Living in Light of Hell - Radical
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Living in Light of Hell

Few topics are more off-putting and offensive to non-Christians than the Bible’s teaching about hell. Even some Christians seem to be embarrassed at this topic. For many people, the idea of eternal punishment seems to be incompatible with a God of love. However, no one spoke more pointedly and arrestingly about hell than Jesus himself. And he told us this to warn us—he wants us to take heed. In this message, David Platt considers Christ’s words about hell in Mark 9:42–50 and urges us to respond appropriately. Hell is a dreadful reality that is consistent with God’s perfect justice and holiness toward sinners. At the same time, heaven is a glorious reality for all who turn from their sin and from trusting in themselves to trust in Jesus. Because of Christ’s sinless life, sin-bearing death, and glorious, bodily resurrection, those who trust in Him can know that they have eternal life.

What does the passage say?

Read Mark 9:42–50 aloud as a group. Take some time to let group members share observations about the passage. Try not to move into interpretation of the passage or application of what you have read quite yet. Simply share what you all observe from the text.

  1. Who is Jesus talking to?
  2. What events occurred right before this conversation? What is coming next?
  3. Describe the tone Jesus uses in this passage. What specific wording in the passage leads you to answer the way you did?
  4. What themes are covered in this passage? What does Jesus say about them?

What does the passage mean?

  1. We see in this passage the sobering connection between our influence and actions on the lives of those around us. How does this passage describe the seriousness of causing another person to sin?
  2. The symbolic language in this passage (E.g., “if your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off”) shows us that sin is deadly and there is urgency to avoiding sin in our lives personally. What are some ways that hell is described throughout Scripture? (See Matthew 8:11–12, Matthew 13:40–42, Matthew 25:41, 2 Thessalonians 1:9, Revelation 14:10, Revelation 20:15)
  3. Re-read Mark 9:50. How does Leviticus 2:13–16 help us understand what Jesus means by “be salted with fire?” (see also Matthew 5:13). If salt is purity (and the avoidance of sin), then how might your saltiness be a positive influence on those around you?

How can we apply this passage to our lives?

  1. What are 2 or 3 practical ways you can be “salt” in others’ lives this week, showing the life and love of Christ to people around you?
  2. How is God leading you to pursue peace amidst conflict, tension, or division with any brothers or sisters in Christ?
  3. Do you know for sure that you have eternal life and will go to heaven when you die?
  4. What sin do you need to repent of today, and what drastic measures is God leading you to take in order to keep yourself from that sin?
  5. In what ways are you leading others to sin, and how is God leading you to change that?

42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ 49 For everyone will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
– Mark 9:42–50

Jesus and the Bible clearly talk about hell.

This means that we need to think and talk about hell.

  • We need to think and talk about hell biblically.

  • We need to think and talk about hell humbly.

  • We need to think and talk about hell personally.

Jesus is saying:

  • Be serious about keeping others from sin.

  • Be serious about keeping yourself from sin.

Hell is the place of dreadful, conscious, never-ending judgment for sinners.

Choose life today by trusting in Jesus alone as your Savior and Lord.

  • Lay down your life every day in light of the gravity of sin and the urgency of eternity.

  • Pursue purity in your life so that you will be salt in others’ lives.

  • Pursue peace in the church in light of what’s at stake in the world.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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