Leading evangelist and megachurch Pastor Greg Laurie has warned his congregation that it’s a biblical fact that more people are going to be damned to Hell than will receive salvation in Heaven, adding that some “good people” will be condemned while some “bad people” are saved.
Laurie, the lead pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship based in Riverside, California, gave a sermon this past Sunday morning titled “The Biblical Worldview of the Afterlife.”
“There are so many crazy ideas about Heaven and the afterlife in general. This is popularized by people who have claimed to have had near-death experiences,” the 64-year-old preacher said, adding that polls have shown that many people believe in Heaven but don’t believe in God.
Laurie asserted that there is only one reliable source on the afterlife and that is the Bible.
“[T]hat is why we want to look at it for a few moments because before you know it, we are going to be in the afterlife,” he said. “As you get older, you think about this a little bit more, don’t you? You start losing friends and family. As you get older, you might realize that you have more friends in Heaven than you have on Earth.”
Laurie then “‘cut to the chase.”
“I am sure you know this but I will be real direct. If you are a Christian, when you die, you go to Heaven. If you are not a Christian when you die, you go to Hell,” he explained. “I don’t say that with any joy. I say that with sadness. But I say that because that is the biblical worldview of the afterlife.”
Laurie continued by quoting Jesus’ Words from Matthew 7 to explain that “more people are going to Hell than Heaven.”
“Broad is the way that leads to destruction and many there are that go that way, but narrow is the way that leads to life and few there are that find it,” Laurie said, paraphrasing Matthew 7:13–14.
“That’s the reality. Let me just ask this. Now, I have just stated the biblical worldview. How many of you believe what I just said is true?” Laurie asked, as he signaled for congregants to raise their hands. “That’s the biblical worldview. If you believe the Bible, that is what it says.”
Although Laurie warned that most people are going to Hell, he assured that Christians can be confident that they are going to Heaven.
“When a Christian dies, they go to Heaven. This is absolute in Scripture,” he stressed, citing 2 Corinthians 5:8. “Paul says, ‘We are confident and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So, we make it our goal to please Him whether we are at home in the body or away from it.'”
Laurie explained that the minute Christians breathe their last breath on Earth, they breathe their first breath in Heaven.
“Paul said, ‘I have a desire to depart and be with Christ.’ He didn’t say, I have a desire to depart and take a really long nap or go into some kind of soul sleep or go to purgatory or be reincarnated,” Laurie said. “No, none of those things are biblical. The biblical worldview is that when a Christian dies, they go straight to Heaven, to be with Christ, which is far better.”
Laurie then explained that the real reason that most people go to Hell is not because they have committed sins, but because they are non-believers who have not asked for Jesus to forgive their sins.
“Jesus says in John 3:18, ‘He that believes in Me is not condemned. He who does not believe in Me is condemned because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten son,'” Laurie said. “[People often] think, ‘Heaven is for good people and Hell is for bad people. If you do enough good things, you go to Heaven and if you do enough bad things you go to Hell.’ Did you know that is completely unbiblical. Yet, I have met Christians that, in effect, believe a version of that.”
Laurie stressed that Heaven will have some “bad people” and Hell will have some “good people.”
Laurie listed off different types of people who will go to Hell, including those who reject the offer of God’s forgiveness, self-righteous people who think they have done enough good things to get into Heaven without a real belief in Christ’s salvation and even non-believing churchgoers.
“Bad people, who are now forgiven people because they put their faith in Christ, are going to be in Heaven. ‘Good people,’ who are nice, considerate, always drove the speed limit in the carpool lane in their Prius, they do good things, but you are not good enough apart from Christ to get to Heaven,” Laurie explained. “The point is that the real reason people are going to face judgement is not because they have committed X amount of sins, it’s because they committed X amount of sins and never asked God to forgive them.”