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The Value of the Soul (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
October 13, 2022 6:00 am

The Value of the Soul (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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October 13, 2022 6:00 am

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To reach lost souls, to strengthen saved souls. Our Lord, when He rode into Jerusalem riding on that lowly donkey as Savior King, knowing the cross was ahead of Him, capable of calling down lightning on anyone at any time, He withheld, He restrained Himself.

Instead, He dies. Because of the value of the sinner's soul, it was worth it to Him. Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of Yahweh. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent. And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day's walk. Then he cried out and said, I'm going to treat this as though you know the story.

I'm going to try not to bring up the fish. This, as you would know if you're familiar with the story, is the second time Jonah was commanded to go to Nineveh, to leave Israel, to go outside of the Promised Land, away from the covenant people of God, to those Gentiles, and preach this message that God had given to him. He was to deliver the message, not create the message. The Hebrew prophets, they were accustomed to long distance denunciation of surrounding kingdoms. But to go in person and to one of their capital cities, well, this was something new, to pronounce the doom there on their turf. Isaiah wrote judgments, for example, that would come to other nations, and so did Jeremiah, but they did that from Israel.

Well, here the prophet is being told, I want you to take this message to them. Four times God calls Nineveh that great city, great in population, it was great in need, great in suffering, as any large city is, great in its possibilities. Only God saw those possibilities from a righteous standpoint. Human conditions, they affect God. He's not outside of the things that we suffer. He can take it, but he still feels it.

It still hurts. He's not outside of what affects us. He's interested in humanity. The saved, in this case, Jonah, and the lost, in this case, Nineveh.

None of this has changed. Again, God is not unemotional. All you need do is read that 53rd chapter of Isaiah. One verse says, a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief. He's talking about the Son of God, who we know as the Christ, the Messiah, at the graveside of a friend. That short verse, Jesus wept.

God is not outside of what we go through. God called Jonah to a definite task, and he gave him the reasons why he wanted to send him to Nineveh. Jonah chapter 1 verse 2, the first time God called the prophet, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it, for their wickedness has come up before me. Jonah's response, of course, well, I want it to stay before you, because I don't like them, and I don't want them saved.

I want them to suffer your wrath. That was what Jonah was thinking. And instead of going to Nineveh on that first call, of course, he went as far as he could go in the other direction. And God chased him, because the prophet belonged to God, and God persuaded him, and preserved the lesson for all of us. God saw what no one else could see, souls.

We ought to talk about that. The souls in that city made it a great city in the eyes of God. I mean, cities are big, and we tend to want to get away from them, except if we are on vacation or something like that, because in those large cities there are large problems. The souls in that city made that city great, and that was true in the days of Nineveh, and it's true today.

It does not always play out the same way. Look at verse 3 in Jonah chapter 3, if you still have your Bibles there. So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh.

This is the second time, again, according to the word of Yahweh. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent. It's a big place. Probably a million people or more in this city.

We may get to some of that before we finish. Evangelism existed before the New Testament, God reaching out to lost sinners. Even the old saints understood this. Abraham prayed for a doomed Sodom and Gomorrah, and they never found out.

They never found out that someone was interceding for them. But they had gone so far, they had become irretrievable. And the few people that were retrievable got out, but they did not all survive. Here is Jonah, preaching the shortest and greatest sermon on record.

Now I know you. Well, what about Jesus? Listen, Jesus didn't save a city preaching eight words. Jesus did, but he did it through Jonah. So let's kind of walk it back a little bit and say, wait a minute, what's God doing here? An eight-word sermon, you wish. That's what he did. Verse 4 of Jonah chapter 3, Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown. Can you imagine if you believed that was going to happen?

Well, they did get to that place. This is not good. A Puritan from the 1600s, Thomas Watson, writes, Sinners may oppose God's ways, but not his wrath. You might not like what he's doing, you might not like his wrath, but you can't stop it. And we try to preach this, that's why the gospel is the good news. The antidote to the wrath of God is the Son, Jesus Christ. It took Jonah three days to repeatedly preach the same eight-word sermon. That's how big the city was.

And there he paraded around the city as he passed the bazaars, the brothels, the gardens, the courts, the palaces, the barracks, the fishermen at the riverside. Almost one of those sandwich board sermons, the end is near. The only difference is God wrote this message for this man rather than taking it upon himself and writing or preaching what he wanted to preach. It's just a big challenge of all Christians when we share the gospel, when we teach the word, we have to get to that place. Lord, what do you want to say?

Because if you don't tell me, then I'm going to come up with my own stuff, and that is not what we want. Again, verse five. Because here, nothing's fishy about this prophet at this point.

The clock is ticking. Verse five. So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. And it still wasn't over. That alone did not remove the sentence that was on them. But it was the beginning. It was the beginning of God doing something different with these people. And just like that, they heard the message preached by the preacher, like the outlaw on the cross, who met salvation at the buzzer. You know, that thief, the one did not repent, the other did. They both heard the same sermon, saw the same things. One got it, the other got it. He got it.

The way that you don't want to get it. Jonah's sermon brought the great city of Nineveh, literally, to its knees and, well, spiritually in that sense. The whole city, everybody together. See, this is what God saw in that great city. Their willingness to repent when faced with the truth. From the king upon his throne to the beggar on the dung hill, they got it.

It was undeserved, it was unearned, but it was received. That's how salvation goes. There are those that think they're going to earn salvation and what they're doing is they're building up against themselves a debt that they can't repay. Paul talks about that in his Roman letter. You make yourself, you in debt yourself if you think you can earn favor with God.

It's received. Salvation is received. We can earn rewards by serving and obeying, but not salvation. So we see God dealing with two hearts at this point. Well, we see the heart of God, of course, reaching out to those who otherwise would perish in their sins. We see God reaching to the impenitent, unbelievers, who then repented. Luke chapter 11 verse 32. The men of Nineveh will rise up in judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. Again, he is the one that authored Jonah's message and the salvation of the Ninevites.

Now all this has got something to do with this. I haven't gotten that far yet. But here is our Lord Jesus Christ singling out this moment, this prophet, and this people. They repented. Repentance of the Ninevites.

Look at verse 10 if you still have Jonah open, chapter 3. God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way, and God relented from the disaster that he had said he would bring upon them, and he did not do it. The intended judgments of God, just like the promises of God, are conditional.

They can be avoided as far as the judgments go, or they can be received as far as the promises go. The unloving messenger was the other heart. You have the Ninevites that repented, and then you have the messenger who was used by God to save their souls, but in his own heart there was evil.

There was racism. Jonah becomes now the center of God's attention. God doesn't just dispose of his prophets. Well, you know, he delivered my message.

I don't need him anymore. God says, well, we got here. What we have here is a prophet that needs correction, and of course the fourth chapter is about that correction, and Jonah is the one.

We would have none of this had Jonah not told us the story, especially about his praying from inside the beast. So the unloving messenger has to be dealt with. This is something we are all susceptible to.

I might say this again, and I should say it now. Not every need is a calling. There may be people you'd like to reach or maybe people you know you should be reaching out to, but you can't.

It's not for you. Maybe there's a history there that won't allow it, so then someone else will come along, and God can use you to save someone else where maybe he couldn't use them. Charles Spurgeon, one of the great preachers, God does not come to men to help them when they are saving themselves, but he comes to the rescue when they are damning themselves. Jonah is damning himself now.

The people were. God sends the prophet. Now it's the prophet who's damning his own soul with this hatred. And God, again, in his patience, does not walk away from the prophet.

He demonstrated that. He could have gotten someone else. He didn't have to get Jonah.

If Jonah ran away from him, God could have said, that's it, I'll just find somebody else, but he does not do that. I like that part of the story. This is true of the souls of Nineveh and the soul of the prophet as well, but what is the soul in a single word? Me. That's me. It's you. Your soul is you.

That's what is going on here. It's not part of the body, although the body serves it. The body is its vehicle. But when you receive your resurrected body, you will not be a disembodied spirit. In the book of Revelation, we find that they're wearing robes, those that are up in heaven.

They're not disembodied. But the soul, something different. The clearest definition we have of the soul is discovered by analyzing what the Lord said. Mark chapter 8, and he does it twice. He does it in Matthew 16.

He does it in Mark chapter 8. Now, if you're an unbeliever or not familiar with the scripture, cross-references may not register with you. But for the Christian, when a man preaches the word of God from a pulpit especially, he's got to back up what he's saying from the scripture. He's not coming up and saying, well, I think he is saying, thus says the Lord. And in Mark chapter 8, Jesus said, for what would a prophet of man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?

All right, well, that's sort of circular in his reasoning. It doesn't tell me what a soul is. But then Jesus says it again, and Luke picks it up this time. Luke chapter 9, verse 25. For what prophet is it to a man if he gains the whole world and is himself destroyed or lost? Is himself, you see, the replacement for soul, Jesus says himself.

Same teaching. The soul is me. The himself that Jesus was referring to. The soul, therefore, is you, yourself. The soul is the person that's not saved as well as the person who is saved. It is that endless part of us. It is that part of us that will live forever.

Where it will live has to be decided here and now in this life. The soul is where the hopes are. The soul is where the ambitions are. The part of us that strives, that suffers, that prays, that loves, that sins, that repents. The soul is that part of us that can be saved. The soul is a big deal. It is the biggest thing about you. It is your life given to you by God.

And everyone's got one. Even the person that is the most severely handicapped, the most special of needs, they have a soul. The only thing in man upon which God has written the word forever is the man's soul, not the body. It is not a part of our existence. It is our existence.

This should change how we look at people if we need that change. Jonah didn't see it that way. Their souls were irrelevant to him. They had no value, no worth to him, but they did to God.

If the soul is not important, then life is not important. There's a section in Samuel where David's army is at war with his treacherous son Absalom. And on the battlefield, Joab, David's commander, kills David's son Absalom and dispatches a messenger to tell the king he's dead.

Well, it's done. One of the messengers who was invested with David, he served David, he loved him. He didn't really know what was going on, it seems like, but he got to go tell David anyway. And Joab says, you don't know what's going on, and he dispatches another person. But he runs too. He says, fine, go run. And he arrives first, the one that really doesn't have the story. He may have had it and didn't want to tell it.

But anyway, we pick it up in 2 Samuel 18, verse 29, and this is what he says, the part that has everything to do with if the soul is not important, then life is not important. He says, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was about. That's his report to David.

Is Absalom my son dead? I don't know. I saw commotion. I saw a lot of things happening.

But I don't know what it was about. Is that all there is to life? Just a tumult in the tangled woods of the human experience? Is that all there is? As Shakespeare said, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

Is that life? Many have gone to their graves thinking that. Many who are considered to be intellectuals have gone to their graves hoping that this was all that they were going to experience. And it never was for them to draw that conclusion.

Certainly not. There is much more. The value and the worth of a soul. You can have value, but if someone doesn't think it's worth it, then what's the point of the value?

They have to go together. No matter what you go through in this life, no matter what you may be going through or will be going through in this life, it still comes down to the salvation of souls. You are not excused because you are suffering. You are not excused from wanting to be used by God to reach lost souls, to strengthen saved souls. Our Lord, when he rode into Jerusalem riding on that lowly donkey as Savior King, knowing the cross was ahead of him, capable of calling down lightning on anyone at any time, he withheld, he restrained himself. Instead, he dies because of the value of the sinner's soul. It was worth it to him. So, to put that in our language, it wasn't like, I've just got too much going on right now to be concerned about souls.

I've got to face this cross. Well, the purpose of the cross was souls because that's everything. God is emotional when it comes to salvation. I did not say he is emotionally driven. I say he is emotional. It's not the same thing as emotional-ism.

He feels it. The soul is the great reality of man. It is the fact of you.

That's easy to get. The hard part is when you're driving down the road to remember that the guy in the other car who has no signal fluid, that he's a soul too. Well, let me rethink that. That is true. He is a soul too. The person you don't like, the person that is your enemy. Now again, that does not mean that the wrong they do is somehow acceptable. That is not vile and disgusting. It does not mean that you're the one that needs to be part of the process of reaching them.

It does not mean you know if they're retrievable or not. That's why we are led by the Spirit of God. That's why we put a great emphasis. Going through the Book of Acts, we find time and time again that the Lord's Holy Spirit is leading. If he is not leading, who is? If God is not influencing and leading you, then who is your Lord? And if he is Lord, he's going to behave as Lord. And the flesh will duke it out with the Spirit to try to ensure that he remains Lord. I have another quote here from Thomas Watson. A man's greatest care should be for that place where he lives longest. Therefore, eternity should be in his scope. If the soul is me and it's going to live forever, where is it going to live? Well, the unbelievers aren't usually going to answer that question for a lot of reasons. I never thought of that too much. I thought I was a good enough guy. Looking back, if the old me moved to the new me now, I'd sell my house and live somewhere else.

I wouldn't want to live next to that guy. Christ has changed everything. The soul is the great reality of all men. That which makes man the object of revelation and redemption. God is not going to reveal his will to animals. He reveals them to men. You're not going to find, you know, the first letters of the German shepherd.

It's going to be to men. We are distinct. When God created man, he created an extraordinary being. It says in the Bible he did all things well. He said let's make man in our own image to give him free will, give him the ability to choose, to love, to feel, to think, to reason on a level that was higher, far higher than any other animal.

I find some people boasting, you know, that they can get a dog to understand 70 or 80 words. That's nothing compared to a human being. It's absolutely nothing. It's an indication that there is a creator, but it does not put them on the same level. We are unlike anyone else in creation, and Satan attacks that soul.

He attacks us because God put so much into us it has enraged him. It is the seat of reason. And that reasoning of the soul says where am I going to live forever? And that's why it is spiritual when you find a person who is otherwise, especially when they're highly intelligent, and they can't reason through eternity.

They are finite. They are like Esau. They only see on the horizontal plane, never the vertical.

They don't look up. They think they do, and they reject whatever others have to say about the spiritual realm. It's not enough to be intelligent. You have to be spiritual. It's not enough to be spiritual. You've got to use your brains. If you're just spiritual you'll end up being superstitious or falling for some lie from hell.

But it's that combination. The ability to reason, come let us reason, God says. And the ability to see into the spiritual realm as Jacob saw the ladder going into heaven and the traffic between the two. Surely God is in this place, and I knew it not.

How awesome is this place? The spiritual man was alive in Jacob. We don't read of that of Esau. We never read of the God of Esau. We read of the God of Jacob because Esau was strong enough to live this life without God.

Nobody is strong enough to face God after this life without his salvation. Thanks for tuning in to Cross Reference Radio for this study in God's Word. If you've missed any part of this message or would like to explore more teachings, you can hear them by going to crossreferenceradio.com.

Pastor Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. To learn more about this ministry, visit our website, crossreferenceradio.com. Again, that website is crossreferenceradio.com. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. By doing so, you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross Reference Radio that we upload. It's a great way to stay connected to God's Word. Just search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. That's all for today. Thanks for joining us here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-06 21:40:52 / 2022-12-06 21:50:18 / 9

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