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The Lamb of God #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
May 27, 2024 12:00 am

The Lamb of God #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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May 27, 2024 12:00 am

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Welcome to The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Hello, I'm Bill Wright. Thanks for joining us as we continue teaching God's people God's Word. Don begins a new message today, so without further delay, let's join him right now in The Truth Pulpit. As we come to this marvelous chapter in John chapter 1, what we are reading at the start is about the ministry of John the Baptist. God sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for the Lord Jesus Christ. In some ways, John the Baptist was a unique, great figure in all of biblical history.

He stood at the hinge point between the Old and the New Testament. As we read, the prophet Isaiah predicted the ministry of John the Baptist some 700 years before it actually took place and said what his purpose would be. And as we read the words of John the Baptist in this chapter, he is self-conscious of the fact that he is appointed by God, anointed by God, and fulfilling a prophetic role in the entire work and action of redemption, in the mission of redemption. The Lord had a particular unique role for John the Baptist, and I like to picture it in the simplest of ways. Picture John walking into a dark room, walking into the darkness of Israel there in the first century as they had been encrusted with all kinds of Pharisaic notions about the law of God and what true faith was. And into that darkness, God shone a spectacular spotlight that had John in the middle of it. And it drew attention from the people, from the nation, to John as he ministered. You can read about John's ministry elsewhere in Matthew chapter 3 and more about the message that he preached and the counsel that he gave to those who came and said, what shall we do?

Soldiers came and asked him, and he spoke to tax collectors and what they should do and all of these things. And so he had a very prominent ministry. But what John did, and if I can mix metaphors and talk about things that are not physically possible, what John did and what his purpose was, is that he grabbed that spotlight that was on him. And rather than keeping it there, he said in John chapter 3 verse 30, speaking of Christ, he said, he must increase and I must decrease. And so he took the spotlight and he shifted it away from himself and put it over onto the Lord Jesus Christ. That was his purpose. That was his ministry.

And that, my friends, is what John was doing when everyone's attention was on him. He said, behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Now it's interesting that John says the Lamb of God. It's interesting because if you're not very familiar or even if you're new to Scripture, it might seem very odd to you. Why would you refer to Jesus as a lamb?

And we're going to explain that. It had very specific connotations. But it's also interesting, both historically in the context of the first century and significant for our day, what it is that John was saying. You see, when John the Baptist came, he arrived at a nation that was expecting God to send them a conquering Messiah. They were living under the domination of Rome and they wanted to be independent. They wanted to be free. They wanted to be free to serve God as they thought he needed to be served. And they had understood the Old Testament Scriptures to give them a picture that God was going to send someone who would bring deliverance and bring deliverance, let's say, in a political and military way to break the political domination of Rome over them and restore them to being a people of their own.

They were expecting that. They didn't understand that in his first coming Jesus wasn't coming to conquer like that at all. Jesus was coming first to prepare the way spiritually so that one day his people would be able to reign with him in a time that is still future to us. They were not ready spiritually to reign. They were not ready spiritually for a conquering Messiah. And they had no ability of their own because they were dead in their trespasses and sins.

They had no ability of their own to prepare themselves for that time. And that's why John said, you have to repent. Repent. Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. You read that often in the ministry of John the Baptist.

Well beloved, and so when John comes and says, behold the Lamb of God, he is creating an entirely different picture than what the first century expectations were. Now, pause for a moment and consider our own situation now. Now, as we look forward to Christ's return, we'll see in days to come as we go through the book of Revelation at some point, I've been promising that for a long time, but we'll come and we'll see that Jesus Christ is going to return to earth as a conquering King of Kings. That time is still yet to come.

It's future to us today. But the problem, the spiritual problem that is so quickly overlooked, even in the church, and I say this with profound sorrow in my heart, but I've been convinced of this for a very, very long time. Many in the church are not spiritually prepared for the coming of Christ. When I say many in the church, many who gather and come to church and outwardly identify with the church, but still have cold, hard, unbelieving, unrepentant hearts and are in no different spiritual position. The advents of Christ are situated differently in our day than they were in the first century, but we still have people that are resistant to the authority of Christ, especially as it's expressed through his word. People that have no love for Christ, no love for his word, that aren't spiritually prepared, that have nothing of the beatitudes in their character, poor in spirit, mourning over sin, meek, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, peaceable, and suffering persecution for the sake of his name. I say this with all tenderness, beloved. I'm not at all trying to be polemical or confrontational here today, but look at the beatitudes and ask yourself whether that's the predominant trait that you see in people that claim to be Christians, and we have to be honest and say it's not.

It's sorrowful. People who outwardly profess the name of Christ lack the spiritual characteristics that he say always and exclusively belong to those who are in the kingdom of God. It's the same spiritual condition for an audience as it was in the days of John the Baptist, and this has been a great grief to my heart for many, many years now, and so I keep pointing that out and trust the Lord that one day, one by one in hearts, and perhaps one day there'll be, as others who share in ministry, like-minded ministry with me, as we say these things, that there would be a crack from which there would be a birth of many souls coming to Christ, cold Christians confessing their sin and coming humbly before him, saying, I'm tired of being the lukewarm Christian that's described in Revelation chapter 3.

I don't want you to spit me out of your mouth, but I can see entirely why you would. I don't want to be like those at Ephesus who had lost their first love and simply be an argumentative doctrinaire without any real love for Christ. All of these things we have to take seriously. Scripture is filled with warnings against unbelief in letters that are written to the churches, that are spoken to people within the outwardly professing body of Christ, and so we look at Scripture, we see the marks of a true Christian, we look at the world around us, we look at the church around us and see, wow, this is not matching up with what Scripture describes, and it calls us and it forces us, and even me, you know, I don't mind telling you, as I said these things, I've looked at my own heart, I've had to consider my own condition and come to some measure of grips with my own lukewarm approach to living for Christ. None of us, none of us should be approaching this table with a boastful, proud spirit here today, but each one looking to himself, each one looking to see what God, God's word would say about our own hearts, about our own lives, and having contemplated that, that we would look out beyond ourselves to behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

And so we're trusting God to work that into our hearts here this morning as we consider these things together. So with that sobering and yet hopeful look at things, let's consider what John meant when he said, behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Well, a lamb today, just like it was back then, simply a young sheep. And the lamb in the Old Testament was the principal, the main, the primary animal of sacrifice among the Jews of the Old Testament. They would slay lambs in accordance with the instructions of God in order to present blood that would grant them access into his presence.

And we're going to see that as we go along. But just as a general picture, just as a general principle, before we enter into the text, I just want to say this to you, just by way of understanding. Those first century Jews to whom John proclaimed behold the Lamb of God, they knew from their scriptures, they knew from their practice of religion, and they knew from key episodes in their national history, and they knew from key prophetic texts, this principle. They knew the principle of a lamb being sacrificed to preserve the life of someone else from the judgment of God.

Let me say that again. They knew the principle of a lamb being sacrificed to preserve the life of someone else from the judgment of God. A lamb was interposed between the people and judgment so that judgment did not fall upon them. And so what I want to do here in our first point for this morning, I want you to consider the lamb in the Old Testament. The lamb in the Old Testament. And when I say the lamb, what I'm talking about here is a literal lamb, not Christ as the lamb. What we want to do is we just want to quickly survey what the Bible says about a lamb in the Old Testament so that we can understand more fully what John meant when he said, Behold the Lamb of God. Cause, cause, if you and I understand what John meant when he said the Lamb of God, then we're going to immediately see what it means for you and me and for our souls. So let's start by considering the lamb in the Old Testament. And time doesn't allow us to really set the context like I would like to, so I'm going to rely on the fact that you know certain things about Old Testament history. When God was about to deliver his people from slavery in Egypt, and it was not planned out that Matt alluded to this in his opening when he talked about God delivering his people by his power, we did not coordinate that at all.

We never do. When God was about to deliver the people of Israel from Egypt, this principle came into play. And I want you to turn to the book of Exodus chapter 12 with me. Exodus chapter 12. You will remember that God sent Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh. They performed numerous signs in Pharaoh's presence.

God sent nine different plagues upon Egypt to bring pressure upon Pharaoh to let his people go. Pharaoh said, No, no. Okay, you can go. No, just kidding. No.

Yes, you can go. No. And it was all of this back and forth assimilation. And God building expectation as the severity of the plagues continued to grow. Well, now it was time for the climactic event. It was time for the tenth plague. And in Exodus chapter 12, beginning in verse 1, we read this, The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, This month shall be for you the beginning of months.

It shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month, every man shall take a lamb, according to their father's houses, a lamb for a household. Drop down to verse five. Your lamb shall be without blemish a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.

Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lentil of the houses in which they eat it. Now, beloved, remember what's happening here. Remember that God is about to deliver the entire household, all of that generation of Israelites, numbering hundreds of thousands, if not more, he's about to deliver them from the greatest nation that existed on earth at that day and bring them out from under that domination by his own power and deliver them ultimately to a land that would be their own where they could become a nation of their own. And this is a most critical episode and moment in the history of the people. And at that most historic, crucial transitional moment where the power of God was going to be uniquely displayed, a lamb is at the center of it.

That's what we need to keep in mind. And with this slain lamb, God gave them instruction on what they were to do. We read in verse 12 and 13, there in Exodus chapter 12, God says, I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast. And on all the gods of Egypt, I will execute judgments.

There's that word again. I am the Lord. And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

Drop down to verse 23. Again, Exodus chapter 12, for the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians. And when he sees the blood on the lentil and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you. So they slay this lamb, they take the blood, and they sort of paint it on the doorframe. And that blood was a visual representation of them being marked out and separated from the heathen Egyptians around them so that, this is the purpose clause in what I'm saying, it's so important, so that the judgment about to strike the Egyptians, the people and their animals and every firstborn would soon die by the stroke of judgment from the hand of God, that judgment would not fall on those that had the blood applied to the doorframe of their homes. And you can read about how all of that took place as you go along. Now, that wasn't all.

As God moved in and gave them instructions for their worship to follow in the Mosaic economy, he required a lamb as the daily sacrifice for Jews to meet him in worship. So in Exodus chapter 29, if you will turn there with me, Exodus 29. As you're turning there, let me just say this. I realize we're being rather slow and methodical in the development of the theme here.

That's necessary and it's by, I guess by my choice. Think about it this way. If you've ever flown intercontinentally, you've got to get on a big, big plane in order to get over the ocean. When the plane is taking off, it lumbers down the runway in what is seemingly a very slow and interminable process as it's picking up the necessary speed in order to lift off. That slow process is essential to the successful trip in the nature of aeronautical engineering, which I don't claim to know anything about. A message like this is somewhat like that plane lumbering down the runway.

It takes a while to get off, but once you do, you can go far, far places when you understand these things. And we need to understand these things carefully. We need to take our time with them so that we appreciate something of the significance of what it means that Jesus is the Lamb of God. So we're not going to rush through it because this is good for our souls to consider. Exodus chapter 29, beginning in verse 38. Again, what we're seeing here is the principle of a lamb being sacrificed in the context of daily worship in Israel. Verses 38 and 39.

God tells the people through Moses, now this is what you shall offer on the altar. Two lambs, a year old, day by day regularly. One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight. Now, the picture here, and this is a picture, this kind of sacrificial system was pointing forward to Christ all along. The picture is that the lamb was a symbol of innocence. The lamb had done nothing wrong. It was an unblemished animal physically, and lambs were, you know, I don't know much about sheep and lambs, but they're animals that are not aggressive, at least in their young age. And so they were a symbol of innocence, and the lamb was slain in substitution. That innocent, harmless lamb was slain as a substitute for those who were guilty so that the guilty could approach God. The gap, the chasm between holy God and sinful man needed a bridge of blood built so that the guilty could approach God.

And done on a daily basis, you can only imagine how deeply ingrained this was on the collective consciousness. Look at verse 41 of Exodus chapter 29. Again, as the plane is lumbering down the runway picking up speed, the other lamb you shall offer at twilight and shall offer it with a grain offering and its drink offering as in the morning for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord. It shall be a regular burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you to speak to you there. There I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified by my glory. You want to meet with me, there'll be a blood of a lamb that's necessary to meet with God.

Okay? That picture is pretty clear. Now, as we transition away from the literal lamb, as we're still considering the lamb in the Old Testament, as Revelation continued to unfold, as there was a progress in Revelation, God started with the picture with the lamb, literal lambs being slain, then he moved to prophecies. You can be turning to Isaiah 53 as I finish what I'm about to say. He turned to prophecies that more specifically spoke about the Messiah, and then later he brought the Messiah himself. God spoke, you know, think about as we speak to little children, little toddlers, and we speak to them somewhat in baby language as they're learning to develop their skills and their understanding, and then we grow and we can address them a little bit more directly, but when they're adults, we speak in an entirely different language because they have developed to a point where they are able to engage in adult conversation.

Well, in somewhat in a faint picture like this, God teaches his people, there's got to be bloodshed in order to meet with me, and he used an animal. Then he starts to transition into the so-called teenage years, I'm just speaking metaphorically here, and he starts to speak about what to expect from the coming Messiah, and then the Messiah comes and we have the adult manifestations, as it were, of Christ, and then the epistles are given after that to help us explain and understand even more the significance on the other side of the cross. There's a progress in Revelation.

It wasn't all dumped out at once because just like a toddler is not developed enough to talk about retirement plans and work ethic and all of that, so in the same way these often unconverted Jews at the time were learning the ABCs of how to approach a holy God, how to approach the God who had set them apart, they were learning the ABCs, and then when time came they could take the doctorate course in Christ, so to speak. So there's this progress that's going to take place as you go to Isaiah 53, and I think you're already there, I'm just catching up with you here in my pulpit Bible. Isaiah, the prophet, he pictured Christ, the Christ to come, as a lamb slain for sinners. So by this point, by the time Isaiah is making this prophecy, you've got maybe 800 years of the sacrificial process being established in the mind of Israel. Now Isaiah, 700 years before Christ, some 800 years, seven, 800 years after Moses, gives this passage which we know so well. Isaiah 53, verses four through seven. He says, surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted, but he was wounded for our transgressions.

He was crushed for our iniquities. Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray. Here it's using sheep not as a sacrifice, but as a picture of an animal that strays away. All we like sheep have gone astray.

We have turned everyone to his own way, and the Lord has laid the iniquity of us all on him. And then, verse seven, he was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth. Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. Isaiah says, there's a Messiah coming. He'll be a sin offering.

He'll be like a lamb. Verse 11, Isaiah 53, out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied. By his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Here is the focal point upon which sinners can be counted and accepted as righteous by God, is by this coming Messiah who will be like a lamb, who will have the sins of them placed upon him. He will be stricken.

He will shed his blood as a penal substitute sacrifice on their behalf. So that everyone that looks to that crucified Messiah could avoid death in the judgment of God. So that the judgment of God would pass over those who look to this Messiah for their deliverance and for their righteousness. So that those who look to the Messiah could find the one and only meeting place with God. There's continuity in the picture. There's continuity in the explanation. The lamb substitute the blood helping God and the basis upon which God passes over his people when he is judging others.

The lamb being the meeting place. That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit. And here's Don again with some closing thoughts.

Well thank you, Bill. And my friend, I want to let you know of a special ministry that we have at that's very near to my heart. We have a ministry to those who are in prison.

And in the nature of life, sometimes we have loved ones that go astray and find themselves behind bars and spending significant time in incarceration. Well we have a ministry to them. We send them transcripts of messages that I've preached from The Pulpit of Truth Community Church. We do it on a weekly basis.

They get mail every week. If you have a loved one in prison that you would like to have us reach out to in that way, do me a favor. Go to our website, That's Click on the link that says About and you'll see a drop down menu that will take you to our prison ministry. You can fill out the form and we'll be happy to respond and then join in with you in ministering to that one who is outside the normal course of society. So that's, the About link for our prison ministry.

That will do it for today. We'll see you next time on The Truth Pulpit. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Thank you so much for listening to The Truth Pulpit. Join us next time for more as we continue teaching God's people God's word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-27 05:01:04 / 2024-05-27 05:11:12 / 10

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