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Summary: You haven't always existed; only God is eternal in both directions. Your soul will exist long after your physical life is over, either in heaven with God or in hell separated from God.

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INTRODUCTION

What is your most precious possession? This world has plenty of expensive baubles and trinkets. Here are some actual things people own that they probably consider to be a precious possession. For instance, how about a gold-plated, diamond studded iPhone? The cost is $2.97 million and it’s only a 3G model!

Or you can own the world’s most expensive television called the Prestige HD Supreme Rose edition. The outer frame is gold with diamonds and the inner frame is alligator skin. The cost is a mere $2.3 million and it’s only got a 55-inch screen!

A couple of years ago, a Mexican billionaire bought a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO from the British owner for a cool $35 million. I’m sure he considers it a precious possession. Or for you ladies who like purses, you can buy a Hermes Birkin Handbag for prices that start at a paltry $10,000. Or you can buy one with gold and diamonds for a sweet $1.9 million.

Or maybe you’re into watches. If you own a Rolex it’s probably a prized possession. But if you paid $25 million for a diamond and gold watch designed by Chopard, it might be your most precious possession.

If you’re an art lover, you can be the owner of a Jackson Pollock piece called Painting #5 for $140 million. Make sure you have room to hang it in your house, because it’s 4’ x 8’—the exact size of a piece of plywood, because that’s what he painted on.

Those must be cherished possessions by that people who own them. But what is your most precious possession? I’ll give you a hint: It’s not a thing.

According to the words of Jesus, your most prized possession is your soul. Jesus said, “What shall it profit a man (or a woman) if he or she gains the whole world and loses his or her soul? And what shall a man or woman give in exchange for his or her soul?” (Matthew 16:26)

Your soul is infinitely more precious and valuable than anything or anybody in this life. It will last when the sun, moon, and stars have all gone cold and dark. Your soul will exist when the entire universe is gone and replaced by a new heaven and a new earth. Your soul is worth more than all the banks and Fortune 500 corporations combined. The worth of all the stocks, bonds, gold, silver, diamonds, oil, and gas in the world can’t compare with the value of your soul, because your soul will go on, endless, timeless, and measureless into the future. You haven’t always existed; only God is eternal in both directions. There was a time when you were not but there never will be a time when you are not. Your soul will exist long after your physical life is over, either in heaven with God or in hell separated from God.

This is truth that is too important to miss. Let’s read about what Jesus had to say about your most precious possession.

Mark 8:27-38. “Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, ‘Who do people say I am?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ.’ Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. ‘Get behind me, Satan!’ he said. ‘You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’ Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.’”

This message is all about discipleship. Jesus has an interesting interaction with His disciples, especially Simon Peter. And then He gives us the steps of discipleship. We throw the word “disciple” around a lot, but we may not understand what it means. The best translation of the New Testament word is that of a pupil or a follower. It captures the idea of being a lifelong follower, not a temporary follower. It doesn’t mean you follow Jesus one day a week, or for a few weeks or years—it is a 24/7 lifelong commitment to keep following and keep learning. Jesus doesn’t call us to be a believer only. He calls each of us to be His disciple. And beyond that He calls all of us to be disciple-makers. But you can’t be a disciple maker until you are a true disciple. In this passage, Jesus reveals five basic steps that a disciple takes.

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