Seven People I Would Like to See Go to Hell
In a downtown church in Lexington, Kentucky, my father once preached a sermon that had the whole city in a stir. The title of the sermon was, “Seven People I Would Like to See Go to Hell.” The church my dad served had grown considerably under his leadership, and because of his influence in the community news of the sermon title spread quickly.
I am told the story was picked up by a news service and shared nationally. Speakers were placed outside of the church building so the crowds that gathered outside of the packed sanctuary could hear who the seven people were.
From what I hear, there was lots of speculation. Maybe dad had an enemy or two he wanted to hurry along into Hell’s flames. Perhaps a notorious criminal would make the list.
Some of the facts are a little fuzzy, since I wasn’t born yet, and I have slowly pieced together what I know from some eye-witnesses. But as the list began to unfold that Sunday morning, some unexpected names appeared. One was the Chairman of the Elders at the church. Another was the Mayor of the city. I don’t remember the positions of the other five.
Then my dad revealed a point of clarification that left everyone feeling somewhat cheated: He never said he was going to preach about seven people he wanted to see to “into” Hell, but rather go “to” Hell. In other words, there were some influential people in the community who would benefit from seeing the horrors of Hell up close as it would inspire them to be even more fervent in their efforts to introduce others to Jesus.
I wasn’t there, so I don’t know if anyone walked away at this point. I can only assume the message was a powerful one and that those who heard it left with their evangelistic spirit refueled.
Every now and then I think about my dad’s sermon. I wonder if it would be good for all of us to pay a visit to the gates of Hell. I know Hell isn’t a popular topic, and I am not one to scare people to death so they will accept Jesus. However, it would be irresponsible of me to dismiss the notion of Hell, since the Bible says it exists, or to fail to warn those who appear to be on their way there.
There are those who say, “I don’t need to see Hell! I have lived Hell here on earth!” I don’t doubt the fact many people have had some hellish experiences here on earth. It makes sense. The Prince of Darkness, Satan, flavors everything he touches with wickedness. It is as if he allows the flames of Hell to dance into the hearts and lives of those who open themselves up to any portion of his earthly ambition.
But if Satan’s footprint on earth is terrible, then the place God has prepared for his eternal punishment must be beyond any horror we can imagine. It is reality without the presence of God. Total darkness.
I am not suggesting non-believers go look into Hell, although it might benefit them for other reasons. My dad’s message was to believers. We are the ones who lose our passion for the lost. We are also the ones who sometimes seem content to give up on the world because we believe people are too far gone.
A visit to Hell wouldn’t make us more judgmental or hateful. I think it would renew our vigor and fill us with compassion. Too much time has passed without an honest assessment of what the Bible says will happen to those outside of Christ and our role in rescuing them. No wonder Jesus lamented to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” (Luke 10:2)
I’m thinking of planning a trip to Hell. Would you like to go with me? If I get twenty people to go, my way is paid!
“To” Hell. Not “into” Hell.
And I get a cool piece of luggage filled with rock and roll CDs, poker chips and whiskey.