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A Hell of a Message | A Chosen Path

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
October 12, 2022 3:00 am

A Hell of a Message | A Chosen Path

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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October 12, 2022 3:00 am

We can have a steady diet of donuts and burgers and then blame the giant carbohydrate conglomerates for our weight gain. We can speed and blame the cop for our traffic ticket. But at some point, we all need to take personal responsibility for our choices. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out no one goes to Hell by accident. God gives opportunity after opportunity to choose the path that leads to Heaven. Today, we’ll examine the clear choice where we spend eternity.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at To hell is paved with excuses. Hell is therefore a prison in which the doors are first locked from the inside by us, and therefore are locked from the outside by God.

So who sent who where? It's really up to us. We can have a steady diet of donuts and burgers, then blame the giant carbohydrate conglomerates for our weight gain.

We can speed and blame the cop for our traffic ticket. But at some point, we all need to take personal responsibility for our choices. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out no one goes to hell by accident. God gives opportunity after opportunity to choose the path that leads to heaven.

Today we'll examine the clear choice where we spend eternity. You know, one of the criticisms of the church for many years was, you know, I don't like all these hellfire and brimstone preachers. I don't like to hear that sort of thing. And you know, in a way, I see that point.

But here's my question. When's the last time you saw a hellfire and brimstone preacher? This is a subject that many pastors avoid. Now understand, I'm not advocating hellfire and brimstone preachers if by that we mean, you know, condescending, self-righteous, sweaty, weird people yelling at people, okay? But if by that we mean someone that tells the truth about both heaven and hell, well maybe we could use a few more of them. Now I'm not saying that we're going to be talking about hell now every week. It's not like, come to harvest all hell all the time.

No, we're not going to do that. But we're not going to avoid the topic. Because I think we make a huge mistake when we say I don't want to discuss this subject. Because as I pointed out before, Jesus spoke more about hell than all the other preachers of the Bible put together. So Jesus, the very author of grace, spoke about hell more often in a vivid, blood-curdling manner than anyone else. It must be a crucial truth. If Jesus took the time to address it over and over again, then clearly it matters.

So we need to know more about it. Now we're going to look at Luke chapter 16. This is a behind-the-scenes look at the afterlife.

A look at what really happens when a person leaves this life. This story that Jesus told, this true story I might add, tells us what happened to a believer and a non-believer. So Luke 16, let's read together, starting in verse 19. I'm reading from the New Living Translation. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores.

As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man's table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores. Finally the poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the heavenly banquet. Dropped onto verse 22. Now I'm reading from the New King James Version. Abraham said, son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things and likewise, Lazarus, evil things.

Now he is comforted and you are tormented. And beside all this, beside, between us, there's a great gulf fixed so that those who 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 and he may testify to them lest they come to this place of torment. Abraham said, they have Moses and the prophets.

Let them hear them. And he said, no, father Abraham. But if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent. And he said to him, if they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded that one rise from the dead.

So we'll stop there. We learned a few important things about hell and if you're taking notes, you might want to write these down. Number one, in hell people suffer. I know that's a hard thing to wrap your mind around, but it's taught in scripture. The rich man spoke of torment, indicating suffering is a real thing in the hereafter.

The word torment is used four times in the text of the story. When non-believers die, they don't go to purgatory. There's no such place as purgatory. Nor do they go into a state of soul sleep.

That doesn't exist either. Nor are they reincarnated as a higher or lower life form depending on what kind of life they've lived. The Bible says it's appointed unto a man to die and then comes the judgment. Now ultimately, first of all they go to Hades, but ultimately they go to a place called the lake of fire. Spoken of later in the book of Revelation and that is after the great white throne judgment.

Now of course, the first question that jumps into our mind is the obvious one. How could a God of love send someone to hell, right? I mean, I thought God was loving.

Why would he allow something like this? Okay, let me respond with this statement. Is not God giving people what they really wanted?

C.S. Lewis put it this way, quote, there are only two kinds of people in the end. Those who say to God, thy will be done and those to whom God says in the end, thy will be done. All who are in hell choose it without self choice. There would be no hell, end quote.

So you're really choosing this. Timothy Keller put it this way, quote, people only get in the afterlife what they have most wanted. Either to have God as savior and master or to be their own saviors and masters. Hell is simply one's freely chosen path going on forever, end quote. You know, we wanted to get away from God and God in his infinite justice sends us where we want to go. So we say, I don't want God. I don't want Jesus. I don't want heaven. I don't want forgiveness. Okay, you're just basically charting your own course toward a final judgment. Number two, once you are in hell, you cannot cross over to heaven. So you can't pray for a person or do anything to get a person out of this place.

It's done. Physical death is a separation of the soul from the body. When we pass from the visible world into the invisible world, it's a one way trip. Now for the believer, it marks our entrance into paradise and the presence of Christ. For the non-believer, it marks their entrance into Hades or hell. Number three, you're conscious there and fully aware of where you are.

You're conscious there and fully aware of where you are. Notice this guy mentions his brothers. Verse 28, I have five brothers and I want to testify to them so they don't come to this place of torment. So he's kind of angry. He even seems angry at God. Hey, I didn't know about this place and this isn't fair and I want to go warn my brothers. And Abraham effectively puts them in this place.

Verse 29, Abraham said, they of Moses and the prophets, let them hear them. Notice the rich man did not say, we're having a great time and I'm glad my brothers are coming because we're going to party. Because you've got to fight for your right to party.

The Beastie Boys told me that. You're not going to party in hell. There's going to be torture and eternal separation from God. Yes, he says, but what if one goes to them from the dead? Then they will repent. Would they? Let's say someone died and we could do a legitimate resurrection where God brought them back from the grave.

Would people believe as a result of that? Well, it happened to a guy named Lazarus. Not this Lazarus, another Lazarus.

Remember? Lazarus died. He had been in the tomb for multiple days. In the immortal words of Martha, King James, he said, Lord, by now he stinketh.

That's King James 4. He was decomposing. He was long gone. And what did Jesus do? He went to the tomb of Lazarus and he said, Lazarus, come forth. And Lazarus was restored to life. Man, what a drag to be Lazarus. You've been in heaven like three days now.

It's awesome. And the Lord says, I have some bad news. I'm going to have to send you back and you have to go back now.

Why? Because Jesus is calling. You better get back there. It's a good thing Jesus didn't just say, come forth, because if he had just said, come forth, everybody in every grave all around the planet would have burst out simultaneously.

He had to be specific. Lazarus, come forth. He's all wrapped in bandages.

It's kind of awkward. Help. And they unbound him. And he was alive. So then we come to the scene in the Bible where Jesus is with his disciples.

Martha is serving. Mary's made the food. And Lazarus is there.

I mean, can you imagine how amazing that conversation would have been? So, Lazarus, tell me a little bit about the afterlife. He was alive. He was a man brought back from the dead. So everybody believed, right?

No. The Pharisees started plotting about how to kill Lazarus. Oh, great. He gets to die twice now.

But my point is simply this. Here was a man brought back from the grave who was alive in front of them and they wanted to kill him. Why? Because the world doesn't like to see resurrected people. The world doesn't like to see people transformed by the power of God. The world doesn't like it when somebody who's been a heroin addict or an alcoholic say, I've been set free by Christ. The world doesn't like it when someone who's been in a gay lifestyle says, God is transforming and I've left that lifestyle and I'm following Jesus. Oh, they don't like to hear that story.

They want to silence people who tell that story. And that's why we must tell this story to as many people as we can because Christ can bring people back to life again. Yes, physically, but without question spiritually. And really the spiritual resurrection is even more significant than the physical. Because even if you were brought back from the grave, you're going to die anyway. So now you have to die twice, okay? And as I said last time, no one in heaven, if given a choice, would choose to come back to earth again.

We can be sure of that. But now, of course, the most obvious example. Who else do we know that rose from the dead? Jesus. Jesus rose from the dead and he was crucified. He was beaten beyond human recognition.

His body was so traumatized, Isaiah said, you couldn't even tell he was a man. But yet here was Jesus walking among his disciples, preparing a meal for his disciples. And then, of course, he ascends to heaven. But the point is, did everyone believe after Christ rose from the dead? Some did, but many did not.

So even if someone came back from the grave, a person would not necessarily believe. Yeah. So this is what the Bible teaches. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. I don't know if you know about this, but we have a weekend service called Harvest at Home, exclusively for people that are tuning in literally from around the world.

Listen to this. We even have Harvest groups where you can get into a small group with folks from all around this planet of ours and study the Word of God. So join us this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, for Harvest at Home at Well, today Pastor Greg is presenting an important message about the judgment people choose when they don't choose to come to God through Jesus Christ. Let's continue.

Now let's make this personal. Who's going to go to heaven and who's going to go to hell? It's really up to us. But if we believe biblical teaching, here's the reality. Jesus said, brought us a way that leads to destruction, and many there are that go that way, but narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there are that find it. You decide what road you're going to get on.

You decide if you're going to be on the broad way, the easy way, the popular way, or you decide if you're going to be on the narrow way of following Christ. And God wants everybody in heaven, but He's not going to force anyone to go there. The road to hell is paved with excuses. Hell is therefore a prison in which the doors are first locked from the inside by us, and therefore are locked from the outside by God.

Let me repeat that. Hell is a prison in which the doors are first locked from the inside by us, and therefore are locked from the outside by God. So who sent who where? Did God send you to hell or the person that ends there?

No, they went there of their own volition. And not only did they go there of their own volition, they practically had to climb over Jesus to get there. Because here's Jesus who says, I don't want you to go to hell, and I'm going to pay the price on the cross so you don't have to, and I will forgive you of all of your sin, and all you have to do is believe in Me and turn from your sin. Well, I don't want that.

Well, please. And He pleads with us, and throughout our lives the Holy Spirit calls us and reaches out to us, and we say no, no, no, no, no, no, no. And then our hearts get hard and harder and harder. So if we end up in this place, really, who sent us there? We sent ourselves there. God tried to keep us from going there, but God has a much better plan for us, and that, of course, is heaven. Jesus effectively faced hell for you on the cross 2,000 years ago. Jesus entered the darkness that you might walk in the light. Jesus was forsaken that you might be forgiven. Because what did He say on the cross? My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?

What was that all about? That was the moment, many believe, when all the sin of the world, all of your sin, all of my sin, all of our sin, of all humanity, past, present, and those to come, was placed on Christ, and He was temporarily separated from the Father as He bore our sin. He did all of that for us, so we don't have to go to hell. The gospel is a universal declaration that hell is not God's desire for anyone. For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, and whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Look, God loves you, and He invites you, but if you don't want to go to your Father's house, you don't have to, and He won't make you. Sometimes I think we wish He would, but He won't. He gives us a choice in the matter. He says, I set before you life and death, blessings and curses, choose life that you may live. Here it is, your choice. Narrow road, Broadway, life and death, heaven or hell, it's up to you. I'm asking you to choose heaven. I want you to choose heaven. I want to welcome you in heaven, but if you don't want to join me in heaven, then you chart your own course. And that final day is going to come, and it's going to be, well, a very final day. And so the first thing that comes to my mind is, I want to make sure that if there's anyone I know that is not a believer, that I go and give them the gospel.

And, you know, I think we're reluctant to bring hell up because, ah, it really might offend them. You've got to tell them the truth, right? It'd be like going to the doctor, and you're very sick, and you're getting ready to go on a vacation, and you want the doctor to give you, you know, a clean bill of health. You want him to say you're good to go. And the doctor runs tests, and he knows you're really, you're in trouble. You need to be going for surgery tomorrow. And he goes, ah, go on your vacation. Take a month off.

It's all good. What kind of a doctor is that? He shouldn't be a doctor.

He needs to tell you the truth. So I think we're the same way sometimes. Oh, yes, believe in Jesus. It's so wonderful to forgive you of all of your sinning. You'll go to heaven.

It's awesome. Well, what if I don't believe in Jesus? Oh, no big deal.

It's a big deal. Well, I'm not going to say hell. Why not? Jesus said hell. The Bible says hell.

Explain it. Explain that God doesn't want people to go there. But I think there's a point where we should warn people about judgment.

Otherwise, we've not declared the whole counsel of God. I'm so glad I'm not going to hell. And I'm so glad you're not going to hell. Because I know that probably everyone here believes in Jesus. But there might be a few of you that don't.

And here's what needs to happen now. You decide where you'll spend eternity by what you do with Jesus Christ. He died on that cross for you. He paid the price for your sin. And he rose again from the dead. And now he stands at the door of your life and he knocks.

And he says if you'll hear his voice and open the door, he will come in. So here's my question to you in closing. If you died tonight, where would you go? Well, I'll go to heaven. And why do you say that? Because I'm a good person.

No, you're not. What else you got? Uh, I bought Girl Scout cookies the other day. That's nice. What else you got?

I'm very careful when I take my trash out to recycle and I keep the garbage separate. Okay, what else you got? Well, I was baptized. That's nice. What else? Uh, there's only one correct answer.

I turned from my sin and put my faith in Jesus. You're good to go. You're good to go. That's the right answer. Jesus. None of that other stuff. None of it. Not all that religious stuff.

Doesn't matter. Do you have that hope? And if you don't, do you want it? You can believe in him right now. You're saying, are you telling me that despite the life I've lived and the bad things I've done, that if I were to say to God right now, I'm sorry for my sin, are you actually telling me, bald preacher? Are you saying to me that God would forgive me of every wrong I've ever done and I can now go to heaven?

Yes, I'm saying that because God says it and it can happen for you, but you must come to him now. We're going to pray and I'm going to give you an opportunity to ask Christ to come into your life and know that you'll go to heaven when you die. If you don't know this, this is your moment to get right with God. Let's pray. Father, we pray now for everybody here and everybody watching and listening wherever they may be. And I pray, Lord, that as we've talked about a difficult subject but a true one, that you will help people to see this is no game, this is no joke, this is the most important thing of all, where we'll spend eternity. And I pray for every person who does not know you that you will help them to come to you and believe in you. In Jesus' name I pray, amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important word of prayer. And if you know you need to make a change today in your relationship with the Lord, Pastor Greg will come back to help you do that in just a moment before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes. You know, Pastor Greg, you've spoken a lot about getting the basics right in our Christian faith. We've got to have a strong foundation to build on.

Yes. And you have a helpful resource we're making available that addresses the fundamentals of Christian living, don't you? That's right, Dave, and you could read this in one sitting. It's called The New Believer's Guide to Effective Christian Living. Now, I know that I'm speaking to people that have known the Lord for many years, but if they're honest, they might say, well, they're sort of stuck. They don't know what's going on.

They don't know how to get back into gear again. This is a book that's going to take you back to the basics, basics you never outgrow, things you need to remind yourself of over and over again. As an example, in this little book, we talk about how to know God through Bible study. What is prayer?

How can I pray effectively? Why fellowship with other believers matters? And we also talk about overcoming temptation, dealing with problems, discovering the will of God, keys to sharing your faith effectively, and much, much more. So get your own copy of The New Believer's Guide to Effective Christian Living. This has been one of our best-received resources we've ever offered. I know it's going to be helpful to you.

Yeah, that's right, and we're eager to get a copy of this in your hands. Let it bolster your own faith, or keep copies on hand to give to others who need a hand in growing in the Lord. Use it as a follow-up resource as you share your faith. Again, it's called The New Believer's Guide to Effective Christian Living, and we'll send it your way to say thank you for partnering with us so we can continue to teach believers and reach unbelievers through a new beginning. Contact us today.

You can call 1-800-821-3300, call any time 1-800-821-3300, or go online to Well, Pastor Greg, a couple of moments ago you talked of the importance of coming to the Lord to have our sins forgiven. Yeah. If somebody listening right now wants to do that, could you help them? Yeah, I can do that, Dave.

I'd be happy to. In the book of Isaiah, we read these words. Seek the Lord while He may be found.

Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous man their thoughts. Let them return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them and to our God, for He will freely pardon. Listen, that's God's word to you. And let me address this to the person who has never asked Jesus Christ to come into their life.

Why don't you do it now? That verse says, seek the Lord while He may be found. God has touched your heart today, perhaps, and you've thought, I need this relationship with the Lord. One of these days, I'm going to make that commitment to Christ. No, don't wait for one of these days. This is the day.

This is your moment. Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He's near. Listen, God is near to you, and He is ready to come into your life. And there's another part of this verse when it says, let us return to the Lord. I want to also extend an invitation to you that have fallen away from your faith. You've fallen away from the Lord, and you need to make a recommitment. So, if you want Jesus Christ to come into your life, if you want your sin forgiven, if you want to go to heaven when you die, or if you've fallen away from the Lord and you want to return to Him, pray this prayer with me. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I also know that you are a Savior, and I need your help. I need your forgiveness. Come into my life and forgive me of all of my sins.

I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Be my Savior, be my Lord, be my God, and be my friend. Thank you for hearing this prayer. Thank you for answering this prayer. In Jesus' name, I pray.

Amen. Hey, I want you to know, on the authority of Scripture, if you just prayed that prayer and meant it, Christ has heard you, and He has forgiven you. So, God bless you. Yeah, and we want to help you begin to grow in your new faith. We want to send you some resource materials we call our New Believers' Growth Packet.

It'll answer some of the questions you might have and get you started off right. So get in touch for your New Believers' Growth Packet. We'll send it free of charge if you prayed with Pastor Greg for the first time today. Just call us at 1-800-821-3300.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Or go to and click the words, Know God. Well, next time, we'll take a revealing look at angels and demons as we present more from the series, The Afterlife and the Eternal. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Craig Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins The preceding podcast was made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn how to become a Harvest Partner, sign up for daily devotions, and find resources to help you grow in your faith at
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-11 23:03:26 / 2022-12-11 23:14:00 / 11

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