"What It Takes"
April 14, 2007Email to a FriendPrint
'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' Luke 16:30
Years ago, a small country church was looking for a new pastor. After some significant searching, they managed to pare down the list to two possible candidates. Each man was requested to present an “audition” sermon. That’s how it came to pass, that on two consecutive Sundays, the potential pastors found themselves preaching to a most attentive audience. The first pastor preached on hell. The second pastor preached on hell as well. When it came time for a selection, the vote for the first man was a unanimous, first-ballot decision.
The new pastor was understandably curious as to why the church had picked him. One of the congregation’s leaders said, "When the other pastor preached about people going to hell, he seemed to be almost satisfied that they were getting what they deserved. When you preached about hell, everyone could see that it just about broke your heart.”
Today we have to admit that many churches have stopped preaching about hell. Some stopped because hell made listeners feel bad; some stopped because they believed God would never send anyone there. Still, others stopped because it was bad for church attendance and the offering. As a result, rather than being feared, hell has become part of comedy routines as party central and heaven as a place filled with souls who are incredibly boring. I don’t laugh. Hell is real, and it would break my heart if you landed there.
You see, I know there is a hell. If there isn't, Christ's life—His suffering, His death, His resurrection—was unnecessary. I know there is a hell because the Bible says so and the Scriptures don't lie. I believe in hell because I see the devil working overtime to make sure you will be there with him. I believe in hell because Jesus believed in hell.
When the Savior talked about hell, He said, "Hell is a nasty place, and you don't want to go there." Now, for those who believe, hell is no longer a place to be feared. Those who have a Savior are confident that they aren’t headed in hell’s direction. That makes the Lord glad. It would break His heart if anybody, unnecessarily, ended up going there.
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached October 10, 2004
THE PRAYER: Gracious Lord, may the power of your Holy Spirit guide and direct me to serve you in your Kingdom today. Thank you for the gift of salvation through Your Son, so that we don't have to be headed in hell's direction. Amen.