Matthew 10:28-33 "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? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. "Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven."

We live in a strange world. And perhaps the world is not so strange, but our attitude toward life is strange. On the one hand there are those who would do almost anything to end their life. Often its those with terminal diseases, who are looking at suffering that will grow and grow each day, they see the end, they see that soon they will no longer be in control, and while they can, they want to choose the kind of death they die. They say, what do I have to live for? What do I have to look forward to? And so they despair of life.

At the same time that these are looking to end their life, there are even more who will do almost anything to prolong their life. Take pills, take vitamins, change your diet, regular exercise. Donít get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with good stewardship, and your body is a gift of God for which we are responsible. But when this healthy living becomes the center of life, and the thing around which our lives revolve, it has become idolatry. It is just as wrong as those who would commit suicide.

The curious thing is that there is much in common between the health nuts and the suicidal. Both are afraid of loss. Both are afraid of being out of control. Both are afraid of death. But more than all these things, both have a lack of faith, and both do not understand Godís purpose for them and their life. That is why their lives are out of control, they are apart from God, and God is the creator and preserver of life, and the one who truly gives life purpose.

People are apart from God, because when they look at themselves, they see their sin. And seeing their sin, they feel ashamed, they imagine the punishment they deserve, and before long they cannot see anything good. And in this lost condition, they cannot imagine that anyone could care for them, or love them. So depending on their perspective, either they look to end this life, or they cling tenaciously to life hoping that if they have enough time they can set everything right. But, neither plan works.

So Jesus tells us about sparrows. We donít think sparrows are worth much, but Jesus tells us that God cares for sparrows. And in the time of year when the little birds are learning to fly, how often havenít we seen one who is grounded, not quite strong enough to get going, perhaps afraid,... It is one thing to know that God cares for sparrows, but the thing that gladdens the heart is to hear that we are worth more than many sparrows, to hear that God cares for us, that God has a plan for our life.

Because God cares for us, he has done everything for us. He knows that we see our sins, and he knows that neither despair nor long life can remove our guilt and shame. So God sent his son to carry the load of our sin, and to suffer the punishment we deserve, so that God in Christ could give us forgiveness, and wash our sins away. But it didnít stop there, for the salvation of God didnít just fix our brokeness, it made us a new creation. The gift of God in Jesus Christ is that we have a new and everlasting life, and though life on this world will end, we look forward to a perfect life, with God, that lasts forever, and that is what waits for us on the other side of death.

You see, it is only through God in Christ, that the fear of death is removed, replaced with life everlasting. And now that there is no fear, for nothing can remove us from the hand of God, to take the salvation he has given us in the blood of Christ, the purpose of life also becomes clear. For our life is to witness to all that God has done for us in Jesus Christ, so that those who still fear death, those for fear the punishment their sins deserve, and those who try by good works to atone for what they have done, so that all the lost and frightened people of the world can hear the plan of God, and believe in the free gift of salvation that comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.