Highlighted New Testament Bible

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

St Matthew, Chapter 16, verse 26a, The Cross of Man: The Soul!

Our paragraph topic is: (The doctrine of the cross) Part 3.    

No one knew what came after death.  There was no certainty.  The Jews believed that they were God's chosen people and that he had prepared a special place for them.  But no one knew for certain what they would encounter after death.  Everyone wanted to live.  Everyone wanted to have life.  Everyone did not want to face the consequences of what would happen after they died.  And yet here was Christ preaching to his disciples the outcome of his journey to Jerusalem.  Here was the Messiah telling his disciples that he would go and face persecution, torture, and death.  And nothing but fear came upon them.

They knew not what to expect.  They knew not what was to happen.  They knew not the why and wherefore of these actions.  But Christ instructed them to follow.  Take up your cross and follow me if you want to come after me, he told them.  Face the evil in the world and fear not, he told them.  For whoever would work to save his life in this realm will loose it and whoever would loose his life in this physical realm, for his sake, would save it in the spiritual realm and save it for eternity.  Where is it that we place our value?  Is it in the physical realm?  Or is it in the spiritual realm that we value ourselves.  Christ told his disciples:  "For what does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul?"    

We are told and we believe that we have a soul.  We hear it in church.  We read about it in the Bible.  We see it in our entertainment media.  And we believe it in ourselves.  But of what value is it?  How does it profit us to have a soul?  What can we do with it?  How does it help us or hinder us as we live, grow, and prosper in this world?  Those of us who are youthful do not consider this value.  Those of who are older think about its value.  Those of us who are declining in age know of its value as we look forward to what comes after death.  For we believe that the soul exists.  Yet Christ posed a meaningful question to his disciples and to members of the church today: "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and loose his soul?"  

And it is this meaningful question that weighs in the balance each and everyday of our lives.  Do our actions, our thoughts, and our beliefs gain us the world or gains us our souls?  Do we act as if we want to gain everything in the world or do we want to keep our souls?  Do we want our souls to profit or do we want our passions for the world to profit?  Do we attempt to sit on the fence and fish from both sides or are we certain that we know on which side we want to jump into?  The world wants us to live in it and to prosper in it.  The world would have us loose ourselves and our souls in it that we may prosper in worldly things.  The world would have us addicted to our passions and criticize us if we are not fully engaged in them. 

To laugh, to enjoy, to be hopeful, to be passionate about the prospects of today and what tomorrow has to offer is how we are raised and live.  Forgetting about when the thief in the night that may come to  steal us away from our souls without the opportunity to repent, is not something that the world wants us to consider.  We make every effort to protect ourselves from death but it comes despite all our efforts.  It comes to the young.  It comes to the old.  It comes to the innocent.  It comes to the unexpected.  It comes.  For it is the soul that the world is after and nothing less. 

What does it profit?  What do we gain?  How do we value what we have, how do we value what is given us from birth?  We are raised in the world with the love and are given the hopes and fears of our parents and care givers.  And when we come of age we are filled with the desires and passions of the world.  So we go forth seeking to gain all that it has to offer and to enjoy all the passions that it brings, not knowing or believing that we are asleep in the world.  Some are awaken by the struggles that life in the world brings.  Some continue to struggle in the passions that this world has to offer.  And some face the question of life and decide to give up on it not knowing that they have a choice. 

We are aliens in a different form and do not know who we are.  Come!  The opportunity is given you to know the truth of who you are.  Come!  Opportunity knocks at your door, bringing truth, and joy, and peace, and love with it.  Your life, your soul, is valuable.  Do not sell it for something less.  Do not offer it for what the world offers for it is worth much more.  Do not exchange it for the trinkets and treasures of this world for they are worthless.  What will it profit you?  You can know, now, the truth of who you are.  You can see the life that is given you.  You can know the light of your spirit here on earth as it was given to you.  Come!  Follow the path set before you and know the truth of who you are in Christ.

Read the sign of the times! Read the Highlighted New Testament Bible and lift the scales from your eyes that you may see, that you may know, that you may find the truth of who you are in Christ. Read it as though you would read a good book, from cover to cover, and see for yourself. Do not study it in parts reading one passage and then skipping to another, but read it for understanding. Read it for knowledge. Read it for faith. Read it that your eyes may be opened, that your ears may hear, that your heart may be filled with the light of Christ. The Holy Spirit awaits you. Christ seeks to know you. Open the door and let him in! 

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