A SERIES AT NEW CITY CHURCH
The following content is based on the message “Hell (Why the…)” spoken on 09/25/16 by Brian Kruckenberg at New City Church in Phoenix, AZ. The following is not meant to be a full synopsis of the message but rather a brief look at the main ideas. To use this Study Guide effectively you must listen to the message found at https://newcityphx.com/sermons/.
Leaders using these Study Notes for group study and reflection should read the Biblical text thoroughly before beginning, using this resource as assistance and not relying solely on this material for insight. We encourage all leaders to pray and ask the Spirit for revelation as they lead their respective communities.
Pray and ask God to lead the discussion as everyone gets to share.
THE SCRIPTURE: 2 THESSALONIANS 1:3-11
Going back to the beginning (Genesis 1 and 2), there was no sickness, no pain, and no shame. Then, as a result of sin, a form of hell entered into the world. Now our world is filled with racism, sexism, abuse, abortion, and broken families. This is hell. As followers of Jesus, we are to contrast that by bringing the kingdom of Heaven to this world through Jesus’s message. However, there will be one day when Hell will be completely kicked out from the world.
When you look at the world today, what specific effect of sin breaks your heart the most?
Sometimes people look on from the outside and say that Christianity is about rule-keeping. However, if people followed the commands of Jesus, how do you feel like that would actually lead to the flourishing of our city?
ISN’T HELL AN OVER-REACTION?
Those in Hell have committed the ultimate, infinite sin in rejecting a relationship with the self-giving God—not simply a string of finite sins. Hell is the logical outcome of a mindset to live life apart from God—not simply committing individual sins.
- How could Hell seem like an over-reaction?
- In what ways does Hell actually give people what they want?
HELL IS WHERE PEOPLE CHOOSE TO GO
If someone doesn’t believe in Jesus, then they probably don’t want to be with him forever. Those who have resisted God on earth continue in their hard-heartedness thereafter. God’s holy presence would truly be “hell” for those wanting their own way. We have no hint from Scripture of repentance in hell. Rebellion, hate, and selfishness continue. The rich man in hell (Luke 16:19–26) is remorseful, but not repentant. He does not want to change, but just to find relief.
- Prior to this, how did you think people in Hell viewed getting out of Hell?
- Even after surrendering to Jesus, how can it still be difficult to turn from our own way?
- What does Hell actually teach us about God?
BEHOLD, I AM COMING SOON
Read Revelation 21:1-4. The scene in this passage is what the followers of Jesus can look forward to when Hell is cast out. In Revelation 22 Jesus says “I am coming soon” three different times. It is a promise that we can find hope in.
- What are some of the things that stand out to you about how God views us in Revelation 21:1-4?
- In what ways have you already seen Jesus keep his promises in your life?
SCRIPTURE FOR REFERENCE & DEEPER STUDY
Universalism (the idea that everyone will be saved):
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. Romans 5:18 (Goes on to say how we must repent and be baptized into Christ.)
21For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23But each in his own order: Christ the first-fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:22
9For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23if indeed you continue in the faith. Colossians 1:20
Second Chance (the idea that people will get a second chance to repent after they die):
1 Peter 3:19-20 (preaching to souls in prison)
For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are (NOW) dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. 1 Peter 4:6
However, we must keep Luke 16:9-31, John 8:24, and Hebrews 9:27-28 in balance with these two verses above.
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:27-28
Annihilationism (the idea that hell’s inhabitants do not suffer forever, but are consumed in judgment):
…they will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction. 2 Thessalonians 1:9
Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:14-15
…destroy the soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28
However, we have to balance the above passages with passages such as these:
And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal
life.” Matthew 25:46
…where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. Mark 9:48
Mark 9:48 (Endless fire: unquenchable fire – worm does not die)
Matthew 25:46 (Eternal punishment)
Luke 16:19–31 (Fixed chasm that cannot be crossed separates the wicked in Hell from the righteous in Paradise. It shows that people remain conscious, retain their memories, cannot find comfort, cannot leave their torment, and have no hope.)
Revelation 14:11 (smoke rising forever)
Revelation 20:10 (tormented “forever and ever”, which is the most emphatic way of saying “forever” in the New Testament.)
And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 20:10