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Spiritual Things: Part 2 – Hell

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

“Spiritual Things: Hell”

Series: Spiritual Things [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

May 17, 2020

Introductory Comments:

What a joy to worship the Lord through music. Now, we will worship Him through studying the truth of His Word. 

We are continuing our series called “Spiritual Things.” We are learning about Heaven, Hell, angels, demons, and spiritual warfare. Thus far, we have learned about Heaven. Today, we will shift our attention to Hell. 

I have to warn you, we have a lot of Scripture passages today and I’m moving pretty quickly. You may want to grab a pen and paper so you can jot down some verses to study on your own later. 

Before we do, let’s go to God in prayer and ask Him to speak to us. 


Hell is not something that is fun to talk about, or at least it shouldn’t be. At the same time, Hell is not a topic that we can neglect.

The truth is that the Bible does not ignore the topic of Hell and neither should we. 

You may be surprised to know that Jesus spoke more about Hell and judgment than any other topic. If it was important to Jesus, it should be important to followers of Jesus. 

As we learn about Hell we will follow a very similar format to last week when we learned about Heaven. 

So, first, let’s answer the question . . .

I. What is Hell? [on screen]

Simply put, Hell is the place reserved for the judgment of God towards unrepentant sinners. 

We know that through trusting in Jesus we can experience the forgiveness of our sins. Well, what about those who do not trust in Jesus? 

John 3:36 answers this for us. It says, “The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who rejects the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him.” [on screen]

Well, what happens to those who have the wrath of God remaining on them? They go to experience the judgment of God in Hell. This truth is overwhelmingly evident in the Bible. 

For instance, Jesus says in Matthew 25:41, “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!’” [on screen]

The apostle Paul adds in 2 Thessalonians 1:9, “They will pay the penalty of eternal destruction from the Lord’s presence and from his glorious strength.” [on screen]

Whereas Heaven is the place of reward for those who trust in Christ, Hell is the place of judgment for those who do not trust in Christ. 

Further, whereas Heaven is the place of life, Hell is the place of death. 

Revelation 20:14 says, “Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.” [on screen]

Often, in the Bible, Jesus referred to Hell as “Gehenna.” This was a Greek term that was a derivative of the Hebrew word that means “Valley of Hinnom.” Well, why do I share that? 

You see, Gehenna was a valley near Jerusalem that was used for evil atrocities. Some of these acts are difficult for me to mention in this setting. It’s enough to say that this place was terribly evil and despised. 

Jesus uses this place to describe Hell. He didn’t mean that Hell was literally in that place, outside of Jerusalem, but He used that word to describe how awful Hell is. Listen, church: Hell is a terrible place reserved for God’s judgment. 

We don’t know exactly where Hell is, but it is often described as being below us. Heaven is described as above us and Hell below us. Now, we don’t understand these places in the context of our physical earth. These places are beyond our physical realm. They are real and they are physical, but they are in a different realm so to speak. 

So, Heaven is above and glorious, Hell is below and terrible. It is a real place where God’s judgment is poured out on sinners. 

That’s what Hell is, but let’s learn what Hell is like:

II. What is Hell like? [on screen]

First of all, when it came to Heaven we spoke of the present Heaven and the future Heaven. There seems to be evidence that this is true of Hell as well, yet there is not nearly as much attention on Hell in the present sense as there is on Hell in the future sense. 

Perhaps the most we learn about Hell in the present sense comes from the biblical passage concerning the rich man and Lazarus. We can read about this in Luke 16. Let’s just look at a few verses. Listen to verses 19-25:

19 “There was a rich man who would dress in purple and fine linen, feasting lavishly every day. 20 But a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, was lying at his gate. 21 He longed to be filled with what fell from the rich man’s table, but instead the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 One day the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torment in Hades, he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off, with Lazarus at his side. 24 ‘Father Abraham!’ he called out, ‘Have mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this flame!’

25 “‘Son,’ Abraham said, ‘remember that during your life you received your good things, just as Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here, while you are in agony. [on screen]

So, although we don’t know all the information; and there is some debate about whether or not the story of Lazarus is simply a parable rather than a true story; the reality of a type of Hell now seems to be evident. 

However, the biblical descriptions of Hell, by and large, center on the discussion of Hell as the final place of judgment. 

These descriptions of Hell are difficult to hear and should bring us to a sober understanding of the seriousness of sin and they should drive us to God. 

Listen, for instance, to Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:28: “Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” [on screen]

We must understand God and His hatred of sin, which means we must understand Hell. 

The main descriptions of Hell can be summarized in three main categories: intense fire, intense darkness, and intense agony. 

Listen to these descriptions of the intense fire of Hell:

2 Thessalonians 1:8 – “ . . . when he takes vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God . . . ” [on screen]

Matthew 13:40 and 42 – “40 Therefore, just as the weeds are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age . . . 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [on screen]

Matthew 18:8 – “If your hand or your foot causes you to fall away, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the eternal fire.[on screen]

Revelation 19:20 – “But the beast was taken prisoner, and along with it the false prophet . . . Both of them were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. [on screen]

Revelation 21:8 – “But the cowards, faithless, detestable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars—their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” [on screen]

So, Hell has intense fire. 

Listen to these descriptions of the intense darkness of Hell:

Matthew 8:12 – “But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [on screen]

Matthew 22:13 – “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” [on screen]

Matthew 25:30 – “And throw this good-for-nothing servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [on screen]

Jude 13 – “They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shameful deeds; wandering stars for whom the blackness of darkness is reserved forever.” [on screen]

So, Hell has intense darkness. 

Listen to these descriptions of the intense agony of Hell:

Again, Matthew 13:42 says, 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [on screen]

Again, Matthew 8:12 says, “But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.[on screen]

Again, Matthew 22:13 – “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” [on screen]

Again, Matthew 25:30 – “And throw this good-for-nothing servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.[on screen]

These are all terribly horrible descriptions of Hell, and this is only skimming the surface. There will be intense fire, intense darkness, and intense agony signified by weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

We also learn that Hell is eternal. Listen to just some of what the Bible says about this:

Revelation 14:11 – “. . . and the smoke of their torment will go up forever and ever.”  [on screen]

Revelation 20:10 – “The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”  [on screen]

Matthew 3:12 – “. . . But the chaff he will burn with fire that never goes out.”  [on screen]

Matthew 25:46 – “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”  [on screen]

Hell is indeed a terrible place. In fact, Jesus said it will be better for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, cities destroyed by fire because of intense sin, than it will be for those who suffer in Hell. 

Hell is forever. It is eternal punishment full of tragic pain and sorrow. What a tragedy our sin brings upon us.

Well, in light of what we’ve learned about Hell thus far, we must answer the most important question from today’s sermon . . .

III. How do I avoid Hell? [on screen]

Remember, the judgment of some to Hell is sometimes called “the second death.” 

Well, listen to what we learn in Revelation 2:11, “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will never be harmed by the second death.” [on screen] 

Similarly, Revelation 20:6 says, “Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” [on screen] 

Revelation makes it clear that the person who endures in their faith and conquers through Jesus will not experience the judgment of Hell. 

As we heard last week and in the welcome time this morning, God wants us to come to repentance. Again, John 3:16-17 says, “16 For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” [on screen]

We also hear from the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 33:11, “Tell them, ‘As I live—this is the declaration of the Lord God—I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked person should turn from his way and live. Repent, repent of your evil ways!”  [on screen]

Hell is so serious, which is why salvation in Jesus is so important and so beautiful!

If you want to avoid Hell, turn to Jesus! Jesus offers life!

Concluding Thoughts:

Some of us may be tempted to think that God is not just in punishing sinners. However, may we never doubt the holiness and justice of God. 

Psalm 92:15 says, “The Lord is just; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” [on screen]

Psalm 90:11 says, “Who understands the power of your anger? Your wrath matches the fear that is due you.” [on screen]

We all deserve the wrath of God in Hell, but God in His grace offers us forgiveness!

Many of us have such a shallow view of the holiness of God and such a weak view of our own sin that we don’t understand the severity of Hell and our desperate need for salvation. 

Oh, that we would see God for the beauty that He possesses and our sin for the ugliness that it is. Then, we would dread the thought of Hell, for ourselves and for others!

Let’s conclude with this: here’s our bottom line:

Bottom Line: Hell is the ultimate judgment for those who reject God[on screen]


If we reject God and His ways, Hell awaits us. That’s the difficult truth of the matter. 

Francis Chan, in his book Erasing Hell, says this of Hell: 

“I would love to think, as some have suggested, that the Bible doesn’t actually say a whole lot about hell. I would love to stare at my friend’s face when he asked that question we all fear—‘Do you think I’m going to hell?’—and say ‘No! There is no such place! Jesus loves you and wants to heal your pain and turn your sorrows into gladness!’ But the New Testament writers didn’t have the same allergic reaction to hell as I do. Perhaps they had a view of God that is much bigger than mine. A view of God that takes Him at His word and doesn’t try to make Him fit our own moral standards and human sentimentality. A view of God that believes what He says, even when it doesn’t make perfect sense to us.”

Church, we must take God at His word. We must understand Hell. We must turn to Jesus. 

Challenge yourself this week in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

1. Reflect upon the reality of Hell. [on screen]

Take some time this week and reflect upon the reality of Hell.

Thank God for His grace through Jesus. 

If you don’t know Jesus, let the reality of Hell drive you to Him. 

2. Rescue others from the reality of Hell. [on screen]

The reality of Hell should motivate us to offer the only means of escape from terrible judgment: the Gospel of Jesus. 

Share the Gospel this week!


As horrific as the reality of Hell is, it is a biblical reality, it is a Gospel reality, and it is a reality that we must understand. 

Thank God for the Gospel that is our hope in the midst of this horrific reality. The love of God is stronger than the curse of sin. The rewards of God are better than the judgment for sin. 

Be encouraged by Jesus. Seek Him now. 

(Gospel presentation)

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