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BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD –
WITH COMMENTS BY THE REV. JOHN WESLEY, M.A.

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Morning, January 21, 2007
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).


John the Baptist had only one purpose – to bear witness to Christ. The whole focus of his life was to point sinners to the Saviour! May it be our purpose to do the same. May we go out unto the highways and the hedges and proclaim,

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

John knew a great deal about Jesus. He might have pointed out many things about our Lord. He might have called Christ a great teacher, or a great example. But instead, John proclaimed that Christ came into the world as the sacrifice for sin. He did not say, “Behold the great teacher.” He did not say, “Behold the great example.” Instead he said,

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Someone may say that John preached repentance. Indeed he did. No one preached more strongly on repentance than John. And yet John’s preaching was not a moral essay. He knew that nothing could help ruined sinners unless he pointed them to Christ, the Lamb of God. For he knew that nothing else, and no one else, could take away their sin.

If you have never been convicted of sin, you may think that you can enter Heaven by your own good works. You may not think that you need to have your sins taken away by Jesus, the Lamb of God. But if you become burdened by your sin, as the people John spoke to were, you will realize that nothing can take away your guilt before a holy God but Jesus.

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)

is a favorite text with Gospel preachers because without it they have little to say to troubled sinners.

I want to be like John the Baptist. I want my preaching to be concentrated on Christ’s atoning death. I want the theme of my preaching to be

“Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2).

I want lost sinners who come to this church to hear the first point of the Gospel clearly.

“Christ died for our sins” (I Corinthians 15:3).

So, let our theme be the same as that of John the Baptist,

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Others may teach the Bible verse by verse, attempting to “feed the goats,” and thus turn them into sheep. But I know of no salvation except by substitution, and no substitution except by Christ crucified.

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows” 
      (Isaiah 53:4).

My task, to the end of my life, is to proclaim with John the Baptist,

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Now, looking closely at our text, I want you to notice several things.

I. First, John saw the truth of this himself.

In verse 31 John said, “I knew him not.” Some men have said that the two had never met. But I find that hard to believe. John knew Jesus all of his life. So, when John said, “I knew him not,” I see another meaning. John knew Jesus, but he did not know Him as the sin-bearer. John was a relative of Jesus’, and he must have known Him since childhood. But he had not known Him as the Lamb of God, the sin-bearer.

But when John baptized Jesus in the waters of the Jordan River, and heard God say from Heaven, “This is my beloved Son” (Matthew 3:17) he became sure of who Jesus was. From that moment, John boldly preached “Behold Him.” See for yourselves! This is the Lamb of God “which taketh away the sin of the world.”

I hope that you may know Jesus for yourself, the sacrifice for your sin. Some of you have learned from childhood that Jesus is the Lamb of God. But what you have learned from the Bible must be unveiled to your heart, or you will not know for yourself that Jesus can take away your sin.

I pray that you may have a clear experience of Christ, the sin-bearing Lamb of God, and have it written on your heart, because then nothing can shake you loose from Him. When people find deliverance from their own guilt through Christ, then this truth becomes a part of their inward experience, and it can never be torn away from them.

Then you would sooner doubt your own existence than to doubt that Christ bore your sin in His own body on the Cross, and that through Him you are reconciled to God. It was a matter of personal experience with John, and it must be so with you as well.

II. Second, John preached Christ as “the” sacrifice.

He said,

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

John knew all about the lambs that were slain in Old Testament sacrifices. He saw lambs slain every day in the Temple. But John pointed to Christ and said, “Behold the Lamb of God.” “This is the Lamb.” All other lambs, that the Jews sacrificed in the Temple, had been mere types and prefigures of Him. “Behold the Lamb of God.”

It is a great thing when we can focus our testimony on this single point – the Lamb. So many “testimonies” today focus on other things. People talk about nearly everything but the Lamb of God. It seems that almost anything can pass as a Christian testimony today. But I doubt many of these testimonies. I want to know if a man has anything to say about the “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” If a person has little or nothing to say about Christ, the Lamb of God, I for one do not think he is converted. Why? Because there is no salvation apart from Christ, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world – that’s why!

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

“Behold the Lamb of God.”

III. Third, John preached Christ as the sacrifice “of God.”

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

“Behold the Lamb of God.” These words have great depth of meaning.

Who was it that sacrificed the Lamb of God? Who was it that bruised Christ on the Cross? Who was it that put Him to grief? Who caused Him the worst pain of all when He cried from the Cross,

“Why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

It was God who, by His “determinate counsel” delivered Christ to be “crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23).

“He hath put him to grief” (Isaiah 53:10).

Jesus is “the Lamb of God.” When you believe on Christ, you are believing on God’s own sacrifice for sin. When you believe in God’s own sacrifice for sin, He cannot reject you. Christ’s sacrifice covers your sin and makes you clean in the sight of God.

“Behold the Lamb of God…” (John 1:29).

IV. Fourth, John preached Christ as bearing and taking away our sin.

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

The Greek word translated “taketh away” means “to bear, to carry off” (Fritz Rienecker, A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, Zondervan, 1980, p. 220). Both meanings are here. The Lord Jesus bore our sins, and He also carries them away. The Bible is full of this.

“The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree”
      (I Peter 2:24).

Christ bore the sin of the world on the Cross.

But the best of all, Christ not only bore the load of sin, He also carried it away!

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

If you believe on Jesus you don't need to ask, “Where is my sin?” Jesus took it away. He took your sin, bore it, and carried it away! It is gone for ever – utterly abolished. This is a Gospel worth believing, worth living for, worth dying for. Let all preaching be accursed that opposes it. This is salvation for those whose sins are dragging them down to Hell. Your sins can be removed because Jesus is

“the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

“And the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).

As an old song puts it,

Oh! precious is the flow that makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know, nothing by the Blood of Jesus.
   (“Nothing but the Blood” by Robert Lowry, 1826-1899).

V. Fifth, John preached Christ as continually removing sin.

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

John does not speak in the past tense, nor in the future tense. He speaks in the present tense. Right now, “He taketh away the sin of the world.” Although it happened only once, Christ’s sacrifice continues forever in its effect. Christ died at a certain point in time, yet He still takes away sin. As the Great Purifier He continually takes away, and will continue to take away, the sin of the world.

But you must trust the Lamb of God yourself. You must know Him for yourself. You yourself must believe on Him. Then He will surely take away the sin that now burdens and convicts you. You will be

“justified by his blood” (Romans 5:9).

He will blot out your sin. It will not exist in the sight of God. You will be free from it forever. May God help you to trust Christ Jesus, of whom I speak.

VI. Sixth, John preached the all-sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice.

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

There is no sin that He cannot take away. There is no limit to the value of His sacrifice on the Cross. He takes away the sin of the world. There is no one else who can take away your sin. There is no other atonement or sacrifice. No remedial pains in “purgatory” can take away sin. No bitterness or regret can take away sin. Jesus alone takes away the sin of the world. Beside Him there is no other. Christ has made it possible for all the world to have its sin removed. But you must take Christ for yourself.

“Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).

But remember,

“He that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).

It is necessary that you throw yourself on Christ, and then this text will be yours in all its fullness.

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

So far, I have given you a condensed and simplified version of Spurgeon’s great sermon, “Behold the Lamb of God” (The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1974 reprint from October 16, 1887, volume XXXIII, pp. 565-576). but I will add one more point.

VII. Seventh, John told us how to receive the benefit of Christ's sacrifice.

Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

The word “behold” means, “see, look upon.” The Greek word is “ideh.” It is in the imperative mood, which means that John is urging you to look to Christ. That is the way to receive salvation from sin. See Christ by faith! Look upon Him by faith!

Mr. Spangenberg, a German pastor, asked John Wesley (the founder of the Methodist Church as it once was) “Do you know Jesus Christ?” Wesley, who was not converted yet, answered, “I paused and said, ‘I know he is the Saviour of the world.’ ‘True,’ he replied, ‘but do you know he has saved you?’ I answered, ‘I hope he died to save me.’ He only added, ‘Do you know yourself?’ I said, ‘I do.’ But I fear they were vain [false, imaginary] words” (John Wesley's Journal, February 7, 1736).

After two years and three months Wesley was still struggling, unsure of salvation. It took two years and three months of struggle against God before he wrote the following in his diary:

“I resolved to seek…a full reliance on the blood of Christ shed for me, a full reliance in him” (John Wesley’s Journal, May 14, 1738, emphasis his).

A few days later, on May 24, 1738, at 8:45 in the evening Wesley was at a Bible study group.

“In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society [a meeting] in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle of the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ…I felt that I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me, that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death” (John Wesley’s Journal, May 24, 1738, emphasis his).

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Notice how surely and with what confidence John the Baptist speaks. Before his very eyes he sees Jesus, the Sin-Bearer. And he tells others to look upon Him. Look upon Jesus by faith and you will live! Jesus says,

“Look unto me, and be ye saved” (Isaiah 45:22).

Look to Christ, once crucified for your sins, now seated at the right hand of God in Heaven. Look to Him and you will be saved.

Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Beholding Him is the same as coming to Him! You may say, “I can't come to Him.” Well, will you look to Him by simple faith?

You must have personal faith in Jesus or you will not experience the taking away of your sin. Look to Christ! Come to Him! He will wash your sins clean with His precious Blood!

If you from sin are longing to be free, Look to the Lamb of God;
He, to redeem you, died on Calvary, Look to the Lamb of God.
Look to the Lamb of God, Look to the Lamb of God,
For He alone is able to save you, Look to the Lamb of God.
   (“Look to the Lamb of God” by H. G. Jackson, 1838-1914).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: John 1:15-29.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“A Crown of Thorns” (by Ira F. Stanphill, 1914-1993).


THE OUTLINE OF

BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD –
WITH COMMENTS BY THE REV. JOHN WESLEY, M.A.

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

(I Corinthians 2:2; 15:3; Isaiah 53:4)

I.   First, John saw the truth of this himself, Matthew 3:17.

II.  Second, John preached Christ as “the” sacrifice, Acts 4:12.

III. Third, John preached Christ as the sacrifice “of God,”
Matthew 27:46; Acts 2:23; Isaiah 53:10; John 1:29.

IV.  Fourth, John preached Christ as bearing and taking away our sin,
Isaiah 53:6; I Peter 2:24; I John 1:7.

V.   Fifth, John preached Christ as continually removing sin,
Romans 5:9.

VI.  Sixth, John preached the all-sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice,
Revelation 22:17; Mark 16:16.

VII. Seventh, John told us how to receive the benefit of Christ’s sacrifice,
Isaiah 45:22.