The Price Of A Soul
Everything has a price tag.
Our materialistic society places a value on everything.
Our society says that "Everything has its price."
Those of the world are constantly assessing the value of their stocks, bonds, bank CDs,
401k's, insurance policies, pension plans, welfare checks, food stamps, etc.
What is a soul?
The essence of a soul is an elusive topic.
Most will agree that the soul is the essence of a man, but what is the soul,
and how is it different from the spirit?
In the Old Testament, the soul is often used as a synonym for the whole person or for the individual.
And Genesis 12:13 is an example,
"Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake;
and my soul shall live because of thee."
The soul is one third of the trichotomy of man: body, soul, and spirit.
(Matthew 10:28; 1Thessalonians. 5:23)
In comparison with the spirit, contrary to the contentions of some, there is a distinction.
Heb 4:12 makes it clear: "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper
than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit,
and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
The word of God teaches us that the soul and spirit are two separate entities.
They are not always easy to distinguish.
Someone has suggested that the easiest way is to realize that the soul is what a person is
and the spirit is something a person has.
When God created Adam he gave his body breath (spirit) and then man became a living soul.
What is a soul worth?
Matthew 16:26 says, " For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world,
and lose his own soul?
Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (See also Mark 8:36-37)
Those words of the Lord Jesus were solemn and eternally important.
In that brief statement, Jesus places a value upon the human soul that is more than
all the wealth of this world.
The value Jesus places upon a human soul in that statement far exceeds the wealth of the world.
The word He uses is, in the Greek, kosmos, which means all of God's material creation.
Think of it!
The myriads of stars and solar systems and planets and worlds the entire world system
Jesus said that one soul is of more value than all of them.
James 5:20 tells of the value of just one soul saved:
"...he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death,
and shall hide a multitude of sins."
It's all worth it for one soul!
An elderly lady who had been a missionary Africa for fifty years without furlough was interviewed
upon returning home.
Her interviewer asked, "Is it true that after fifty years of service you only know of One Soul who was saved?...
How do you feel about that now?...Was it worth it?"
The elderly saint's answer was profound, she said, "I would do a hundred years for another one".
That lady knew the value of just one soul.
"O teach me what it cost Thee
To make a sinner whole;
And teach me, Saviour, teach me
The value of a soul"
-- Lucy Ann Bennett
The soul is so valuable because of what man Is, and because of God's purpose for man
When God spoke the worlds into being, and when He had prepared this earth
with all of its living creatures, and with all the swarming life in the seas and all the birds that fly in the air
and animals and creeping things that live upon the earth, God looked upon it all,
and saw that it was good.
But God was not satisfied.
God is love, and love wants an object like itself upon which it can bestow its affection.
His great Father's heart was hungering for a family of children, so He said,
"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." ( Genesis 1:26)
And the Scripture says, "In the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."
The crowning work of all God's matchless creation is a being from His own hand
into whom He has breathed the breath of His own life and who has become a living soul in His image.
He who has the capacity to love like God and to return the love of God,
One who will respond to and receive His matchless love.
One who will have the capacity to think His thoughts, to live His life, and to have fellowship with Him.
One who will walk in communion with Him, and to live with Him.
God comes down in the cool of the day to walk with the man whom He has made.
There is a blessed, holy and wonderful fellowship between God and man.
The purpose God had in the creation of man was not only to have a being like unto Himself
who could appreciate and respond to His love and upon whom He could lavish His affections;
and with whom He could have fellowship, but His further purpose was that this man
should should reign with Him and share His glory throughout an endless eternity.
What a glorious purpose God had in the creation of man!
Even knowing that many will deliberately turn their backs upon such a destiny.
They deliberately defeat the purpose of God in their lives and choose to follow the Devil instead!
They will be deceived by the Devil, and they will be dragged from that glorious purpose of God
into the unending torments of hell separated from God.
They will be defeated in their lives and rob God of the glory that rightly belongs to Him in every life.
That is why Jesus said, "What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
He misses that infinite, loving, glorious purpose of God in his life, and forfeits that opportunity
to share with Him His glory throughout eternity.
The Soul Is So Valuable Because It Will Live Forever
It is valuable because of the fact of an endless eternity and the immortality of the soul.
Did you ever stop to try to contemplate eternity?
Have you ever silently and quietly, in your own mind and soul, tried to grasp the thought of eternity?
I have never been able to do that.
My mind, being finite, literally staggers as I try to comprehend the meaning of eternity.
And then, the thought that I shall be living somewhere forever!
There was a time when I was not.
When Job watched the stars from the plains of Shinar -- I was not.
When Abraham heard the call of God, and started out seeking "a city which hath foundations,
whose builder and maker is God" -- I was not.
When Columbus started his ship out into the vast expanses of the Atlantic
to discover a new world -- I was not.
When Washington crossed the Delaware with his barefooted men to purchase the liberty we enjoy,
and when they spent that winter in Valley Forge where they left their bloodstained tracks
in the snow -- I was not.
When Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse -- I was not.
But listen closely -- there will never be a time anymore, but that I will be living somewhere.
When the sun has burned itself out in the sky, and the material that composes its substance
and gives its heat and light has all been consumed and gone back to nothing
from which God called it into being -- then I will still be living on.
When the stars have worn themselves out with the passing of the ages and have crumbled
and decayed and gone back into nothing -- I will still be living on in eternity.
When the whole created universe has grown weary in the cycles of the ages and worn out
and passed back into nothing, I will still be living.
When there is not an atom of it left, I will still be living somewhere -- in heaven or hell.
Someone has once surmised that if a tiny sparrow were to take in its little beak just one grain of sand
and carry it to the moon and leave it; then come back and get another grain and go back to the moon.
In making one round trip each thousand years, when the little sparrow should have succeeded
in moving the whole planet on which we live one tiny grain of sand each thousand years
it would just be daylight in eternity; eternity would have just begun!
Oh, when I think of that, I stagger at the thought, and I am overwhelmed
with the reality of it as revealed in God's Word!
Then when you link that up with eternal night; and when you link that up with eternal death
and when you think of a soul banished from the presence of God forever, forever;
and when you think of a soul lost in the blackness of darkness forever.
As Jude said, like "wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever"
forever! forever! it is an awful, awesome thought!
Listen to that cry from Hell: "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."
For thousands of years that poor, tormented soul has been crying for one drop of water
not a drink of water, not a full cup of water, but just a drop that which would cling
to the tip of a man's finger!
What does it mean?
He is pleading just for the tiniest bit of relief from the tortures of Hell!
And for two thousand years, he has been crying for that drop of water to cool his tongue
which has been parched in that flame, but he has not gotten it yet.
And that is only the beginning!
Throughout all eternity, forever, forever, forever, he will be crying for that drop of water,
and will never get it.
The tortures of Hell are terrible enough to contemplate if they were for but one day.
But lasting thousands and thousands of years, then the human mind could never comprehend
the terrible tortures and torments of Hell.
But when you add eternity to the doom of the soul that Jesus says is accompanied by weeping,
wailing, and gnashing of teeth, then you can understand why Jesus would say,
"What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
To get a conception of what it means to be lost, of the awfulness of Hell, we must look to Calvary.
There is no other place in time or eternity where you can get a proper conception
of what it means for a soul to be lost.
Oh, please, hear me!
It must be an unspeakable tragedy to be lost for the Son of God to be willing to die
in order that men might be redeemed, for the Son of God to be willing to empty Himself of His glory
and take upon Him the form of a slave and become obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross, that men might be saved!
Yes, the Son of God was willing to give His life as an offering for our sin.
See Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
In His agony His sweat is great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
His whole body, every pore open and is bathed in His heart's blood.
Hear Him say, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me."
For three hours of that awful night in Gethsemane -- for three hours, the Son of God prays
that one prayer.
He isn't shrinking from the cross.
His life becomes an offering for our sin.
He is saying, "If there is any other way, Father; if there is any other way;
if there is any other way to save a soul, O Father, let Me take that way!"
God took the hardest way that could ever have been taken.
That means there is not only an awful eternal Hell awaiting the soul without God,
and not only that the doom of a sinner is an unspeakably awful thing,
but it means there is absolutely no other way that it could be done.
Had there been any other way, God would have answered that prayer in the garden that night.
But Jesus, looking into the face of the Father, said, "Not my will, but thine, be done."
The price He paid for a soul!
Listen: that is God's estimate of the value of one soul,
yet that same soul for which He died, men and women will throw it away for nothing!
They place no value whatever upon it.
Yet they will tell you that they believe they are immortal, that they believe the Bible,
and that they believe there is an eternity.
And for a little mess of this earth's pottage, they throw away their souls!
"What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
What would you give after your soul is lost forever in Hell?
And then the other half of the text is this: "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
What does Jesus mean here?
It means that after a man has lost his soul, after he has forfeited his right of salvation,
after he has waited too late, after he is in Hell and realizes its awfulness,
what would he give if he could just get back those chances he had to get it right,
and for just one more opportunity to make the right decision?
Just think what the rich young ruler would give if he could kneel one more time at the feet of Jesus
and hear the Son of God say, "One thing thou lackest"?
Oh, if he could hear the Lord say, "Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor."
There is no doubt that he would give himself to the Lord Jesus.
After nineteen hundred years of the tortures of Hell, and to remember that one day
that he stood so near he borderline of Glory -- just one step!
Oh, what would he give to stand there again?
And think of the millions of souls in Hell tonight; and what they would give to sit here where you are sitting;
and hear one more gospel sermon, just one more gospel song; just one more invitation from the Lord.
to feel once more the tug of the Spirit at their hearts!
Just think what they would give if they could have just one more opportunity?
O unsaved soul, listen: if you forfeit your chance and go to Hell, you would give ten thousand worlds
to hear one more gospel sermon, one more song, one more invitation to hear that still, small voice
at the door of your heart just one more time.
"What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
It is so important not to think about what you would do after it is too late,
but what are you going to do about it now?
What does Satan offer for your soul?
What does the Devil have to offer the unsaved?
You are a thinking, reasoning, intelligent human being.
God gave you ability to think logically and intelligently.
Now is the time to settle this question.
Face it honestly and seriously.
Think with me right now!
What does the Devil have to offer human life?
He does offers the satisfaction of our lower nature.
But suppose we revel in it; we are then living on the plane of the beast of the field.
We are not living the life for which God created us as we give ourselves just to satisfy the lower desires of life.
The Devil offers a festive time.
But remember, all the Devil offers in the end "biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder."
In the end, you will curse the day you took the Devil's promise for the temporary fun of living it up.
You will curse that day you listened to the Devil's lies.
What the Devil offers, he cannot deliver.
He is the father of lies.
He tells you it will be easy and exciting if you follow him.
You will not find a soul anywhere who has found happiness following the Devil.
God has made man with such a capacity and with such a nature that he will never be satisfied
nor happy until he rests in Him.
The abundance of things that a man possesses will not satisfy.
So, what does the Devil have to offer you?
Just remember what Satan has given to those who follow him.
He has wrecked millions of hearts, and has ruined millions of souls.
Look at the tears.
Listen to the sighs of the suffering.
Listen to the groans of the dying, and to the weeping and the wailing and the gnashing of teeth!
Paul said, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain."
If you could only hear, you would hear the sighs of the suffering, the groans of the dying,
the mourning of the sorrowing, the shedding of tears of the heartbroken that have followed the Devil.
Why can't people see?
Why can't we learn from observation without having to learn by experience?
What does God give you for your soul?
God gives you His love.
He gives you the blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse you from all your sins.
He will break the chains that sin has captured your soul, and He set you free like a bird let out of his cage.
That bird has been beating itself against the side of the cage of confinement,
but one day the cage door is opened, and the bird flies again in the spaceous sky.
That is what Jesus meant when He said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,"
and, "If the Son
shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
That is what Isaiah meant when he said the Son of God at His coming will
"proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound."
He will give you "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding."
He will make your sin-stained soul as white as snow.
Listen to the good news!
"Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18)
"And the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (I John 1:7)
Some years ago when I was a teenager, a pastor visited our church.
This pastor was going to remove an ink stain that was so difficult to wash out.
I knew how hard it was to get ink out of my handkerchief or my clothes.
In fact, it was there to stay.
He took out his handkerchief. In one small bowl he poured a bottle of black ink,
and in the other bowl he poured some sort of fluid.
He took his handkerchief and dipped it down in the bowl filled with the black ink,
and he turned it over and over until every thread was saturated a midnight black.
Then he lifted it out, and held it up.
It was as black as ink could make it.
"Now," he said, "watch!"
Then he put it in the bowl of the cleaning fluid, dipped it down, turned it over a few times,
took it by the corner and lifted it out.
To our utter amazement, it was as white as snow.
That is exactly what Jesus did with my poor, sin-stained soul.
Though it was black with sin, He dipped it in the fountain filled with His precious blood,
and when it came up, it was as white as snow.
God took all my sins and put them behind His back, and He will never remember them again.
He has make me to become one of His children.
I am one of His sons, and I am an heir of God's, and a joint heir with Jesus Christ.
God will make me to be just like Jesus, when I will see Him as He is. (1 John 3:1-2)
We will have the privilege of reigning with Him.
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame,
and am set down with my Father in his throne." (Rev. 3:21).
We shall reign with Him forever!
Forever and forever!
Think with me tonight: "What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
Your soul is worth too much to live in Hell forever!
But you say, "I don't intend to go to Hell. I intend to be a Christian sometime."
Some day -- some time!
Unsaved soul, If that is what you are saying, how can you say that?
How can you have the audacity to say, "I am going to trifle with God awhile longer,
trample underfoot His blood awhile longer, and slam the door in His face just a little longer"?
You say, "I believe Christ died for me, but I am going to close the door in His face.
I will have my way awhile, and when I get ready I will trust Him."
Unsaved friend, how can you have the audacity to trifle with God?
How can you hope, with the shortness of your life, and with the uncertainty of life
which hangs by such a brittle, thread how can you dare to presume upon the mercy
and the long-suffering of God?
How can you believe that you will ever have another chance?
Don't trifle with God!
"Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."
Saul, the first king of Israel, trifled with God.
God said to Samuel, "I have rejected him."
All night long Samuel, that great prophet of God, lay on his face and prayed
and cried to God for Saul, but to no avail.
God said, "I am through with him.
He has trifled with Me long enough."
So Saul was set aside as king.
"He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck,
shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." (Proverbs 29:1)
You say, "I am going to someday."
What are you going to do now?
Think with me!
Whatever sin you may cherish, whatever the world has to offer you, it perishes with the using.
Is it worth the price?
"What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
Do you know why people go to Hell?
It is because they will not think.
It is because they will not follow their own better judgment.
It is not because they do not believe in the Bible.
It is not because they do not intend to be saved sometime,
It is because they will not do what their own reason, and their own better judgment tell them to do.
Think of a soul in eternity without God, without hope and without the Lord of glory.
Hear me now!
Suppose there is no certain place called Hell, where there is fire and brimstone.
I believe there is, but just for the sake of argument, suppose there is not.
Think of a soul flung by the power of God beyond creation's boundaries,
blighted by the curse of Almighty God throughout all eternity, withering and dying
under the curse of God, doomed to wander in infinite, boundless, bottomless darkness
where the soul suffers and never finds a place to rest its weary head,
where there is no rest day or night forever;
where the sound of a friendly voice is never heard,
where the touch of a friendly hand is never felt;
where the only sound that ever reaches your poor, doomed ears is the hiss and jeering of demons,
and the weeping and wailing and gnashing of the teeth of the damned!
Think of such an eternity by a moment's decision, when in the twinkling of an eye,
when just by one moment's resolution, you can be saved.
Think about it!
God gave you reason and power to think, and you know what you ought to do.
Think of spending eternity in Hell when God gave you the will to act;
and in a single moment's decision, you can settle your salvation for time and eternity.
Just one "Yes" to God, and you could have been singing around the throne
with the blood-washed throng of the redeemed of God;
when, by holding out an empty hand of faith, in one second, yea, one instant of time,
you could have received as a gift of God eternal life!
"What is a man profited?"
What a foolish thing for a reasoning, thinking human being to do!
"Mercy is calling you won't you give heed.
Must the Dear Savior still tenderly plead.
Risk not your soul, it is precious indeed.
What would you give in exchange for your soul?
More than all silver and gold of this earth.
More than all jewels the spirit is worth.
God The Creator has given it birth
What would you give in exchange for your soul.
What would you give in exchange for your soul.
Oh if today God should call you away;
What would you give in exchange for your soul?"
Patrick Henry once said: "I have now disposed of all my property to my family.
There is one thing more I wish I could give them, and that is faith in Jesus Christ.
If they had that and I had not given them a single shilling, they would have been rich;
and if they had not that, and I had given them all the world, they would be poor indeed."
Longfellow could take a worthless piece of paper, write a poem on it, and instantly make it worth
thousands of dollars and we call this genius!
Rockefeller could sign his name on a piece of paper and make it worth millions of dollars
and we call this riches!
An artist can take the plain material, paint a picture on it and make it priceless
and we call that art!
But Jesus Christ can take a sinful broken life, wash it in His blood put His Spirit in it,
and make it so valuable before God - and that we call that priceless!
I pray that you will you make the right decision.
I pray that you will receive Jesus right now as your Saviour and Lord?
He did not say, "Whosoever can."
He said, "Whosoever will."
"Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
"Whosoever heareth," shout, shout the sound!
Spread the blessed tidings all the world around;
Spread the joyful news wherever man is found:
"Whosoever will may come."
'Whosoever cometh need not delay,
Now the door is open, enter while you may;
Jesus is the true, the only Living Way:
"Whosoever will may come."
"Whosoever will," the promise is secure,
"Whosoever will," forever must endure;
"Whosoever will," 'tis life forevermore:
"Whosoever will may come."
"Whosoever will, whosoever will,"
Send the proclamation over vale and hill;
'Tis a loving Father calls the wand'rer home:
"Whosoever will may come."
Sermon adapted from several sources by Dr. Harold L. White