Summary: Proposition: God cares deeply for you and the life to which he has called you, therefore you can be confident that you are in God’s will regardless of the situation being faithful has caused you to be in.
Placing the passage in context:
Jesus has given his twelve disciples authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every sickness and disease. As he sends them out into their first experience as evangelists, he gives them very specific instructions:
1. They are to proclaim “the kingdom of heaven is near.
2. They are to drive out evil spirits
3. They are to heal all sicknesses and disease
4. They are not to get wealthy from proclaiming the gospel.
5. They are to be prepared for opposition
6. They are to trust God to protect them.
It is one thing to know that God is empowering you to do great things in the kingdom such as drive out evil spirits and to heal the sick. It is quite another thing to actually go out and do it. As Jesus said, the student is not more deserving than the teacher, and if the teacher was persecuted, so will his disciples. So, it is understandable that Jesus would remind the students that if God cares for the sparrows he will care for them as well. But, let’s be clear about what happens when the message of the gospel is proclaimed throughout a community.
1. People will be freed from evil and freed from sickness.
2. Christians will face opposition
3. Families and other societal groups will be thrown into discord
1. Receiving orders to defraud a customer or the government
2. Receiving pressure to cover up wrongdoing
3. Pressure to conform to family or cultural norms to the exclusion of discovering who God called you to be or what He called you to do.
Proposition: God cares deeply for you and the life to which he has called you, therefore you can be confident that you are in God’s will regardless of the situation being faithful has caused you to be in.
Interrogative: What comfort do I get from knowing that God is aware of what I am experiencing as a follower of Christ?
I. The Worst anyone can ever do to you is kill your body
a. The moment you believed on Jesus Christ and decided that you were going to follow his teaching as a basis for your way of life, your soul awakened to God and your destiny was birthed into the kingdom of heaven. Your soul will outlive your body. Keep in mind that you are going to die someday of something. The real question for you is not if you are going to die, or even when. The real question you must answer is whether you lived for Christ while you were alive.
b. I think it is a worthwhile practice to spend time every day thinking about heaven, hell, and the time remaining in life. I find it a comforting way to survive a mid-life crisis. As the reality that I am going to die someday settles in, I find that I am asking deeper questions about my life than I had before. I made a choice many years ago that I was going to live to bring people into the kingdom of heaven. That choice came with consequences, not the least of which is that I don’t have the luxury of working hard for thirty or so years and then retiring comfortably. I made a choice that requires me to remain active in my calling for a lifetime. That means that I have set myself up for persecution and heartache for a lifetime. But, if I am looking toward heaven every day, then I am reminded that the worst anyone can ever do to me is send me to a heavenly reward. In effect, there isn’t really anything anyone can do to harm me.
c. May I draw your attention to Biblical examples? As Stephen was being stoned to death, he saw heaven open up to him. As Paul sat in prison facing possible execution, he was singing psalms, thus proving that his soul already had quite a bit of heaven in him already.
d. What about consequences less than death?
i. Fired from your job
ii. Ostracized from your family
iii. Shunned by your community
Transition: You should keep in mind who does value you.
II. God values those who trust Him with their lives.
a. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?” This is Jesus’ way of pointing out that sparrows are not valued very highly because there are so many of them. In fact, they have been coming in large flocks to my bird feeder since winter started in the middle of the autumn. By the dozens, sparrows and juncos have turned my backyard into a virtual aviary all day. From a distance, they are a swirling mass of brown and white birds. So, one afternoon I picked up my camera and decided to turn my attention on just one sparrow. I shot several frames of the sparrow and found myself chuckling at his antics. Over the time the sparrow spent at the feeder, I started to feel a sense of attachment to the little bird. Of course, as you know there are many species of sparrow. There are tree sparrows, chipping sparrows, fox sparrows, house sparrows, song sparrows, white crowned sparrows and white throated sparrows. But I was looking at this one sparrow. I think it would be sad for to learn of something tragic happening to this sparrow. I like this one sparrow. But, how many billions of people are on this planet. God loves all of them. Jesus died for all of them. Yet, some of them have come to God out of love for Him. In a world that has rejected righteousness; don’t you think that those who live by His Word stand out? What is one life worth among six billion people? Yet, God pays attention and loves the one.