Would a Good God Send People to Hell?
Know Why You (Can) Believe, Part 8
1. Know that how we live has consequencesLuke 16:19–22 (ESV) 19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried,
2. And that if we die without repenting our fate is irreversibleLuke 16:22–26 (ESV) 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’
3. So we must hear and heed God’s offer of mercy now
Luke 16:27–31 (ESV) 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’ ”
Questions for Discussion:
· What do you think about this statement? “An individual should arrive at his or her own religious beliefs independent of any church or synagogue” Do you agree or disagree and why?
· List some of the reasons that people find hell offensive. Discuss why these reasons are so.
· Do you agree with this statement or not and why: “If God were not angry at injustice and deception and did not make a final end to violence—that God would not be worthy of worship.”
· How might confidence in God’s ultimate judgment lead to less violence among people now?
· If you were to ask 10 people on the street why they think a person might go to hell, what do you think they would say? How would you answer the question?
· Discuss why Abraham replies to the rich man that if his brothers wouldn’t hear Moses and the prophets, they wouldn’t be convinced if someone were raised from the dead. What are the implications of this for our hearing and heeding of God’s word?