II Corinthians 5:11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
Persuade is defined as to cause convincing. Paul wanted to convince the Corinthians that the best route is living for Christ. In Matthew 27:20 the rulers persuaded–convinced–the people to ask for the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus. In Luke 16 we see the reality of hell. The rich man died and went to hell; he feared for his five brothers. He wanted them to be warned not to come there by sending Lazarus to them. He was told that if they wouldn’t listen to Moses and the prophets they would not be persuaded by someone who rose from the dead. In Acts 14:19 Paul’s enemies used persuasion against him. When testifying to King Agrippa, he in turn told Paul that he had almost persuaded him to be a Christian. There are a lot of people going to hell. We need to persuade them to become a Christian. We do not have the promise of tomorrow. Don’t persuade them to become a member of a church or to be baptized, although if you’re saved you should do these things. Without Christ people will go to hell. Persuade them to come to him.
There is a lopsided view of God. I enjoy preaching on the love of God. There is no greater love known to man. I love telling people of the comfort that comes only from God. Heaven? I love preaching on the beauties of it even though not even half has been told. This is all we hear from many television evangelists. It’s a feel-good gospel; we hear nothing about hell. People want the preacher to make them feel good. We need our toes stepped on at times. It helps us grow in the Lord. Hebrews tells us we will all stand before God and give an account. Christians will appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Those who have not been saved will appear at the Great White Throne Judgment. Has the blood of Christ been applied to your heart, to your sins? That determines which judgment you will attend. People want it rosy; they want to hear smooth things and all the while people are perishing and going to hell.
God is only the father of those who have been born again. We are all creatures of God by creation, but we are only children of God by re-creation–being born again through salvation. There is something in God for the unsaved to fear. We have to rescue the lost however we can. People don’t want to hear of the judgment of God. No one denies the law of gravity. In fact, most fear it. You wouldn’t jump off a high building because you fear gravity. More people are saved because of the fear of what is to come than those who hear about God’s love. There is a literal burning hell. Once there, there is no getting out. There will be screaming, gnashing on one another, darkness and fire. Imagine the reality of hell.
In Genesis 19 we read of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. God, fed up with the continual sinning, brought judgment and destroyed the cities. In Genesis 6 God got tired of the constant evil and destroyed the world with a flood. I wonder if this is not how he sees America today. Only eight people survived that judgment all because they believed in God. The next time the world will be destroyed by fire. We’re told that God didn’t spare the angels who sinned; he will not overlook the sins of mankind.
Our knowledge of what terror awaits the lost makes us responsible to tell them. If I’m on the road and come to a bridge that’s out, do I stop others or let them perish? No! I turn around and warn them. Hell is real; we have to stop people from going there. They need to avoid it at all costs. Don’t laugh at the mention of hell. People who do don’t know what they’re talking about. There’s no comfort there. We should warn others there is destruction ahead. One day God will close the door on his mercy.
Jesus had compassion. He was always concerned with human needs. He was present to help the weak and sick in body. He stands ready today to pardon transgressors and save souls from hell. The greatest need of mankind is spiritual, not physical. The remedy has been provided through Jesus’ death on the cross. He is still the only way to heaven. We must persuade others to trust him and avoid the place called hell.