Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Luke 16:19-31

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.


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. Gehenna is used. It refers to the valley of Hinnon. A public incinerator. Fires continually burned there. Hell is and will be a place of torment for its inhabitants. Christ tells us there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth in hell. Dives is in agony in the flames.

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.


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”


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.”


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


Paul did- Romans 9:2,

Ezekiel 33:11

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 Israel?’

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!

Monday, July 16, 2007

This article is excellent. We need more Evangelicals and Baptists who think this clearly about theological issues - especially the doctrine of the Church. Thanks Dr. Mohler for your willingness to speak out!

No, I'm not offended R. Albert Mohler Jr.
Posted on Jul 13, 2007
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--Aren't you offended? That is the question many evangelicals are being asked in the wake of a recent document released by the Vatican. The document declares that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true church -- or, in words the Vatican would prefer to use, the only institutional form in which the Church of Christ subsists.No, I am not offended. In the first place, I am not offended because this is not an issue in which emotion should play a key role. This is a theological question, and our response should be theological, not emotional. Secondly, I am not offended because I am not surprised. No one familiar with the statements of the Roman Catholic Magisterium should be surprised by this development. This is not news in any genuine sense. It is news only in the current context of Vatican statements and ecumenical relations. Thirdly, I am not offended because this new document actually brings attention to the crucial issues of ecclesiology, and thus it presents us with an opportunity.The Vatican document is very brief -- just a few paragraphs in fact. It's official title is "Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church," and it was released by the Vatican's Congregation for the Defense of the Faith on June 29. Though many media sources have identified the document as a papal statement from Pope Benedict XVI, it is actually a statement from the Congregation for the Defense of the Faith that was later approved for release by the Pope (who, as Cardinal Ratzinger, headed this Congregation prior to assuming the papacy).The document claims a unique legitimacy for the Roman Catholic Church as the church established by Christ. The document stakes this identity on a claim to apostolic succession, centered in the papacy itself. As the document states, "This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him."Lest anyone miss the point, the document then goes on to acknowledge that the churches of Eastern Orthodoxy also stake a claim to apostolic succession, and thus they are referred to as "Churches" by the Vatican. As for the churches born in whatever form out of the Reformation -- they are not true churches at all, only "ecclesial communities."Look at this:"According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called 'Churches' in the proper sense."Pope Benedict was already in hot water with the media because of his recent decision related to the (limited) reinstitution of the Latin mass, complete with a call for the conversion of the Jews. He was not likely to be named "Ecumenist of the Year" anyway. This latest controversy just adds to the media impression of big changes at the Vatican under the current papacy.There have been changes for sure. Benedict truly is a doctrinal theologian, whereas his popular predecessor, Pope John Paul II, was more a philosopher by academic training. Those familiar with the current Pope know of his frustration with the tendency of liberal Catholic theologians and laypersons to insist that the Second Vatican Council (known popularly as "Vatican II") represented a massive shift (to the left) in Catholic doctrine. Not so, insisted Cardinal Ratzinger as head of the Congregation for the Defense of the Faith. Now, as Pope, Benedict is in a position to shape his argument into a universal policy for his church. Vatican II, he insists, represented only a deepening and reapplication of unchanging Catholic doctrine.Evangelicals should appreciate the candor reflected in this document. There is no effort here to confuse the issues. To the contrary, the document is an obvious attempt to set the record straight. The Roman Catholic Church does not deny that Christ is working redemptively through Protestant and evangelical churches, but it does deny that these churches which deny the authority of the papacy are true churches in the most important sense. The true church, in other words, is that church identified through the recognition of the papacy. Those churches that deny or fail to recognize the papacy are "ecclesial Communities," not churches "in the proper sense," according to the document.I appreciate the document's clarity on this issue. It all comes down to this -- the claim of the Roman Catholic Church to the primacy of the Bishop of Rome and the Pope as the universal monarch of the church is the defining issue. Roman Catholics and evangelicals should together recognize the importance of that claim. We should together realize and admit that this is an issue worthy of division. The Roman Catholic Church is willing to go so far as to assert that any church that denies the papacy is no true church. Evangelicals should be equally candid in asserting that any church defined by the claims of the papacy is no true church. This is not a theological game for children; it is the honest recognition of the importance of the question.The Reformers and their heirs put their lives on the line in order to stake this claim. In this era of confusion and theological laxity we often forget that this was one of the defining issues of the Reformation itself. Both the Reformers and the Roman Catholic Church staked their claim to be the true church -- and both revealed their most essential convictions in making their argument. As Martin Luther and John Calvin both made clear, the first mark of the true Church is the ministry of the Word -- the preaching of the Gospel. The Reformers indicted the Roman Catholic Church for failing to exhibit this mark, and thus failing to be a true church. The Catholic church returned the favor, defining the church in terms of the papacy and magisterial authority. Those claims have not changed.I also appreciate the spiritual concern reflected in this document. The artificial and deadly dangerous game of ecumenical confusion has obscured issues of grave concern for our souls. I truly believe that Pope Benedict and the Congregation for the Defense of the Faith are concerned for our evangelical souls and our evangelical congregations. Pope Benedict is not playing a game. He is not asserting a claim to primacy on the playground. He, along with the Magisterium of his church, believes that Protestant churches are gravely defective and that our souls are in danger. His sacramental theology plays a large role in this concern, for he believes and teaches that a church without submission to the papacy has no guaranteed efficacy for its sacraments. (This point, by the way, explains why the Protestant churches that claim a sacramental theology are more concerned about this Vatican statement -- it denies the basic validity of their sacraments.)I actually appreciate the Pope's concern. If he is right, we are endangering our souls and the souls of our church members. Of course, I am convinced that he is not right -- not right on the papacy, not right on the sacraments, not right on the priesthood, not right on the Gospel, not right on the church.The Roman Catholic Church believes we are in spiritual danger for obstinately and disobediently excluding ourselves from submission to its universal claims and its papacy. Evangelicals should be concerned that Catholics are in spiritual danger for their submission to these very claims. We both understand what is at stake.The Rev. Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, responded to the press by saying that the Vatican's "exclusive claims" are "troubling." He also said, "[W]hat may have been meant to clarify has caused pain."I will let Bishop Hanson explain his pain. I do not see this new Vatican statement as an innovation or an insult. I see it as a clarification and a helpful demarcation of the issues at stake. I appreciate the Roman Catholic Church's candor on this issue, and I believe that Evangelical Christians, with equal respect and clarity, should respond in kind. This is a time to be respectfully candid -- not a time to be offended.--30--R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.