Program Air Date - 4-1-01



Good morning and welcome to the Living Word Program. It is a great honor to have you with us this morning for this time of worship to God. Thanks for choosing to be with us!

As always, it will be our privilege today to sing songs of praise to our God and to study from His perfect Word! I hope each of us will do our part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now, let's approach His throne in prayer.

We all like to win don't we? Think about it for a minute, doesn't it feel good when we accomplish great things or when we come in first place? It is important to know that there is nothing wrong with doing our best or in striving to be first, as long as we don't do it at the expense of others. In fact, being victorious is one of the great promises that we have from our God in Heaven. Because of Christ, we all will be Victor's if we do His will and follow His commands. So, let's join in our first song of the morning which reminds us of this great victory in Jesus Christ, the name of the hymn, "Victory In Jesus!"
(SONG # 1)


I read a verse in 2 Chronicles the other day that reminded me of just how magnificent our God is. In Chapter 6, we see the dedication of the Temple by Solomon. What a tremendous accomplishment of great beauty and majesty this structure was.

You might remember the construction of the Temple which is recorded for us in chapter 3. How wondrous and impressive it must have been in size and appearance. As we read we are told of it's worth - as so much of the structure itself was covered in gold.

In verse 4, we are told of the precious furnishings which were found in the Temple, again very lavish - no expense spared! Gold, bronze and only the best was used to make the special furniture for the house of God.

Probably, this was the most magnificent structure on earth at the time. All for the sake of God, all as an offering to the Creator! However, in all of it's earthly splendor and awesomeness - we still see that Solomon realized that it was far too insignificant and small to house the true creator of the universe. Read with me his thoughts in 2 Chronicles 6:18, there Solomon said, "But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!"

Here we find that the wisest man who ever lived realized just how great and almighty God is. There is nothing in this life that we can every do, say or make - that will really be worthy of such a powerful and magnificent God. Let me finish our devotional thoughts this morning by reminding us that God was willing to lower Himself and dwell among us on this earth as we have described in John chapter one! In fact, we read there - that Jesus the Word came and dwelt among flesh, that we might know Him as God - the son of the almighty. Have you forgotten what a holy, perfect and all giving creator we serve?

We are excited this morning to have a very special guest speaker with us. In fact, our guest today really doesn't need an introduction as he was the host of this program for many years. We are pleased to have brother Dennis Smith with us today to guide us in our lesson thoughts of the morning. Brother Smith is one of the ministers for the North National Church of Christ, here in Springfield. It is an honor to have him back with us today.

Concerning our topic of study this morning will again be dealing with "The Lord's Response." Our specific lesson today is the question "What Will A Man Give In Exchange For His Own Soul?" So, please stay with us and in a few minutes Brother Smith will return with this study from God's Word. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the day, the name of the song, "When All Of God's Singers Get Home."
(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Dennis Smith

Thank you brother Sullins for inviting me to be the speaker today and thanks for that nice introduction that you've just given to me. It's always a pleasure to be able to speak to such a vast audience as we have out here in the Ozarks through the media of television. Now I know that not all of you are going to be watching and I hope before you reach over and turn us off that you'll give some thought to the importance of your relationship to the Lord.

As brother Sullins mentioned earlier and in the last several weeks, the very speakers on this program have been using questions that Jesus asked and the responses that people should make to Him and as he also mentioned, I have this morning two great questions from the gospel of Matthew, chapter 16 and verse 26 that our Lord spoke, which I feel like are words that should really prick our hearts and stimulate us to try to live a much better life while here in this life than possibly we are doing.

Those words as I now quote from Matthew 16:26 are as follows, For what has a man profited if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Yes, I believe that those words are so vitally important to us today even though we are living some two thousand or better years from the time Jesus spoke these great words.

Listen to them again for emphasis sake. For what has a man profited if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Let's look at that first question first. What has a man profited? You know I'm sure that we're all familiar with the term profit and loss. We take our money and we go down to the bank and we invest in a money market or CD or we call our brokerage firm and we asked them to invest in the stock market for us and certainly when we receive some profit, we're happy about it. Aren't we? On the other hand, when we lose, we're sad. It's my understanding that the last two or three weeks the stock market has had some pretty sad people around. So you are aware and I'm sure that the Lord was aware of the people He spoke to that would understand the difference between profit and loss. And so He's asked this great question, For what is a man profited if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul?

You know as I have lived down through the years and I do have a little age over Ray. We'll smile when we say that. He'll get there some of these days. But at the same time and I don't think I've ever seen in my lifetime at least, so much emphasis being placed upon money as it is today. It just seems like everyone is interested in making money. Well, I'm aware of the fact that the dollar is so inflated that it does take a lot of money to exist on. But my friends, while we are rushing here and there to try to make some money and show some profit, let's keep in mind the question that Jesus asked, But what has a man profited if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul? But again, you say, "Well, this is the year 2001. Things are altogether different. I just wonder if Jesus even knew." Listen, let's not limit the power of God or the power of His son. The fact is that Jesus Himself knew the temptations that we face today as far as money is concerned. The reason I say that is because He Himself upon His baptism, which is recorded in Matthew chapter 3, was taken out into the wilderness in chapter 4 to be tempted. Perhaps you remember this story. One of the temptations included Satan taking Him up on top of a high mountain and showing Him all the kingdoms of the world and he said to Jesus, "If you will bow down and worship me, I'll give you all of these kingdoms." So let me assure you this morning that our Lord knows our temptations and I'm sure that time with Him then was just as important as it is today. That's why again He says, For what is a man profited if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul?

You see, what we've got to do is we've got to learn that the temptations of life come to us now the same as they did then, and even though that we may be tempted today, we've got to learn that our love for the Lord and our love for our own soul must override these temptations especially when it comes into our life with the idea of putting gain first and allowing our soul to go unattended.

But then as we take a look at the second part of that verse, the second question, it reads, What shall a man give in exchange for his soul? You know, I suppose as long as there's been men upon the earth, they've always loved to swap and to trade. Today, we have what we have swap meets. And also the process of bartering is catching on perhaps more today than it has in recent years. But when we go back to the time of Jesus, probably bartering was the way that they made, or their media of exchange, at least more than the currency that was provided either by the Roman government or by the Jewish nation itself. So Jesus was acutely aware of this idea of bartering. That's why He used the term "exchange". What would you give in exchange for your soul? I'm afraid today that a lot of us are trying to make bargains of that regard and we're using the most precious commodity that we own which is our own soul in trying to barter. In other words, here's that question again. What would you give in exchange for your soul? There are a lot of things I could suggest to you but our time doesn't permit to give them all, but let me just mention a few of these as we go along this morning and as we do, I'd like for you to use that great verse, Matthew 16:26 again, and let it be directed straight to you. As we quote it again, you take it into your heart and into your mind and you just ask yourself, "Am I actually trying to barter with the Lord? Am I trading my soul in order that I might have a little degree of happiness here and the loss of my soul eternally?" I am suggesting to you that is a very serious thought.

So again, What has a man profited if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul or what would a man give in exchange for his soul?

Now let's talk about some of those things that we might be exchanging. I'm concerned today as I travel to the church building on the Lord's day morning to see such a tremendous flow of traffic going here and there. I'd like to hope that a lot of them are going to church, but I'm smart enough to know better than that. It would seem that people today are trading the Lord's day, Sunday, and their responsibility of being in the house of the Lord, for doing something that they feel like is more pleasurable, more exciting, and probably more fun, and the sad part of that is that they perhaps are knowing that they are really trading their soul for a little bit of pleasure in this life.

Then on the other hand, and this is a very serious thought, too. On the other hand, I'm afraid that there are so many people who are trading their precious time that would otherwise be given to their families to make just a little more money and in hopes of improving their family life. I was pleased the other day when our new president had received word of the shootings in California, and he was asked, "How can we prevent this?" He came almost immediately and said, "Every adult in our country needs to be teaching our children the difference between right and wrong." Well, I would agree with that and I think one of the things that is wrong today is the majority of our families are no longer in what we call Sunday School of Bible School, and instead they are taken away on those pleasure trips I just mentioned. Now please don't be misinformed. There is a time for all those things. But, if we put those things ahead of our relationship with God and our relationship to our responsibility to the Lord, it's very possible that we're making exchanges there or we are bartering with the most precious commodity that we own, which again is our own soul.

But then again, there's another thing that bothers me as I reflect upon our society today. And the apostle Paul mentions this in 1 Timothy chapter 4, and verse 8, when he said that bodily exercise profits little, but godliness is profitable in all things having the promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. You say, "What are you talking about?" I'm talking about the emphasis that we are placing on our physical bodies. Now certainly I would agree that we need to take care of our physical bodies. I know that we should exercise and we should watch our diet and we need to take advantage of modern medicine and all that, but you see when we are more concerned with our physical body than we are our spiritual body, it gets us right back to the subject at hand this morning. That is that we may be bartering the most precious commodity that we have in order to have a little more length of years here in the physical life. Now we need to understand that the Bible itself informs us that our years that are allotted to us are threescore and ten and if by reason of strength, fourscore. So somewhere out there in the area of 70 or out there in that vicinity, we're going to have to bid this world good-bye. And when that occurs, are we going to be ready to meet our God? Are going to be ready to meet Him in the day of judgment or have we (go back to the thought of our lesson), have we tried to gain the whole world and in the process lost our own soul and have we been bartering? Have we been trading? Have we been swapping the most precious thing that we have, the soul that is within us along with the soul of our children and our friends and our loved ones? So it's a very vital and important question that the Lord put to us, in fact two questions again as we repeat this great text. I can't improve on it any more than Jesus Himself. For what has a man profited if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul or what would a man give in exchange for his soul?

Now then, how do you respond to that? What are your thoughts in regard to that? Now please don't think that here we are presenting something to the world that is outdated. Remember Jesus said that heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. So what we've read to you this morning, what we've discussed with you is just as vital and just as important in the year 2001 as it was in AD 33 or even before when Jesus spoke those words. So how are you responding? Are you ready to meet your God, or do you have everything right in regard to the time when you will bid this world good-bye? See, this is the very reason for this program. This is the very reason for the church of our Lord. We stand ready to help you in any possible way that we can and already brother Ray has mentioned to you or will at the close of the program the way in which you can respond, to give us a call at the church building or through the web-site or through any of the churches in this area through telephone and what have you. We always stand ready to assist you in whatever way we possibly can, knowing as this verse has said to us again and again, For what shall a man be profited if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul or what would a man give in exchange for his soul? Friends, I'm hoping that you're giving some very serious thought to what we're saying today. We just hope and pray that if we could help in any way that you would feel free to call on us and we'll be ready to assist you in any possible way we can. Understand that the word of God is the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our pathway. It's the thing that will guide us from earth to heaven. Let's use it as a road map to lead us from earth to heaven.

We appreciate so much your listening to us this morning and we're very thankful to be a part of the service. Until next week when Ray comes back again, we bid you good-bye.
(SONG # 3 - "Why I Love The Lord!")


Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.

Now let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today's lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a free cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or free Bible correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:

The Living Word
2540 N. Kansas Expressway
Springfield, Mo. 65803

Our web page address is:

Or if you prefer, you may call us at:

As those who love the Lord, may we always put Him first and may we never give anything in exchange for the promises He has awaiting us!

(Program closing)