Jack Carroll - Silverdale, B.C. Canada - August 29, 1942

Two chapters to read. One verse to memorize. I am going to speak mainly to the workers in this meeting. The rest of you can listen in if you wish. The chapters are Luke 11 and 12. The verse, Luke 12:32. With the exception of one interruption, chapter 12 has to do with the New Testament Ministry.

 

"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Fathers good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

"Fear not" occurs about 80 times in the Bible; 5 times in Luke's gospel.

"Fear not, Zacharias;" "Fear not, Mary;" "Fear not, Peter;" "Fear not, Jairus;" and "Fear not, apostles."

 

There are two kinds of "Fears:"

 

1.  Imaginary fears: There are some people whose whole lives are eaten up with imaginary fears. A man of 75 had inscribed on his mantelpiece, "I am an old man now. I have had many troubles during my life and most of them never happened."

 

2Fears that are real. Difficulties, problems, dangers that are inevitable in the path of life that must be faced and conquered. God promises grace and strength to overcome those fears in the minds and hearts of His disciples.

 

There were reasons for fears at this time. Luke 11 marks a definite crisis in the life and ministry of Jesus. It records an open break with the religious and poli­tical leaders of the nation. The three temptations of Luke 4 were designed to induce Him to line up with religious and political leaders of the nation, secure their support, and found the kind of kingdom they wanted. He resisted these temptations and these leaders were for over two years arrayed against Him. He now could hold back no longer, and in this 11th chapter He openly and publicly denounces them for what they were.  These men had the power of life and death, and knew it . He also knew it, the multitudes knew it, and it was now becoming apparent to His disciples.

 

1.        Note the effect on these:

2.        Professional religious leaders. Luke 11:53,54.

3.        Multitude. Luke 12:1 - excited, curious.

4.        Disciples. They were frightened. He read their thoughts, He analyzed their fears.

 

What were those fears?

1.        Luke 12:4, "And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can, do."

2.        Religious, Civil Military courts Luke 12:11, "And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:--

3.        Die from lack of food. Luke 12:22-23

4.       Perish with cold; from lack of clothing) Luke 12:22-23, "And He said unto His disciples, '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.'" When these fears take possession of a worker's heart, they weaken the purpose, shatter faith, blur the vision. Judas, Peter, John Mark, Demas.

 

Note the importance of the phrases suggested by this verse. Luke 12:32:Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.


The Fold, The Family, The Kingdom of God.

 

The phrase Fold of God emphasises the Undershepherd's responsibility.

The phrase Family of God the Bond Servant's responsibility.

The phraseKingdom of God, the responsibility of the individual desiring to become a citizen.

These phrases suggest different aspects of the same experience. They are synonymous and interchangeable.

 

Jesus was anxious on this occasion to emphasize the importance of the New Testament Ministry. He cannot do His work in the world apart from this ministry. His Ministers are necessary to the Fold as Undershepherds, Luke 15:1-7; John 21:15-20; Ephesians 4:11.

 

His Ministers are necessary to the Family as Bond Servants. I Peter 1:22-25, I Corinthians 3:6-7, etc. His Ministers are necessary to the Kingdom as Ambassadors. II Corinthians 5:18-21; Ephesians 6:20; etc. We say reverently, He cannot do without His Undershepherds, Bond servants, Ambassadors.  From the viewpoint of the Kingdom of God in time and eternity, the most important men and women in the world are those who have made themselves poor and homeless for His sake and who have gone forth to preach the Gospel in His Name and Way.  We could not go on, we could not continue, if we did not believe we are necessary to Him in doing His work in the world.

 

Is it worth while, then to keep on losing our lives as "the corn of wheat which falls into the ground and dies?" John 12:24-25, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." Some have said "No," and have given up the Ministry and are now saving their lives. We wish them well and pray that they may aim at true usefulness in the lesser sphere of service. Jesus' answer to this question is given in the words of Luke 14 12:32, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom."

 

What does this promise mean? What does it include? Matthew 19:27-30 may give some light on this. Peter said unto Him, "Behold we have left all and followed Thee. What shall we have therefore?" The rich young ruler had refused to forsake all and enter the New Testament Ministry, and gone away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Peter and others had done what this young man refused to do and Peter very naturally voices the question that was in his and their minds at this time.Jesus answers Peter's question and gives him and the others the promise of future and present reward:

 

1. Future: "And Jesus said unto them, 'Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also hall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.'"

2. Present: "And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or fathers or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first."

 

In Mark 10:30 the promise for the present has "persecutions" added, and "in the world to come eternal life."

 

There is a very close connection between Matthew 19:27-30 and Matthew 25:31-46, and these two passages should always be read and studied together. In Matthew 25 we read that sitting with Him "upon the throne of His glory" (25:31) are "these my brethren" of verse 40, who had made themselves, as His Undershepherds, Bond Servants, Ambassadors, as described in verses 35 and 36, "For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in; naked, and ye clothed Me; I was sink and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unto Me.

 

The words of Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46 described one phase of the Judgment. The attitude towards and treatment given to His brethren, His Undershepherds, Bond Servants, Ambas­sadors, who were losing their lives as His representatives in preaching the Gospel, will determine the destiny of many on that day.

 

What is your heart's attitude towards the men and women in this meeting who, while others are saving their lives, are losing theirs for Christ's sake and the Gospel's? Will you be numbered among the sheep or the goats on that Day? Will you be placed on the right hand side or the left?

 

There is a letter in the New Testament that tells us of two men, one of whom we may be sure will be numbered among the sheep on the right hand side and the other we may be equally sure will be numbered among the goats on the left hand side. Let us read over together first ten verses of John's third epistle:

 

"The elder unto the well beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: because that for His name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow helpers to the truth. I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to, have the preeminence among them receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content there­with, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church."

 

These verses tell us of two different attitudes of heart towards the Lord's Undershepherds, Bond Servants, Ambassadors.

 

Will you be on the right hand side with Gaius on the great day of reckoning, or will you be placed on the left hand with Diotrephes on that day? If you are playing the part of Gaius now in the Fold, Family, Kingdom of God, you will hear the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:34, "Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, 'Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.'" But if you are playing the part of Diotrephes, you will hear the words of Jesus in verse 41, "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.'"

 

The Lord, as the Chief Shepherd, tenderly watches over all who have made themselves poor and homeless for His sake and the Gospel's, and it was to them He said in Luke 12:32, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom."

 

The men and women I honor most today are those who throughout the years, in spite of temptations arising from within, or coming from without, have kept their lives upon the altar and are still giving themselves unhindered and unfettered in service true to God and man. To them I would apply these words and promise of Jesus today "Fear not little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.”

 

The words of Jesus in the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19, "Go ye and teach all nations", and in Mark 12 16:15, "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature" still stand. We in this our day are responsible for hastening His coming by a fuller and more sacrificial obedience to His commands so that this Gospel of the Kingdom may be preached as a witness to all nations. Matthew 24:14, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."

 

The Harvest is plenteous; the laborers few; the need is greater than ever to pray the Lord of the Harvest to thrust more laborers into His Harvest field. The two fold promise of Luke 12:31-32 will be literally fulfilled as we seek first the Kingdom's in­terest and go forward unashamed and unafraid. The Lord still reigns. His purpose is un­changed. "He willeth not that any should perish." The only remedy for a weary sin-sick world is the Gospel of His Son. I am not pessimistic as I look into the future. Visions of open doors, hearts, homes in many lands among many peoples, when this war is over, thrill me through and through, and my earnest prayer is that when the hour of our great­est opportunity comes, we will not be found wanting as Undershepherds, Bond Servants, Ambassadors in the Fold, Family, and Kingdom of God.