Fear Not, Part II

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32. In Part I of our study on the phrases of this text, we learned that, in order to “fear not,” we must experience the perfect love of God. We must ask for this love by spending time on our knees, talking with God, and we must care for the gift of this love by studying the character of God until His attributes, His love, become a part of us. As we grow in God’s love, we will attain peace.

Little Flock

Jesus calls us a “little flock.” If we look at the history of God’s people, we will find that they have always been in the minority. The throngs flock to worldly pleasures. Remember, it says in Hebrews 11:25 that Moses chose “rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” We must choose to belong to the few. We are not to worry about who is the greatest or who has the biggest church. After all, if we are on the Lord’s side, we are in the majority.

There are two good angels to every bad angel, and there is the universe beyond which is peopled with faithful beings. “When Satan became disaffected in heaven, . . . through their sympathy with him one third of the angels lost their innocence, their high estate, and their happy home.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 291. “Worlds are peopled by his power, and yet the humblest creatures of the earth are the objects of his love and care.” The Signs of the Times, December 12, 1878.

When Jesus was here on earth in human form, he had only a “little flock.” Even the nation and church which He had blessed and established turned Him down. They called Him a deceiver. (Matthew 27:63.) They even said that he had a devil. (John 7:20.) But Jesus was calm, undisturbed by criticism and not elated by praise, because He knew His heavenly Father. He knew that His cause was just and true, and that truth would triumph.

If we know that what we believe is true and that our belief is founded on the eternal principles given to us from our Heavenly Father, it will not make any difference how many or how few believe as do we. We can stand as firmly as Jesus did, even if it is only a “little flock.” Numbers never make a thing right; the principle is, Is it truth? The majority may be able to sway crowds, but only God can control the events.

Our Example

When Jesus was here, He spoke to crowds and even fed thousands by His miracles. People flocked to Him for healing. But He had only a faithful few that actually followed Him. Of His 12 disciples, even one of them betrayed Him, and the rest fled from the mob when He was captured in the Garden of Gethsemane. No one stood with Him at His trial. One of the disciples even denied he knew the man, Christ Jesus. (Matthew 4:23, 25; 14:21; 15:38; 26:47–49, 56, 69–72.) Through all of this, He triumphed.

As His followers, can we expect to be accepted by any great number? Only 120 were faithful in following His instructions at the time Jesus returned to heaven. (Acts 1:15.) It was only a “little flock,” but He did a mighty work with only a “little flock.” There were times when He did a mighty work with only one person.

In the end of time, God will have a “little flock,” and I do hope to be one of them.

Good Pleasure

Now we come to the phrase in Luke 12:32 that says, “It is your Father’s good pleasure.”

Ellen White tells us of the suffering that God has experienced and is going through as the result of sin: “Those who think of the result of hastening or hindering the gospel think of it in relation to themselves and to the world. Few think of its relation to God. Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator. All heaven suffered in Christ’s agony; but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God. Every departure from the right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings grief to Him. When there came upon Israel the calamities that were the sure result of separation from God,—subjugation by their enemies, cruelty, and death,—it is said that ‘His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.’ ‘In all their affliction He was afflicted: . . . and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.’ Judges 10:16; Isaiah 63:9.” Education, 263.

After reading of the suffering that our heavenly Father has gone through to redeem us from this world of sin and degradation, we should deem it a great privilege to bring even a little joy to His heart.

To Give

In our human experiences, we enjoy giving gifts to those we love and experiencing the thrill they have in receiving those gifts. And if the gift is something useful that the receiver will use for a while, seeing them use it may extend our joy.

Our key text says, “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give.” [Emphasis supplied.] “To give” is a great demonstration of Acts 20:35 that tells us, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” It brings the Father pleasure to give to His “little flock.”

“Our Heavenly Father gave Christ to our world as a sin-bearer, in order that he who would believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Having made so priceless a donation to men, will he not with Christ freely give us all things? In the gift of his Son, all heaven was opened up, that its priceless treasures might enrich men and women of faith. The love of God has been revealed to the hearts of believers, that they should diffuse the light of heaven, and not spend their time and money in lands and their cultivation, and in taking pleasure in the things which their imaginations might picture as being desirable, as did the inhabitants of the Noachic world.” Review and Herald, January 8, 1895.

The Kingdom

God’s eye is ever watching over us to help us to prepare for the day when He can say to us, “Enter into the joy of thy Lord.” (Matthew 25:21.) How great that joy is, we cannot comprehend, but, if faithful, we will be able to experience it someday soon.

Can you imagine, God giving us “the kingdom”? How great that kingdom is, we do not even know. But we are told that we will sit on the throne with Jesus, for it says, in Revelation 3:21, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” You may wonder to yourself, Can a God that rules the world and holds the stars in space and governs the unnumbered inhabited planets say to human beings such as you and I, “Come, sit with Me on My throne”?

When Jesus departed from this earth, He left with us a promise that has been held dear to the saints ever since: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.” John 14:1–3.

Redemption of the Saints

Jesus is coming again, and the best way I know how to describe His coming and the kingdom of God is to quote from the writings of Ellen G. White. The description she gives is thrilling, and I cannot improve upon it.

But first, let us read 1 Thessa-lonians 4:15–17: “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

“Soon appeared the great white cloud, upon which sat the Son of man. When it first appeared in the distance, this cloud looked very small. The angel said that it was the sign of the Son of man. As it drew nearer the earth, we could behold the excellent glory and majesty of Jesus as He rode forth to conquer. A retinue of holy angels, with bright, glittering crowns upon their heads, escorted Him on His way. No language can describe the glory of the scene. The living cloud of majesty and unsurpassed glory came still nearer, and we could clearly behold the lovely person of Jesus. He did not wear a crown of thorns, but a crown of glory rested upon His holy brow. Upon His vesture and thigh was a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords. His countenance was as bright as the noonday sun, His eyes were as a flame of fire, and His feet had the appearance of fine brass. His voice sounded like many musical instruments. The earth trembled before Him, the heavens departed as a scroll when it is rolled together, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. ‘And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?’ [Revelation 6:15–17.] Those who a short time before would have destroyed God’s faithful children from the earth, now witnessed the glory of God which rested upon them. And amid all their terror they heard the voices of the saints in joyful strains, saying, ‘Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us.’ [Isaiah 25:9.]

“The earth mightily shook as the voice of the Son of God called forth the sleeping saints. They responded to the call and came forth clothed with glorious immortality, crying, ‘Victory, victory, over death and the grave! O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ [1 Corinthians 15:55.] Then the living saints and the risen ones raised their voices in a long, transporting shout of victory. Those bodies that had gone down into the grave bearing the marks of disease and death came up in immortal health and vigor. The living saints are changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and caught up with the risen ones, and together they meet their Lord in the air. Oh, what a glorious meeting! Friends whom death had separated were united, never more to part.” Early Writings, 286, 287.

What an experience that will be to see Jesus come and know that we will be with Him forever!

Strive for the Strait Gate

It is recorded, in Luke 13:24, that Jesus said, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate.” In this parable, He is talking about the kingdom of God, for which it is surely worth striving. Following are additional descriptions of that kingdom:

“All the treasures of the universe will be open to the study of God’s redeemed. Unfettered by mortality, they wing their tireless flight to worlds afar—worlds that thrilled with sorrow at the spectacle of human woe and rang with songs of gladness at the tidings of a ransomed soul. With unutterable delight the children of earth enter into the joy and the wisdom of unfallen beings. They share the treasures of knowledge and understanding gained through ages upon ages in contemplation of God’s handiwork. With undimmed vision they gaze upon the glory of creation—suns and stars and systems, all in their appointed order circling the throne of Deity. Upon all things, from the least to the greatest, the Creator’s name is written, and in all are the riches of His power displayed.” The Great Controversy, 677, 678.

“And as the redeemed shall ascend to Heaven, the gates of the city of God will swing back, and those who have kept the truth will enter in. A voice, richer than any music that ever fell on mortal ear, will be heard saying, ‘Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ Then the righteous will receive their reward. Their lives will run parallel with the life of Jehovah. They will cast their crowns at the Redeemer’s feet, touch the golden harps, and fill all Heaven with rich music.” The Signs of the Times, April 15, 1889.

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32. What a wonderful promise! It would be well worth it for each of us to make first things first and to prepare for the kingdom of heaven.

Ruth Grosboll is an employee of Steps to Life. A retired registered nurse, she worked for many years with her husband in the mission field. She may be contacted by e-mail at: ruthgrosboll@stepstolife.org or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.