Do People Wake Up in Hell?

Do People Wake Up in Hell?

October 17th, 1982 @ 7:30 PM

Luke 16:23

And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
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Dr. W. A. Criswell

Luke 16:23

10-17-82    7:30 p.m.


In our Bible we are going to turn together to the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Luke.  We are going to read a long passage tonight, Luke chapter 16.  This is the fourth in our series of tremendous nights of revival.  And the title of the sermon tonight is one that makes my heart tremble: Do People Wake Up In Hell? 

And to the great multitudes of you who are listening on radio, we welcome you and pray that the trembling message will find a repercussion in your heart and in your life.  Do People Wake Up In Hell?  [Luke], chapter 16, we begin reading at verse 19, and read to the end of the chapter.  Luke, Luke chapter 16, Luke chapter 16—Matthew, Mark, Luke, the Third Gospel—Luke chapter 16, beginning at verse 19—now let’s read it together:

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime received thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou would send him to my father’s house:

For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

Abraham said unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

[Luke 16:19-31]

I can never forget, it is Jesus Himself who told us this story.  Do People Wake Up In Hell?  You don’t ever hear anymore any sermons from the modern pulpit on hell.  It is passé; it is unacceptable; it is an affront to our modern aesthetic sensibilities.  Yet there is a strange thing: when we used to have hell in the pulpit, we didn’t have it in the home, and we didn’t have it on the streets.  Now that we do not have hell in the pulpits, we have it in the home and we have it in the streets.  It will be one or the other, always!

My heart goes out to the vast numbers of people who live in literal hell; hell for the father; hell for the mother; hell for the parents; hell for the children.  They wake up in hell; they go to sleep in hell; they live in hell!  The heartbreak of the sorrows, and disappointments, and frustrations that I see in human life are enough to bow my soul in tears forever.

Another thing: do you think that it is a right motive that one become a Christian out of fear, fear of damnation, fear of judgment, fear of hell?  Is fear a right motive for a man to make a decision for God?  I don’t know of a better motive!  Why should a fellow pride himself upon his bravery as he walks into a fiery furnace or into a contraption of suffering and death?  Why would he think himself brave and courageous thus to destroy himself, and how much more so his very soul?

The text of the proverbs is Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, of knowledge, of understanding.”  It behooves each one of us to tremble before the Lord God.  As the Book of Hebrews says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” [Hebrews 10:31].  “For our God is a consuming fire” [Hebrews 12:29].

Tell me, what would you think of a fellow who, in Chicago, says, “You know, there are seven people around me who have died because of the tampering of the pain-killing drug Tylenol.  There have been seven people who have taken Tylenol in our city.  And because it has a lethal drug in it, cyanide, well, they’ve died.  But I’m not afraid!”  So he takes up these capsules of Tylenol, and he demonstrates his courage by taking them himself.  What would you think of an idiot like that?  What would you?

Or what would you think of another idiot who came into the store in California, and he says, “You know this Visine, that you put in your eye, why there have been people out here that’s found it to be tampered with and they go into excruciating pain and maybe blindness.  But that’s nothing to me!”  So, he puts that Visine in his eye just to demonstrate his bravery.  The fellow has lost his balance.  He’s crazy!

I one time heard of a fellow in New York City, and on the top of a sixty-story building he jumped off with a parachute, and he was floating gracefully down.  And there was a guy on the fortieth story that was seeing that fellow come down, and amid all the wonder and applauding of the people below, so he jumped out of the window in order to demonstrate his own courage.  And as he passed by the guy with the parachute, he says to him, “Sissy, you have to have an umbrella.”  We say, “Bravo profundo”?   No!  We say, “Bravo idioto.”

Fear of God is a good reason, a spiritual reason, a biblical reason, to turn to the Lord.  Do you remember that famous word of Noah in the great chapter of the heroes of the faith, in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews?  Hebrews 11:7: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house…”  The sky was clear; the summertime was beautiful, but God said, “I am going to destroy this world with a flood” [Genesis 6:17].  And the only man that believed it was Noah.  And the Bible says that “Noah, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house” [Hebrews 11:7].

In God’s Word, for a man to be afraid before God, to tremble before the Almighty, is a virtue in itself.  Sometimes that motive of fear leads a man to God.  I heard of a wicked flotsam-jetsam kind of a fellow, who was in a big ward in the city hospital.  And then, the hospital, when a man was about to die, the nurse came and put a screen around him—sort of shield him away, in his convulsive death, from all the other patients there in the ward.  So this fellow, one of these no count, good‑for‑nothing fellows, was there sick in the hospital ward.  And the nurse came and put that screen around him, put the curtain around.  And when he saw what the nurse had done, he cried, saying: “O my God!  I’m getting ready to die.  I’m to die.  O God, have pity upon me!  I’m a sinner!  I’ve lived a sorry faithless life, worthless!  Lord God have pity upon me.  Please Jesus, come and save me.  I’m facing death.  O God, have mercy upon me!”

And the Lord never fails to hear a man’s cry, hear a man’s prayer, hear a man’s supplication.  And the fellow had a wonderful experience with Jesus.  He was saved!  He was converted!  He was marvelously changed!

In a few minutes the nurse came back and took away the curtain, and apologized to the man saying, “Sir, I have made a grievous blunder.  I’ve made an unforgivable mistake.  This curtain was not to be placed around you.  It was to be placed around that man over there.  And I beg you to forgive me.  I’ve done a terrible thing.”

And the man replied to the nurse, saying, “Nurse, praise God!  Praise God!  Because of what you did, I have found the Lord.  I’ve been saved.  I’ve been converted.  Jesus has come into my heart and into my life.”

“Moved with fear, he prepared an ark to the saving of his house” [Hebrews 11:7].  I’m just avowing to you that the fear of God is a blessing in itself.  When a man trembles before the Lord, God who can crush us, who can judge us, who can damn us, who can condemn us, who can destroy us, who can visit us with death; everlasting death, who can send us into hell [Luke 12:5]: God is to be greatly feared.  That’s why, when I read this passage, I tremble before it.  Lord, Lord, do people wake up in hell?

Now for a homily; because the subject is so awesome, I don’t speak of it in my own reasoning or philosophizing.  We are going to let God say the word to us Himself, and we are just going to listen to the voice of the Spirit of Jesus.  A homily; that is, we’re going to take the verses and look at them just for this moment.  Will you look at verse [27]?  That man in torment says to father Abraham, “I pray thee… I beg thee father, that thou would send him to my father’s house, send him to my home where I have five brothers; let him plead with them, testify unto them, lest they also come into this topos of torment” [Luke 16:27-28].  I noticed first of all then that there is a topos of torment.  Now, I have met that word before.  I have read it in the Gospel of John, the fourteenth chapter and the second verse.  There, the same Lord who is telling us this story—there, the same Lord Jesus says, “I go to prepare a topos for you.  And if I go and prepare a topos for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” [John 14:2-3].

It’s the same word.  “I have five brethren… that he testifieth unto them, lest they come into this topos of torment” [Luke 16:28].  That is translated with a simple word, “place, place.”  Heaven is a place.  It has golden streets [Revelation 21:21].  It has beautiful mansions [John 14:2].  Heaven is a place but the same word that describes heaven as a place is the same word that describes torment as a place [Luke 16:28].  It is somewhere in this creation.  I call it God’s garbage heap; God’s garbage dump.

The Lord forever will not allow sin, and rejection, and blasphemy, and crime, and violence, and wrong to exist in this universe.  Someday God is going to clean it up.  He is going to clean it out, and all of the refuse and the garbage and the filth He is going to dump into a topos, a “place!”  And that topos “place” is called torment, hell, Gehenna.  And these that love evil, and love the night, and love the dark, and love Satan, and love wrong and rejection and blasphemy; they also have chosen to be identified with the garbage, and the filth, and the rejection, and unbelief that is poured out and dumped out into that awful topos.  I couldn’t help but notice that, this topos, this place of torment, the same word that Jesus uses to describe the topos of heaven, the place where He is.

I want you to look again. “It came to pass”—in verse 22 and verse 23—”it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and he had a lavish funeral” [Luke 16:22].  It doesn’t say that Lazarus was buried.  The rich man was buried.  He was able to present a very spectacular service.  “The rich man died, and was buried; and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments” [Luke 16:23].

Oh!  Do people wake up in hell?  “The rich man died . . . and lifted up his eyes, being in torments” [Luke 16:22-23].  Now the word here translated hell is hades.  The Greek word for hell is gehenna.  And as I said a week ago, it is used thirteen times in the New Testament; and twelve times it is used of the Lord.  It is from the Lord Himself that we learn practically all this we know about the damnation and the judgment of that awesome place called Gehenna, hell.

The word here is not Gehenna; the word here is hades, and Hades is an exact equivalent of the Old Testament sheol.  And all who die go into sheol, the Old Testament Hebrew word, or to Hades, the New Testament word.  All of us go into Hades when we die.

Now there are two sections of Hades.  One section is named Abraham’s bosom, or Paradise.  The other section is named tartaros [Luke 16:22-23]—what Simon Peter calls it in 2 Peter 2:4—Tartarus or torment.  And when a man dies, he goes immediately into one of those two places.  He lifts up his eyes—when he closes his eyes upon this world—he lifts up his eyes either in Paradise, in Abraham’s bosom, or in Tartarus, in torment; one or the other [Luke 16:22-23].

Now if a man, when he dies, immediately goes to torment or to Paradise, what about these people who testify of that euphoric feeling of light, and lightness, and glory when they have experienced death?  And you’ve read about them in books and in magazines, world without end.  All of this is folly wide the mark!  They haven’t died. When a man dies, he is dead.  His soul has left his body forever.

Once in a while there will be a resuscitation in the Bible.  Lazarus was resuscitated [John 11:43-44].  That man whose body, dead body, touched the bones of Elisha was resuscitated [2 Kings 13:21], but other than about two instances of that in human history, there is no such thing.  And these people who say that they have died and come back to life, they are misleading us.  They haven’t died.  When the body is dead, you go look at it.  You will never see a resuscitation; nor will there be any coming back to tell us of any euphoric experience.  When one dies, really dies, he opens his eyes, he wakes up, in torment or in Paradise [Luke 16:22-23]—one or the other.

Now, why is it then if when we die, we wake up in either torment or in Paradise [Luke 16:22-23], why is it that we have a great judgment at the end of the age; a bema, a judgment seat of Christ, for the Christian [2 Corinthians 5:10], and a great white throne judgment for those who die lost? [Revelation 20:11-15].  Why would we have a judgment?  What’s the need of it if, when we die, we are in torment or we are in Paradise? [Luke 16:22-23].  Well, the Bible is very explicit about that.  We are not judged at the end of the age as to whether we’re saved or lost.  That judgment is now.  You are judged now.  You are either saved by the blood of the Crucified One or you are lost and face an eternal damnation in hell [John 3:16-18].  It is one or the other now.  That judgment is now.  I am either saved in Christ, or I am lost outside of Christ [John 3:36].

The judgment at the end of the age, first for the Christian at the bema of Christ [2 Corinthians 5:10], and then for the lost man at the great white throne [Revelation 20:11-15]—that judgment is for our works, for the reward of what we have done—because a man doesn’t die when he’s dead; he lives on; his influence lives on, and either the good or the evil of his life continues on after he’s dead.  And it is only at the end of the world that God can unravel that skein of the influence of our life and give us the reward of what we’ve done.

That is very plain.  What God says in His Word is always plain and reasonable and factual, experimental.  Look at it yourself.  A man doesn’t die when he dies.  That’s the reason that the judgment for his works is at the end of the age.

Take a man like Spurgeon; Spurgeon.  God be praised for the memory of a glorious man like Spurgeon.  I read him all the time.  Spurgeon died in 1892.  He soon shall have been dead a hundred years, but I read Spurgeon, and I’m not the only one.  All over this earth, and around this globe, men are blessed by the wonderful sermons, expositions, textual presentations of that glorious preacher, Spurgeon.  He lives in me.  He lives in a thousand others.  And the influence of Spurgeon goes on, and on, and on to the end of time.

Every year we have a British minister here from Spurgeon’s college in London, England who spends a year with us.  The one we now have, Jeffery Hammond, is the fourteenth of those young preachers who have come here to be with us.  We praise God and we are blessed by the marvelous influence of Spurgeon.  It goes on, and on, and on.

Many times have I spoken at Moody’s Institution in Chicago.  Not only did that glorious evangelist win many, many thousands of people to the Lord in his lifetime as he held revival meetings over America, but that school, founded by him, named for him, goes on and on and on in its marvelous influence, training young men and women for the gospel ministry.  That’s why, at the end of time, Moody will be given his reward.  He didn’t die when he died.  That’s why Spurgeon will be given his reward.  He didn’t die when he died.  His influence goes on and on.  Think of the enormous, glorious reward that would wait for somebody like the apostle Paul or the apostle John.  We read them in the New Testament all the time.

Oh, how wonderful it is!  God writes down in His book everything that pertains to us and our lives.  But the same glory that makes it marvelous for those who have fallen in love with Jesus, that same thing is awesome when we think of the influence for evil of a man whose life is in rejection to Christ.  And it goes on and on and on; and he receives the reward, the compensation for the evil of his life, at the end of the age.

Let me give you an illustration.  I was graduated from Amarillo High School and belonged to the First Baptist Church there, as some of you did.  Well, when I was in high school I had a dear, dear friend.  He and I belonged to the same Sunday school class in the First Baptist Church of Amarillo, and we were close friends.  Both of us, having graduated from Amarillo high school, went down to Baylor University and enrolled there as freshmen, and we went through Baylor University.

Now while we were, I began—when I entered as a freshmen at seventeen years of age—I began preaching, and God was with me even as a teenager.  God blessed me and my little country churches.

Well, this friend of mine, named Royce—this friend of mine, somehow, as he went through school, began to turn, and to turn, and to turn, and finally became a blatant, brazen, infidel.  It astonished me and, of course, hurt my heart and grieved my soul.  So upon an evening, I went up to the room where he lived—going to school—and when I walked in the door—in the presence of this dear friend, this young fellow—when I walked in the door, he was seated there in his room, reading the infidel Tom Paine’s, Age of Reason.

Well, Tom Paine’s been dead for a hundred fifty years.  No, he’s not dead!  He still lives—and he was living in the life and the mind of my dear friend, who was graduated from Amarillo High with me, reading that infidel’s Age of Reason.

That’s why you don’t receive your reward when you die.  You’re either in torment or you’re in Paradise [Luke 16:22-23], but you have to wait until the end of the age, the consummation of history, to receive your reward for what you have done.  O Lord, what an awesome responsibility is it just to live!  The hand writes, and it writes; and all that we have done in our life, someday, we shall face—either at the white throne judgment, when it becomes our condemnation [Revelation 20:11-15], or at the bema of Christ, when it becomes our everlasting reward [2 Corinthians 5:10].  “In hell he lifted up his eyes…” or “carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom…” [Luke 16:22-23].

Will you notice, once again, Abraham says to this man, Dives—that’s the Latin word for “rich man”—says to Dives:  “Beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed,” verse 26: “There is a great gulf fixed: so that they cannot come over here that would come and they cannot go over there that would visit; a great gulf fixed” [Luke 16:26].

One of the astonishing revelations in the Bible is this!  There is no hint, there is not even an approach to a hint, of a second chance.  If we had a second chance, it wouldn’t matter how we did in this life.  We could turn away from Christ.  We could say no to the Holy Spirit.  We could say a thousand times to the preacher, “I don’t believe any word that you’re saying.”  And it wouldn’t matter, because in the world to come we could have a second chance.  And having learned of the folly and the tragedy of our rejection of Christ, we could turn and be saved.

But there is no beginning of the start of the commencement of a hint of such a thing in the Bible—never such a thing!  When we die, our destiny is forever fixed; as the Book of Ecclesiastes says it:  “As the tree falls, so shall it lie” [Ecclesiastes 11:3].  If I die in unbelief and unforgiven sin, I die in that state forever!  And when I turn and I am saved, I die in the grace and love of Jesus, and that is an estate God gives to me forever! [John 3:16, 10:27-30].

The only way that I can somehow reason in that is what I see in human life.  Character has a tendency to solidify, to become hardened, whichever way it starts going.  If a man is an evil man, a Christ rejecting man, a blaspheming man, an unbelieving man, he becomes more and more a negation.  He will say no to the Spirit of God.  He will say no to the appeal of the evangelist.  He will say no to the pastor.  He will say no to the preacher.  He will say no to the Bible.  He will say no to the overtures of grace.  He will say no to Jesus, until finally he becomes the negation himself.

He says no without even thinking about it—”NO!”

“Would you come to church?”


“Would you kneel and pray?”


“Would you ask God to forgive your sins?”


“Would you ask Jesus to come into your heart?”


“Would you be a Christian?”


He becomes the negation itself!  Character tends to harden that way.  On the other hand, it is the same beautiful development in a man’s life when he turns to Jesus; if a man faces the Lord, Christ-ward, heavenward, God-ward, if he faces the Lord, as the days go on he becomes more and more humble, and sweet, and gentle, and precious; loving the Lord, asking God to forgive his weaknesses, and his mistakes, and his sins.  And he loves to go to church, and he loves to hear the songs of Zion, and he loves to share in the praise of Jesus.  He grows in that way.

That’s the only way that I can sort of begin to understand how it is that there’s no such thing as a second chance.  However a man is, he increasingly is that, and forever is that.  He starts in that direction, and he goes, and down, and down, and down.  Or he starts in this upward direction and goes up, and up, and up, and up.  There’s nothing in the Bible, ever, about a second chance.  There is a great gulf fixed between those in Abraham’s bosom and those who are in torment [Luke 16:26].

Bear with me one other homily.  Do you notice how it ends?  When this man says, “Do a miracle, Lord.  Do a miracle.  Raise Lazarus from the dead.  Raise him from the dead and it may be that my five brethren will turn, repent—that they will turn if one was raised from the dead and went to testify to them” [Luke 16:30].

Now you look at the word of the Lord.  “And [Abraham] said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, the testimony of the Word of God, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” [Luke 16:31].

Well you just turn that over in your mind, what God says.  If a man is not persuaded by the testimony of the Lord—the preacher who stands here with an open Book and makes appeal to your soul—if a man’s not persuaded by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures, Moses, and the prophets, and Jesus, and the apostles, he wouldn’t be convinced if, before his eyes, one was raised from the dead [Luke 16:31].

Oh, then as I think about that, I remember the story of another Lazarus.  In the eleventh chapter of the Book of John, we are told the story of the resurrection, the resuscitation of Lazarus from the dead [John 11:43-44].  He had been dead four days [John 11:39], and it was a marvelous miracle that the Lord Jesus had done.

Now do you remember this?  In that chapter, when the Sadducees and the Pharisees and the elders and the scribes and the rulers of the temple and the leaders of the nation, when they saw what Jesus had done in raising Lazarus from the dead [John 11:43-44], do you remember what the next verse is?  They gathered together in a conspiracy to destroy Jesus, to kill the Lord [John 11:47-48, 53]; a thing that they encompassed through Pontius Pilate and His crucifixion [John 19:13-30].  What was it that precipitated that awesome beginning of the plan to murder Jesus?  It was the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead [John 11:43-44].  That’s what the Bible says [John 11:47-48, 53].

If a man in his heart turns against God and rejects Christ, if you were to perform a miracle in his sight, like raising someone from the dead, you wouldn’t convince him.  For the man is convinced by the spiritual testimony of the Word of God or he’s never convinced.  Like the old saying, “You convince a man against his will, and he’s of the same opinion still.”  The only way we can ever be saved is to listen to the testimony of the Word of God [Romans 10:13-15].  There is no other way.  I either believe and accept and turn and am saved, or I reject and refuse and I am lost [Acts 4:12].  God help me to show that to you in this appeal.

I heard a man one time describe a sweet couple.  They were dear people.  She, the wife and the mother of this little girl, she was a very devout Christian.  She was a sweet precious Christian, just like some of you, just dear.  She loved Jesus and loved the church and loved the things of the church.  He was a blatant unbeliever.  He didn’t like God.  He didn’t like the church.  He didn’t like anything about the things of Jesus.  They were very fine and very sweet and very dear, but she was a child of the King, a beautiful Christian.  And he belonged to the world and the things of the world.

In God’s time they had a little girl.  And as the little child grew up, the mother when the child was small would take the child to church.  She’d dress the little thing up in pretty clothes and take the little girl to church with her and to Sunday school and to all the things of the church.  And the mother was so happy in the child.  And that dad just watched and waited for the day when the child could make a decision.

So as the little child grew into a teenager, he would lie awake at night and chuckle to himself, how he was going to win that child away from the mother, and away from the faith, and away from the church, and away from the Lord.  So when the time would come to go to church, why, he would make an appointment for the child to go with him to a picture show, or to a ball game, or to some entertainment.  And as the child grew, became a teenager, and finally to date, why, on a Sunday morning the mother would rise and dress to go to church.  And she would call the little girl, her precious little girl and say, “Honey, let’s get up now and dress.”  And the little girl, the teenager, now would say, “Mother, I was out late last night on a date, so just forgive me this time.  I’d rather lie in bed and not go to church.”

And when the father would hear the daughter say that, he’d chuckle to himself and he’d just laugh inside himself.  He was winning the little girl away from her mother and away from God and away from the church.  And he congratulated himself.  And he was happy in it.  It pleased him.  And in the providences of life, and they always come, tomorrow I bury a sweet daughter.

In the providences of life, and they inevitably come, somehow the girl became desperately ill.  And in that desperation of illness, the doctor finally said she cannot live.  She’s going to die.  So the father and the daughter were together.  And the child said to her father, she said, “Daddy, all of these years Mother has said to me, if I do not accept Jesus as my Savior and do not love Him in my heart, that I will not go to heaven when I die.  But you, Daddy, you have always said to me, there is nothing to Jesus, and there’s nothing to the church, and there’s nothing about God, and there’s nothing about heaven.  Now, Daddy,” she says, “the doctor says I’m going to die.  And please, Daddy, tell me, shall I take Mother’s way or your way?  Which way, Daddy, shall I go?”

And father cast himself on his knees by the bed of his daughter and said, “O my God.  My sweet, take mother’s way!  Take mother’s way.  Take mother’s way.”  And when in his lamentation and tears he looked up, his daughter had gone.  She was dead.  In his turning to the Lord, in his repentance and faith, that father at a prayer service of the church told the story and ended it with a word.  “O God, I’d give my soul and my life if I only knew in that moment that remained if she had taken Mother’s way; Mother’s way, Mother’s way.”  I don’t deny that the way of the world may be a pleasured, fun-filled way when you’re well, when you’re strong, but it’s a poor way when we face death, and the judgment, and the eternity to come.

O Lord, help us to take Jesus’ way, to take “Mother’s way,” take the way of our Lord, the way of our church, the way of the preacher, the way of the Bible, the way of the Holy Spirit of God that pleads with the human heart to look up, to look to Jesus.  Do it.  Do it.  It will be the greatest decision and the finest commitment you will ever make in your life.  Do it tonight.  “God help me, I am walking the Jesus way.”  May we stand?

Our precious, precious and wonderful Lord, oh, oh we tremble in Thy presence.  The great and mighty God and we in our pilgrimage here in this earth so weak and frail, so prone to stumble and wander aside, our Lord may this be a night of salvation; a night of decision; a night of turning in repentance; a night of acceptance and belief.  Do it Lord.  Do it.

And in this moment when our people pray, praying for you, a family you, the whole family, “Pastor, we are coming tonight.  We have decided for God.  Our hearts are open Christ-ward and heavenward and we are answering with our lives and here we stand” [Romans 10:9-13].  A couple you; you and your wife, take her by the hand and say, “Sweetheart, let’s go.  Let’s go.  Let’s give our home, our heart, our lives, our every dream, and hope and vision let’s give it to Jesus.”  One somebody you, in the balcony round down one of those stairways, in the press of people on this lower floor, down one of these aisles, “Pastor, we have decided for God and we are on the way.”  May angels attend you as you come.  And our Lord thank Thee for the sweet wonder of a family, of a couple, of a soul coming in humble faith to the Lord Jesus [Ephesians 2:8], who alone can save us [Acts 4:12; John 14:6], in His blessed name, amen.  Welcome and a thousand welcome as you come while we sing.


Dr. W.
A. Criswell

Luke 16:23


I.          Introduction

A.  Subject of hell has
fallen out of pulpit ministry and preaching

B.  Fear
is a legitimate motive to turn to the Lord (Proverbs
1:7, Hebrews 10:31, 11:7, 12:29)

In God’s Word, to tremble before the Almighty is a virtue

II.         Homily

A.  Topos
“place” (Luke 16:28, John 14:2-3)

B.  Waking up in one of
two places (Luke 16:22-23)

      1.  Hades divided
into two places

a. Abraham’s bosom,

b. Torment, tartaros,
(2 Peter 2:4)

      2.  There
immediately when we die

C.  Why judgment at end
of the age

      1.  A man’s
influence lives on, whether good or evil

a. Charles Spurgeon

b. Tom Payne

D.  Eternal state fixed (Luke 16:26)

      1.  No second
chance (Ecclesiastes 11:3)

E.  Only one hope of
salvation:  the witness of the Scriptures (Luke

      1. “Shall I take
mother’s way?”