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Archive for the ‘hell’ Category

Pastor Paul Tautages thinks we should (and I agree). He gives 3 Benefits to Thinking about Hell:

Thinking about the terrors of hell causes us to fly to Christ. Arthur Dent’s fictional pastor Theologus encourages those who grieve over their sin “to believe that ‘Christ is for you,’ and that they must ‘apply Christ, and all the promises of the gospel’ to themselves, ‘for we have not other remedy or refuge but only his merits and righteousness—he is our city of refuge, whither we must fly, and where we must take sanctuary—he is the balm of Gilead, whereby our souls are cured.’”

Thinking about the terrors of hell guards our hearts from a false sense of security. How many professing Christians lack a burning desire to turn away from their sin because of a false security regarding their salvation? “In seeking to motivate us to fear God more than men and to awaken ‘drowsy consciences,’ Love focuses on the power of God to subject men to eternal torment, which ought to ‘work an awful fear of God’ in our hearts. Hearing of such torments should ‘startle’ our consciences out of a false sense of security, strip away ungrounded hopes of glory, and drive us away from wallowing in sin.” By seeking to give preaching on hell a bad name the devil “seeks to ‘nuzzle men in security in their sins’….Satan will do all that he can to keep the thoughts of hell from men so that they go on in their sins with ‘no fear of death, and judgment to come.’”

Thinking about the terrors of hell motivates us to continually turn away from our sins. Christopher Love argued that this was one reason God does not tell us in His Word the exact physical location of hell: “That God has chosen not to give us the exact location may be to ‘prevent Curiosity’ and unrest in our hearts, to keep us from fearing hell more than the sin that leads us to it.” In another place, “Love testifies that hearing a sermon on hell is good if it causes you to tremble and keeps you from feeling hell itself and turns you from the sins that lead you there.”

Brothers and sisters, it is a good for us to think about hell. Thinking about hell not only is biblical counsel that will aid our sanctification, but it also motivates us to hold out Christ to our lost friends and relatives as the one and only Savior. “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord [and the terrors of hell], we persuade men” (2 Cor 5:11).

By the way, Paul also encourages us to think often about heaven as well.

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Phil Johnson calls “Peddling fiction about the afterlife as non-fiction is the current Next Big Thing in the world of evangelical publishing.”

He’s talking about the books such as Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo and The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, by Kevin Malarkey-both best-selling accounts of children who claim to have gone to heaven.

Phil writes, “No true evangelical ought to be tempted to give such tales any credence whatsoever, no matter how popular they become. One major, obvious problem is that these books don’t even agree with one another. They give contradictory descriptions of heaven and thus cannot possibly have any cumulative long-term effect other than the sowing of confusion and doubt.

But the larger issue is one no authentic believer should miss: the whole premise behind every one of these books is contrary to everything Scripture teaches about heaven.”

Phil talks about an updated, forthcoming book  The Glory of Heaven by John MacArthur on heaven in which MacArthur will deal with this new genre of literature.  Read “The Burpo-Malarkey Doctrine” to understand more what is going on.

 

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This ought to be a conversation starter over the next month or so: a new documentary debating the existence of hell is coming to theaters in September 2012.  Click  here to watch the trailer for Hellbound and one interview that didn’t make the cut from the film as well as check out some helpful resources to prepare you to discuss this intelligently with others:  professing Christians and non-Christians alike.

 

 

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Read the following from Mike Wittmer.  Then immediately take one minute (or longer) to think about death and hell.

“Last week I spoke to the adult campers about death and then last night I spoke to a high school group about hell. You’d think such topics would be entirely depressing, and you’d be right. But I’ve discovered something else too. These topics are actually inspiring, for they provide the opportunity to speak about Jesus. Indeed, they supply the only opportunity to speak about Jesus, for if we don’t begin with sin, death, and hell, then we will have no reason to bring up Jesus.

If we try anyway, people will wonder why we’re talking about him. What does Jesus even mean to someone who is untroubled by sin, death, and hell? Why would they ever think they need him?

I didn’t start out to write books and preach on these depressing subjects, but I’m glad I have, for Jesus is more precious now than he ever was before. When your love for Christ begins to cool, stop and think about death and hell. That is the fastest way I know to recover the joy of the Lord.”

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David Platt in his recent T4G 2012 message spoke with anguish about the state of man before God apart from Christ as utterly hopeless.  He quoted two men who described hell accurately:

Thomas Watson: “Thus it is in Hell; they would die, but they cannot. The wicked shall be always dying but never dead; the smoke of the furnace ascends for ever and ever. Oh! Who can endure thus to be ever upon the rack? This word ‘ever’ breaks the heart.”

George Whitfield used to speak with tears in his eyes of “the torment of burning like a livid coal, not for an instant or for a day, but for millions and millions of ages, at the end of which souls will realize that they are no closer to the end than when they first begun, and they will never, ever be delivered from that place.“

Let us think and speak of hell correctly.

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Interesting article on the correlation between the prevailing views of heaven and hell in a society and that nation’s crime rate.  Of course, the best reason to believe in hell and heaven are because God reveals such truth in His Word.  An excerpt from “Belief in Hell Lowers Crime Rate”:

“The key finding is that, controlling for each other, a nation’s rate of belief in hell predicts lower crime rates, but the nation’s rate of belief in heaven predicts higher crime rates, and these are strong effects,” said Azim F. Shariff, professor of psychology and director of the Culture and Morality Lab at the UO. “I think it’s an important clue about the differential effects of supernatural punishment and supernatural benevolence. The finding is consistent with controlled research we’ve done in the lab, but here shows a powerful ‘real world’ effect on something that really affects people — crime.”

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In recent years there have been a number of stories published by Christian publishing houses that relate how one person has gone to heaven and come back again.

Tim Challies offers some suggestions on how to respond to such books as well as to people who have read them and found comfort and peace through them.  Read “Heaven’s Tourism.” An excerpt:

“In the first place, we have no reason to believe or expect that God will work in this way—that he will call one of us to the afterlife and then send us back to our old bodies. The Bible says that it is for man to die once and then to experience the resurrection. There are many experiences we can have in a near-death state I am sure—dream-like experiences that may even seem real—but the Bible gives us no reason to believe that a person will truly die, truly experience the afterlife, and then return. Those who have a biblical understanding of life and death and heaven and hell will know that for a person to die and visit heaven, to experience sinlessness and the presence of Jesus Christ—for that person it would be the very height of cruelty to then demand that they return to earth. None of these books are at all consistent with a robust theology of heaven and hell, of the work of Jesus Christ, of the existence of indwelling sin. On the surface they may seem compelling, but in reality they raise far more questions than the few they may appear to answer.  . . .

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