Why did God make Hell?

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by Pastor Wes Gunther

Taking a look at any poll on the subject of Heaven and Hell quickly tells us that the vast majority of people believe in a Heaven (or at least an after life) but very few actually believe in a Hell.  It is often stated today that “a loving God would not send anyone to Hell”.  Hell sounds horrific, and it is.  Hell seems out of character for a God of multiple chances and a God who would die Himself to save His people.  However, the Bible clearly teaches the existence of eternal torment.  So, why did God make Hell?

1. Hell was made for Lucifer and his angels.  (Matthew 25:41)  God made Hell for the eternal torment of Lucifer, the fallen archangel now known as Satan and for his angels that fell with him.  They, in pride, defied the Almighty God and were cast out of Heaven and will find their ultimate destiny in Hell.  Hell was not made for Man.

2. Hell is the result of Justice.  Hell is the result of mankind’s rebellion against God.  Man was made perfect and placed into the Garden of Eden.  He had one simple command: “Of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, thou may not eat”.  Adam and Eve defied God’s command and followed the temptation and advice of Satan, thus following Satan and rebelling against God.  A sin nature has passed down upon all men because of Adam’s sin and we are now “of our father, the Devil”.  Sin is the reason for punishment. A Just God cannot tolerate sin.  A Just God must punish sin.

3. God died Himself to save mankind from Hell.  God Loved Adam and Eve and God still Loves us!  Therefore, God Himself came to earth in the form of a man, lived a perfect life, and died in order to save mankind.  Saved from what?  Saved from the effect of sin, the hold of death, and an eternity in Hell.  God is the one who provided a way of escape from Hell.

4. Hell is the contrast to Holiness.  God is Holy.  Our culture has lost sight of the Holiness and reverence of an Almighty God.  The Holiness of God is the opposite of sin.  God cannot tolerate sin.  The Glory of Heaven is contrasted with the awfulness of Hell.

5. Without Hell, a life in Christ would be less significant.  If there was no Hell, a life in Jesus Christ would have little apparent value.  Why should I be a Christian?  Why do I need to be Saved?  If I just ceased to exist when I died than putting my faith in Jesus Christ would not be significant.  But, because there is a Hell and life is fragile, I better put my life in Christ in order to save my soul from eternal damnation.

6. God gave man the ultimate Choice – Choose Him or Choose Hell.  God gave man the ultimate choice.  They can either choose His free gift and live with Him in a utopian state forever, or they can choose their sin and follow Satan for eternity.  It’s one or the other – no middle ground.  Our culture today wants options.  They want multiple choice – A, B, C, or D.   God has only given us two.  If we choose His way – Heaven.  If we reject His way – Hell.

Underestimating False Information

by Pastor Wes Gunther

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During World War II the British were very effective at using ‘Black Propaganda’ which is better know today as Disinformation – or False Information.  During the War the British began at least two radio stations which both claimed to be broadcasting from Germany. One was geared toward the German citizens and included much information on how Hitler had gone soft and how his government was full of scandal and immorality. The second station targeted the German forces and fed them disinformation on German defeats and casualties – designed of course to lower morale in their military.

Do we think it’s possible that Satan would deploy such tactics?  Could Satan possibly be advanced enough to understand the influence of disinformation?  Of course he understands it and uses it.  Satan is wise and cunning in his attacks.  In the Garden of Eden he immediately took the commandment of God and re-worded it, embellished it, and added a few lies.  “Did God say?”  “You’ll be as gods.”   How is Satan using misinformation today?

1.  False Religions.  Today there are over 4200 religions per a quick internet search.  The truth of God is shrouded in the midst of lies.  No wonder people are turned off to religion of any kind.  No wonder people are so skeptical of the truth.

2. Doctrinal Disputes.  In order for a lie to be effective it must contain some elements of truth.  Doctrinal disputes rage in Christianity.  Clearly Satan is, at the very least, reaping the benefits of the confusion and misinformation that is taught and argued over.  Is the truth in Premillennialsim, Postmillennialsim, Amillennialism, or something else?  Is it Free Will or Pre-ordained?  Eternal Security or is it possible to lose one’s Salvation? Denominations have been formed, split, new ones formed, and split again over these and other arguments.

I am not saying that one side is somehow under ‘Satanic influence’ and therefore the other side is Godly.  I am saying that Satan is still feeding good, educated, well intentioned people misinformation.

3. Plethora of Bible Translations.  A quick internet search reveals that there are at least 450 English translations of the Bible.  Again, let me make myself very clear, I think the vast, vast majority of the scholars that have put together new translations have done so with the very best of intentions.  I believe each one saw a need and attempted to address it.  However, by doing so, we now have a high degree of confusion among many Christians (and non-Christians) that are attempting to read or study the Word of God. There are also many arguments, church splits and denominational differences over the Bible text issue alone.  I think the only one who is getting a kick out of all of this is Satan. If you want everyone to get frustrated and give up on the plan – than give everyone a different set of blueprints.  Not vastly different, just different enough to confuse everyone.

4. Worship Styles.  Churches are automatically defined today by their worship style.  Is it traditional or contemporary?  Do you sing hymns or do you have a praise band?  What – you have both??  The traditional churches think the more contemporary churches have let the world influence them too much.  The contemporary churches think the traditional churches are losing touch with the generation that they are supposed to be winning for Christ.

Mark 9:40 For he that is not against us is on our part.  Let us focus on the lost that need Jesus Christ in their lives.  We’ll let God decide if we are going to sing with electric guitars in Heaven or not and by then the whole Pre-, Post-, Amillennial issue will be a non issue anyway.

How do I surrender to God?

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It seems so easy to just tell people “Surrender you will to God” but how exactly does one do that?  What does it mean to ‘surrender’?  I have wrestled with and studied this topic this week and came to these conclusion from Scripture:

1. Surrender is a choice. When General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate States of America surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant of the United States of America at Appomattox on April 9, 1865 it was a monumental moment in the history of this great country.  This was not an event taken lightly or carelessly.  When the Confederate Army realized that their fight was futile they had no choice but to surrender.  The fight was over and the armies went home.

When we surrender to God it is a significant moment.  We realize that we are “not our own … ye are bought with a price”.  When we stop fighting and just rest in that which God has for us – it is then we find the “peace that passeth all understanding”.

2. Surrender is accepting where I am and what God has done with me. We often look at the subject of the ‘Will of God’ when looking to where God may be directing us.  Often, I believe, we need to understand that the Will of God is accepting right where we are at currently.  Contentment with what God has for me today.  In the book of Genesis we find the patriarch Joseph who learned to be content living almost his entire life in Egypt and serving much of that time in either prison or slavery.  Yet, he was perfectly in God’s Will for his life. Surrender is letting God dictate my circumstances and giving up that control.

4. Surrender is ultimately Humility in action.  If I can honestly “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God” than we are humbling our control and our will to His ultimate Will for our lives.  This really takes the pressure and stress off of our lives when we realize that we are His and we are created for His Glory!  We must be able to say as the hymn writer said years ago My Life is Yours to Control!

5. Surrender is a daily action.  There is a daily battle to want to take control back. Daily we must be surrendering to His will.  We may want to complain, argue, or get angry at the circumstances or changes that have come into my life – yet we must once again surrender to His will and to what He has in store for me.

* Caution:  There is a need to draw some caution here to the fact that we are discussing surrendering to God’s Will in my life in the areas that are out of my control.  Suffering a loss?  Dealing with a disease?  In the midst of a crisis?  Then allow God to control that situation.  However – if we have sinned and put ourselves in a difficult situation – than we need to beg for the mercy of God to assist us in spite of ourselves and pray for His forgiveness for the mess I have created.  As an example: There is a big difference between suffering the loss of a spouse (out of our control) and having lost our job due to negligence or poor work habits (within our control).

 

 

 

 

Consumed with Compassion

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Our church began 2014 by introducing our theme for the new year: Consumed with Compassion!  The Word of God tells us: And of some have compassion, making a difference.

Looking at the story of the Good Samaritan we see several things:

1). Compassion takes a Vision (Luke 10:33).  The Good Samaritan “saw” the need.  He did not look the other way.  We must have eyes that are open to people’s needs.

2). Compassion takes Effort (Luke 10:34).  The Good Samaritan “went” to him.  The needs of people in our society are great.  It takes more than just seeing their need, we must also take the time and effort to go to where they are.

3). Compassion makes our Hands Dirty (Luke 10:34).  The Good Samaritan “bound” up his wounds and poured oil and wine on the injured to help him.  Often the compassionate work we do gets our hands dirty either literally or figuratively.  It takes going to difficult situations and help difficult people.

4). Compassion takes Time (Luke 10:34-35).  The Good Samaritan put him on his own beast, took him to the inn and then “took care of him”.  The Word of God also tells us that he stayed the night and did not leave until the “morrow”.  Personal Sacrifice is the cost of compassion.

5). Compassion demand Follow up (Luke 10:35).  The Good Samaritan vowed to come back that way again and see if there were any further needs that he could meet.  He did not help and leave forever, but rather helped and than came back to help some more if need be.

Let’s be Consumed with Compassion!