March 2005


 Speaking About Hell and the Need For Evangelism

In a few weeks I will be ministering at our Church on Sunday morning with a friend of mine to whom I witnessed almost thirty years ago.  We were “frat rats” together in the rowdiest house at the University of Southern California.  I may have done a little bit of watering and planting back then, but my friend, Rik Mumma, did not receive Christ until several years later.

Last year though we had the opportunity to touch base with each other and I spent several hours with him when my family and I went away on vacation last October.  Rik is now saved.  Praise God. 

He is even a full-time pastor in a dynamic, user friendly, evangelism ministry that he is going to introduce to our Church in a couple of weeks.  I am going to deliver a message on evangelism and then Rik is going to spend about thirty minutes showing us how to implement this program for sharing the gospel.  I know you will love what Rik has to say, and I promise to keep my message short - I have no alternative.

In preparation for Rik's visit, I thought I would use the Newsletter to say a few things about the importance of the relationship between hell and evangelism.

I must admit personal anguish over the knowledge of hell.  However, the one who has taught me the most about hell is the Lord Himself. No one said more about this dreadful, hideous, eternal place, than our Savior.  No one used more graphic terms.  No one described it so clearly as a place that is literal and eternal than Jesus.  No one did more to destroy the doctrine of annihilation than our loving Savior. 

But Christ did not sit back comfortably knowing that the path to hell was wide.  Instead he left the glories of heaven, became a man while remaining fully God, preached about hell continually and then died on the cross as a sin offering. 

In other words, Christ received the full brunt of His eternal Father’s wrath against sin.  Our Savior did this despite His everlasting love for the Father and the personal rejection such a death would require for Him to propitiate our sins through His atoning death.  Our Lord did this even though it meant He would have to take upon Himself our sin which, like His holy Father, He held an infinite detestation for which you and I will never understand probably even when we are in glory. 

So even though Christ preached often about hell, He did so fully prepared to die to provide a means of escape for all who would believe in His atoning work for salvation.  And because of His love for mankind, He spent every moment endeavoring to warn others to take the narrow way into heaven. 
His proclamation about hell was the byproduct of divine, infinite love, the same love that caused Him to leave heaven, empty Himself and die on the cross of His Father's infinite wrath.  And this is the same love for sinners which is now shed abroad in our heart through the Holy Spirit.

". . . and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."  Rom 5:5.

So we need to follow our blessed Savior's loving example.  We need to be evangelical.  We need to pray for opportunities to share our faith with everyone in the communities where we live.  We need to pray in this way fervently.  We need to pray in this way frequently.  We need to spend much time praying that God would give us ample opportunities to warn the lost of their dire need for salvation.  And then having so prayed, we need to be on the alert for opportunities to tell people how desperately they need to put their faith in Christ alone for the salvation of all their sins.  We need to speak with loving passion while filled with God's own love for the lost. 

"Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak."  Col 4:2-4

     "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we
      beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." 2 Cor 5:20

And finally, we need to benefit from the program Rik is going to introduce in a few weeks.  Pray the Spirit will powerfully bless Rik in His presentation. And while you are at it, pray for the message on evangelism I will give prior to Rik's presentation.  May the Lord use this weekend to fill us with God's
love for the sinner so that we are willing to be spent for their deliverance from the wrath which they and we deserve.

Spurgeon put it this way,

      "If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them
       perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay.  If hell must be filled, at least let it
       be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for."

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Community Church of the Santa Ynez Valley
240 E. Highway 246
Buellton, CA 93427