Nathan McCarthy - Feeding on Things that Develop the Lamb Nature - Theodore, Saskatchewan, Canada Convention - July 24, 1977

Matthew 25:31-34, "When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory and before Him shall be gathered all nations and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, 'Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.'"

During His ministry, Jesus said very little about what happened after death, but on this last day of His public ministry, He drew the curtain aside and gave us a little picture of what will happen after death.  Ultimately there will be only two sides - some will be on the right hand and the others on the left, and that is the final decision.  All nations were gathered before Him.  What qualified those people who were on the right hand side?  They had the nature of the Lamb.  That is all it is.  I could have all the arguments and reasons in the world but, unless I have the nature of the lamb, I will never be on the right hand side in the final division.

We would like to get it into your heart and mind that every person present here can be found on the right hand side when that division takes place. The only qualification will be this - that we have the nature of the lamb. If we haven't got it, the fact that we have been in the work for years, that we have been breaking bread with God's people won't matter.

In Australia, there are 160 million sheep.  In New Zealand, there are 60 million sheep.  Every spring there are 40 million lambs born on those farms in our country (New Zealand).  It doesn't make any difference where a lamb is born.  You could bring those sheep to this country, and if they reproduced, they would reproduce lambs just the same.

How can we have the nature of the lamb?  There is only one way, and that is being willing to bring our life into submission at the feet of the Master. I don't want to die with the nature I was born with.  I want to learn submission.  I have spent a few years in the work but that is not the qualification alone.  The only thing that is, is the nature of the lamb. Two things indicate the nature: (1) its appetite or diet, and (2) its footprints.

As Jesus walked, John said, "Behold the Lamb of God."  He saw the steps Jesus was taking and he knew it was the Lamb of God.  He was leaving behind the footprints of the sheep.  You could cover a dog with a sheepskin and take him for a walk in the field, but he would leave the footprints of a dog.  His footprints would betray him.  When he got hungry, where would he go?  To the butcher shop.  That is his nature.  But what about the sheep? They eat grass.  In Matthew 25, we read of a wedding feast.  The King came in and saw a guest not wearing a wedding garment.  He said, "How came thou in thither not having a wedding garment?"  This man was able to give all kinds of reasons but it says he was speechless.  He got by the doorman but he couldn't get by when the King came in.

Maybe we can get in, but we can't get by the Shepherd when He comes in.  A sheepskin is not a veneer, it is not a profession - it is part of its life and being.  I could have a sheepskin that would be like a profession, but unless I have a change of nature, when the King comes in, He will recognize it.  I believe we are going out from here with a definite resolve to submit to the will of God.  Your sheepskin will be part of your life.  You will be noticed in the world by your footprints, the footprints of the sheep.  You will feed on what the sheep feed on.

We were in a meeting when a young girl spoke.  She didn't say much but it meant a lot. Her parents had a sheep station or farm.  Often, she was out with her father.  Their homestead was beside the highway.  There was a driveway into the homestead.  There was a wool shed and different barns around the farm.  There was some hill country in it.  This girl said, "Yesterday, I was with my father out over the farm and I had an object lesson that spoke volumes to me.  Before I left, the sheep were grazing by the highway.  Then when I went behind the hill, the sheep were eating the same food.  By a highway everyone saw them, but behind the hill no one knew; but they were eating the same thing."  If we have the nature of the lamb, we will be feeding on the right food that will enable us to develop whether we are in the public eye or alone by ourselves.  We wouldn't want to eat dog's food just because no one was watching.

The first thing a dog will do is eat flesh.  You could leave the door of the butcher shop open where sheep were around and they wouldn't go in.  God's redeemed people are exposed on every hand to this fleshliness that is in the world.  You don't have to make a rule to say you can't feed on that.  If you have the nature of the lamb, you will feed on sheep's food.  Dogs have a habit of taking a bone and burying it.  A few days later, he will go and dig up that bone and have another chew on it.  Then he buries it again.  It becomes unsavoury, but he doesn't worry about that.  A sheep doesn't do that.

I heard about two brothers who had a bit of trouble for several years.  They had an estrangement.  One of them became sick and he decided if he was facing death, he must make this right with his brother.  They made it up and shook hands.  The brother who was sick said, "Mind you, this only holds good if I die."  Isn't that the nature of the dog?  That is not the nature of the sheep.

David said, "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." What has been the food you have had in these meetings?  We have heard about bread and about so many things that will strengthen us spiritually.  I hope when we separate, the things of God's Kingdom will be stronger than they have ever been and that we are going to feed them.  There will be fleshly things that will tempt us but I hope we will have the wisdom not to feed on them so that we can develop and grow.  Then when the final division takes place, we will be on the right hand side. Isaiah had a picture of the wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the kid feeding together.  That is impossible by nature but it is possible in God's Kingdom.

Keith Olsen and I were together in an Eastern city.  We saw a man leading a bear down a street.  Sometimes, men have a monkey that does tricks, but we had never seen a bear before. We thought we would watch and see what happened.  The crowd gathered and the man got the bear not to be aggressive. He took out of a case a dress and he put it on the bear.  He took a little musical instrument out of his bag and started to play it and the bear did a little dance.  It was trying to do something that other bears don't do. When it came to mealtime, what did it feed on?  This is just what religion does for us.  It can train us to do things that other people do but their appetites are still just as fleshly as they were before. We can train our human nature to smile at the right time, to say the right things, to go through a certain form but that won't make us sheep in God's fold. That bear had a bear's foot and, when it went down the street, everyone could see the footprints of the bear.  When John saw Jesus as He walked, he saw the lamb footprints.  Lovely if we could leave in the sands of time the footprints of the Lamb of God.  Our hope is far deeper than just making a profession, just being baptized.  It is wonderful if we leave the footprints of the sheep and feed on that which will enable the lamb nature to grow.

We visited a home last year.  These folks had professed to be Christians, they were baptized, they go to meetings, they break bread, but secretly, they were feeding on things that were not lamb's food.  Sometimes I see things out of the corner of my eye, and when we went up to the home, I saw the mother of the family leave the kitchen.  When she came back, she was wearing different clothes altogether.  We knew those folks had the radio in the home, and in that particular visit, we found there was also a TV in the home.  I would say whether it is the radio, T.V. or cinema; that is not sheep's food.  I notice some of the cars have radios, but I will venture there won't be one of you people listening to the radio going home from this convention.  Your hearts have been lifted to the music of heaven.  You can see the possibility of the love of God filling your heart and home and you don't want to listen to that.  If you can feed on lamb's food tomorrow morning, you won't need it then either.  This woman would come to Sunday Morning Meeting and she had her hair done in such a manner that you would think it was long.  Then you would see her on the street and it was short hair.  Those people are living a double standard.  When they go to meetings, it is one standard - on the street, it is a different standard.  If you came to a sheep unexpectedly in a field, it would be grazing on sheep's food.

The greatest tragedy in connection with this family is they are giving their children a wrong impression of Christianity.  They are teaching those children that their parents are measuring with divers weights, different standards, and they are even undermining the character of those children because this is the basis of dishonesty.  We had occasion to try to help those children because they were involved in something that wasn't helpful in the church.  With all the grace and diplomacy we could gather, we thought we would try to handle that situation.  But those young people almost mocked us and it is almost impossible to help them when their parents are professing to be Christians and they are feeding on dog's food.  Those children feel that you do one thing in meeting and another thing on the street.  It is a wonderful thing to see sincerity, people living the standard in the home.  When mother and dad take part in meeting, it is nice when the children can see that is what is their life.  You don't have to hide anything when the workers call if you are playing the game.

We have heard some very wonderful things to help us feed the lamb nature within us, and I feel that every one of us wants to go away from here and leave the footprints of the lamb. We can think of many in the Scriptures who fed on the right things and as a result, they had a testimony.  We have heard of David.  There is more mentioned in the Scriptures about David than most people.  He figures very prominently in the Kingdom, but behind the scenes, he had a kingdom-minded father.  He didn't come to the fore, but he put something into David and as a young man, David was able to feed on the things that strengthened the lamb nature.  Psalm 23 is really the sheep's psalm.   He said, "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want."  I often think of having David in the church where we meet.  Wouldn't he be a wonderful young man? Imagine him living in Saskatchewan, working in the town where we live and coming to our Sunday Morning Meeting.  What a wonderful thing that would be!  Part of that credit goes to his father and to the home where he came from.

I Samuel 16, David was a Man of War even before he slew Goliath.  He had to be twenty years of age, but at that age, he was obedient to his father.  When his father sent him up with that gift to the Captain of the Thousand, maybe Jesse was just putting the possibility of fighting Goliath before him.  It is nice when we have Kingdom-minded parents and they are just setting the stage for the young people to fight the giant.  If we are wise enough, we will accept the experience of the older people.  You can get a tremendous lot of experience from others.  We are deeply grateful for parents who wisely set the stage so that their children can share the same things in the Kingdom that they are enjoying.  I admire Jesse.

I Samuel 18:14-15,30, “And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD was with him. Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him.  Then the princes of the Philistines went forth and it came to pass, after they went forth, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul; so that his name was much set by."  I would like to leave with you the footprints. I am sure the parents provided the pasture where they could feed on the things that would develop them spiritually.  The 40 million lambs that are born in our country every year eat the same food as the sheep.  The first meal they get is the mother's milk.  As the weeks pass, those lambs get bigger and they have to get down further on their knees to get that milk.  Soon you will see them nibbling on the grass, the same food as their mother eats.  I don't think the young people need anything different than their parents.  If you have made a complete surrender at the feet of the Master, you will feed on and get satisfaction, happiness and joy out of the things that your parents are feeding on, the things the Lord's servants are feeding on.  There will be something wrong with your experience if you want flesh to feed on.

What was David doing in this?  He was leaving the footprints of the lamb. He even excelled, because it says, "His name was much set by." Wouldn't it be a wonderful privilege this year, no matter where we are, if we could make it our aim to try to live and leave the footprints of the Lamb?  If we could say, "I am going to conduct myself so that my name is much set by in the church."  It will give us a noble aim and goal.  This young man's conduct was commendable.  It said, "He behaved himself very wisely."  This was the nature of the lamb expressing itself.  A little lamb is born.  It doesn't have to put a sheepskin on because it comes naturally. You can tell it by what it feeds on and by the footprints it leaves behind.

I hope we are going to get joy and happiness this year in having a testimony in the Kingdom, in the family, in the Church, so that our name is much set by, not because we are able speakers but because we are feeding on things that develop the lamb nature.