Pul­pit Notes

The Covington News - - RELIGION -

What the Bi­ble says about Hell

Hell is not a pop­u­lar sub­ject to­day and never has been. It is rarely men­tioned in many churches, al­though the Bi­ble has a lot to say about it. Je­sus spoke very clearly about the re­al­ity of hell with its hor­ror, agony, and tor­ment. Hell is not fig­u­ra­tive or sym­bolic. It is lit­eral. It is the eter­nal home of those who re­ject the only way of sal­va­tion of­fered by a lov­ing God, through Je­sus Christ, his son.

Hell is a place of eter­nal and un­quench­able fire. It is re­ferred to as a lake of fire, a place of ev­er­last­ing burn­ings, a fur­nace of fire, a place of fire and brim­stone, a fiery lake of burn­ing sul­fur and a place where peo­ple gnaw their tongues in agony be­cause of their pain. It is also spo­ken of in the Bi­ble as a place of chains of dark­ness, gloomy dun­geons and of the black­est dark­ness.

Je­sus told a para­ble about a rich man and a beg­gar by the name of Lazarus in Luke 16:1931. It is a story about a rich man who lived in the lap of lux­ury. By way of con­trast, Lazarus was a beg­gar who daily laid at the rich man’s gate, con­tent to eat the crumbs from the rich man’s ta­ble. The rich man died and went to hell; Lazarus died and went to heaven.

In hell, the rich man lifted up his eyes and prayed for Fa­ther Abra­ham to have mercy and pity on him by send­ing Lazarus to dip the tip of his fin­ger in wa­ter and cool his tongue, be­cause he was tor­mented in the flame. Abra­ham told him this was im­pos­si­ble, be­cause a great chasm was set be­tween heaven and hell. Upon re­al­iz­ing his own eter­nal fate, the rich man then asked Abra­ham to send some­one to his five liv­ing brothers and warn them not to come to the hor­ri­ble place of hell.

The Bi­ble only has one good thing to say about hell, and that is that no one need go there. Sal­va­tion is a free gift from God made pos­si­ble through the sac­ri­fi­cial death of Christ on the cross for the sins of all hu­man­ity. If we will to­tally for­sake our sins and con­fess them with sor­row to God and place faith in the fin­ished work of Christ on the cross and through the empty tomb, we can be saved.

If you are not sure of your eter­nal des­tiny, you can be. Place your faith in Christ, and do not in­sist on pay­ing for your own sins through all eter­nity. You can es­cape the hor­ror of hell, and live eter­nally in the ho­li­ness of heaven. Lis­ten to what the Bi­ble says about hell. You will be glad you did. Pas­tor Wayne Ruther­ford LifePointe Church of the


What’s it worth to you?

Luke 12:13-21

A cou­ple weeks ago a Mets fan named Matt Mur­phy was at the Gi­ants game when he was tack­led, kicked, piled on, and blood­ied. The po­lice had to rush in and res­cue him — all be­cause he caught a com­mon, or­di­nary, leather and yarn base­ball. Of course, some­thing had just hap­pened to that ball to make it worth much more than the cost of its pro­duc­tion. He was now hold­ing on to his­tory, the record-break­ing home run ball and wasn’t about to let go.

Of course we could find fault with the crazed peo­ple who piled on greed­ily grab­bing, do­ing any­thing they could think to do to get it away from him. But then we’d have to find fault with our­selves. You see, our text has us look­ing at how we so of­ten mis-value things. We act like our stuff is what life is all about and for­get about the value of God. Read Luke 12:13-21.

Did you catch Je­sus’ warn­ing? “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not con­sist in the abun­dance of his pos­ses­sions.” The farmer in the story hadn’t learned that les­son and saw all he had as noth­ing more than things that would serve him. It didn’t cross his mind to thank God with his wealth or to serve oth­ers with it.

And Je­sus warns us of the same thing. Think about it. How much ex­tra stor­age space do you have in your home? Why not? Is it be­cause you are like me and we just keep buy­ing and tak­ing and gath­er­ing more than we could ever ef­fec­tively use, even more than we have room for? Je­sus asks us, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet for­feit his soul?” I guar­an­tee you, if you ponder Je­sus’ words in our text long enough, God’s law will lump you right in there with this fool­ish farmer.

But then, he pulls you right back out, be­cause it’s true — our life does not con­sist in the abun­dance of our pos­ses­sions. No mat­ter how of­ten we try to act like it does, God re­minds us again to­day: Our life con­sists in our true riches, be­ing rich in God. Sure the toys are nice — but our last verse men­tions some­thing so much nicer.

We are rich in God. And here we have it all — more peace than any mil­lion­aire could ever buy, more ful­fill­ment than the most pow­er­ful CEO could achieve. Our peace and hope and joy are guar­an­teed — in God.

We have been made valu­able. Christ paid more than any eBay auc­tion could bring for Mur­phy’s ball. He upped our value from trash to priceless, “not with gold or sil­ver, but with his Holy pre­cious blood and his in­no­cent suf­fer­ings and death.”

He said we were worth enough to him to leave his glo­ri­ous heav­enly home, where his glory could not be con­tained, and en­ter into a weak, frail, dy­ing hu­man body. He said we were worth enough to him to take the beat­ings and hu­mil­i­a­tion and the full pay­ment we de­served for mis­plac­ing our val­ues. His love has made us worth so much more. His cross has made us priceless. God has made us per­fect.

Sure, Barry Bonds’ bat made that in­no­cent look­ing ball ex­ceed­ingly valu­able. But that’s noth­ing — Je­sus’ sac­ri­fice for us made us truly priceless. So let’s re­mem­ber each day that our value is not in our cars or homes or toys or col­lectibles. We are rich in God. Let’s live like it. Pas­tor Jonathan Scharf Abid­ing Grace Lutheran


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