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February 25, 2024

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Series: Knowing God's Truth

Speaker: Jay Sirmon

Sermon Title: What is Heaven & Hell?

Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12


"Therefore, he who is a preacher of the Word, had need not only tell them — but testify to them, again and again, that their sins, if they continue in them, will damn them, and damn them again. And tell them again, their living honestly according to the law, their paying everyone their own, their living quietly with their neighbors, their giving to the poor, their notion of the gospel, and saying they believe in Christ — will do them no good at the day of judgment."

-John Bunyan (A Few Sighs From Hell)

2 Thessalonians 1:5-12 ESV

5 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— 6 since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.


What is Hell?


“The best of life on Earth is a glimpse of Heaven; the worst of life is a glimpse of Hell. For Christians, this present life is the closest they will come to Hell. For unbelievers, it is the closest they will come to Heaven.”

–Randy Alcorn


God is just.


"The one truth that allows me to accept the justice of hell is the indisputable certitude of the goodness of God. While the notion of hell is difficult for me to grasp, Jesus (with nail-scarred hands) is worthy of my complete trust. His goodness causes me to look ultimately not to hell, but to the cross."

–Leslie Schmucker

2 Corinthians 2:10-12 ESV

10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

Ephesians 6:10-11 ESV

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.


God is wrathful towards sin.


"God does hate sinners: 'You are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers' (Psalm 5:4–5). Or, 'The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence' (Psalm 11:5). So, it is just not true to give the impression that God doesn’t hate sinners by saying he loves the sinner and hates the sin."

–John Piper


"Biblically-speaking, divine wrath is the right and righteous response of God to sin. Put positively, wrath, in perfect harmony with all of his divine attributes, is God’s holy action of retributive justice towards persons whose actions deserve eternal condemnation. God formed humanity to bring him glory. Yet, because we rebelled against his holy standard, the perfect judge of the universe has declared he will pour out his wrath upon those who have sinned against him without repentance or faith in his Son."

–David Schrock


"Now, here is why this matters: If we don’t understand that God finds us hateful and loathsome in our ugly sin, we won’t be as stunned by what his love is for us. God saves millions of people who are loathsome to him in and of themselves until he saves them and makes them the apple of his eye, which makes salvation stunningly more. God comes to us, not in our attractiveness, like 'Oh, I really love this person and just hate their sin.' No, he finds me reprehensible because of my rebellion, just like we find certain wicked people reprehensible because of their sin. And he is coming to us, and he is dying for us, in order that he might make us into the apple of his eye. "

–John Piper


What is Heaven?

Luke 23:43 ESV

And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”


God is generous.


“To be in resurrected bodies on a resurrected Earth in resurrected friendships, enjoying a resurrected culture with the resurrected Jesus—now that will be the ultimate party! Everybody will be who God made them to be—and none of us will ever suffer or die again. As a Christian, the day I die will be the best day I’ve ever lived. But it won’t be the best day I ever will live. Resurrection day will be far better. And the first day on the New Earth—that will be one big step for mankind, one giant leap for God’s glory.”

–Randy Alcorn

John 14:1-4 ESV

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.


God is loving.


“But God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love. Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it--made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand. It is from this point of view that we can understand hell in its aspect of privation. All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever.”

–C.S. Lewis

1 John 4:7-12 ESV

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.



“It would upset us, but would we think it unloving if a doctor told us we had a potentially fatal cancer? And would the doctor not tell us if the cancer could be eradicated? Why then do we not tell unsaved people about the cancer of sin and evil and how the inevitable penalty of eternal destruction can be avoided by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ?”

–Randy Alcorn


"There are only murderers in this room, Michael. Open your eyes. This is the life we chose. The life we lead. And there is only one guarantee--none of us will see heaven."

–John Rooney (Paul Newman) to Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) in The Road to Perdition


"Therefore, for God's sake, if you love your souls, consider, and beg of God for Jesus Christ's sake — that he would work such a work of grace in your hearts, and give you such a faith in his Son Jesus Christ, that you may not only have rest here, as you think, not only think your state safe while you live here — but that you may be safe indeed, not only here — but also when you are gone, lest you cry in the anguish and perplexity of your souls, Send Lazarus to my companions who have been beguiled by Satan as I have been — to testify to them, lest they come into this place of torment as I have done. "

–John Bunyan


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