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May 28, 2022 4:00 am
What would you do if you were offered everything your heart desires with one catch. You have to lose your soul today on Truth for Life.
We can will find out why The Pursuit of Happyness is ultimately a depressing quest. Alister Ben continues his investigation of seven questions God asks were studying Matthew chapter 16 verse 26 while our question is there, why will it profit a man I could easily be what will it profit a woman. What will it profit a man or woman.
What will the prophet anybody to gain the whole world and yet lose their soul.
Now our questions have had a variety of appeals depending on the background out of which a person comes I think tonight this particular question should reverberate quickly in the minds of business personnel.
This is a question for accountants if you like, and it is a very straightforward question. It would be possible. Why didn't of its clarity that we might even sidestep its impact and so we need to be careful that we apply our minds to what is actually being said, what good will it be what advantage will there be for the person gaining the whole world. Yet for feasting or losing their life or their soul is not as an unfamiliar question posed in a variety of ways. It is the subject matter of movies, emporiums and books. In fact, and one might often be tempted to think that all of them are derivatives of this great and fundamental question Jesus was routinely asking questions Jesus was experiment and speaking to people where they where their very use that he made of parables or stories. The way he pointed out circumstances saying to people there with her sword and he went to solo or there was a man he was building his house and his immediate points of identification and in a similar vein, he says to them the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine paddles or the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure that a man finds in a field and immediately goes and purchases the field in order that he might benefit from the treasure, the kind of points of contact the people would readily identify with and in both of those little parables, he was actually saying, the kingdom of heaven is a goodbye no matter what price you pay for it is a goodbye at any price. This is a stock that you ought to own you want to install in the kingdom of heaven. It would be worth selling all the rest of your portfolio. He says in order to hold this one stock. That's what Jesus was saying there and what he's doing here it in this question, which is this evening's question is he is addressing things not from a judicial perspective but from a commercial perspective what he says would be the point for an example of getting all the money in the world. If you're not around to spend what possible advantage would there be in becoming very famous and you had for the end of life to reverse that completely is the kind of question that we can easily identify with, but we need to be clear about the terminology and some of you have been following along, but absent a translation that actually translates the word soul as life and there is a reason for this. The word in Greek is the word Sue K. From which we get our English word psyche and the distinction is between bio English. The Greek word from which we get our English word bio going is biology, etc. and Sue K, which is this dye mention of life which is a far more significant dimension of life.
It is if you like the inner life. If it if we could say it in these terms. It is the you you know it is the real you is the part of you, which when the Bible says God has set eternity in the hearts of men. It's that part of you. We are an entity of physiological and spiritual and psychological elements. All of that. Making up our true self, the part of is if you like that will transcend this earthly sphere that will transcend time and space as we know it.
The part of eyes that will survive even death. That is what Jesus is referencing here with her.
We translated as the life that is really life will be translated soul. However, we deal with that.
He's asking the question, what possible good would it be for an individual to gain the whole world in the here and now and actually to lose their soul to suggest to you that this is an easy question. Just because it is a simple question because it actually forces us to think about things that we may not really want to think about it forces us to think about issues of eternity of death of the end of life of its brevity of what I'm doing with my existence about where my life actually counts whether it comes for anyone or anything beyond myself, where my life is oriented exactly towards my own selfish preoccupations or whether my life is oriented in a different direction entirely. All of that and more is wrapped up in the challenge of this question and it forces many of eyes to go beyond that, the nine darts of our own explication of life. Tonight's question is, what possible advantage. Will there be for the individual gain in the whole world and losing their soul. Note the reason that I read the surrounding section is because it's always important to do that when you're reading anything is not immune.
Anybody can lift a sentence out of anywhere and make it say just about all that you wanted to say and if you are skeptical. It's all that's one of the reasons that you may have concerns about individuals like me you may have actually written most of is awful. They just lift pieces out of the Bible and they make them say whatever they want them to say well I don't want to do that and that's why I read around and and if your Bible is "if you care to look at it, you will see that Jesus is addressing his disciples, and in the course of that. He espouses essentially a general principle general principle with with universal application. We know that because of the way he had.
He introduces it in verse 25 says whoever. Whoever whosoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it script paradox is worthy of our consideration, the loss of life to which it if errors is not just an ultimate loss of life in the van if you like, which he comes to down in verse 28. This is not just simply the idea you will lose it all. Then later on when you're gone but he's actually pointing out that there is an immediate loss of life.
When an individual chooses to try and hoard life or explain life or live life oriented completely around the self deceit if we regard life is no more than this ordinary physical frame and if we determined to give ourselves entirely to getting out of it whatever we can then says Jesus, we actually lose life in the fullest sense we end up existing, according to Jesus, but not actually living. I'm not sure I understood this passage before this week I think. Up until this week. I thought that what Jesus was saying was that the selfish person will be punished by having their life taken from them.
In other words, there was a threat in this Jesus was issuing. This is a form of thread. If you're selfish, you know what will happen to like the grandmother speaking to her grandchildren on on a rainy Thursday afternoon. I've you're not going to share with your sister. You know what will happen, but actually when I read it again and studied it I realized that this is not a threat. This is an observation. Jesus is not making a statement here about a punishment factor. Rather, he is pointing out what happens when a person chooses to live their life in a certain way. If you try and make sense of it all. If you try and oriented all around yourself and who you are and what you are and what you have and what you've achieved and what you've done.
Then says Jesus, you will actually lose your life.
Note we can illustrate this. Lots of places, one of the wisest men that ever lived with Solomon and back in Ecclesiastes. I don't suggest you turn to but in Ecclesiastes. If you would like to read a book for homework and you could read Ecclesiastes is pretty good and it essentially is the journey of one man trying to solve the riddle of life without punching out beyond time and space without really considering eternity and he goes down all whole series of dead-end streets familiar dead-end streets. He said I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom. All that is done under heaven, and otherwise I a. I walked the pathway of intellectualism. I thought that perhaps by making sure that I was as clever as I could be and as credentialed as I might be I would be able to solve the riddle of life.
And then he says, but what is twisted can be straightened and what is lacking can be counted. He said ultimately I'm still left with more questions and I have answers and so is that I tried to go down the pleasure Street but also found the pleasure was actually like drinking saltwater.
The more you try to.
The more you had to have and the more you have, the more thirsty you became so set I just decided to amass stuff. I denied myself nothing that I could see.
I refuse my heart. Nothing I engaged in the acquisition of everything that was around and I realize that when I put it all together and set looked at it didn't satisfy either somebody sends me a copy of a note that it come from a lady to another lady who was suggesting that it was time for ladies to step up and to make sure that they didn't let life pass them by, and in the course of the email that the lady suggested to the recipients of our email. Remember this motto to live by.
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 100 wide varieties. I like that kind of honesty what the lady saying is let the good times roll gravities taking over last year's ride it out, but there's no thought of eternity. What would profit. Such a lady to have the right of her life and lose her own soul and will she give in exchange for her soul, but pleasures are like puppies spread.
He sees the flower it's blooming the shed like a snowflake in the river. One moment here and then gone forever. Robert Burns scored his point. What about Walter Lippmann in a far more difficult quote in his book, a preface to morals. He talks about how men as man this point in the 21st-century finds himself discontented being and listen as he writes at the heart of it that are likely for him to be moments of blank misgiving in which he finds that the civilization of which he is a part leaves a dusty taste in his mouth.
He may be very busy with many things, but he discovers one day.
That is no longer sure they are worth doing. He has been much preoccupied, but he is no longer sure he knows why he has become involved in an elaborate routine of pleasures, and they do not seem to amuse him very much. He finds it hard to believe that doing any one thing is better than doing any other thing or in fact that it is better than doing nothing at all. It occurs to that. It is a great deal of trouble to live and that even in the best of life's the thrills are few and far between. He begins more or less consciously to seek satisfactions because he is no longer satisfied and all the while he realizes that The Pursuit of Happyness was always a most unhappy quest somebody here tonight and you have that dusty taste in your mouth. Listen again to Jesus question. What possible advantage would there be engaged in the whole world and losing your own soul. One final illustration of that will draw to a close. Here in a moment, but Jordan Ragland was a very successful property developer in the UK was a bit of a cynic as well.
He made a terrific amount of money and when he died. He was cremated and left instructions in his last will and testament that his ashes should be made into egg timers and he insisted that an egg timer be given one to his accountant and the other to the equivalent of an IRS agent with whom he had spent a terrific amount of time. Why well reflecting on the goals that are directed the best years of his life. He said one day, I suddenly thought I'd worked hard all my life, only to hand over most of my cash to the bank and the taxman. So when I kicked the bucket, I may as well go on working for Lacey.
Workaholism is often a thin disguise cover-up a run for the border men, women running from themselves running from their family. Ultimately, running from God.
No time for these disturbing doubts, no time for these difficult questions.
What would it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lost his own soul.
And in this way, Pascal the French philosopher and mathematician gave us his explanation for this chase down the street. The existence of what he referred to as a guard shape gap of the deepest level of our being Scott identify the fact of the reason for our existence was a living relationship with the living God would made us through Jesus and the identify the fact that since that was such an intrinsic part of the human psyche. There was nothing that could fill it or what do we need what we need for Jesus challenges us to consider and that is an eternal perspective and eternal perspective. I know most of them want to have an eternal perspective because if you think in terms of eternity really think about the fight that time is passing through her fingers is going through is going through our fingers as if we were picking up pieces of little lumps of sand on the beach and the more we squeeze it, the more it squeezes out and goes away such as life if you're here tonight and you don't believe these things if your dad honest.
Your problem with Christianity is probably not of the church is old-fashioned breathing is not exactly no novel been doing that for a long time to. It's not usually that the sermons are boring. Although I I I have been a great deal to say about that. It's neither neither is it that science is disprove the Bible because it hasn't just hasn't know the real problem is that deep down inside your heart and mind is cold towards God and we prefer to save our own souls by pursuing the world than to forsake what we desire. Most in pursuit of Christ.
The remarkable thing about the story of the Bible is that there is an answer to this question.
While the volume of your soul and the volley of your soul is seen actually in the surrounding context. Again, the volume of your soul is seen in accrual seen outside of Jerusalem when a man hangs between two other men, all of them crucified by the Roman authorities and the man in the middle cross cries out some very interesting things. I one point he cries out in one word in Greek S thought it is finished making people wonder what's finished at one point he cries out my God my God why have you forsaken me. The reason that he cried out as he did was because on the cross he gave himself for the souls of men and women he hanged upon the cross, despised, rejected, pierced, scarred, scorned, so that what we deserve. He, having received what we do not deserve.
He might freely give. And that's how much you matter to God that if there was a way to have a million worlds and to spend them all they would never be enough to provide for your soul and Jesus has come, and he's done now the very beginning of the text. Jesus has explained to his disciples what it would be like if they were going to become as of followers and people ask me all the time.
Well I think I'm getting the picture. I think I understand a little of what you're saying but you know what what's in what's involved with this sacristan thing. We know the super thing about it is in the one that that that allows me to speak with such confidence is that there's not there's no silliness in this little soft option in this there's no telly evangelism in this this very rigorous very demanding missing Jesus put it to you want to be my disciple number one come after me, after me walk where I walk come after me as your rescuer and is your ruler number two deny yourself in other words, get off the throne of your life. Get off the throne of your life.
I came to sit on that through if you continue to sit on the throne and covet your throne and covered yourself, you lose life now and you lose it then, but if you get off the throne and then throwing me that you will discover life that is truly life and thirdly, take up your cross every day in full and in other words, is not a momentary decision is a lifetime commitment dying to myself every day identified with Jesus risking my life for him if you like. For many of these disciples.
It meant death.
People around the world today. It still means death because of their commitment to Jesus for you and I am not mean death that could, I suppose, but it may mean that you have to face all those jokes from all your academic friends. It may mean that you will have to walk a path of loneliness amongst the immorality of your peer group. I don't know what it will mean but I guarantee you on the authority of what Jesus said that if you and I are prepared to come to his cross and bow before him and acknowledge who he is and what he stopped and gave up our life's as best we know how. Then he will give to his life. That is life in all of his fullness now and for all of eternity. Each of us needs to keep an eternal perspective make a lifetime commitment to follow Jesus.
It's only the we can truly profit listening to Truth for Life weekend with Alister Bragg if you'd like to know more about what it means to follow Christ. Visit us the Truth for Life.org/the story there you can watch a helpful video that explains how Jesus sacrifice on the cross frees us from sin and grants us salvation God's saving grace isn't something we earn. It's a gift freely given to those who believe again. Visit TruthforLife.org/story you're more, we just heard how vital it is for us to follow Jesus as both our rescuer and our ruler.
This is a message we need to share with everyone, but just the mention of evangelism strikes, panic, and many of us that's what were recommending to you a book titled mere evangelism. 10. The insights from CS Lewis to help you share your faith.
This is a book that will better prepare you to share the gospel with conviction rather than with apprehension. You can find out more about the book mere evangelism. When you visit our email@example.com but you need to hurry.
This is the last weekend will be offering this from Bob Lapine. Thanks for listing how we find meaning in life through the pursuit of pleasure for adventure for self-expression. Maybe it's your personal relationships will hear the answer. When you join us next weekend.
The Bible teaching of Alister Bragg is furnished by Truth for Life with the learning is prolific