Sermon #1374 Miscellaneous Notes
Title: THE LAMB, THE LION, THE LORD
Text: Revelation 5:1-14
Subject: John’s Vision of Christ
in the Bible is built upon, centers in, and points to a Lamb. In the Old
Testament, the hope of
In a word, all the blessings of mercy and grace from God symbolically flowed to the people through the blood of a lamb. That Lamb that was pointed to and represented by the typical worship of the Old Testament is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Substitute. When John the Baptist saw Christ coming toward him, he pointed his disciples to him and said, "Look, here he comes, the One promised, typified, and hoped for, the One upon whom we trust, the One I have been telling you about, `Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!'"
From the beginning, the only way sinful men could approach the holy God was through the blood of a slain lamb. They had to bring the blood of an innocent victim, offered as a sacrifice to God. That innocent lamb was a picture of Christ, the Lamb of God, who died the Just for the unjust that he might bring us to God (Gen. 4:4; Ex. 29:38-39; Lev. 1-8; 16:5-10). Yet, all the blood of those innocent victims offered upon Jewish altars, day after day and year after year, could never take away sin. They did nothing to appease the wrath of God. They did nothing to change the sinner.
Not all the blood of beasts,
On Jewish altars slain,
Could give the guilty conscience peace,
Or wash away the stain.
But Christ, the heavenly Lamb,
Takes all our sins away,
A sacrifice of nobler name
And richer blood than they!
Those Old Testament sacrifices simply taught one lesson which God always kept before men: Sinful men cannot approach God in his holiness without a blood sacrifice. They pointed men to Christ, the Lamb of God.
As fallen man cannot approach the holy God without a blood sacrifice, even so, the holy Lord God will not approach fallen man, but through the blood of a sin-atoning Lamb. God always deals with men through the Lamb. Judgment comes upon those who despise the Lamb; and mercy is bestowed upon those who trust the Lamb. This was clearly set forth in the sacrifice of the paschal lamb, which was a type of Christ (Ex. ; 1 Cor. 5:7). Even before the world was made, God's covenant mercy was bestowed upon his elect through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). Everything in the Word of God points to and finds its consummation in the Lamb.
The same thing is true with regard to eternity. In heaven's eternal glory, the central figure is the Lamb of God. When John was called up into heaven to behold things from heaven's vantage point, he said, "I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders stood a Lamb as it had been slain” (v. 6). Then he saw all the hosts of God's elect, both of men and of angels, falling down before the Lamb, crying in unison, "Worthy is the Lamb!"
Jesus Christ, in his sacrificial character as the Lamb of God, is the center of all things, the ruler of all things, and the prominent object of all true faith and worship. He is not the only object of faith and worship. We are trinitarians. We worship the Father and the Spirit, as well as the Son (1 John 5:7); but the triune God has given all preeminence to Christ, the Son, so that we worship the Father, the Son, and the Spirit only through Christ, the mediatorial Lamb.
I. THE PERCEPTION OF THE LAMB –
How did John see Christ? What condition was he in when he looked and beheld the Lamb of God in his glory? If you will read verses 1-4, you will notice that before the Lamb appeared, when there was no one found who was worthy to open the book which was held in the hand of him that sat upon the throne, John said, "I wept much."
on this fact, C.H. Spurgeon said,
"By weeping eyes the Lamb of God is best seen...Eyes washed by repentance
are best able to see those blessed truths which shine forth from our incarnate
God, the bearer of our sins. Free grace and dying love are most appreciated by
the mourners in
David said much the same thing. "I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed" (Psa. 34:4-5).
The Lamb of God must be revealed before he can be seen; but he is revealed to all who look to him. So look to him, that he may be revealed. Seeing him, you will weep over your sins (Zech. ).
And seeing him through the watery eyes of repentance, ask for grace that you may, by the Spirit of God, see him clearly, perceiving by faith who he is and what he has done for you.
II. THE PERSONALITY OF THE LAMB –
Christ's worthiness to receive all honor, worship, and praise is to be seen primarily in the greatness and glory of his Person and work. He is worthy, because of who he is and what he has done. "We love him, because he first loved us" (1 John ). Had he not loved us and redeemed us, we would never have loved him at all.
Yet, above all else, we love him for himself. "Unto you therefore which believe he is precious" (1 Pet. 2:7). Who is the Lord Jesus Christ? He is God our Savior, and a man like us. He is God and man in one glorious Person. Notice how the elder in verse 5 described him to John.
A. The Lamb of God is "The Lion of the tribe of Juda."
speaks of the dignity of Christ's office as our King and the majesty of his
Person as our Lord. According to the flesh, Christ came from the tribe of
Like a lion, he is great in strength. He is the mighty God, the able Savior, the strong Deliverer. He is an effectual Redeemer, an almighty Protector, a powerful Avenger. There is no lack of power and strength in our Savior. We may trust him with implicit confidence.
Like a lion, he is also bold and courageous. He engaged Satan, the enemy of our souls, with lion-like boldness, defeating him and the powers of darkness with unflinching courage.
Christ our Savior is full of irresistible power! He has a lion's heart and a lion's strength. He comes forth conquering and to conquer.
Yet, (And here is a great wonder.), to redeem us from the curse of the law, this Lion became a Lamb led forth to the slaughter!
B. This Lamb is "the Root of David."
In his humanity, Christ is the Son of David (Isa. ; Rev. 22:16). He is David's offspring. Yet, he is David's Lord (Matt. -44). He is the Root out of whom David came and to whom David owes his existence.
In the same sense, Christ is the Root from whom all God's elect spring. We derive our life from him. We live by virtue of his life (John 15:1-8).
C. Christ, the Lamb of God, is a mighty Conqueror.
He "hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof." On the cross, the Lion of Judah, the Root of David conquered Satan, death, and hell. Prevailing over his enemies and ours, Christ Jesus earned the right to rule the universe according to the purpose of God (John 17:2).
This book (vv. 1-5) is the book of God's eternal decrees. It represents God's eternal plan and purpose of grace, his purpose of predestination, which includes all things. As a Prophet, Christ opens, reveals, and fulfills all the decrees of God. He explains everything.
The Lamb is the Key to every secret. Apart from faith in Christ, the Lamb of God, nothing of God's purposes can be known; but to those who believe everything is as plain as day. Nothing is hidden from them that believe (John 11:4; Eph. 1:9-10). Just in proportion as we trust the Lord Jesus Christ, we see the will of God and the glory of God in all things.
III. THE POSITION OF THE LAMB –
The Lamb is in the midst of the throne. He is perfectly at home in the midst of God's dazzling, unapproachable glory, because he is himself God. The glory of God, radiating from that throne, is his very own. Jesus is God!
The Lamb who was slain for our sins is himself the almighty God! The Lamb that was slain is the Mediator between God and men. As stated before, it is only through Christ as our Mediator that God comes to man and man comes to God. Were it not for the Lamb in the midst of the throne, no creature could ever draw near that throne; but because of him, the saints in heaven are as comfortable as he is there! Even while upon the earth, we should be comfortable and at ease at the throne of God, if Christ is our Mediator (Heb. ).
The Lamb in the midst of the throne is the center of all. The Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the center of that blessed circle of holy fellowship between God, his people, and the holy angels. As in the church below, so in the church above, "Christ is all!"
In heaven's glory, we see all things meeting in Christ the Lamb. Christ is the summing up of all existence. In him, God and man, angels and men, the spiritual and the material are united. All things find fulfilment in Christ. The Lamb in the midst of the throne is the center of all. In the picture before us, it appears that everyone in heaven looks to him.
· The Father's eyes are always upon the Lamb.
· The eyes of the four living creatures, God's preachers, are always on the Lamb.
· The elders, the angels, and all the forces of nature are turned toward the Lamb.
· Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God is the center of all love, thought, action, and praise in the glory-land! -- Everything revolves around and rallies to the Lamb.
IV. THE PERFORMANCE OF THE LAMB –
Around the throne of God, in heaven, they never cease to speak of the wonderful works of Christ, the Lamb of God (vv. 7-10).
It is in his character as a Lamb, our Mediator and Substitute, that Christ takes the book of God's eternal decrees and makes it known.
· He took the book in the covenant of grace into his hands.
· He fulfills all that is written in the book by his obedience and death as our Substitute, and by his providential rule and disposition of all things.
· He opens and reveals the contents of the book by his Spirit through the gospel.
A. This spotless Lamb was slain as a sin-atoning sacrifice for God's elect.
He was slain by the sword of divine justice under the wrath of almighty God. Thus, he effectually redeemed his people from the curse of the law.
B. Be sure you do not miss the doctrine of verse 9 - The death of Christ was an effectual atonement for sin - "Thou hast redeemed us" (Heb. ).
This atonement was made and this redemption was accomplished for a particular people - "Us, out of (not along with) every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Isa. 53:8).
C. Sending forth his Spirit in almighty, saving grace, by virtue of his redeeming work, the Lamb of God has made us (all believers) kings and priests unto God.
1. As kings, believers rule themselves and their circumstances by the grace of God. Neither the passions of the flesh, nor the circumstances of life have dominion over God's saints.
2. As priests, God's saints draw near to him, confessing sin, worshipping, and serving him by the blood of Christ.
We do business directly with God in the holy place through the mediation of Christ (Heb. -22).
We need no other priest but Christ! As kings and priests unto God, we shall reign with Christ forever when he makes all things new.
V. THE PRAISE OF THE LAMB –
Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God. He appeared in that character in the covenant of grace. He lived and died in that character in time. He reigns in that character forever. And he is universally adored in that character.
praise of the Lamb begins with the
B. The angels of God unite with the redeemed in the praise and adoration of the Lamb (vv. 11-12).
They worship the Lamb as the sin-atoning Savior of men, because they have learned the wonders of redemption from redeemed sinners (Eph. 3:8-11).
C. At last, the entire universe shall praise, honor, and extol the Lamb of God for his glorious work of redemption (vv. 13-14; Ps. 76:10; Pro. 16:4).
He who made all things shall have the praise of all things (Phil. 2:9-11). All things shall, in the end, be found to the praise, honor, and glory of our God, the Lamb (Rom. ).