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Long For Truth: <div id="Title">5 Reasons Why Hell Is a Message of Love<br /><sub><b>Steven Long 9/21/13</b></sub></div>

Friday, August 29, 2014

5 Reasons Why Hell Is a Message of Love
Steven Long 9/21/13

Condemnation; judgment; unloving; mean-spirited.

These are the words that usually come to mind when a person hears another talking about the subject of Hell. And these are the first accusations that are laid upon my fellow open air preachers when we attempt to share the Gospel of Grace with them. It seems that most people cannot get past the part of the bad news long enough to hear the good news; that is, that Christ came to save us from Hell!

The sad reality is that most open air preachers have been lumped together with all the other shock-and-awe preachers. We have been labeled and lumped together in this "hate batter" because of the actions of a few other individuals. For example, a preacher and his crew entered a Muslim festival in Dearborne, MI a couple of years ago and walked around with a fake pig's head on a stick! [source 1- their video][source 2 - pig's head]. They were immediately met with hostility; and no wonder! Of course, you will never see the pig's head or offensive signs in their video but Reuben Israel and his band of "evangelists" (I use that word loosely) are infamous for these kinds of actions. How grotesque! And how do they expect to reach Muslims with the gospel of Christ when they pull stunts like this? This one incident alone may be the cause of Dearborne from truly ever being reached for the gospel for a long time to come. Anyone who claims the Name of Christ at this festival will always be looked upon with suspicion.

This must not, however, keep Christians from preaching about the coming doom of unbelievers. While they may continue to call us haters, bigots, unkind, unloving, and a slough of other things we must not give up hope that God is sovereign and His Word shall accomplish that which [He will] purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which [He] sent it (Isa 55:11).

For this reason I would like to propose to you, believer, 5 reasons why preaching about Hell is actually a message of love. After each reason I will give a few verses in parentheses for further reading and consideration:

Firstly, it warns the unbeliever of pending judgment. Scripture is clear that life after this earth is inevitable. Hebrews 9:27 states, It is appointed unto man once to die; and after this, the judgement. As uncomfortable as it is for you to think or talk about judgment, it is a reality! We cannot escape it. We must all stand before Christ to give an account of our actions. NOT talking about judgment doesn't make it go away. So be bold. Note, that I said 'bold' not 'arrogant.' (2Pe 2:9, 2Pe 3:7, 2Cor 5:10, Re 20:12, 2Thess 1:7-8).

Secondly, it reminds the unbeliever of his/her mortality. The brevity of life is talked about throughout Scripture. It never hides the fact that our lives will one day end. In fact, it often describes our life as "vapor," indicating just how quickly life can end. A year and a half ago I myself was reminded just how quickly life can end. (Proverbs 27:1, Psa 90:12, Psa 104:29, Jas 4:13-14).

Thirdly, it exemplifies the love with which Christ loved the world. Christ came into the world to save sinners; to seek and to save that which was lost; to reconcile men to God. The demonstration and humility in which He displayed this love is insurmountable. Christ, very God, became very man in order to save His people and present them before God. Scripture declares God's love for His people. It describes it as an everlasting love. The cross is the culmination of that love. But how does this tie in with Hell being a message of love? Simply put, as Hebrews 10:26-27 states that once there is knowledge of Christ's sacrifice then there is nothing left to cover sin. In short, a person's only hope is Christ's love demonstrated on the cross (Ro 5:8, John 3:16, Eph 2:4-5, 1Thess 1:4).

Fourthly, it demonstrates God's unwavering justice Justice was done at the cross! It is hard to fathom but nevertheless it is true. But it was not justice in our traditional sense. In our realm the guilty party pays the fine, goes to jail, or otherwise is expected to pay retribution. But in God's world it was the guilty that went free while the innocent paid the price. The dear Lamb of God, perfect, holy, and sinless, was the payment of His people's sin in order to propitiate God's wrath from us. In fact, Scripture tells us that it pleased the Father to bruise His Son for us. And we are clearly told that justice was accomplished on behalf of the elect. God was just in punishing sin but He was also merciful in pardoning the guilty and imputing His Son's righteousness (Romans 3:21-26).

Fifthly, because Jesus spoke more about Hell than He did about Heaven. Our culture has turned Jesus into this super nice guy that always loved and never said a harsh word to anyone. This picture has led many to believe that such a nice guy would never condemn anyone by mentioning the 'H' word. But the truth of the matter is that Jesus spoke more about judgment and Hell than He did about Heaven and eternal life with Him. Most critics of this fact would try to point out that most of Jesus' harsh words came to the religous hypocrites. But some of His harshest sayings came to the crowds that followed Him (cf, Luke 14:25 ff, John 6:22 ff). Jesus was clear about what happened in the afterlife. He spoke of those who were unbelievers as being in outer darkness, a place of torment, weeping and gnashing of teeth, and never ending punishment. His words were sobering and a harsh reality for those who only perceive Him as a "nice guy." (Luke 16:19-31, Mt 8:12, Mt 22:1-14, Mt 25:30)

While it may be hard thing to digest talking about Hell is not an unloving thing. In fact, it is the most loving thing that a person can do. If you knew a person was in imminent danger and you refused to warn that person because you were afraid to "offend" him then you would be doing the opposite of loving: you would be hating that person by letting him wander off into his own destruction.

So be brave, Christians and continue to plead with those that are still lost. But at the same time make sure you speak with love and grace, and most of all with a humble spirit. Amen!

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