The Little Flock Graciously Cautioned and Cheered
by William Nicholson, 1862
"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom!" Luke 12:32
We often distress ourselves with needless anxiety. The design of Christ in the context, is to induce his disciples to repose on the redeeming love, and the fostering care of his providence while passing through life; and to depend on his grace for spiritual bliss here, and the enjoyment of an everlasting kingdom.
I. An interesting Similitude.The Church of God is compared to a "flock." Every believer in Christ is a member of this flock. "My sheep hear my voice." John 10. Once they belonged not to it. "You were as sheep going astray." 1 Peter 2:25; Luke 15.
They have been, therefore, wandering sheep . . .
from the green pastures — to the barren wilderness;
from the fountain of all good, from living waters — to broken cisterns.
They have been exposed to danger — as a sheep when it wanders from the fold. Few animals are beset with more dangers, from the weather, lack of proper provision, ravenous beasts, etc.
Sheep possess little courage, cunning, or means of defense.
Sheep are helpless. We are "without strength."
They have been gathered into the Divine Fold by the Great Shepherd. He has enlightened their minds, and led them to Christ for moral cleansing. And they have dedicated themselves to God. They are now his flock. Christ is their Shepherd. He is called . . .
the Good Shepherd,
the Great Shepherd,
the Chief Shepherd,
and God's Shepherd.
He feeds his sheep,
he guides his sheep,
he refreshes his sheep,
he defends and saves his sheep.
II. A Painful Fact.It is a "little flock," or a very little flock. The original expression is a double diminutive, the literal translation of which is "little little flock".
This is true of Christ's flock in this world — his sheep are but few and feeble. The Church is a vineyard, a garden, a small spot — compared with the wilderness of this world.
It is a little flock, when compared with the Heathen world.
It is a little flock, when compared to the vast multitudes devoted . . .
to the love of mammon,
to the commission of sin with greediness,
to the "men of the world, who have their portion in this life."
It always has been so. To join that flock involves sacrifices and self-denial; to this the selfish heart of man is opposed.
III. A Gracious Purpose."It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom!" The kingdom of grace here — and the kingdom of glory and Heaven hereafter. "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world!" Matthew 25:34
This heavenly kingdom includes unsearchable riches, far exceeding the hoarded treasures of kings and provinces.
This heavenly kingdom is a kingdom . . .
It is an eternal kingdom!
"It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom!" This kingdom is a Gift, and he makes us fit for it. He gives it with more than paternal benevolence and delight. It is a gift flowing from his free grace, and his sovereign will and pleasure.
IV. A Necessary Caution."Do not be afraid."
The fears of God's flock are many — arising from various causes.
Why fear, when you have God Almighty for your Father — who has so much "good pleasure" towards you?
Why fear? The treasures of a kingdom are yours, and a Shepherd infinitely wise and kind will guide you safely through this world to the possession of it!