Easter: You've Got (No) Soul

 
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Series Title: Easter 2018

Introduction:
  • (Hello! My name is Pastor Nick). Have you ever thought you understood something but you really really really didn’t? Have you ever gotten that embarrassing shock of realizing you’ve been looking at things completely wrong? It feels like someone poured ice water directly onto your brain, like your seeing the world fo the first time.
  • Maybe you haven’t, in which case I’m kind of envious of you, because this has happened to me a ton. Maybe its just my personality. I get so focused on what I think is important that sometimes I make preconceptions of how things are. Sometimes I just don’t really see.
  • (NEED STORY)
  • My goal today is to challenge your preconceptions. Maybe you went to Sunday school as a kid, maybe you’ve never been to church or maybe your a regular attender here. I want to show you that maybe you don’t know the bible as well as you think you do. Maybe there is more to Christianity then you realize.
  • See, to really understand the Bible, you need to let go of your preconceptions. Forget everything you think you know. Try to see from a new perspective.
  • Here is our idea: You do not have a soul.
Section 1: All souls on board
  • That’s right, you don’t have a soul. Nowhere in the Bible does it teach that you have a soul, at least not in the way that you think you do.
  • In english when we think of soul we think of this immortal immaterial part of us. This disembodied essence of you that exists beyond our physical life and endures after our death, going to God for eternity. Often people think that Christians believe our physical existance is less then the spiritual. That we are souls trapped in flesh.
  • Fortunately, thats not an idea from the Bible at all. It’s actually from great philosophers like Plato and Aristotle. If you take the time to read the Bible you’ll see that soul is used completely
  • So lets start to break down preconceptions. In the Old Testament the word that is always translated as Soul is the Hebrew word Nephesh. Nephesh shows up 750 times in the Bible but well Nephesh is often translated as soul, it isn’t always
  • See, translation is tricky. When we try to translate a word we have to understand its range of meaning words don’t translated one to one across languages. For example love in english is one word, while there are three different words for love in great.
  • While Nephesh is sometimes translated as soul, its broader meaning will help us to understand what it really means. In fact, Nephesh is a really broad word. It gets translated into over 50 different english words.
  • Nephesh gets translated as the following words “life, soul, me, living, I, heart, themselves, you, people, anyone…”
  • Maybe this will make it more clear. Another way we can figure out what Nephesh, soul, means in the Bible is to look at its root. If you were to pull out a Hebrew dictionary and look for the most basic form of the word Nephesh you would see that it means throat
  • Psalm 42 “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul (Nephesh) for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”
  • If this is all really confusing, thats exactly how I felt. Nephesh might literally mean throat, but it’s not often used that what. Instead, its a part of the body that is used to represent the whole person. Kind of like how we “count heads” in english. The Hebrews would “count throats”.
  • So a persons Nephesh referred to their entire physical person. “life, soul, me, living, I, heart, themselves, you, people, anyone…” Does that make more sense now? You don’t have a soul, you are a soul. When the Bible talks about a soul it is referring to your entire physical life, not simply to some disembodied essence of you. We use this language today still, but only in one place. On ships and planes. There are 150 souls on board.
  • Here are some more examples to prove my point. In the Old testament kidnappers were literally called “Nephesh theives” well muderers were called “Nephesh slayers”. You don’t have a soul, you are a soul. You are a physical life, not some immaterial thing.
Section 2: Life after Life
  • Ok, so sermon over right? Not quiet. See this leaves us with a problem. If we don’t have an immortal, immaterial soul, when what happens to us when we die? Isn’t the hope that we die and we go to heaven? They we spent our eternity as disembodied spirit?
  • No, absolutely not. That isn’t what the Bible teaches at all.
  • I haven’t mentioned it today, but it is Easter. See, hope of the Bible is in resurrection, in a Life after Life. We believe that Jesus died on the cross for us. He put the weight of the sins, the things that we’ve done wrong upon himself.
  • Jesus’ death opened up a way though death to a physical existence on the other side. This is not talking about an after life but a new physical existence. Just like Jesus. After Jesus died he was resurrected not as spirit but as a physical body. As someone who ate and drank and could be physically touched.
  • We have hope that we even though we are going to die, we are going to come through death with our Soul’s, our physical existence, restored. My body rests in safety.

10 For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
11 You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.


  • The pleasures of living with you forever. Of a physical, yet perfect existence.
  • Do Object Lesson
  • Now understand. This resurrection, this being brought into a new physical life, it isn’t free. In fact the price is incredibly high. Being a Christian, knowing that there is a resurrection for our souls, means giving our entire lives to Jesus. It means that our thoughts and our actions belong completely to Him. That we will do things Jesus’ way instead of our own.
  • Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. We can’t save ourselves, only Jesus can.
  • You know, Jesus got angry with the pharisees, that Jewish religions leaders. They were doing good things, tithing and praying, but their hearts were far from God. They didn’t love him they just wanted a reward.
  • I feel as though my generation especially has the opposite problem. We love the idea of God. We want to draw near to him, yet we don’t do the good things he’s called us to. We don’t tithe, pray, shop up to church, help the broken hearted, take communion.
  • Being a follower of Jesus means giving everything to him. Our entire Nephesh, our whole lives belong to him and him alone.
  • When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. 21 And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. 22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • The gift is free in the sense we did nothing to earn it. Yet it still cost our entire lives
  • The great paradox at the centre of Christianity is this. We become slaves to god. Yet because our master is all powerful, we can lean on his strength. And because he is all good, we can trust him to care for us. Our bondage becomes our freedom. Our souls have hope of resurrection.
  • My hope today is that you twofold. First, I hope you walk away understand a little more about what the Bible actually says. We don’t believe in some ethereal existence of bliss but in a real physical world. A place like this, but renewed. Imagine a Rocanville without the problems. Without the fighting and the gossip and all the other hurts that have happened here.
  • Secondly my hope is that you’ve been challenged. Maybe what I shared with you today is new. Maybe it’s completely different then what you grew up on. It was that way for me. Actually reading the bible shattered what I thought I knew about God. Maybe you don’t know the Bible as well as you think. Maybe Jesus and church deserve a second look.

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