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2 Thess. 1:6-10 – The Reality of Hell

December 26, 2008

Read 2 Thess. 1:6-10
Intro. – Tenn. Football game – 100,000+ people there! Then 2nd largest attend. in Tennessee history!
Background – Paul writing to persecuted church-God seemed to have forsaken them – Paul tells them vs 5 persecution was indication that God was fitting them for heaven…but God will judge those that persecuted the believers and tells how in 6-10
-Verses 11, 12 Paul encourages them to continue in their calling and work of faith –- Part of this calling and work will be fulfilling the Great Commission..it’s in this light that I want us to learn from this passage….
Why the doctrine of hell should motivate our evangelistic endeavors for these people:
Hell…
1)    …is real and necessary –scripture teaches both aspects–
A)    Real – vs 9  – lang. ascribed to it as a physical place as is heaven-given characteristics –read list- it is just as real as “God’s presence” in vs. 9
B)    necessary to vindicate God’s wrath –vs 6a  – “for after all it is only just/right”  Illust. – I use to say I wish it wasn’t true, but that’s wrong..be/c that is saying God picked a wrong way for punishing evil and thereby doesn’t get the highest glory for it…see Romans 9- God glorified in showing either mercy or justice!!
**Why is hell necessary to vindicate his wrath?
1)    because they don’t know Him – vs 8 – heaven is not the default destiny of those who don’t know about God, Ephes. 2—‘by nature children of wrath” -why must go into all the world, even here in Louisville!!! Personal examples! If u don’t do it here, going somewhere else doesn’t make u a missionary!
2)    they have rejected God’s offer of salvation –vs 8
-However, God’s wrath can be averted if they are brought to the cross!
2ndly, hell should motivate us evangelistically because it is…
3)    ….exacting in its punishment – vs 8 – retribution “pay back” People will not get off lightly – must tell them – God will not wink at their sin –  How is it exacting?
A)    eternally destructive – Destroy=ruin – Why eternal? Nature of crime..against eternal God, therefore an eternal sin!
Illustr. – Ever heard people say,  “They were suffering, best that they died” Really?!
B)    eternally separated –
1)    from God – 9b – the essence of hell
2)    from mankind – vs 10 – God glorified in His saints, they are excluded
Separation is the essence of death! *”wages of sin is death-whether it is physical or spiritual!”
*we need to feel the danger of their position to help motivate us to action!
3rdly, hell motivates us to be evangelistic because it is a…
3)….Place where there is no hope—hopeless – the end of the road, no second chances –described as eternal (vs 9) same word used to describe how long we will be in heaven!
Illustr. – Alfred Hitchcock example –woman in grave
Illustr. – Lazarus – not even a drop of water! For one moment!
4thly,  hell will motivate us to evangelism …
4)…If we think of it when we think about heaven and/or Christ’s return –vs. 7, 10 – doesn’t mean we are always morbid or constantly dwell on it but neither should we always focus solely on (+) aspects of his return – Dualism–want Him to return, but not!
Why should we at times think of hell when we think of heaven/His return?
a)    it raises our level of gratitude
b)    it reminds us danger others are in and not to get comfortable in our present state “eternal security” “I’m safe, so I am not so worried about others.”
Illustr. – SARS epidemic in China, “God called me” but now backing out “Loved their lives not even to death.” Rev. 12:11   What’s more imp., your physical life/death, or their spiritual death?
5thly, hell should motivate us to be evangelistic be/c it is…
5) Fast approaching – vs 10 “ when He comes” not IF!!!  Illustr. – when are we to expect His return? How close have you ever been from getting killed in car wreck, accident, etc? This is also true of lost people. Within 100 years, even 80 years everyone in here will be lying in a grave somewhere.
Life is uncertain, judgement is for sure ….Illustr. – Didn’t witness to ones at clinic, then died! BO “How do you live with that?” Same way we all walk by future inhabitants of eternity and turn our cheeks to their need for Christ!
Conclusion –
1)    Like Ezekiel, will you stand in the gap? Do you have blood on your hands? Will you? Is there someone God has put on your heart to witness to and you haven’t? Is witnessing a regular part of your life? Or, are you comfortable allowing people to go to hell without you warning them? People ask me, “where do I get my boldness to witness to people?” I’m scared like you, but I think I am more scared for the people who don’t realize what awaits them without Christ.
2)    Do you know for sure you are saved? Sins forgiven? Hell awaits those of vs. 8

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