Trust your sovereign Father
Series: Trust Your Sovereign Father
As a nation, we are clearly in an unprecedented and very fluid situation regarding COVID-19, with new measures being introduced daily. The Citylight elders have been monitoring the ongoing developments with COVID-19, consulting with medical experts from our congregation, listening to the governor’s recommendations, and engaging in prayerful discussion. In light of this, we have unanimously decided, out of love for our members and neighbors, to suspend our normal worship gathering times and locations this Sunday. Instead of gathering in person, we will hold Citylight’s first ever online service.
Good morning. My name is Matt and I’m one of the pastors of Citylight Church. This morning our city, our nation, and our world is in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic as coronavirus continues to spread at an exponential rate. In the midst of the crises, church, I want to turn our attention to the word of God. What is the Lord Jesus’s word to us in the midst of this global pandemic? To answer that question, please open your Bible with me to Matthew 10:29-31. In Matthew 10:29-31, Jesus says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” The Lord Jesus Christ’s word to his followers as we face the coronavirus pandemic and the big idea of the message this morning is: Trust your sovereign Father in the face of coronavirus. Trust your sovereign Father in the face of coronavirus. The question that our passage helps us consider is “why?” Why should we trust our Father? Why should we trust our Father when scores are sick, when institutions close, when countries lockdown, thousands are dead, and the end isn’t in sight? The Lord Jesus provides us with two reasons that we’ll consider together this morning: 1. The reach of your Father’s sovereignty and 2. The comfort of your Father’s sovereignty.
THE REACH OF YOUR FATHER’S SOVEREIGNTY (VV. 29, 31)
Matthew 10:29, 31: Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father…Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than sparrows. Let’s follow Jesus’ logic so that we can discern his point. You can buy two sparrows with just one penny! Despite the relatively low value of sparrows, not one sparrow falls or dies apart from your Father. Lest you think the Father simply “allows” the death of every sparrow that falls, we read in Psalm 104:29 that God actually takes the breath from every animal that falls: When you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. In the US 13.7 million birds die every day and not one of them falls to the ground apart from the sovereign will of your Father. Jesus then argues from lesser to greater. Since your Father reigns absolutely sovereign over the breath of birds, how much more over the lives of his children who he has redeemed for himself through the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ! This brings us to Jesus’ point in verse 31: We can trust our sovereign Father in the face of all fear because His sovereign care reaches over absolutely everything that frightens us. The reason why we can trust our sovereign Father in the face of coronavirus is because his sovereignty reaches over everything. His sovereignty reaches over every particle that exists: Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created (Rev. 4:11). It’s only by his sovereignty that every particle continues to exist: He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3). His sovereignty reaches over every inch of creation: Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouse (Psalm 135:6-7)
God’s sovereignty reaches over absolutely everything, even horrible things like coronavirus? Lamentations 2:11, 3:37-38: My eyes are spent with weeping; my stomach churns; my bile is poured out to the grand because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, because infants and babies faint in the streets of the city…Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come? As the prophet Amos said, “Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?” (Amos 3:6). Since your Father’s sovereign reach extends even over everything, you can trust your Father in the face of anything because His sovereign care reaches over absolutely everything, even coronavirus. As the hymn write John Ryland once wrote:
“Plagues and death around me fly
til he bids I cannot die
not a single shaft can hit
til the God of love sees fit.”
So, first, trust your sovereign Father in the face of coronavirus because of the reach of God’s sovereignty. Let’s turn now, secondly, to…
THE COMFORT OF YOUR FATHER’S SOVEREIGNTY (vv. 29-31)
How do we bring the vast reach of God’s sovereignty down into our hearts as comfort as we face coronavirus? Matthew 10:29-31 again: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” How do we bring the absolute reach of God’s sovereignty home into our hearts as comfort in the face of all the fear that surrounds coronavirus? I believe the key is in the phrase in verse 29: And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. The reach of God’s sovereignty turns to comfort as we preach and pray the reach of God’s sovereignty over our fears. That brings me to an important question: what are you afraid of as you face the coronavirus pandemic? Take a moment and begin to draw them to mind. Do you have your fears in mind? Preach and pray the reach of your Father’s sovereignty over your fear by saying, “Soul: not a ______ apart from your Father’s sovereign care. “Not financial crises will occur, not a quarantine will be necessary, not a sickness will be caught, not a job will be lost, not a financial crises will be endured, not an opportunity will be missed, not an inconvenience will be suffered, and not even a life will be lost apart from your good Father’s sovereign care. Father, comfort my fearful soul with the absolute reach of your sovereign goodness. I will bless you even in this.” Preach and pray the reach of God’s sovereignty into your heart and it will be your ultimate comfort.
Why is it so important that we receive the comfort of God’s sovereignty as we face coronavirus? 2 Corinthians 1:3-4: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the with which we ourselves are comforted by God. Comforted people comfort people. In the coming weeks and months, life is going to change drastically for many of our fellow church members and neighbors. Some will be displaced, some will become sick, some will experience extreme financial hardship, some will be hungry, and all will need the comfort of Jesus in word and deed. The Citylight elders and staff will do our best to provide you with information and opportunity to comfort others, but only the comfort of God can provide you with the motivation. As we receive the comfort of God’s sovereignty, then and only then will we have the heart-resources necessary to look away from ourselves and comfort others with the same comfort that we have received.
We need the care and reach of God’s sovereignty and the two come together in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Christian gospel is the good news that God sovereignly willed and worked the most tragic evil, the death of Christ, for the good purpose of redemption. Remember, Isaiah 53 says that it was the will of the Lord to crush him and Acts 2 says that Jesus was delivered to death according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God. Christ fell to the ground not apart from your Father though He was infinitely more valuable than sparrows. The Lord Jesus Christ lived the life that we have all failed to live, a perfect. He died the death that we deserve to die to pay for our sins and he rose to forgive and save forever all who make Him their only hope in life and in death. And all of it happened according to your Father’s will. If your Father can work the death of Christ together for the sake of redeeming your soul, then you can trust Him in the face of the coronavirus, receive his comfort, and extend it to others.
Before we respond to our sovereign Father in worship, receive these words of his sovereign care.
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[h] for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[i] against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.[j] 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:28-39.