Text: Ezekiel 9:1-11
Theme: Hell Is Unthinkable… So Is Forgiveness
Both Are Real!
I have to be honest, I’m not very happy with my sermon this morning… It’s not because I’m not prepared. And it’s not because I really struggled with writer’s block, like I sometimes do. It’s not because the reading from Ezekiel has nothing important to talk about. I’m not very happy with my sermon this morning because this morning I have to talk to you about hell…
Hell, a word that is easy enough to say, but an idea that is almost unfathomable. I mean, I get the idea of suffering for sins, but what I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around is what those first moments in hell must be like, what it means to wake up and realize that “this is never going to end.” I just can’t even imagine what it is like to realize that you are completely separated, forever, from comfort, and peace, and hope, and laughter.
Hell, a word that is easy enough to say, but an idea that makes me cringe, because I know people, I love people, who, if they died today, would find themselves suffering in hell forever. It physically makes me sick to think of all those babies being aborted across our country, knowing that the Bible makes no promises of salvation apart from baptism and faith in Jesus, those babies never had that chance! It’s enough to make me sick, thinking of the billions of atheists and pagans all around the world: mothers and daughters, old men and infants just living their lives diligently and peacefully, but all of them are marching straight down the path to hell.
Hell, a word that is easy enough to say, but an idea that’s so horrible, so unthinkable, that I can’t help but sympathize with the very common complaint, “How could a good God send people to hell?” I read in Ezekiel about a God commanding that his angels “kill without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children,” I read about a God calling for his temple courts to be “filled with the slain,” and I shudder. There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to preach about this.
But let’s dig in this morning and see if this gut reaction to the idea of an eternal hell is justified. Let’s look at the record of Ezekiel and Jerusalem again… Continue reading