A Sermon by Dr. James McCullen
BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD
Text: John 1:32-36
Introduction
How many of you are wearing a watch that has a little hand and a big hand? That is, it's not a digital watch. Without looking at your watch can you tell me if it has numerals 1 through 12 or just 3, 6, 9, and 12? Now don't look. Fix you watch in your mind. Now take a look. Obviously, several of you were surprised to find out what the face of you watch really looks like. My point has been made. We look many times without really seeing all there is to see. Let me further establish my point. What time did your watch indicate when you looked? Again, it is obvious many looked at their watch but did not look close enough to tell the time.

John the Baptist, on two occasions, said, "behold the Lamb of God." He didn't want a passing glance but a real observation of Jesus. Today, I want us to take notice of seven facets of the Lamb of God.
 
 
 

I.    Behold the Purpose of the Lamb of God 
First
God Purpose was from the beginning.

Isa 53:6
6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.  (NAS)

2 Tim 1:9
9 who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,  (NAS)

Rev 5:9
9 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood {men} from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.  (NAS)

The Lamb of God is not an after thought. God did not say look at the mess the world is in, I'm going to have to do something. The supportive text informs us that God's plan and purpose involved the lamb. This plan was in tact before the world existed.

The work of the lamb is to redeem. This has been the plan of God even before time as we know it started. The lamb was slain about 2000 years ago but, the plan was designed billions of years ago.

Illustration
A little lady was witnessing to this fact when someone protested. Do you really believe God loved you before the world came into existence? The little lady responded, "if he didn't love me before, it's difficult to believe he would love me now."

In war there is a device known as an "exchange of prisoners." Oft times an officer of high rank is exchanged for scores or perhaps hundreds of ordinary soldiers, who are held by the enemy. Christ, the Captain of our Salvation, was turned over to the forces of Satan during His trial and death on Calvary, and Satan was allowed to do with Him what he would. He was spat upon; mocked; beaten; cursed; and finally killed. But in exchange for that, Satan was compelled to release all who "looked upon Him" as Lord and Savior. It was the exchange of the "one for the many;" the sacrifice of the "Lamb" for the erring race. It was His purpose.

Application

Behold the work of the lamb to redeem. Have you been redeemed? Behold the lambs purpose, and participate with Him in fulfilling it. Notice, also, the humility of the lamb.
 
 
 

II.    Behold the humility of the Lamb of God.  
Isa 53:7
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.  (NAS)
 

Matt 26:62-63
62 And the high priest stood up and said to Him, "Do You make no answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?"
63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, "I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God."    (NAS)

The lamb is a symbol of humility and meekness. Jesus pictures that quality in one of the facets of being the lamb. He was silent and humble before his accusers.

He came into this world with a stable for a birthplace. His mother was a handmaid. His lifestyle on this earth was one of humble means. In the last week of His physical life on this earth He rode into town on a
donkey. Again, a sign of humility. He was crucified between two thieves and His body placed in a borrowed tomb. All signs for us to behold the lamb in humility.

Illustration
I heard the story of a man who worked at a slaughter house. It was his job to cut the throat of the animals. The company had not slaughtered sheep. Then one day they began to work, also, with sheep. This slaughter house man put his knife to the first lamb that came through the line. The man slit the throat of that lamb. The animal saw the blood on the mans hand looked up at him and then licked the blood off his hand. I'm told the man quit his job. The humble lamb touched his heart.

Application

As you behold Jesus the Lamb of God, does He touch your heart? Would you quit a life of rebellion and turn to Christ? Notice, also, the purity of the lamb.
 
 
 

III.    Behold the Purity of the Lamb of God.  
1 Pet 1:18-19
18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,    19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, {the blood} of Christ.   (NAS)

God the Father demands a sacrifice unstained by sin. Jesus is the lamb without spot or blemish. He "...has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin."(Hebrews 4:15 b) The further testimony of scripture is "...He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Cor. 5:21) Jesus is the pure Lamb of God. Behold Him. Look also at the worthiness of the Lamb.
 
 
 

IV.    Behold the Worthiness of the Lamb of God.  
Rev 5:12
12 saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing."    (NAS)

In spiritual concern there is one opinion that matters. God has said about Jesus, "...This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." (Mt. 3:17) God is pleased with Jesus the Lamb of God because he is worthy. He is worthy, "...to receive power and riches and wisdom and might honor and glory and blessing."

Illustration
This week a man was chosen to be a vice-presidential candidate. A man not chosen, Jesse Jackson, spoke to a group and repeated a phrase "I'm qualified, I'm qualified, I may not have been chosen but, I'm qualified. But, evidently the presidential candidate didn't think this man was worthy. I make no judgements about Jesse Jackson's qualifications but, there is only one whose opinion really matters and that is the opinion of the man chosen for the candidate afor president.

Application

Has the worthy Lamb of God received the recognition of Lordship in your life? We need to behold the worthy Lamb of God. Now follow point number 5.
 
 
 

V.    Behold the Washing of the Lamb of God.  
Rev 7:14
14 And I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (NAS)

These verses share the truths of sin cleansing. Sin can be forgiven. It can not be whitewashed or covered by the works of mankind. God designated the plan whereby sin can be forgiven. He has always required a blood sacrifice. In the Bible sin is likened to the color red. But, the cleansing caused by the blood of Christ covering the sin makes it appear white. Washing the scarlet of sin in the blood of the lamb presents on spotless before the throne of God. Behold the washing of the Lamb of God. Now note the victory of the Lamb.
 
 
 

VI.    Behold the Victory of the Lamb.  
Rev 12:11
11 "And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death.   (NAS)

Rev 17:14
14 "These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him {are the} called and chosen and faithful."  (NAS)

In scripture Satan is likened to a snake, a dragon and like the roar of a lion. Jesus is often referred to as a lamb. Humanly speaking, lambs don't win victories over serpents. But, the lamb in spiritual terms is victorious. The Lamb also becomes the Lion of the tribe of Judah and He is victorious over the snake with a roar like a lion. We sang this hymn today.

Victory in Jesus
I heard and old, old story,
how a Savior came from glory,
How he gave his life on Calvary,
to save a wretch like me,
I heard about his groaning,
of his precious blood's atoning,
Then I repented of my sins,
and won the victory,
O victory in Jesus,
my Savior, forever, He sought me
and bought me with his redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew him,
and all my love is due him,
He plunged me to victory,
beneath the cleansing flood.
 

The lamb is victorious. We also need to recognize His wrath.
 
 
 

VII.    Behold the Wrath of the Lamb.  
Rev 6:15
15 And the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains;   (NAS)

Rev 14:10-11
10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.
11 "And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."   (NAS)

Everyone must have a relationship with this Lamb. We can meet Him in repentance at the cross and experience His forgiveness. We can also meet Him at the judgement seat without repentance and the cross and experience His Wrath.

The people in these verses have refused the cross. They cry for the rocks to fall in order to be hid from the wrath of the Lamb. The wrath of God is part of His character. We like to think only about his love but, His Wrath is so unusual, it is called the wrath of a lamb. However, there is a God provided hiding place. The old hymn Rock of Ages tells us about it.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from wrath and make me pure.
 
Not the labors of my hands,
Can fulfill they law's demands,
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone,
Thou must save, and thou alone.

Are you this day able to claim the Rock of Ages as your hiding place? Or would you this moment have to face the Wrath of God? Focus your attention also on the marriage of the Lamb.
 
 
 

VIII. Behold the Marriage of the Lamb.
Rev 19:7-9
7 "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready."
8 And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright {and} clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
9 And he said to me, "Write, 'Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'" And he said to me, "These are true words of God."   (NAS)

In contrast to the Wrath of the Lamb, is the marriage of the Lamb. The Lamb, of course, is Jesus and the bride is the church. They have their sin covered by the blood of the Lamb. They have been forgiven. They are born again. They are Christians. They are the bride.

The bride is aware of this coming marriage feast. She is getting herself ready for this celebration. She has the inner garment of salvation and now adorns herself with the outer garments of righteous works. He said, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify you father who is in heaven." (Matt. 5:16) The good works decorate the Christian life. They adorn the bride.

Illustration
Let me share this unbelievable story. A condemned man sits in his cell awaiting the fateful day of his execution. He hears the clank of the steel door as the warden permits a stranger to enter the cell. "We haven't time to lose, " says the stranger. "I am the king's son and I have heard of your plight. My heart goes out in pity for you for you have a family who needs you. I have come to exchange clothes and places with you. You are a free man; I will die in your place."

The prisoner, bewildered, almost believing it to be a dream, quickly obeys the command of the prince. In the attire of the prince, he walks out of the death-house a free man, and the prince dies upon the gallows that was built for him.

Application

This story, perhaps inadequate in many ways, shows in a small way, what Christ did when He took our place upon the cross that belonged to Barabbas, the condemned murderer and thief. Since the law says that a penalty for sin can only be exacted once, we, through His death, can be free men reconciled to God.

Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Has He taken your sin away? He will if you will yield your life to Him.

Please notice a suggested prayer for salvation. If you have not yielded your life to the Lordship of Christ, I urge you to sincerely pray this prayer.

A Prayer for Salvation
Dear Heavenly Father,
I know I am a sinner who cannot cleanse my own sin by works I do. I believe Jesus' death
on the cross is the only way my sin debt can be paid. I confess Jesus as Lord of my life and commit myself to Him. I repent of my sin and desire to live a Christian life through the power You give. Right now I invite Jesus into my life; I yield completely to Him believing He will do what His word says He will do and that is to give me salvation. Thank you for your free gift.

I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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