The Little Flock

 

 

In the gospel of Luke Jesus refers to, “The little flock.” That statement is seldom seen as prophetic, but it is. I have told you more than once that we are not Protestants. We are part of that little flock that never abandoned the basics of the message of Jesus. The most obvious thing is of course our observation of the Sabbath. We were little from the beginning. Nearly any other denomination you can think of is bigger than us. Catholics are by far the largest and many of the Protestant denominations are also huge.  Here are some examples.

1.      Catholics, 1.2 Billion

2.      Baptists, 110 Million

3.      Pentacostals, 105 Million

4.      Methodists, 75 Million

5.      Anglican, 73 Million

6.      Lutheran, 70 Million

7.      Seventh Day Adventists, 16 Million

8.      Jehovah Witnesses, 15 Million

9.      Latter Day Saints (Mormons), 14 Million

10.  Church of God (Seventh Day) 150,000

It’s good to know that what is right and wrong is not determined by vote. Salvation is not a popularity contest. You will not live your life with God as part of a democracy or a republic. You will live your in a monarchy! All hail King Jesus!!

 Historically the little flock has been mocked, ridiculed, and persecuted. The persecutors have been to a large extent the leaders of Sunday churches.

*   (Mat 10:16-23 NIV)  I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. {17} "Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. {18} On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. {19} But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, {20} for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. {21} "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. {22} All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. {23} When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

Let’s look at more scripture about that little flock.

 

Christ the good Shepherd

*   (John 10:10-16 NIV)  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. {11} "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. {12} The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. {13} The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. {14} "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-- {15} just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep. {16} I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

Christ is King of kings, Lord of lords, and Shepherd of shepherd.

*   (Acts 20:28-32 NIV)  Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. {29} I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. {30} Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. {31} So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. {32} "Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Do not be afraid

*   (Luke 12:31-40 NIV)  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. {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. {35} "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, {36} like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. {37} It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. {38} It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. {39} But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. {40} You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."

What have I asked of you but to serve you.

*   (1 Cor 9:3-18 NIV)  This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. {4} Don't we have the right to food and drink? {5} Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas ? {6} Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living? {7} Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? {8} Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn't the Law say the same thing? {9} For it is written in the Law of Moses: "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain." Is it about oxen that God is concerned? {10} Surely he says this for us, doesn't he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. {11} If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? {12} If others have this right of support from you, shouldn't we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. {13} Don't you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? {14} In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. {15} But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me. I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast. {16} Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! {17} If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. {18} What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in preaching it.

Tend, watch over, care for and do not abandon the flock.

*    (1 Pet 5:1-4 RSV)  So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed. {2} Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, {3} not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock. {4} And when the chief Shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory.

It is not something new that the church should be attacked from without or within.

*   (Luke 12:51-53 RSV)  Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; {52} for henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three; {53} they will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."

*   (1 Cor 11:17-19 RSV)  But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. {18} For, in the first place, when you assemble as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and I partly believe it, {19} for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.

*   (1 Th 5:21-25 KJV)  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. {22} Abstain from all appearance of evil. {23} And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. {24} Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. {25} Brethren, pray for us.

*   (Mat 7:15-23 NIV)  "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. {16} By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? {17} Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. {18} A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. {19} Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. {20} Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. {21} "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. {22} Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' {23} Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

*   (Rom 16:17-20 NIV)  I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. {18} For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. {19} Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. {20} The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

*   (Gal 5:13-16 NIV)  You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love. {14} The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." {15} If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. {16} So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

*   (Gal 5:25-26 NIV)  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. {26} Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

*   (Gal 6:1-7 NIV)  Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. {2} Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. {3} If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. {4} Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, {5} for each one should carry his own load. {6} Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. {7} Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

*   (1 Tim 4:13-16 NIV)  Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. {14} Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. {15} Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. {16} Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

 

So I ask you to be proud to be small, be proud to be seen as peculiar, be proud to be in the world but not like the world, be proud to be called a Son of God. Some of our literature proclaims we are the, “Biggest little church in town.” Sometimes less is more.

*   (Luke 13:23-27 NIV)  Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?" He said to them, {24} "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. {25} Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.' "But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.' {26} "Then you will say, 'We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.' {27} "But he will reply, 'I don't know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!'