A Voice From Hell

Why Do Christians Care About People’s Souls?

Luke 16:19-31

Pastor Craig Ledbetter                                           

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland

1 Mar, 2009  AM



I.       Introduction (Matthew 23:15,33; 25:41)


A.    Did you know that Jesus taught a lot about hell?

B.     Oh, “Hell” is a bad word isn’t it? Most people don’t hear the word “hell” except in arguments, or from filthy mouths!


1.      A little boy went home after church one day, and the mother asked him, “How was church today?” And the young lad responded, “Oh it was fine, ‘cept the preacher used a bad word today!” “Oh really?” the mother exclaimed. “Yeah. He must have shouted ‘HELL’ fifty times in his message!”

2.      Hell is a bad word because hell is a bad place.  That is an understatement, isn’t it?  Hell is awful beyond compare.  Hell is torture beyond our wildest imaginations.  We should tremble, and ache and weep when we speak of it… it is that bad!

3.      "Hell" is truly a bad word. But I need to speak this bad word.  We need to talk about hell.  We need to remember that a Christian is saved FROM hell! 

4.      Remembering this helps us appreciate what we have been freely given… salvation TO heaven. 

5.      Example: A diamond looks most brilliant when it is seen in contrast to a black backdrop.  The same is true of God’s heaven.  When we see the free and glorious gift of eternal life in contrast to the blackness of outer darkness… heaven shines forth all the more beautiful!


C.     But… It’s the 21st century we live in, isn’t it?

D.    Nobody is supposed to believe in hell today. Right? Nobody!


1.      Most religions have “moved on” and now only talk about love, and kindness and social equality, and socialism, and philosophy, and medications, and hypnotherapies, and focus groups, and ecumenicalism, and diversity, and tolerance…

2.      But there is a truth… a horrible truth, that remains undaunted, and stands beyond question – there is a hell! There is an awful, horrible place called hell!

3.      Men change their ideas, but God's truth is always the same. The great eternal God tells us that there is an eternal hell for all those who reject Christ and live without God.


E.     One man wrote, “Unless we come to grips with this terrible doctrine, we will never even begin to understand the depths of what Jesus did for us on the cross. His body was being destroyed in the worst possible way, but that was a flea bite compared to what was happening to his soul. When he cried out that his God had forsaken him, He was experiencing the punishment of hell itself.”


1.      If a mild acquaintance denounces you and rejects you—that hurts. If a good friend does the same—the hurt's far worse. If your spouse walks out on you, saying, 'I never want to see you again,' that is far more devastating still. The longer, deeper, and more intimate the relationship, the more torturous is any separation.

2.      But the Son's relationship with God the Father was infinitely greater than the most intimate and passionate human relationship. So, when Jesus was cut off from God, He went into the deepest pit and most powerful pain, beyond all imagination. And He did it voluntarily, no, passionately… for us!


F.      Don’t tell me there is no hell! Christians DO believe in hell! Just as Jesus did, and just as Moses did. And just as Isaiah did! And just as Jonah did!


1.      If you do try and tell me there is no hell, you are telling me God doesn’t LOVE sinners who WILL end up there!

2.      You’re telling me that God is not just. And that God doesn’t care, and that we all don’t matter in this big cosmic burp, and it doesn’t matter how we live, and that justice is just the survival of the fittest!

3.      Don’t you tell me there is no hell!


G.    The very core truth of the Bible is that we all deserve hell! Every one of us are sinners, law-breakers, who really only worship ourselves, and worship the THINGS we possess and worship the things we desire more than we ever worship God! And therefore, we are separated from God, and no matter how much we try, we never can bridge the gap that exists between us and God. And if we are truly separated from a truly perfect and holy God, then there is only one other place for us… a place called hell!


1.      A preacher preached a sermon on hell and a woman asked him if he had any children. He replied that he did. "Do you love them?" she asked. "Oh yes," the preacher answered. "Well," the woman said, "what would you think of a father who could save his children from suffering and refused to do it?" "I would say that he was a tyrant and a monster," the preacher said. "That's what you're making God out to be. God would be a monster if He sent his children to hell instead of delivering them by his power." "But lady," the preacher responded, "you're making one mistake. God doesn't have any children in hell and he never will have. The people in hell are the devil's children. All of God's children are in heaven or on the way there. God has a home for His children and the devil has a home for his."

2.      He was right. God is the Father only of those who believe in Jesus Christ... who have been born again into HIS family. Too many people are presuming on the goodness of God as an excuse for sin. They say, "Let us live as we please. God is too good to punish us." One day they are going to have a rude awakening.

3.      God is not the father of all. He is the Creator of all, but not the Father of all. He only becomes our father only when we come to Christ. Jesus said in John 8:44, "Ye are of your father the devil...." He was speaking of lost people. John 1:12 tells us that "as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God....." These are the ones who can claim God as Father. They are saved, and they'll never go to hell. But remember this, you are not a child of God until you come unto Him through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.


H.    Jesus took the time to tell us about a man who went there one day, and He recorded what that man said. And it is worth taking a listen to this morning!


1.      Because this voice from hell is directed at US!

2.      First to get sinners saved, and secondly, to get Christians concerned


I.       I don’t know about you, but because there is a hell, I care about souls! I care not only where “I” will go one day, but where my Mom will go. Where my dad will go. Where my children will end up. I care!

J.       This month we are focusing on evangelism – that’s a Bible word that means getting people saved! Saved from what? Saved from hell! That’s what!

K.    It’s all about doing whatever it takes to open our mouths and get people to realise they break God’s laws, and are headed for judgment day, and they have no hope, without Jesus Christ!


II.    Message – A Voice from Hell (Luke 16:19-31)


A.    It is the Voice of A Certain Rich Man (16:19)


1.      Jesus says something so powerful at the very beginning of his lesson…


a.       There was a certain rich man…” What a thing to say!

b.      This is not a bed-time story with made-up characters. It is a message about hell!

c.       This man lived and walked, and breathed, and worked here on this planet of ours


2.      Jesus starts off telling us about a rich man. He knew this man. Knew all about him: where he lived, how he lived, how long he lived, what was in his heart, and Jesus knew where he went when he died!

3.      Jesus is going to compare him to US. To ALL people, everywhere!

4.      Not just to wealthy people (it is not a sin to be wealthy), but compare him to ALL people who are JUST LIKE THIS MAN!

5.      This is truth #1 – God knows personally those who go to hell! They are not ignored by God, or uncared for by God!


B.     It is the Voice of A Blessed Rich Man (16:19; Cf James 1:17)


1.      He was probably super rich!


a.       He wore anything he wanted (most people at that time only owned 2 changes of clothes, max)

b.      He ate sumptuously – ate anything he wanted, whenever he wanted (most people only eat 2 or even 1 meal a day, and most eat RICE)

c.       He was dressed in the most royal clothes – took himself very seriously!

d.      He never had to worry about anything. Never worried about whet he was going to eat, or where he was going to live, or how he was going to afford anything!


2.      But the truth is, Everything he got, everything he wore, everything he ate, came from God!

3.      Truth #2 - If there is anything good in your life, it is because God gave it to you!


a.       Farming – God gives, and God can take it away

b.      Stocks – God gives, and God can take it away

c.       Children – God gives, and God can take it away

d.      Bank accounts - God gives, and God can take it away

e.       Health – God gives, and God can take it away

f.       Sanity – God gives, and God can take it away


4.      Yes, this man was blessed! Not lucky, not self-made, but blessed by God!

5.      We better get back to believing that we ALL have it better than we deserve!

6.      This is not an attack against wealthy people, or bankers, or politicians… this is a message by Jesus on HELL!


C.     It is the Voice of An Apathetic Rich Man (16:20,21)


1.      Not everyone was as well off as this rich man. There are other people in this world, sometimes at the very other end of the spectrum

2.      There was also a beggar. Jesus names this man. His name was Lazarus.


a.       Not just ANY beggar who lived in another city, or in a far away country

b.      Here was a beggar that was daily laid right at the side of the entrance gate to this rich man’s home

c.       Here was a beggar that had nothing – absolutely nothing to eat

d.      Here was a beggar who was hungry! He sat and WISHED (desired) for crumbs to be thrown to him from the rich man’s table – he was so willing to be satisfied with just scraps of food – cold, mixed-in-with-rubbish food!

e.       You think you have it rough? Well, HERE was poverty! Here was a real beggar!


1)      Not a professional beggar like we have today!

2)      Not a lazy beggar


f.       He had a medical problem and no relief, no helping ointments, no antibiotics, no pain medications, no one to just hold and comfort him as he cried in pain

g.      His only friends were stray dogs that licked the swollen sores that continuously ran with puss and grew in size all over his body.


3.      What is amazing is that this rich man didn’t care – he had something called “APATHY!” It is in Ireland! And it is in CHRISTIANS!


a.       He knew there was a dying man at his gate

b.      He passed by that dying man every time he went in and out of that gate

c.       He turned away from the face of that dying man every time

d.      He ignored the pleas and the cries of that dying man at his gate


4.      This rich man didn’t care!


a.       He didn’t care about GOD – don’t tell me you love God and worship God, and talk to God, when all you think about is yourself! This rich man is someone who had everything BUT God! And he didn’t care what God thought. He just didn’t care!!!

b.      Ever met anyone like that?

c.       He not only didn’t care about God, He certainly didn’t care about people! He just didn’t care!

d.      That’s OUR world! A selfish, self-centred, self-seeking world


1)      Nothing like a good recession or depression to show us just how far away from God we all are, and how addicted we are to OURSELVES and our worries and our problems! Watch the suicides, watch the family break-ups. Watch the depression and anger rise

2)      There is absolutely nothing wrong with having money and owning nice things – but to not care about anyone but yourself… to only worry about fashion, and new music, and new videos, and new gadgets and new toys, new houses, well… THAT’S wrong!


5.      One good thing in all this… this beggar may have owned nothing of this world, but he had a Saviour! He had a future! He had a hope that was sure

6.      Truth #3 – Possessions and riches have nothing to do with Christianity! Nothing wrong with them, but they do NOT make a life (Luke 12:15)


D.    A Mortal Rich Man (16:22)


1.      Death came for both these men!


a.       We are only mortal! Money has a way of tricking us, lying to us, making us feel like everything is just going to stay the same way forever! But it doesn’t! We grow old. We lose our sight. We have to take pills. We have to plan for death.

b.      I personally don’t want to die. I want to live to be 103! I’m not looking forward to pain, hospital beds, nursing homes, or wheelchairs! I am not looking forward to medications, and cancer wards. I don’t relish the thought of clinical trials, and hospital food, or bed-pans! But it is all ahead, for all of us!


2.      The beggar died first


a.       One day, the beggar is lying at the rich man’s gate, crying, hungry, and the next day he is gone.

b.      The spot that he has sat at, now is swept and clean. The dogs don’t come around anymore. That beggar died, and was probably just cast into an unknown grave. Quickly forgotten by all.

c.       Did anybody notice how Jesus described that poor, wretched, poverty stricken man died? He was gently, compassionately, powerfully carried by angels! BY ANGELS! Right to the very LAP of Abraham - the closest friend of God! Nobody could claim that spot, yet this poor man had the best audience, and the highest seat of honour in paradise with Abraham!


3.      Then, just a little while later, to everyone’s surprise, the rich man died too. Unexpectedly. Tragically. And the crowds came, and honoured this rich man’s death. The flowers were endless. The mourners were countless


a.       This very wealthy man, with all the doctors, all the best foods, all the trips to his summer and winter homes, could not fight death!


1)      The book of James (4:14) says, “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

2)      Ecc 8:8 says, “There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.”


b.      In ancient Egypt, the Pharaohs built massive pyramids to be buried in, and rich people were mummified and buried with jewels and the finest foods and chairs and boats even!

c.       In India, the wealthy were buried with their living wives and servants

d.      A millionaire died in the 1940’s. He left strict orders that he wasn’t to be laid out in an ordinary casket. He insisted that he be buried in his gold Cadillac. As the bright, shining gold Cadillac was being lowered into the big grave, a bystander exclaimed, "Man, that’s living!"

e.       But did you notice how JESUS described his death? There is no full stop at the end of the verse!!!

f.       Jesus said some of the most terrifying words ever spoken… AND IN HELL HE LIFTED UP HIS EYES!


4.      No matter who you are, no matter how young you feel… you are going to die!

5.      Both are dead, but one is in paradise, and the other is in… well… where is this rich man now? Satin sheets and pillows? Purple robes and steak dinners? Friends over for dinner? Family surrounding him? No! This man is in HELL!

6.      Truth #4 – How we live is nothing compared to how we die!


E.     A Tormented Rich Man (16:23-26)


1.      Hell is God’s righteous judgment on sin! Called damnation (Matthew 23:33 “How shall ye escape the damnation of hell?” It is

2.      And that punishment is called torment. Hell is tormenting because:


a.       A person has all his senses


1)      He feels every pain

2)      He screams and cries like a baby

3)      This arrogant, apathetic, selfish man now hurts


b.      A person has has all his memories


1)      He remembers being taught about hell in the synagogue as a boy

2)      He remembers rejecting it as fear-mongering, and intolerant

3)      He remembers Abraham

4)      Most of all, he remembers Lazarus!


c.       A person has has all his energies – he can cry loud and clear!

d.      A person has is completely helpless

e.       A person has is separated from God, from heaven, from all who wish they could help

f.       Worst of all… you are not supposed to be there! He is supposed to be in heaven – he wasn’t supposed to BE in hell (Matt 25:41)


3.      Not just mental anguish – NO!


a.       Psalm 9:17 “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”

b.      Hell is described as


1)      A furnace of fire  

2)      A lake of fire – a fire that is not quenched, that does not burn out

3)      A bottomless pit – with the inhabitants falling, forever

4)      A place of torments and everlasting punishments

5)      A place where people pray but are not heard

6)      A place where they cry for mercy but find none

7)      A place where they wail but are not helped

8)      A place where they curse God over and over again

9)      A place where they can never repent 

10)  A place of outer darkness 

11)  A place of where people have no rest day or night

12)  A place where they gnaw their tongues

13)  A place of blackness and darkness forever

14)  A place where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched

15)  A place from which the smoke of their torments ascendeth up forever and ever


4.      This man is burning!

5.      Now, I want to show you THE most amazing truth in this entire lesson by Jesus!


F.      Hear Now the Voice of A Burdened Rich Man (16:27-31)


1.      We saw how he had cared only about HIMSELF at first when living on earth. AS WE ALL DO! Don’t judge this man too harshly! If you and I had money (that’s a big if), it would have just revealed OUR OWN selfishness. And from the instant he entered hell, he sought to find comfort and help for the pain that he was experiencing

2.      But something happens through the debate with Abraham…


a.       Realisation sets in… this rich man is going to remain here, in this awful place called hell. No water, no protection, no comforts, no help, and no hope of it ever getting better!

b.      And then the penny drops! Then a thought enters his mind… “My family!” “I don’t want them to come to this place!”


3.      Do you realise that it is at THIS POINT that this rich man becomes what every born again child of GOD should be… BURDENED about somebody’s eternal destiny!

4.      He thought of his family.


a.       He thought of how his brothers were addicted to themselves as much as HE had been. He thought about how little they cared about God, and others. He started to worry!

b.      He thought about their SPIRITUAL NEED. He knew they probably had all their physical needs met. But they were poor when it came to their soul

c.       He finally cared! He finally cried over their souls. He finally called for action! He finally was willing to do anything, send anyone to wake them up, and SAVE THEM from the awful place called hell!


5.      And this rich man was begging for somebody to care!

6.      Send Lazarus! Get Lazarus BACK UP THERE to tell them of this horrible place! To warn them, and stop them from rejecting God!

7.      Get him to TESTIFY – to TELL THEM how to repent, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ! Get Lazarus to go and knock on my brother’s home, and ignore their laughter and their mockery!

8.      Send Lazarus to everyone!

9.      This man in hell makes a terrible mistake – he thinks a miracle will convince his brothers that hell is real, and that God should be taken seriously

10.  But Abraham plainly tells him that even someone raised from the dead doesn’t convince stubborn hard hearts that there is a hell, and that God cares, and that people must be born again.

11.  People ONLY get saved, only get born again, by believing the preaching of the word of God (Rom 1:16; 1Cor 1:17,18)


a.       People need to hear the word of God

b.      People need to hear it from the mouths of those who have been saved

c.       People need to know that Jesus cares about their soul

d.      And they need to know that WE care!


12.  THAT’S what this month is all about – getting a burden for souls! Getting the passion and drive to GO and believe in hell for a world that has “moved on!”

13.  Caring about what this rich man cares about NOW! Not when it is too late


G.    An Abandoned Rich Man


1.      This is the last we hear of this man.

2.      Oh, he is still there. Still thirsty. Still crying. Still in torments.

3.      God cannot do anything for this man now. Why? Because God had provided a perfect lamb (John 1:29; 1Peter 3:18) who took the punishment of death for all sin in a person’s life - and this rich man had rejected it. He had ignored God’s command to repent, and trust only in the lamb

4.      Some of you trust your church, or trust your prayers, or you trust your good works, or you trust in your priest, or you just don’t believe at all!

5.      Well, here is the result NOT simply trusting Jesus Christ!


a.       Lost, Abandoned, FOREVER

b.      Not into nothingness, but in a burning, fiery, furnace called hell


III. Application


A.    You may not believe in hell… yet! Well, I’LL believe it for you and BEG you like John the Baptist who cried out to “FLEE from the WRATH to come!”

B.     As Charles Spurgeon said, "If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms around their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for."

C.     Do you know why people deserve hell? Why people NEED a Saviour?


1.      It is simply because they have never looked into the mirror of the Law of God to see their diseased state and their need of immense forgiveness.

2.      Without an understanding of their sin and their helpless state before God, they will never rightly understand the Gospel. Charles Spurgeon so aptly stated, "People will never accept grace until they tremble before a just and holy law."


IV. Conclusion


A.    I don’t know about you, but because there is a hell, I care about souls! I care not only where “I” will go one day, but where my Mom will go. Where my dad will go. Where my children will end up. I care!

B.     This month we are focusing on evangelism – that’s a Bible word that means getting people saved! Saved from what? Saved from hell! That’s what!

C.     It’s all about doing whatever it takes to open our mouths and get people to realise they break God’s laws, and are headed for judgment day, and they have no hope, without Jesus Christ saving their lost souls!

D.    Now listen to Jesus. He knew the truth about hell. He said a certain rich man died and went down to hell, and was in torment. He said that the man cried out, "I am tormented in these flames." He said that the man was anxious for his brothers to repent, so that they would not come to that "place of torment."

E.     If a man breaks the laws of the land, what else is there to do but punish him? He is put in prison or sentenced to death. And if men rebel and sin against God and trample his son under foot, what else is God to do but put them in the prison called Hell? Judges must exact a penalty for a broken law and so must God.

F.      Have you heard this man’s voice in hell?


1.      It is the Voice of A Certain Rich Man

2.      It is the Voice of A Blessed Rich Man

3.      It is the Voice of An Apathetic Rich Man

4.      It is the Voice of A Mortal Rich Man

5.      It is the Voice of A Tormented Rich Man

6.      It is the Voice of A Burdened Rich Man

7.      It is the Voice of An Abandoned Rich Man


G.    It will change your destiny if you are not born again

H.    AND it will break your heart if you are a backslidden Christian

I.       Will you let it break it today?

J.       Who in your home, in your family, at your workplace do you want to see end up in hell? Who would you go right up to and say “GO TO HELL!”?

K.    If you know what lies ahead, and wouldn’t want it for your worst enemy, then open your mouth, and get into soul-winning, and let’s see some folks saved by the preaching of the word of God!





Craig Ledbetter |  Pastor  |  Bible Baptist Church  |  021-4871234  +353-21-4871234  |  biblebc@gmail.com  www.biblebc.com