WORTHY IS THE LAMB
Sermon preached at Ebenezer Chapel, Clapham, by Mr. J. Delves
Text: “Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”
“Saying with a loud voice.” They did not wrap it up as if it were something they were ashamed of. No, there was a wonderful unity; all it would seem were attempting to lift Him up the highest. What a sweet engagement! In Heaven it is entered into in all its beauty, without sin, without interruption, without the weary veil of the flesh between.
There it is in all its blessedness and purity- worship, uninterrupted worship. How different here! We that are in this tabernacle do groan being burdened. We are in much bondage, corroded with thick clay, careful, troubled about many things; but at times, I trust we get a little glimpse of this Lamb of God, and worship. I believe I can say that if you have a moment of real worship, you will not forget it; for it will exalt Christ beyond all expression. It is sweet worship to hold a little communion with Incarnate Deity. What a mystery!
“Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.” How striking is the metaphor here, so frequently used in the Scripture: The Lamb! Blessed Lamb of God, the Man Christ Jesus, the Savior of the lost! O blessed Lamb of God! What a sight, O what a sight, for a Hell-deserving sinner to see the Lamb of God! How descriptive too the figure is!
When the children of Israel were brought out of Egypt, their exodus was marked by the slaying of the lamb. That was a divine order; and every part of that ordinance was strikingly descriptive of our blessed Redeemer, the Paschal Lamb-a beautiful description.
I will briefly notice the fact that the lamb had to be without blemish, not some diseased creature. It must be pure and healthy without blemish, setting forth the inherent, spotless purity of the human nature of the Lord Jesus. And the lamb had to be eaten. The whole of it had to be eaten, not just part of the breast; but the whole had to be eaten. So, Christ must be received as a whole Christ; not a part of self and a part of Moses; not a part of Jesus and a part of self; not a little free grace and two-thirds of human merit. No, a lost sinner and a whole, all-sufficient Saviour. It must be so.
The Lamb had to be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs-the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, and the bitter herbs of affliction and suffering. Jesus Himself will be received by a suffering people, who are grievously afflicted on account of their sins, and mourn because of them. But He is received in all sincerity in a renewed heart. O how wonderful it is to contemplate! He receives sinners, and sinners receive Him. “This Man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.”
Then again, as concerning the lamb, the blood had to be sprinkled precisely according to the directions given, not anyhow or anywhere. It had to be sprinkled on the two sideposts and on the lintel of the door of the house; not upon the sill where it could be trodden on.
It must be clearly seen, it must be sprinkled exactly upon the place which was defined by a divine command; so that when the destroying angel came to strike death into the house of every family of the Egyptians, he would pass over the house where he saw the sprinkled blood. “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”
He is our Passover. The blood must be sprinkled upon the conscience; for as the Puritans used to say: “The atonement terminates in the conscience.” Then later, the lamb had to be slain in the morning and evening, before the public assembly. And so, it followed on, until this blessed Lamb of God assumed human flesh, took our nature upon Him, and gave Himself a sacrifice for His people. O blessed Lamb of God, wonderful Lamb!
What is so striking here is the figure. While this relates particularly to His sacrifice, it is carried into heaven, which seems to take us a step further into His mediatorial glory. This “Lamb as it had been slain” carries the merit of His blood and sacrifice into the court of heaven, where it prevails with God, and prevails for a sinner. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” “Who is he that condemneth?” None dare to condemn any for whom the Saviour shed His blood; for “it is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God.”
“Worthy is the Lamb,” the Lamb that died.
“Worthy the Lamb that died,” they cry, “To be exalted thus.” “Worthy the Lamb,” our lips reply, “For He was slain for us.”
This worthiness-this is such an attractive point. He was seen and considered there by angels to be worthy of glory, and honour, and praise. He was seen by the elders and the living creatures to be worthy of glory, and praise, and blessing. Is He not worthy? Where would you put the crown if you were there? Where would you put it now? If He has condescended to show mercy to an unworthy wretch like you, where would you put the crown? Is He not worthy of it? “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.”
Think how worthy He is, worthy of all honour. This is both the honour of His Father, and the honour of His people; for His Father has honored Him. He has exalted Him “with His right hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts v. 31). He has exalted Him to give Him a Name which is above every name. “Riches and honour, and power.” And He is honored by His people too when they cast themselves at His feet, when they glory in His cross, confess their sins, put their trust in Him, put the crown on His head, take up their cross and follow Him. In all this, our risen, glorified Emmanuel is honored in the affections of His people.
“And glory and blessing.” This will ever be, for He will ever be worthy of blessing, praise, and glory.
Well, I have said a few feeble words about the gospel, which is exhaustless. Eternity will not exhaust the wonders of redeeming grace. O that we may be found amongst that blessed number of whom He shall say: “Behold I and the children which God hath given Me.”
Let us struggle on then though it may be in the face of many difficulties; for I believe what my father once said: “It will be worth a life-long struggle to be right at last.” Can you say that? If you consider Him to be worthy, then is He not worthy to follow, worthy to bear witness of, worthy to confess, to put on, to honour before His people? Is He not worthy that you should declare what He has done for you?
May we be enabled to exalt Him in our affections, in the church, in our lives; and lift Him up higher and higher. We shall lift Him up higher in Heaven; but it is sweet to lift Him up here, this blessed Lamb of God, that was slain. He is “worthy to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” Amen.