Date: November 19, 2023
Is Hell Real?
The Point: Eternal punishment awaits those who do not follow Christ.
Get Into the Study
Share the following after discussing Question 1.
A common statement that shaped many people’s conversation skills was to never discuss religion or politics with others to avoid controversial topics. In a society where most religion is mocked as false or self-serving, it can be even more difficult to feel comfortable discussing Christian beliefs.
New House Speaker Mike Johnson has opened his tenure by proclaiming his faith as a Christian, saying that his worldview can be summed up by reading the Bible. He has openly prayed on the House floor and is very vocal about his beliefs, saying that he believes “God has allowed and ordained” each member of Congress to serve at this exact time.
MSNBC host Jen Psaki recently came against Johnson’s beliefs, saying that his political ideology should scare the nation because she believes the new Speaker’s policy views are “more divisive than divine.” Psaki also said that Johnson was “humblebragging” by saying that God had chosen him to be Speaker of the House.
When the people around us ridicule us for our faith, it can make it difficult to feel comfortable speaking about our beliefs. But if we don’t, many of those around us may never hear the truths of the Gospel and will spend eternity in hell.
Study the Bible
Share the following after discussing Question 3.
When faced with the concept of hell, many people try to gloss over it, saying that a loving God could never really punish people for not believing in Him. It can be difficult to reconcile God’s righteous wrath and judgement with His love. Red Pen Logic with Mr. B tackled this when an anonymous poster shared a cartoon that showed the supposed illogicality of God’s wrath.
The cartoon shows Jesus knocking on a door, asking to be let in to save the person on the other side. When asked “from what,” Jesus responds “from what I’m going to do to you if you don’t let me in.” The poster says that they “don’t buy” the wrath of God stuff since God is love, and our job is to “echo” that love to everyone else.
Mr. B acknowledges that while Scripture says God is love (1 John 4:8), God is also a good judge (Rom.s 2:4-5). Scripture shows again and again where God judges those who turn against Him, and this cartoon fails to show why we deserve God’s judgement. Mr. B says that “God isn’t the ‘bad guy’ for punishing sinners. Instead, we deserve God’s wrath, but God provides a rescue for those who trust in Him.”
The concept of hell and eternal punishment for not accepting Jesus’s salvation is a very difficult concept to swallow. But God is a holy God who gives us grace and mercy in the form of Jesus so we can be reconciled to Him. It’s our own sinfulness and hard-heartedness that separates us from Him.
EXTRA was written by Emily Duncan, a Southern California native currently living in West Georgia with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. She became a Christian when she was sixteen at a youth retreat. Now, she’s a self-described homemaker and semi-professional baker who dreams of eventually finishing all the projects in her workroom.
Study the Bible [Option for Adult Leader Guide]
In advance, play the hymn “Rescue the Perishing” to remind the group of the dire consequences people without Christ face. Then close in prayer.
- What are topics you would really prefer not to talk about around the dinner table?
- When was the last time you found yourself really uncomfortable and why?
- What are some prevailing beliefs and attitudes about hell?
- What is a subject you try to avoid talking about?
- What are some interesting ways you’ve heard rthe afterlife described? (LP)
2 Thessalonians 1:3-7a
- How has God shown Himself active and available to you in times of suffering?
- What does flourishing faith look like and how can individuals display this?
- What are tangible ways for a church to show increasing love for one another?
- How might God give relief to those who are experiencing persecution?
- When have you felt like God was watching over you in a meaningful way?
- What can we learn from the Thessalonians about enduring times of persecution?
2 Thessalonians 1:7b-10
- What’s the good news in these verses?
- Why would someone choose not to follow God when the end is coming?
- How does God want us to respond to the realities in these verses?
- What is your initial reaction to the penalty of eternal destruction?
- How do these verses support the reality of hell?
- How is God’s justice different from our attempts at justice?
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
- How have you seen someone live out a consistent desire to glorify the Lord?
- How can we tell when we are bringing positive attention to Jesus rather than positive attention to yourself?
- What are tangible examples of works produced by faith?
- How can we as a class and individuals strive to glorify God and not self?
- What should be the believer’s response to the reality of hell?
- What are specific ways we can reflect God’s glory in our culture?
- How can we help each other identify the good works God is calling us to?
For Those in Your Group
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.