TRANSCRIPT | Sunday, November 8, 2020 | Hell Isn’t For You

 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Thank you, Jesus. Aren't you glad to know who He is? Come on. I need somebody who knows who He is. Anybody saved and you know it on a Sunday morning. You say I know who He is.

I know who He is. I want you to pray with me this morning. Father, we are so grateful for your presence. So grateful to know who you are. That Father you have revealed yourself to us in a variety of ways. We know you as the giver of our salvation. We know you as the provider of our deliverance. We know you God as the one who has imparted healing into our lives. We thank You, Father God, that even in moments such as this one where we just begin to corporately worship you, the Lord. Because we are gathered together in your name, you will reveal your presence in our midst. That's your promise to us. So God, we receive your presence. And we thank you Father, that we don't have to leave this moment the way we came, but that Father, God, you can do what only you can do. So have your way Lord. In Jesus’ name, this church said, Amen and Amen. You may be seated this morning. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I want you to look over at somebody and let them know you are in the right place at the right time. Man it is so so good to see you this morning. Appreciate Chris and the team leading us. Your normal worship pastor, Pastor Jaron, he's in wisdom teeth mode. Oh, my. It sounded painful. I was like better you than me, brother. But I expect he's gonna come back really wise, don't you think Chris? Come on let Chris and the team know how much you appreciate them this morning. Amen.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I'm gonna dive into the word here in just a moment. Right before I do, a couple of things I would like to do first. It's my understanding that this week we as a nation get to honor veterans. And so I thought that it would be appropriate to just have all of our veterans stand to their feet. So can all of our veterans just stand for a moment, all of our veterans. Come on, let these men and women know that you love them, and that you appreciate them. I mean, amen. Thank you for your service. Thank you for giving us this nation to live in, and the freedom that we have. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

The other thing that I want to share with you this morning is just a reminder that as we move into the month of November, and as we approach Thanksgiving, our church is going to be serving the community by providing Thanksgiving meals, We'll have a shopping experience set up at each of our locations, Russell springs, Columbia, Campbellsville. And people will be able to come in and with dignity, be able to select the products that they would like to take and then prepare for their family for Thanksgiving. You can sponsor a family for $26. So basically, for $100, you can sponsor four families. And I just want you to keep that in mind as you choose to give today and to worship the Lord that you're giving. A reminder about you're giving, you can do that by mailing it to PO Box 399, Columbia, Kentucky; or you can drop it in one of the giving kiosks that we have set up around the facility, or you can go to 3trees.com, or you can text to give. We are learning that some of the providers have some kind of a glitch with the text to give function right now. So if you'd prefer to give digitally you can go to 3trees.com. I shared this on Wednesday night, we had a handful of serve team members together at our Columbia location. And, I'll give you guys on a Sunday morning before the end of the year, hopefully a more detailed recap. But you are literally into the thousands of people that you have impacted since just COVID started. And I want to thank you for being the church. I want to thank you for investing and changing people's lives. We are called and ordained of God to meet needs. And you guys generosity is making that possible. And so I just wanted to say thank you. 


 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Today I get to launch a new series. It's entitled Jesus said it. Jesus said it. I'll read a text a little bit further down into the message. But I have lost count of how many people have asked me, what do you think about all of this? I mean over the last few weeks and months just over and over again, people asking that question; what do you think about all of this? I'd be more than glad to give you my opinion. As I'm sure you would be glad to give me your opinion. In fact, I would say you've probably given your opinion a few times. But more than I want to know what you have to think about it, or what I have to think about it, I want to know what God thinks about it. And one of the things that I have found myself doing over the last few weeks and months is just diving into the Gospels, and really beginning to evaluate how Jesus approached his preaching ministry, and what he had to say about specific things that were happening in his culture. You know, Jesus was a master communicator. Jesus had an ability to get a point across. If Jesus wanted to make a statement, He knew how to do it. In fact, Scripture goes as far as to say that Jesus is the Word of God embodied in flesh in the earth.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

There's a place in Scripture that I think's worth talking about, as we get ready to dive into this this morning just to further validate the fact that Jesus can make a point when He wanted to.

It's recorded in John 7. And here's the way it's unfolding. There is a mass gathering. People have come from all over the nation to Jerusalem, and they're partaking of a feast. And at this particular feast, it was about seven days long. But on the last day, they had this extremely ceremonial thing that they would do. And the way it would work is that people would take a golden pitcher over to the Pool of Siloam. And then they would march this golden pitcher through the streets of Jerusalem until they got to the altar. And then they would pour out this water on the altar. And the reason they did it was to symbolize the way that God provided for the Hebrew people when they were in the wilderness. You may remember the story that He not only gave them manna to eat, but He provided water that came from a rock. And so every year, the Hebrew people out of honor and respect for what God had done in their life, would revisit this moment. And one of the things that was known to happen is that as the priest got ready to pour the golden pitcher of water on the altar, everyone would go silent, completely quiet. And they would listen to hear the water strike the altar. It was just a significant moment for the Hebrew people. And it is believed that it's in this moment of holy Hush, it's in this moment of everybody being quiet, that Jesus does and says what is recorded in John 7:37, “On the last day of the Feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, if anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink, whoever believes in me as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.: What 1 Corinthians 10:4 teaches us about this moment is that Jesus was making a statement as the Son of God. And what He was telling this audience is you are here to honor a rock that Moses struck, and God provided water, but I'm here to tell you that the Son of God is the only reason that water came forth to begin with. And that if you really want to have your thirst quenched, you will drink from the well that never runs dry, the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in your life. And so when Jesus does this, in front of 10s of thousands of people, He has wrecked the ceremony. He has everyone's attention. The Pharisees are irate. They have spent months planning this moment, like this is their big conference, if you will. And now Jesus has wrecked it. They are finished with Him. They are mad at Him. They are irate, and they insist somebody is going to go get Him, arrest Him, apprehend Him now.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And this is actually in John 7. We're a significant period of time away from the moment where that Jesus is actually crucified. But they mad nonetheless, I want you to see what happens. And the thing about it is it points to what a brilliant communicator Jesus was. And how that if Jesus wanted to make a statement, Jesus could make a statement, and it would have unbelievable effect. John 7:45, “The officers then came to the chief priest and the Pharisees who said to them, why did you not bring Him? Why did you not bring Jesus back to us? And the officer said, No one ever spoke like him.” Are you following this? They went to arrest Him, and they were so blown away by His ability to communicate that they didn't arrest Him. Now some of you have talked yourself out of a ticket. But they have literally come to put the cuffs on Him. They're going to drag Him away in chains. And whatever it is that Jesus says it is so profound, that they stop dead in their tracks and say we can't arrest this guy. Like what He has to say is so valuable, we need to let Him keep talking. I believe you're like me, I want to know what Jesus has to say about all of this. Here's the thing. Jesus was ministering in a culture that was absolutely filled with political corruption. There was all kinds of fraud, even with taxes. In fact, the taxes were unfair, and over the top, demanding of the people. Racism was rampant. Prejudice had reached such a point that some people wouldn't even travel through certain sections of the nation, because they had so much prejudice against the ethnicities that lived in those zip codes.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I mean, Jesus is ministering in a climate where that sexism is the order of the day, and you're in this place where that social justice is not even hardly acknowledged. And so with all of this going on around Jesus, like what did Jesus talk about? I mean, if never a man spoke like He spoke, how is He addressing those issues? And the thing that you see about Jesus is He did address some of them specifically. Moments like when He went to the Samaritan well. He made it clear that there is no group of people that should ever be judged because of their ethnicity. We see him in moments even with the story of the Good Samaritan making a really powerful point about how that every person should be accepted regardless of where they have come from, or what even their background might be. We see Him even address subjects like taxation with His disciples. And on more than one occasion, He speaks directly to the government. But when you really dive into what Jesus had to say, despite all of these things that were going on around Him, I found myself researching what are the top three things that Jesus talked about? With all of that going on around him, like what were the top three things that Jesus talked about? We'll start at number three and work our way up.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Number 3, what do you think was the thing that Jesus talked about, the third most of all other things? Hell. Hell was the third most talked about thing in Jesus’ ministry. In fact, Jesus talked about Hell more than he talked about Heaven. And some would say that if you went and sat through a message preached by Jesus Christ, that at least one out of every three would either be specifically on the subject of Hell, or He would deal with it in an explicit capacity before He was finished. Jesus, when He's talking about Hell, He uses a variety of terms. He describes it as destruction, He describes it as damnation. He describes it as outer darkness. He describes it as torment. But maybe the most vivid picture that Jesus ever painted of Hell is actually recorded in Luke 16:19, “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. And yet there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at the gate full of sores, desiring to be fed by the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores. What you see is a rich man that has a really good life, and a poor man that has a really bad life. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and he was carried by angels into Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and he was buried. And in Hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, he saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus the poor beggar in his bosom. And he cried, and he said, Father Abraham have mercy on me. Send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in your lifetime received good things, and likewise Lazarus received evil things. But now he is comforted and you are tormented. And beside all this between us and you there is a great Gulf fixed, so that which would pass from hence to you cannot, neither can they pass to us or you to them. Then he said, I pray, therefore Father that thou would just send him to my father's house. Because I got five brothers, and I want him to testify to them, so that they don't come to this place of torment.” Abraham said to him, they have Moses and the prophets, or in other words, the Scriptures, so let them hear those. And he said, ``Nay you father Abraham, but if one would go from the dead, they will repent.” Watch this, “And he said, if they will not hear Moses and the prophets, if they will not hear the Scriptures, neither will they be persuaded by one who rises from the dead.” Do you understand what just happened? There's the picture painted of a man who had everything in life. He had anything that he could have wanted and more to. And he was not interested in eternity at all. He just wanted to live his best life. And yet, when he died, and he realized he'd made some mistakes, and it had led to him winding up in this place of torment. Now, all he can think about is I have to get word to my family, I got to get word to my brothers. Like, if I can't get out of here, then I at least want to make sure that none of my family ever come here. Isn't it amazing how the perspective changed? That this one guy who was poor and a beggar, he didn't have a lot in life; but in eternity, he had Heaven.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

The other guy had built a temporal paradise, had everything in life, but in eternity, he had Hell.

And it's in the process of Jesus explaining all of this to us that we learned that Hell is a literal place. Look at this verse, Luke 16:28, “For I have five brothers, that someone may go and testify to them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” Hell is not figurative. It is not the figment of someone's imagination. Hell is a literal place, and it is a place of torment. And as Jesus was preaching, we actually see him mention it in different ways, attempting to describe it. One of the ways that Jesus describes it as outer darkness, Matthew 22:13, “Then the king said to the attendants, bind him hand and foot and cast him into outer darkness.” Here's the point of that. The Bible tells us that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness. So what's being said there is that if Hell is completely dark, then God is not there. And the thing that makes a Hell Hell is that God's presence is completely removed from it. Hell is described as this place of torment, where there is total and complete darkness.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

 It's worth saying this; Isaiah teaches us that if you will ask God to forgive you of your sins, then God will take your sins and He will put them in a sea of forgetfulness. Isn't it awesome to think about the fact that God will not only forgive you of your sins, but he'll also forget your sins. That God will take all your sins, and if you'll just confess them, He's faithful and just to literally forget them, put them in a sea called forgetfulness. But here's what we miss. The same God that can forget sin, can also forget sinners. And that's one of the things that makes Hell Hell is that it is a place so far removed from God that He literally takes those people out of his mind. Jeremiah, chapter 23:39, “Therefore, I will surely forget you and cast you out of my presence. The reason Hell is Hell is because God's presence is completely removed from it. Jesus also described Hell as a place where their worm does not die. It's interesting phraseology. It's in Mark 9:48, “Where their worm does not die.” Just say it out loud with me, ready begin “where their worm does not die.” Their worm. What's he talking about? He seems to imply that there is a worm assigned to every single individual in Hell. Their personal worm. And what some commentators and scholars have led that to possibly mean, or think that it may possibly mean, is that if someone gives their life over to the rule of a demon in this world, and they keep choosing the things of this world that that demon entices them with, that once they get to Hell, that demon will have full reign over them, and it will eat, and it will eat, and it will eat for all of eternity. That worm will never die.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Jesus further describes Hellin this way. He says, fire is not quenched there. I can say to you that if you're not saved, you are playing with fire. Mark 9:48, “Where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” Revelation 20:14, “And death and Hell were cast into the Lake of Fire. What that teaches us is that Hell is a place. It is a place of torment. It is a place literally of outer darkness, God's presence fully removed from it. It is a place where worms do not die, There is gnashing of teeth. There is the smell of sulfur and brimstone. But at some point, according to God's timeline, He picks up that place, and He puts it in a lake of fire. And once He sets it on fire, it's never quenched. It's staggering to think about that when Jesus came to the earth, out of all the things He could have preached about. All the things that we, according to our perspective, would perceive that He should preach about. The things that He should put at the top of His list. And if He's going to deal with anything, He needs to be dealing with these things. That Jesus puts in His top three, the subject of Hell. This is my third time preaching about it today, and you can feel the awkwardness and the tension in the room each time. I mean, the room just starts to feel weird, because ain't nobody wants to talk about Hell, nor do we want to think about Hell. But I really believe that that's a part of the problem, that we don't want to talk about it, and we don't want to think about it. So just like that rich man, we lose complete sight of it. And we don't hear even what Jesus is trying to say to us through the Scripture is that there is a place called Hell, and you don't want to go there.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

In fact, look at this verse, Matthew 25:41, it's continued on the subject of fire. “And then He will say to those on His left, depart from me, you cursed into the eternal fire.” And this is an incredible revelation “prepared for the devil and his angels.” You need to get this; Hell was not made for you. It was prepared for the devil and his angels. It was a place that God made when He was mad. And you don't want to go anywhere that is associated with something God made when He was mad. He was upset at the devil and His angels, and He creates this place where that they can be tormented for all of eternity when the time comes. But what happened is so many of us refuse to realize that we have been given a get-out-of-Hell-free card that was paid for through the cross of Jesus Christ as He bridged a gap for us to be able to escape Hell and to gain Heaven. There's so many people we start talking about, they're like, well, how could a loving God make a place like Hell? He didn't make it for you! He made it for the devil and his angels! And the only way you're gonna wind up there is if you align yourself with the devil and his angels. Well, how could a loving God forget me? Why did you forget him? Because the truth of it is God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish in Hell but have everlasting life. Is there anybody in this room that you are saved and you know it, and you're grateful for the love of God that reaches further down than you can reach up. 

 

Pastor Eric 

And I just, I feel like that there is something happening in our culture, and even in the Church as a whole, that we are not talking about the things that Jesus talked about. And the result of that is that we are now creating a generation that has no concept of Hell. And what will happen is, if we're not careful, they will fall prey to false teaching and false prophets who will let them believe that they can do whatever they want with their life, and they can just walk around like everything's in amusement park and forget that a broad path leads to destruction, but a narrow path leads to life. And there's only one way out of Hell, and it is through the love of Jesus Christ. And if you will call on the name of Jesus, the same shall be saved. I just see that what it seems to me like Jesus is trying to get across is there's this place, and it wasn't made for you. I feel like Jesus is trying to get across that I have come to rescue you, but you're going to have to receive the rescue, and stop fighting against the lifeguard; let Him pull you into the shores of safety.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

How is it that we can be so focused on so much that's happening in our world, and we can talk about anything and everything, sometimes in extremely articulate ways. But we are very rarely if ever, driven to try to save somebody from Hell. I heard an atheist one time just decree that the reason he did not believe in God was because of the way Christians approached Hell. He said, because to believe in God, it means that you typically believe in Heaven and in Hell. And if a Christian truly believed that there was a place called Hell, they would crawl across broken glass from Los Angeles to New York to keep one person from going there. When's the last time that you looked at your teammate through the lens of Heaven and Hell, and I'm not talking about being judgmental. And I'm not talking about being full of your egotistical, self-righteous self, I'm talking about with care and love. That you looked at a family member

and you were burdened by their distance from God. That you engaged with a co-worker and something was melting inside of your heart; this person is not promised tomorrow. That life’s like a vapor. Have I really in some way tried to engage them, have I really tried to seek the lost? I think you have to pay attention when God starts to burden you about a specific person or a specific family. The Bible says that he that winneth souls is wise. And Scripture tells us that we must go out and live compelling lifestyles that the house of the Lord may be filled. What we learned from that is that God wants to give us a wisdom to win people to a relationship with Jesus. And that we have a responsibility to live in compelling ways that makes people thirsty for God through the salt of our lives. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Mandy and I had an instance where we felt like that the Lord mandated us to do everything that we possibly could to try to win a young couple to the Lord. And we would go and we would visit with them and out of love, try to share the Gospel and the opportunity for a relationship with Jesus. And it just seemed like the harder we tried, the further they got from God. And it broke our hearts, especially because they had some young children, and those children were so sweet. And you just knew that God had a plan for their life beyond what was being fulfilled at that moment. And I've shared this story a few times throughout the history of 3trees, at least probably once or twice a year even because it's so impacted me that I want others to have hopefully at least some moment of impact as well. I had a dream about that mom, and I saw her walking down a sidewalk that can only be described as mainstream. The sidewalk ended, it turned to sand, and then the sand became like quicksand. And I watched her begin to sink until she was completely enveloped, and found herself in a place that could only be described as Hell. Gnashing of teeth, sounds and displays of torment on all sides. The smell of the sulfur and the brimstone. People locked in chains. I saw her with chains going in all directions. And I watched as the chain in front of her rattle, and it revealed a man, and she yelled at him, why did you let this addiction bring me here?! And then the other chain rattled, it was a man she'd had an affair with. She yelled, why did you let my lust bring me here? And then from behind her, it was the sound of children, her own; they screamed, momma why did you bring us here?!  And for the first time in my life, I think I really got it when I woke up. And I looked at Luke chapter 16, and I saw it in a way I'd never seen it. That man, that rich man, he only cared about good stuff. He only cared about getting more money. He only cared about making a name for himself. He only cared about fame, and popularity, and being accepted, and being liked, but once he got the Hell, the only thing he could think about was who can I keep from coming here?. And is there anything that I still have the opportunity to do to try and save my family?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I don’t know. There's a lot of things I want to teach my kids. I've been trying to work on my boys jump shot. My daughter, she thinks she's an entrepreneur, and I've been trying to teach her how to use a calculator because I ain't paying her taxes. But out of all the things we can teach somebody, we must exemplify and teach how to follow Jesus. Because everyone needs Jesus. Jesus showed up to His audience, and He was repetitively reminding them, there's a place and you don't want to go there, and I've come to rescue you. I wonder, have you let Jesus rescue you? You do not have to feel far from God. You do not have to approach your eternity with uncertainty. God is one heartfelt prayer away. Where you would go all in and say Jesus, I'm willing to accept what you have done on the cross for me. I thank you that you would shed your blood so that I can have life everlasting. I am ready for a born again experience. Confess your sins, pour out your heart to Him, and watch Him save you from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. Hell was not made for you. So don't make the decision to go there. And the decision to reject Christ is the decision to choose Hell. Don't do it. It's your moment for your thing from your God. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I’m going to ask them to come and just begin to play softly. I’m going to ask all of you just a head bowed, eye closed moment. And maybe you feel far from God today, and you're like God, I'm ready to surrender. I don't want there to be any uncertainty about where I will spend eternity. You do realize that every single one of us will spend eternity in one of two geographical locations. And with every second that is ticked off the clock, we have gotten closer to one of those two locations. So right here, right now, let this be your moment. You want to know what Jesus would have to say? He would say don't go to Hell. Let my love rescue you. Let my grace lift you. Let salvation birth you again. Pour your heart out to Him. God I'm ready for a fresh start in you. Some of you're thinking right now, well, I'd love to have a moment with God but I need to get this worked out, I need to get that worked out, and you get this fixed, that is a lie  from Hell. You do not get good to get God, you get God to get good. And I don't know what you've been wrestling with and what kind of worm has been eating away at you. You do not have to leave here the way you came. Right now today can be the first day of the rest of your life. Go all in with Jesus. Go all in with Jesus. I’m going to ask them just to sing out over you.

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