God, Sparrows, and You

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God, Sparrows, and You 

Sparrows are magnificent creations of God, but Jesus did not come to save sparrows

Matthew 10.29–31

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • December 22, In the year of our Lord, 2013

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Larry Amberg – Songs of faith

Prelude

  1. By our very creation, 
    1. we are higher than the sparrow, but
    2. by our sin,
      1. we are lower than the worm.
      2. Yet, He said something magnificent to the Jews in Babylonian captivity,11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jer 29.11).
        1. When I read the Bible,
        2. I see that same message for all humanity.
  2. Yes, He said those words to man, 
    1. not to the sparrow,
    2. not to the worm, but
      1. to us who are just below the angels,
      2. although we do not always act like it.
  3. Let me show you some magnificent things about 
    1. God,
    2. sparrows—brought to America in 1850 to kill a caterpillar—
    3. and you.

Persuasion

  1. Matthew 10.29–31 – God Notices the Sparrow, He Notices You

    29 “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt 10.29–31).

    1. The Father knows when a sparrow falls to the ground.
      1. Yet, the sparrows are not very valuable.
      2. Our value to God far exceeds the value of many sparrows.
        1. He has numbered the hairs of your head, that is,
        2. each hair has a number.
    2. Two sparrows are only worth a copper coin, or a penny.
      1. Or, if you are looking for a bargain, buy them in bulk,6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12.6).
        1. They are a dime a dozen.
        2. Yet, their value can be quite high in other ways.
          1. After 25 years in a wheel chair,
            1. Joni Eareckson Tada started to have health problems and
            2. had to be put in bed.
          2. Her husband hung a bird feeder outside the window.
            1. She envied their freedom, but then
            2. she remembered the passage we have read,“I glanced at the bird feeder and smiled. I could understand Jesus noticing an eagle…But a scrappy Sparrow? They’re a dime a dozen. Jesus said so himself. Yet from thousands of bird species the Lord choose the most insignificant, least-noticed, scruffiest bird of all. A pint-sized thing that even dedicated birdwatchers ignore. That thought alone calmed my fears. I felt significant and noticed…If the great God of heaven concerns himself with a ragtag little Sparrow clinging to the bird feeder outside my window, he cares about you.”
    3. God watches the sparrow and He watches you,“His eye is on the sparrow
      And I know he watches me.”
      (Civilla D. Martin)

      1. If He watches the sparrow,
      2. know that He watches you.
        1. If He helps the sparrow,
        2. know that He helps you.
          1. If He provides for the sparrow,
          2. know that He provides for you.
    4. He notices when the sparrow falls, when it dies.
      1. Yet, the Father has numbered the hairs on your head.
      2. Yes, He knows the sparrow this intimately also, but
        1. Jesus taught that the Father knows you even better.
        2. You mean more to the Father than a sparrow does.
      3. Psalm 139 shows how well the Creator of man and sparrows knows us,1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
        2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
        You understand my thought afar off.
        3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
        And are acquainted with all my ways.
        4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
        But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
        (Psa 139.1–4)

        1. Yes, He knows the sparrows with such detail, but
        2. where do we find such a psalm written about the sparrow?
          1. According to David, God knows
            1. our location,
            2. our activity,
            3. our thought,
            4. our routine, and
            5. our future.
          2. He has provided
            1. all of natural creation,
            2. all of the written word, and
            3. all of the wonders of heaven
              1. for us who are of greater value than many sparrows.
              2. Why then do we worry?
    5. He provides a nation for you.
      1. As our forefathers debated the formation of our Constitution
      2. without making much progress,
        1. eighty-one-year-old Benjamin Franklin said,
        2. based on their prayers during the war with England,“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”
        3. Therefore, he urged them to begin with prayer.
      3. What is a nation?
        1. It is a group of individuals.
        2. Mr. Franklin was right.
          1. God notices the fall of the sparrow, and
          2. He certainly aids the rise of nations like America, and
            1. He certainly aids you in your life.
    6. Just how valuable is a human soul?
      1. Jesus indicated in Matthew 10 that it is more than many sparrows.
        1. How many is many?
        2. Sparrows are the most abundant bird on Earth.
          1. I would say that one soul is worth more than
          2. every sparrow on Earth.
      2. In Mark 8, Jesus showed how we value our own souls,36 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8.36–37).
        1. Therefore, you value your soul more than anything.
        2. What do you think would be a worthy exchange?
      3. Galatians 2 shows what Jesus thinks of us.
        1. Yes, God so loved the world, as Jesus declared in John 3.16, but
        2. consider the message of Galatians 2.20,20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Gal 2.20).
          1. For whom did Jesus die?
          2. I see no evidence that,
            1. although sparrows are wonders of creation,
            2. Jesus died for them.
    7. Consider further what Jesus did for us.
  2. The Humility and Submission of Jesus 
    1. Whatever your views are of Christmas,
      1. you know that the Son of God entered the world as we do.
      2. He allowed Himself to be planted in the womb of a woman,
        1. becoming the size of a pinhead,
        2. the size of a fertilized human egg, or zygote!
      3. In First Kings 8, as Solomon dedicated the temple, he prayed,27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!” (1Ki 8.27).
        1. Nevertheless, God did dwell on the Earth in the temple, and
        2. centuries later He went down to the size of a zygote.
          1. For whom did He do such things?
          2. He did not do it for the sparrows!
    2. Then He allowed Himself to be born in a most humble way.
      1. If you lived in heaven, and
      2. the Father wanted you to go to Earth, but
        1. you could choose everything about your entrance and time on Earth,
        2. what would you choose?
          1. Would you choose being born to a poor family
            1. who will place you in an animal feeding trough
            2. soon after you are born?
          2. Do you know why He did these things?
  3. Sparrows Like Man, God Likes Man 
    1. We may not like sparrows, but sparrows like us.
    2. As the psalmist was away from the temple in Jerusalem,
      1. he thought of the dime-a-dozen sparrow and
      2. how easily it could make a home right in the temple,3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
        And the swallow a nest for herself,
        Where she may lay her young—
        Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
        My King and my God.
        (Psa 84.3)
    3. How many sparrows have you seen in nature?
      1. You might see some, but
      2. for some reason, they like to be around us.
        1. We provide structures for them to make nests.
        2. We provide food for them.
      3. We may not do those things intentionally,
        1. then again, Jesus said,26 “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matt 6.26).
        2. God uses man
          1. to feed and to house
          2. what we consider to be the worthless sparrows, and then
            1. we worry whether we will have what we need.
            2. If God uses us to feed and to house the sparrows,
              1. do you think He will feed and house us?
              2. The sparrow flew into Solomon’s temple and made a home.
                1. Yet, the Bible speaks of us
                2. entering God’s temple in heaven.

Exhortation

  1. In the days to come, 
    1. think about what your Creator did,
    2. how He humbled Himself,
      1. not for sparrows,
      2. who do catch His attention, but
        1. for you.
        2. He made Himself like you,
          1. not like a sparrow,
          2. giving you the hope of eternal life.
  2. The Lord of all creation, created sparrows, and He created you. 
    1. Does He reign as Lord in your heart?
      1. If not, why not?
        1. What else do you want Him to show you?
        2. What else do you want Him to do?
      2. He provides food and nesting places for sparrows, but
        1. He provides forgiveness and
        2. the hope of heaven for you.
          1. Let it sink into your heart what He thinks of you.
          2. What do you think of Him?
    2. You see, all of this information from the Bible
      1. should not puff us up,
      2. making us think that we are truly something, but
        1. it should make us think of Him,
        2. as David did in Psalm 8,1 O Lord, our Lord,
          How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
          Who have set Your glory above the heavens!

          3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
          The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
          4 What is man that You are mindful of him,
          And the son of man that You visit him?

          6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
          You have put all things under his feet,
          7 All sheep and oxen—
          Even the beasts of the field,
          8 The birds of the air…

          9 O Lord, our Lord,
          How excellent is Your name in all the earth!
          (Psa 8.1, 3–4, 6–9)

          1. What the Lord has done for man,
          2. did not lead David to proclaim how excellent we must be, but
            1. to proclaim the excellence of the Lord.
            2. His name is excellent in all the Earth.
  3. If you believe He is the Lord, 
    1. why hold yourself back?
    2. Now is the time to do something about it.
      1. Do not continue down the path that makes you lower than the worm, but
      2. exalt your Creator who will exalt you far above the sparrow.