Word of the Month

Characteristics of the flock of Christ

November 2013

Jesus once told His disciples that they were just a little flock. This still applies today. It applies to Christianity as a whole, and it applies to us as New Apostolic Christians around the world. We are not very many in comparison to the population of the entire world. We are a little flock, and will probably remain so until the end. When we take a sober look at world history and the world today, we must realistically acknowledge that the gospel does not have much influence on the decisions that are made on this earth. The first thing anyone asks is: “How much money will it cost? What is the benefit for us? How much power can we gain?” It is not the gospel that defines the world. Here there are other values and powers that come into play. We are a little flock that only has a little power.

Nevertheless, Jesus told this little flock: “Do not fear”—God will give you His kingdom no matter what! (cf. Luke 12: 32). Therefore it does not depend on our numbers or the influence we have as Christians. Nor is it important to know how many we are or how strong we are. The only thing that is decisive is that we are part of this small flock. Those who belong to the flock of Christ do not need to fear. But who belongs to this flock of Christ? In His image of the good shepherd, Jesus mentioned some of the characteristics of those who are part of His flock, His church: His own hear His voice, they know that He reveals Himself through the word of God, and they ensure they have the composure and peace required to hear it. Those who want to hear His voice must come to Him, for example in the divine service, where we can experience His presence.

His flock knows Him. They know that He is the way and the truth, and they act accordingly. His words will never pass away. Those who know the Lord will take direction from His truth. They are not afraid of the future either, but are instead filled with confidence because Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life. When Jesus had to die on the cross, everyone thought that He had lost. It seemed as though hell had gained the victory. But the Lord is the resurrection! Nothing was able to prevent His victory.

Those who belong to the church of the Lord will follow Jesus Christ. They allow themselves to be led by Him, the good shepherd, and they follow His example. This includes subordinating their own will to the will of God, just as Jesus did. The important thing is not that God should solve all of our problems, but rather that we remain faithful to the Lord, even in our problems and concerns.

These are just a few points concerning the flock of Christ. The sheep know the Lord. They know that He is the truth and the resurrection. They take direction from His truth and look into the future with confidence. They follow the Lord wherever He goes and do not need to fear anything.

The Lord is already with them today and will soon give them the kingdom of God. Already today we can experience His nearness and care in the word from the altar, by partaking in the sacraments, and by experiencing His protection and presence in daily life.

(From a divine service of the Chief Apostle)