Heaven and Hell

Scripture Passage: Daniel 12:1-4

Daniel 12:2 states: “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

What the Bible Teaches About Hell

1. Hell is a horrible place. | The Scriptures are loaded with statements regarding the horror of Hell. Whether these are figurative or literal depends on one’s interpretation but all these statements should be taken seriously.

2. Hell is an avoidable place. | God loves us so much that He has placed a blockade between Hell and us — the cross of Jesus Christ. You’ll have to climb over that cross to get to Hell. Jesus has paid your penalty so you don’t have to go! Don’t reject the cross. There’s a better way — an alternative — and that’s to let Jesus receive your punishment and you receive Jesus.”

Amen! And speaking of Heaven:

1. Heaven is an exhilarating place. | According to 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 — “But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’ these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” Many of us grew up thinking heaven was going to be clouds, harps and boring, but according to Scripture, we were extremely misled! Heaven will be incredible!

2. Heaven is a holy place. | Heaven is holy because God is holy and He’s there.

3. Heaven is an exclusive place. | Heaven will be that place with no more sickness, pain, sorry, death or problems and Jesus said there’s only one-way to get there — through Him. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) As a Believer in Christ, I want to take as many people with me as possible!

Talk About It:

1. Do you believe Heaven and Hell are real places? (According to a Pew Poll, 72% of Americans believe in Heaven, but only 58% of Americans believe in Hell.) What Scripture passages (evidence) do you have that backs up your belief?

2. If Hell wasn’t a real place and there was only Heaven, would that effect God’s character? What does the doctrine of Hell and Heaven tell us about God? Why does that matter?

3. If you asked your family member, co-worker, neighbor or friend, “Do you believe in Heaven and/or Hell?” what would they say? If you asked them, “Which one do you think you are going to?” what would they say? (Challenge yourself or you family to actually conduct this experiment this week. Discuss the results at dinner one night.)


Teaching Kids About Heaven
by Randy Alcorn

Explaining Hell To Our Children
by Pastor John Piper

You Can Trust the Bible

Scripture Passage: Daniel 11

Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Have you ever wondered how to defend the Bible and help others see that there is no book like the Bible? Here are four historical markers to encourage you in that process:

Qumran I In 1947, 1100 historical manuscripts were found in a cave near the village of Qumran located near the Dead Sea. All of the Old Testament books, with the exception of Esther, were found among these manuscripts. Specifically, the complete Isaiah Scroll (dated 1000 BC) was found among these manuscripts and was found to have only 17 different letters (not words, just letters) compared the Isaiah manuscript from 1000 AD. This was powerful proof that “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”

The University of Manchester Library I in 1934, Collin Roberts stumbled across a tiny piece of papyrus parchment with John 18:31-33 written on the front and John 18:37-38 written on the back. After further investigation, Roberts found that this fragment of parchment dated back to 125 AD, making it the oldest New Testament fragment we have to date. This means that the gospel of John was written and spread much earlier than Biblical historians previously thought. Further proof that, ““The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”

The Bookshelf I If you go to any bookshelf with historical texts, you can be confident that the New Testament has earlier copies, smaller time gaps between copies, and a larger number of copies than any other book written.

The Masoretes I In 600 AD, you could find a room full of men who had given their lives to one task — the careful transmission of the text of the word of God. These men exercised extreme care to ensure accuracy in the transmission of the word of God. We can have confidence that we have been given a gift in the Word of God and that it is worth building our lives on!

Talk about It

• What did you learn today about prophecy and the reliability of the Word of God?

• How does the reliability of scripture further solidify your confidence in the Gospel?

• Is there someone in your life that needs to hear about the reliability of the Bible? How can you start praying for the Lord to open doors for those conversations to take place?

Hearing From God

Scripture Passage: Daniel 10:1-11

Have you ever wondered how you can hear from God? Ever felt like it’s some great mystery that is only solved by the super-spiritual Christians? Or has it just been a while since you heard anything from Him? You’re wondering where he might be or if you’ve done something wrong and He won’t talk to you?

Three Conditions Necessary To Hear From God

1. Desire | God speaks to his children when there is genuine, wholehearted desire to hear from him.

2. Dedication | To hear God speak you must obey what He has already said. Why would we think God would speak to us and give us new direction and insight when we have been unwilling to obey what He has already told us?

3. Discernment | Here are several key ways to develop a discerning heart. Remember you cannot develop discernment apart from the Bible.

• Read God’s Word
• Study God’s Word
• Listen to God’s Word taught
• Listen to God’s Word preached
• Read books about God’s Word
• Discuss God’s Word with other believers.

As a family select 1-2 things you want to focus on over the coming week to begin hearing more from God. Is there a sin you need to confess and get help in overcoming? Is there a discipline you need to develop regarding the Bible? Do you simply need to spend time praying to seek God wholeheartedly?

Everyone can hear from God. In John 14:26 Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would teach us: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

Reading Scripture Prayerfully

Scripture Passage: Daniel 9

The power of sitting and meditating on scripture is something that is often overlooked in the busy world that we live in. Sometimes what scares people away is that they don’t know where to start or how to approach passages at all. Daniel 9 gives an amazing example of how to read scripture prayerfully and allow it to consistently change our lives on a daily basis.

1. Daniel’s Reading Led to Longing
The Bible is full of God’s promises to us, but in order to know them we have to read them! While reading the book of Jeremiah, Daniel read the passage in which God prophesied the end of the exile, the time of judgment they were currently experiencing. After Daniel read this he longed for God’s Promises to come true.

2. Daniel’s Longing Led to Seeking
Daniel didn’t stop there. He wasn’t just eager to see the word of God fulfilled. His longing led him to seek the Lord. He didn’t read Scripture as an end unto itself. He read Scripture to know about the God who was revealed in it — who was speaking through it. Daniel sought the Lord eagerly, but he also sought God humbly. He came to God acknowledging his own failures and the failures of his people.

3. Daniel’s Seeking Led to Finding
Daniel read, Daniel longed, Daniel sought — and God showed up. It seems weird to say. But honestly, for some reason, we don’t always expect God to show up. We pray prayers that give God an out. We live our lives not factoring in the presence and activity of God. Daniel prayed and God showed up. Hebrews 1 declares that God spoke “in many portions and in many ways” — which means, God shows up in unexpected ways.

Talk About It

• What commitment will you make to read God’s Word daily?

• What role does God’s Word play in helping you develop a greater intimacy with Him?

The Prayers of a Patriot

Scripture Passage: Daniel 6

In this passage of scripture, we take a look at quite possibly the most well known story of Daniel’s life. The story of Daniel in chapter 6 is normally told as an account of his time in the lion’s den, but it is really a story about answered prayer. As we study this passage, we are able to learn from four elements of Daniels prayer life.

1. Daniel Had a Plan for Prayer
According to verse 10, Daniel was intentionally and purposefully falling to his knees before the Lord 3 times per day. We can learn from Daniel that practicing discipline in our prayer lives is essential.

2. Daniel Had a Place for Prayer
Daniel was not only purposeful about when he prayed, but also where he prayed. He chose a location where he could fully devote his focus to God, free from distraction.

3. Daniel Had a Posture of Prayer
Daniel physically got down on his knees to pray. This was a humble act of submission and worship. In the same way, we should approach the Father with a heart of humility and submission.

4. Daniel Demonstrated Persistence in Prayer
Daniel took his prayer life seriously. In fact, he took it so seriously that he was willing to be thrown into a lion’s den before he would stop. He allowed nothing to keep him from prayer.

Talk About It

Which of these areas of prayer are you strongest in? Which area needs to see the most growth?

Describe a time when you were persistent in prayer and later were able to see the work God had been doing behind the scenes all along.

Daniel was willing to risk his life for the sake of prayer. How valuable is prayer to you? Why is it valuable to you?

Satan’s Tired Tactics

Scripture Passage: Daniel 5

Throughout this chapter in Daniel, we see how Satan works and the lies that he tries to tell us. The enemy often tempts us with seemingly enticing gifts of position, possessions, and passions but, in reality, these temptations are only disguised as gold and carry no eternal significance. Yet, because we have been given Satan’s playbook, this also means we know how to overcome his schemes.

1. Scripture always uncovers the lies.

Scripture is God-breathed and is useful in every situation, especially when it comes to combating the enemy. The Bible illustrates how Jesus’s followers sought His Word in times of trial. The enemy has no hope in prevailing against the Word of God.

2. The way to overcome Satan is to be fulfilled.

We as believers are invited to experience true fulfillment in Christ Jesus. Once we have experienced this, we are filled with the power to overcome any and all of the temptations Satan could ever throw at us. Trying to fill ourselves with anything less than Jesus will always leave us wanting more. With God, however, we have all that we will ever need.

Talk About It

The enemy tempts us through position, possessions, and passions.

• What are some ways that Satan tempts you in these areas?

• What are some passages of scripture that would be useful to hide in your heart in order to overcome these temptations?

A Lesson in Pride

Scripture Passage: Daniel 4

We all want to be confident in the way God calls us to live. We want our lives to reflect God’s goodness and character and set a good example for others. There is, however, a fine line between walking in confidence and walking in pride. The Scriptures teach us how to walk in humility with the Father.

1. The Delicate Balance of Confidence and Pride
Humility is often seen as walking around telling yourself you’re “no good”, but that is not a biblical view of humility. Pride can be both positive (confidence) and negative (arrogance). Daniel faced a difficult task when he had to be honest with Nebuchadnezzar about his dream, yet he spoke it confidently and used the talents God gave him to be obedient.

2. The Elusiveness of Humility
One of the easiest ways we can deceive ourselves is to think that we do not need more humility. Nebuchadnezzar’s life illustrates a caution we should heed. Having been humbled twice before, and now a third time through this interpretation of the dream, Nebuchadnezzar continued living in arrogance.

Working on humility is the hardest thing for a prideful person to do. The cure to pride is not a focus on being more humble, because the focus is still on yourself! To truly work on humility, you have to look beyond yourself. Set your gaze on the things that carry eternal weight. There is no place more humbling than to stand beside the cross of Jesus Christ and staring at the wonder of what He did for you.

3. The Inevitability of Humility
Nebuchadnezzar found himself on the rooftop of pride. Rooftops are a dangerous place to be. A rooftop has the best place to look down at other things. Nebuchadnezzar’s pride got the best of him and he ended up acting like an animal for seven years. The warning is this: If you try to act like you’re God, the Real God is going to humble you.

Remember that it is not too late to look to God and surrender to Him. God, in His grace, gave Nebuchadnezzar 12 months to repent. It is not too late for any of us to do the same.

Talk About It
What are some things in your life that could be a palace rooftop that you use to look down on the world?

Describe a time you were in a situation where you had to swallow your pride and show humility.

What does it mean to you to see true biblical humility played out in your life?

Factors of Impact

Daniel Slide

Scripture Passage: Daniel 3

We all have the desire to live a life of impact–make a difference with our lives. The boldness of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego show us an incredible example of what impacting culture for the glory of God can look like. From their example, we can see that influence is determined by two factors.

1. Who you’re willing to worship.
Worship can show up in subtle ways. In our day, it’s rarely a large golden idol, but we worship anything that captures our full affection and takes the place of God.

2. What it takes to make you quit.
Commitment is not about earning God’s blessing. It’s about responding to God’s blessing. You don’t commit your life to Christ to get anything. You commit your life to Christ because you have everything.

The bold decision Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego made to honor God still resulted in being thrown into the fiery furnace, but God protected them and stood right beside them. What a beautiful reminder that as we encounter trials in our own life, Jesus has already proven that He will be right by our side.

Talk About It

  • What are some things in your life that are in danger of becoming idols by taking the priority and focus away from God?
  • Describe a time when you were put in a situation to have to choose between honoring God or going with the crowd.
  • What does it mean to you to know that God is faithful to stand beside us as we go through the fiery trials of life?

Confidence in the Word

Scripture Passage: Daniel 2

The Word of God can be trusted because, through the prophecies found in the scriptures, we see the past and the future as the same. No other book can do that! Review these points from today’s message and discuss the questions at the end!

The validation of prophecies fulfilled.
Through the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream we see the kingdoms of the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and the Romans all came to be and the future kingdom of Jesus’ return is yet to come!

The validation of world events.
When you read news stories today it’s as though God wrote them 2000 years ago! Prophecy has been fulfilled through Jesus as our Savior, Redeemer and soon returning King!

Talk About It

What did you learn today about prophecy and the reliability of the Word of God?

How does the Lord’s Supper teach us about the promises of God?

The Book of Daniel

Daniel SlideJust a reminder that tomorrow, at 3:00pm Monday afternoon local time, a moment of remembrance will take place for those who served and gave their life for our country. All Americans are asked to pause for one minute of reflection, gratitude, and unity.

Scripture Passage: Daniel 1

This morning, we started a new series in the Book of Daniel by looking at how we, too, can make an impact in our world – even when it seems like everything is against us. Read Daniel 1:1-21 again and review these points from today’s message:

An attitude of Submission | You cannot be over those who are under you until you are willing to be under those who are over you. It doesn’t matter how above everyone else you think you are, if you let your pride get you out from under authority, you’re going to get in trouble.

1 Peter 2:13-15: 13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. (See also 2 Timothy 2:24-26)

An Attitude of Learning | We don’t study so that we can immerse ourselves in things that are anti-God, but to read them in light of what we know to be true. They never replace our knowledge of the Word of God – which is the basis on which we begin any conversation related to any other “wisdom.”

The Christian leader is always listening and always learning. We never forsake the timeless truths of Scripture, but are always ready to give an intelligent answer to the questions of the day and point people to Jesus.

An Attitude of Expectation | Daniel understood something that we often forget: Sometimes God allows evil people to have short-term success in order to be unexpected participants in His plan! Don’t believe me? God ordained the Babylonian invasion. He also ordained their later overthrow by the Medes and Persians! God was in control the entire time. (See also Genesis 50:20)

Warren Wiersbe: “Each believer is either a conformer or a transformer. We’re either being squeezed into the world’s mold or we’re transforming things in the world into which God has put us. Transformers don’t always have an easy life, but it’s an exciting one and it gives you great delight to know that God is using you to influence others.”

Think and Talk About It

• Who was/is the most courageous person you’ve ever met?

• What made him or her courageous?

• Did this person display any of the attitudes we heard about today?

• Which attitude is the most difficult for you to have?

• What makes that attitude difficult for you?

• How are you – or how are we as a family – making an impact in the world?

Finally, take some time as a family. Ask God to show you and/or your family how and where you can make a bigger impact in the world today for Christ.