The Value Of The Soul

Introduction — Matt 16:21-27


We are discussing this morning one of the great questions of the Bible.  You know the Bible contains many outstanding questions, ask by different persons, and for different reasons.   


The 1st question of the Bible was raised by Satan, and addressed to mother Eve.  Gen. 3:1   Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden”? This question was not asked for the purpose of obtaining  information, but rather for the purpose of involving Eve in confusion , doubt and misunderstanding.


Then in Genesis 4:9  we read another question.,  this time God Almighty  speaking to Cain. Cain had just  lifted his hands up  in shedding the  blood of his brother Abel.      Then the Lord said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother?”


This was a searching and embarrassing question.  I suppose people on occasions need to be asked embarrassing questions.  God was not seeking information, nor tying to lead Cain into confusion but evidently seeking to bring Cain to a  realization of the enormity of the crime that he'd committed.


Again we find in  Job 14:14  another question.  Here the  old patriarch raised this point:  If a man dies, shall he live again?”   Evidently that was a question in search of information, a quest for knowledge.


And then a great question the one I wish for us to consider in the present study.  It is recorded in our text  Matthew. 16:26

Here Jesus ask¾  26For what is a man profited  if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? “


Obviously our Lord is not endeavoring to involve people  in confusion, and He is not seeking information, nor is He seeking to bring one primarily to a realization  to the enormity of any sin he's committed. But rather He's seeking to emphasize the price-less value of the soul. “What shall it profit a man, “(any man, you or me)

“if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul.”?

Frequently in Scriptures, the value of one thing is shown by contrasting it to another of recognized value.  When Paul would emphasize to the Corinthians  the superior value of love,  he contrasted love with something they held in esteem —Tongues were highly esteemed by many in the early church. Paul contrast love with  the  speaking other languages….Paul stated  1Cor 13:1

1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal..”


Now men appreciate the value of speaking languages, Paul contrasted love with this eloquence. Not only the languages of men, but the languages of angels. . The implication seems to be that angels have a  language different from men. they would use this  when addressing  other angels.


 Being able to speak to men of other tongues  is a marvelous thing. Paul says: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”    That emphasizes the superior value of love!


But again I Corinthians 13:5 continuing the writer states:

3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.    


Here love is contrasted with generosity. Inspiration is telling us “if I bestow all my goods, not part, not the  major portion, but if I gave all that I have, but give through some motive, not involving love, he wouldn't be rewarded.” The receiver might be blessed but the giver would not.


And then he contrasts love with martyrism.   Martyrism has been held in high esteem  in all ages.  It's the supreme sacrifice.  We revere in a proper way the memory of  Christian martyrs, and we respect those who have died as martyrs, giving their lives for our freedom……..


Paul said it's conceivable that a man might go to the stake, and perish in the flames and receive no reward Because The Motive Was Not Right. It was done out of some motive other than LOVE.


Now these contrasts show the value of love do they not

By the same process  Christ is seeking  to   impress upon me and you the value of the soul.  In Matt. 10:28 Jesus contrasts the soul of man with the body

28“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.


Christ  is saying, don't be greatly concerned if you are called upon to give the body, in administering to the well being of your soul.  If by giving your body you  can enhance the future reward of your soul, don't be overly concerned about it.  The body is of relatively little value when compared to the spirit or the soul,    And so  Jesus contrasts the soul with the body.


And then From our text Matthew 16:26—Jesus contrasts the soul with the  whole world.

 6For what is a man profited  if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  Jesus is not speaking with any prejudice in this matter.   If our LORD had created the soul and another had created the world, they might accuse him of being prejudice. But Jesus created both the earth and the soul of man.    He knows the relative value of both……   And in this contrast Jesus is suggesting by implication, that If a man gained the  whole world, and lost his own soul, he would have suffered an incalculable loss.


 We can see   why a man would not be profited if he should make that kind of bargain.  In the 1st Place he wouldn't be satisfied. Solomon said, “10He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. Eccl. 5:10…..   You know a man thinks if he could make a half million, he'd be  satisfied. But he isn't, he wants to make another half million. He wants to  be a millionaire. And then he wants to have 2 million. There is no satisfaction in silver and increase  If a man could gain the whole world he wouldn't be satisfied.   How do I know? Alexander the great, conquered the world and  then wept, because there wasn't another to conqueror. But if a man could do this, it would be lost and finally burned in the end….. 2 Peter 3:10-11


And so the question of the hour “For what is a man profited  if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul ?” The answer is absolutely nothing.   And yet there are people who are bartering their souls for a small part of the world.   It's amazing how little people ask for their soul, how cheap they  will sell.    Judas sold himself for 30 pieces of silver.  He got that money in his fowl clutch, but he didn't spent it. He never lived to spend it.


Well there are other considerations that show the tremendous value of the human soul.   We read that man was made in the image of GOD. Back in Gen. 1:26-27  God said  “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;:…. 27So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Man is the only  creature on the earth, that bears the image of his Maker.  Man bears the image of the Heavenly Father not in our physical makeup but spiritual makeup.  Paul said in the Hebrew 12:9  9Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?


Man is made in the image of God after the spirit.  God condescended to exalt man so highly. David when viewing the stars and thinking of man exclaimed:

3When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,  The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, 4What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? 5For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. 6You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;  You have put all things under his feet,……… 9O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8:3-6 and 9

Yes in creation, we see the marvelous value of the soul.   The only creature, created after his Maker. All other creation was singular, but man bears the image of Him who made him.


And in the next place, the accomplishments of the soul,  reflect it's great value.  You remember in Psalms 139:14 David said  14I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”            


Yes a man is  wonderfully made in that he is made in the image of God.  And a man is fearfully made in that he is endowed with such tremendous possibilities.  One man can do so much evil or so much good.  Adam sinned and brought death, pain and sorrow into the world. Jezebel and Ahab all but brought Israel to the worship of the idol Baal, only 7,000 knees that hadn't bowed to Baal  in   Elijah's day.  On the other hand think of what men like Paul, and men like John and Peter did in making a better world.


And again thinking of the accomplishments of the human soul  and its possibilities  …..think of your own times.    It has been the privilege of some to live many years, and see a lot of change. Think of the amazing feats man has accomplished in the last  60  to 70 years. Think about what is going on now in the realm of communications.   We have men alive today that have seen us travel  from the period of the horse and buggy, to putting men on the moon. That's been a marvelous  change. 


 What is all about?  Its the soul of man expressing itself in terms of its native endowments. It reflects what our Mighty Creator has done in making man.  The value of the soul is seen in the  possibilities of..  and its accomplishments.


And in the next place  the value of man's soul is reflected  in the conflict that waging between the  forces of right  and wrong.   There's an age old conflict, its been going on since the garden of Eden,  and will continue until the end of the world.  The forces of evil led by Satan, and the forces of right led by Jesus Christ are in grim conflict, relentlessly¾    And what's it about? It's about the soul of man


Man may be in conflict and contention over things relatively of little importance, but not so of God. I had a minister tell me of a man who was gravely ill.

The man's daughter called the minister to come up to the hospital and be with them during this trying time.. When he got there and found out the man probably didn’t have much time left. 


The preacher suggested that they get the family all together and have prayer. He was informed that it would not be possible. “Well why not?”  he asked. The sister stated that two of her brothers had fallen out over where a fence belonged that divided the land given to them by the father.  They were arguing over 3 feet of land, and had not spoken in five  years. The father died, and they never got together to pray for him.   Think of how the smallest things can cause conflict among men, but not so with God, The fact that God and Christ is in this conflict , reflects the tremendous value of the human soul.


And  again the value of a soul is seen also in the price paid for its redemption. The story is told of Julius Caesar  who was captured by a band of thieves on one occasion.  They had asked a certain sum of money for his  release. The amount asked by the captors, made Caesar very mad. He said, “I'm worth more than that. “ They did ask more and got more. But later Caesar captured and had all of them put to death,  stirred by his anger at the little price they had placed on his life.


But the price paid for our redemption, was the noblest price that God Almighty could give.  We read 1 Peter. 1:18-20


18knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 


God Almighty could create this vast universe without involving Himself in  the necessity of shedding even one drop of any kind of blood. And this universe is so vast  that it staggers the imagination of men.

Jeremiah the prophet said the host of the heavens can't be numbered. Well we know that there was a man who thought he had   numbered the stars, he counted 1046, but  with the invention of the large and powerful telescopes we now know that there are billions and billions of stars, in billions of galaxies. The prophet of old spoke a truth.   The “the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured” (Jeremiah 33;22)

The stars are so far from earth  that their light takes millions of  light years to reach it..  How vast the universe is. and God could make all that without shedding one drop of blood.    But when it  came to the matter of saving the soul of man — it involved the necessity of the death of Jesus Christ , God's own Son.   We read in John 3:16


16“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life..


That sacrifice.. represents as nothing else does, the value of man's soul. God knew what the soul was worth, and in His estimation he didn't pay to much evidently in His thinking.  But He  paid        this tremendous price.


The value of the soul is reflected in the fact that having  once existed, it can never cease to exist. That is one of the solemn reflections of our being isn't it?  We exist..... there is not going to be any end.  We're eternal,  we re from now on.

God is from everlasting to everlasting. God explains Himself as "I AM THAT I AM" Exodus 3:14. But we are to everlasting.   We will never cease to be. Ten million years from now we'll be somewhere.  That  is a solemn thought isn't it.     Things that we count so dear to us now.. things that keep us from being faithful to our Heavenly Father…. what is their  worth now? What will be their worth in eternity?  Beloved we will be somewhere, either in a place of bliss with God, or a place of eternal, damnation and suffering. How sobering.


The value of the soul.   What is fame?  What is money?  What are the earthly things that we put such value upon what are they?  They are but bubbles for a brief moment, but the soul of man is for all of eternity. And so Jesus asks the searching question —  6For what is a man profited  if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?


The saddest tragedy that the earth can produce is a lost soul. The most terrible mistake a man can make  is to fail in saving his soul. God has done His part in providing salvation —  Christ has shed His blood making that salvation possible—  The Holy Spirit has revealed to us how we may appropriate this wonderful salvation.. What else remains? Only for you to do your part in obeying today, now while time affords you this privilege. 


Ron Cope Minister churches of Christ


phone:  (678)617-9658