THE DOCTRINE OF ETERNAL PUNISHMENT
Context-Jesus is preaching a powerful discourse against putting one’s faith in riches. This parable reveals the terrible consequences of a life without Christ.
The Rich man has by tradition been named Dives. The Poor man who finds himself in heaven is Lazarus. The thrust of the parable is not about Lazarus, but the rich man.
From this passage we will find the truth about Hades and Hell. We will find that Hell is a place of conscious, eternal torment for those who reject Christ as their Lord and Savior.
For you who are here who have never accepted Christ I want to urge you to listen and to receive Him.
Believer, I hope your heart is as burdened by this truth. Burdened to the point of sharing Jesus with everyone around you.I will treat Hades and Hell in one train of thought this morning. Hades is the place where the wicked go immediately following death. Hell is the lake of fire in Rev. 20. The difference between is only a matter of time. The experience of Hades is most likely indistinguishable from Hell.
THE EXISTENCE OF HELL-“And being in torments in Hades”. Vs. 23
Modern theologians, even conservative ones, have all but discarded the traditional view of Hell’s existence. There are many theological reasons why we would argue for Hell’s literal existence. I want to present only a few this morning.
THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST-Jesus says more about Hell than any other figure in the Bible. He speaks of Hell and Hades as a fire, burning sulfur, a fiery furnace, outer darkness, and a lake of fire.
The parable at hand is one of the most powerful arguments for Hell’s existence. The parable is meaningless if it does not teach the reality of endless punishment.
THE JUSTICE OF GOD- The rich man in his arrogance and selfishness has shunned and disregarded God’s will. His life is a life of outright rebellion against the God of heaven. To refuse Christ as your Lord, to live your life for yourself and not for the God who created you is a sin against the infinite, Holy, sovereign Lord of the universe. No other punishment could be given except that of Hell. Because of the absolute holiness of God, Hell is a necessity.
ILLUS: a Judge who not prosecute the guilty, i.e. a murderer, rapist, etc. would not be worthy of taking the bench. The same is true spiritually.
For God not to punish sin would make Him less than God.
THE TEACHING OF THE APOSTLES-Paul, Peter, James, and John all speak of the reality of Hell.
If we will believe that the Word of God is inspired and inerrant then we must believe in Hell. To discredit the doctrine of Hell is to disregard God’s Word on the matter. We may not like, we may wish it were different, but God has spoken on the matter. Hell is a fact
There exists at this moment a place of the darkest night, the hottest fire and the most severe torment. At this very moment the smoke of Hell rises up in shame and contempt. At this very moment the cries of those who have rejected Christ ring out across it black and bleak halls. Hell is a Horrible Reality.
THE EXPERIENCES IN HELL-VS. 23-2
I want to be careful here to say only what the Bible says and no more. Many preachers and so-called prophets have gone beyond the bounds of scripture in describing hell. I only want to bring out what Jesus teaches. In the fate of the Rich man God gives us an awful glimpse of a grim reality. This parable is a window to the horrors of Hell.
*One moment he lay in his luxurious bed of wealth. Most likely, even in his dying condition surrounded by his excesses. Servants waiting on him, moping his feverish brow. Then in the space of a heartbeat, in the one moment that it takes for His Soul to depart His body He finds Himself in Hell.
Hell is only a heartbeat away for the person without Christ. What does this passage tell us through Dives experiences in Hell?
<HE IS CONSCIOUS IN HELL-“He lifted up His eyes being in Hades”vs. 23
He sees, he feels, He knows, He thinks. Think how horrible the realization will be for the man or woman who has refused Christ. How horrible that moment of death when they realize there worst fears are confirmed. They are in Hell.
HE IS TORMENTED IN HELL-Vs. 23-24. Being in Torment. Jesus again and again refers to Hell as fire.
Tormented by Loneliness
Tormented by darkness
Tormented by the cries of the damned and demons around him.
Tormented by their view of Heaven.
The bible does seem to teach their will be degrees of punishment in Hell. The principle in scripture seems to be, the greater the knowledge, the greater is the responsibility.
Can we really imagine the horrors of such a place?
HE HAS MEMORY IN HELL-VS. VS. 25 “Remember” Perhaps this will be the greatest of all torments. It will be one that is self-inflected. All the missed opportunities, all the times you have rejected Christ, refused His calling will sear through your mind with more heat than a thousand flames.
The sins you so loved will sour in your memory as you consider them for all eternity.
Mark 9:48 speaks of the worm that does not die. Most commentators interpret this as the Soul’s internal torment. Eating away at the person’s mind for all eternity. Over and over your mind will replay every chance you had to come to Christ. If you do not repent, it may be this very sermon, this very service that runs through your mind for all eternity.
THE ENDLESSNESS OF HELL. VS. 26-
Hell is a permanent condition. There is no crossing over from Hell to Heaven. There is a great chasm. A great gulf.
The Bible does not teach purgatory. That is a Catholic doctrine born out of the vain imagination of the pope, not the heart of God. In fact nothing could be farther from the teaching of the New Testament.
There is no probationary period to be spent in Hell. All are sentenced to an eternal fate with not possibility of parole.
The Bible does not teach Annihilation. This is a doctrine propagated by seventh day Adventists and Jehovah’s witnesses.
Heb. 9:27-For it is appointed for men to die once, and after this to face judgement.
A) THERE IS NO ESCAPE FROM HELL-“vs. 26” ILLUS: Papion, the Movie. Papion escapes from a French island prison considered inescapable.
“….In human punishment some will find means to break prison and flee. In hell, they will be reserved in chains of darkness forever and ever. Malefactors have often found means to break prison, and escape the hand of civil justice. But none ever escaped out of the prison of hell. It is a strong prison. It is beyond any finite power or united strength of all wicked men and devils to unlock or break open the door of that prison.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon said: In hell there is no hope. They have not even the hope of dying—there is no hope of being annihilated. They are forever-forever-forever lost! On every chain in hell, there is written "forever”.The fires there, blaze out the words “forever”. Above their heads, they read “forever”. Their eyes are galled and their heats are pained with the thought that it is “forever”. Oh, if I could tell you tonight that hell would one day be burned out, and that those who were lost might die, there would be a jubilee in hell at the very thought of it. But it cannot be—it is “forever” they are cast into outer darkness”
THERE IS NO REST IN HELL Vs. 24-25;
The rich man (Dives) longed for water, but received none. Never would he ever receive any.
Rev. 14:9-11 “The smoke of their torment rises forever and ever. They have no rest day nor night”.
“nor will they find any thing to relieve them in hell. They will never find a resting-place there. No secret corner which will give them any respite. They will find no cooling stream or fountain. Not so much as a drop of water, for they will be tormented with fire and brimstone, and they will have no rest forever and ever. There is not a moment of rest. No sleep, no possibility to pass out from the pain.
Imagine day after day, month after month, year after year, century after century, millennia after millennia. Perhaps the worst characteristic of hell is the sheer hopelessness of it.
Dante in his work places a sign above the gates of Hell “Abandon all hope ye who enter here.”
THE ESCAPE OF HELL-vs. 27-31
Notice I said Escape of Hell, not from Hell. Dives (The rich man) wanted Lazarus to go back and tell his 5 brothers not to come. Dives understood that He could have avoided Hell. He could have escaped its horrors. Hell was made for the Devil and His angels, not for you and I.
Let me point our two very simple very obvious truths.
UNBELIEVERS CAN ESCAPE HELL-Lazarus could not go back, but the brothers could repent. Abraham states they have Moses and the Prophets. They have all the light they need to repent. It is up to them. This morning you can know the joy of coming to Christ. You can have an eternity with the Father, Son and Spirit. You can live as you were created to live in complete joy and purpose.
Realize your lost condition.
Call upon the name of the Lord.
You have all the light you need to be saved. Dives brothers did not need Lazarus to come back from the dead to warn them. They had already been warned by the law and the prophets. You do not need a miracle to validate my message. You do not need a prophet with a new vision. You do not need someone to return from the dead. You have all the light you need in the Scriptures. Repent and be Saved! Acts 2:38
<BELIEVERS MUST HAVE A BURDEN FOR THOSE BOUND FOR HELL.
Paul did- Romans 9:2,
11 “Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of
There is not a soul in Hell that wants their loved ones to come! If we could for one day open the gates of Hell and let the damned walk among us-we would find ourselves in the midst of the greatest Soul-winners the world has ever known. Their one message would be Repent! Don’t join Me! Fly to Christ. Be saved!
I wonder if some of you really believe in what you say you believe. John Piper states that we need to feel the force of our doctrines. Perhaps you need to think and pray for a vision of Hell. How can you look at a friend, a family member, a co-worker and know that this is their destiny without Christ and share the Gospel with them!