Responding to SufferingHow do you feel when your life is interrupted by suffering and adversity?
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Mark 9:43-48 But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, He’s the one to fear (Luke 12:5).
In 1971, John Lennon wrote a song about heaven and hell. The British public voted ”Imagine” their nation’s favorite song in 1999, and it earned Lennon a Grammy Hall of Fame Award that same year. The song also ranked number 3 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (2004).
Lennon wrote: “Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try. No hell below us. Above us only sky. Imagine all the people. Living for today . . .”
For more than 40 years, “Imagine” has influenced people to believe that since there’s no heaven or hell, “living for today” is all there really is to life.
But the lyrics don’t reflect reality. There isa heaven and a hell. In fact, Jesus spoke repeatedly of hell (Matthew 5:22,29-30, 10:28, 23:33; Luke 12:5, 13:28, 16:23).
Highlighting the dangers of a “living for today” philosophy, Jesus warned that no pleasures of sin today are ever worth the punishment of hell. He also ominously described hell as a place of “unquenchable fires . . . where the maggots never die and the fire never goes out” (Mark 9:43-48). Repeatedly, Jesus spoke of “outer darkness, [and fiery furnace], where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12; see also Matthew 13:42,50, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30).
Christian philosopher C. S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain acknowledged that the doctrine of hell is a horrible doctrine. He would willingly remove it from Christianity if it were in his power. But, the question isn’t whether it’s detestable but whether it’s biblical.
We have the good news andthe bad news to tell. The good news is that God offers us a place in heaven. The bad news is that if you reject His offer of heaven, your destination of hell is worse than you could ever imagine (John 3:18,36).
Read Revelation 19:20, 20:10,14-15, and 21:8 to see what this book says about hell and who will be sent there.
Why would you agree or disagree that hell is a horrible teaching of the Bible? In sharing your faith, would you bring up the subject of hell? Why or why not?
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