Bonnie Sykes – Harare Special Meeting, 2005

I’ve been thinking about the 53rd Chapter of Isaiah and some of the beautiful things that we read there about our Saviour, the price that He paid so that we could be cleansed. It tells us in the 2nd verse:

2: For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.
3: He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.
4: Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5: But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.
6: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
7: He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.

And in the 10th and 11th verses it tells that He shall be satisfied.
10: Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11: He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities.

I love this chapter and I love to read about the willingness of our Saviour to suffer and to die for us. I love to be reminded that there was no human glory in this for Him. The world has painted pictures of Him both paint and with words that are very beautiful and very glorious and through faith we see Him as one who is very beautiful. But in His human appearance while He was on the earth, there was nothing to appeal to these human hearts of ours.

Our human nature cries out for fairness, I don’t know about your country but I think human nature is the same everywhere and we are so prone to feel when something happens to us or there are some situations and we say, “It’s not fair; It’s not fair.” I suppose with young people, teenagers, especially in our country, that’s a common feeling – "It’s not fair, It’s not fair." If that’s true, there’s a lot about life that isn’t fair. But when I’m tempted to feel that something I’m experiencing isn’t fair – it’s good for me to think about my Saviour. It says that we, like sheep, have gone astray and turned everyone to his own ways – it’s we who have done this, we who have sinned and the Lord laid on Him the inequity of us all; and can you show me the fairness in that? There isn’t any as far as the human mind is concerned. But this is the mercy and goodness and graciousness of the heavenly Father to send Him this way – that there would be a sacrifice – there would be an offering that would make us just and make us right before Him. I was looking at this verse in Revelations 13:8. It speaks about the book of life of the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world. That plan, that provision was from the foundation of the world. Before ever man was created, it was planned that He would be the Lamb, slain for our sins. We read several times about the book of life in the book of the Revelation. We know that we all want our names written there but this morning I was thrilled to notice that it says the “book of life of the Lamb.” I don’t think I have ever thought about that before … what is life? The book of life – what life? It’s the life of the Lamb - It’s the life of the Lamb in us that will enable our names to be recorded there. And so the life of the Lamb as well as the blood of the Lamb are very precious to us and very important to us to be acquainted with and to think of.

The lamb was important and the lamb was seen very early in the history of mankind. The first one we read of and it was specifically a lamb was the one that Abel offered – it was and offering to God.

We don’t know what kind of animals the Lord took to make skins to clothe Adam and Eve – maybe that was a lamb.

Sheep are often despised and looked down upon – all we like sheep have gone astray, sheep are famous for that. And by many people, at least in our country, sheep are kind of despised and looked down on because they are stupid. They’re not smart and it’s true they can’t take care of themselves like goats can and can’t take care of themselves like cattle can. They need shepherds, they need help, they need guidance, they need direction. And it’s no accident that God shows the sheep nature to be typical of our nature and our need. He made us like sheep, that we need to have a shepherd – we must have a shepherd. And there’s something about, maybe if sheep aren’t appealing to people, lambs are. I have never seen anyone who wasn’t touched by a little lamb. And when you think of the Children of Israel when they were there in Egypt – the Lord asked them to take a lamb, to keep it there for four days and then to slay it and sprinkle the blood above the door and on the side door posts of their home and then to roast it with fire and to feed on it. This was their salvation that night. The presence of death would pass over the land and the first born of every human and the first born of every animal would be slain. I’m positive that when the Israelites took that lamb into their home in obedience and when they slew it and when they ate of it, they could not really comprehend what was going to happen that night, they could not comprehend the magnitude of what this death would be throughout the land. But I am glad they obeyed – Hebrews 11 tells us that Moses, by faith, kept the Passover. And you and I cannot, at this point in our experience, we cannot comprehend the need for those without the protection and provision of the blood of the Lamb. We cannot understand how great the anguish, how great the death, how great the consequences of not being protected by this blood – we cannot! But may God give us the faith to believe what He has said and may God give us the faith to keep ourselves under the protection of that precious blood. May God give us the faith to keep partaking of the Lamb, feeding on the Lamb and trusting in the provision of the blood.

It might have been easy for people to think, well, blood on the door-post of our house, blood on the lintel, “what good can that do?” And what difference can that make? It will only make the Egyptians mock us. But it made a great difference to them, didn’t it? The difference between life and death, the difference between anguish and joy, it was the difference between hopelessness and hope. The enemy likes to tell us that some things don’t make any difference, you know, what difference does it make whether or not people can see that our lives are separated and that they’re different. Whether our lives are marked and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb – does it make any difference? “It’s what’s inside that matters” … The enemy likes to tell us that – it’s only what is inside that matters and IT IS! What’s inside does matter, but the Lord asked his people to be marked, and the Lord asked that of us today also, and it makes a difference because, even when the presence of the Lord passed over the land that night, He was looking, wasn’t He, for that blood. The homes that were marked by blood … and God is very pleased and very touched and very honoured by your homes that today bear the mark of the Lamb. The slain lamb. And when you show that you trust in that blood, that touches the heart of God very deeply. That’s something that He’s looking for. And because of what happened that night - well really before that. God had said, that Israel was His first born son. He told Pharaoh – He sent a message to Pharaoh – that’s in Exodus 4: 22, The Lord said to Moses to say to Pharaoh, “Thus sayeth the Lord – Israel is my son, even my first born, and I say unto you, let my son go so that he may serve me and if thou refuse to let him go; behold I will slay thy son, even thy first born.” Pharaoh had been warned about what would happen but he didn’t listen.

So the first born of Israel belonged to the Lord from that time forward – the first born of all the animals and the first born of all the people belonged to the Lord and needed to be redeemed because they had lived, they had been spared. So God chose the tribe of Levi to be the redemption for the first born of all the rest of the people; and the first born of cattle and the first born of sheep and Goats – they were to die. They were to be a sacrifice to God – not the humans but the animals. And of the unclean animals, they all needed to be slain or be redeemed and it was a lamb that would redeem an ass – a higher life, a more valuable life redeemed a lesser life. And Christ, a higher life, a better life has redeemed our lives that are less worthy. We have been redeemed by that precious, precious blood.

We would think, is there fairness in that? But I love these verses that when he sees the tormentor of His soul, He sees the product of His suffering, He sees the shedding of His blood; it says that He shall be satisfied – He shall be satisfied. And what the Lord looks on this gathering today, it brings satisfaction to His soul because He sees those who have been willing to be separated by the blood and those who have been willing to feed on the Lamb and those whose lives have been changed by that. And there’s hope because of that and he says, “It was worth it.”

And He looks over the world and sees little gatherings here and there, scattered around the world and even to individuals scattered who have no one to meet with and he sees them keeping true in secret life, he sees them trusting in the life and the blood of the Lamb and He says, “It was worth it.” And their names are written in the book of life of the Lamb.

We read about the Lamb many times in the book of Revelation and I appreciated what one of our brothers in the States told us some years ago. He said, “There are many things in the book of Revelation we don’t understand, don’t be bothered or concerned and don’t be troubled by the things that you don’t understand … The lamb is mentioned, I’m not sure if it’s 26 or 27 times in the book of Revelation and this brother said, 'Just follow the Lamb through that part (the part you don’t understand).'"

And we read about those who followed the Lamb – whithersoever He goeth. I didn’t mark that place but you can find it for yourselves. One of the things I appreciated in Revelations 12:10 … it speaks about the accuser of the brethren – the enemy of our souls, but in verse 11 it says that they – the redeemed, overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimonies and they loved not their lives unto death … unto the death. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by the enemy that is against us and the accusations that he makes before God, the accusations he makes to us about ourselves and the accusations he makes to us about one another. He’s cruel and he cheats and he doesn’t fight fair. But we have a weapon to overcome him – we have weapons to overcome him and they’re sure weapons. The first is the blood of the Lamb – our trust and our confidence in that. Someone said, when we stand before the judgement seat of God, we won’t have anything to say about our own accomplishments or our own righteousness or our abilities or our own virtues – all we will be able to say when we stand before Him is that, “Your Son shed His blood for me and I trust in that.” That’s our only hope! And the word of their testimony! You know, our testimony isn’t really what we speak in a meeting but it’s the life that we live. It’s our conduct before others - that’s our real testimony and then, the word that we speak in the meeting and the word that we speak before others can only confirm or deny what we live. The word of our testimony is precious when our testimony and our words match. And it says that another weapon of their overcoming was that they loved not their lives unto the death. Our lives are precious to us and it’s not such an easy thing to give up the witness of our own lives and the declaration of how clever we are and how popular we are, how powerful we are, just how individual we are – isn’t easy to give that up. But those who live eternally are those who love not their lives unto death. Those who are willing to deny themselves count not their lives dear unto themselves. That’s a beautiful thing and a strong thing before the Lord.

In Revelations 7:9, we read about those from every kindred and people and tongue who stood before the throne and before the Lamb clothed in white robes and palms in their hands and singing salvation to our Lord which sitteth on the throne and unto the Lamb. We’re divided now by kindreds and nations and especially by tongues, by languages. We felt that on our visit and yet there is a oneness of spirit that we appreciated. They were clothed in white robes and palms of victory in their hands and they were singing praise to God and to the Lamb. In verse 14 of chapter 7 the angel had asked John, "Who these were that were in white robes and where did they come from?" John said, “Sir, thou knowest.” And he said to me, these came out of great tribulation and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. They’re before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple. He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them – This is a beautiful picture of victory – of final victory, of peace for ever and ever and ever. And that’s a place where everyone of us can one day stand, with white robes and palms and a song on our lips – an eternal song on our lips because of having washed our robes, washed them in the blood of the lamb and made them white.

We’re here today because of this precious blood and because of Him, we have the privilege of taking the emblems but I hope it will never become common place to us, that we’ll never take it lightly or take it for granted. It was feeding on the lamb that night that gave the children of Israel the strength to journey. They left that night, they left the land of Egypt, going out on the promises of God, and they needed, they needed, to eat that for strength and WE need to eat the body of the Lamb for strength and THEN the blood for our cleansing. We need that, don’t we, daily?

We need to cleanse our body and we need to cleanse our clothes daily and we need to cleanse our spirit and our soul and our heart and our thoughts; our motives daily in the blood of the Lamb.

We are such a privileged people and such a rich people. And it all goes back to the Lamb – goes back to the Lamb. I hope we’ll never despise the Lamb and I hope we’ll never be ashamed of Him but declare by our lips and our lives, our speech, everything about us, that we are those whose hope is in the Lamb and that we are cleansed in the blood of the Lamb.