What you need to know is the Bible does not describe hell that way, but of something far worse than hell on earth. You also need to know that your Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, absolutely believed in hell, and he spoke on it a lot.
Many people don't want to believe that hell exists, and they think everyone will end up in a good place one day. But today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip reveals to you what the Bible has to say about hell. Now we want to tell you about a resource that will help you walk in the Holy Spirit, especially in the difficult moments in life.
What stands between you and a more fruitful walk with Jesus? Find out how four prominent women in the Bible faced their struggles in a new teaching series from Lenya Heitzig called Queens of the Bible. Here's Lenya on the Queen of Sheba. Hearing is the first step towards spiritual blessing.
Right now, hearing is a step toward blessing, because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Hear more from Lenya as she explores the faith and the failings of four different queens in scripture. The Queens of the Bible collection of teachings is our way of saying thank you when you give $35 or more today to support this Bible teaching ministry. Look, the cost of following Christ is to go wherever He leads.
Get your copy of these unique teachings when you call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer connectwithskip.com slash offer. Okay, we're in Matthew chapter 25. As we join Skip Heitzig for today's study, I'm going to venture a guess that most of you don't know the name Joe McCarthy unless you are like avid baseball fans. Joe McCarthy was manager for the New York Yankees in the 1930s and 1940s. That's why most people wouldn't really understand who he was unless you were an avid baseball fan because he is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. But Joe McCarthy on one occasion said that he had a dream that he went to heaven. And in heaven standing before him were all the players, the baseball players, the greats of the past that he would have known. People like Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, all standing before him on a baseball team.
He was so ecstatic. It's like the dream team, right? So here he is in his dream in heaven seeing this class of greats on a team. And he gets a phone call from hell from the devil. And it's the devil challenging that team in heaven to a baseball game. And coach Joe said, coach Joe said, you haven't got a chance. I've got all the great players. And the devil said, yes, but I have all the empires.
Let me be honest with you. I have not looked forward to preaching this message. It's not a message I enjoy preaching. It is a message that most people don't like to hear. In fact, of all the sermons we've done in this series and the 2020 series, this is going to be the hardest.
It should be the hardest. It should make everyone feel uncomfortable because no one likes to even think of hell. It is considered an offensive topic.
I don't want you to be offended, but you do need to hear the truth. And some of you do need to be warned very, very stringently about it. You know, I've noticed that most people in general don't want to talk about eternal things. I mean, you can talk about anything, but if you get to the deep stuff, especially where are you going to spend forever, most people don't want to have that conversation. And if they really do want to have a conversation, it's an indication they're about to be saved.
There's a reason they want to go there. But most people want to avoid, especially the idea of hell. And I've noticed a lot of preachers don't like to talk about hell. Now I say that, but at the same time, I've noticed that a lot of people will use the term hell a lot in their daily conversation. They use it sort of as a fill word, right, or an expletive. They'll say things like, what in the hell are you doing? And there's no need to put that word in there.
You could just say, what are you doing? But it's like a fill word. I'm madder than hell.
Or I've heard people say, my feet hurt like hell. I seriously doubt that. I seriously doubt that. Or that scared the hell out of me. Now that's a good thing.
If that happens, I'm glad that happens. I even had a man walk up to me on a Sunday after a sermon, no joke, put his arm on my shoulder. He was so excited about the message. He goes, that was a hell of a sermon, pastor. I did not know how to respond to him.
Didn't know if I should say thank you or just let it go. Also, one time I think it was the first time I was in Israel when I first went there to live. It was the first time I had Turkish coffee. So Turkish coffee is a coffee they have in Israel. They call it kafebots, which means mud.
That gives you an indication of strength. So it's Turkish coffee, very strong. And the guy serving me the coffee said, would you like hell?
I said, no, I don't want hell. What he was talking about is there is a spice that in Hebrew is hell. And hell is cardamom. And it's really good in Turkish coffee. So coffee with hell is really good in that circumstance.
It's probably the only circumstance. I was thinking of all sorts of titles to call this message, clever titles. I thought I'd call it what's down with hell. Or I thought maybe I'll call it highway to hell, like the ACDC song. Or I even thought I'd call it smoking or non-smoking.
But the more I thought about the title, I thought this subject is way too serious to just give it a tacky or kitschy or cute little clever title. So I'm just calling this message the truth about hell. Because if there's one thing you don't want to get wrong, it's this. A survey that I came across, a Pew forum survey indicates 87% of Americans believe in God. It's pretty high.
It goes down a little bit after that. Those 74% of Americans say they believe in heaven, and only 59% say they believe in hell. Now, why that really interests me is because all of those topics have the same source material. When it comes to God or heaven or hell, it's all come from this book. So you've got a lot of people believing in God, few less believing in heaven, but a whole lot less believing in hell. Rob Bell, who is a name some of you may be familiar with, he was sort of a rock star in evangelical circles years ago, a young upstart pastor in Michigan, wrote books that got a lot of airplay. Velvet Elvis is one of them, I think his first book.
Another book, Love Wins. He has, since his start, taken a very liberal view of hell, a very liberal approach to truth, so as to deny even biblical truth. But he was asked in an interview a very simple and forthright question. Is there a hell?
Here's his answer. I actually think there is a hell because we see hell every day. He described hell as greed, injustice, rape, abuse. We see hell on earth all around us all the time. We actually see lots of people choosing hell.
We see oppression, we see tyranny, we see dictators using their power to eliminate opposition, literally. In other words, Rob Bell is saying, yeah, there's a hell, but not an eternal hell. There's just hell on earth. It's when bad people do bad things to hurt a whole lot of people, that's hell. What you need to know is the Bible does not describe hell that way, but it's something far worse than hell on earth.
You also need to know that your savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, absolutely believed in hell, and he spoke on it a lot. And one of the places that he spoke on it is Matthew 25. I'm going to begin reading in verse 31. When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all his holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats, and he will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right hand, come, you blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
If you would go down to verse 41, then he will also say to those on the left hand, depart from me, you cursed into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me no food. I was thirsty, you gave me no drink. I was a stranger, you did not take me in. Naked, you did not clothe me.
Sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. Then they will also answer him saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to you? Then he will answer them saying, assuredly, I say to you, in as much as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me. And these will go into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
Now let me just kind of tell you some preliminary stuff. Some people see what I just read as an event called the judgment of the nations. Eschatologically, they see this as an event taking place in the future where God judges nations after the tribulation period based on how they treated the nation of Israel during the tribulation period to determine their admission into the kingdom age or not. That's one way to interpret it. Other people see this as a general description of judgment for all saved and all unsaved. I am not here to unravel that I just want to really want to focus on this topic.
So I just wanted to get that out there. I really want to focus on verse 41, where it says, he will say to those on the left, depart from me, you cursed into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Now, the illustration that our Lord uses is an illustration they would have understood of a shepherd separating sheep and goats.
In the Middle East, even to this very day, you can see this happening. You will see shepherds on hillsides. They have a flock that is mixed, some sheep and some goats, but they're walking together. But then the shepherd will separate the sheep from the goats at two very important times during the day, grazing time and sleeping time. And that is because sheep and goats have very different temperaments. Sheep are docile, sometimes clueless. They just sort of meander around, wander around. Goats are sort of impervious to things. They're aggressive. They're rambunctious.
They'll charge things that sheep would not do that. So when it comes to feeding, it's not good to keep them together when they eat. It's not good to keep them together when they rest. They don't rest well together. So the shepherd will separate the sheep from the goats.
That's the background of this. What I'd like to do is kind of zeroing in on these verses, but mostly verse 41, I want to share five facts about hell. And the first is that hell is an actual place. Place.
It's an actual place. You see, Jesus in this section is speaking of an actual event that will take place in the future. Verse 31, when the son of man comes in his glory.
Now, here's a simple question. Is Jesus going to come? Literally, yes, he is. He said that on a number of occasions. So did all the apostles.
So we're dealing with a literal event in the future. And then in that same context, he speaks about eternal punishment and eternal kingdom. Now, if you were to do a quick search of the word hell in an English Bible, like the New King James version that I speak from, you'd find that the word hell in English shows up 32 times in the Bible.
32 times. But all of the references about hell throughout the Bible total 162 times. And sometimes they're just sort of plain in your face, up front, like Psalm 9 17. The wicked shall be turned to hell and the nations, all the nations that forget God. It's pretty straight up.
It's pretty straight up. Or Daniel chapter 12, where Daniel predicts a time that is coming, the worst time ever in history, called the tribulation period. And afterwards he writes, multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. But by far, the majority of all the biblical teaching we have on hell comes from the Lord Jesus Christ. More than anybody else, Jesus spoke on hell. In fact, Jesus spoke on hell more than Jesus spoke on heaven. It is estimated, if you look at Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, all the times he refers to it, 70 times. 70 times Jesus spoke about or referred to hell.
And in the kind of language that nobody can like yawn at, you can go, yeah, whatever. It's the kind of language that strikes terror, or it should, into every heart. He spoke about hell as a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. He spoke of hell as a place where the fire is not quenched.
This is the Lord Jesus Christ. He spoke of hell as a place where the worm never dies. He spoke of it as outer darkness, a place where one is tormented by flames and past memories.
And he spoke of it as a place where there's a great gulf that is fixed between hell and paradise. Jesus, in Matthew 10, verse 28, said, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell. This is Jesus, man of love.
Now, here's my question. If we cease to exist after we die, that's it, we just live and we die and we cease to exist, and we die and we cease to exist, then why did he spend so much time warning people about hell? And if you think, well, that's not very loving, I contend it's the most loving thing you can do. If you know there's a hell and you don't warn people of it, that's not loving. If there is a hell and you warn people of it, that's loving. And he warned people a lot of it.
C.S. Lewis wrote in his book, The Problem of Pain, these words, there is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power. But it has the full support of Scripture and especially of our Lord's own words.
It has always been held by Christendom and it has the support of reason, end quote. You see, if there is no hell, then the Bible is a book of myths. If there is no hell, then Jesus was just a misguided soul. If there is no hell, then the crucifixion was pointless, there's no significance in dying to save us from what? If there's no hell, then you should sin as much as you possibly can, because it's not sin, it's just fun, right? It's just all about you getting pleasure in this life, sucking it like an orange, dry at every drop of enjoyment you can.
But if there are consequences for deeds and beliefs, then we should receive the warning. Hell is an actual place and there are several words the New Testament uses to describe it. To describe it, one is the word Hades. Hades, the Greek word Hades, is the equivalent of an Old Testament Hebrew word sheol, which simply means the grave. It is spoken about a couple of different ways. Sometimes it refers to just the grave in the ground where bodies are buried. Sometimes it refers to life after the grave, the soul's existence after death. That's one word, Hades. Another word is the word Gehenna.
It is used 12 times mostly by the Lord Jesus. Did you know that Gehenna originally referred to a valley outside of Jerusalem? The southwest corner of Jerusalem has a valley to this day, a ravine called Gehenom, the valley of the son of Hinnom. And in ancient days, it was a garbage dump. You threw your garbage, there was always a fire going on, bodies of criminals were placed there and burned up there, bodies of animals taken from the city that died so the city wouldn't be defiled, thrown into hell, Gehenna.
In the 8th century BC, it was the place where under King Ahaz and King Manasseh, people offered their children as sacrifices to pagan gods. And because of that detestable, horrible, smelly, burning place, it became a metaphor for an eternal place of punishment, hell. A third word that is used is the word Tartarus. It's only used once in the New Testament, 2 Peter chapter 2, as a place for bound, fallen angels awaiting final judgment. The fourth term is the Lake of Fire.
It's Revelation 19 and 20. The Lake of Fire is the name of a place of eternal torment. You might call it the final hell.
The Bible calls it the second death. So, hell is an actual place. There's a second fact I want you to notice, and that is hell is an intentional place. What I mean by that is God created hell for a very specific reason. Verse 41, He will say to those on the left hand, depart from me, you cursed into the everlasting fire, here it is, prepared for the devil and his angels. God did not create hell as a place to punish people, originally.
It became that eventually, but it was not created that way originally. And notice the word prepared for the devil and his angels. Compare that with verse 34, the king will say to those on the right, come you blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you. That's what God prepared for people, heaven.
Jesus said to his disciples, I am going to prepare a place for you. So, heaven is prepared for people, hell is prepared for the devil and his angels. However, there's something about God you need to know. God is pro-choice when it comes to salvation. When it comes to salvation, God lets people choose where they want to go. And if they don't want anything to do with God, I want nothing to do with God, God's not going to force you to be in heaven, where he is all the time. He'll let you and respect your choice.
He'll let you and respect your choice. G.K. Chesterton wrote, hell is God's great complement to the reality of human freedom and the dignity of human choice. A person went up to God and said, God, would you send me to hell and lock me in forever? And God said, no, I will not send you there, but if you choose to go there, I could never lock you out. So, it is an intentional place originally created for the devil and his angels, but here, even in our text, there are some people that Jesus, that judgment says, you're going there. So, I want you to turn with me to Revelation chapter 20. It's a book we've been looking at the last few weeks, and there's an unmistakable future event that you need to see, a couple of them. Revelation chapter 20, verse 10.
Here's a really good part. I love this verse. The devil, verse 10, the devil who deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night, forever and ever. Can I get a hallelujah on that verse? It's like, yeah, finally, he gets what's coming to him. So, that's what Jesus meant when he said, it's prepared for the devil and his angels. That's where they go.
That's Skip Heitzig with a message from the series 2020. Now, we want to let you know about a special opportunity you have to pursue biblical studies in a way that works with your schedule. Going to church is a great way to learn about God, but what if you want to learn more?
Go deeper. Calvary College offers classes in biblical studies, courses like Worldview Apologetics. Learn how to defend your faith on your schedule. Take evening classes on campus or online, and transfer credits to Calvary Chapel University or Veritas International University for an accredited college degree that will impact your spiritual life for the rest of your life. Apply now at calvarychurchcollege.com. Thank you for joining us today. Connect with Skip exists to connect listeners like you to God's truth, strengthening your walk with him, and bringing more people into his family. That's why these teachings are available to you and so many others on air and online.
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Tune in tomorrow as Skip Heitzig shares more important truths for you to know about hell. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the crossing. Cast all burdens on his word. Make a connection. A connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
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