The Future and the Little Flock

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Introduction

Our attitude toward the future reveals, as few others things do, our actual doctrine of God, our actual theology. It is perilously easy to have our catechism truths down pat, there on the paper, but then to have the slightest threat or disturbance or turmoil or ominous cloud unsettle everything for us. We can’t sleep, it wrecks our appetite, and so our worries creep into all our conversations. This is a sin, and we must learn how to mortify it. 

The Text

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

Summary of the Text

This passage from Luke is unique to Luke, but it comes in the middle of some very familiar teaching. Immediately before this, we have a reprise of the Lord’s teaching from the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7). Consider the ravens. God feeds them. Consider the lilies. God clothes them. So don’t worry about what you are going to eat and drink and wear. And right before that we find the parable of the rich man who thought he had it all under control (Luke 12:15-21). The warning is for those who are not rich toward God. A man’s life does not consist of the abundance of the things he owns (Luke 12:15). Do not be of a doubtful mind (v. 29). The nations pursue all that stuff, and the Father knows what you need (v. 30). Seek first the kingdom, and God will take care of you (v. 31).

Then the Lord says, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (v. 32). This is our text.

Then right after this verse, He tells us to save up by giving away (v. 33). The best way to hold on to the things of earth is with an open palm. Put your treasure where you want your heart to be (v. 34).

Two Kinds of Worry

One kind of worry has to do with your personal fortunes. The world is perceived to be operating normally out there, generating its normal ratios of winners and losers. Your worry has to do with whether you are going to wind up as one of the losers. This is the kind of thing the Lord was addressing directly when He told us not to worry about what we were going to eat, or drink, or wear. These are personal concerns. Someone else has enough to eat, but what if I go hungry? What if I go bankrupt? The good thing about this is that at least it is obvious that your concern is about yourself. When you are worried in this way, you have multiple Bible verses bouncing off your forehead.

But the other kind of worry disguises itself as “an interest in politics,” or “awareness of geopolitical affairs.” You see a bunch of people out there who appear to have lost their minds, bent on burning down the country, and a bunch of other people who appear to have lost their spines, who are bent on not interfering with them as they do it.

So I want to treat this second kind of worry—the kind that follows the news avidly, and is worried about the political and cultural future. But the base coat of sanctification paint for dealing with this kind of worry has to be dealing with the first kind of worry correctly—whether it is worry about cancer, or slippery roads, or financial ruin, or how the kids are doing.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

Philippians 4:6 (NKJV)

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

1 Peter 5:7 (KJB)

The Little Flock and Things to Come

The Lord is aware of how imposing the church looks to the outside world, which is to say, not very. He calls us His “little flock.” But what is He going to do for this little flock? He is going to give the kingdom to us, and He is going to do this because it is His good pleasure.

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Rom. 8:37–39 (KJV)

“Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.”

1 Cor. 3:21–23 (KJV)

This is what it looks like as He gives us the kingdom.

There are two things to consider in all of this. The first is the protection that God promises His people. We have nothing to worry about from external threats because we are more than conquerors. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. One of the emphases here is the fact that we are protected against all those things that might come after us in order to separate us from the love of God in Christ. We are protected in the event of an unsuccessful attack, whether from death, or life, or celestial powers, or anything else going on around us, or anything in the future. In fact, the end result of us being able to fight off all these is that we conquer. We are more than conquerors.

But it is not enough that the world is not going to be able to own us. Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. Fear not, little flock, and remember what the Father’s good pleasure is. Not only will the world not be able to own us, it will actually be a turnabout case. We own the world. All things are yours, whether the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come.

Yes, secular man wants to gather everything up in his arms and claim all of it. Yes, their hostility toward the church needs very little prompting to be fully manifested. But when they attack the heavens, the only thing they will succeed in doing is dragging deep heaven down upon their heads.

“Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, And brought forth falsehood. He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.”

Psalm 7:14–15 (KJV)

They want immortality through science, but what they are going to get is the Christian faith everywhere. They want the singularity, but what they are going to get is Jesus Christ. They want to be lords of the earth, but what they are going to get is a praising of the Lord from the rising of the sun to the going down of the sun.

And why? Because Christ was crucified. And why? Because He was also buried. And why? Because He rose from the dead. And why? Because He is enthroned at the right hand of the Father, and is busily engaged in giving us the kingdom. 

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Sandra Koke
Sandra Koke
1 month ago

Thank you!

Douglas Singer
Douglas Singer
1 month ago

Amen!

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago

The words of John Chrysostom, building off of many of the verses you quoted: We who are disciples of Christ claim that our purpose on earth is to lay up treasures in heaven. But our actions often belie our words. Many Christians build themselves fine houses, lay out splendid gardens, construct bathhouses, and buy fields. It is small wonder, then, that many pagans refuse to believe what we say. “If their eyes are set on mansions in heaven,” they ask, “why are they building mansions on earth? If they put their words into practice, they would give away their riches… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Jonathan
Kristina Zubic
Kristina Zubic
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Who’s building mansions?

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  Kristina Zubic

No one. Jonathan is once again attacking Christ followers while he sides with the Christ-hating elite on almost every issue (COVID hysteria; silence about drag queens and pedos openly trying to convert our children; shutting down dissenting voices through censorship, lawsuits or raw state power; absurd double standards when it comes to over a year of riots vs. a one-day clown show, etc.)

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
1 month ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

What actual scripture (1 Tim 6:17-19) says: As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. Nowhere does it command the rich to “give away their riches and live in simple… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago

You seem to be ignoring that those verses follow 1 Timothy 6:6-10, where Timothy is told to teach his congregation that they can take nothing out of the world and should be content with food and clothing alone and should not seek riches. He then tells those already rich to let go of their wealth with generosity. Then, of course, there is Matthew 6:19-21, where Jesus explicitly tells his followers NOT to store up treasure on Earth, Luke 6:24, where Jesus preaches woe on those who are rich, and Mark 10:17-31, where Jesus orders the rich young man to sell… Read more »

Bobby
Bobby
1 month ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

Do you mean the COVID hysteria that has killed 610,000 Americans and 4,160,000 people worldwide? Not to mention the survivors who will live with debilitating health issues for the rest of their lives. Didn’t Wilson catch a lot of flak for marrying a serial pedophile to a young woman? The same pedophile that Wilson advocated to the court that he be given a light sentence. Didn’t Wilson dump on several women who were sexually assaulted by some of his disciples? Didn’t Wilson support Trump, who incited a mob to attack the US Capitol? Hasn’t Trump (Wilson’s candidate) advocated for censoring… Read more »

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
1 month ago
Reply to  Bobby

Bobby, what color is the sky in your world? Trump incited a mob? Please. Only in your syphilis-addled brain do the words “go home and go home in peace” mean “attack the Capitol”. The only one censoring the press around here is your pedophile Resident, who paranoically screens journalists’ questions before press briefings because the risk of just one of his slobbering sycophants accidentally asking a tough question is simply too great. And nothing says Puppet of Putin like helping ol’ Vlad build his pipeline while shutting ours down, all while slobbering over Iran, an ally of Russia. All this… Read more »

Bobby
Bobby
1 month ago

You’re a hoot!! Watch that blood pressure.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bobby
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
1 month ago
Reply to  Bobby

If anything, that you voted for a senile buffoon who can’t wipe his own behind to represent you makes my blood pressure go down.

Laughter will do that.

Last edited 1 month ago by The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

My entire comment was a quote of John Chrysostom. Are you saying he was a Christ-hater and not a Christ follower?

Bobby
Bobby
1 month ago
Reply to  Kristina Zubic

JP (Seldom Right But Never In Doubt) Stewart lied to you. Here’s a short list of Christians who own mansions.

David Green (Hobby Lobby), Mary Kay Ashe (deceased but now living in an even larger mansion), Jin Sook Chang, The Walton Family (6 billionaires),
Joyce Meyer, Ken Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Pat Robertson, TD Jakes.

Nathan Tuggy
Nathan Tuggy
1 month ago
Reply to  Bobby

Do you really have so little to post that you resort to listing prosperity gospel heretics to fill up the word count? Oh, and apparently objecting to the fact that God gives saints in heaven mansions.

As for your non-blatantly-heretical examples, I was vaguely aware that Hobby Lobby was somewhat Christian, although I don’t know the details, and had no clue about any of the others. Tagging them in as though they are a meaningful part of the conservative Reformed movement seems highly questionable. And when has Doug Wilson supported any mansion-building or wealth accumulation any of these people did?

Bobby
Bobby
1 month ago
Reply to  Nathan Tuggy

Oh, I see. I must have hit one of your thin-skinned nerves. Sorry, but your group of True Christians don’t get to make the comment rules and decide who is a Christian and who isn’t. By pointing out that Christians do indeed build mansions on earth, I was simply informing Ms. Zubic that Ms. Stewart had misled her. I don’t, object to mansions, heavenly or otherwise. I do object to Christians, wealthy or otherwise, fleecing the flock. It wouldn’t be a surprise if your conservative Reformed group had its share of mansion builders. You’ll note that I didn’t include Wilson… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Bobby
Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Nathan Tuggy

Nathan, if a pastor bragged that his home was 10 times larger than the home he started his ministry in, do you think that would qualify for John Chrysostom’s statement about “living in mansions”? Because I would think that living in a home 10x larger than what you actually needed would probably resemble a mansion, at least in the eyes of legendary golden-tongued preacher.

Hint: You may know the pastor I’m referring to.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jonathan
NorPor
NorPor
1 month ago

Your words are very timely and much needed. Thank you