Jack Graham - Priceless
I want to talk to you today about how you can have eternal life. In this INVISIBLE series we've been talking about the invisible world all around us. There is more to life than what you see. And we now realize as believers and followers of Christ that we are engaged in spiritual battle, an invisible war; that there are enemies that we cannot see but are very powerful, supernatural and real. But our victory is sure in Christ and we overcome in Him. We also know that there are angels around us, that God has created these angelic beings and even today they worship with us. They watch over us and they guide us, and that was the message the last time.
All around us there's supernatural, spiritual world! But today we're going to look within a bit because inside of us, invisible to the human eye is something that is so valuable, something so precious, so priceless that if you added up everything in the world, all of the riches, mountains, oceans, great buildings, massive bank accounts, the gold, the silver, if you added it all up, it would not reach the value of the invisible soul that is in each of us; that all of us possess; and we are souls. Take your Bibles and turn with me to Mark, chapter 8. What is the most important thing in your life? People are asked that question quite a bit these days, and if you read the surveys, people are interested, of course, in their families and their future, their health, their well-being. Maybe you're just hanging on. Your most important thing is to put food on the table or to take care of your family. But more important than anything else in your life is what you do with your soul.
As a matter of fact, Jesus put it this way in Mark chapter 8, verse 34. "He called to him the crowd with the disciples, and said to them, 'If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?'" And the word there is soul, which is your life. Your soul is your life. "'For what can a man give in return for his life? This is a matter of profit and loss. What would you exchange for your soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation'", Jesus gives an accurate description of our generation and every generation! Adulterous and sinful. "'Whoever's ashamed of Me and My words in this generation, adulterous and sinful, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.'"
Now what is the soul? The soul is the part of you that makes you human. We all, of course, have an outer life, an exterior life, that's the body. And the body, of course, doesn't last; it terminates. But the soul lives forever. The soul is the you of you. It is what makes you different than the animals. You are not a highly evolved animal; you are a life, a soul made by God and for God's glory. When God created Adam and Eve He breathed into them the breath of life, and they became living souls. As a matter of fact, you don't just have a soul; you are a soul. It's not that you, a body, has a soul; but your soul inhabits your body. And long after your body has disintegrated until the resurrection, your soul will remain. And that's what we're going to see in this message. And when you start adding things up in life, what is valuable, what is precious, what is truly the net-net of life, what is the bottom line of life, this is what Jesus said: Don't exchange anything for your soul! Your soul is the part of you that is made for God, the part of you that will live forever. Your soul is eternal and will be alive, either in heaven or hell forever and ever! You are an eternal, immortal soul! And therefore, the value of this soul that you are is immeasurable. It cannot be compared to anything else in your life. It is the most important issue on the table of your life right now today.
That's why I want to ask those of you who are believers and followers of Christ to be in a spirit of prayer today because I'm bringing this message primarily to those of you who have not considered the work of your soul and you're wasting your life and wasting your soul on lesser things. God made you for Himself! He created you! And therefore, all of life is sacred. The psalmist said Psalm 8:5, "You made Him", that is man, "a little lower than the angels and crowned him with glory and honor". Life, therefore, because we are souls, has the dignity and the worth and the value of God written within the DNA of who we are. Why are we so committed to world evangelism, global evangelism and local evangelism; sharing Christ with one another? Because Proverbs 11:30 "He who wins souls is wise"! That's what the Scripture says. All around us are souls for whom Jesus died! And therefore, we exist to fulfill the Great Commission to Christ to give every soul an opportunity to respond to the Gospel of Christ. God has such wonderful plans.
You can tell the value of something by the one who made it. If something is valuable, for example, a great piece of art or a painting is valuable, I mean, if I painted it, it's worth nothing, right? Every now and then I get a little picture from the first grade from my grandson. It's really, really good! Beautiful! And it's not that valuable to the world, but it is priceless to me. Why? Because my grandson produced it! He created it! If the one who makes it and makes it beautiful, makes it valuable, then because God made each one of us, you are valuable to God! "God doesn't love you," Martin Luther says, "because you're valuable, but you are valuable because God loves you! Because God made you"! And so if something is made by someone very wonderful as our Lord is so wonderful, and if God has made your soul, than you are valuable!
Another way we determine whether something is valuable or not is, I dare say, if it has durability. If you go out to buy a car or something, maybe an investment in your house something nice. You buy something hopefully that will last a while. You buy what you can afford, of course. But you try to buy things that are going to last a while because they're durable. The soul is valuable because it's going to last forever!
Something is also valuable when it has potential... created potential, and you have potential. As a matter of fact, did you know the Bible says that we are destined in Christ to be like Him? No wonder we should be nourishing our souls and nurturing our souls on a daily basis in prayer, in worship, in the Word of God, and fellowship with Christian brothers and sisters in Christ. Because in the nurturing and in the nourishing our soul, the cherishing of the human soul, the life within us makes it all the more valuable and all the more precious. It's the soul that's so valuable.
Do you know really why your soul is so valuable? Because of the price that was paid for your soul, the price that was paid. You know they say a piece of property, especially in this environment that we're living today, a piece of property you know it's worth what somebody's willing to pay for it, right? Your house, if you try to sell your house or your property, it's worth what someone is willing to pay for that property. Jesus was willing to pay everything for you! We are not redeemed, (that is, bought back), we are not redeemed by corruptible things: things that perish such as silver and gold, but rather the precious blood of Jesus! His blood for you proves and demonstrates how precious you are, how rare you are in the sight of a holy God who loves you that much!
Why would you waste your soul? That's the question Jesus was asking. Or why would you spend your soul on lesser things? Why would you give your life away for things that don't matter? In view of eternity, in view of the fact that your soul is going to live forever and ever, and it's not just a few years that we have here on this earth. In view of the fact that we're going to live forever, why would we throw our future away, our soul away? Especially for things that don't ultimately matter? "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul"?
Now the fact is that many have tried to gain the world from the great dictators and despots and kings and rulers of the past to those of us who, in our sinful condition, rule our own little petty kingdoms. We try to gain it all and want it all. We spend our lives trying to climb the ladders of success in world opinion. But 1 John 2:17, "the world is passing away in all of its lust but he who does the will of God abides forever". They say every man, every woman has a price. I don't know. But maybe it's something worth thinking about. What is your price? How much for your character? How much for your morality? How much for your commitment to Christ? Some people sell out so cheaply. Judas sold out for thirty pieces of silver; that was his price, and he's in hell today because he wasted his soul; he sold his soul.
You say, "Well, surely we don't have Judas' today". Well, we have lots of people who think that life is about the money. In fact, you're selling your soul because of your pocketbook. Earthly! crowns, earthly achievements, applause, championships, whatever we strive for in our lives, that all goes away in the view of eternity! Don't sell your soul for "stuff". That's what Jesus is saying. What are you worth? What's your soul worth? It's valuable to God; precious to Him. You know, if you could have it all (you really can't)... By the way, if you had it all, where would you put it? Right? Most of us are getting rid of the stuff. We bought stuff; now we're cleaning out our attics and our closets. My wife Deb has me cleaning out closets and attics and getting rid of stuff that we thought was so great when we bought it! If you could have it all, where would you put it? I tell you, you can't put it in your heart because there's no room in your soul for "stuff".
Today the message of the world is "Love yourself"; self-absorption, self-actualization. The world says save yourself; the world says esteem yourself; the world says fulfill yourself; the world says pamper yourself; the world says live for yourself! But Jesus says, "Deny yourself! Pick up your cross and follow Me"! Let go of this world with both hands and personal ambitions and live rather for the glory of God! That's the call of Christ; it's the call of the cross! And this is what's going to last forever. Many have tried to live for this world and failed. Solomon gave us his story, his testimony really in the book of Ecclesiastes. You can read all the things that Solomon tried to fill the void, the vacancy of his life, his empty world. He tried money-profit; he tried possessions-things; he tried pleasure-sex; he tried personal fulfillment and ambition. He tried it and tried it and tried it! He called it life under the sun. Living under the sun, that is on a horizontal plane and he ended up saying every time, when he tried all these these avenues for success and personal fulfillment, he ended up saying, Ecclesiastes 1:2 "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity"! It's all a nothing!
The world will not satisfy what God made for Himself. You can try it all. You can try money; you can try sex; you can try power and prestige and position; materialism: you can have all of that, but it still will not meet the deepest longing of your soul! "What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul". What happens if you lose your soul? It is an eternal loss. You may lose your health and can recover. You may lose your job and get a new one. But if you lose your soul, it's gone forever. If you exchange your soul for the lies of this world, lost forever. It'll be too late to plead at the judgment of Christ that you didn't know or you didn't hear, and all the excuses.
You know, I've heard all the excuses by now. What are you going to do when you stand before God and, I mean, and plead, what, plead the fifth? "Well, there were so many phonies at church". God's going to say, "I didn't say follow the phonies; I said follow Me". "Well, you know, there were so many churches and denominations and religions and all that, I didn't know what to do". God's going to say, "I didn't tell you to follow the denominations and the religions; I said follow Me". "Well, I went to that Prestonwood church one time and Jack Graham... I didn't like him! He preached on hell and heaven and judgment and sin and I don't like any of that. I wanted a positive, uplifting message"! God's going to say, "I didn't tell you to follow Jack Graham; I said follow Me". Who are you gonna follow? Too late to plead at the Judgment. Hebrews 9:27, "For it's appointed unto man once to die and then the Judgment".
There was a king, an emperor really, by the name of Charlemagne the Great. You've heard of him in history. He lived before the end of the first millennium. He was the emperor of France and a powerful ruler, and he was called the first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. And when he became ill actually and because he didn't believe in medicine or doctors he just died in about a week's time. But before he did, he was prepared, and those around him were prepared to bury him. They embalmed him and draped him in the purple regalia of his kingdom, they put a scepter in his hand, a crown on his head and put him on a throne and encased him in a vault at a cathedral. Oh, by the way, they put a Bible on his knee. And he said that the vault should never be opened. The vault was laden with golden coins and the silver and the wealth of the kingdom was poured into that vault and the king was sitting in state on his throne. A couple hundred years later some German invaders came in and took over, and they wanted to get some of that gold and the regalia of the king, so they opened old Charlemagne's vault, nothing but a skeleton left. Did you know they opened the Bible and put it to Mark chapter 8 and verse 36: "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul"?
I've been fascinated since the death of Steve Jobs of this man's life, and he contributed so much to the culture and America, and an amazing man in so many ways - had a lot of wisdom in so many ways. One of the things that Jobs said was he felt that there was a 50-50 chance there was a God, 50-50. It's amazing, isn't it, how smart a man can be, how brilliant a man can be, and yet, wonder if there is a God? Maybe 50-50 chance there is a God, there is an eternity. And I was thinking when I heard that, and you know, if you think that this is all there is, that there's no God, 50-50 chance there's no God, this is it, then you better be right because eternity is a long time to be wrong. I am staking my soul, I am gambling my eternity that God lives, that Jesus is His Son, who died for me and rose for me on the third day; that He is alive and coming again!
I'm staking my soul that the Bible is the Word of God! And when the Scripture says that my soul will be in eternity: either in heaven or hell forever and ever based upon what I do with Jesus Christ. Because that is the question! Not any other question on the table right now but this one for you: What will you do with Jesus? He said, Matthew 10:32, "If you confess Me before men I will confess you before the Father in heaven. But if you deny Me before men then I will deny you when I come with My holy angels". It's your soul at stake here today. My prayer for you today is don't throw it away. Don't throw your future forever with Him away. Jesus loves you; He gave Himself for you. And if you will pick up your cross which means to be convicted of sin and be converted and then follow Christ. It's a simple step; just follow Jesus. Forget about all the stuff that's in your head about what about this, what about that; what about this, what about that. Follow Jesus and He will save your soul.
God saves our souls because God loves us. God saves our souls because Jesus died for us and when we believe and trust in Him. Some people have the idea that the only thing you have to do to go to heaven is to die! Wrong! Acts 16:31, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved". If you want to trust in Christ as your Savior, if you want to be saved, your soul, forever transformed, pray a prayer like this. It's a simple prayer. It's not just words, it's the heart cry of anyone and everyone who comes to Jesus. It's a simple process really. Jesus just said whoever will let him come, follow Me. And if you are convicted that you have sinned and broken God's commandments and you need a Savior. If you want to be converted, changed from the inside out and live a brand new life. If you want to know for sure that you're going to heaven when you die then pray a prayer like this.
Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me and dying on the cross for my sin. I believe you rose again on the third day.
The Bible says that if we confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus and believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead then we will be saved.
So Lord I believe. There are many things I don't understand, I don't know, but I believe. I invite you to come into my life to be my Lord and my Savior, my life and my all.