Sermon: Jesus teaches about Hell
Today’s Gospel passage is a hard one. It is not hard to understand, but what Jesus says, is, for many, hard to digest and accept. Jesus clearly speaks of the place of torment, of hell. Any time hell is spoken of from the pulpit there is a risk.
For many it comes across as manipulative. The church’s message isn’t quite the attraction we’d like, so to the “carrot” of heaven, Christians add the “stick” of hell. This allows us to scare people into our pews and control them once they get here.
Add to that the stereotypical image, held by so many, of the self-righteous firebrand evangelist who seems to revel gleefully in the fire and brimstone and eternal punishment of everyone else…and you have a recipe that many Christians who want to reach out to people in the world like to avoid.
We want people to see the love of Jesus. We want people to come to Good Shepherd and walk away having had a good experience of the presence and power of God.
As a preacher, I want to dwell on the more attractive elements of Christianity. I know we have guests here. I know some here are on the edge of coming faith, and I don’t want to drive anyone away. I want people to stay, become part of this family, come to know Jesus here with us and I’m afraid of passages like this because I’m afraid that you’ll run in the other direction.
Our calling, however, is not to craft a message that will bring people to Good Shepherd…more
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