How does one keep from going to hell? Jesus answers that question for us in Mark 9:43-48. In a nutshell Jesus is saying that we must do whatever it takes to keep from going to hell. But too often we leave the impression that that the road to hell is a slippery slope, a steep grade, and once you are on it there nothing to stop you from sliding right on into hell. But we must understand that hell was never prepared for humanity and because it was not prepared for us God does not want any of to go to there. Is that not what Matthew 25:41 and 2 Peter 3:9 teach? And since God does not want us to go to hell He has placed roadblocks on the road to hell to stop us, to arrest our attention, to get us to turn around. This morning I would like to look at four of those roadblocks that God had put in the road that leads to hell:
The first roadblock is His love. In the scriptures, God presents Himself as a loving Father (Luke 11:2) who cares for His children (Hosea 11:3-4). He demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners He sent His son to die for us (Romans 5:8). My friend, in the middle of the road to hell stands a roadblock in the form of a cross. It is the testament of God’s love for you designed to keep you from going to hell.
But, as with all roadblocks there are times when we try to get around them. The same is true with the cross of Christ. Paul talks about people who reject God’s love because of the hardness of their own hearts (Romans 2:4-10). And the Hebrew writer (who was writing to a group of people who were not heeding God’s roadblocks) says that some Christians will crucify Christ again in the way they try and go around God’s roadblock of love (Hebrews 6:4-6). Additionally he says they will be punished for profaning the blood of Christ, the symbol of His love (Hebrews 10:29-31).
The second roadblock for us to consider is the roadblock of His word. Paul told Timothy that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16) Best kind of test I ever took in school was an open book test. I could pass an open book test. Do you realize that life is an open book test? In the last day we will be judged (receive our grade) based on the words of this book (John 12:48). He has told us how to live so as to receive a heavenly reward. His word is a roadblock.
But some people have tried to remove the roadblock of His word. People like Jehoiakim tried to burn the words of God (Jeremiah 36:21-25). Others have just cutout of their bibles the passages they do not want to believe. Such as the time a preacher tried to teach baptism to a person who had cut out Acts 2:38 from their bible so they wouldn’t have to believe it.
The third roadblock for us to consider is the roadblock of His people. God places His people in the way of the sinner as a roadblock to turn them from the error of their way (James 5:20). Everybody here is the product of some Christian taking an interest in them and showing them the way. For some it was their parent(s) or a family member (2 Timothy 1:5; Acts 16:32-33). For others it was a preacher (Acts 17:1-4). Or maybe it was some special friends who more accurately explained God to you (Acts 18:26-28). And certainly God uses His church, the collection of His people, to stir up love and good works that we might remain faithful (Hebrews 10:24-25). God uses His people as roadblocks.
While we are on this point I need to ask you something. Are you allowing God to use you as a roadblock for someone else? It should be a haunting thought that on the Day of Judgment someone we know could turn to us and say, “You never mentioned Him to me. You met me day by day and knew I was astray, Yet you never mentioned Him to me.” We need to let God use us as a roadblock to those on the road to hell.
But people can get around the roadblock of His people can they not? Let’s go back to Acts 17:32 did you notice how some people got around the roadblock of Paul, “some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” People still do that today don’t they? You are going to stand in the way of some folks and they’ll just shove you aside in mocking fashion. While others will politely put you off with a “let’s talk about that later.”
The fourth roadblock that God has placed in the road to hell is His image. Let me remind you that in Genesis 1:27 we learn that God created man in His image. Furthermore, God has put “eternity” in the heart of men (Ecclesiastics 3:11), a sense that life continues beyond this present existence. Since we are created in the image of God and have an eternal longing in our hearts, we have an innate desire for what is right, and good; in other words we have a conscience. It’s designed to be a roadblock that says to us, “hold up buddy, something doesn’t feel right about this.” David experienced this when he said, “For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me.” (Psalms 32:4) And again we see his conscience weigh on him when he said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalms 51:10) God uses the roadblock of His image within us, our consciences, to keep us from going farther down the road to hell.
But we can even get around that roadblock can we not? Paul told Timothy that in the later days men will depart from the truth “having their consciences seared with a hot iron.” (1 Timothy 4:1-2) Can you image having a conscience that is impervious to God’s roadblocks? It can happen.
Four roadblocks on the road to hell: His Love, His Word, His People, and His Image within us. It almost seems that it is hard to go to hell. Have you ever thought about that? You have got to want to go to hell to get around all the roadblocks in your way. It has been said that you have to choose to go to hell. In hell will be people who chose self over God; sin over the Savior; and who chose hell over heaven. Friends if you are on the road to hell, please heed the roadblocks, be a roadblock, and let’s do whatever we can to keep from going to hell.
This lesson inspired by Jeff May’s lesson It’s Hard To Go To Hell