Chapter Two - The Fifth Sparrow
I want to talk to you on the subject of sparrows and what they can say unto us. I have two excellent texts: The first comes from Matthew 10:29,31:"You can buy two sparrows for a penny; yet not a single one of them falls to the ground without your Father's consent..,So do not be afraid; you are worth much more than sparrows"
The second comes from Luke 12:6-7:— "Aren't five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not a single one of them is for gotten by God...So do not be afraid: you are worth much more than many sparrows."
Did you not notice something unusual about these sentences? The first said, are not two sparrows sold for a certain amount of money? The second said , are not five sparrows sold for twice that amount?
The days of business enterprise is not new. Even in the days of Jesus there were those who said one or two will cost this much, but if you buy two of these, you will not only get twice the amount, but I'll throw in one extra for you. I took my little girl, to the supermarket one day. There was a little sign on one of the mechanical horses - 10 for one ride, but three for a quarter. What I am trying to say is that you are something and you are, as if it were, a fifth sparrow.
The direct appeal of the gospel to a young, fresh heart was the subject of a very delightful story told in the "Icing's Business" years ago. It seems that a little Spanish boy in a town called Vigo became a devout Christian . He was asked one day by an Englishman what was the influence upon which he acted. He said it was because of the odd sparrow. "What do you mean," the man asked? He said, "This is what I mean. You know that I collect and sell birds. I sell two birds for one chico. I will sell five birds for two chicos. I throw in the extra bird so people will be persuaded to buy my birds."
"I figure myself that our Lord Jesus the Christ knew well our custom of selling birds. I read this in God's Word. I throw in the extra sparrow in order to make weight - it is of no account at all. How, I say to myself, I am so small, insignificant that no one would think of counting me. But, oh marvelous, Jesus said not one sparrow is forgotten before God. I never hear anything like it, sir. No one but He could have thought of not forgetting me."
You read at this hour somewhat obscure - not knowing many around you; perhaps knowing a few who know of your presence where you are. Outside the Church you may consider yourself a very small individual - maybe you are -, but God knows of YOU, In God's Word we read, "Not one sparrow falls to the ground without His knowing it," Sparrows are numerous. They were numerous in Palestine. There were many of them. So, today, everywhere, God knows them all.
The sparrow that came to the parsonage and found a lodging place on the back patio to eat from a bird feeder was known by God. God knew of that particular sparrow. I want you to know that the word "fall" used in the scripture has a very unusual connotation. Naturally, we think of death, do we not? If we would take a poll, by a show of hands, the majority, if not all, would consider this as being referred to as death. Not a sparrow falls - the one hit by your car last summer, or sometime, - was known by God. This is not the idea of the Greek word. The Greek word is an Aramaic word which means "to lite." This makes the verse even greater. It is not just the falling of death of a sparrow, but it is the lifting of every little pair of feet on the ground. Every little "hop" is noticed by God.
It is the argument of Jesus that if God takes care of a sparrow like this, he'll take care of you even more. It was Jesus who encouraged people. Do not fear for my Father knows of the sparrow - the smallest and the least valued of birds. He takes care of them. The hairs of — your head are even numbered. He'll protect, and He'll provide, so don't worry what men can do unto you.
Only 6 places in God's Word is the word "sparrow" used. I read four this morning. There are two found in the Psalms. On 41 other occasions the word bird is used, but the sparrow is used only on 6 occasions, as I have found it:
Psalm 84:1-3, "Yea, the sparrow has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young..." Sparrows have found a home - a special place.
Home is where the heart is:
Psalm 102:7, "I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the housetop. Just this morning I saw one lonely sparrow sitting on the top of our garage. God knew that little sparrow was there.
Before we go into our message, I want you to know one thing. The scripture used earlier did not say that the hairs of your head are counted, but they are numbered, Does this mean that God counts each hair? No, it is far more than that, counting is a human process. He numbers our hair, we read. This is greater than counting. Counting is human, numbering is far more, for it attaches to each a value, like giving each a label, This is far more important. I would suggest to you:
- The Sparrow of Care - (Preparation)
- The Sparrow of Confidence - (Positiveness)
- The Sparrow of Cater - (Provision)
- The Sparrow of Custody - (Protection)
Keeping in mind that of Jesus, birds were very precious to Him. They were free. Perhaps their freedom arid their trust in God gave Jesus a deeper insight into His Father's love. In short, He must have seen the courage that His friends had.
I. The Sparrow of Care (Preparation)
Elizabeth Channing said in writing a poem, "1 would really like to know," said the Robin to the Sparrow, "why these anxious human being rush around and worry so." Said the Sparrow to the Robin, "Friend, I think that it must be, that they have no heavenly father, such as cares for you and me." Can't you just picture these sparrows carrying on such a conversation when they look at us as we rush around and worry so? God is watching over us and caring for us. He watches and He knows, This should be so important to us.
II. The Sparrow of Confidence (Positiveness)
To know that God's eyes are watching you today and every act that you encounter should create a sense of positiveness or confidence in living. We're living. God is your partner, because He loves you. You are His through faith. This is taking life: confidently to its conclusion regardless of the circumstances. To have confidence is what everyone of us needs more of - particularly in the realm of "God-wardness."
We must be confident that His eye is on us. The writer of Hebrews writes, "Cast not away therefore your confidence which has great repence of reward." Don't cast away your confidence but increase in God.
Let me illustrate. Perhaps you have been through Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan, and you have seen the Edison display with his tiring work on the electric lamp. The entire lab was brought here from Menlo Park in New Jersey (even 5 train cars of the very ground on which it stood). Perhaps you knew that it burned down. That night Thomas Edison was standing a few feet away, standing beside his son. Later the son said, "My heart ached as I saw my father standing with the wind blowing his white hair arid before his eyes, going up in flames, was everything that was a part of him, that which he had given his life for. My heart ached, but Edison's heart did not ache. You know what he said? He said, 'Charles, quickly, go find your mother, hurry! Why, she will never see anything like this as long as she lives..'"
Do you see the pride? Confidences Go find your mother - she'll never see anything like this again And yet before his eyes was burning up everything that he had spent so many years in doing His dreams, his works. He said, "MY MISTAKES ARE BEING BURNED UP." This was a value of this personal catastrophe. Thank God we can start anew any second of the day we choose. We can't be defeated by life, because we are in reason of our confidence, as if it were in God - and in man.
Knowing God is involved, arid that we are worth more than a sparrow. We can't be defeated by life. We have come to know God, not by hearsay, but by a personal experience. Then we know the joyful thrills of taking life, and having this life tingling in our body, not just being half alive, but completely alive in God.
It is not saying if I had the wings of a dove I would fly away, but that we would wait upon the Lord, and renew our strength arid then mount up with the wings of an eagle. This happens when we incline our ears to God - and our souls shall live. To know the importance of a human soul. If God knows of the sparrow, how much more will he know of us? We are important to God. The worth of a souL What is the worth of a soul? Is it worth a thousand dollars? Is it worth a million dollars to have one person saved? We can't put a monetary value or figure on spiritual souls. We must go about our business knowing that we are sparrows - confident.
III. The Sparrow of Cater - (Provision)
God provides. A little boy was walking through a rescue mission in a large metropolitan city. He was given some food. He was given a place to sleep for the night. They found his parents and the next day he was to be taken to them. This little fellow was a Christian. One of the workers said, in a very thoughtless manner, "If God loves you so, why doesn't He take better care of you? Look at your shoes, look at your clothes." The little boy thought a while. This was a jolting question for a youngster. He thought, why doesn't God take better care of me? His eye is on the sparrow, does He know me? Then, do you know what he said?; "I guess He does I guess He tells somebody, but somebody forgets."
The Church today is forgetting! The Churches of our land are forgetting, Jesus is speaking through HIs Word, through His Church - to get into service, service for Him, But somebody forgets and somebody suffers, We have been commissioned, God does care.
Perhaps in a more illustrative way, John Brentz who was a friend of Martin Luther, the great stalwart of the Reformation of years gone by, found himself in danger. The cavalry was on its way to arrest him, He cast himself on God's mercy, It seemed that God led him to do two things: 1) Pick up a loaf of bread and run out of town, 2) Find an open door through which he could go and hide in the attic. He grabbed the bread and ran down the street and found a door that was open. He entered and went up to the attic, and there he stayed. One loaf of bread does not last very long, he thought to himself. I am sure if the song had been written, he would have thrilled to the message, "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. Every day a hen came in that open door, made its way up the old stairs to the attic and laid an egg WITHOUT cackling.
Fourteen days the little hen made her way to the same place, without cackling and giving any noise in the old house, The bread lasted this way, On the fifteenth day the hen did not come. On that day he ventured near a broken window and heard some of the townspeople saying that the soldiers had gone, if they only knew where he was, it would be safe for him to come out. I ask you, who told that hen to do as she did? True, His eye is on the sparrow, The sparrow of care - provision; the sparrow of cater, He will provide things for us in various realms.
A missionary was standing in a hut with a friend whose wife was dying. The medical missionary knew that ice would have to be had if the life was to be saved, But whoever heard of ice in this part of Africa? The missionary was somewhat beside himself, The husband, from the doorway said, "I remember you saying some time ago that God will provide us with everything.
Let' s pray for this." Reluctantly, at this point, the missionary did kneel down with his friend and prayed for ice. The missionary prayed for generalities, The husband prayed, "Lord, we need ice. I believe You can give it to us. Amen," When they had finished their prayer a chunk of ice the size of a walnut rolled into the hut from the open door. Upon going outside they found a small collection of hailstones which had been dropped right around that hut, Yet the hailstones had not damaged at all the crops on either side of the little hut, It was localized, They prayed believing and God gave.
You say this was too far away, too long ago and in a distant land, but it is true today, in the 20th century, in your life, that if you pray, believing - God said He will give it to you if you have faith - and if you pray not to consume it upon your own lust, There is much involved in this, but what I am saying to you is: if you say you believe and your mind believes it (not just your lips) many things are possible, for God's eyes are upon you.
IV. Sparrow Of Custody (Protection)
God has a special way of protecting you. A very special way. The enemy of the English sparrow happens to be the Cooper Hawk. But the little sparrows know that if they can go into the deep part of the thorny briarberry bush that is found all over England, they are safe. They wiggle in among the thorns and the Cooper Hawk comes down but is frustrated because he cannot get his prey. Now God has proved something for us with this hedge, spiritually speaking, except it is a barrier, which withstands all the fiery darts of the devil.
Hosea records: "Behold, I will hedge up they way with thorns" In Job we read about a hedge that was put around him. How protected today are the children of God, who are in the center of His will, those who are hid in Him? He protects us.
Let me say to you that God is aware of you, personally, of your needs, even before you ask. Often times He will not give you what you need or want His eye is on the sparrow and He will, because of His nature, take care of you. He will take care of you, if we have proper confidence. He will cater to us, He will be in custody of us, He will give us His protection.
Underneath are the everlasting arms of God. A number of years ago I was driving to New Orleans to take part in the dedication of a new educational building O I was driving along the freeway, exactly 45 miles an hour at the time, somewhere between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. It was in the early hours of the morning, around 1:00 or 2:00 A drunk man walked across my path. I was driving a new, foreign car, a Dauphine. Quickly I swerved to miss him, but in doing so, and due to the short wheel base of the car, lost control of it and the car rolled 134 feet. (I went 143, though).
Lying in the hospital for a number of weeks, there was one verse of scripture that cushioned me, so to speak: knowing that the Eternal is our refuge. In Deuteronomy, God is our refuge and underneath are His everlasting arms.
As I was being thrown from the car, to land half on the concrete and half on the shoulder of the road, my fall was being cushioned, I do believe. Those seeing the car said no one could possibly have come out of it alive. I had just heard recently, prior to the accident, the song, "His eye is on the sparrow.' Today, I am the fifth sparrow!
Someone has said, "I do not know and I cannot see what God's hand has prepared for me, nor can my glance pierce through the haze that covers my future ways, but yet, I know through it — all, rules He who notes the sparrow's fall."
We cannot get out of bounds from the love and care of God, for He notices us, He loves us, He surrounds us. This can be our song during days of carefree activities and this can be our song during days of personal catastrophes with which we become involved.
Nothing can interfere with our relationship with Him, if we have a relationship. But may I note concerning this relationship, from the words of Jesus, for His eyes to be on the sparrow properly. "Fear ye not. Ye are of more value than a sparrow," said Jesus. "Whosoever, there fore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. BUT whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.
This places it upon us. This places the whole of discipleship upon us. If as a disciple, you are prepared to cling to and acknowledge the friendship of Jesus, then this friendship will carry you past death and will serve you into the presence of God. If, on the other hand, you shirk from the consequences of being openly associated with Jesus, the Scriptures say He will part from you, and He will not be the protection for you. You see, the relationship be tween the Christ and His followers - between you and God - must be a mutual contract, with obligations and responsibilities on both sides. It is the nature of things that we cannot be on both sides. Jesus said we cannot be on the fence. H said, "Either you are for Me or against Me. And these words follow the words related to the sparrow sermon of Jesus.
Stop, Look, Listen, His eye is on the sparrow. "Why should I feel discouraged, why should the — shadows fall, why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home? Jesus is my portion, my constant friend is He, His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me. I sing because I'm happy. I sing because I'm free. For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches.
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. I sing because I'm happy. I sing because I'm free. For His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me. "
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