Matthew 10:28-31 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Our text has a very simple message, God cares - don't separate yourself from God. That's it, if you understand this, there is nothing more to say. It is however so compact, that as often as we hear it, as much as we understand it, every time we look at it, its meaning seems to grow.
How do you separate yourself from God? Sin separates us from God. Temptation is really a call to leave God and follow something else. That's why it matters, that's why its never a small thing, and the longer we cling to sin the further we get from God. We don't tell people to study the 10 commandments because it makes you feel good, or so they can earn their way to heaven. WE don't teach people the 10 commandments to judge others, we teach people to study the 10 commandments so they can examine themselves. We want people to be able to see their sin, so they can repent, turn from their sin, turn to God asking for mercy and forgiveness.
You see there is something that kills the soul, unrepented sin leads to unbelief, and that is the one unforgivable sin. If you don't believe, you will not turn to God, you will not trust in his grace and mercy, you will not believe that Jesus died for your sins, and you won't just die, but you will suffer the everlasting death, the eternal separation from God that is hell. What could be worth such a price?
How do you know God cares? Well, think about a penny - there are many people that don't think a penny is worth much, if they see one, they won't stoop down to pick it up. Our text talks about sparrows costing 2 for a penny, and God cares for them. You might think that God is too busy to be concerned with such little things, but that's not God. Our minds are finite, there is only so much we can keep track of, only so much we can remember - but God is infinite, and he can keep track even of the 2 for a penny sparrow, won't he care even more for us? Aren't we worth more than many sparrows? Consider that God did not send his son to die for sparrows, but he did send his son to die for us. God wants us to know his love, God wants us to live in his grace and mercy. God wants us to have peace and eternal life. God does not want us to perish.
God loves us, not the way that we might love ice-cream. God loves us enough that he wants to know all about us. God knows more about us that we even know about ourselves. Do you know how many hairs are on your head? It is not an easy thing to know, not only does it change every day, but it might even change during the day - God knows us well enough to know this. That's how much God cares. God really does love us, God really does watch over us, don't let anything separate you from the love of God which is ours in Christ Jesus.
Which brings up the question, how well do you know God? Its not that knowing God is going to earn you anything, or make you deserving - for we are saved by God's grace without our merit. But knowing God will help us to resist temptation and turn from sin. Knowing God means that we will remember what is important - that God loves us, and that Jesus died for us, and that by Jesus blood our sins are washed away.
And knowing God means that we can tell others about a hope we have, which is not just for us, we can tell others that God loves them too, and that God wants them to be saved, that Jesus died for them. This is the work of the church, this is what God has given us to do in our lives - to tell the good news of Jesus and his love.