Don’t Go to Hell
One of the most common things that people say when they are angry or want to insult someone is “go to hell”. A friend of mine uses expressions like “That was funny as hell.” As we will see in this week’s blog... there is nothing funny about hell. Jesus paid a terrible price to give us a free pass out of hell. Why would anyone turn down such a free gift?
What if There is a Hell?By Richard (Dick) Innes, Acts International
Not a popular topic by any stretch of the imagination. And these days it isn’t a popular or politically correct topic to preach, write or talk about as if it were a reality. For many, hell is a place they hope doesn’t exist and if it does, they don’t expect to go there. For others, hell is a figment of the imagination from outdated folklore, or a place to curse people to whom you don’t like. Many believe that death ends all.
Think of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina that caused the city of New Orleans to be hopelessly flooded so that thousands were stranded and many lost their lives. How unthinkable it would have been had the city known about the impending disaster and not warned the people to evacuate the city. How tragic it was for those who could have left but failed to heed the repeated warning. How much greater the tragedy not to let people know about the warning that God’s Word has clearly given for all to flee from the wrath of hell to come.
C.S. Lewis wrote:
“There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than Hell … but it has the full support of Scripture and specifically of Jesus’ very own words.” In fact, Jesus talked more about hell than he did about heaven. He 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.”1
The Bible describes hell as a place of utter darkness … also as a lake of fire that burns day and night forever.
Whether this is literal or figurative I do not know. What we do know is that Jesus described hell as a place of eternal torment. It is a place that was prepared for the devil and his fallen angels/demons—a place to where those who have never received forgiveness for their sins will be banned forever.
It’s not that God sends us to hell but that we send ourselves there when we don’t heed God’s warning and receive his forgiveness for all our sins and his gift of eternal life.
Eugene P. Harder shared how, In his book entitled To Hell and Back, Cardiologist Maurice Rawlings recounts the startling near-death experience of a patient taking a cardio stress test on a treadmill.
“The patient became breathless and began to sweat profusely. The monitor showed a dangerous rapid heartbeat. This was followed by a long pause in the beat and then by a flat line. Charlie’s heart had stopped, his eyes rolled up in his head and he fell.
“One of the nurses breathed ‘the kiss of life into Charlie’s lungs.’ Another nurse started the IV but the heart would not beat properly. A temporary pacemaker was needed. Whenever Dr. Rawlings stopped pushing Charlie’s chest to adjust the pacemaker, his heart would stop. Charlie’s eyes would roll up and he would turn blue.
“This time when Charlie’s heart re-started he was screaming the words, ‘I’m in hell! I’m in hell!’ Hallucinations, Dr. Rawlings thought. Most victims scream, ‘take your big hands off me, you’re breaking my ribs.’
“But Charlie was saying the opposite: ‘Don’t stop! Don’t stop. Every time you let go I’m back in hell!’
“When conscious, Charlie begged the Doctor to pray for him. Dr. Rawlings said, ‘I felt downright insulted. In fact, I told him to shut up. I said I was a doctor, not a minister and not a psychiatrist. The nurses looked at me as if to say, “Do something!’”
“So I composed this make-believe prayer to keep Charlie off my back. ‘Jesus Christ is the Son of God, keep me out of hell. If I live, I’m on the hook. I’m yours. Say it Charlie!’
“Charlie said the prayer and then a very strange thing happened that changed both the Doctor’s and Charlie’s lives. Dr. Rawlings said, ‘A religious conversion experience took place. I had never witnessed one before. Charlie was no longer the wild-eyed, screaming, combative lunatic who had been fighting me for his life. He was relaxed and calm and cooperative.”
“‘It frightened me. I was shaken by the events. Not only had that make-believe prayer saved Charlie McKaig, but it got me too. It was a conviction that to this day I cannot explain. Since then, Charlie has outlived three permanent pacemakers. It’s difficult to believe that my simple prayer opened the road to both Charlie’s and my own salvation.’
“Dr. Rawlings [not a crackpot by any means] was a specialist in cardiovascular diseases at the Diagnostic Center and area hospitals of Chattanooga. He served in both the Army and the Navy and became chief of cardiology at the 97th General Hospital in Frankfurt, Germany. He was the personal physician at the Pentagon for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which included Generals Marshall, Bradley, Patton, and Dwight Eisenhower. In civilian life Dr. Rawlings was appointed to the National Teaching Faculty of the American Heart Association, specializing in teaching methods for the retrieval of patients from sudden death.”2
A study of near-death cases by Dr. Rawlings was also reported in Omni magazine. “It is no longer unusual to hear about people who have almost died who speak of seeing a bright light, lush green meadows, rows of smiling relatives and experiencing a deep sense of peace. However, Dr. Rawlings obtained additional information from his patients by interviewing them immediately following resuscitation while they were very much in touch with their experience.
“Dr. Rawlings says that nearly fifty percent of the 300 people that he has interviewed have reported lakes of fire, devil-like figures and other sights reflecting the darkness of hell. Rawlings says that these people later change their story because they don’t want to admit where they’ve been, not even to their families. ‘Just listening to these patients has changed my whole life,' claims Dr. Rawlings. ’there is a life after death, and if I don’t know where I’m going, it’s not safe to die.’3
Of one thing we can be certain and that is that death happens to us all as nobody gets out of this place alive.
Life can be dreadfully uncertain. A friend’s husband was on his motorbike when a dog ran out at him. Trying to dodge the dog he fell from his bike and was killed. Last month another friend’s 49-year-old wife died of cancer. Last week a long-term friend of my wife’s died suddenly of a heart attack. Two months ago my oldest sister died. I wrote today to another friend whose husband died suddenly in his sleep. He was in his early to mid-40s.
How foolish it is to make all sorts of preparation for this life but none for the next. Time and again God has warned us in his word that there is a heaven for all who have accepted God’s forgiveness and a hell for all who haven’t. As Jesus said, “This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”4 And, “If anyone’s name was not found written in [God’s] book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”5
As God warned ancient Israel, his word also applies to us today: “Prepare to meet your God.”6 God’s Word also reminds us that, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”7Also, God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”8
It’s not God’s will that anyone should go to hell—whatever and wherever it may be. We know that heaven is where God is so we can be certain that hell is where God—the author of all love and life—isn’t. He has given his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for all our sins so we can be freely forgiven and delivered from hell. So whatever you do don’t neglect God’s warning regarding the terrible doom of hell for all who have never accepted Jesus as their Savior, and God’s forgiveness and gift of eternal life.
Accepting Jesus as your Savior and God’s forgiveness is God’s “passport into heaven.” Whatever you do don’t leave earth without it. And don’t leave it until it is too late to “apply for it.” You can receive your “passport for heaven” today by accepting God’s invitation to come to him by confessing your sins and accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.
For assistance to do this click here.
1. Matthew 10:28, (NIV). 2. Eugene P. Harder, "Positive Praying for People in Danger Pastor," Sermon, April 20, 1996. New Hope Community Church, www.newhope.bc.ca. 3. Aaron Burgess. “Winning the Lost," Sermon, SermonCentral.com, http://tinyurl.com/7n4xn. 4. Matthew 13:49-50, (NIV). 5. Revelation 20:15, (NIV). 6. Amos 4:12, (NIV). 7. Hebrews 9:27, (NKJV). 8. 2 Peter 3:9, (NKJV).
“To Hell and Back”by Dr. Maurice Rawlings
This is a very compelling video by a medical doctor (not a minister or a theologian) that covers examples of medical crises in which individuals experienced hell and lived to tell about it. It runs just under 1½ hours. Enjoy it.
Receiving Forgivenessby JesusLover Judy
Father, You are my source of love, forgiveness and acceptance. All other sources have left me emotionally wounded and confused. I built my walls of self-protection, turned my back on You and the spring of living water; I dug my own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. I repent of my transgressions. In the name of Jesus, I ask You to cleanse me and take away my guilt. Jesus, I drink from the living water; I believe on You, and out of my innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. Amen.
Father, in the name of Jesus, I am blessed. I am happy because You gave me a fresh start; my slate’s wiped clean. I count myself blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied)—You are holding nothing against me and You’re not holding anything back from me. When I confessed my sin, my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared. In the Name of Jesus I thank You!
Powerhouse PodcastsBelow are two of our Seven Minutes of Wisdom podcasts on the subject of heaven and hell. If you would like to give them a listen, use the audio controls below:
Listen to our Podcast “Heaven and Hell”:
Listen to our Podcast “Hell and Heaven”: