Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Love the hell out of them

Love the hell out of them

When I was a little fella, I went to summer camp with some friends. At night there would be large evangelistic services held where the “best of the best” preachers would speak. Each year there would be the “hell” sermon. Analogies ranging from frying sausage to worms that don’t die literally scared the “hell” out of us. We would run to the front in fear of hell (not God) and beg to be spared such a dismal fate.

Though my motivation for avoiding it has changed, I do believe in hell. I believe that there is a terrible place or condition of separation from God. Whatever the reality of hell is (and there is plenty of debate) it won’t be good. In fact it will be an eternal nightmare.

Last weekend I spoke of eternal life and how it begins in the now by having Heaven invade this life. It begins when God’s love expressed in Jesus finds rest in my heart. God’s desire for all is that His Kingdom would come and that His will would be done “on earth as it is in heaven”. I believe this means we who are pre-tasting heaven are to love the “hell” out of this world. Hell is a place of no love. That is what makes it hell. We can and do have hell on earth. For some, hell is a present reality in this life that will only be intensified in eternity. For others heaven’s love is a present reality that will also be gloriously intensified in the hereafter. Those who have been saved from the flame (overwhelmed by heaven’s love) should live missionally toward those who are either living in their own personal hell or are on its pathway. But we are to use love as opposed to fear.

People recognize real love and respond to it. Love “never fails” while fear always does. Love makes us secure and secures our eternity. Fear does neither. We are to love our neighbor to heaven. We practically can love the hell out of someone.

1 John 4:16-19 (NIV) 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.
May the world believe in God because of Jesus’ love expressed through all who follow Him.
May our light so shine before men that they see our good works and fall in love with Him too.
May we love the hell out of as many people as we can while we can.

No comments: