“For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” – Malachi 4:1
The reality of hell has been a corner stone of the Gospel through out all its history. Sadly though, in recent years there has been a push to move preaching away from this very real and present danger. Many church’s, denominations, and movements now openly deny the very existence of hell. This notion makes Jesus out to be a liar, seeing as how Jesus Himself warned of the reality of hell for those that do not believe in Him and obey His Father.
“Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 7:19-21
“And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” – Mark 9:43-48
We spend all our efforts trying to convince people that heaven is real but fail to convey (as Christ so clearly did) the more pressing reality that hell is real too, and you should do whatever it takes to ensure that you don’t end up there.
Some among today’s progressive church’s would say that Jesus and the other precious God fearing Saints of the bible were preaching fear and not love when they said things like: “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the doubting and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” – Revelation 21:7-8
Well, while they “were” preaching fear, (because they were preaching of a fearful situation) their preaching of fear was not absent of love, for it was loved that drove them to warn of these fearful situations that those whom they love may avoid them. What’s so wrong with fear anyway, fear is meant to keep you safe from stupid and dangerous situations. As long as it’s a Godly fear and not a lack of faith in God’s ability to honor His Words kind of fear (which actually equates to doubt or unbelief). It may be as uncomfortable or unpleasant as a spoiled child fearing a good fussing or punishment when they want to do something that they know is selfish, wrong, or dangerous but that fear keeps that child safe from its own lack of understanding. This is why Psalms 111:10 tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Some kids are quite, shy, sad, and need a big hug and some encouragement, and some are prideful, selfish, and arrogant against sound correction and need to be told the truth more harshly that they fully understand the consequences of their actions. The same applies to us as God’s children.
“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” – Jude 1:21-23
Bringing people to a real understanding of where they are heading and the consequences of their choices and actions, by preaching, teaching, and talking about the reality of hell is not some ineffective passé method that we have somehow out grown or pridefully risen above. It’s a biblical reality and mandate that has worked for thousands of years and saved millions of souls from eternal judgement. Yes it’s uncomfortable, yes it’s scary, yes it’s convicting… It’s supposed to be. Hell is a very real and very serious threat, and if you truly love people then you will have a burden to warn them of this danger that awaits them if they don’t choose the path of life. It may not be easy or popular but true love will drive one to want people to face the reality of hell now while they can turn away from it, that they may avoid facing the reality of it later when they no longer can.
“Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled: But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.” – Isaiah 5:14-16
“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” – 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.” – Matthew 13:47-51