Does God Punish People Forever in Hell?

Does God actually punish people to a place called hell? Is it only for a period of time? Or is it forever? Listen as Paul Kiss digs into John 5:16-30 so that we can separate fact from fiction on this hot button topic. Whatever your view of hell is, we discover that it is more important that we keep the focus on Jesus.

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Does God punish people forever in hell?

Speaker: Paul Kiss
Date: February 11, 2018

Whatever your view of hell is, keep the focus on Jesus.

“When talking about hell, a good dose of humility is in order.” Brian Zahnd, Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God.

1. A Big Question to Answer

● It reveals our understanding of God.
● The tension of God’s love and holiness.
● It opens or closes a door to sharing good news with people today.
● It informs how we live in this life.
● It doesn’t need to be divisive.

2. Biblical Approaches to Understanding Hell

1. Eternal Conscious Torment. (Traditional View)
a. The wicked will spend eternity in a state of conscious torment/punishment.
b. In the end, there is no end to punishment.
c. Key Biblical Texts in Support: Isaiah 66:22–24; Daniel 12:2–3; Matthew 18:6–9; 25:31–46; Mark 9:42–48; 2 Thessalonians 1:6–9; Jude 7, 13; Revelation 14:9–11; 20:10, 14–15
2. Conditional Mortality or Annihilationism
a. The wicked will experience a time of temporary punishment and then will cease to exist as God withdraws from them.
b. In the end, one ceases to exist.
c. Key Biblical Texts in support: Psalm 1:4-6; 37; Proverbs 1:18-19; Isaiah 1:28, 30-31; Obadiah 1:16; Matthew 7:13-14; 10:28; 16:25-26; John 3:16; 10:28; Romans 6:23; 9:22; Galatians 6:8; Philippians 1:28; 3:19; 2Thessalonians 1:9; 1Timothy 6:15-16; Hebrews 10:39; 12:29; James 4:12; 2Peter 2:6; 9-12; 3:7-12; 1John 5:12
3. Universalism
a. The wicked will experience a time of punishment/refinement that will eventually lead them to accept God’s love and grace in Jesus.
b. In the end, everyone will be won over to God’s love in Jesus.
c. Key Biblical Texts in Support: 2Samuel 14:14; Psalm 22:27,29; Lamentations 3:31-33; Isaiah 45:22-23; John 12:32, 47; Acts 3:21; Romans 5:18; 11:32; 1Corinthians 3:12-15; 15:22; Ephesians 1:9-10; Philippians 2:11; Colossians 1:20,(16-20); 1Timothy 2:3-6; 4:10; 2Peter 3:9; 1John 2:2

3. Let’s Talk About Motivation

● Jesus is our motivation for preaching. Jesus is the good news. Acts 5:42
● Good news in Acts – The earliest Christians preached Jesus, not hell.
● Jesus reminds us that what we do in this life matters. – Matthew 25:31-46
● Eternal life in Christ starts now, not later. – John 3:16; 10:10
● The good news isn’t that people will be judged. The good news is that Jesus is the Judge. – John 5:16-30
● Whatever your view of hell is, keep the focus on Jesus. – Acts 10:34-43

1. What is something new that you learned in this teaching about hell?
2. What bothers you about the idea of hell?
3. How does the reality that God is love influence your view of hell?
4. As a group study these key texts from each viewpoint and discuss the merits of those texts in support of that view. Then discuss the problems you see in them.
a. ECT View – Isa. 66:22-24; Matt. 18:7-9; 25:31-46; 2Thess. 1:6-9
b. Conditional View – Isa. 1:28-31; Matt. 10:28; 2Thess. 1:8-9; 2Pet. 3:7-12
c. Universal View – 2Sam. 14:14; Isa. 45:22-23; John 12:32,47; 1Tim. 4:9-10
5. Depending on which view you hold, how could you answer a person who says, “I won’t believe in a God who wants to punish people forever in hell. How is that kind of God a God of love?” How could you keep the focus on Jesus?

1.Listen to or watch another sermon about hell that will add to what was said by Paul. (The Meeting House – “Bad Ideas” Series).
2.If you’re willing to, ask a friend what they think the Church teaches about hell, who will go there, and what will happen to them. Listen to what they tell you and consider what this means about the message we are communicating.

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