You can go to hell . . . but God doesn’t want you to go. February 1, 2015

Psalm 103 Hebrews 12:3-11 Mark 9:42-48

How many of us woke up this morning and decided to cheat on our spouse?

Having an adulterous relationship doesn’t just happen. Maybe the person looked ravishing. Maybe they listened to us when our spouse would not listen. Maybe the thrill of pornography became such that the thrill of being with someone other than your spouse, gave you a better thrill.

So you talked with that person about your emotions. So you told them how good it was to see them. So you hugged them tighter than your spouse. So you kissed. That led to meeting at a hotel or the backseat of the car. Then it led to sleeping together when your spouse was out of town.

However it occurs, no one wakes up one morning and decides to have an affair. It is a series of decisions that damages a marriage. I have seen the results of this with family members. Their marriages ended because their spouse cheated on them. Their lives became a living hell, because of the bad decisions that were made.

For us to go to hell, it is because of our decisions, because God always wants us in relationship with himself. You can go to hell, but God does not want you to go. Hell is a place, a time, an attitude of being away from God. Hell is the eternal consequence of a lifetime of ignoring God. Hell is not a place you will enjoy. For we know that we do not get much pleasure by ignoring God in this life. We blame God for much that happens in our lives. But sending you to hell is not God’s choice. His choice is for us to be with him for the rest of time. How do we know that God does not want us to go to hell?

A. God has much good for us (Psalm 103)
+++1. We speak about the good God has done for us
+++2. Benefits from God
++++++a. Forgives our hurting of ourselves & others
++++++b. Heals our diseases (even though being healed may not mean the end of disease…healing comes in many forms)
++++++c. Snatches your life from the Pit (hell)
++++++d. Crowns you with steadfast love & mercy
++++++e. Satisfies with good as long as we live (when with God, that living is for the rest of time)
+++3. For all that God has done for us, will we be obedient to him (103:19-22)?
++++++a. Go where He says go
++++++b. Do the good He knows we can do
+++4. God is so good to us. We do not deserve all the good that God does for us. But that is how God is. He loves us, even when we are unlovable. You can go to hell, but God does not want you to go. As we follow his ways, we become lovable. But we are not just mimicking God like a parrot mimics a speaker. In our cooperating with God, we begin to love as we are loved. We gain life because of the good that God has for us. What can be our response to all the good God has for us? Can we know that we can escape hell?

B. Jesus taught us how to avoid being thrown into Gehenna, or hell (Mark 9:42-48)
+++1. Control yourself now, otherwise you can be thrown into Gehenna/the unquenchable fire
++++++a. UM’s like a method to live/ability to control the world around us
++++++b. Live a way that brings love and life to others
++++++c. Gehenna
+++++++++– Valley of Hinnom, S of Jerusalem, place of passing children through fire to offer them to an idol (2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chronicles 28:3, 33:6; Jeremiah 7:31, 19:2-10, 32:35, Unquenchable fire
+++++++++– Came to be thought of as a place where the wicked are tormented either after death or after the final judgment
+++++++++– Lake of fire (Daniel 7:10), Where the worm never dies & the fire is never quenched
+++++++++– Sheol (abode of the dead) cast into (Revelation 20:14)
+++2. Jesus warns us that we can miss life – bringing happiness, truth, & beauty to the people around us
+++3. But it is better to enter life (God’s kingdom) maimed than to be thrown into Gehenna/hell whether it’s now in this present life, or in the life to come
+++4. Would God warn us about missing life if he did not love us? Jesus came into this world so that we may have life. This life involves entering God’s kingdom. Jesus taught this way so that we could be with God. You can go to hell, but God does not want you to go. God shows us this fact by disciplining us. Much like if my son ran into the road, in my love for him I would correct him. God corrects us because he loves us.

C. God is paying attention to us (Hebrews 12:3-11)
+++1. He knows that we struggle against sin
+++2. But when we do sin, God corrects us (disciplines us)
+++3. God knows that we can do better
+++4. He wants us to share his holiness!
++++++a. We can be in God’s presence
++++++b. Full of love, hospitality, caring, honor, contentment, joy, & peace
+++5. We may not have like our parents’ discipline. But we were better for their discipline. How much better off are we when God disciplines us? We will find that we gain life with God for the discipline that God gives us. You can go to hell, but God does not want you to go. God wants you, me, and everyone else share his holiness. He disciplines us because he loves us. He doesn’t abuse us or ignore us. He accepts us. Our going to hell is the result of our not accepting God.

What are you deciding to do? Are you deciding to recognize the good that God has for you? God does not satisfy us with something that fades away. The good God has for us lasts as it satisfies us. The good that God has for us is for this life and the life we can enjoy with him for all time.

Are you willing to listen to Jesus and change what you are doing so that you can avoid being thrown into hell? Jesus is letting us know that we have an opportunity to get rid of the sin in our lives. Jesus wants us to come to our senses and avoid the repercussions of the sin we do. Jesus wants us to have life. He does not want us to see us hurt.

Are you being discipline by God now? He loves you and wants you to share what he has. When we ignore or turn our back on the correction God gives us, we lose out on the good God has for us.

You can go to hell, but God does not want you to go to hell. God wants you to enjoy all the good he has for you. God wants you to know the seriousness of giving into temptation and continuing to sin. God wants you to live with him. Which do you choose, hell or live life with God?

What can we do to avoid going to hell? Repent of your ways. Stop cheating on your spouse and start loving on your spouse. Stop bullying other people and learn to forgive others and let them forgive you. Stop gossiping and start praying for people.
Stop making those decisions that will lead you to hell and start making the decision to follow Jesus and God’s way to His kingdom.

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