(Photo: Fellowship Church)
Ed Young Jr., the pastor of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, is widely known for his creative sermon series. On Sunday, he delivered part three of a controversial series, "Interview with the Devil," and stressed the reality of hell while warning that it is growing.
"One of the biggest perversions of modern Christianity is that the Lord can only be understood by His grace and mercy," Young told the congregation.
He explained that we don't like to dwell on verses like Matthew 7:22, 23: "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.'"
There is free will, and therefore there is heaven and there is hell, Young said. Jesus talked a lot about hell, he stated. "Jesus talked about hell more than he talked about prayer."
Let's look at what we can learn from hell, "the reality of hell," the pastor told the congregation. The Bible says hell is a place, he said, adding it was not originally designed for humans. "Hell was designed for the devil and the demons."
However, because of our sin – because of our association with Adam – we were born with the reservation in hell, Young said. But the good news is, by giving the throne of our lives to Jesus we can have our reservation cancelled in hell and get reservation in heaven, he added.
The pastor described hell as "a place of isolation, loneliness… darkness… agony… gnashing of teeth… a place where you can do anything and everything you always wanted to do… alone."
Young challenged the congregation to realize that "real people go to hell."
"The stakes are sky high, it's about eternity," he said, encouraging them to pray for everyone to be saved. This is why Jesus asked us to preach the Gospel to everyone in the world.
"Look at the growth of hell... It's growing," the pastor said, telling the congregation that many among them would also go to hell as of now.
God is gracious and merciful, but He gives us choice, Young stressed. "You are going to heaven, or you are going to hell." The choice is yours, he said.
The opportunity to make the choice will die with us, he warned, quoting Luke 13:25, "Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.' But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.'"
You can do three things to secure your place in heaven, he said. "Admit that you are a sinner; you have messed up." Two, Believe. You may say, "I don't know 100 percent," but knowing fully is not faith, that's certainty. God asks for faith. And third, commit your life to Jesus; let Him control your life.
On Sunday, Fellowship Church also published a video featuring Pastor Young's interview with the devil, as part of the ongoing message series. The video shows Young speaking to a man enacting as the devil, dresses in black and red and having red horns.
"Today, we have a very, very special guest... the Devil," says the pastor, and goes on to ask questions about the church and his lie, and finally makes him flee by simply repeating, "Jesus."
"There's no doubt that bad things happen in our world. But the question that begs to be answered is: what causes those things to happen? It's a topic that has been debated for centuries. Is there really a personal, evil personality that we have to face? Do we truly battle against the devil?" the church asks viewers on its website.
In this "controversial series," Pastor Young takes a look at the reality and existence of the evil in our world, the website adds. "And as he unpacks what the Bible teaches about that force in our world, we discover how God gives a strategy, a battle plan to overcome it and experience life on the other side."