In June of 2013, I embarked on a new journey. My church asked my wife and I to be the leaders of a new ministry. They felt they needed a to be more direct with the High School students. They were coming to youth group, but were desiring something deeper. This new class was called Varsity.
As the leader of this class, I have had the great challenge of seeking out topics that appeal to high-school-aged students and digging deeply into them. It has been one of the most difficult, yet most rewarding challenges I have ever taken on. Just this past week, we began a new teaching series that we are calling “Tell The World.” This is a series where we are discussing ways to evangelize and tell others about Jesus. As I’ve been studying for this series, there are two questions that have jumped out to me very strongly. These two questions are ones that us believers usually do not have answers to, or we just do not often think about them. So, I want to talk about them.
Do you believe that people who have never heard about Jesus Christ will go to Heaven?
This is something that is often thought about, yet rarely discussed. Also, most people don’t have an answer to this question. We typically just shrug and think “I’m not sure. That’s for God to decide.”
Think about it for a minute though… determine what you believe, and then let’s go to scripture.
- Romans 1:19-20 – “They know the truth about God because He made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created people have seen the earth and the sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature. So they have NO EXCUSE for not knowing God.”
No excuse? That’s a little harsh. Isn’t God a loving God? Yes He is. But He is also just. He set up a system, and He abides by it. This is Paul who wrote Romans though. What does Jesus have to say about this?
- John 14:6 – “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.'”
Except through Him. That’s the answer that I have come up with.
Unfortunately, as horrible as this is, I believe that people who have not heard the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ will not spend eternity in Heaven. If that makes you mad, then praise the Lord!
Think about this. If they are already going to Heaven, if we share the gospel with them, aren’t we doing them a disservice? Now they have to follow it, or they will not go to Heaven! Is this starting to make sense? We must share it with them, because according to scripture, these people are not on their way to eternity with the Father. This should burden our hearts. It should cause us to live more unashamed of the gospel.
The fact is, we have convinced ourselves that these people will spend eternity in Heaven when scripture does not back it up. Why have we done this? Because it’s easier to believe that than it is to get the gospel to them. It takes hard work (sometimes persecution) to share Jesus with all the corners of the world. Let’s get after it!
Now for the second question…
Do we really believe in Hell?
Well, do we?
Something about Hell that I have come to grips with. Most people cannot comprehend that people will suffer for all of eternity just because they did not trust in Jesus. I no longer believe that God specifically designed Hell to inflict punishment on those who did not trust in Him. The reality of Hell and all that it is is summed up in this simple phrase – God is not present there.
It is not a place designed by God to torture mankind. It is simply a place that he is not present in.
The reality of not knowing God is VERY serious. He is the only source of good there is. Even people who do not have a relationship with Him still experience Him everyday.
The Lord made the earth. He dwelled here with Adam and Even in the garden. He came in human flesh as Jesus. God has been to Earth. He dwells in our hearts. Because of this, we can experience peace, prosperity, love, joy, and all kinds of other God-given goods! But God is not in Hell… therefore, none of that exists there.
All people still on Earth have an opportunity to come to know God every single day, yet some still do not.
Once again, this should burden our hearts for those that do not know Him. Who do you know that does not trust in Jesus? Do you have a neighbor, friend, family member that you can invite to church this weekend? Share the good news of Jesus! Live unashamed!
I read the parable of the farmer scattering seed this morning in Matthew 13. One thing that stood out to me was this: even though not all of the seed falls onto fertile ground and grows, the farmer scatters the seed anyway. Scatter your seed (Jesus)! Some may fall onto a footpath, some may be eaten by birds, some may fall on shallow soil, and some may fall among the thorns. But eventually, if you are scattering enough seed, you will find some fertile soil.
Scatter away! Plant seeds into the hearts of men. Invite people to church. Share the good news of the gospel with people. Be burdened for those that are lost.