“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.”
These words of Jesus are found in Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount.
Oh, the children of God are also often concerned about the things of the flesh, the things of this present time. Very often the anxious questions well up in their hearts: What shall we eat and drink? Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Against all such care the Lord tells them: Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
But this is the thing these children of God shall seek: But rather seek ye the Kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you!
And then comes our text with a wonderful assurance: Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom!
Well may the Lord say that, for there are a thousand pressing dangers. Just realize how many are arrayed against this little flock. And it was ever thus. From the very beginning up to the present time the hosts of the wicked are against this little flock.
Look at Noah and his family: only eight souls. And all the millions around them are wicked reprobates that hate both God and them.
Behold Israel in the midst of haughty and mighty Egypt.
See little Israel in Palestine, surrounded by the wicked nations on every side.
Jesus, hanging on the cross”, surrounded by the jeering mob of Jews, Greeks and Romans.
The one hundred and twenty in Jerusalem.
Luther alone in Worms.
And we are a “little flock”!
We have no stadiums, Madison Square Gardens, castles or arenas: We do not count our millions and billions. Where are our treasures and pleasures? “For all the day long have we been plagued, and chastened every morning.”
Sometimes we are called “the few,” sometimes, the little bundle of life!
Even Christ Himself once said of His Church that they had little strength.
Compared to the great world, what is the Church at any time in the history of the world? We never make the headlines.
When Josephus wrote his books about the history of Israel at the time of Jesus’ sojourn on earth, he devoted one paragraph of a few sentences about the Man who called Himself Jesus.
That which catches the eye and the attention of every generation is not the Church of God, but the empires of the world, the power and ingenuity of man, the pleasures and treasures of the flesh.
No, the Church of God is a miserable little flock!
And yet, there seems to be a miraculous power in that little flock. They cannot be rooted out. Ail the power of the world in every age is turned against this little flock, and still they persist and exist. Far from being rooted out, they grow and multiply; and give their heritage to the generation following. There always was a church in the world.
And the empires of the world?
They are seen for a little while, and they disappear.
There is a great rolling Stone that grinds them to dust.
And that happens every time, although the world will never learn.
Where is Babel, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greco-Macedonia, Rome, and the host of Kings, Emperors, Caesars, Dictators and all the mighty men of the world’s history?
They are in hell, weeping and gnashing their teeth.
They were seen for a little while, and they spake great words, godless words. But very soon their breath was shut off, and they died miserably. And their followers were scattered.
Such is the lot of those that array themselves against the “little flock.”?
Hence, Fear not!
The Church of Jesus Christ should not fear, and that for two reasons.
The first reason is already alluded to in the foregoing: do not fear them for they are as nothing before the living God. They serve His counsel for a little while, and then he casts the razor He used in the fire.
And the second reason? It is because there is something within the church that is eternal in power. That something is so powerful that even the gates of hell cannot prevail against the Church of God.
That something is the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
If you belong to that Church of God you have God in you. You are called the Temple of the Holy Ghost!
You can also put it this way: if you are a member of the church of Jesus Christ, that Jesus lives within you, and He lives within you by His Spirit and His Word.
And that being so, you cannot be destroyed.
That happens to you when you are regenerated and converted, and faith is given to you.
And exactly because of that regeneration you are going to be hated by the devil for God’s sake. When the devil as much as smells the Godhead within you, he will hate you and use all his powers to destroy you.
And also the world will hate you because they are under the inspiration of the devil. And also your own flesh and blood will hate your new man within you for God’s sake, for our old man is in league with both the devil and the world.
That is your position and condition in this world.
Yet there are reasons enough why you should fear.
If you want an example of that fearful condition, and that fearful experience in the midst of the world, you should read Psalm 88.
We have a Psalm in the Holland language that speaks of this fear:
“Duizend zorgen, duizend dooden
Kwellen mijn angstvallig hart;
Voer mij uit mijn angst en nooden.”
Freely translated this means:
A thousand cares, a thousand deaths
Torture my fearful heart;
Lead me out of my fear and needs!
Yes, that’s the life of the church on earth.
But they must not fear. The Lord says: Fear not, little flock!
Because you cannot be destroyed. You have within you the eternal Father. You are the Temple of the Holy Ghost, and Jesus dwells within you by His Spirit and Word Divine.
And will you listen to the wonderful promise?
It is His good pleasure to give you the Kingdom!
The Kingdom what is it?
It is the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Christ and the Kingdom of the Church. Those are expressions of three points of view.
It is the Kingdom of God, since He is the originator of it. It comes forth from His good pleasure says the text. God thought of it eternally, and you may also say that He executes it. God must be all and in all.
It is the Kingdom of Christ, for He is the King of that Kingdom under God. And now we are talking about Christ the Mediator. Christ as to His human nature is raised up by God to be the King. David was His type of this Kingship.
And it is the Kingdom of the Church because God gives them this Kingdom as the citizens under Christ their King.
That Kingdom is heavenly as to its character, King, and citizens. And also as to its obligations.
The Kingdom itself is heavenly. There is nothing of the earthy, temporal, carnal, and of the flesh in it. It is all spiritual, heavenly, glorious and eternal. It is the new heaven and the new earth united. It is a Kingdom that is surpassing in beauty and attractiveness. It is all wrapped up in glory, virtue and comeliness. It makes the angels sing.
And as the Kingdom is, so is the King, and that is God in Christ Jesus. It is the beautiful Son of God who has gathered His children from far and near. It is rooted in His marvelous obedience, an obedience unto eternal death. And coming up out of the everlasting ocean of death and misery He has merited that Kingdom. And it is His to rule over under God to all eternity.
And the citizens are also heavenly. Even now, while you are on this earth. That is the reason why no one understands you. You are a walking mystery unto all earthlings. They do not discern the things of the Spirit nor the citizens of the Spirit. These citizens understand all things, but they themselves are never understood. They are born from heaven, and their inmost man is also heavenly. They long for that Kingdom in its full realization.
And the obligations of that Kingdom are heavenly. That is the injunction of the Holy Word. Set your affections on things above, not on the things below. They must set all their affections on things above, because their Redeemer and their Father is in heaven, not on the earth. They are crucified unto the world. There is a hatred, a war between them and the world. The world is crucified unto them, and they unto the world. They do not mix. They cannot mix. They are constantly transformed from the earthy to the heavenly. That is the reason you go to church, and the world goes to Madison Square Garden.
And that Kingdom is GIVEN, not offered, as foolish people prate. One moment you are without, and the next moment you have that Kingdom within you. That is the same thing as regeneration. Yu have nothing to say or to do in order to be regenerated. Hence, do not fear, little flock. The gift is the Kingdom! Be sure and thank Him!