Sunday, June 25, 2017
 

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon The Biography of a Soul ]

THE BIOGRAPHY OF A SOUL Lonnie Branam I want you to think with me for the next few minutes on a statement made by Jesus Christ in Matthew 1O:28~ “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul, but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Jesus distinguishes the life of the soul from the life of the body, and revealed the fact that one can be killed but the other cannot. Man is a composite being consisting of a body derived from the dust of the ground and a soul infused in him from God. Life is the union of these two elements, and death results from their separation. I want to talk to you about “The Biography Of A Soul.” A soul's existence is quite circumscribed. It is limited as to what it can do and where it can go. There is a total of five different states a soul can enter. Every soul must enter into four different states, but it is possible to experience five different conditions of existence. The life history of a soul is quite clearly outlined in the Bible. The Bible is the most important book you can have in your house. If you do not have one, your house is empty indeed. The very first state which every soul enters is that of innocence. This state begins when the soul is infused into the body. The Bible does not say just when this takes place. It may occur either at conception, birth, or sometime between conception and birth. However, when the soul does enter the body, that individual becomes an eternal, never—dying personality. Because of the eternal nature of human beings, God our Creator has commanded his creatures to have a supreme respect for human life. To destroy a human life any time after birth is murder according to both God and man. Society has now legalized the taking of a human life before birth. Our uncertainty as to just when the soul is infused into the body argues for a profound respect for a human life, both before and after birth. Legalized abortion is a dark, suspicious, doubtful and dangerous practice because of the implications of murder. Man argues pro and con on the subject, but God will settle the matter at the judgment. Be that as it may, every soul is in a state of innocence when it first enters the body. Adam and Eve were created innocent, sinless, and blameless. They could not blame their wrongdoing on a sinful nature inherited from their parents. They were created full grown and had no parents to inherit sin from. Our first parents were created perfect and upright. Every human being is pure and innocent when he enters this life as a baby. One cannot be a sinner until he commits sin. What is sin? I John 3:4 says, “Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law.” That passage exempts a baby from sin because the infant is incapable of transgressing God's law. The Bible does not teach that babies inherit sin from the mother, and it does not teach that God will hold infants responsible for the sin of their parents. God finds no fault with the innocent. The Bible declares this fact in Ezekiel 18:20, “The soul that sins, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son.” We learn here that the guilt of sin cannot be passed from one generation to another. Furthermore, sin is disobedience to God's law and little children cannot disobey God because they are unable to distinguish right from wrong. Because the souls of infants are pure, God has provided no plan of salvation for them. They are not lost. But when a child reaches the age where he understands good and evil, he becomes responsible for his actions. There is no plan of salvation for the soul in innocence because that soul is not lost and does not need to be saved. It is safe. If death occurs in the state of innocence, the soul goes to paradise, and after the final judgment, will go to heaven. The first state is innocence and all souls without exception enter into it. After the state of innocence, every soul enters into the lost state. This Bible fact is stated in II Corinthians 4:3, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the god of this world bath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” It is always a terrible thing to be lost. It is tragic when a child is lost in the woods. When a ship's crew is lost it is terrifying. But the worst of all tragedies is for a human being to be lost in time and eternity. With one exception, every human being enters the lost condition. There has been but one person out of the entire human race who did not enter the lost state and that was Jesus Christ. But every other person who has ever lived entered into the lost state. One enters the lost state when sin is committed. Jesus never once transgressed God's law. Hence, he never committed sin and never entered into the lost state. But for the rest of mankind, the lost state follows the innocent state quite naturally. Every person enters this life without commitments. An infant is not committed to be a Christian or a sinner. Its ideas and religious beliefs are acquired by association and learning. Every child is a product of both the family and the community. For the first five years, the family has the advantage in molding the child into its image. But after the child starts to school, the force of both family and community must be taken into account. From six years onward, the community exercises probably a little more advantage than the family. Because of inadequate religious development and the presence of evil in the environment, every child transgresses God's law and sins. All are sinners by choice and personally responsible. In this manner a Bible fact comes to pass as stated in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” However, the child does not enter the lost state until it reaches the age of accountability. The Bible does not state precisely what the accountable age is. It may not be the same for everyone. Children vary in intellectual grasp, background, and spiritual capacity. Every person needs Christ the Savior when he consciously becomes a sinner. The child becomes a sinner when his wrongdoing is recognized as against God, when he is old enough to make a real choice to obey Christ, and when he knows enough to bring a response of sorrow for grieving God. Of course, all adults who have not scripturally obeyed the gospel are sinners and in a lost condition. They have transgressed God's laws and many of them over a long period of time. They are lost now and will be lost in eternity. they are living now without God and are without hope in the world. Every soul that livesto an accountable age enters into a lost condition in this life. The third state is one that a soul may or may not enter. It is the saved state. I Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the preaching of the cress is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” Those in the saved state have received the forgiveness of past sins and stand justified in God's sight. Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” The saved state is optional and a matter of free choice. Man may remain in the lost state for the rest of his earthly life if he so chooses. To remain in the lost state, all you have to do is nothing. Just do nothing and you will be in a lost condition and remain in a lost condition. But God gives you the opportunity to leave the lost state and live your life in a condition called the saved state. In order to leave the lost state and enter the saved state, one must acknowledge and obey the first law of pardon. The requirements of forgiveness for non—Christians may be properly called the first law of pardon. Listen carefully to the first law of pardon as set forth in the Bible. Acts 18:8 says, “Many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. “ Three items are mentioned: hearing,believing, and baptism. Acts 2:38 says, “Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” Here we learn that God requires repentance before pardon . Repentahce is the willingness to stop living contrary to God's Will and to start living according to God's willl. Romans 10:9 says, “If you shall Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God hath raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.” God demands that man make a confession with the mouth before he can be forgiven. The confession to be made is, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Collecting all the facts from these three scriptures, the first law of pardon may be stated in the exact order that a sinner should obey it: 1. Hearing, 2. Believing. 3. Repentance, 4. Confession, and 5. Baptism. That is the first law of pardon, and there is no other way to get from the last state to the saved state. If you have not done these five things you are still in the lost state. But one says, “My mother didn't do these things, and I wasn't taught that way." I am not talking about your mother, and God is not going to save your mother if she was not a Christian. The Bible teaches that you must become a Christian to be saved, and the one and only Way for a sinner to become a saint is to obey the first law of pardon. When that law is obeyed, one is saved from past sin, from God's wrath and from God's disapproval. I Peter 3:12 says, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” Before I leave this thought a very grave danger must be pointed out to all who are in the saved state. The soul is not forced to remain in the saved state but remains there only by free choice. The soul cannot sin and stay in a saved state. If the Christian commits a sin, he must be forgiven at once or he will return to the lost state. When a Christian sins and does not receive God's forgiveness, the Bible calls this “falling from grace. ” Galatians 5:4 says,”Christ is become of no effect unto, whosoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace.” Because of opposition and persecution, some true Christians weakened, left the Christian religion, and went back to the Jewish religion. Such a Christian would fall from grace, leave the saved s nd return to the lost state. Unless forgiven, the erring and sinful Christian cannot be saved. The Bible says of Christians in 2 Peter 2:20, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.” Christians are not perfect people, and they are not sinless people. As a general rule of life they live without sin; they sin as an exception to the rule. For the most part they overcome sin, but they can fall into sin by ignorance, weakness, and temptation. The Bible speaks of a Christian who fell into sin in Acts 8. He was a magician in Samaria who became a Christian. His old habits came back on him, and he tried to buy from the apostles the power to give others miraculous gifts. Peter said to this Christian in Acts 8:21, “You have neither part nor lot in this matter; for your heart is not right in the sight of God.” In the next verse Peter paid he was wicked. No wicked person is in a saved state. But when a Christian returns by sin to a lost condition, he does not~ have to remain there. He may turn to the saved state again. In order to do so, the Christian must use God's second law of pardon. The first law of pardon is for non—Christians; the second law of pardon is for Christians only. The second law of pardon is clearly set forth in two scriptures. Peter said to Simon the erring Christian in Acts 8:22, “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee,” Christians also need also need forgiveness. I John 1:8,9 was written to Christians and does not apply to non-christians, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The second law of pardon for Christians only consists of repentance, confession and prayer. It is dangerous for a Christian to oscillate back and forth from the saved state to the lost state and vise versa. Many Christians are not aware of this situation and are carrying about with them private and public sins which have not been forgiven. They are in a lost condition. It is more important to keep your religion up than your insurance. If your insurance lapses someone will bury you, but if your religion relapses you must suffer for it yourself. When a Christian commits sin, he should confess it to God, repent of it, and ask God to forgive him, Live one day at a time and face the sin question one day at a time. Before going to sleep, the Christian should examine his life and ask forgiveness for any sins which may have been committed. In this way the Christian can remain in the saved state. The fourth state which every soul enters is the intermediate state. The soul enters this state at death. The word intermediate means “in the middle of or between”. Hence the state of the soul between death and the resurrection is called the intermediate state, that is, a condition intermediate between death and the resurrection. The general name for this place is Hades which literally means unseen. At death the soul enters into the unseen world. Jesus preached a sermon on hades in Luke 16:19—31. He told the story of a rich man and a poor man who died. The poor man was in a saved state at the time he died, and the rich man was in a lost state when he died. Luke 16:22 says, “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and that he was carried away by the angels into Abraham's bosom: and the rich man also died and was buried. And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and sees Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” This story is based on the existence of souls in a separate state while other men dwell here on earth. Their bodies were in the grave but their souls were in a region called hades. One was in a good place and was happy; the other, was in a bad place and was unhappy. We learn from this story that there are two regions in hades. The lost soul goes to one place and the saved soul goes to a different place. When Jesus died on the cross, two thieves were crucified with Him. One of the thieves became penitent and showed great faith, and Jesus saved him. Jesus said to the penitent thief in Luke 23:43, “Verily I say unto you, today you shall be with me in paradise.” We learn here that the good region in hades is called paradise, and it is a place of enjoyment. It is said of Jesus in Acts 2:31, “His soul was not left in hades, neither did his flesh see corruption.” This passage declares that when Jesus died his soul went to hades but did not remain there long enough for his body to decay. Jesus arose from the dead on the third day at which time His soul returned to his body. The Bible teaching on hades puts the immortality of the soul beyond dispute. When Judas Iscariot, the traitor died, Acts 1:25 says, “Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” This means his soul went into that region of hades where all lost souls go at death. The soul of every man shall remain in the intermediate state until the general resurrection of the dead (John 5:28,29). From hades the soul goes directly to the final judgment. 2Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” The fifth state which every soul must enter is the eternal state. The soul will enter this state at the judgment and after the resurrection of the body from the grave. Jesus was speaking of himself presiding over he final judgment in Matthew 25:32-34, “And before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand, “Come, ye blessed of Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Verse 41 says,”Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, depart from me, you cursed into everlasting fire, pepared for the devil and his angels.” Saved souls will go to heaven, and lost souls will go to punishment. That is the final and eternal state of the soul.

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