Sermon:  Snapshots of Hell

Summary:  The Bible provides some snapshots of Hell that could be described as a city 
dump, incinerator, isolation ward, and bottomless pit.  These describe various kinds 
of suffering which include emotional, physical, and spiritual pain and anguish.  But 
God provides a means of rescue through the Gospel of Christ because he does not want 
anyone to be lost.  It is now up to us to accept it through faith, repentance, and 

Text:  Various

Scripture Reading:  2 Pet 3:8-9

1.  The say a picture is worth a thousand words - That is what Art is about
	a.  Art is not supposed to be an actual likeness, but an expression or 
	b.  Some things can be expressed so much more effectively with a picture
	c.  Jesus use word pictures in his teaching, especially with hard topics
		-  He referred to himself as the bread of life
		-  He referred to the Holy Spirit as an eternal spring of living water
		-  He referred entering the Kingdom as being "born again"  
2.  He also used word pictures to describe what happens at the end of life (Mt 13)
	a.  Mt 25:31 - Will separate the sheep and the goats
	b.  Mt 13:24-30 - Will separate the wheat from the tares
	c.  (Mt 13:47-50) - Will separate the good fish from the bad fish
	d.  What do all of these have in common?  Separation process
3.  Not a pleasant topic to talk about Hell
	a.  Matt 13:51 - Jesus asks, "Have you understood all these things?"
		- In other words, do you understand there will be a separation?
		- Not everyone will be treated the same in the end  
		- There is both a Heaven AND a Hell
	b.  Is fashionable today to deny the existence of Hell
		- Some will accept existence of Heaven, but not Hell
		- But, if God is just, and there is such a thing as justice, then there 
		  has to be a Hell
		- What about the raping, child-molesting, murdering criminals who 
		  show to remorse?  Do they go to Heaven too?
		- You see, if there was no Hell, then God would not be just at all
	c.  So, Hell does exist, the Bible says it does
4.  What if you could send a camera to Hell and take some snapshots from various vantage points?
	a.  What would it look like, how would you describe it?
	b.  The Bible gives us some snapshots we will look at
	c.  Snapshots of Hell

I.  A city dump
	A.  Most people don't usually think of the city dump
	B.  Look at the where the word Hell in original language
		1.  Hell is from the Greek word Gehenna, 
			a.  A transliteration of the Aramaic "Ge-Hinnam" 
			b.  In Hebrew is "Ge-Hinnom" 
			c.  A deep valley outside of Jerusalem
		2.  A little background - Valley of Hinnom the site of pagan worship
			a.  Ahaz and Mannasseh authorized pagan worship of 
			     Molech that included child sacrifices, 2 Chr 28:3; 33:6.
			b.  Jeremiah prophesied at Valley of Hinnom, Jer 19:1f
				- It would be called the Valley of Slaughter
				- Be so full of corpses, vultures would eat carcass
				- Because they sacrificed to other gods and child 
				  sacrifices, which were an abomination  
				- Had filled that place with the blood of the innocent
				- Even Jerusalem would be defiled like Topheth, the 
				   site of pagan worship in the valley
			c.  Defiled like Topheth came from what Josiah did
				- He initiated reform throughout the land
				- Tore down all pagan shrines, killed prostitutes in the 
				  house of the Lord, killed pagan priests
				- He also defiled Topheth in the Valley of Hinnom
				- Not sure how he defiled it, but the purpose was to 
				   make it unsuitable for any kind of worship
			d.  Eventually, valley of Hinnom became the city dump
				- People brought refuse, trash, garbage
				- They would burn their trash there - fires of Gehenna
				- Became a detestable, stinking place
		3.  Became one of the pictures for the place of eternal destruction
			a.  Hell, or "Gehenna" or "Valley of Hinnom"
			b.  Place of those who were unfaithful to God
			c.  Place where the unfaithful were destroyed
			d.  Place where the trash is burned
		4.  What a miserable, dismal image
			This picture indicates one of the types of suffering in Hell
	C.  ILL:  Think about the image
		1.  Have you ever been to the city dump, a landfill?
			a.  I can remember going out to the city landfill
			b.  We didn't want to stick around, it stank 
		2.  Do you feel bad about dumping trash at landfill?  No
			a.  Why don't you feel bad?
			b.  Because it is broken, useless, trash
			c.  You don't feel bad about dumping the trash
		3.  Think about how counselors deal with people
			a.  Self image, self worth from how God sees you
			b.  He sent his only son so that you can be redeemed
			c.  He gave the very best for you
			d.  God places high value on you
		4.  Not true in Hell
			a.  You have been dumped as worthless, stinking trash
			b.  You are nothing more than refuse in an eternal dump
			c.  Weeping and gnashing of teeth.  What is that from?
				- Not just physical suffering, could be mental suffering
				- Sound of frustration, regret
					= Make that sound when fail test because you 
					   crammed at the last minute
					= Make that sound when you have to run in 
					   basic training as punishment
					= Make that sound when you try new recipe
				- For us on earth, this sound is temporary
 					= We learn from our mistakes
					= There is always next time
				- But in Hell, there is no next time
					= Gnashing regret goes on forever
					= "How could I have been so stupid!"
					= I had the opportunity but did nothing!
					= Arrrgh! 
	D.  One of the types of suffering in Hell is emotional/mental
		1.  There you sit, as trash in the city dump, no hope, no tomorrow
		2.  Nothing but regret, remorse, weeping, gnashing for eternity
		3.  What a horrible picture.  But that is not the only picture...
II.  An incinerator
	A.  Bible described Hell as a place of physical torment
	B.  (Lk 16:19-26) - Story of rich man and Lazarus
		1.  Rich man died, and now he is in the flames with no relief
		2.  Said "I am in agony in this flame"
		3.  All he wanted was just a drop of water
		4.  In all of Hell, there is not one drop of water
	C.  ILL:  Have you ever burned yourself before?
		1.  Maybe on a hot car engine, taking something out of the oven, 
		     spill hot grease on self, etc.
		2.  At Corner Pharmacy, I burned my fingers on the grill cleaning it
			a.  What did I do, I pulled it away quickly
			b.  Went to the sink, ran cold water over it
			c.  If it was bad enough, I would put burn cream on it
		3.  When you burn self, it only last for an instant, but it hurts
			a.  You run cool water on it, doctor it, band aid on it
			b.  Soon the burn heals
	D.  In Hell, there is physical torment with no relief at all
		1.  Rev 19:20 - Refers to final judgment as lake that burns with fire 
		      and brimstone
			a.  That would be like an endless pit of lava
			b.  Lava can easily get to over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit
			c.  Imagine being immersed into that!
			d.  Would burn up instantly
		2.  Rev 14:11 - Smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, 
		     and there is no rest for them day or nigh
			a.  Okay, so you burn, but you don't burn up
			b.  Like Lazarus said, you will be in continual agony
		3.  There no cool water, no salve, no novocain, no motrin, just pain
		4.  What a horrid, terrifying picture  

III.  An isolation ward
	A.  In other words, there will be no friendship, fellowship, camaraderie
	B.  Some say just that opposite, that Hell will be full of good times, 
		1.  Poker, parties, laughter, music, good fellowship with freinds 
		2.  ILL:  Song - "Highway to Hell"   by ACDC -Sounds cool
			a.  Here are some of the phrases in the song
			b.  Goin' down, party time, my friends are gonna be there, 
			     too.  I'm on the highway to Hell, (repeat)
			c.  No stop signs, one's gonna slow me down, Hey 
			     Satan, paid my dues...
			c.  ...Hey momma, look at me, I'm on my way to the 
			     promised land
		3.  So... going to hell is a place of freedom, happiness, party 
			      time, and friends
		4.  This is a bald face lie!
			a.  Hell is a place of Torment, not fun and friends
			b.  Nothing more than Wishful thinking
	C.  Look at Lazarus' only relational thought (Lk 16:26-31)
		1.  Lazarus didn't want any friends or family in Hell with him
		2.  They would offer no comfort
		3.  Only serve to increase his suffering and anguish
	D.  ILL:  Many years ago, I had ear surgery
		1.  I in pain afterwards, I was not friendly to nurses, almost rude
			a.  A lady from the church came by to visit
			b.  Stacey told me, I said for her to just go away
			c.  I was rude, did not want visitors, I was in pain
		2.  People will be all wrapped up in their own emotional and 
		     physical pain and anguish
			a.  Will be weeping, gnashing of teeth
			b.  No one is going to care about their neighbor
			c.  There will be no bearing of one another's burdens
		3.  Any fellowship, friendship, love, support - just distant memory
		4.  What a horrid, gloomy image

IV.  A bottomless pit
	A.  Scripture sometimes speaks of the "abyss" or "bottomless pit"
		1.  This is nothing any of us have ever experienced
		2.  Some of us have fallen before
		3.  But we always landed on something
	B.  Bottomless pit expresses what I will call spiritual suffering
		1.  (2 Thess 1:6-10) - Eternal destruction away from presence of 
		      the Lord
			a.  Someone may say - I am away from him now, so what?
			b.  But you live on his earth, breath his air, his sunshine, etc
			c.  You truly are not away from his presence even if you 
			     think that you are
		2.  Mt 5:45 - Right now, everyone lives in a time of grace
			a.  He causes sin to rise on the evil and the good
			b.  Sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous
			c.  No matter how bad it is, there is still good in the world
			d.  Sun still comes up in the morning
		3.  I don't think you can fathom being away from his presence
			a.  No one has ever truly been away from his presence
			b.  Perhaps that is the essence of Hell - No God
			c.  All you have is everything that is the opposite of God
	C.  ILL:  Remember as kid - taught that God keeps evil at bay
		1.  Some people think of Satan as a killer dog on a leash
			a.  Remember a preacher talking about a mean dog on leash
			b.  There was a circle around it where nothing grew
			c.  That is how it is with Satan, God doesn't allow him to go 
			     and do whatever he pleases
		2.  God does not allow evil to run amok in the world
	D.  Not so in Hell - God is not there in Hell to restrain anything
		1.  Think of the image of the abyss, the bottomless pit
			a.  You are falling, further and further and further away
			b.  Distance does not get shorter, only infinitely longer
		2.  Also called the outer darkness
			a.  We don't like extended periods of darkness
				- Long periods of gray, rainy days, glad when sun 
			  	  come out
				- Or when days get short in winter, glad when sun 
				  comes back
			b.  Imagine instead of gray day, or short day, NO DAY
			c.  The blackness of Hell is something you can't imagine
		3.  They say weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the 
			a.  Not so in Hell - Morning never comes!
			b.  Idea of the outer darkness is terror, futility, confusion, 
		4.  This is spiritual suffering - the total, stark, absence of God and 
		      all that he represents

1.  Does anyone want to go to Hell?  Of course not
	a.  These snapshots are designed to show us how we not want to go
	b.  Hell is like a city dump, incinerator, isolation ward, bottomless pit
2.  What keeps you out of Heaven and puts you into Hell?  Sin.
	a.  Bible says all of sinned, Rom 3:23
	b.  There is nothing you can do to erase your sin
	c.  But there was something God could do
3.  Scripture reading, 2 Pet 3:8-9 says God is not willing for any to perish
	a.  He has done everything he could to provide a way for you to stay out of 
	b.  The next step is yours
	c.  It begins with faith and repentance that leads to baptism (inv)
4.  If you already have repented and been baptized, consider your family, friends, 
	a.  Do you want them to wind up in the city dump?  Of course not!
	b.  You know what they need, the Gospel of Christ
	c.  God loves them so much he gave his son so that they too can be 
	      granted repentance and forgiveness
	d.  They need to hear the good news, and you can share it
		- Sunday evening we are going over a good way to do so