WNW – 4-6-16 (Heaven and Hell)

Last night we delved into a topic which I believe is not addressed often enough anymore.  At least, I find that to be the case in my own teaching.  Heaven and Hell–what happens to people when they die?  Who goes to Heaven, and who goes to Hell–and on the basis of what?  What is Heaven like, and what is Hell like?  My outline last night looked like this.

  1. Hell
    1. Place of everlasting conscious torment and agony (Rich Man & Lazarus – Luke 16)
    2. Away from the presence of God (1 Thess. 1:9) ==> Utterly alone; without hope
    3. Eternal state of the Wicked (the goats of Matt. 25:33)
      1. Outer darkness; weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 22:13)
      2. Eternal, unquenchable fire (Matt. 25:41)
      3. Torment, fire, and agony (Luke 16:24)
      4. Furnace of fire (Matt. 13:41-42)
      5. Lake of Fire; second death (Rev. 20:10)
  2. Heaven
    1. Place of final, eternal rest; comfort; and joy (Heb. 4:8-11; Rev. 21:4)
    2. Perfect fellowship with God & direct knowledge of Him (1 Cor. 13:12; 1 John 3:2)
    3. Eternal state of the Righteous (the sheep of Matt. 25:33)
      1. Heaven earned by our works then?
        1. None righteous, not even one (Rom. 3:10)
        2. Christ is our righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30)
        3. The righteous are those who are washed and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:14)
  3. Heaven, Hell, and the Call to Go
    1. Matt. 28 – Go, make disciples
    2. 2 Cor. 5 – Ambassadors for Christ; God making His appeal through us

The point of last night was this: What you believe about the afterlife dictates the way you live this present life.  If Heaven is the place of infinite joy and peace which cannot be taken away, then no cost will be too great to attain it.  If Hell is the place of infinite misery which never ends, then no cost will be too great to avoid it.  Unfortunately, the cost for each is beyond what we can pay.

But then there is the central truth of Christianity: Jesus Christ has already paid the cost for our bypass of Hell and our entry into Heaven.  When we personally trust Him, the promise of His blood–that we can be forgiven, washed clean, and made right–is applied to us.  That is the Gospel.  Heaven is the eternal dwelling place of the Righteous, but there is none who is righteous–except for the Righteous One of God, Jesus Christ.  On the basis of who He is and what He did for us, we too become the Righteous Ones of God.

This is the single history-shaping, life-changing, eternal destiny-altering truth: Jesus is the Way to the Father in Heaven.  Now, who in your life needs to hear that?

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