Is hell real?
These days, when the topic of hell is mentioned or portrayed, it’s usually a place that is presented in either a comical light or as a fake Sci-Fi fantasy. Outside of churches, hell is rarely described as, let alone seriously considered to be, a real place where people go. Historically among Christians, there have been three different views:
The traditional view: Each person is judged once and for all after death and given eternal life in heaven or eternal condemnation in hell.
Annihilationism: There is a period of punishment for some people in hell, followed by annihilation, where they will cease to exist.
Universalism: All people will eventually be saved.
Have you heard of any or all of the above and if so, which viewpoint were you taught?
So, what did Jesus teach? Have someone read Matthew 13:47-50 and 2 Thessalonians 1:9.
What did Jesus describe will happen to the two groups of “fish” caught up in the same “net”?
Gene outlined four types of suffering in Jesus’ description of hell: emotional, physical, relational, and spiritual suffering.
In the passages above, what are some of the words Jesus used to describe hell?
Gene emphasized that it is important for us to understand the reality that there is a hell. People might joke about it, but the reality of going to hell is not an occasion for gladness. Rather it is something that ought to bring great sadness to our hearts and tears to our eyes when we speak of it.
Have someone read Matthew 13:51 and Romans 2:5-6.
Based on the lessons Jesus taught in these passages, what are some healthy questions we should ask of ourselves?
Why is it important in our daily life to have an awareness of the final judgment that will take place?
Have someone read Romans 2:4 and John 3:16.
What does this say about God?
How can we respond to God with this in mind?
warm up and prayer
Over the years, Gene has had us write down the name of that one person we are praying for to say yes to Jesus. If you are comfortable sharing, please share that person’s name so you can pray for them as a group this week.
End your time in prayer. Pray you would never forget what the stakes are, that what we do in this church is serious business. Pray for us to recommit to the mission of the church of Jesus Christ. Thank him for being the hope, the only hope of the world.
Pray for your family and friends to come to Jesus today and acknowledge their need for him and that they would put their complete faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
This week read the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31.
What does this tell us about the importance and urgency of sharing our faith?
Spend time reflecting on your beliefs about hell. Gene challenged us, explaining that when you truly believe that people who die without Jesus will spend eternity in hell, it affects how you pray, how you love, how you serve, and how you give. Ask Jesus to change you and give you courage.