Faithlife Sermons

Fear not little flock BR Rd 12 May 02 AM

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 2 views
Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

Fear not little flock

Luke 12:32

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

NIV

32Μὴ φοβου, τὸ μικρὸν ποίμνιον, ότι ευδόκησεν ο πατὴρ υμων δουναι υμιν τὴν βασιλείαν. 33Πωλήσατε τὰ υπάρχοντα υμων καὶ δότε ελεημοσύνην· ποιήσατε εαυτοις βαλλάντια μὴ παλαιούμενα, θησαυρὸν ανέκλειπτον εν τοις ουρανοις, όπου κλέπτης ουκ εγγίζει ουδὲ σὴς διαφθείρει· 34όπου γάρ εστιν ο θησαυρὸς υμων, εκει καὶ η καρδία υμων έσται.

I want you to exercise your imagination this morning as we try to capture the scene as Jesus talks to the crowd and to his disciples.  You have only to read these verses to sense that this was one of those gatherings upon a hillside.  There are allusions to the ravens and the flowers, the birds and the wider world.  Again and again He encourages them not to worry about the everyday things which are the usual focus of our thoughts.

We know the kind of people who were there. In the previous chapter the Pharisees are given “a hard time”, the people demand signs. And in the opening verses of this chapter Luke tells us:

Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples,

That scene setting is important. We identify ourselves with the disciples and we realise that they are probably sitting closest to Him.

Then a little further away the crowds of curious people, amongst them the religious leaders who had been addressed so sharply in Chapter 11.

A man cries out from the crowd asking for Jesus to make a decision of probate and is put in his place.  (13)

In the invisible distance – beyond the Palestine horizon lies the “pagan world” (30) with a value system that is alien in all sorts of ways.  True, it intrudes a little. Who is to say there was no Roman soldier present to look out for troublemakers?

Sit with me for a moment, in close proximity to the One who speaks as he turns to them with tones of touching affection and familiarity:

“Do not be afraid, little flock…”

Nowhere else does Jesus use such a phrase and we sense the warmth of His love for them – and for us.

This morning I want us to draw close to the Lord as He speaks, and pull into a true perspective the things that worry us and cause us pain.

The Lord who had looked up at the Pharisees and seen into their inner hypocrisy, who had been distracted by the man who wanted his inheritance – now asks them to look at the birds,(24) to consider the flowers, (27) and makes a humorous reference to the foolishness of trying to add to yourself by thinking hard (25).  His gaze is drawn ever nearer until it falls on that small band of followers near to Him.

“Do not be afraid, little flock…”

And here – in this church building – we too have gathered for a short while to be closer to Him.   There is a world of worry out there.  There are cares and troubles we brought with us here. We need to hear His voice putting things into perspective – drawing our gaze and our adoration to the Lord Himself.     We too are aware of injustices, hypocrisy, and above all a sense of vulnerability – we feel small, even insignificant – perhaps even persecuted or got at. 

It might seem to us that we don’t count for much in the world – maybe even in the church.  He looks at us, who knows our hearts, our worries and our “little faith” (28) and He says:

“Do not be afraid, little flock…”

And suddenly I matter – because He loves me, knows me and has a plan for me.

I have spent rather longer than usual on my introduction – because I believe it is significant for our understanding of these words.

32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

              Our situation

              Our status

              Our objective

A.  Our Situation             “little flock”

For all the thousands that had gathered on that hillside so that there was scarcely room to move – the true disciples of Jesus were in the minority.

It is often like that in the Gospel narratives. The crowds – and the small band of true disciples. And Jesus has much time for the crowd “they are like sheep without a shepherd”  whereas we …

Yes – we have the Shepherd – but sometimes it’s me Lord that needs attention.

Look down a few verses and you will see that Simon Peter feels he has to ask Jesus whether He is speaking to them – or to everyone. (41) 

I know how you feel, Peter.   Jesus has so many wonderful things to say – and some of his parables seem to give us a status and importance that seems a bit out of place.

What is our situation?

We may well feel outnumbered,  even sidelined, and of no real significance. 

Often the church is as guilty as others at concentrating on an inner circle and marginalising the others.

Whatever the reason we may feel SMALL and WEAK, VULNERABLE and PRONE TO WORRY.

What can we do about this?

When worry – about which Jesus has so much to say in these verses – seems to surround us?

We can be found CLOSE TO JESUS – like Mary, sitting at His feet.

And the Lord who sees the multitude – and doubtless has compassion on it as sheep without a shepherd – looks at us – and we HAVE a Shepherd – we are His LITTLE FLOCK.

Not because we are special or good or right – but because He has given us His grace and chosen us.

“Do not fear, little flock, …

 

What matters – as we repeat over and over again – is that we belong to Him.

That we choose to be as close to Him as we can.

It is likely that we shall remain in the minority. The world may not either care for us or give us the time of day – and even the church may sometimes seem to function without us – but to Him we are

“His flock the sheep of His pasture”                             

6 Come, let us bow down in worship,                                       PSALM 95 -

let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;

7 for he is our God

and we are the people of his pasture,

the flock under his care.

 

11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:                                       ISAIAH 40  11

He gathers the lambs in his arms

and carries them close to his heart;

he gently leads those that have young.

Over and over again the Lord speaks of His people as His flock. That is our situation.

But of course there is more here in these verses than that:

B.  Our Status            “your Father … the kingdom”

32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Or as the NIV expresses it as an accomplished reality:

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 

Do I not sense the Master’s love and tenderness in His words?

Your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom…

 

That which changes our Situation is the sovereign purpose of our God – the loving tenderness of our Saviour – the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

This takes away my fear and my sense of inferiority.

But it does more besides – it promises me a rich inheritance:

a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.    v 33b

Clearly this teaching left a deep impression on Simon Peter – for he draws on it in his first letter:

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.                                     1 Peter 1 : 3-6

 

 

The little flock with the immense inheritance!

Some decry the thought of a treasure in heaven – choosing instead to worry about food and clothing, and the so called necessities of life – but what we have in heaven is infinitely valuable and precious.

The crowd disperses – the man who shouted out about his inheritance goes off to see the lawyers again – the Pharisees go back to their influential and misguided lives.

The little flock stays close to the Shepherd.        THAT IS OUR STATUS

C.  Our Objective     “where your treasure is…” 34

32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Put quite simply Our Objective is to PUT HIM FIRST:

“Where your treasure is…”

And where is it?  With Him of course.

Yet the sad reality so often is that we are preoccupied with other things – things that don’t last, that fail, where thieves take and moth corrupts.

And so we spend inordinate amounts of time fretting about the things that don’t matter.

I believe that the church gets things out of perspective.  Human judgement and human decisions take precedence over His way and His Spirit’s will.

In short we become overly concerned with THINGS THAT CHANGE when what matters is Him who changes not.

We fear that which can destroy the body – but not Him who has power of JUDGEMENT over us.

Jesus does not decry the importance of everyday needs. His teaching makes it clear that God knows what we need.  (22-33)

But He does make it plain that OUR SITUATION is DIFFERENT, our STATUS is UNIQUE and our OBJECTIVE is to SET OUR HEART ON HIM.

Throughout this whole chapter the stress is upon God who CARES and PROVIDES – but also JUDGES (5) and acknowledges those who are His (8)

His parable of the rich fool underscores further the folly of a world view that is only concerned with possessions in this world. (13-21)

Jesus knows that His disciples WORRY – so he gives them a picture lesson in God’s providence – RAVENS and LILLIES.

Those who are HIS LITTLE FLOCK

for whom the FATHER IS PLEASED TO GIVE THE KINGDOM

must “seek his kingdom” and discount what the world counts profit.

In a world where material things are valued most

God’s little flock is to value HIM and their STATUS as HIS

Surrender the material for the spiritual.

34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

This is the test of the little flock. 

Where is OUR TREASURE?

So become part of that crowd on the hillside as Jesus speaks.

Make sure you are in that inner ring of His followers

That LITTLE FLOCK – infinitely precious to Him

Know and acknowledge       Your SITUATION         at His feet

                                        Your STATUS             to whom the Father gives

and                                   Your OBJECTIVE         to treasure HIM most of all.

Related Media
Related Sermons