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Session (1 of 4) Hell

Shane Willard

Page 8 of 10
In other words, living in such a way, that it doesn't matter if what I'm doing offends you - you'll have to deal with it, it's my freedom. I have the right to act however I want to act; and if it offends you, too bad for you. Jesus says: with that heart attitude, your life will end up in the garbage heap.

So to Jesus, Gehenna was all about my anger problem, my tendency to: be angry; to think my way is the best way; to fear man instead of fear God; to be proud, and to offend people. That's what Gehenna was about that to Him.

We can keep going… “If your eye offends you, pluck it out and throw it from you”. So He says two different stories. He says: if your hands or feet offend you do that; and also if your eye offends you, or causes you to offend, throw it away from you.

This is not a statement about looking at sinful things. You can make a case for that in a lot of other places; because for a First Century Hebrew rabbi to say: “if your eye is offensive”, it meant if you were greedy. To have an “eye full of light” meant to be generous; to have an eye full of darkness meant to be greedy - so to have “an eye that blesses” meant to be generous. To have an eye that offends meant to be greedy.

The word was yetzer hara, or yetzer tov. Yetzer hara meant “the eye of evil”; yetzer tov meant “the eye of light”. It meant “the way you look at things”; that the way you look at things actually leads people to completion, or it unravels completion - and greed unravels completion.

So Jesus says: if your eye is offensive, cast it from you. It's better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, and be cast into the fire of Gehenna.

Let me give you two more… Matthew 23:13, it says: “but woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against man, for you neither go in, nor do you allow those entering to go in”.

Verse 14: “woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses, and then pray at length as pretence”.

In other words, you come to church, you raise your hands, you shout, you sing, you go through all the motions - but when you walk out, you would take a widows' home right out from underneath her, because of your greed. Therefore you will receive the greater condemnation.

“Woe to you, you scribes and Pharisees, for you compass land and sea to make one convert, and then when he is made, you make him twice the child of Gehenna that you are”. Gehenna.

The only other instance He says ‘Gehenna’ is in Matthew 23:33, same chapter, just way at the bottom. He kind of summarises it by saying: “you serpents, you offspring of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of Gehenna?”

That is every single time Jesus ever said Gehenna - every time Jesus said ‘hell’ was right there. You are now complete theologians on Jesus' theology of hell; and let me ask you a question:

Did you find other people in there; or did you find yourself?

Is hell more about them, then; or is it about us now?

My first question, as we start this whole series of meetings is this: are you committed as a child of God, not to just go to heaven one day - are you committed to bringing heaven to earth now? To bringing heaven instead of Gehenna today?

You say: how can I do that? We can start by dying to our anger problem. Quit being retarded - it's just not worth it!

The Book of James says that “anger never ever leads to righteousness”. So if something will “never lead you to righteousness” we may as well just die to it.