“Where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.” —Mark 9:48
Oh, the agony! To this day, I vividly remember the scorpion sting as if it just happened even though it’s been many years since that day when I was a young boy growing up in India. Overcome with excruciating, unrelenting pain, sweat immediately saturated my clothes. Nothing I did brought relief. Never again in my life do I wish to experience a scorpion sting!
Reflecting on John Wesley’s sermon, “Of Hell,” I’m reminded of the unfathomable and relentless pain and agony awaiting those condemned to spend eternity in Hell, where neither pain ends nor death is a choice!
Hell is one of the many basic truths that Scripture reveals.
Jesus describes it as a place “…where the worms that eat them do not die and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48). The thought of Hell can give a person only a sense of loss and nothing else. It separates your unsaved near and dear ones from you—a perpetual pain indeed!
The original hearers of Jesus’ words in Mark 9:41-48 were the disciples. It is obvious that this very important topic has been communicated to the disciples first. Wesley’s exposition on the texts in Mark 9 is vivid. It challenges the listeners to an immediate response.
Wesley expounds on this place of judgment as a place of never-ending, excruciating pain and agony. Truly, the greatest agony of all is being in that place where God is wholly absent, and His attributes of goodness and love will not be found. However, Wesley also reminds us of the good news that the fear of God “is one excellent means of preserving” believers from this horrible destiny.
From Wesley’s sermon on Hell comes this timely truth: Hell is real. We, as Christ’s disciples, should not be unaware and ignorant of this fact. But those who fear God, accept His gracious gift of salvation with true repentance, and live a life devoted to serving Him need not fear being plunged into this place.
Reflecting on what we’ve learned about Hell, let us also consider that to avoid being cast into this place of eternal judgment, we need to walk in a healthy fear of God. Further, through the expedient work of evangelism among the lost, we are responsible to urgently share the truth of a coming judgment and the realities of Hell as we lead people into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ; thus, they can be saved from Hell to enjoy eternal life with our Savior and Lord.
Premal Awasarmal is lead pastor at Arlington Naya Jeevan Church of the Nazarene in Arlington, Texas, USA, and Asian Indian coordinator of the West Texas District.
To read the full text of the sermon, click here.