By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen
First Baptist Church
My theme is, “Why Don’t People Fear Hell?” This is not to imply that no one fears hell, but rather that most persons don’t do so. Or so it seems. And there are definite reasons why so few people fear hell. Let us consider at least some of them.
- Many persons don’t fear hell because they don’t believe there really is such a place. Some of these same persons might not believe in heaven, either. However, it is common to believe in heaven but not in hell. That is because one is negative, the other is positive and people like to believe in the positive, especially when it comes to life after death.
- Many persons don’t fear hell because they don’t believe the Bible is what it is: the infallible Word of God. The Bible is the one book in which God has revealed the truth about many things that, without it, we would know little or nothing, And the Bible says many things about heaven and hell, and how to get to either place. But if we do not believe the Bible is the Word of God, we will not pay heed to its teachings. To such persons, anyone’s views of life after death and its related subjects are merely a matter of personal opinion.
- Many persons don’t fear hell because they have been influenced by aberrant religious groups such the so-called “Jehovah’s Witnesses” and the Seventh-Day Adventists. These groups claim to be Bible-believing Christians, and yet they deny the Bible’s clear teaching on the subject of hell. Instead of accepting what the Bible says, they explain it away.This is done in order to get around what it says. If hell is no more than what the so-called “Jehovah’s Witnesses” and Seventh-Day Adventists believe, why would anyone be really concerned about avoiding it?
- Many persons don’t fear hell because they have a faulty view of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. They think of them as kindly, grandfatherly type persons who, though they disapprove of certain kinds of behavior, they definitely would not send anyone to hell over such behavior. Therefore, when they read in the Bible that it says God and Jesus Christ will send persons to hell, they are forced to consider such statements as untrue.
- Many persons don’t fear hell because they have a faulty view of hell itself. Such persons don’t necessarily deny the existence of hell. They simply don’t think of it as it is presented in the Bible. The Bible teaches that hell is a place that God has prepared for the devil and his angels, and to which also human beings will be sent who have not believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. The Bible teaches that hell is a place of horrible, eternal, conscious punishment of the bodies and souls of such persons. The Bible teaches that hell is a place of eternal fire, from which there is no escape. But those with a faulty view of hell think of it as unpleasant, perhaps, but not any worse than life in prison on earth, something which they feel they can tolerate. I have had several persons tell me that they won’t mind going to hell because many of their friends will be there. It might be true that many of their friends will be there, but it’s not going to be a place of mutual happiness and joy. They won’t be sitting around drinking beer, telling jokes, playing cards, and watching TV. Rather, the Bible says it’s going to be a place of mutual misery that has no end.
- Many persons don’t fear hell because they feel they are too good to go there. They might acknowledge that they, like the rest of us, are sinful. But they don’t think they deserve to go to hell. Their faulty opinion of themselves is something common to all of us. We think of ourselves as better than the Bible says we are. And the third chapter of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Roman Christians says there is none righteous, no, not one. It says all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. This means we are not too good to go to hell. Instead, all of us are bad enough to go there.
- Many persons don’t fear hell because we preachers who believe what the Bible says about it are hesitant to come right out and say what the Bible says about it. Our hesitance comes from the fact that it is not popular these days to be forthright about hell. We know that most individuals want to hear positive things in sermons. So, what do we preachers do when we talk about hell? (If we ever talk about it.) We talk about it in gentler terms than the Bible does. Instead of saying the Bible says hell is a place of conscious punishment of both soul and body in flames of fire, a place in which the devil and his angels live, and an eternal place from which there is no escape, we say hell is a place of separation from God, a place of darkness, a place without joy and happiness. In other words, we make hell sound less horrible than it is presented in the Bible. Is it any wonder, then, that many persons don’t fear hell? The fact is, if we preachers dilute the doctrine of hell, we are partly responsible for the fact that our listeners don’t have much fear of it. Therefore, we need to tell people that if they die without having believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, their soul will go to hell forever. We need to tell them how the Bible describes hell. We need to tell them that death ends all further opportunities to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ so that they will avoid hell. I know that some readers will think this is just a scare tactic to get non-Christians to become Christians. Well, then, I ask, is it wrong to tell the truth about this subject? Of course not! Doctors tell their patients smoking will either kill them, or at least harm them. Drivers are shown movies of tragic car accidents that are the result of drunk driving, or of texting while driving, or of driving too fast to be safe. Does anyone complain that this is just a scare tactic used to get people to drive safely? Of course not! So, why is it objectionable to tell non-Christians they will end up in a horrible place called hell if they don’t believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?
Perhaps you want to make sure you will spend eternity with Jesus Christ in heaven. If so, click on the following link to a brief but good article that will tell you what you need to know and do to go to heaven. Here’s the link: www.godssimpleplan.org/gsps-english.html.
Perhaps you want read what the Bible says about hell, but don’t know where to look for it in the Bible. Here are a few of many Biblical chapters that can be read about the subject: Mark, chapter 9; Matthew, chapter 25; 2 Thessalonians, chapter 1 ; Revelation, chapters 19 and 20. AS you read the chapters, look for the statements that apply to this subject.
To read a sermon on what the Bible says about hell, by evangelist John R. Rice, who died in 1980, click on the following link: http://www.bibleguidance.co.za/Engarticles/Hell.htm.