OceanSide church of Christ
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WHAT IS THE SOUL OF MAN?
JUST ONE SOUL (2018 OceanSide theme)
A. Just prior to ascending to the Father in Heaven, the Son of God left his disciples with the great commission. (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15)
1. This is a mission!
a. It is a command, a charge, a commission.
b. Jesus did not leave this in the realm of option.
c. The expanse of pure New Testament Christianity has been left into our hands.
2. This is a great mission!
a. There is a great message to proclaim, because the Gospel is God’s power to save
b. There is a great need, because masses are lost and eternal destinies are at stake
c. There is great urgency, because time is swiftly passing away
B. If we are ever going to be successful in accomplishing this lofty objective of carrying the Gospel to every living creature, we must deeply consider the reality of man’s soul.
1. We must look past the surface, think beyond they externals, and see ourselves and others as precious and valuable souls in need of salvation from sin.
2. We need to see ourselves, our mates, our children, our neighbors, our family, our friends, our co-workers, and our fellow man as…
a. Souls made in the image of God
b. Souls who need saving because of sin
c. Souls who will live on after death
d. Souls who will one day be existing consciously in Heaven or Hell
C. To help us see the importance of the souls, we need to consider a very serious question–what is the soul of man? Let’s consider four points to help us answer this question.
I. THE ETYMOLOGY OF THE SOUL – THE MEANING OF THE TERM SOUL
A. The term “soul” is used in four basic ways in the pages of God’s word.
1. It is used to refer to any living and breathing being. (Genesis 2:7)
a. God formed man’s body from the physical components of the earth, and he then breathed the breath of life into his body. Man then became a breathing, living, animated being.
b. This same terminology is applied to animal life. (Proverbs 12:10)
1) The term “life” is translated from the same original word used in Genesis 2:7 as “living soul”
2) Unlike man, animals don’t have a soul, but just as man is a living breathing being, the Bible speaks of them this way.
2. It is used as a synecdoche
a. A synecdoche is a common figure of speech where part of something is used to stand for and name the whole. Examples:
1) A nice set of wheels – the wheel (part) is standing for the whole (car)
2) Head of cattle – the head (part) is standing for the whole (cows)
3) Hired hands – the hands (part) is standing for the whole (workman)
b. The Bible sometimes uses the word “soul” which is a part of who man is to stand for people in general.
1) Exodus 1:5 – “seventy souls went down into Egypt”
2) Acts 2:41 – “were added unto them about three thousand souls”
3. It is used to refer to the emotions and intellect of man
a. There are many examples of this in the Bible:
1) 1 Samuel 18 – Soul of Jonathan was knit to David
2) “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psalm 139:14)
b. This usage is also commonly translated as the term “Heart” in the Bible
4. It is used to refer to man’s immortal nature
a. The Scriptures clearly teach that there is a portion of a man which is immortal and never dies, and that is our soul…our spirit.
1) We have been created as spiritual beings in the very image of God. (Genesis 1:26-27)
2) When the body dies, the soul of man lives on forever. (Ecclesiastes 12:7)
B. There are many different usages of the word “soul” in the Bible, as we must carefully distinguish between them. We need to give great attention to the fourth – the immortal and invisible soul of man!
II. THE EXISTENCE OF THE SOUL – THE REALITY OF THE SOUL
A. The Scriptures affirm there is something much more to who and what we are than our outward, physical, and fleshly bodies.
1. Paul taught that we are composed of both an outward and inner man. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
a. There is a great contrast between the outer and inner man
1) One is physical, the other is spiritual
2) One can be seen, the other cannot be seen
3) One will grow old and decay, the other will live on forever
b. Many put great effort into caring for their outer man:
1) They will eat healthy (a good thing)
2) They will exercise (a good thing)
3) They will take vitamins and all sorts of supplements
4) They will go to the doctor when they get sick
5) They will put on makeup and wear expensive clothing
6) They will even have surgeries to enhance their bodies
c. Much more emphasis need to be placed on caring for the inner man.
(1 Timothy 4:7-8)
2. Not only is man composed of an inner and outer man, but the Bible breaks man’s makeup down into three divisions. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
a. We have a physical nature – “body” = consisting of flesh, blood, bones, muscles
b. We have a mental nature – “spirit” = consisting of emotions, logic, reasoning
c. We have a spiritual nature – “soul” = an immoral and eternal soul
B. Instead of seeing ourselves and others as mere physical bodies, we need to look beneath the surface and see humanity as living souls.
III. THE ETERNALITY OF THE SOUL – THE FUTURE OF THE SOUL
A. According to the Bible, man receives his soul from God.
1. In Hebrews 12:9, the Bible refers to God as “the father of spirits”
2. In Zechariah 12:1, the Bible says it is God who forms man’s spirit within him.
a. God, the great father of spirits, gives every human being who is conceived a soul the very moment they are conceived.
b. At death, the Bible says our souls go back to God. (Ecclesiastes 12:7)
1) Our soul does not die
2) Our soul does not roam the earth as a ghost
3) Our soul does not cease to exist
4) Our soul does not go into a state of sleep
B. Since our soul does not die, stay on earth, or sleep, where does it go when it returns to God?
1. At death our soul enters the Hadean realm. (Luke 16:19-26)
a. Both men died
b. Both men lived on after death
c. Both men entered the Haden realm – the unseen realm of the dead
d. Both men were awake and conscious in the Hadean realm
e. Both men remain in a fixed state of waiting
NOTE – WHAT CAN BE NOTED OF THESE MEN IS TRUE OF EVERYBODY WHO HAS LIVED, IS LIVING, OR EVER WILL LIVE UNTIL TIME COMES TO AN END
2. Eventually all the souls of men will be raised, judged, and sentenced eternally. (Matthew 25:31-33, 46)
C. At death the immortal soul of man returns to God where it will be kept in a temporary place of waiting in pain or peace until its ultimate future in eternal Heaven or eternal Hell.
IV. THE EMINENCE OF THE SOUL – THE VALUE OF THE SOUL
A. Thus far we have noted several things about the soul of man…
1. Man has a soul
2. Man’s soul will live on eternally after death
3. Man’s soul will one day be in a state of peace or punishment
4. Man’s soul’s fate will be fixed once death is experienced
B. These facts make the soul of man extremely important, and the Scriptures go to great lengths to impress upon our minds just how important our soul really is. (Matthew 16:26)
1. Notice how the worth of man’s soul is contrasted:
a. Jesus did not contrast man’s soul by using a city
b. Jesus did not contrast man’s soul by using a state
c. Jesus did not contrast man’s soul by using a country
d. Jesus did not contrast man’s soul by using a continent
e. Jesus contrasted man’s soul by using the entirety of the earth
1) If a man could somehow amass the entire wealth of the world and claim ownership of it, and in so doing lose his soul, he has lost the most valuable and precious thing he ever had.
2) Your soul is more valuable than the world!
a) Adolf Hitler’s soul was more valuable than the world
b) Osama Bin Laden’s soul was more valuable than the world
c) Murders on death row’s souls are more valuable than the world
d) Illiterate people in the jungle are of more value than the world
2. We will never make Heaven our home, and we will never help anybody else make Heaven their home until we come to realize the great value of our souls.
C. Man’s soul is of infinite value, thus, there is nothing more tragic than for a person to die in a lost condition and lose their soul eternally.