Monday, November 01, 2004

Heaven is a Wonderful Place

There was a little chorus I used to sing, and it went like this:

Heaven is a wonderful place,
Filled with glory and grace,
I want to see my Savior's face.
Yes, heaven is a wonderful place,
I wanna go there...

I wonder why we never added a verse that went something like:

Heaven is a wonderful place,
Filled with glory and grace,
Turn away from the Savior's face.
And you'll go to the other place,
I wouldn't go there...

The Bible is very clear that there is a pace called Heaven, and a place called Hell, though the Bible also uses other terms for that place.

We like to talk about heaven, but not much about hell. I wonder why that is? Jesus didn't seem to shy away from the topic, but we do, why is that?

What do you think? (besides not wanting to go there!)


Jeff M. said...

I think that it is unpopular to try and scare people to heaven.

If I were God (there's a scary thought huh?) I would not want people to accept Jesus just on the off chance that hell is real and they want to try and avoid it. I would not want blind yes men, I would want followers who knew and understood what they were doing.

I guess what I am trying to say is that we should talk about hell, we should explain it and we should explain the alternative to hell (which I might add, FBC does often). Like a good debate, you present both sides and let the listener decide for themselves.

I'm not sure why we don't talk about hell more, I guess we still suffer from many years of historical precedent that it is not correct to speak of such things. Maybe now is a good time to have a sermon series on the details of hell and how to avoid it. It could start in December around Christmas, it's a very happy joyful topic right?

Jim S said...

I guess it's more of a "feel good" thing to talk about ones reward verses ones punishment.

Pastor Randy said...

Jeff and Jim,

I do suppose that we often don't want to talk about hell because it is so "hellish." I think it is also difficult line up a loving God and a place like hell. But, on the other hand a just and righteous God demands a place like hell. It is the love of God which intersects and intercedes so that we have an option, a choice.

Yes, it would be great if we would all choose to follow and obey God out of a purity of heart and a deep love for Him, rather than out of a fear of punishment, but it reality that is the place that most of us begin. The task for us, in becomig more like Jesus Christ, is to move from duty to devotion.

Jim S said...

That indeed is the task, to move from duty to devotion.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the idea that hell is not a pleasant subject to most people--although it certainly is said PLENTY as a swear word! It is a place that was created for the devil and his fallen angels...a seperation from a HOLY God. I am confident it breaks the heart of God every time someone dies without Christ and has to be sent to that awful place of seperation for eternity...when HE made all of the provision necessary to keep EVERYONE who would accept His son from going there. I agree with Jeff that hellfire and damnation sermons use to scare people into a decision for Christ...but for SOME that is the only way they would ever make it to heaven. As a parent I use to wish my children would "do the right thing" out of an overwhelming sense of love for me...but in reality,,very often they "did the right thing" out of fear of the consequences involved for NOT obeying. Their fear of the punishment often saved them from the actual punishment itself. For some...."fire insurance" so to speak ..(.an avoidance of the punishment) often brings a person to the point of accepting Christ...then the growth process begins and the love for Christ grows along with an anticipation of heaven...rather than an avoidance of hell. It is a real place and all who choose to go there have to wade through the blood of Christ to get there. The price was paid. I'm glad I have the assurance of heaven! Ruthie S