WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING IS SCARING THE HELL OUT OF EACH OTHER
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
13 APRIL 1997
We're not to sneak up behind someone and shout "Boo!" to scare the hell out of them, for that would only frighten them, and that's not what we should be doing.
Nor am I using the word "hell" as a swear word, for that would be irreverent.
What I'm suggesting is that all of us have retained some of the qualities of hell, and that there are many others in the same situation.
Or, maybe I should say that we have retained some of those qualities that send people to hell.
And what we, as Christians, need to be doing, is to scare those qualities of hell out of each other.
Why scare them out?
Because we usually don't want to listen to gentle, loving persuasion.
Sometimes the only thing that will work is to use some tough love, and actually scare the demons or characteristics of hell out of each other.
We can gently and lovingly try to persuade them, but at the same time remind them that the way they are acting is according to the ways of hell.
And what are some of these qualities?
Listen to what we are told in Revelation 21:8:
8. "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
Now some of us may say, "I don't have any of these qualities." And I pray you don't.
But as we look at these qualities, I believe there are some of these conditions of hell in all of us.
Let's begin by looking at who the cowardly people are.
The cowardly are the people who support you to your face, but undermine you when your back is turned.
The cowardly give friendly greetings, and gossip about us to others.
The cowardly greet others with friendly smiles, but think evil of them, or hold grudges against them, and who are unforgiving in their hearts towards them.
The cowardly are those who cross the street, or turn the other way, to avoid contact with someone whom they dislike.
The cowardly are those who deny the atrocities and pain and suffering that is happening in the animal agriculture industry, and continue to eat without remorse.
For none of these characteristics express love, and without love, we cannot be the Lord's.
For without love, we remain children of Satan, even if we claim to be Christians.
And what about people who are unbelieving?
"Well," we might say, "that's obvious. If we don't believe in God or in His Son, then, obviously, we wouldn't be going to heaven."
But let's consider something else.
What about those of us who don't believe everything the Lord tells us?
What about those of us who are untrustworthy in following all that the Lord has given us to do?
These, also, are characteristics of hell.
And what about the abominable things we still have inside of us?
These, too, can send us to hell; and there are about 150 passages in the Bible that speak of these things.
I strongly suggest that we look these passages up on our own, and in so doing, we might succeed in scaring the hell out of ourselves.
Why am I stressing scaring the qualities of hell out of ourselves and each other so much?
It's because the qualities of God and the qualities of hell cannot properly exist together.
For unless we rebuke and remove the qualities of hell from within us, we have no place in which to invite the Holy Spirit to reside.
It should be well understood that the characteristics of a murderer are not the characteristics of heaven, and thus they are characteristics of hell.
But what about immoral people? Who are they?
We probably all would agree that adultery is an immoral act, but we don't have to consummate the act to be immoral.
Listen to what Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:27-28:
27. "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery';
28. but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Whatever immoral thought or feeling any of us holds in our heart and mind (whether we are a man or a woman), that concerns someone not our spouse, is a characteristic of hell.
And hopefully, we would agree that sorcerers are not doing what is Godly.
But are not those who follow their words and deeds, likewise, just as guilty?
And this includes such so-called innocent things as horoscopes.
Now we might say that we don't bow down to any idols and worship them.
But is that really the case?
Some people cannot get up in the morning without a cup of coffee.
Has not that coffee become an idol, since it has a controlling force upon their lives?
And what about people who are addicted to smoking?
Has not the tobacco become an idol, too, for they cannot properly function without it, and even crave it?
And we could say the same thing about alcohol, drugs, gambling and pornography.
And possessions can also become our idols.
How much better to crave God in the same manner.
Our so-called free time can become an idol, especially when we consider it more important than God, and thus fail to give God a tithe of our time.
And liars; they too, need the hell scared out of them.
For any untruth we hold within us or express to others is not of God.
We need to have the hell scared out of us, or we could some day find ourselves in the lake of fire.
We need the hell scared out of us.
We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Listen to how Paul expresses this to the Galatians in 5:16-26:
16. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
17. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
I hope we all heard this.
That we may not do the things that we should do.
That we may not always live in the Spirit.
Sometimes we act according to the flesh.
We feel too much pressure, and we blow. We get angry. We say things we don't really want to say. Or whatever.
But the key to all of this is that we don't really want to behave in this way.
The key is that we really want to live by the Spirit.
And the key is that we quickly return to living in the Spirit, and turn away from our fleshly acts.
18. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
The ways of hell are to convict us under the Law, that we think that we cannot change, that we would die in our sins.
The Spirit gives us the power of regeneration, just as He raised Jesus from the dead.
If we are willing to chase the hell out of ourselves, the Holy Spirit will indeed give us all the powers of regeneration.
We have been given a choice. We can continue to live in the powers of hell, or we can choose to live in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The choice is ours, for the devil cannot make us do anything we don't allow him to.
Let's listen again as Paul tells us about the characteristics of hell:
19. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20. idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
21. envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
The people whose lives are filled with these characteristics are going to hell.
But everyone can be regenerated by the power of God, and the presence of the Holy Spirit within us is also evident by the characteristics of heaven:
22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23. gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
24. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
26. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
But let us begin by scaring the hell out of each other.
When one of us "loses it" and begins to act according to the flesh, the rest of us shouldn't "lose it," too.
We should hold our peace.
We should speak quietly to the person and remind them of who they are in Christ, and that they are acting according to the ways of hell.
And if such a person is in fact a child of God, he or she will quiet down, or cease their ungodly acts, or seek help; and we will have succeeded in scaring the hell out of them.
For it's not the person we are trying to frighten away, but the powers of hell in and around them.
The powers of hell cannot stand against the powers of heaven.
We need to give each other a lot more heaven.
Your Comments are welcome
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