“FEAR NOT, LITTLE FLOCK”

Wayne S. Walker

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give
you the kingdom” (Lk. 12.32)

     INTRO.:  A song which describes Christ’s followers as a flock to
whom the kingdom is given is “Fear Not, Little Flock” (#524 in “Hymns for
Worship Revised” and #550 in “Sacred Selections for the Church”).  The
text was written by Mary Ann Pepper Kidder, who was born Mar. 16, 1820,
in Boston, MA.  Though she was blinded as a teenager, her sight was
restored after a few years.  A member of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
she lived in New York City, NY, for 46 years.  A biography of Fanny
Crosby said that Miss Crosby, Mrs. Kidder, and Josephine Pollard were a
trio of poetesses who provided the bulk of hymns which were set to music
by William Batchelder Bradbury and his associates for their Sunday school
songbooks.

     A few of her other songs which have found their way into some of our
books are “Did You Think to Pray?”, “The Christian’s Welcome Home,” “Is
My Name Written There?”, and “We Shall Sleep, but Not Forever.”  The date
given for “Fear Not, Little Flock” is 1882.  Mrs. Kidder apparently
returned later to Massachusetts, where she died at Chelsea on Nov. 25,
1905.  The tune was composed by James Gerald Dailey (b. 1854).  Little is
known about Dailey.  He lived in Philadelphia, PA, and later in Fredonia,
NY, and seems to have been a member of the Church of Christ.  Two of his
songs were owned and used by the Gospel Advocate Co., “The Love Song” or
“He Loved So,” beginning, “Why did my Savior come to earth And to the
humble go?”, and, lesser known, “The Comfort Song” or “He Careth for Me”
beginning, “Our Savior declared of the Father above, He careth for you,
He careth for me.”

     “Fear Not, Little Flock” has appeared in most hymnbooks published by
members of the Lord’s church for use among churches of Christ in the
early twentieth century.  E. L. Jorgenson included it in his 1921 “Great
Songs of the Church” (No. 1) and 1937 “Great Songs of the Church No. 2.”
It was used in all three books of the “Christian Hymns” series from the
Gospel Advocate, as well as Robert Welch’s “Abiding Hymns” and J. Nelson
Slater’s “Christian Hymnal” both done in 1963.  Today, it may still be
found in Alton Howard’s “Songs of the Church,” V. E. Howard’s “Church
Gospel Songs and Hymns,” and John Wiegand’s “Praise for the Lord,” as
well as “Hymns for Worship” and “Sacred Selections.”

     The song stresses the need to make and keep ourselves whiter than
snow.

I. Stanza 1 shows that Christ’s flock has the kingdom
“Fear not, little flock, says the Savior divine, The Father hath willed
that the kingdom be thine;
O, soil not your garments with sin here below, My sheep and my lambs must
be whiter than snow.”
  A. The kingdom of God on earth today is the church of our Lord Jesus
Christ: Matt. 16.18-19, Col. 1.13
  B. Those who a part of this kingdom must be careful not to soil their
garments with sin: Rev. 3.4
  C. Therefore, we need to make sure that we are cleansed of sin so that
we can be whiter than snow: Ps. 51.7

II. Stanza 2 shows that Christ’s flock has a fountain
“Far whiter than snow, and as fair as the day, For Christ is the fountain
to wash guilt away;
O, give Him, poor sinner, that burden of thine, And enter the fold with
the ninety and nine.”
  A. Again, God wants His people to be whiter than snow, and has made it
possible for us to be so: Isa. 1.18
  B. The means by which He has made it possible was that He sent Christ as
a fountain to wash our sins away: Zech. 13.1, 1 Jn. 1.7
  C. As a result, sinners are encouraged to come to Christ so that they
might enter the fold of this great Shepherd: Jn. 10.11-16

III. Stanza 3 shows that Christ’s flock has a reason for thanksgiving
“Yon sheep, that was lost in the valley of sin, Was found by the
Shepherd, who gathered him in;
With songs of thanksgiving the hills did resound, ‘My friends and my
neighbors, the lost sheep is found.'”
  A. All sinners are like sheep who have gone astray: 1 Pet. 2.25
  B. However, Jesus is the great Shepherd who came to seek the lost sheep:
Matt. 18.11-14
  C. Thus, we can rejoice with thanksgiving as do the angels of heaven
over the sheep that is found: Lk. 15.4-7

IV. Stanza 4 shows that Christ’s flock has a refuge
“Ride over temptation and cease your alarms, Your shepherd is Jesus, your
refuge His arms;
He’ll never forsake you, a Brother and Friend, But love you and save you
in worlds without end.”
  A. As long as we live in this life, we must be beset by temptations:
Jas. 1.14-15
  B. However, Jesus is a refuge to whom we can flee to help us resist
temptations: Heb. 6.18-20
  C. He has promised that as long as we remain with Him, He will never
forsake us here and He will give us eternal life hereafter: Heb. 13.5-6,
1 Jn. 2.25

     CONCL.:  The chorus repeats the thought that to have these wonderful
blessings that are found in Christ’s flock by the power of the Good
Shepherd, we must keep ourselves pure.
“Whiter than snow (I long to be dear Savior), Whiter than snow (I long to
be),
Whiter than snow (I long to be dear Savior), Whiter than the snow (Whiter
than the snow).”
Journeying through this world toward our heavenly home, there will always
be perils to alarm us.  However, those who have been made whiter than
snow by the blood of the Lamb can take comfort in those words of Christ
to His followers, “Fear Not, Little Flock.”

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