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Our attitude toward the future reveals, as few others things do, our actual doctrine of God, our actual theology. It is perilously to have our catechism truths down pat, there on the paper, but then to have the slightest threat or disturbance or turmoil or ominous cloud unsettle everything for us. We can’t sleep, it wrecks our appetite, and so our worries creep into all our conversations. This is a sin, and we must learn how to mortify it.
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
SUMMARY OF THE TEXT
This passage from Luke is unique to Luke, but it comes in the middle of some very familiar teaching. Immediately before this, we have a reprise of the Lord’s teaching from the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7). Consider the ravens. God feeds them. Consider the lilies. God clothes them. So don’t worry about what you are going to eat and drink and wear. And right before that is the parable of the rich man who thought he had it all under control (Luke 12:15-21). The warning is for those who are not rich toward God. A man’s life does not consist of the abundance of things he owns (Luke 12:15). Do not be of a doubtful mind (v. 29). The nations pursue that stuff, and the Father knows what you need (v. 30). Seek first the kingdom, and God will take care of you (v. 31).
Then the Lord says, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (v. 32).
Then right after this verse, He tells us to save up by giving away (v. 33). The best way to hold on to these things is with an open palm Put your treasure where you want your heart to be (v. 34).
TWO KINDS OF WORRY
One kind of worry has to do with your personal fortunes. The world is perceived to be operating normally out there, generating its normal ratios of winners and losers. Your worry has to do with whether you are going to wind up as one of the losers. This is the kind of thing the Lord was addressing directly when He told us not to worry about what we were going to eat, or drink, or wear. These are personal concerns. What if I go bankrupt? The good thing about this is that at least it is obvious that your concern is about yourself. When you are worried in this way, you have multiple Bible verses bouncing off your forehead.
But the other kind of worry disguises itself as “an interest in politics,” or “awareness of geopolitical affairs.” You see a bunch of people who appear to have lost their minds, bent on burning down the country, and a bunch of other people who appear to have lost their spines, who are bent on not interfering with them as they do it.
I want to treat this second kind of worry—the kind that follows the news avidly. But the base coat of sanctification paint for this kind of worry has to be dealing with personal worry correctly—whether it is worry about cancer, or slippery roads, or financial ruin, or how the kids are doing.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6, NKJV).
“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
THE LITTLE FLOCK AND THINGS TO COME
The Lord is aware of how imposing the church looks to the outside world, which is to say, not very. He calls us His “little flock.” But what is He going to do for this little flock? He is going to give the kingdom to us, and He is going to do this because it is His good pleasure.
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:37–39).
“Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor. 3:21–23).
There are two things to consider in all of this. The first is the protection that God promises His people. We have nothing to worry about from external threats because we are more than conquerors. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. One of the emphases here is the fact that we are protectedagainst all those things that might come after us in order to separate us from the love of God in Christ. We are protected in the event of unsuccessful attack, whether from death, or life, or celestial powers, or anything going on around us, or anything in the future. In fact, the end result of us being able to fight off all these is that we conquer. We are more than conquerors.
But it is not enough that the world is not going to be able to own us. Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. Fear not, little flock, and remember the Father’s good pleasure. Not only will the world not be able to own us, it will actually be a turnabout case. We own the world. All things are yours, whether the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come.
Yes, secular man wants to gather everything up in his arms and claim all of it. Yes, their hostility toward the church needs very little prompting to be fully manifested. But when they attack the heavens, the only thing they will succeed in doing is dragging deep heaven down upon their heads.
“Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, And hath conceived mischief, And brought forth falsehood. He made a pit, and digged it, And is fallen into the ditch which he made” (Psalm 7:14–15).
And why? Because Christ was crucified. And why? Because He was also buried. And why? Because He rose from the dead. And why? Because He is enthroned at the right hand of the Father, and is busily engaged in giving us kingdom.