Billy Graham Sermon: Is There A Hell? (Transcript)

Read the transcript of Billy Graham’s sermon titled “Is There A Hell?” which was preached in Sacramento in the year 1983.

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Billy Graham – Evangelist

Now tonight, I want you to turn with me to the 16th chapter of Luke’s Gospel, and beginning at verse 19, there’s a story that Jesus told.

Luke 16:19-31:

‘There was a certain rich man which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus which was laid at his gate full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died and was buried. And in Hades, he lifted up his eyes, being in torment and sees Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.”

But Abraham said, “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted and you’re in torment. And besides all this, between us and you, there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”

Then he said, “I pray thee therefore, father, that thou would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brethren that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”

And Abraham saith unto him, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.”

And he said, “Nay, father Abraham, they would not, but if one came from the dead, they will repent.”

And he said unto him, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded even though one rose from the dead.”’

Well, I’m up here tonight, not to say, “Go to hell,” but rather “Go to heaven.” And I’m urging you not to say, “I’ll be damned,” but instead, “I’ll be saved.”

And this story, the word hell is used, translated hell in our authorized version, though it’s actually Hades, because Hades was in two compartments apparently: one was called Paradise, and one was called the place of torment. And they could apparently see across the gulf between each other.

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And the word hell today is constantly used as a swear word. You hear it on television, you see it in the films, you see it in the writings of people, and you hear at work, and you hear it in school.

The United States Catholic magazine, in the May issue of this year, 1983, polled Americans and came up with the figure: 86% said they believed in the existence of hell. Can you imagine that?

86% of Americans believe there’s a hell. You can never understand hell though, until first you understand the great love, mercy, and grace of God. And it should never be preached by any preacher without tears.

I’ve heard some preachers preach on hell as though they were glad there was a hell, and glad that people were going there. But, I’m not. I don’t like to preach on it. I do it only because I’m commanded in Scripture to preach the word, and it’s against the backdrop of God’s love and mercy and grace that I must preach it.

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