1. Although Jesus & His apostles taught of & warned about hell (Matt. 10:28), more & more it is being stricken from the pulpit (gospel preaching) & teaching (Bible classes) as a reason for Christian living.
2. Why is this so? What is indicated by this trend? What did Jesus say?

  A. Men Do Not Want To Hear About Hell.
    1.  Article:  "These Days, More Preachers Are Giving Hell the Cold Shoulder", by Mike Anton and William Lobdell (Skagit Valley Herald, July 13, 2002, C1).  (Quotations indented throughout.)

Bill Faris believes in hell…where sinners toil for eternity in unspeakable torment. But, you'd never know it listening to him preach at his south Orange County, Calif., evangelical church. He never mentions the topic; his flock shows little interest in it. "It isn't sexy enough anymore," said Faris, pastor of Crown Valley Vineyard Christian Fellowship."

    2. 2 Tim. 4:2-4 - Preach the word regardless!
  B. A "This Life" Focus Has Emerged.
    1. Secular humanism's effect upon religion (Col. 2:8; Matt. 7:21).
      a. Individualism (man-centered living) over authority.
      b. Human psyche over moral absolutes.

"There has been a shift in religion from focusing on what happens in the next life to asking, 'What is the quality of this life we're leading now? ... You can go to a whole lot of churches week after week and you'd be startled even to hear a mention of hell." (Harvey Cox Jr., Religious historian & professor at Harvard Divinity School) -cf. Heb. 11:35-38

"It's just too negative," said Bruce Shelley, a senior professor of church history at the Denver Theological Seminary. "Churches are under enormous pressure to be consumer-oriented. Churches today feel the need to be appealing rather than demanding."

    2. We see this influence in the Lord's church, too:
      a. Cry for "positive preaching" as "negative" (doctrinal) preaching is denounced.
      b. Clamor for preaching on the psychology of Christian living.
      c. Not objecting to lessons on Christian attitude & living. But, we are objecting to preaching that is man-centered rather than centered on Christ & His word! - 2 Tim. 4:2; 1 Cor. 2:2
      d. We see it in the "peace at all cost" mentality - Jer. 6:14.
    3. We must keep a "next world" mentality - 2 Cor. 4:16-18; Heb. 11:13-16.

  -(By avoiding the Bible teaching of hell, many are rushing headlong for it!)
  A. Many Are Not Content With Bible Teaching - Jno. 6:60, 66; 2 Tim. 4:2; 3:1-2, 5.
  B. Man Perverts Truth to Please Himself - Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Pet. 2:1-3; 3:16-18. Examples:

"When you take (hell) away as a threat, everything changes," said the University of Chicago's Marty. "Who goes to confession anymore? Time was, a (Catholic) church had 16 booths and people snaked around the block. Today, a church might have one left."

"I believe that hell is essentially separation from God. That we are separated from God, so we can have hell in this life and hell in the life to come ...," Graham told an interviewer in 1991. "But to describe hell in vivid terms like I might have done 30 or 40 years ago, I'm not at liberty to do that because whether there is actually fire in hell or not, I do not know." (Billy Graham, 1991 interview, Cited in news article)

  C. False Teaching Leads to Reckless & Sinful Living - 2 Tim. 4:3; Jude 4; 2 Pet. 2:19.
    1. Some say there is no hell.
      a. Hell is a "state of being" / "state of the soul" (Pope John Paul II).

"This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell"  (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1:12:IV:1033, p. 269, 1994 edition).

      b. Even a few brethren disavow the reality of hell - state of mind / consciousness - not a real place.
    2. Once saved always saved: Why talk about it?!

Even among some "born-again" churches, hell is a rare topic of conversation. Born-again Christians believe in hell, but they also believe their decision to embrace Christ has earned them a one-way ticket in the other direction. "When you have a group of people who are born again, you're not going to hell," said Bob Anderson, 51, a lawyer who attends an evangelical church in Fullerton, Calif. "So why talk about it?"

3. "God is too loving to send anyone to hell" - (Heb. 10:31; 12:29).

"How can something as wonderful as redemption ... be based on fear?" said Father Wilfredo Benitez of St. Anselm of Canterbury Episcopal Church in Garden Grove, Calif. As a young preacher, Benitez warned nonbelievers they would burn in Satan's lair. He later dropped the tactic. "Can we accept a gift at gunpoint? This is total nonsense and madness."

  A. Jesus Says Hell is Real:
    1. Sinners are cast there (Matt. 5:29-30).
    2. Outer darkness, with weeping & gnashing of teeth (Matt. 8:12).
    3. Place of destruction (Matt. 10:28) & condemnation (Matt. 23:33).
    4. Everlasting fire (Matt. 25:41).
    5. Everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:46).
    6. Where their worm does not die & fire is not quenched (Mk. 9:47-48).
  B. His Apostles Say Hell is Real:
    -Lake of fire; the second death (Rev. 20:14-15)
  C. Jesus & His Apostles Use Hell as One Compelling Reason to Fear (respect) God - Matt. 10:28; Rom. 2:5-11; 11:22; Rev. 20:15.
  D. Receive The Words of Jesus! - Jno. 12:47-48

1. In Christ there is no fear of death & judgment (Heb. 9:27; Phil. 1:21; Rom. 2:7, 10).
2. But the disobedient, unbeliever does! - Rom. 2:8-9
3. Now is the day of salvation…it is your choice!