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Session (1 of 4) Hell

Shane Willard

Page 5 of 10
Hell was always about: YOU will go to hell for something YOU'RE doing. That's how we talk about hell; but as I looked at what Jesus said about hell, He never used it that way.

He only used the word ‘Hades’ three times, so in terms of somebody going to hell one day, He only used it that way three times. Two of them are euphemisms; only one time was He talking about: hey, there was a rich man, and he overlooked a poor man, and that guy went to hell.

Out of all the sins He faced - He met someone caught in the act of adultery - He let her go. He met a lady who'd been divorced five times, and was shacked up with the sixth one - He offered her a drink of water. He lets this thief on the cross into heaven. Like the people who killed Him, He's like: yeah, forgive them too. We're talking about all kinds of things: murder, thieving, dishonest business practices, divorce, adultery, fornicating, like all kinds of things like this, and Jesus was just kind, and He's like: hey, can I help you? Can we get this straight?

But He said: there was a rich man who overlooked a poor man - and that guy went to hell.

That's kind of telling isn't it? I mean, the people who put nails in His hands, He's like: yeah, forgive them, forgive them too. You say: yeah but Shane - they didn't know what they were doing! Listen, isn't the sin of all mankind: we don't know what we're doing? If we knew what we were doing, we wouldn't be where we are. Isn't that true?

Like anybody besides me fall in love in high school? Everybody falls in love at high school right? 999 times out of 1,000 - what happens? We love God, and we get all broken-hearted in high school, and we're like: why God? Why God? Why God? Then you go to your 20-year reunion, and you're like: THANK YOU. Thank You God!

There's this Garth Brooks song that says: and I thank God for unanswered prayer. How many of you thank God for unanswered prayers sometimes? Yeah, like you think you know what you want but you don't.

Jesus was kind to all these people, and He only used the word Hades three times; and the one time that it was with a person, it was a rich man who overlooked a poor man. The rest of the time, He only ever said the word ‘hell’ was this word ‘Gehenna’, the town garbage dump.

I found a couple of things and I'm fixing to read you all the times Jesus said Gehenna. I'm going to read them all to you right? I took out all the repeats and I'm going to tell you every single time Jesus said the word hell, then let's see if they line up but there's a couple of observations before we do:

1) Every time Jesus said the word ‘hell’, He was talking to followers of Christ! When we say the word ‘hell’, we're always talking about 'them' - those people, not us. When Jesus said the word hell, 100% of the time, He was talking to people who were followers of God.

2) There is a sense that hell is ‘one day in the future’, but 15 of 18 times, 87% of every time Jesus said ‘hell’, He was talking about now.

I had always made hell about somebody else in the future; but Jesus makes hell about me today. Hell to Jesus was a present reality, with future implications: Gehenna. It was the place where the fire doesn't die, and there's weeping and gnashing of teeth - it was the town garbage dump; so with that as the backdrop let's look at what Jesus said…

Matthew 5:21-22, this is the first mention of hell - Gehenna. Hades is something else; this is Gehenna. It says: “You have heard it said ‘do not kil,l and whoever shall kill will be liable for judgement’. But I say to you, that whoever is angry with his brother, will be liable to judgement. And whoever shall say to his brother ‘Raca!’ shall be liable to the Sanhedrin, but whoever should say ‘you fool!’ will be liable to be thrown into the fire of Gehenna.”