Do you think about hell? Do you warn people about it? When you do, can they tell you don’t want them to go there. Of course the tone in our voice won’t make someone more likely to become a Christian, but it will make them more likely to listen to us, and it will please the Lord that we are striving to be like Him.
There is a story of a very conservative church up in Idaho who was part of a denomination that was turning liberal, and despite the trend the denomination was taking they stood strong in their own convictions.
Soon after their pastor of many years died they got a group together to decide what kind of pastor they wanted next. They all agreed. They wanted a fire and brimstone preacher. Excited, they called one of the leaders of their denomination who was in the know of young pastors fresh out of seminary and asked him to send over one who was known for being that kind of preacher. The man shocked at such a request, since there weren’t too many left in the denomination searched far and wide for such a man, and finding him sent him over to the church to become their pastor. He lasted two weeks.
The church called the man again and said that they needed a new pastor as the last one wasn’t going to work. They asked again for a fire and brimstone preacher. The man searched again and upon finding a young man, sent him over to the church. He lasted three weeks.
The church, not losing hope, called the man once more and asked again for another fire and brimstone preacher. The frustrated man began looking once again and sent another preacher to the congregation. He lasted thirty years.
Years later, the man met one of the long time members of the congregation. Curious as to why the third preacher worked out and the first two did not, not being able to distinguish between the three, he asked what the difference was.
Without skipping a beat the man said, “You are right in saying that all three were fire and brimstone preachers, but the third was the only one who actually sounded like he didn’t want us to go there.”
Hell is one of the hardest truths to not only believe in the first place, but to communicate to others around us. The difference between the three pastors, was not in content of the message, but rather it was entirely in the way that they communicated the truth.
Of course true Christians believe in hell. You can’t be a Christian if you don’t believe in hell. And this belief not only shapes our understanding of how bad our sin is, but really motivates us to evangelize everyone around us.
It shapes our understanding of how bad our sin is because it teaches us that our sin, not only keeps us from entering Heaven on our own, but really pushes us toward eternal punishment.