When our kids were young, teaching opportunities presented themselves around certain words. “Hell” was one of those words.
Like this example.
Megan and I curled up with a book on each end of the couch. Only five-years-old, Megan already loved books. One-year-old Caleb decided he would spend the afternoon exercising his legs. And have a little fun to boot.
Pulling up at my end, Caleb side-stepped the length of the couch and tapped Megan’s book. He made the trip back to me, tapped my book, then on to the other end.
It quickly became a game. Side-step. Tap book. Repeat.
I smiled at Caleb giving him that Momma-sees-you look. Megan continued to ignore her little brother until one too many book taps met her last nerve. And there wasn’t time to exchange greetings.
“Caleb, what the Hades do you want?!” Except she used the word that means the opposite place of heaven.
“Megan, that’s not nice…not at all. Where did you hear that word?”
Megan responded in a frustrated howl as if to make her Sunday School teacher proud. “The preacher says it all the time.”
Sunday School Lessons on Hell
Oh, you better believe another Sunday School lesson took place right there in our living room…on a weekday.
Growing up, I remember preachers speaking about the place called hell. Evangelists, church revivals, and songs all proclaiming the power of Jesus over the forces of darkness…over the devil and hell itself. I remember when it was commonplace at church. You worked the subject of hell into your sermon as much as possible.
My husband often scripturally teaches on heaven and hell. But in our culture it grieves me to hear the places referred to as mythological. And further crushing when people angrily tell someone to go to h_ _ _. Why doesn’t anyone say? “Go to heaven!”
Getting Back to the Basics
Recently, there’s something stirring in my spirit. With the present state of our culture and world, what if we set our hearts on getting back to the basics?
Google defines basics- “the essential facts or principles of a subject.” Synonyms include: fundamentals, foundations, and groundwork.
What are the fundamentals of Christianity? The basics?
According to the Bible, the gospel message is the foundation with these main essentials:
- Jesus- the Savior who loves and takes away the sins of the world.
- Salvation- eternal life provided through the bloodshed of Jesus.
- Eternity- spiritual life after this physical life in either heaven or hell.
Power Over Hell
In Revelation 1, the Apostle John recounts his vision—in the spirit—of Jesus and heaven. John, as other Christians, endured persecution because of his devotion to Christ. Banished and possibly imprisoned at the time of his revelation.
The passage displays the basics of Christianity and shows Christ’s power over hell. John introduces the chapter describing Jesus.
“…who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood” (verse 5).
“Behold he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all the tribes of the earth will wail on account of him” (verse 7).
Then John details his vision of Christ.
“The hairs of his head were white like wool, as white as snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice like the roar of many waters” Revelation 1:14-16.
Keys to Hell’s Gates
When John saw Jesus he fell at His feet as dead. Jesus laid His right hand on John saying…
“Don’t fear: I am First, I am Last, I’m Alive. I died, but I came to life, and my life is now forever. See these keys in my hand? They open and lock Death’s doors, they open and lock Hell’s gates” Revelation 1: 17-18 (MSG).
Just as our keys lock and unlock car doors, homes, and businesses; Jesus holds the keys for death and hell. His sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection—raised from the dead, defeated the power of the devil and spiritual death. He holds the keys to eternal life in His hand. Hell has no power over Jesus and all His glory.
Returning to my statement about the current state of the world. We need the basics. Church, it’s time to stop sugarcoating Christianity and attempting to soften the gospel message.
Heaven is real. And hell is real.
But there’s a real Savior who holds the power of eternity in His hand. Jesus.
All hail the power of Jesus over hell.
Join the conversation. Do you believe heaven, hell, and Jesus are real?
*All Scripture references are ESV unless otherwise noted.
*Images courtesy of Adobe Spark.
© 2016 by Karen Friday, All rights reserved
October 6, 2016 at 11:09 am | Uncategorized