Love and Hell Don’t Mix, Do They?
Bible Reading: Luke 16:19-31
Anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15
“You can’t say that word!” yelped Micah’s friend.
Micah looked puzzled. “What word? Hell? I was just explaining how the Bible says that hell is . . .”
“Don’t say that word!” his friend interrupted.
“How come?” Micah asked. “I wasn’t using it as a swearword.”
Your friends may not mind joking about hell. But if you start talking about it the way the Bible does, explaining that there really is a hell, your friends may get upset. Hey-if God is so totally loving, your friends want to know why he made a place where people will be separated from him forever. And why does he send people to such a terrible place?
Good questions. The Bible says that Jesus—who loved the world enough to die for it—will one day bring “judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). That’s the place we know as hell.
Hell can be hard to understand and even harder to explain, but here’s the most important thing we can know about it: Hell is a choice.
See, God won’t force anyone to love him. We choose to love or not to love God. His plan for saving people through Jesus is to do everything within his loving power to invite us to love him.
Yet when people totally refuse to accept God’s welcoming love, he doesn’t take away their freedom. He won’t force people into heaven if they don’t choose to hang out with him for eternity. So hell is the place where a very patient God sends those who refuse to obey him and go his way. He’s tried to win them, but in the end he says, “Okay, have it your way!”
Hell is a choice, but the Bible leaves no doubt about how bad it will be. It’s a place far away from God, his people, and everything good.
Hell is a choice nonbelievers will have to live with forever. That’s why God gives us the task of talking to people around us who don’t believe in him. He wants us to help them know that Jesus is God’s Son, and he came to be their Savior and King!
TALK: Is hell real? Is it unfair? How does it actually show us God’s great love?
PRAY: Lord, don’t let us miss an opportunity to share the love of Christ with our unbelieving friends, so they can enjoy heaven with us.
ACT: Discuss how you can wisely explain to someone who hasn’t trusted Jesus why there needs to be a place like hell.