"Meanderings in Mark"
Series on Mark, Lesson 38

The Only Thing That Matters

Read: Mark 9:42-50

Text: (Mark 9:43 KJV) And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

Theme: Hell is a place to be avoided at any cost.


Introduction:

HELL! The prison house of despair,
Here are some things that won't be there:
No flowers will bloom on the banks of Hell,
No beauties of nature we love so well;
No comforts of home, music and song,
No friendship of joy will be found in that throng;
No children to brighten the long weary night;
No love nor peace, nor one ray o flight;
No blood-washed soul with face beaming bright,
No loving smile in that region of night;
No mercy, no pity, pardon nor grace,
No water, O God, what a terrible place!
The pangs of the lost no human can tell,
Not one moment's peace - there is no rest in HELL.

HELL! The prison house of despair,
Here are some things that will be there:
Fire and brimstone are there, we know,
For God in His Word hath told us so;
Memory, remorse, suffering and pain,
Weeping and wailing, but all in vain;
Blasphemers, swearers, haters of God,
Christ-rejectors while here on earth trod;
Murderers, gamblers, drunkards and liars,
Will have their part in the lake of fire;
The filthy, the vile, the cruel and mean,
What a horrible mob in Hell will be seen!
Yes, more than humans on earth can tell,
Are torments and woes of Eternal HELL!

-- Catherine Dangell


I. Hell is a horrible place.

A. It is a place of external pain.

FIRE - cf. Vss. 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49!

ILLUS. Gehenna - valley of Hinnon, where Ahaz worshipped Molech, the FIRE god, and sacrificed his own sons to Molech. Place which INSTANTLY brought flames to the mind of the Jews. (cf. 2 Chron. 28:1-3, Jer. 7:31, 32:35)

ILLUS. Rich man in Luke 16 "I am tormented in this FLAME…"

(Rev 20:15 KJV) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

(Rev 21:8 KJV) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

B. It is a place of internal pain.

WORMS - cf. Vss. 44, 46, 48

ILLUS. Valley of Hinnon was turned into garbage dump under Josiah's reforms, filled with worm infested trash ever after. (2 Kings 23:10)

1. Internal pain of separation

(Psa 22:1 KJV) My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

2. Internal pain of memory

(Luke 16:25 KJV) But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

II. Hell is a never ending punishment.

A. The fire never goes out in hell.

1. You'll burn like asbestos burns. (cf. Vs. 43)

Greek - ASBESTOS

2. There are no fire extinguishers in hell. (cf. Vs. 48)

Greek - SBENNUMI, pictures taking a flaming torch and placing it in water - extinguishing it.

B. The worms never quit gnawing in hell.

1. Worms speak of FINALITY.

ILLUS. Difference in appearance of a corpse in a coffin (shows no signs of decay, you expect it to sit up!), and a corpse filled with worms (you KNOW that it is over).

2. Worms speak of NO HOPE.

ILLUS. Cryogenics - people freeze body in state of preservation, hoping for future cure. But there is NO HOPE for a body already putrefied and ruined with decay.

C. You will be PRESERVED FOREVER in hell.

(Mark 9:49 KJV) For every one shall be salted with fire…

1. Salt pictures preserving influence of believers on society.

(2 Th 2:7 KJV) For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

2. Salt pictures preservation of the saved through fiery trials.

(1 Pet 1:7 KJV) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

(Job 23:10 KJV) But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

3. Salt pictures PRESERVATION OF THE LOST FOREVER IN HELL!

III. Hell is totally avoidable.

A. By drastically dealing with sin.

"if thy hand offend thee (lit. 'cause you to stumble and be lost'), CUT IT OFF!"

"if thy foot offend thee, CUT IT OFF!"

"if thine eye offend thee, PLUCK IT OUT!"

QUOTE - "Of course, the Lord is not commanding literal physical surgery, since He had already made it clear that sin comes from the heart (7:20-23). What He is teaching is that sin is to the inner person what a cancerous tumor is to the body, and it must be dealt with drastically."

1. YOUR SIN will send you to hell.

(Rom 6:23 KJV) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

2. The ONLY SOLUTION to YOUR SIN has alrady been provided on the cross.

(Rom 5:8 KJV) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

(2 Cor 5:21 KJV) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

3. YOUR SIN can be eradicated forever by ACCEPTING JESUS CHRIST as your Savior.

(John 1:12 KJV) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

(Rom 10:13 KJV) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

B. By Christians who stay SALTY. (cf. Vs. 50)

1. Your influence can keep the lost out of hell.

2. Once lost, your influence can NEVER be regained!


Conclusion:

(Mark 9:43 KJV) And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

ILLUS. Warren Wiersbe tells of an Army chaplain who taught that there was no hell, and his men told him his services were no longer needed, because if there is no hell, then why worry about death? It is no longer a concern. If there is a hell, then he was lying to them, and they did not want to hear what he had to say!"

If there is no hell, then nothing we say here matters. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. HOWEVER, IF THERE IS A HELL, THEN NOTHING ELSE MATTERS BUT STAYING OUT OF IT!

(Mark 9:43 KJV) And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:


Please direct QUESTIONs, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright © 1998 William E. Johnson.