FEAR NOT, LITTLE FLOCK
Luke 12:31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
These words, “Fear Not” were the first words sent forth by God after he had remained silent for four hundred years from the last recorded revelation by him in Malachi 5:6. And the very last word in that final verse was the word “curse.” Malachi 4:6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. That is the very last verse the Old Testament. And what a fearful word that was to leave off communing with his people.
But then an angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias, soon to be the father of John the Baptist, as he ministered in the burning of incense in the temple during his course as a priest. And the angel’s first words were, “Fear not!” Luke 1:13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
And then the very next two words in our text bring even more comfort to our souls as he addresses us as his “little flock.” One reason these words bring so much comfort to our souls is that there cannot be a flock without a shepherd! That means that our Lord – the Eternal Son of God – holds Himself in the character of the Shepherd for us.
He is described in the scriptures as the Good Shepherd in John 10:11, who gives his life for the sheep. Then he is called the Great Shepherd in Hebrews 13:20, who is seen as the resurrected Lord confirming the eternal covenant with his blood! And lastly, he is seen in 1 Peter 5:4 as the Chief Shepherd who shall appear to bring forth crowns of glory! What a glorious Lord we have who “condescends to men of low estate.”
He “emptied himself” of his rightful status of glory in order to become our Shepherd! Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, (“emptied himself”), and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
All glory to God and the Lamb forever! How gentle and kind he is to his people! Isaiah 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
Listen to how he speaks of himself as he preached in his earthly ministry. John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Just as Jacob put the tender children out in front of his procession, allowing their steps to set the progress of his entire company when he went forth with Esau, so our Good Shepherd has diminished his own abilities in order to accommodate himself to our needs and progress. Genesis 33:13 And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die. 14 Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir.
For in order to save us he was even made “in the likeness of sinful flesh!” Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
Not all religionists have this relationship as sheep to the Lord, as Shepherd. And as their nature is not the nature of the sheep, they cannot hear his voice with saving affect. He plainly tells that to the Pharisees as they pressed him to be more plain in his identity!
John 10:24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one.
How amazing that statement is from the only true Shepherd! He didn’t say that ye believe in order to become a sheep! He said ye believe because ye are a sheep! My! Can you find anyone in all Christendom who believes that today?!? That cannot be believed if the carnal religious traditions are to be continuously maintained as if they are true religion!
And then he clearly states exactly why all his sheep shall come to him without the exception of a single one. For he sets it forth that he has given every one of his sheep two effectual gifts. He has sovereignly instilled within them ears always tuned to hear his voice and feet that will always follow him! Neither of these can ever fail! Revelation 14:4 These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
John 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
And so it still is today with his true ministers! For if they are not believed, as it is by the same Holy Spirit, it would be no different if Jesus himself was doing the preaching! John 13:20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. Luke 10:16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.
All these matters are set forth in order to cause his “little flock” not to fear. For they are not to be alarmed when they find themselves as but lambs among wolves! Luke 10:3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. For they have the greatest and best of all shepherds to protect them. Psalm 100:3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Earlier in our Luke twelve chapter he instructs us as to whom we should reverently fear. Even this is not a fear of terror, but a respectful submission to the Lord God. Luke 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? 7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
He is refocusing and restructuring our fearful emotions from the carnal to the spiritual. For godly fear is very much a part to true religion. Psalm 19:9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
In fact, the believer’s true fear is even a testimony of the hypocrites “token of perdition.” For it both reveals the believer’s evidence of salvation, and the unbelievers investment in perdition. Philippians 1:28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
But how does one rid himself of sinful fear? The Lord deals with that to the Prophet Isaiah. Let us consider that passage. Isaiah 8:11 For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, 12 Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. 13 Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15 And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.
The way to rid ones self of the sinful fear of man is to have one’s heart filled with the righteous fear of God! Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
One of the fallacies of religion, which the angel of light (Satan in his disguise of imitating Christ) is the nurturing of one’s soul by the false comforts of the body of believers, rather than seeking the Lord as our Comforter. Isaiah was commanded by God in that eighth chapter, (quoted above), to Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. That is, not to seek comfort in gathering together numbers of religionists. But to seek each individuals comfort in their own personal faith in the Lord God.
Peter was forcefully instructed by the Lord not to concern himself with John’s relationship to God, but to concern himself with Christ alone. John 21:20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? 21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? 22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. 23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
The body of true believers is of great benefit to itself. For “every joint supplieth.” But the “supply” of benefit from other believers is only to be had as every “joint” of the body, (the individual believer), itself relates directly to the head, even Christ! Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
The Apostle John wrote of this in his first epistle. In fact, he began his epistle setting forth this important fact. One must not relate to the body but only as he relates primarily to the Head, even the Lord God. He clearly states that one’s “fellowship” with the apostles is dependent upon one’s “fellowship” with the Father and the Son!
1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
We most certainly are told not to forsake our assembling together. But that action is qualified by the command to “provoke unto love and good works.” And we are to “exhort” one another as we see the end time approaching. That word, “exhorting,” means “to warn, to urge, to encourage.” That doesn’t sound like obtaining warm fuzzy feelings. That is our duty when approaching another believer!
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Pastor Gene Breed
July 16, 2020