I’m not sure how I’m going to write this post.     But I know I have to try.

Church yesterday morning was, well, for lack of a better term, “Whoa!”   

Not “Whoa” as in, slow down there, you’re getting ahead of yourself.    Or “whoa, cut that out!”

“Whoa” as in,  “I  had never thought of it that way.”

“Whoa” as in, “that makes so much sense and that really impacts my life”

“Whoa” as in, “my older 13 year old was still thinking and talking about what Pastor Dave said later that night.”

So, what was this amazing sermon and service about? 

Luke 16:19-26 – The story of Lazarus and the rich man.   You know the story?   The poor beggar outside of the rich man’s house – but yet the rich man does nothing to help?

Then the tables turn – Lazarus dies and goes to heaven.   The rich man dies and goes to hell.   From hell, he begs Abraham to send Lazarus back to warn his brothers to repent.    Abraham said, “they have the prophets, they’ll be fine.   If they don’t believe because of them, they won’t believe.”   (Obviously paraphrased and shortened)

So what’s so “Whoa!” about that?    A couple of things:

  • The teaching of Hell makes you more peace filled.   Why?  Because you know that God settles scores.   Justice prevails.   It always has and it always will.   It won’t always prevail here on this earth, but it will prevail.   Justice prevailed for Lazarus once he got to heaven.   Justice prevailed against the rich man when he got to hell.
  • John  Lennon had it wrong.   He sang, “Imagine there’s no heaven.”   If there was no heaven and no hell, there would be no justice in this world.   If there was no justice, there would be no peace.
  • Don’t let bitterness corrupt your soul if justice is not granted in this world.   Hell is real and God will make it right – in His time, not our time.

God will make it right because He sent His Son to hell to make sure that justice will prevail.    He sent His Son to suffer because He loves us.   He loves us with a very costly and overwhelming love.

A love that changes us.   He did that for me?

Yes, He did THAT for you.   And for me.    And for your neighbor and the couple down the street and the orphans in Uganda and………

Because of that costly love, we do a couple of things differently:

  • We fight injustice with an eternal outlook.   Yes, we want to bring justice here and now but we know that God settles scores and He will bring justice.   In His time.
  • We look at the struggles of our daily lives differently.   We know that God’s got this.
  • We don’t let bitterness corrupt our souls.   There are so many evil and corrupt things in this world that could turn us into bitter people if justice isn’t “done” here and now.   God’s love overwhelms that desire.

So, “Whoa!”   Because God sent Jesus to Hell, because of that crazy love that He has for us, we can live with an eternal peace that comes from knowing that God’s justice will prevail.

“Whoa!”

Tom

P.S. If you want to listen to the entire sermon, go to: http://www.madisonsquarechurch.org/sermondownloads/2014-10-26-AM_Square-Campus_Foundation-Matters-Jesus-and-Hell.mp3