There are many people who don't believe in Heaven or Hell, but the bible speaks about both places. One is a place of unbelievable pain and torment forever, and the other a place of amazing beauty and joy in the presence of God forever. Which place would you choose?
In Luke 16:19-31 in the bible, is a story about a certain rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. The rich man is living the good life. He has everything his heart desires. You might say, he was "living the American dream." The flip side of the story is about a man named Lazarus, who was a beggar. Life had not been so good to him. He was laid at the rich man's gate everyday hoping to get a hand out so he could survive. Not only was he poor, but he was sick.
The rich man was oblivious to Lazarus and his condition. He was consumed with the pleasures of his own life, and didn't have time or the compassion to care about Lazarus. Both men died! Lazarus went to paradise, and the rich man to hell. It's important to know that the rich man didn't go to hell because he was rich. Being rich isn't a sin, but when you have everything you think you need, there is a tendency to think you don't need God. Perhaps you think you've got everything under control, but just like the rich man, one day you too will die, and find out there is more than just this world. There is a real place called, Heaven and a real place called, Hell.
The rich man tried to get Abraham, the father of our faith, to send Lazarus to him so that he could just put his finger in cool water and touch his tongue with it, his pain and agony was so great. Abraham told him that wasn't possible, so the rich man asked Abraham to send Lazarus from the dead, to tell his five brothers not to come to this place called, Hell. Abraham told the rich man, basically, they have the Word of God, and all the prophets, if they don't listen to the Word of God or the prophets, they won't listen even if someone comes back from the dead and tells them. Listen to the message of the rich man, Don't come here! Don't trust in your own strength, or your own riches. Trust in God! Do what the Word of God tells you to do! Live your lives for God, put your trust in Jesus Christ! Ask Him into your life, because you will live forever!
Friends, you have to snub your nose at God, and His amazing love in order to go to Hell. People have said to me, "A loving God wouldn't send people to Hell." Friend, God sent His only Son to die for our sins, so that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have eternal life. What more can God do if someone has their heart set on going to Hell? God has made it so hard to go to Hell, but if you reject His Love and Salvation, He gives you the choice.
So, who in their right mind would choose to go to Hell?
The bible tells us that Jesus went to the realm of Hell for three days, when He was in the grave. He took the keys of Death and Hell, and raised from the dead, defeating Satan, and paying the price for our Salvation from sin.
The Message of Jesus is: I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me. The Message of Jesus is: the power of sin is broken, the devil is defeated, and if you follow Him, you will be free.
These two messages from Hell are relevant in 2013, where it seems all hell has broken loose in our cities, and our nation. Open your ears to this message of Love. God loves you so much that He sent His only Son so that you would have a choice.
It's not too late for you, whether you relate to the rich man or Lazarus. There is so much brokenness in the world. Divorce, drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling addictions, loneliness, fear, poverty, and so much more. Listen to the rich man in Hell, "Don't come to this place!" Repent and put your trust in God. Listen to Jesus! The power of sin, death, and hell are broken. You can have an amazing life, if you follow Jesus. It's not too late for you! Pray this prayer right now with me. Heavenly Father, I'm sorry I've run from you, and sinned, and did my own thing. I ask you to forgive my sins and come into my life. Give me your Holy Spirit, and adopt me into your family right now. In Jesus name I pray.
If you said that prayer, make your way to a life-giving, bible believing church and get plugged into Jesus. You won't regret it!
("From the Pulpit" is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)