II THESSALONIANS 1:6-10: “…Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: What is a PSA? It is a Public Service Announcement. The use of PSAs began in 1941 during World War II as a means to use advertising to influence American society on a range of issues. I will always remember the PSAs of my youth on TV against the dangers of smoking.
When I read these verses in II Thessalonians it hit me – we need a PSA on the terrible reality of hell. Hell is a lot like smoking. When you watch movies from the early years you will see that everyone smoked. It was vogue to smoke and offer someone a cigarette. All the beautiful people on screen smoked without abandon, not knowing that what they were doing was detrimental to their health.
The world continues to walk in ignorance of something more harmful than smoking. It is sin and the ultimate consequence of this sin – hell! Like the happy smokers in the classic movies of years past, today’s man walks in the rebelliousness of his own heart, not realizing the harm he is doing to his eternal soul. While smoking can cause cancer that can end one’s physical life on earth, sin will lead one to hell which will be a continual existence of misery and suffering throughout eternity.
Let’s get some things cleared up about hell.
Hell is a real place.
Hell was not created for man. It was created for Satan and his fallen band of angels (demons).
- “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:”. Matthew 25:41 NKJV
Jesus came to defeat the power of the enemy (I John 3:8). Jesus came to give His life as a ransom for our sins (Matthew 20:28). Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). Jesus came so that we could have eternal life with Him in heaven (John 3:16, John 14:1-4).
So, if that is true, then how can man end up in the place of eternal judgment and suffering?
- “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 NKJV
- “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NKJV
- “…Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. II Thessalonians 1:6-9
- “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8 NKJV
Hell is a real place. It is a place of eternal judgment – separation from God and all that is good. It can be likened to living eternally on the streets of Portland, Oregon during the chaos and continual riots, looting, and burning – only much worse! One does not simply die and that is it. They either enter into eternal life with God or they enter into eternal judgment in hell.
Yet, hell is not automatic. For any person to end up in hell they really have to work at it. They have to continually resist and reject the grace of God that is reaching out to all men through our Lord Jesus Christ. They have to harden their heart against the conviction and drawing of the Holy Spirit in their lives. They have to believe the lie that sin is not sin and hell is not real. In other words, they have to continue smoking believing that nothing bad will come from it!
Paul writes an epitaph of those who worked so hard that they earned their way into hell.
- “These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.” II Thessalonians 1:10
Yet, the wonderful news is no one has to go there! The wages of sin may be death (eternal separation from God in hell). Yet,
THE FREE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD!
All the smoker has to do is stop smoking. All the sinner has to do is repent of their sins and place their faith in Jesus. Jesus has already paid the full price for our sins and our eternal life. We do not work our way into heaven. No one can do this. We receive heaven as a gift for simply placing our faith in Jesus’ complete sacrifice for our sins. Paul exhorts the Romans in his epistle,
- “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:8-13 NKJV
PSA – BELIEVE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND YOU WILL BE SAVED AND RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE IN HEAVEN!
Heaven or hell. It is our choice. Lord, I choose to believe in my heart that You died and rose again from the dead. I choose to confess You as my Lord and commit my life to follow You. I choose life over death, heaven over hell!
In Jesus’ Name!