Bible teaches that there is going to be a more severe hell that awaits those who have full revelation than those who have little or no revelation.
"Where do you get that pastor?" I'm so glad you asked. Turn over to Luke 12 for just a moment. And I want to show you one of the most misinterpreted verses in the Bible. It's a verse that talks about a greater judgment for those who have the greater revelation. Luke 12:47-48, Jesus is talking and he says, "And that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his master's will, shall receive many lashes". Here is a servant who knows exactly what his master wants him to do, he chooses not to do it, he will receive many lashes. But look at verse 48. "But the one who did not know his master's will, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, he will receive but a few". The person who did not know what his master wanted to do and acted in an unrighteous way, he'll be punished but with fewer lashes. And then Jesus makes this application in verse 48. "And from everyone who has been given much, much shall be required and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more".
Now we usually quote that verse in terms of stewardship, to whom much is given much is required. That's not what is being talked about here. The much is not money, it's a knowledge of God. And Jesus is saying those who receive a greater revelation of God, those who have the Bible who hear the gospel and reject it, they will suffer a worse fate than those who have never heard the gospel. Now we shouldn't allow anybody to take any comfort in the doctrine of the degrees of hell for two reasons. First of all, even the lesser hell will still be a place of horrible torment and suffering. There is no comfort in the lesser hell, but even more importantly, those of you here today who have just heard about the lesser hell are now disqualified from ever occupying it, okay? You see the fact that you have already heard the gospel. The fact that you've already know that there are degrees of hell means you have more revelation than most people and if you reject it, you'll be held to a higher standard. To whom much is given much will be required.
Argument number four people have against the doctrine of hell. And perhaps you thought about this one before, how can anyone enjoy heaven if people are burning in hell? Have you ever wondered about that for yourself? How will I ever enjoy heaven if that husband or wife, if that friend, if that child of mine is burning in hell forever and ever? How could I ever enjoy heaven? Last night, I'd been speaking at a men's conference, Saturday, and I got in last night and wanted to take Amy out to eat and so we went to our favorite restaurant. And we sat down and it was a great meal. And we split an eight ounce, filet mignon, medium-well, baked potato with sour cream and butter and cheese. Cruel to do right before lunch. Asparagus. Oh, it was a delicious meal we enjoyed every bite of it. But I've got to confess to you something. Not once during the meal did I ever think about all of the people starving in China. Not once.
Don't look at me that way. You never think about it either, ever when you're eating and enjoying a meal, it never crosses your mind. Other people's misery do not extinguish your joy. Just doesn't. And anytime I use that example, people just get up in arms and they say, "Oh, that is so flawed". That is so flawed because it's obvious here on earth, you are selfish, but... And that's why you don't ever think about people suffering, but when we get to heaven, we're going to be just like Jesus. And we're going to have the compassion of Jesus. And because we are so compassionate, we won't be able to enjoy heaven if people are suffering in hell. Well, it is true, the Lord Jesus Christ was compassionate toward the lost when he came to earth. He wept over the fate of the loss, the Bible says. He came to seek and to save those who were lost. All of that was during his first coming. But the Bible says when Christ comes back again as judge, in 2 Thessalonians 1:8, he will come, "Dealing retribution" to those who have not obeyed God and have not received the gospel. There will be no remorse when Christ comes again. He will deal out justice to those who deserve justice.
Is Christ going to spend eternity weeping or are the angels going to spend eternity weeping? No, there is going to be nothing but joy in heaven. And I don't understand this, but I believe when we see God in his perfection and see things as they really are, we are going to understand why it is God is just in his sentence of eternal condemnation for those who have rejected Christ. J.I. Packer says it this way, "In heaven, glorifying God and thanking him for everything will always absorb us. All of our love for and joy in others who are with us in heaven will spring from there doing the same and love and pity for hell's occupants will not enter our hearts. Their hell will not veto our heaven".
There are some people, some Christians today who are almost embarrassed to talk about hell. To talk about hell seems so uneducated and it certainly seems unloving. But ladies and gentlemen, when we fail to warn people about the reality of hell, we are perhaps unconsciously trying to elevate ourselves above Jesus Christ. We're trying to say we're more educated. We're more compassionate than he is. But Jesus talked often about hell, not because he hates people, but because he loves people. He warned about hell in order to motivate people to accept the lifeline he has provided for salvation.
See, the Bible says we're all like prisoners on death row. We have been sentenced. We are awaiting our final execution, but God has provided one way of escape. All of us know John 3:16 by heart. Few of us know John 3:17-18. Listen to what the Lord said, "For God did not send his son into the world to judge the world, but that the world through him might be saved. For he who believes in Jesus is not judged, but he who does not believe is judged already because he has not believed in the only begotten Son of God". Folks, when we fail to talk about hell, we remove perhaps the greatest incentive people have for accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ. John Gerstner, the theologian said it this way when he talked about using hell as a motivation with people, he said, "The fear of hell is the only thing most likely to get worldly people thinking about the Kingdom of God. No rational human being can be convinced that he is in imminent danger of everlasting torment and do nothing about it". No rational person can be convinced of the reality of hell and do nothing about it.