Updated: Jul 15, 2021
Jesus Warned about Hell
Hell is a major theme of Jesus preaching. He proclaimed fearful warnings of the separation to come. That at the end would come an eternal separation of the damned from the redeemed. Jesus was a “hell-fire” preacher.
Jesus spoke much and often about hell. He said more about hell than and other topic, including love. And if one combined all that was said by other preachers throughout the Bible about hell, Jesus still said more. He spoke about it consistently. To individuals, to all varieties of gatherings, and to the largest crowds.
In the 28 chapters of the Book of Matthew alone, Jesus warned about hell 42 times.
Hell should be among the first things talked about related to the gospel. Stop and reflect on that person’s destiny. Jesus always did. We must tell the truth about the reality of hell. You must be saved. Saved from what? Saved from hell.
Be saved from eternal punishment. From never-ending punishment and torment.
Churches are reluctant to confront sin. To make people understand that there are consequences for sin.
Matthew 5 records Jesus first sermon at the beginning of his ministry. In it, he warned about the “fiery hell”. But the people already understood. He warned sinners to escape hell – the place of conscious eternal punishment. Salvation is “from” a real place --- hell.
Luke 16:19 tells the Lord’s story about Lazarus and the rich man describing hell. It says the rich man was “in agony” in hell and asked Abraham to send Lazarus to put just one drop of water on his tongue to give him some relief. Abraham said that there is a great chasm fixed between the living and hell and none may cross over.
The Lord said, “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. There was also a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores, who had been placed at his gate, desiring to be fed the crumbs falling from the rich man’s table. Moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores.
“It came to pass that the beggar died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s presence. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham from a distance and Lazarus in his presence. So, he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. For I am tormented in this flame.’ “But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things. But now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf, so that those who would pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ (Mt. 5:19-26)
Hell was created for the devil and his angels. Satan and his demons would live in the lake of fire forever because they rebelled against God. Unbelievers, or sinners, who reject God are in the family of Satan because they rebel against God. They share the same crime and guilt and receive the same punishment. They committed crime against the infinite and holy God and deserve infinite punishment.
The ungodly are forever excluded from God’s presence in a place of continuous punishment. A holy, righteous and just God must punish sin. God’s honor and glory are manifested in the punishment of the wicked.
Hell is a place for people who know God and act against His mercy, grace, holiness, glory ---and will forever. The place for people who don’t believe on Jesus. It is the fate of those who reject Jesus. Sinners who go to hell never repent.
Jesus talked a lot about hell, but Christians seldom do. The eternal punishment of the lost should burden their hearts.
Even to the largest crowds at the height of His popularity, Jesus preached “you’re in danger of hell fire.” It’s a loving act to warn of eternal fire, black darkness and the bottomless pit.
In Luke 13:28, he described hell as a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. Of wailing from hopelessness from hurt beyond repair.
A place with no light. Utter darkness. Smothering and oppressive blackness.
A place of torment. With no rest day or night.
Of pain that results in hopeless wailing. One may call out, but no one hears.
It’s a bottomless pit with no fixed floor. Constant suspension --- a sense of forever falling -- in inky blackness.
And it is forever. The result of sin.
Every 10 seconds, 30 people enter eternity. The majority of those go to hell.
Jesus gave the most complete warning of the eternal horrors of hell in all the Bible. In the Sermon on the Mount, he said there are two entrance gates to life: the broad and the narrow. Then two roads: the wide and the small. Two destinations: destruction or life. Two groups of travelers: the many and the few. Two lifestyles: the Sayers and the doers. And two inevitable ends: be thrown into the fire or enter the Kingdom of Heaven. (Condensed from teaching by Pastor John Barnett)
Jesus warns them to flee! At all costs, avoid the lake of fire. Don’t end up there.
“…wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who are going through it…” (Mt. 7:13) The Judgement is coming. The unrepentant will be cast alive into the fire.
Perhaps the saddest verse in the Bible is Mathew 7:23: But then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice evil.’
In the Matthew 7: 21-23 passage, Jesus here is concluding his long and excellent “Sermon on the Mount’. After declaring profound truths about God’s Kingdom requirements, he directs a stern warning to false disciples. To hypocrites. He tells them how useless it is to call him Lord – to use his name and authority – while living lives of disobedience to his commands.
A mere outward profession of Christ, no matter how remarkable or showy, won’t get a person into heaven. The final judgement is in the Lord’s hands. He alone decides the terms of eternal life and death, and will judge each person accordingly.
And here Jesus stated that plainly. “Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” shall enter the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus knows intimately each person’s heart. He can’t be fooled by an outward show. We can’t just “compliment” Jesus by calling him Lord. It’s necessary to do the will of his Father. To believe in Christ, repent of sin, live a holy life by the power of the Holy Spirit, and love one another. To be set apart for him. It’s a mockery to call Jesus “Lord” when your life fails to conform to his word.
Here Jesus shows hypocrites pleading their cases before him on grounds other than the obedience he demands. Jesus answers that in that great day --- the final judgement day --- secrets of the heart will be revealed. He will expose the charade of their outward religious show.
These false disciples plead to him in great confidence. Lord, don’t you know? I prophesied in your name. But Christ didn’t send them; they only used his name for their purposes. A man may appear to be a gifted preacher, and even help others get into heaven, yet remain shut out himself.
He may cast out devils using Christ’s powerful name, yet be a devil himself. He may perform miracles, but without the justifying faith that works by obedience and love. He may gain man’s approval, but fall short of acceptance by God.
Being saved by grace through faith can get a soul into heaven without him performing miracles. But a person performing mighty miracles --- even using Christ’s name --- yet lacking saving grace is still eternally damned.
Jesus, the One who laid out God’s requirements, will be the one who in the end judges each life by them. As a judge in a courtroom, he here overrules the hypocrite’s frivolous pleas and passes sentence. “I never knew you. Depart from me, you who practice evil.”
Notice that Jesus calls these same ones, who just declared their “religiosity”, workers of evil, and he condemns them.
It’s implied that these false disciples were indeed ones who had been around Jesus. Yet he says, “I never knew you!” He’s saying, “I never owned you as one of mine.” In spite of their public performance, Jesus always knew they had evil hearts. Finally, he puts an end to their charade. “Depart from me, you workers of evil.”
In these days, the Savior still calls sinners to himself for salvation. But on that day of final judgement, he will drive them from him forever. Separated and condemned for the rest of eternity; cut off forever from any hope of salvation.
We must examine our hearts now before God. Make sure we truly are one of his. The consequences are eternal.
People go to hell because they are sinners. Because they are guilty of sin. Hell is about uncleansed, unpaid for sin. But a person can’t pay. Only one spotless, perfect and divine can pay. Jesus took our sin on his body. He bore them on the cross. He is our only hope.
Most choose to deny God and go with the devil into rebellion. They have no hope of salvation.
At the Judgement, the books will be opened and each will be reminded of every sin. Even every idle word. Jesus said, “But I say to you that for every idle word that men speak, they will give an account on the Day of Judgment.” (Matthew 12:36)
“Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:15) In hell, each will see that God is right. They will see that He is infinite and holy, and see their own sinfulness. It is the sin that separates a soul from the Holy God.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 )
God doesn’t want anyone to go to the place of everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Those who practice iniquity and refuse to repent, are cast into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into everlasting life.
A redeemed believers life in heaven is endless. But the death of the wicked in the lake of fire is also endless. They went to hell because they rejected the life-giving Word.
Sin separates a soul from God. Sin keeps you out of His eternal heavenly Kingdom.
Jesus died for sinners. Receive Him and your sins are removed --- past, present, and future.
Ask: if you died instantly, would you wake up to punishing eternal blackness and fire?
Jesus provided those who follow Him a clear example. He warned lost souls about hell. He warned clearly, consistently and continually.
Hell is a real place. A place of darkness and torment, and it is forever without escape. One doesn’t want to end up there.
The good news is that Jesus Christ paid the price in full on the Cross at Calvary. The full payment for all our sins is available to all who believe on Him and receive.
The consequences of that choice are eternal. Everyone ends up either eternally in the presence of God or in the lake of fire. We must warn them.
--- Beverly Nickles
(Acknowledgement: Text contains information gleaned from sermons by Pastors John MacArthur and John Barnett.)