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THE VALUE OF YOUR SOUL

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, June 9, 2013

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37).


Your soul is worth more than anything else in the world. We used to say that your soul is worth more than all the gold in Fort Knox. But no one has been allowed to see the gold there for decades. The last man who tried to look at it was President Reagan. But the officials who run Fort Knox would not let President Reagan get inside to see it. Many think there may not be any gold there now. Some say that it has been squandered by the Fed. If it has been sneaked away and used for other purposes, I would not be surprised. At one time there were billions of dollars of pure gold there, gold bars that were worth riches beyond imagination. And yet your soul is worth more than all of it.

My family and I were in the Tower of London. We saw the crown jewels, worth a tremendous amount of money. My wife and I went through the Vatican in Rome. In the Vatican we saw the immense wealth of the Catholic Church – huge diamonds and emeralds, and other precious jewels. We saw the ceiling of the St. John Lateran Church in Rome. That huge ceiling is covered with tons of gold that was taken from the Indians of Mexico and Central America by the Catholic Church. But your soul is worth more than the crown jewels, all the treasures of the Pope, and all the gold in the ceiling of that church. Your soul is worth more than all that – and all the gold that was once kept in Fort Knox! Your soul is worth more than all that combined! Jesus said, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

George Beverly Shea died a few weeks ago at the age of 104. The Guinness Book of Records says that he sang before more people than any man in the world. But his most famous song, for which he wrote the music, had a simple message:

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold,
   I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
   This world affords today.
Than to be the king of a vast domain,
   And be held in sin’s dread sway.
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
   This world affords today.
(“I’d Rather Have Jesus,” words by Rhea F. Miller, 1922;
     music by George Beverly Shea, 1909-2013).

I think he was exactly right, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37).

I. First, think of the value of your soul in view of the torments of Hell.

Many preachers today are afraid to talk about Hell. Not all of them are liberals either! Wicked liberals like Henry Sloane Coffin and Harry Emerson Fosdick spoke openly against Hell. They said there was no such place. Now they are dead. Now they themselves are in Hell.

But many modern evangelicals are not as honest as those old liberals were! These modern evangelicals don’t say there is no Hell. They just don’t mention it at all! Dr. John Blanchard has written a book titled, Whatever Happened to Hell? (Evangelical Press, 2003). He pointed out that very few evangelicals ever mention Hell in a sermon today – and almost none of them preach whole sermons on Hell. That doesn’t mean there is no Hell. It simply means that these preachers are too worldly, and cowardly and man-pleasing to warn sinners about Hell. But Dr. John R. Rice said,

No Bible preacher who is worth [anything] minds saying the word Hell. A preacher who does not preach on Hell and what the Bible says about it does not preach as Jesus did and is not honest with his church…and the sinners who hear him. In view of the torments of Hell, how much is a soul worth? (John R. Rice, D.D., The Scarlet Sin and Other Revival Sermons, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1979 edition, p. 110).

Jesus spoke about Hell repeatedly. He said, “Whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:22).

Jesus said, “Fear not them which kill the body…but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

Jesus said, “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:49-50).

Jesus said, “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire” (Matthew 25:41).

And again, Jesus said, “These shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matthew 25:46).

All of those words of Christ about Hell are from the Gospel of Matthew. Those words came from the mouth of Christ Himself. This shows how often the Lord Jesus Christ preached on Hell!

A Chinese woman whose husband is a pastor ridiculed me for preaching on Hell occasionally to the young people in my Sunday School class, and in evangelistic services, at the First Chinese Baptist Church. She ridiculed me in front of a large group of people at my pastor, Dr. Timothy Lin’s ninetieth birthday party. I said nothing. But I could tell by the way she spoke that her husband never preached on Hell in his own church. Yet her mockery did not change my mind at all. As I looked around the banquet hall, I saw dozens of Christian young people who were my students in years gone by! Jesus said, “Wisdom is justified of her children” (Matthew 11:19). The young people who heard me preach on Hell turned out to be solid Christians. Dr. John R. Rice said,

I remember how strange it seemed to me when I was pastor of a church, that many pastors and churches thought me an extremist, yet they liked the kind of Christians my preaching trained and produced…[We] seemed very radical to many pastors and church leaders around us. Yet we discovered that they prized most highly every member they could get from our church…the world liked our converts, though it did not like the preacher! (John R. Rice, D.D., What It Costs To Be a Good Christian, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1952, p. 41).

I remember one preacher who was highly critical of me – calling me a dictator and a false teacher! He did his best to poison some of our people and get them into his own church. He received our people gladly, and made them members of his church with no questions asked. He gave several of them jobs in his church right away. He even persuaded a young woman that he got from our church to marry one of his men. As Dr. Rice said, “[We] seemed very radical to many pastors…around us. Yet we discovered that they prized most highly every member they could get from our church.” To me, preachers like that are nothing but false prophets, hypocrites and “sheep stealers.” They have to “get” members from another church because they are too lazy or sinful to win and disciple new converts of their own!

Scalawag preachers like that have never convinced me to soften my sermons and stop telling people to escape from eternal torment. In view of the torments of Hell, how much is your soul worth?

II. Second, the value of your soul in view of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross.

I am often shocked when I hear modern preachers give an “invitation” without ever mentioning Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. I was talking with two conservative leaders recently. Both of them rebuked me for criticizing Joel Osteen. They both said, “He preaches the Gospel every Sunday.” I let it go rather than argue. I have watched several DVD’s of Mr. Osteen preaching. I have heard the prayer he asks people to say at the end of his sermons. It is a very weak version of the so-called “sinner’s prayer.” And it has not one word of the Gospel in it – not one word of the Gospel! He has them ask Jesus into their hearts, and then he says, “We believe if you said those words you are born again.” He thinks they can be born again by saying some words. That is pure salvation by works – salvation by saying a few words. Just say the “magic words” and you are born again! It is magic, you know. The idea that you can manipulate God to do something by saying the right words is pure magic. It’s a form of “white magic” which is every bit as demonic as “black magic.”

But what surprised me most was the fact that these two leading evangelicals didn’t even notice that Osteen never mentioned the Gospel! He did not say one word about Jesus dying on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sins, which is the first point of the Gospel! (I Corinthians 15:1-4). How can a person be saved without hearing and believing that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures”? It is a completely Christless Gospel, with no Blood atonement, and no mention of Christ’s resurrection!

I shouldn’t have been surprised that those evangelicals were deceived by Joel Osteen. This is such a great problem today that Dr. Michael Horton has written a strong book about it called Christless Christianity (Baker Books, 2008). He gives many quotations from Mr. Osteen in that book. Dr. John R. Rice asked, “Isn’t it strange that…church members, deacons, elders, stewards and Sunday school teachers [and pastors] have such cold hearts and are cold and calloused and unmoved? Isn’t it strange we’re not swept off our feet with emotion and sorrow and shame and love when we remember what happened at Calvary? Oh, we have become so accustomed to the death of Christ!” (Rice, ibid., p. 116). Dr. J. Gresham Machen said, “God send us ministers who...shall be on fire with the Cross” (J. Gresham Machen, Ph.D., Christianity and Liberalism, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1990 edition, p. 176).

It makes me shudder to think about church leaders that never preach whole sermons on Christ’s crucifixion. How could “leaders” like that be saved themselves? Oh, there is a great judgment coming on our churches. I wonder how many of those “Christless” preachers will be in Hell? I shudder when I think about such leaders crying out, “Lord, Lord, have we not [preached and taught and witnessed] in thy name?” And then Christ will say unto them, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22, 23). I hope that you will not be like those “Christless” evangelicals! I hope you will be saved by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross! Nothing shows the value of your soul more clearly than Christ’s horrible, substitionary death on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sin! The Apostle Paul said,

“God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14).

Oh, how I wish you would see how valuable your soul is to God! Christ left Heaven to save your soul. Christ sweat as it were great drops of Blood, at midnight in Gethsemane. Christ was beaten in the face. He was kicked and spit upon as He carried his cross to Calvary’s mountain. They nailed His hands and His feet to that cross. The sun beat down on His head. He cried out, “I thirst.” The sun was covered and the earth was dark. Again, Jesus cried “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” He died there alone – utterly alone, to pay the full penalty for your sin and mine. The Bible says, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3).

And it was no ordinary man that suffered and bled and died on that cross! Oh, no! It was the Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, God incarnate. God the Son died there on the Cross to save your soul. Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross shows the value of your soul. I wish to God that every preacher could see the value of the souls in his church as Christ saw their value when He hung on that cross! I wish that you could see the value of your own soul, in view on Christ’s sacrifice to save it on that cross!

“What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:36, 37).

III. Third, the value of your soul in view of the glory of Heaven.

The Sunday night before my mother went to the hospital where she died, she was here in church. For some reason I asked Mr. Griffith to sing an old song that I had never heard before.

I have heard of a land on the far away strand,
    ‘Tis a beautiful home of the soul;
Built by Jesus on high, where we never shall die,
    ‘Tis a land where we never grow old.
Never grow old, never grow old,
   In a land where we’ll never grow old!
Never grow old, never grow old,
   In a land where we’ll never grow old.
(“Never Grow Old” by James C. Moore, 1888-1962).

Mr. Griffith sang that song the last time my mother was here in church. I was thinking about her when I asked him to sing it. She was using a walker, and sometimes had to be in a wheelchair. She never had an easy life. Many disappointments had come her way. After she was saved at the age of eighty, she moved in with us. She had some happiness then for about five years. Yet it wasn’t as much as I wanted her to have. But now my mother is in Heaven! Now she has a mansion of her own. She is there in that place where people never get old, or sick, or tired, or poor. I am going to meet her there one day.

Sometimes in the night I think about being raptured up to Heaven. I can see my mother through the clouds. I call out, “Cecelia! Cecelia! There you are! I was waiting to see you, and there you are!” Look! There’s my friend Gene Wilkerson! How glad I am to see him! Look, there’s my pastor, Dr. Lin. There’s Dr. Jimmy Combs! There is Dr. McGowan, the man who took me to church as a boy. There is George Beverly Shea! There is John Wesley and George Whitefield! Yes, and there is Mr. Spurgeon! How long I’ve waited to see them! There they are! “There is President Lincoln! There is William Jennings Bryan! There they all are, just as I imagined they would be! Now look! There is Jesus! I see Him! Here He comes!”

I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
   And redeemed by His side I shall stand.
I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
   By the print of the nails in His hands.
(“My Saviour First of All” by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915).

There’s a holy and beautiful city,
   Whose builder and ruler is God;
John saw it descending from heaven,
   When Patmos, in exile, he trod;
Its high massive wall is of jasper,
   The city itself is pure gold;
And when my frail life here is ended,
   Mine eyes shall its glory behold.
In that bright city, pearly white city,
   I have a mansion, a harp and a crown;
Now I am watching, waiting and longing,
   For the white city John saw coming down.
(“The Pearly White City” by Arthur F. Ingler, 1873-1935).

What will Heaven be like if those you love most are not there? In view of the glory of Heaven, how much is the soul of your brother or sister, or your friend worth? Kitty Wells, the country singer, sang a song titled, “I Dreamed I Searched Heaven for You.”

I dreamed I searched Heaven for you,
   Searched vainly through Heaven for you;
Oh, won’t you prepare to meet me up there,
   Lest I should search Heaven for you?
(“I Dreamed I Searched Heaven for You” by Kitty Wells, 1919-2012).

How much is the soul of your friend or loved one worth? Oh, God help us to see the value of their souls, and then to go and “compel them to come in.”

“What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:36, 37).

If you are lost, what shall it profit you if you gain the whole world and miss Heaven? If you gain all the fun, all the applause of men, all the money and pleasures of this world, and miss Heaven, and go to Hell, and miss being saved by Jesus’ Blood and righteousness, it would be a tragedy. What if you could become a great rock star, and make all the money you want, and marry the person you want, and drive the most expensive car, and live in a mansion in Beverly Hills – and yet miss Heaven? If you miss Heaven and go to Hell, what a fool you are, what a wasted life you have lived!

“What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:36, 37).

Death may come at any moment. How much is your soul worth? How sinful and foolish it is for anyone to neglect salvation, or put it off! This is the day that God is calling you! This is the day to come to Jesus and be saved, and be cleansed from your sin by the Blood He shed on the Cross. He has risen from the dead. He is up in Heaven at the right hand of the Father. Trust Him! Turn from sin and trust Him! He will save you for all time and for all eternity.

If you would like to speak with us about the salvation of your soul, please leave your seat right now, and go to the back of the auditorium. Dr. Cagan will take you to a quiet place where we can talk and pray. Go right now. If you are here for the first time, and you have a question about what I said, go quickly to the back of the auditorium. Dr. Chan, please pray for the salvation of someone who responded. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Mark 8:34-37.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“If I Gained the World” (by Anna Olander, 1861-1939).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE VALUE OF YOUR SOUL

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37).

I.   First, the value of your soul in view of the torments of Hell,
Matthew 5:22; 10:28; 13:49-50; 25:41, 46; 11:19.

II.  Second, the value of your soul in view of Christ’s sacrifice on the
Cross, I Corinthians 15:1-4; Matthew 7:22, 23; Galatians 6:14.

III. Third, the value of your soul in view of the glory of Heaven,
Mark 8:36-37.