Week 6: What is Hell



  • Rob Bell: “Of all the billions of people who have ever lived, will only a select number ‘make it to a better place’ and every single other person suffer in torment and punishment forever? Is this acceptable to God? . . . Does God punish people for thousands of years with infinite, eternal torment for things they did in their few finite years of life?  This doesn’t just raise disturbing questions about God; it raises questions about the beliefs themselves . . . If there are only a select few who go to heaven, which is more terrifying to fathom: the billions who burn forever or of the few who escaped this fate? . . . What kind of faith is that? Or, more important: what kind of God is that?”
  • Rob Bell is completely out of line. He was a pastor of a church that posed the question, “If God is so good and so loving, how does he send people to hell?” His answer? There isn’t one. This view is totally wrong, and very damaging.
  • It’s important for us to understand what hell is because we live in a culture today that questions it. Our culture holds weird, twisted views and it really just isn’t talked about often.
  • We are seeing more and more people who claim to be believers who are questioning if the bible is true. But the issue with this is, once we open the door, everything is on the table. If one thing isn’t true, then it falls apart and none of it is true.
  • The truth of who God is and who he isn’t is being challenged more and more. This is why it’s so important for us to spend time in the word—so we can know what God says about these things and about himself.
  • It’s tempting to avoid these topics because it will bring consequences for us. Grace is easy to explain and easy to understand. His mercy is easy to grasp. But sometimes it’s hard to talk about the other side of the gospel. And because we don’t understand it, we don’t understand the consequences.
  • To understand the truth of who God is, we can’t just focus on the good. We need to talk about the ugly, the other side of it, in order to understand how good God is.
  • Matthew 25:31
  • What do we know about hell?
  1. It’s eternal.

-Hell is complete separation from God. It is the most painful separation imaginable. When Jesus was on the cross, he was separated from God, and it hurt deeply. He was one with God, and then God turned away from him. He was separated that way so we could be united with God in eternity. If we dismiss the topic of hell, we don’t understand the cost of the cross, what Jesus did to bring us to God.

-God doesn’t joyfully send people to hell, because God is a God of unity. He does not wish that any should be separated from him. It’s not in his character. We choose to go there.

-sin is making something besides God our ultimate value and worth. These things will enslave us and send us to hell. We chose to serve another God, and this sends us to hell. God is pursuing you up until the very end, but if we don’t turn, we end up in the place of god that we’re chasing.

-Ephesians 2:1-3

-It’s not that God sends, but that we choose to go.

-Genesis 1. God’s Spirit is hovering over the face of the waters, over the nothingness. He does the same with us: his Spirit hovers over us, pulling us to know him. The issue arises when the people don’t turn toward what is pulling them—God.

-Romans 1:25. These people chose to follow and serve the creature rather than the creator. People don’t want to submit. They would rather have freedom instead of salvation.

-“Hell is the greatest monument to human freedom.” -C.S. Lewis

-It is so important to preach the gospel to ourselves regularly, and to understand the weight of the consequences of sin—we have the answer for true freedom. We know the truth and what will truly set them free. And to know that those who don’t know this freedom will spend an eternity separated from God in torment should drive us to share the truth of the gospel with them.

-It cost somebody something to get you to the truth of the gospel; someone had to give something up to take the truth to you.

-We have to share the gospel, not just because it’s a cool thing, but because we know what the endgame is for those who don’t know it.

-We live in the comfort of the gospel, while people outside are living in bondage. That’s why we have to talk about this comfort. We have the tool that releases the captives from slavery.

-People say that there’s a lot of ways to God. It seems like an inclusive way to talk, but really it’s not.

-Universal religion of humankind is: we develop a good record and give it to God and then we think he owes us.

-The gospel says: God develops a good record and gives it to us, and then we owe him.

-Being a good person does not entitle us to live a life with him. Why? Because of sin.

-The idea that all good people can go to heaven is actually exclusive, and the gospel inclusive. Why? Because if all the “good” people can get into heaven, then all the “bad” people are left outside; only the “good” get in. But in the gospel, we all have one thing in common: we are sinners, in desperate need of a savior. Anyone can enter into that, and all are united by that.

-“My God is too loving to pour out any suffering on anyone who sins” -Rob Bell

-this minimizes the gospel. If sin wasn’t a big deal, then why would Jesus have to come and die? This belief takes the gospel and throws it down. It belittles the great work of the cross.

-the more we understand what the consequence should have been, the more love we have for Jesus. The more I understand what Jesus took away on the cross, the more I am able to worship him.

-Would we not only understand the gospel, but take it seriously, and take it to people who don’t know it.

-The fact that people outside of the gospel are sons of disobedience, following the power of satan, should prick us. It should cause us to be urgent in the way we carry and share the gospel.

-Begin to pray that God would soften your heart to this truth, that it would break your heart because it breaks God’s.

-Proudly proclaim the truth of the gospel to yourself and to others.

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