A couple weeks ago, Ron Reagan, the son of former President Ronald Reagan, recorded a radio spot proclaiming his atheism. In the ad, he announces, “I’m Ron Reagan, an unabashed atheist,” and then goes on to encourage people to join the Freedom From Religion Foundation — “the nation’s largest and most effective organization of atheists and agnostics.” He closes out the ad spot with these words: “Ron Reagan, lifelong atheist, not afraid of burning in hell.”
It is sad to hear someone speaking so glibly about Hell. Hell is a serious matter Allow me to share with you some aspects of Hell that might make you and Ron Reagan think twice about going there.
1. Hell is a place of fiery torment. The Bible says in Matthew 13:41-42 that at the end of time, “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity [sin]; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Revelation 20:15 also says, “Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Imagine that: being burned by fire forever and ever. That is what Hell is like.
2. Hell is a place of terrifying darkness. In Matthew 8:12, Jesus Christ said, “But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” In 2 Peter 2:4, Peter wrote: “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” Hell is a place of utter darkness! In Hell, the darkness is so great and so real that you will be able to feel it. That is what Hell is like.
3. Hell is a place of ceaseless haunting memory. In a true story which Jesus told about a man who died and went to Hell, he expressed the fact that the man could still remember his life on earth even while he was in Hell. In fact, while he was in Hell, Abraham said to this man, “Son, remember that thou in thy life time receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.” While he was in Hell, this man was able to remember all the wrong things he had done, the lifestyle he had led, and the many opportunities he had squandered to avoid ending up in that awful place. His life played over and over again like a broken record in his mind — all of his guilt and regrets in a never-ending sequence. That is what Hell is like.
4. Hell is a place of separation from God. According to First Thessalonians 1:9, those who go to Hell “shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” Whether you are a deist, an atheist, or an agnostic — whether you believe in God or not — one thing is certain: you will be separated from Him if you end up in Hell.
5. Hell is a place of no return. Once a person enters the gates of Hell, there will be no return. In the story which Jesus Christ told about the man who went to Hell, Abraham told this man, “between us (those in Paradise) and you (those in Hell) there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from hence.” In Hell, there is no second chance. There is no more hope. No more grace. No more mercy. No more gospel. No more preachers. And yes, no more God. Once a person, is in Hell, he will be locked in forever. That is the kind of place Hell is like, my friend. I assure you, you do not want to go there.
Ron Reagan is sorely mistaken. No matter what he says now, he will be truly sorry if he ends up in Hell.
+ Plus listen to Lecrae and Suzy Rock singing “No Regrets”
Scientists tell us that atoms are the building blocks of everything in the universe. All matter is made up of atoms. Atoms are so small that you cannot see them. Yet, each of us — and every physical thing — is made up of millions and millions of atoms.
While atoms are the building blocks of physical matter, trust is the building block of relationships and society. Without trust, our world would be paralyzed. Allow me to explain.
When you go to a restaurant and order a meal, you are trusting that the cooks know how to fix the meal in a sanitary fashion so that you will not get sick. When you fly on an airplane, you are trusting that the pilot knows what he is doing in the cockpit and that he will get you and all other passengers to your destination safely. When you go shopping for groceries, you are trusting that the manufacturers have not put poison into the food. When you attend college, you are trusting that the teachers and the textbooks are giving you accurate, useful information. When you receive a prescription from a doctor, you are trusting that the medicine he says you should take will actually help you get better and not make your illness worse.
Whether you realize it or not, you implicitly trust dozens of people each and every day. If people did not have some level of trust in others, our society would not be able to function. In fact, we would not have a society. We would have chaos.
The most important aspect of your life is also based on the simple act of trust in a person — a person whom you cannot see, but is every bit as real as the people you see each day. His name is Jesus Christ, and your trust in Him means the difference between eternal life and eternal punishment.
+ Plus, listen to Hillsong singing “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”
The leader of the free world — vigorous and youthful — smiled and waved at the crowds that had gathered along the motorcade route in Dallas to see their beloved president.
Fifty years ago, this perfect day was suddenly shattered: laughter and joy were replaced by cries of horror. The regal, slow-moving procession turned into an emergency race to the hospital. And thirty minutes later, John F. Kennedy, the beloved leader of the American people, was pronounced dead.
The suddenness of Kennedy’s death shocked Americans across the nation. The president being killed that day was the furthest thing from anyone’s mind. No one anticipated such a horrific event, and no one was prepared for it. Even with dozens of police officers and Secret Service agents on hand, no one had any idea that something like this would take place.
In the weeks, months, and years that followed, various theories about how President Kennedy was killed sprung up. No one seemed to be able to understand — much less, believe — how a book depository employee who was dissatisfied with his life could single-handedly carry-out the assassination of the president of the United States.
The point of all these explanations speak to our desire to not want to have to wrap our minds around the reality that a young, popular president who had a beautiful family and, it seemed, the world on a string could be here one moment — laughing, smiling, and waving — and gone the next, with bloody gunshot wounds to his head and his back.
Yet, this is the world we live in. People are here one day and gone the next; here one moment and gone the next. As the saying goes, “death takes no holiday.” And if death did not spare the most popular president in U.S. history, it certainly will not spare you or me.
For each of us today, it is wise to come to terms with this truth while we have a chance. As the Bible says, “Ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” John F. Kennedy was here for a little while, and on November 22, 1963, he vanished away.
No matter if you live long into your old age and die naturally, or if, unfortunately, you pass from this life many years before your time, the best thing — the only thing — you can do about death is to prepare for it; to make certain of your destination — the place you will go to after you die.
You see, even though, our physical bodies are limited, our spirits are not. Our souls — the real part of us — live on forever. On that fateful day in 1963, John F. Kennedy — the real John F. Kennedy — simply crossed the line between this temporal physical realm and the eternal spiritual realm. In this eternal spiritual realm, Kennedy had a very important meeting to go to — he had an appointment with God.
The Bible says in Hebrews 9:27, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” When you die, you will have to attend the very same appointment that John F. Kennedy attended. You will go to meet God. Allow me to share with you how you can be prepared for this meeting.
+ Plus, listen to Al Green singing “Nearer My God to Thee”
Allow me to read the lyrics to a song titled “Devil’s Pie” by rapper D’Angelo which was popularized in the movie “Belly”.
Forget the slice; we want the pie
Why ask why till we fry
Watch us all stand in line
For a slice of the devil’s pie
Drugs and thugs, women and wine
Three or four at a time
Watch them stand all in line
For a slice of the devil’s pie
These lyrics clearly describe the sinful desires and activities of mankind — taking drugs, being involved in violent gang activity, illicit sexual relationships, and drunkenness. D’Angelo’s song describes people as eager to engage in such activity. They are actually standing in line to get in on the action even though it is detrimental to their well-being.
The Bible describes mankind in much the same way. Isaiah 59:7 says, “Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.” This tendency for sin is something that every person has. D’Angelo goes on to say of himself:
Who am I to justify
All the evil in our eye
When I myself feel the high
From all that I despise
D’Angelo identifies himself as a sinner as well. In fact, all of us can be categorized under that label. We all “feel the high” — the pleasure of sinful action — even though we may come to regret and despise our evil deeds. As the Bible says in Romans 3: “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Just as God’s Word declares that we are all sinners, it also declares that we must all be punished for our sins. Or, as D’Angelo puts it:
Behind the jail or in the grave
I have to lay in this bed I made
If I die before I wake
I hope the Lord don’t hesitate
To get me to heaven
‘cause I’ve done been through hell
Tell my peeps all is well
Dear friend, you and I are held accountable by God for our sinful actions. That is why we suffer from the consequences of sin. Governments punish wrongdoers by sending them to jail. But, the Bible tells us that the “wages of sin is death.” Each and every one of us will die and go to the grave because of our sins. After we die, we will go to one of two eternal destinations — Heaven or Hell — based on a decision we make in this life. Listen to how D’Angelo’s song explains this choice:
Ain’t no justice
It’s just us
Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust
The time has come for most of us
To choose in which God we trust
What is the choice you have to make today? The choice is this: Knowing that one day you will die — your body will return to dust — you must choose now whether or not you will trust God for salvation and deliverance from sin and the consequences of sin, or if you will continue taking slices from the devil’s pie. You must choose between the Lord who can get you into Heaven or the devil’s way which leads to Hell and eternal punishment.
In George Sayer’s biography of the great English writer, C.S. Lewis, he tells the story of the death of Lewis’ mother, Flora, who passed away when C.S. Lewis was only 9 years old. After falling ill, Flora Lewis lay on her death bed. Her husband, Albert, sat with her and tried to comfort her. “In the middle of the night, Albert spoke to her of the goodness of God. Like a flash Flora said to him, ‘What have we done for Him?’”
Those were words that Albert prayed he would never forget.
As she lay with her life draining from her body, Flora Lewis was concerned about one thing — what she had done for God with the time on earth that she had been given. She was not concerned about her personal comfort; she was not concerned about what would become of her material possessions. Her main focus was not even on her family whom she was leaving behind, but on God whom she was going to meet and what she had done for Him.
What matters at the end of our lives is not what kind of house we lived in, what kind of clothes we wore, how much money we had, or what position we held in life. What will matter is our relationship with God and what we have done for Him.
+ Plus, listen to BarlowGirl singing “Beautiful Ending”