What’s Down with Hell – James MacDonald
On Sunday in our Apologetics class, I plan to depart a bit from the Apologetics theme and show a sermon on the topic of Hell. I believe that this is an important topic and that we don’t talk enough about this in the church. This is one of my favorite preachers of the Word of God, James MacDonald
Here is the note-taking form (with discussion questions) that goes with the video:
What’s Down with Hell (James MacDonald) – 5/13/2018
- The story of the R________ M_______ and L_____________ – Luke 16:19-31
- What is Hell? That question cannot be answered as normal questions can be answered – there’s no reference point (except the word of God).
- Charles Hodge – Princeton Theological Seminary – said regarding hell, “It is a doctrine which revolts the heart. It is a doctrine which the heart struggles against and to which the heart submits only under the stress of authority. The church believes the doctrine of hell because it must believe it or renounce faith in the Bible and give up all the hopes founded upon its promises”.
- Definition: Hell is a place of e________ t___________ for the impenitent (unrepentant people).
- This is not a church full of righteous people, this is a church full of forgiven people, who have the righteousness of Christ, and by His grace are being changed.
- Have you repented?
- It is not a word we should use flippantly – hell is not a laughing matter…
- Hell is so awful, that if you conceived even a fraction of it, you would not wish it on your worst enemy.
- Purpose: Hell is a place for G______ w____________ to be poured out on the impenitent.
- Wrath is God’s righteous response to sin.
- God has made Himself known in the universe in 3 ways (Titus 2:11):
- In C___________ (Ps. 19:1-3; Rom. 1:18-20)
- In C___________ (Rom. 2:14-15)
- In the G____________ of Jesus Christ
- Not “want to know and don’t hear”, but “don’t w__________ to know”.
- Terms describing the place:
- Sheol – describing the state of d______________
- Gehena – used 12 times in the New Testament. It is like a dump – put their garbage there and burned it (diseased animals, etc).
- Hades – Luke 16:23 – used 10 times in the New Testament. It is the t_______________ abode of the u______________ (impenitent) d__________, until the final judgement. No one is technically in “hell” yet.
- Hell – Matthew 5:22, 29-30. Used 14 times in the New Testament. Summary term describing the final place of eternal torment for the impenitent.
- Second Death – a spiritual death (Rev. 20:14; 21:8). If you’re born o__________, you die t______, if you’re born t_____, you die o________. What dies at the second death?
- O____________ dies (Hebrews 9:27)
- G____________ dies – God’s not reaching out to people in hell and trying to reform them.
- V____________ dies (Matt. 11:28-30; John 7:17)
- The Lake of Fire – Revelation 20:10,14-15. Hell will be fire from “shore to shore”. “The safest road to hell is the gradual one…” – C.S. Lewis. There is life after death, and if I don’t know where I’m going it is not s________ to d______.
- Jesus talked more about h________, by far, than He talked about h_____________.
- Terms describing the punishment:
- F___________ – 27 times in the scripture. Is the fire in hell a literal fire? “I see no reason to regard the fire as more literal than the worm” – Charles Hodge. So many times flames are referenced – it’s the most common picture of hell.
- W__________ and g____________ of teeth (Matthew 8:11 and following) – describes the wicked and their vitriolic, violent hatred toward the righteous. If we picture people in hell as being repentant or regretful, that’s what the Scripture teaches. The people in hell are not wishing they were in heaven, they’re shaking their fists at it.
- O_________ D___________ – intended to convey horror beyond imagination. Hell was originally prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matt 25:41). No one is together in hell – everyone is completely isolated and alone in hell. Daniel 12:2 describes it as “the shame of everlasting contempt”.
- D____________ – 18 times. (e.g. Matt. 7:13-14, 2 Thess. 1:9) Every person born into this world has the Imago Dei (the image of God) – Genesis 1:26-27. This separates us from the animals (mind, emotion and will). In hell, the soul is abandoned by God to its own destruction. Some wrongly teach “Anni______________sm” (the belief that hell is a place where you’re punished for a period of time, then you cease to exist). Destruction does not mean “cease to exist” – a better word is “ruined”. Example of fruit thrown off building.
- Modern objections to hell. Man has an amazing capacity to distort Scripture in the things that he wishes were not true:
- E_____________ – too long, therefore God is not just. How can a finite life of sin deserve infinite punishment? Answer: The misnomer there is that people stop sinning in hell, which is not true. Sin actually accelerates in hell. People are not just punished in hell for the sins they’ve committed. They’re also punished for the sinful nature that was not eradicated by the Gospel. Example of a rabid dog – Pitbull. This dog needs to be “put down”, hasn’t done anything wrong, but it will – its nature is corrupted.
- T_____________ – it’s too severe, therefore God is not merciful. Answer: God’s statement about the severity of sin is that 2,000 years ago, He sent His own Son and poured out His wrath upon Christ. On Him, almighty judgment fell that would’ve sunk the world to Hell.
- Implications of hell:
- I must be s_________ of my salvation. If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Admit that you’re a sinner, deserving of hell and expressing faith in the payment of Christ for your sin and for your forgiveness.
- I must be t____________ for my salvation.
- I must be at peace with i__________________.
- I must be b_________ in my w______________. This is not a day for subtlety, or silence. We need to be loving, we need to be sensitive, but we need to be clear. I need to have “the conversation”. On this subject, I cannot be silent, but not obnoxious.
- Have you struggled with hell?
- Do you have any unanswered questions about hell?
- I would recommend a small book that has been very helpful to me: “23 Questions About Hell”