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CHRISTMAS IN HELL

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, December 11, 2011

“Son, remember” (Luke 16:25).


The rich man died and was buried. His soul immediately went down into the flames of Hell, “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments” (Luke 16:23). The rich man saw Abraham “afar off” in Heaven. He begged for a little water to “cool [his] tongue; for [he was] tormented in [the] flame” (Luke 16:24). Abraham said to him,

“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. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence” (Luke 16:25-26).

The Lord Jesus Christ gave this account to warn lost sinners about the dangers of Hell.

Both C. H. Spurgeon and William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army as it once was, warned in the late 19th century that preaching in the twentieth century would neglect the doctrine of Hell. When General Booth was asked by an American newspaper what he regarded as the chief dangers ahead in the twentieth century, he replied in part, “heaven without hell” (The War Cry, January 1901, p. 7). Booth’s prediction came true. Today preaching on Hell is almost unheard of. But it should not be so. Dr. J. I. Packer, an evangelical theologian, said,

Christian evangelists ought to [speak] on hell: it is part of their job…evangelists are on a rescue mission to their unbelieving neighbors, and it is right and necessary that, as honest men, they should undertake frankly to explain what jeopardy people are in apart from Christ…According to Jesus and the apostles, personal life goes on after physical death, and the prospect for those without Christ in the world to come is as bad and terrifying as it could possibly be, and everyone needs to be told so (J. I. Packer, Ph.D., foreword to Whatever Happened to Hell? by John Blanchard, D.D., Evangelical Press, 2005 edition, p. 9).

The only criticism I have of Dr. Packer’s statement is that he seems to assign preaching on Hell to “Christian evangelists” alone. But the Apostle Paul said that pastors must also, “do the work of an evangelist” (II Timothy 4:5). Pastors also “ought to [speak] on hell; it is part of their job” (Packer, ibid.).

Jesus is our model, “leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (I Peter 2:21). Jesus often preached on Hell, and He is our example. To be true to Christ, every pastor should sometimes preach on Hell, clearly and pointedly, as Christ did when He preached on “The Rich Man and Lazarus.” Christ said that the man died and went directly to Hell where he was tormented in the flames. The man asked Abraham for a few drops of water. Abraham said to him,

“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” (Luke 16:25).

I am lifting out just two of the words in that text,

“Son, remember” (Luke 16:25).

This is Christmas time. Our church is beautifully decorated. We have been singing the great old Christmas carols. We are going to have a wonderful Christmas banquet next Sunday night. We will also have a Christmas dinner here at the church, at 7:30 on Saturday night, Christmas Eve. But during all these beautiful and meaningful celebrations of Christ’s birth, let us not forget about Hell. Hell is the result of sin. Jesus was born to die on the Cross to save the lost from sin, so they will not be cast into those awful flames. The Apostle Paul said,

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”
      (I Timothy 1:15).

The angel of the Lord said to Joseph,

“Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

Then isn’t that exactly what the true meaning of Christmas is all about? Isn’t the real message of Christmas the fact that Jesus came down from Heaven to die on the Cross, to pay for man’s sin, to keep sinners out of Hell?

But what if you die before Christmas? There may be someone here tonight who will die in the next few days. If that should happen to you, on December 25 you will spend your first Christmas in Hell. And it will be said of you, as it was to the rich man,

“Son, remember” (Luke 16:25).

If you go on as you are, maybe not this Christmas, but someday, perhaps sooner than you think, you will spend your first Christmas in that place of fiery torment. What will you remember when you spend your first Christmas in Hell?

I. First, you will remember the sermons you neglected.

You will remember how you learned to turn off your mind, and tune out the sermons. You will remember that it took practice to do that. At first the sermons troubled you and made you think about eternal things. But, as time went on, it became easier and easier for the Devil to “catch away” the sermons from your heart (see Matthew 13:19). Jesus said,

“Then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12).

At first it was hard for Satan to do that. But as the months went by you became so used to this Satanic trick that nothing bothered you anymore, and you began to sleep the sleep of death during every sermon. At last your conscience became so seared, and your heart so calloused that, as Christ said to His enemies,

“Ye cannot hear my word” (John 8:43).

I believe that you can become so dull of hearing that it can be said of you, “God gave [him] over to a reprobate mind” (Romans 1:28).

“Son, remember” (Luke 16:25).

Daughter, remember! In Hell you will remember many sermons. When you spend your first Christmas in that burning cavern you will no doubt remember this very sermon! In Hell you will remember the sermons you neglected.

II. Second, you will remember God’s Spirit you rejected.

On your first Christmas in Hell, you will doubtlessly remember some of the times the Holy Spirit convicted you of your sin. Jesus said,

“When he is come, he will reprove the world of sin”
       (John 16:8).

Some of you, when you are spending your first Christmas in Hell, will remember when God’s Spirit made your heart tender. You will remember when His Spirit made you fear. You will remember how tears came into your eyes. But you will also remember how you resisted His convicting work, how you resisted until the Holy Spirit withdrew from you, and God seemed to say to you,

“Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone” (Hosea 4:17).

As Dr. Rice put it,

Then how sad facing judgment, You’ll recall with no mercy
   That you tarried and lingered till the Spirit was gone,
What reproaches and mourning, if when death finds you hopeless,
   You have tarried and lingered and have waited too long!
(“If You Linger Too Long” by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).

“Son, remember” (Luke 16:25).

When you spend your first Christmas in Hell you will remember how you resisted the conviction of God’s Spirit, how you “tarried and lingered till the Spirit was gone” (Rice, ibid.).

“Son, remember!” (Luke 16:25).

Daughter, remember! When the curtain comes down, and the lights go out, and your soul plunges into the flames – Son, remember! Daughter, remember! You will remember the sermons you neglected. You will remember God’s Spirit you rejected.

III. Third, you will remember the Saviour you disrespected.

No! Don’t tell me you respect Christ! Don’t lie about it! You have no respect for Him! None at all! The Bible says that you despise and reject Christ,

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).

If you had respect for Christ you would seek for Him. If you had respect for Christ you would “strive [with all your might] to enter in” to Him (Luke 13:24). What striving have you done? Have you prayed by the hour like Luther? Have you gone through agony of soul like John Bunyan? Have you fasted for weeks like Whitefield? Have you driven yourself like Wesley? Have you charged off to find Christ in a snowstorm like Spurgeon? I say you have not striven at all! And some day, when you are in Hell, you will remember that you were so sluggish and lazy that you never strove to find Christ!

“Son, remember” (Luke 16:25).

Daughter, remember! You will remember that in Hell! You will remember that you had so little respect for Jesus Christ that you would not earnestly seek Him, who said,

“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Son, remember! Daughter, remember! You will remember in the eternal flames, how you disrespected Jesus, how you rejected His offer of salvation.

You have waited so flippantly, refused Him so lightly,
   You have sinned long and dreadfully, your heart is so wrong;
Oh, if God grows impatient, the sweet Spirit offended;
   If no longer He calls you, doom is yours when He's gone.
Then how sad facing judgment, You’ll recall with no mercy
   That you tarried and lingered till the Spirit was gone,
What reproaches and mourning, if when death finds you hopeless,
   You have tarried and lingered and have waited too long!
(“If You Linger Too Long” by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).

If you go to the inquiry room, I don’t want you to say one word about Hell to Dr. Cagan. I want you to speak only about your sin, and about Jesus. Only Jesus can pardon thy sin. Only Jesus can wash thy sin away with His precious Blood. Come to Jesus and be saved by Him from all thy sin.

How terrible it is that you do not think about Jesus when you go to the inquiry room. If I mention God’s providence in my sermon, you talk about providence in the inquiry room. If I mention election in my sermon, you talk about election in the inquiry room. If I mention Satan in my sermon, you talk about Satan in the inquiry room. If I mention original sin or effectual calling, those are the things you talk about in the inquiry room. If I preach on Hell, that’s what you talk about!

Although my sermons always center on Jesus, humanly speaking we can’t get you to talk about Jesus Christ Himself. We can’t get you to think about Jesus. You despise and reject Him (Isaiah 53:3). Yet no other subject or person can save you from sin. “None but Jesus, none but Jesus, can do helpless sinners good” (“Come, Ye Sinners” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).

Your sins were placed on Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was crushed under the weight of your sin in the Garden, until He fell to the ground and a bloody sweat surged from the pores of His body. They arrested Him and beat His face, and pulled out swatches of His beard. Pilate had His back scourged till the skin hung in shreds from His ribs. They nailed His hands and His feet to a cross. A soldier pierced His side with a spear, “and forthwith came there out blood and water” (John 19:34). Jesus went through all of that horror, pain and agony to pay the penalty for your sin, to cleanse you from sin with His Holy Blood! The Bible says, “Christ died for our sins” (I Corinthians 15:3).

Oh, think of your sins! Oh, think of Jesus, who suffered, bled and died to save you from your sin. Think of Jesus, who alone can pardon and cleanse you from all sin! Think of your sin! Think of Jesus, who alone can save you! Come to Jesus. Come to Him now. “None but Jesus, none but Jesus, can do helpless sinners good; none but Jesus, none but Jesus, can do helpless sinners good.”

Could my zeal no respite know,
   Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
   Thou must save, and Thou alone.
(“Rock of Ages, Cleft For Me” by Augustus Toplady, 1740-1778).

“None but Jesus, none but Jesus, can do helpless sinners good.” Come to Him tonight in simple faith!

(END OF SERMON)
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at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

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write to him at P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. Or phone him at (818)352-0452.

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.: Luke 16:19-25.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“If You Linger Too Long” (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).


THE OUTLINE OF

CHRISTMAS IN HELL

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Son, remember” (Luke 16:25).

(Luke 16:23, 24, 25-26; II Timothy 4:5; I Peter 1:21;
I Timothy 1:15; Matthew 1:21)

I.   First, you will remember the sermons you neglected,
Matthew 13:19; Luke 8:12; John 8:43; Romans 1:28.

II.  Second, you will remember God’s Spirit you rejected,
John 16:8; Hosea 4:17.

III. Third, you will remember the Saviour you disrespected,
Isaiah 53:3; Luke 13:24; Jeremiah 29:13, John 19:34;
I Corinthians 15:3.