How Much Are You Worth?
HOW MUCH ARE YOU WORTH?
Sermon of the Week #200802-January 13, 2008
In the gospel according to Matthew Jesus asked this question, “How much is a man of more value than a sheep?” This question about the value of a sheep was not brought up during a visit to the stockyards, but during His regular attendance at the synagogue at the worship service. Jesus always went to worship on the Sabbath Day. It was a habit with Him. Luke informs us of this on another occasion when he says, “And He came to Nazareth, and as His custom went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day.”
Anybody who would want to find Jesus on the Sabbath day and time would have to go to the synagogue, because that is where He would. In a similar way we can say if you want to find Jesus today on the Lord’s Day, you had better check in at the local Church of Christ because that is where He will be; especially is this true at the time of the communion service. You might have a hard time finding Him at the mall, the golf course, the lake, or ballpark. Then again you might not want to find Him, so forget it. In the Church house some Christians are crying out, “Praise God!” In the ballpark, other Christians are crying out, “That ball is outta’ here.”
Now it is hard to understand the Lord sometimes. He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath Day in spite of the fact that the place was crawling with hypocrites. The Scribes and Pharisees were watching Him to see if He would heal on the Sabbath Day, that they might accuse Him. Why would Jesus attend a synagogue where there were hypocrites? I have to ask that question because there are so many intelligent people who tell me they won’t associate with hypocrites, and give that as a reason for not attending services, and some use it as a reason for not becoming a Christian. Even though Jesus was perfect the presence of hypocrites did not deter Him from God’s House at the appointed hour.
And not only were there hypocrites there, but these particular hypocrites had made some very uncomplimentary remarks about Him. They had said that He was a gluttonous man, and a winebibber. Would you want to attend services where the hypocrites said you were a drunkard and a glutton? For some strange reason Jesus went anyway.
The writers Matthew, Mark and Luke, say that there was a man in the synagogue who had a withered hand. Luke who was a doctor took a pathological look at the man, and passed on this information to us about this man’s withered hand, and says it was his right hand. Mark says he had his hand withered; it seems his hand was withered by disease or accident.
So there he is, withered in the pew. Come to think of it there are a lot of people who are withered in the pew. Their right hand is withered when the offering is passed, and they can’t reach their pocketbook. Some have a hand so withered they cannot turn the pages of the Bible.
If he was a bricklayer, or stonemason, now he is out of a job because of it. He should have been home feeling sorry for himself, and blaming God; but he wasn’t. He was in the services at the same synagogue that Jesus attended that day. Jesus would restore his hand that day, but this unemployed bricklayer did not know that. He did not come that day to be healed, but to worship God. Had he not been there that day he would not have been healed.
You never know what you might miss, if you pass up the worship service on the Lord’s Day, because it provides a time for the healing of the soul. The world is a sick place, and many are unaware of their terminal disease.
David said in Psalms 41:4, “Be merciful unto me, and heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee.” David is not the only person who ever had a sick soul. Jesus said in Matthew 15, “Out of the heart comes forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, railings; these are the things that defile the man.”
Many a family needs to be healed, many a marriage needs to be healed, many a church needs to be healed, and is there any doubt that America needs to be healed? We live in a country that is getting sicker as the day goes by.
It is written in 2nd Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Then in Isaiah 53:5 he gives us the prescription for healing when he declares in his prophecy of Jesus, “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
However, we may feel as bewildered as Jeremiah when he said in Jeremiah 8:22, “Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? Why then is the daughter of my people not recovered?” The daughter of my people is not recovered because she won’t take the medicine as proscribed by the Great Physician.
Now before Jesus healed the man with the withered right hand, He had a question to ask, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath day, or to do evil, to a save life, or to kill?” But they held their peace. Then Jesus got mad. Mark records it for us, “And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, ‘Stretch forth thy hand.’ And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.”
Some folk find it hard to believe that the Lord became angry. If He got mad at their hardness of heart, one wonders what He thinks of hard heartedness today? I saw a bumper sticker that expressed this thought: JESUS IS COMING AGAIN, AND BOY IS HE MAD!
We need to remember that He can, and does get angry. In one parable about the Kingdom He said, “The King was wroth and sent His armies and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.” How is that for getting mad? He burned the place down, and this actually came to pass about thirty-five years after the resurrection, when the Romans destroyed the Temple at Jerusalem. The bumper sticker had it right: JESUS IS COMING AGAIN, AND BOY IS HE MAD!
Jesus told the man with the withered hand to stretch forth his hand. How could he stretch forth a withered hand? There was promise of healing in the command. What God wants us to do; He will provide strength for us to do it. If the Lord tells us to jump through the wall, our duty is to jump, and God’s duty is to open the hole in the wall. Look at the Apostles on the Mount of Olives as they heard Jesus give them the orders of world conquest. They had no apparent means of support in these orders except the promise of Jesus to be with them always. They went, and God opened the hole in the wall. Jesus said, “Go”, so they went, and trusted in Him to provide the means; and He did. God also opened a hole in the wall for this ministry over forty-five years ago, and the hole gets bigger every year.
Now consider this question that He also asked, “Of how much more value is a man than a sheep?” These hypocrites put more value on a sheep fallen into a pit on the Sabbath Day than a man fallen on hard times. It is a good question. Of how much more value is a man than a sheep? How much are you worth? You are worth more than a sheep physically.
WORTH MORE PHYSICALLY
A sheep may be worth quite a bit when sold. A prize horse or bull may be worth hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. How much are you worth? I remember in biology class in high school back in the thirties, the teacher said that all the elements of the body are found in the ground; such things as iron, copper and various other elements. That fits right in with the Bible story of creation. God made man of the dust of the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. God did not make man from a hunk of slime from the sea; this came as no great surprise to me since I recalled that the Lord God made man from the dust of the earth. The teacher further stated that if you separate the various elements, iron, sulphur, copper, salt, and all the rest, put them in a little pile, and sell them, the human body would be worth about ninety-eight cents. While we freely admit that because of inflation you might be worth several dollars now. Remember the dollars are inflated. The ninety-eight cents of the thirties is a more realistic worth of your body. You may strut around in a seven hundred dollar suit, but you are only worth ninety-eight cents. You may tool around in a thirty thousand dollar car, but you are only worth ninety-eight cents.
Now, are you worth more than a sheep? The value of the body is not the only way to look at it. A sheep has to walk around on four legs. You can stand upright. You have the advantage on the sheep. You have fingers and can use your hands, and drive a car, and eat with a knife and fork. Physically, you are worth more than a sheep. You are worth more that a sheep intellectually.
WORTH MORE INTELLECTUALLY
A sheep cannot think like a person. A sheep cannot invent a recorder, a computer, a radio, play ball, go to school, and attend services and a zillion other things. Some animals are smart of course. I heard of a dog one time that was taught to play checkers. One fellow didn’t believe the dog could play checkers, and went to check him out. He went in the house where the dog lived, and after a while came out. Someone said to him, “How about that checker-playing dog isn’t he smart?” The other fellow said, “Oh, he is not all that smart. I played him three games, and beat him two out of three.”
How much is a man of more value than a sheep? He is of more value physically, intellectually, and also more valuable than a sheep morally.
WORTH MORE MORALLY
A sheep or any other animal for that matter has no morals. He doesn’t need any; he is an animal. Because of evolution, many regard themselves as animals, and act like animals morally. They also resort to violence like animals; it is the survival of the fittest. If someone has something you want, take it. That may be the reason some humans regard themselves as animals. Animals will not have to appear before God on the Judgment Day. It must be somewhat comfortable to think of themselves as animals. They don’t consider themselves responsible in the sight of God.
A horse may be turned out to stud. He may be bred to many mares. No one regards him as a bigamist, or as immoral. He is an animal. I know some preachers who regard themselves the same way. They think they have been turned out to stud. How much are you worth? Sin devalues a human. In the mind of millions of modern man, an unborn baby is worthless. The sex deviate considers his life worthless. How much are you worth? You are worth more than a sheep physically, morally, intellectually, and eternally.
WORTH MORE ETERNALLY
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? According to Jesus, your soul is worth more than the whole world. You are of more value than a sheep.
Remember too, what the decision of the King will be on the Judgment Day regarding all mankind. And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life. You are of more value than a sheep. Unlike the sheep, you have an eternal, ever-living, imperishable, never-dying soul. Death of the body does not end it all. Paul says in Hebrews, “It is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment.” You are of more value than a sheep because of eternity.
Think too, of the value of your soul when you think of what Jesus said He would do, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knows me, even so I know the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” Jesus laid down His life for you. You are of more value than a sheep. But how much are you worth in your own estimation? Now this one more question in conclusion.
Since you now have some idea of the worth of one human soul, how much are you willing to invest of your life in the Kingdom of God in time, talent and treasure? Remember the parable of the talents; the man with one talent buried his money. It wasn’t really his. The King said it was His. He said, “Wherefore gave thou not my money to the bankers and I should have received back mine own with interest. Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness.”
The Lord has invested in you. In some of you, the Lord has invested heavily; in treasure, time, and talent, and he is getting no return on His investment. Invest your life in the Kingdom of God. Perhaps at this time you are investing your life in the Kingdom of the Devil. Either way you invest pays huge dividends. It is either eternal life, or hell-fire. Remember the King is coming, and boy is He mad.
When you think of the souls dying outside of Christ, how much do you invest in their salvation in various areas of evangelism? If no money is given to orphanages, missionaries, and other works of faith, it probably means that in your estimation the salvation of a lost soul isn’t worth anything. People aren’t worth saving.
Here is the question of Jesus again, “How much then is a man of more value than a sheep?” God considered a man of such value that He bankrupted Heaven for his salvation. Peter tells us, “We were redeemed not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, but with precious blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, even the blood of Christ.”
The New Testament, which is the New Covenant, was activated on the day of Pentecost after the death, burial, resurrection, and the ascension of Christ. When that message was preached, those who heard it, believed it, and realized they had crucified the Lord and cried out, “What must we do?” Peter told those who believed they needed to repent, and be baptized every one of you, for the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
He told them these terms were not only for them on that day, but for their children, and beyond that he said, to all that are afar off; those who were afar off includes every one since that day, and that is why it is called the New Testament. The New Testament is the New Covenant of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So it is written, so let it be done.