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"Go" Sermon Series Part 1

What’s Your Soul Worth?

Mark 8:34-38 NLT
Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

1. Dallas Willard says in his book, “Renovation of the Heart”:
“What is running your life at any given moment is your soul; not external circumstances, not your thoughts or intentions, or even your feelings, but your soul. The soul is that aspect of your whole being that integrates and enlivens everything that is going on in the various dimensions of the self. It is the life-center of human beings.”

2. And then Jesus comes along and says, “You can take all the wealth and fame and fortune and the achievements and awards and the applause and status and substance, and pile it all up over here (to the left). And if you get and achieve all that stuff for your soul over here (to the right), you have just made a terrible deal.”

3. Let me talk about you and me today. To understand who we are and how we act and react, it’s important we understand the key parts of a person. How does the Bible describe us?

At the core of you – the very center of you is what the Bible calls your will – your capacity to choose – your God-given capacity to say yes or say no. 

The word “spirit” is also used to describe this core – this center of you. Another word is “heart” that the Bible uses.

This is what makes you, you. This is what is so special and precious. This makes you a human being – different and separate from all of God’s creation.

Now here’s the issue with the will. We try to make the will do things it wasn’t created to do. We fight with it and push it and force it when

the will was created for only one thing – to be surrendered and submitted to God. 

If my will is working right and surrendered to God, I will always choose what is right and always do the next right thing.

My will isn’t always working right and so here’s our conflict with the plan of God for our lives. Our wills fight with God’s will.

4. Next layer out – you have a mind. 

My mind, in Biblical terms, refers to both my thoughts and my feelings. 

If your mind and my mind were always working as it should we would only think thoughts, like Paul said in Philippians, on what is true and honorable and right and pure and lovely and admirable.

The reality of this is our minds are basically a mess. We aren’t even aware of what’s going on in our mind most of the time.

Your will cannot overcome a misguided mind. To live like Jesus wants me to live, I have to think those things He wants me to think.

5. Next, I have a body. 

And in the Bible, the body is important. It’s our own little kingdom.

Your body is the place your will – your spirit – the heart of man reigns.

It’s given by God and it’s filled with all kinds of appetites and all kinds of habits.

Here’s how this works. If my will is surrendered to Christ, it controls my mind to think on what’s true and pure and holy, and that leads my body to act in that way. Your will is extremely limited and bad at overcoming habitual lifestyles. 

But instead of that, our wills become enslaved by sin, our minds are habitually misguided and polluted, and our bodies become filled with toxic habits and enslaving appetites. And this goes on all the time.

Listen, many think after hearing a message I just need to control my will and everything will be ok.

Your will is good at times at choosing some things, but really can’t override a life of poor thinking, negative thoughts and habitual behaviors that are opposed to Scripture. 

6. Then there’s another dimension to us.

There is a social dimension to you. You live with a will and a mind in a body with a social context.

I’m somebody’s son.

I’m somebody’s brother.

I’m my wife’s favorite husband.

I’m somebody’s dad/granddad.

You know me as your Pastor and hopefully friend.

That’s how I’m known – my will, my mind, body in this social dimension.

All those relationships go way down inside. I/we were meant for community. That’s why you need to be connected here to a ministry team or a life group. 

Without community, we will never thrive and develop into all God wants. 

A guy by the name of Robert Putnam has researched this and found that if you made one change this year, and only one, and if that change was to join a small group, that you’d cut your odds of dying in the next year in half. So join a small group or die!

You see how this all works together? Your will makes choices based on how you think, which is carried out in your body in your social context.

And all of this brings me to this amazing dimension of your being – 

7. The final layer out here – the final result of all this is the soul. 

Now get this, we have a will – spirit – heart – with a mind and a body living in a social context, yet we are a single entity – you have a soul.

The soul isn’t just some vague vapor or mist that lives on after you die. Not so. When you die you will still have a will and mind and a resurrected body interacting with all the saints of God and God Himself forever and ever!

Your soul connects you with God.

The soul is so important and often addressed as a person in itself.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul and why are you disquieted within me?” The Psalmist asked in Psalm 42:5.

Or, “Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me.” Psalm 103:1

The soul is the deep, deep, place of man.

Job 7:11 
“I speak out of the bitterness of my soul.”

Here’s the point, in order to be like Jesus, my soul must be saved. My soul, your soul, must be saved. 

What must the soul be saved from? It must be saved from sin.

Sin enslaves the will. Instead of being yielded to God, it gets all ensnared with sin. 

What is sin? The willful transgression of the law of God. 

Sin then deludes the mind and our thoughts. That’s why James says in

James 1:14-15 NLT
"Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death."

Sin corrupts the body and enslaves the body. That’s why Paul says in

I Corinthians 6:19-20 KJV
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."

And when sin is in control – our whole being – will, mind, body, social aspect – totally disintegrates the soul. There’s no longer harmony within ourselves nor with God. 

Jesus was asked one day which was the greatest command. He said, “Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, your mind, your strength (that’s your body) and your soul. And love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30).

Jesus knew the person – the make-up of each of us and this then is how we connect with God.

We were made – created to live forgiven and have relationship with God. We were made:

For our wills to be surrendered.

For our minds to be at peace with Him.

For our bodies to glorify Him in our work, actions, and deeds. For our social being to connect with Him and Him with others.

For our soul to be in harmony – saved, delivered, and connected to Him.

That’s why we were created by God!

Our problem is we’ve allowed sin to disintegrate this harmony. So we say things like, “I’m falling apart. My life is in shambles. I’m broken.”

It’s because we’ve neglected the how and why God made us.

Peter says in I Peter 2:11 NLT
"Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls."

To be transformed it takes all the submission of my total being.

Listen to this carefully. Language and terminology of Scripture is important.

Romans 12:1-2 AMP
"Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]."

Oh church, when this happens we are at peace with God, our souls are healed, our will is surrendered, our thoughts are pure and lovely, our actions are pleasing to Him, our relationships improve – our soul is whole and in harmony.

Altar Call:

I look at you today and I see faces that are at peace, faces that are so troubled, and faces that are empty and void of life. And we all fight so hard to make our face look like we are okay. So we smile. We put on the happy face. We try to always look like we’ve got it all together. And it’s exhausting and it’s draining.

Dallas Willard says children are special because little children have not learned to manage their face. You look at their face and you know what they are thinking and what their will is. It’s so special and precious. You don’t have to guess and wonder like someone who is using their face to mislead us and hide from us.

Then we grow up and learn to manage our faces. We call that growing up. But the Bible calls it sin and The Bible calls it death. This is the ruined soul. This is the lost soul. 

And Jesus said, “You can gain the whole world but lose your own soul.” You can become lost in wrong choices, and desires and thoughts and actions and broken relationships. And we’ve lost our souls.

But Jesus – my precious Jesus has come to redeem my soul. He restores my soul.

And He will restore yours today if you simply ask.

Don’t you want that for yourself?

And don’t you want that for your sons and daughters and husband and wife and friends?

Worship Set

All Because Of Jesus 

- Steve Fee

Verse 1

Giver of ev'ry breath I breathe
Author of all eternity
Giver of ev'ry perfect thing
To You be the glory
Maker of heaven and of earth
No one can comprehend Your worth
King over all the universe
To You be the glory

Misc 1 (Pre-Chorus)

And I'm alive because
I'm alive in You

Chorus 1

(And) it's all because of Jesus I'm alive
It's all because the blood of Jesus Christ
That covers me and raised this dead man's life
It's all because of Jesus
(I'm alive I'm alive I'm alive)

Misc 2 (Bridge)

Ev'ry sunrise sings Your praise
The universe cries out Your praise
I'm singing freedom all my days
Now that I'm alive

Lord, I Need You

- Daniel Carson, Matt Maher, Christy Nockels, and Jesse Reeves

Verse 1

Lord I come I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
And without You I fall apart
You're the one that guides my heart

Chorus 1

Lord I need You oh I need You
Ev'ry hour I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You

Verse 2

Where sin runs deep
Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
Where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Misc 1 (Bridge)

So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus You're my hope and stay
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus You're my hope and stay

Chorus 2

Lord I need You oh I need You
Ev'ry hour I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You

To The Cross

- Paul Baloche

Verse 1

Where can I go but to the cross to the cross
For there my shame You have washed away
Where can I go but to the cross to the cross
For there You gave up Your life for me
You gave Your life for me

Chorus 1

You stretched Your arms out wide
I lift my hands up high to my Savior
You stretched Your arms out wide
I lift my hands up high to my Savior

Verse 2

So Lord I run to the cross to the cross
Surrender all to my Savior King
Be my ev'rything

Misc 1 (Bridge)

Chains are broken shame has fallen
All my sins are gone
Chains are broken shame has fallen
All my sins are gone

It Is Well (Hymn)

- Philip Paul Bliss, Todd Fields, and Horatio G. Spafford

Verse 1

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot You have taught me to say
It is well it is well with my soul

Chorus 1

It is well it is well
Through the storm I am held
It is well it is well with my soul

Verse 2

My sin oh the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord praise the Lord oh my soul

Chorus 2

It is well it is well
God has won Christ prevailed
It is well it is well with my soul

Verse 3

And Lord haste the day
When the faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so it is well with my soul

Misc 1 (Ending)

It is well with my soul
It is well it is well with my soul