Hell has been airbrushed out of America’s consciousness. We’re too respectable now to consider such a thing. We somehow feel that wishing it weren’t true is the same thing as making it disappear. Nice try.
When I was a little fellow, my father and several of his friends spent many evenings, after a long day of work, on street corners preaching the gospel. Sometimes, not always, their message sounded like a fire alarm. But then, they believed there really was a fire.
It’s love that warns, of course. Jesus spoke far more about hell than about heaven. Who would fault a mother for shouting at her children if she saw they were in danger—even if it sounded rude at the time?
I find it strange that people want to believe there’s a heaven but not a hell, even though it’s the same Book that tells us about both. People ask: How could a loving God send people to hell? No one asks: How could a loving God force people into heaven? An everlasting church service, says the God-hater? No way! It would drive them mad.
At least Christians should believe that everyone has a real choice between Jesus being their Savior or Judge. And it should motivate us to get the word out.
William Booth, the Salvation Army founder, wrote: “Most Christians would like to send their recruits to Bible college for five years. I would like to send them to hell for five minutes. That would do more than anything else to prepare them for a lifetime of compassionate ministry.”
That’s what we need—compassionate ministry. “For the love of Christ compels us.” (2 Cor 5:14)
I was with some young evangelists in North Carolina a few years ago. We were sharing the Good News at a community event, and a local radio station decided to have, as the topic for their call-in show, Were Those Evangelists Being Too Pushy? A few callers agreed—before confessing they actually hadn’t made it to the event. Oops!
Then an old timer called. “Is your question, ‘Were these fellows bein’ too pushy?’”
“Yes. What did you think?”
“Well, let’s think about it this way. Suppose you were standin’ on a road and a truck was comin’ but you didn’t know it was comin’ right at you.”
“O.K.” You could tell he didn’t know where the conversation was going, and it unnerved him.
“Now suppose someone pushed you out of the way and saved your life. Would you think he was bein’ too pushy?”
“Well, no, not if he saved my life,” he responded, sounding like an out-of-season deer hunter caught in the game warden’s headlights.
“You see,” the old fellow concluded, “they think you’re in a lot more danger than bein’ hit by a truck. You ought to thank ’em for helping people to git out of the way.” Yes, indeed!
Here are the facts about Heaven’s offer. God loves the world (Jn 3:16); Christ died for all (2 Cor 5:15); the light of truth shines on every person (Jn 1:9); God’s Spirit has been sent into the world to convince everyone they need to trust Him (Jn 16:8); God is a perfect Gentleman and will force no one into heaven; you must come willingly or not at all.
For Heaven’s sake, say Yes!
Jabe Nicholson of Starkville can’t figure out why folks listen to all the bad news but not God’s Good News. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.uplook.tv
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