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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sermon from June 22

God’s Care is Bigger than Your Worry

Grace, Mercy and Peace are yours from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. [30] But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. [31] Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31) This is our text.
You are valuable. Jesus says so. 
In God’s way of calculating things you are worth a great deal.
Life can make you feel insignificant, unnoticed, worthless. I’ve heard even Christians say, “I would be better if I had not been born.” That’s their way of calculating things. They are wrong. Too many people assume that God has a limited attention span. He doesn’t. Jesus uses a rather trivial point as an example. He says, “Even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:30. Some of us of Northern European descent having thinning hair and so as the number of our hairs decreases, the amazing detail of this statement may also decrease. But remember, when Jesus first made this statement, He was talking to hairy Middle Easteners.  The point is, God knows all about you, every detail, and He considers you valuable.
If you have the attitude that you are just one out of 7 billion, you will likely feel lonely and alone, insignificant and weak.
Don’t make God out to be too small. Don’t assume that He is limited in His attention span and in His capacity to care. When you are at a busy restaurant where the staff is overwhelmed, you might get hash browns when you ordered fries, or you might get nothing at all. But in God’s household, at God’s table, it’s not like that. He can handle a crowd. He created the crowd. He knows what you need. He hears and remembers what you’ve been praying for.
Believe that. Jesus says, “You are valuable.” We must keep learning to think like the Lord.  We might assume we are thinking like Him, when really we aren’t. So listen to Jesus. He reveals the Father. Often what we think is a big deal, is small stuff in God’s estimation. Things that worry you and stress you out are easily handled by the God who hears your prayers. Likewise, often what we think is little, or minor, or doesn’t matter at all, may actually be important to God. For that you need to listen carefully and prayerfully to the Word of the Lord, repenting for your lackadaisical attitude toward His good will.
Listen to Him and learn to think like God.  This week in Vacation Bible School the children learned some new songs, the words of which were Bible verses. Almost without realizing it, they memorized 4 or 5 Bible verses this week. And the first song we learned Monday and repeated every day was “I have called you by name, you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1. Those words got stuck in their head. And we pray that this promise of God gets stuck in their heart and grows.
God says to each child who attended, from our church or from the community, “You are mine. You are valuable.” That’s what He said to you at your baptism, washing away your sin and making you His righteous child. That’s what He says to you regularly as you, with faith, remember His promise and grace.
These times we live in are full of reasons to have anxiety and insecurity. That can have a sickening effect on you. Often, the worry does more harm to you than the thing you are worried about. The crisis passes, without ever fully developing in the way you first imagined. You are left with an ulcer or some other complex.
The cure for worry is the Gospel of Jesus. His loving reminders of important you are to God, that God did everything needed to save you and keep you forever.
Another song we learned in Vacation Bible School, sort of the theme of the week was,
    “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Ephes. 2:8
On the cross Jesus died for those whom He loved, for those who according to His calculation were valuable, were worth it, were worth whatever it took.  Even while you were still a sinner, still in sin and unbelief and uncaring, He loved you by giving His life for your forgiveness and by rising again, alive to bless you forever.

In Jesus calculation you are valuable because He has made you to be a new creation, dead to the sin and weakness from before, alive for His righteousness and His life forever. Amen.

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