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Luke 16:19-31


Intro: The mention of Hell elicits many different reactions.  Some people react with concern and are moved to share Jesus with the lost.  Others react with fear and come to Jesus seeking salvation for their own souls.  Still others react with hate and revulsion and say that it is not a proper topic for conversation.  Some would even seek to deny the existence of Hell.  Yet God and Jesus declare Hell to be a very real place, (Psa. 9:17). Of the 162 references to Hell in the New Testament, 70 come from Jesus Himself.  When people attempt to deny the doctrine of Hell, there are three basic approaches.  They are:

1. RATIONALISM: "There is no God, therefore there can be no Hell."; Charles Darwin said, "This is a damnable doctrine."  But, I say Let God be true and every man a liar, Rom. 3:4! 

2. RIDICULE: "There may be a God, but it is silly to speculate about millions of disembodied spirits frying in a lake of fire somewhere."  Or, "This is the twenty first century, wake up!". Robert Ingersoll said, "The idea of Hell was born of revenge and brutality on the one side, and cowardice on the other.  I have no respect for any man who preaches it!  I dislike the doctrine, I hate it, I despise it, I defy this doctrine."  Let God be true! 

3. RELIGION: "There is a God, but He is a God of love and therefore He would not and could not send anyone to Hell."  A theologian by the name of Bertrand Russell said, “I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly human can believe in everlasting punishment.…I must say that I think all this doctrine, that hellfire is a punishment for sin, is a doctrine of cruelty.”

            This is the position of the cults and of liberalism.  Christian Science: "Hell is an error of the mortal mind."  Jehovah's Witnesses: "The wicked will be annihilated."  Mormonism: "All will eventually be saved, and not suffer eternal punishment."  Seventh-day Adventists: "God will someday blot out all sin and sinners, and establish a clean universe once again."  Man may try to use religion as a soapbox to preach that Hell is a myth, but I say, “Let God be true and every man a liar!”

            We may not like to think about it, but Hell is a reality. If the teachings in the Bible concerning Hell are a myth, then we have no real need for this church, this Bible, this preacher, or any of the things we do.  If there is no Hell, then there is no Heaven, and there is no Savior, because if there is no Hell, He lied to us and He has disqualified Himself.

            Let me just add, before I dig into these verses, that this story is not a parable! The rich man who is spoken about in this passage is still in Hell and untold millions more have joined him there.  Today, I want to examine A Horrible Place Called Hell.  I would like for us to get an idea of what Hell is really like.  This passage reveals several horrible facts about a place called Hell.  Let’s look at them today.



(Ill. When we meet the rich man, he is alive in this world, and he is enjoying his wealth and power.  After he experiences death and is buried in verse 22, we see him in Hell.  But, he is not dead; he is still very much alive.  He is a conscious man who is very aware of his surroundings.  Notice with me what the rich man is alive to in Hell.)

A. v.23 People In Hell Can See – The rich man looks at his surroundings through scalding tears.  This passage is very clear; this is a real man in a real place, experiencing real torment.  This is a literal man in a literal body in a literal place called Hell!

B. v.27 People In Hell Can Hear - Hears the screams of millions of parched throats. Ill. Matt. 13:42, “And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” – He hears his fellow sufferers moan, cry, curse and scream.

C.  People In Hell Can Feel – This passage, like no other in the Bible illustrates for us the pain and suffering that exists in Hell.  You see, Hell is not a state of mind!  It is a real place, where real souls spend a real eternity in real torment.  Notice a few of the truths the Bible reveals about Hell.

1.  Hell Is A Place Of Punishment

·        Matt. 25:41, “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”

2.  Hell Is A Place Of Fire - Luke 16:24

·        Mark 9:43-44, “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”;

3.  Hell Is A Place Of Thirst - v.24-25

4.  Hell Is A Place Of Pain - Luke 16:24,25,28

·        Rev.14:10-11, “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:  And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”

5.  Hell Is A Place Of Wrath - (Ill. In the Old Testament, we hear the prophet Habakkuk cried out for the Lord to remember mercy during a time when His wrath was being poured out, Hab. 3:2.  This has always been God’s way!  When He destroyed the earth in Genesis 6-8, He extended grace to Noah and Noah’s family.  He remembered mercy and even placed His rainbow in the clouds to declare His mercy.  Even after this world rejected Him, He sent His Son Jesus to die for the sinners any way!  That is grace!  That is mercy!  The Lamb of God died in your place and mine on the cross, as He did, He demonstrated in perfection the love of God for sinners, Rom. 5:6-8.)

6.  Hell Is A Place Of Frustration And Anger

·        Matt.13:42, “And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

·        Matt. 24:51, “And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

7.  Hell Is A Place Of Eternal Separation From God

·        2 Thes. 1:8-9, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”

·        And from all that is good and decent - Rev. 21:27, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.”

8.  Some say this world is Hell. It might get bad here, but it is far worse there!  Some contend that what the Bible says about Hell is purely symbolic.  My lost friend, you had better hope not!  When the Bible uses symbolic language, it does so to describe things that are indescribable to our human minds.  In other words, the reality is far more intense than the symbolic.  If what the Bible says about Hell is symbolic, then Hell is far worse than even the Bible says it is.  However, the Bible uses very clear and plain language where Hell is concerned.

D. v.24 People In Hell Can Want – The rich man desires water.  Apparently, those lost to Hell will still have many of the same wants and desires they had in this world, v.24.

E. v.25 People In Hell Can Remember – This poor rich man remembers every witness who ever came to his gate.  He remembers Lazarus lying there.  He remembers turning a deaf ear to the pain and needs of Lazarus.  He remembers all the opportunities he wasted during life.  He remembers that he could have been saved.  He remembers that he could have lived for the Lord.  He remembers in glaring detail the truth that things did not have to turn out this way.  He remembers all his chances and he realizes that they are gone forever now.


      (Ill. Hell is a place of Memory And Remorse - Luke 16:25 He wanted his brothers spared too - Luke 16:27-31.  He experienced regret too! Ill. Memories, guilt and remorse- If you think those things are bad here, just imagine what they must be like in Hell!  You see, you still have time here to settle things with your fellow man and with the Lord.  You still have opportunities today, but when you arrive in Hell, it will be forever too late.)


(Ill. You might wonder what all this proves.  It simply proves that this man is in Hell, but he is alive even in that awful place.  Hell is not the end.  It is merely the beginning of an endless eternity where the lost experience a living death forever.  Don’t let the world, liberal religion or the devil tell you that Hell is a figment of some preacher’s imagination.  It is a real place where real people go!)


  I.  Hell Is A Place Of Uninterrupted Consciousness



(Ill. This man is suddenly concerned about some things that probably never crossed his mind while he was alive.  Oh, these things might have briefly crossed his radar from time to time, but he was not concerned enough about any of them to do anything about them.)

A.  Now He Is Concerned About Life After Death – He may not have ever given eternity a single thought while he was alive, living in his mansion and enjoying his wealth.  Now, he is very conscious and concerned about the fact of life after death. 

            My friend, you need to understand a few things: you are alive today, you will die someday, and after you die, your soul will continue to live forever in either Heaven or Hell! Ill. Heb. 9:27; Rom. 6:23; Rev. 20:11-15.  That is why you need to come to the Lord while He is still giving you a chance to do so, Isa.55:6; 2Cor.6:2)

B. v. 24  Now He Is Concerned About Repentance – This man probably never gave his sinful condition any thought at all.  He lived like he wanted to live and enjoyed himself to the full.  Now he is dead and in Hell and there is a noticeable change in his attitude.  He cries out to Abraham and calls him “Father.”  It seems that he is interested in making some changes in his life, but it is too late.

            My friend, thoughts of repentance and of dealing with your sins might not enter your mind often.  But, I just want to remind you that there will come a day when it will be too late for you to get right with the Lord.  There will come a day when you will leave this world and how you stand on that day is how you will enter eternity, Eccl. 11:3.  Jesus made the issue of repentance very clear, Luke 13:3. 

C. v.27-28 Now He Is Concerned That Others Miss Hell – While he was alive, we do not know what kind of relationship this man had with his five brothers.  He might have loved them and he might have shared his wealth with them.  But, I am almost certain that he never gave a moment’s thought to where they would spend eternity.  Now, he is in Hell and he knows they are just like him.  He knows that where he is, his brothers will soon be.  Now, he is concerned for his brothers, but it is too late.

            My friends, we must reach them while there is time!  Let us open our mouths and share Jesus with this lost and dying generation.  Let us do what we are called to do in the Gospels and go tell this world about a Savior Who loves them, died for them and will save them; if they will trust in Him by faith, Mark 16:15.


  I.  Hell Is A Place Of Uninterrupted Consciousness

 II.  Hell Is A Place Of Unanswered Concerns       



(Ill. 5 Seconds after death the rich man was convinced of some things that may have been unclear to him before he died.)

A.  v. 23 Hell Is Real – Many see this passage as merely another “story” from Jesus.  But, Jesus never called anyone by name in a parable.  Here, He called “Lazarus” by his name. Hell is real!  Don’t wait until you die to discover this essential fact!  There are no philosophical debates raging within the heart of this man concerning the existence of Hell.  He is thoroughly convinced that Hell is an absolute reality!

B. v. 22-23 Hell Is Not The Grave – This man knows for sure that Hell is not the grave.  He dies and is buried in verse 22.  Immediately, he finds himself in the flames of Hell, verse 23.

C.  v. 24 Hell Is Not Annihilation – This man knows that Hell does not spell the end of man’s existence as many groups teach.  He knows for sure that man does not merely burn up like a broom sage field.  He knows that the soul lives on forever in Hell, when it dies in unbelief, John 8:24.

D.  v. 24 A Loving God Will Allow Men To Go To Hell – This man now has no doubts that God will allow man to follow his unbelief all the way into Hell, Pro. 16:25. Some people say that Hell cannot possibly be real, since a loving God will not allow man to go there.  Friend, God loves the sinner so much that He will allow him to go to Hell, if that is what the sinner chooses to do, Ill. Mt. 25:41.  (Ill The fact that there is a Hell does not change the fact of God’s love for the lost – John 3:16; Rom. 5:8.)

E. v.26-28  Hell Is Not Purgatory – The rich man is convinced that he will remain where he is forever.  He asks that Lazarus, and not himself, be sent to witness to his brothers.  He knows that he will never be permitted to leave the torments and flames of Hell, Ill. Rev. 14:11; Matt. 25:41; Mark 9:43-48.


  I.  Hell Is A Place Of Uninterrupted Consciousness

 II.  Hell Is A Place Of Unanswered Concerns       

III.  Hell Is A Place Of Unshakable Convictions



A. There Will Be No More Chances - No more chances! While he lived, the rich man had the same opportunities that Lazarus had.  They both had the testimony of the Law of God, John 5:39, Gal. 3:24. 

·        They both had the revelation of God in creation, Psa. 19:1-4.

·        They both had light, John 1:9. 

·        They both had a choice to make. 

·        Apparently, Lazarus chose to place his faith in God, while the rich man embraced unbelief and placed his trust in riches, power and self.

      Because the rich man chose sin over the Savior, he is in Hell and he is in a place where God will never call him again.  He will never hear another Gospel sermon.  He will never hear another Gospel song.  Never again will anyone invite him to church, or hand him a tract.  He is forever separated from everything that has to do with God, 2 Thes. 1:8-9. He has made his choice and his day of opportunity has passed forever.  (Ill. Friend, do not let that happen to you!  If that is the path you choose, then God will allow you to follow that path all the way into the flames of Hell, John 8:24!  You can be saved, if you will come to Jesus!)

B.  There Will Be No More Changes – Just as there will never be another opportunity for the rich man to be saved, there will never be a change in his experience of torment.  Now, we believe that there will be a change in the location of those in Hell. 

            Right now, the souls in Hell are in a place of torment, probably in the heart of the earth.  At some point in the future they will be called out of Hell and they will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ for judgment, Rev. 20:11-15.  After they are judged, they will be sent away into the lake of fire.  Their location will change, but their condition will never be changed.  They will still be lost.  They will still be separated from God and they will still be in eternal torment!

1.  No More Changes In The Reality Of Their Punishment - Rev.14:11a; Ill. Matthew 25:46

2.  No More Changes In The Realization Of Their Punishment - Rev.14:11b


Conc:  On one occasion Col. Robert G. Ingersoll, the agnostic lecturer of the last century, was going to give an address on hell. He declared he would prove conclusively that hell was a wild dream of some scheming theologians who invented it to terrify credulous people. As he was launching into his subject, a half-drunken man arose in the audience and exclaimed, "Make it strong, Bob. There's a lot of us poor fellows depending on you. If you are wrong, we are all lost. So be sure you prove it clear and plain."

      No amount of human reasoning can change what God said in His Word. He has spoken as plainly of a Hell for the lost as He has of a Heaven for those who are saved.

      My friend, if you have never been saved, let me speak to you as clearly as I can for just a moment.  Please do not join the rich man in Hell.  God loves you and He sent His Son Jesus to die for you on the cross.  Jesus Christ died for you and He loves you today just like you are.  I have no doubt that He is calling you to come to Him.  If you will come to Him, He will save you and you will miss Hell.  Don't let Satan play you for a fool - Come to Christ while there is time!

      Here is the invitation today:

1.  If you are lost, you can be saved!  Here’s how:

·        Understand that you are a sinner in the sight of the Lord, Rom. 3:10; 3:23. 

·        Understand that God loves you and that Jesus died for you and rose again from the dead, Rom. 5:8; Isa. 53:6; 2 Cor. 5:21.

·        Place you faith in Him alone for your salvation, Rom. 10:9; 13.

·        Understand that you can do that very thing right now!  Get up and come to God.

·        One day, when Vice President Calvin Coolidge was presiding over the Senate, one Senator angrily told another to go "straight to hell". The offended Senator complained to Coolidge as presiding officer, and Cal looked up from the book he had been leafing through while listening to the debate. "I've been looking through the rule book," he said. "you don't have to go."  And, friend, neither do you!

2.  If you are saved and want to thank the Lord for saving you from Hell and you want to commit to telling the lost about Him, you can come before Him to worship and present your body a living sacrifice right now.

3.  If you are saved, but your life is not what it ought to be, you can come before the Lord today and you can find forgiveness and restoration in Jesus, 1 John 1:9.  Your life can be a light for Jesus and not a testimony against Him.

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