Robert Morris — A Tough Message
The first week, I talked about a tough question. The second week, some easy questions. If you haven't heard those, go back and listen or get the CD's. This week I'm calling it, "A Tough Message". Because I'm going to talk to you about Hell and it's a tough message for me to talk about. I believe it was also a tough message for Jesus. But Jesus did preach about Hell. Jesus actually preached about Hell 33 times. He talked more about Hell then He did about Heaven. That's pretty amazing. And I believe He did because He didn't want anyone to go.
So, think about this, He had a three-year ministry and He preached on Hell 33 times. So, almost once a month He would bring a message on Hell. You might not have wanted to attend His church because you have heard so much. But why he do that? He had to just been filled with compassion to keep people from going to this difficult place. The Bible talks about Hell 167 times, 167 times. Yet, many Theologians, many Pastors, many denominations are distancing themselves from Hell today and even denying the existence of it. And in a recent survey many people said they do not believe in a literal Hell. As a matter of fact, in a survey I read 35% of Baptist, 54% of Presbyterians, 58% of Methodist, and 60% of Episcopalians do not believe in a literal Hell. But the Bible talks about it 167 times and Jesus preached 33 messages on Hell that we know of. That we have recorded in scripture, maybe more.
In my opinion, to deny the existence of Hell is to deny Jesus Christ and to deny the Bible because Jesus told us about this. There are four groups — just to give you a little — before we go to Luke 16. Four groups of people if you deny the existence of Hell you fall into one of these four groups. The first group are Atheist. Atheist do not believe in Hell because they do not believe in God. They believe that we evolve from nothing and that once we die we cease to exist.
Now I want to make a statement here this might shock you. Atheist don't believe in God. I don't believe in Atheist. I actually believe that it's scientifically impossible to be an Atheist. Atheist make the statement, "There is no God". And the reason it's scientifically impossible to be an Atheist is because in order to make the statement, "There is no God," you would have to possess all knowledge. You have to know everything to be able to say emphatically, "There is no God". And scientist tell us the smartest human being probably possesses 2% of all knowledge. So, you really can't be an Atheist, but you can be an Agnostic. So that an Atheist and Agnostics don't believe in Hell.
Here's the second group, Annihilationist, don't believe in Hell. Now here's what they believe. They believe that believers go to Heaven, but unbelievers are annihilated. And some even believe that they are annihilated in Hell. They use Matthew 10:28 which says, "Fear him who can destroy both body and soul in Hell". Destroy they use the word, "Destroy," for their annihilationist theory. Now let me tell you why that's wrong. You can't take your interpretation of one verse and build a doctrine on it. You have to take the whole scripture and the whole scripture teaches us of Hell. So, annihilationist would not be a scriptural viewpoint either.
The third group are ultimate reconciliationist. Ultimate reconciliationist believe that ultimately everyone will be reconciled to God. That people do go to Hell, but they only go to Hell dependent upon how bad they were on Earth. In other words, if you were very bad you would spend more time. That Hell is a purifying place that purifies us in to be able to go to Heaven. They actually believe that Satan would ultimately be reconciled to God.
And then the fourth group are Universalists. They're actually many popular preachers today that are becoming Universalists because they are misunderstand, and they've taken that twisted question that I answered first, "How could a loving God send someone to Hell"? And I've already answered that question. But they take that and say, "Because of that when Jesus died on the cross He paid the price for everyone's sin," — which He did, "but you still have a choice". They take free will completely out of the equation and everyone is going to go to Heaven. Adolf Hitler will go to Heaven. The terrorists will go to Heaven. As a matter of fact, if you take Universalism to its 'nth degree here's an analogy about that. The terrorist of 9/11 when they hit those buildings the believers on the plane and terrorists were immediately in the presence of God. That's what Universalism say. And, you know, I think that's foolishness.
So, Luke 16 Jesus tells us about Hell. I need to tell you something about this passage before we read it. And that is many people don't understand this, this is a true story. This is true what Jesus tell us. Here are some reasons why. It doesn't say — and He spoke this parable to them. And Luke 16 talks about different parables and even has a parable at the beginning of the chapter. But by the time you get here it's not a parable 'cause it does not — that he spoke this parable. Also, it's not a simile that Jesus isn't saying, "It is like, it is like, it is like". He is telling us a true story and we know it's true because of a couple of things.
And first of all, he says, "There was a certain rich man". This word "Certain" means individual or specific. There was an individual, specific, rich man I'm telling you about right now. And then He says, "There was a certain beggar," — now listen to what He says, "Named Lazarus". Okay, Jesus wouldn't have made up a name. Now let me explain one other thing two because I got some questions last night afterwards. This is not the same Lazarus that he raised from the dead. Okay? It's a common name, like, John, but it's not the same person. Okay? So, this is another person.
All right let's read the story. Luke 16:19: "There was certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus full of sores who was laid at his gate. Desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores. And so, it was that the beggar died and was carried by the angels," now watch this carefully. This is Jesus talking, "to Abraham's bosom". Okay let's talk just for a moment. Was Abraham a real person? Okay, he's talking about real people. "The rich man also died and was buried and being in torment," I want you to remember the word, "Torment" because a variation of that word is in this passage four times. This is the first reference, okay.
"Being in torment in Hades," and Hades is the Greek word for Hell. Okay, so this is Hell. They just used the Greek word there. "He lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham," a real person, afar off, "and Lazarus," a real person, "in his bosom. Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham have mercy on me and send Lazarus that he may get the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue for I am tormented.'" There's the second time we see a variation of that word, "in this flame". remember the word "Flame" this is Jesus talking now. He describes Hell as a place of torment and flame. "But Abraham said, 'Son remember that in your lifetime you received good things and likewise Lazarus evil things, but now he is comforted, and you are tormented," third time we see the variation of that word. And besides all this between us and you there's a great gulf fixed so that those who would want to pass from here to you cannot. Nor, can those from there pass to us.
Then he said, "I beg you therefore father that you would send him to my father's house for I have five brothers that he may testify to them less they also come to this place of torment". Fourth time. "Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and Prophets let them hear them. And he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if one goes to them from the dead they will repent". But he said to him: "If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets neither will they be persuaded the one rise from the dead".
Yeah, a few things I want to tell you about this. Jesus is talking. And the first thing I want you to know is this ends all debate on the existence of Hell. Because Jesus is referring to a specific man and He says in Verse 23: "In Hell". He's referring to a person. And Jesus says, "He's in Hell". This also ends all debate on whether it's a place of fire. Because Jesus says, "In this flame". Now listen to me carefully. 32 times the New Testament refers to Hell as fire, a place of fire. Unquenchable, everlasting, eternal fire. Lake of, flame of, furnace of, okay. And 19 times Jesus himself refers to Hell as fire. And this also ends all debate on whether it's a place of torment or not because we have the word or variation of the word, "Torment" four times.
The Greek word here for torment has three meanings. It would be like when you look up a word in Webster's dictionary and it has two or three different meanings. That's what the Greek word here — it has three meanings. The first is acute pain from debilitating disease. Acute pain from debilitating disease. The second is actually the name of a rack of torture that they invented, and they gave it this name — the name that is translated torment here. That's what they called it. It was a rack that had sharp objects that they would stretch a body on and continue to stretch it around it. Until eventually the sharp objects would pierce the body and the person would die from the piercings. And the third, is describing fire that is hot enough to melt metals. So, I want you to understand these three definitions of this word torture are acute pain, a rack of torture, and intense fire. That's the word Jesus used.
So, according to this that Jesus tells us we can discern a few things about what happens to a person when he goes to Hell. So, I want to give you three things that happens to a person when he goes to Hell. Here's number one, he desires comfort. He desires comfort. Send Lazarus said, "He may dip the tip of his finger in water. That I may cool my tongue for I am tormented in this flame". I want you to notice that he didn't say, "Could I have a bucket of water? Or could I have a cup of water"? And he didn't even say that he might dip his finger. He said, "That he might dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue".
Remember I told you this a few weeks ago, but I'm going to actually show you the scripture, "Hell was not created for you". Why I showed you the scripture of Isaiah 5 that shows us that because man decided to follow Satan, Hell had to be enlarged. It was enlarged by necessity. Not by design. But notice, here's the scripture that shows you Hell was not prepared for you. Matthew 25:41: "Then you will also say to those on the left-hand depart from me you cursed into the everlasting," notice again it's not — this blows away Annihilationist theory that it's only a brief time, "fire" fire, it is fire, "Watched prepared for the Devil and his angels". And that's Jesus talking.
Okay, "Hell was not prepared for you". Now I want to make a statement. I want you to remember this. Jesus did not prepare Hell for you, but He did prepare Heaven for you. John 14, he said, "I'm going to prepare a place for you". Isn't that a great statement? He did not prepare Hell for you. He prepared Heaven for you.
So, number one a man desires comfort. Number two, he expresses concern. He immediately says, "Please send him to my brothers. My father's house. I have five brothers". Okay, every person will have this thought at some point. I hope my kids don't come here. I hope my spouse doesn't come here. And they might even have a thought like this. Maybe, maybe — and they might bring — they'll not remember that you go to church. Or that you're a believer. And so, they might think, "Well maybe at Christmas I know Bill is a believer. I know Mary is a believer. I know Sue is a believer. I know Jim is a believer. Maybe at Christmas Sue will tell my children about this place". And then I wonder, I wonder if he will have this thought, "She probably won't tell my children because she didn't tell me".
I remember arguments about who I voted for, but I don't remember her ever telling me that this was where I would go and that it was easy to avoid this place. That if I would simply give control of my life to Jesus Christ I could have avoided this place. So, every person desires comfort, expresses concern, and here's number three, he seeks consolation. Here's what he said — he tries to tell himself if someone would go from the dead. If someone would rise from the dead and tell them maybe they would believe. I'm sure they would believe. Abraham says this, "Listen they have Moses and the Prophets".
Now you need to understand what Moses and the Prophets means in the Bible. Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament. The Prophets wrote the other books. We call them the major and minor Prophets. It's the way we would divide the Old Testament theologically. And understand at this point there's no New Testament. So, when they say — when he says, "If they don't believe Moses on the Prophets," he's referring to the Bible. He's saying, "If they won't believe the Bible," and listen to what he says, "If they won't believe the Bible they won't believe even if one were to rise from the grave". Listen carefully, Jesus did rise from the grave. That's a direct reference. He did rise from the grave. So, if they don't believe the Bible they wouldn't believe even if one were to rise from the grave. And He did.
Now this story is describing Hell before the resurrection of Christ. You need to understand that every person that died before the resurrection of Christ went to a place of "Waiting". There were two compartments with a chasm between. One was Hell where people were tormented. The other though, was Abraham's bosom is what it was called. It was a place of waiting for Old Testament Saints. And the Bible says that before Jesus ascended into Heaven, he descended into the lower parts and led all of those Old Testament Saints to Paradise. Remember He said, "Even to the thief today you will be with me in Paradise". Okay, so He leads them out of there. So, this is talking about it before the resurrection of Christ. There is also a future Hell after the second coming. And the Bible tell us some things about future Hell that you need to understand.
I'm going to tell you some things that will help you to understand what eternal Hell will be like. And I'll give you the scripture to prove it to you, okay. First of all, there are two physical properties on Earth that keep us mentally stable. All right. Two physical properties that keep us mentally stable. This a scientific fact. Light and solid. Light and solid. Light helps us to gain our bearings. If we can just see where we're going, what we're doing. Even blind people many times can see light and dark because when the light turns on in the room many times and keeps them stable. Please understand that light is not in Hell. The Bible describes Hell as a place of utter darkness or outer darkness. Matthew 8 describes Hell: "Complete total darkness". As a matter of fact, the Greek word means blackness. Total darkness.
Please understand you will never... listen Satan has so lied that Hell is going to be some big party. You'll never see anyone. You will never see another person. And you'll never talk to them. The reason he did in this story — remember this is before the resurrection. This is not eternal Hell. You will never see or talk to any other person. So, there's no light in Hell. The reason there's light in Heaven — Revelation 21 tell us: "That there's no sun in Heaven", Did you know? There's no sun because the lamb is the light. The reason there's no light in Hell is because God takes His presence from Hell. So, there's no light.
Here's the second thing, solid, in other words being able to hold something. Grab something. Keeps us mentally stable on this Earth. Being able to sit down, or walk, or touch something. Hell is described Revelation 9,11,17 and 20. Okay, Revelation 9,11,17 and 20 tell us that: "Hell is a bottomless pit. You will never touch anything. You will never sit down. You will never stand. No matter how hard you lunge, you will never be able to touch anything else". Those two physical properties are not in Hell. They keep us mentally stable.
There are two emotional properties that keep us emotionally stable on this Earth. Rest and hope. And I know many of you think rest is a physical property, which it is, but it's also an emotional property because rest keeps us emotionally stable. Think about how grumpy you get when you get tired. We have a little saying in my house. My wife will say to me, "You need a nap". And she says that to her grandkids as well. And the grandkids and I have to go take a nap. So, when we get tired we begin to lose it emotionally. And think about if you've lost a person close to you. How tired you are and people around you will say to you, "You need to get some rest". And we know on this Earth if we can just rest for sometimes just a few moments, then we can handle what we're going through emotionally. Revelations 14:11 says, "On the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever and they have no rest. Day or night". No rest.
So, there's no rest. And the second emotionally property that is not in Hell is hope. There's no hope. On this Earth we always have hope that it can get better. Do you realize that a person who commits suicide is a person whom Satan has convinced that something is true on Earth that is actually true in Hell? He's convinced that person that you have no hope. And on Earth you always have hope because you're alive and you can turn to God. But in Hell there's no hope. Every person who goes to Hell will at some point have a thought something like this: "When I have been here 10.000 centuries I will not have one less second to be in this place because Hell is forever".
And there's one thing I want to tell you about Hell that comes directly from Jesus the way He described it. Jesus used a word to describe Hell that no person had ever used. And the Jewish people understood what he was talking about. He used the "Gehenna". Gehenna means the valley of Henna. It is a valley that is south of the old city Jerusalem. If you are in the King David citadel you can see the old city and the North, you see two valleys. The North valley and the South that actually come together, up at Western side of the city right in front of the Western wall. That valley on the Southside of Jerusalem is called Gehenna. That valley there was always a continual fire in that valley. They would burn the refuse from the city. But when they went a drought season when poor people would die and did not have enough money to be buried they began burning the bodies of poor people in that valley. So, you could smell flesh burning.
But there's something else that happened. When they were taken out of the land — the captivity they learned of Babylonian and Chaldean practice and that was offering their children to the god of Molech. And we know, the Bible tells us specifically two kings did this. Manasseh and Ahab offered their children, burned their children in the valley of Henna. And I told you it's a tough message. What I'm about to tell you is very difficult. They made their children walk into the fire alive. And they burned them alive. Sometimes they even used whips to drive them into the fire. And Jesus used a phrase that every Jewish person understood describing Hell. He said, "It is like Gahenna. Where there is," — and you've heard this phrase, which you might not know where it came from, "Where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth". These young boys and girls would be so afraid and in so much pain they would weep and wail and gnash their teeth together while they were burned alive. And Jesus said, "I'm trying to tell you the best I can about this place, so you don't go there.
Now I want to give you a ludicrous illustration. It's ludicrous. If you were to drive home today and your neighbors house was on fire, what would you do? We'd all do the same thing. We would immediately call 911. And if it were safe to do so we would enter the house to try to see if anyone was still in the house. The reason I said this is ludicrous is none of you would see your neighbors house on fire and pull into your garage and have the thought, "Someone else will tell them". Someone will tell them". And even this thought maybe. And I don't mean this in a joking way, but listen we wouldn't have the thought, "Oh, I'll just pray for them". And I believe in prayer. I believe in prayer. That's the first step when it comes to witnessing is praying. But the second step is that you got to tell them. You know, Romans 10 says, "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved". But how can they call on Him whom they've not heard? And how can they hear unless someone tells them? We have to tell them. So, hear me. Your neighbors house is not on fire, but your neighbor is. If he doesn't know the Lord according to the Bible, he will go to a place of fire and a place of torment for all eternity.
I know that this is a very difficult subject to talk about, but I want to remind you that God did not create Hell for human beings. He created Hell for angels that rebelled against Him. And yet because of the choices that we've made we could be on our way to Hell. But here's the good news because of a choice that we can make we can be on our way to Heaven. You do not have to go to Hell. You can go to Heaven by simply accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins. We could never pay for our own sins and yet he did that. And it is a free gift. Salvation is a free gift from God. And you could receive Jesus Christ right now. Just tell him right now while I'm talking. Tell him, "Jesus I receive you as my Lord and my Savior". And if you did that we would love to hear from you. And we would love to send you some material that will help you in your new life with Jesus Christ as your Lord and your Savior.