The Pastor’s Piece – September 6, 2020
Fellowship of Christian Farmers
by Kevin Cernek
September 6, 2020
Somebody told me this week: “I’m so ready to get this year over with.”
I came into this year with the highest expectations. I just thought God was going to do a great and mighty work among us. Then COVID hit, and everything seemed to suddenly fall apart. But God didn’t. And the way God has blessed us at Martintown Community Church is amazing. It’s all been a whirlwind. This year will go down in the chronicles as one of the greatest years ever as far as God showing Himself to us ordinary people here in this little hub of activity. (Someone called it a “spot in the road.”)
But outside of our bubble, as one might call it, the world is falling apart. Things are falling apart because the souls of people are lost and broken. Our broken world reflects our broken souls. There has been talk lately about the soul of our nation. The soul of our nation is the cumulative soul of the people that make up this nation.
Everybody has a soul. You can’t see it but it is there and it lasts forever. Your soul is your “conscious personal self.” It is the “I” that knows itself as “me.” Your soul is the identity that makes you who you really are. It is the seat of your memory, and your feelings, and your imagination, and your convictions, and your desires, and your affections. It’s the center of your being.
What makes your soul so valuable? One thing that makes your soul of the highest worth is that it is breathed into you by God. “The LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature,” (Genesis 2:7).
Grasping this is of huge importance in knowing who you are, and why your life is of such great value. Adam was created in two stages. The first was that God, “formed the man of dust from the ground.” God formed a body. It was made from dust. One thing we share in common with the beasts and the birds, is that, like them, God made us from dust, (Genesis 2:19). That is why God says, “Dust you are to dust you will return,” (Genesis 3:19). When we die, this is precisely what happens with regard to the body.
But there is a second stage in the creation of Adam which shows why we are different from the animals, “The LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature,” (Genesis 2:7).
God breathed life into that corpse, and that made us different from the animals. So what is this “breath of life” that God breathed into Adam? It is eternal life by means of his soul. He is more than a body. He is a living soul. And what is so special about this living soul is that since it is from God, it is capable of knowing God and enjoying God, (but it is also capable of sinning against God). Your soul gives you the capacity to know God and relate to Him in a way animals cannot.
This is at the heart of what God is saying when He says in Genesis 1:27 that: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” God has breathed life into you and that life will never end.
Another reason your soul is so valuable is that your soul is the source of all your achievement. Think about everything what is important to you in your life and you will say, “Yes, that came from my soul.”
Think about music for instance. Music speaks to the soul – because it comes from the soul. Think about art: the ability to depict beauty comes through the hands of the artist which comes from the soul of the artist. (Painting, quilt making, knitting, steel art – spaceships and dinosaurs – it’s all creative and comes from within you).
Think about science: Why have men and women pursued science? Where did that come from? It comes from a desire in the soul to know, to explore, to discover, and to understand.
Think about business: What makes a person want to go into business for himself or herself and start something from scratch and take all that risk and face the uncertainty of it? (When it comes to farming, we say: “It’s in my blood,” but in reality, it is really in your soul.) If you were to read one of the many books today about the great companies of the world, you would discover that they were all born out of some kind of vision that arose from the soul of a leader.
Your soul is what gives direction to your body. All that you achieve in life, everything that is achieved in the world, will arise from the life of the soul.
Your life had a beginning, but it does not have an end. One day you will die and your body will be laid in the ground. But your soul will last forever. Your soul has an endless life. That’s why it’s so important. It’s immortal.
“Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul,but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell,” (Matthew 10:2). What can you do?
It has been taught in religion for centuries (and the institution of religion has been one of most effective tools the devil uses to deceive people). If you just go to church, God will be happy with you, religion tells you. Repentance is not spoken of. The wrath of God is off limits. The blood of Christ to cleanse us from our sins is not acceptable. The cross is too gory and too ugly. We’ve created a new God. One who is more to our liking. Less harsh. Less judging. Less angry. Less everything. He is God Lite.
Let’s talk about love instead. There’s no need for repentance. No need to change my behavior in any way. No consequences for sin. No need to do anything, except maybe go to church once in a while and put a little token in when they pass the plate. That should make God happy – (even though you’re not). That is not the God of the Bible.
It is not safe for you to drift through life saying, “Jesus died for sins, so I’m ok, irrespective of how I live.” The Bible tells us: “He bore our sins in His body on the tree…” Why? So “that we might die to sin and live to righteousness,” (1 Peter 2:24).
Repentance means you realize that your heart is sinful. When we sin, we are sinning in the face of God. When we let pride take the driver’s seat of our lives, and say: “I will trust my own good natured soul and the things I have done to save me,” you are rebelling against God and the cross of Jesus Christ. All your righteous acts are still as filthy rags before the Father. You can’t do it – He has to do it in your heart.
Kevin Cernek is the Lead Pastor at Martintown Community Church in Martintown, WI [martintowncommunitychurch.org].