Home T. Austin Sparks Messages. General The Lion and The Lamb
The Lion and The Lamb | Print |  E-mail
T. Austin-Sparks Messages.

¶ A very beautiful and vital encouragement that the Kingdom of God in man operates by the power of the Lamb. The same principle by which Jesus brought about the operation of the Kingdom of God on Earth. Grant Hayman.

The old creation destroyed by the cross and the conflict against incorruptible life.

¶ You see, you come to this foundation passage [Rev 5:2-6] and you have that presented in the symbolism so vividly. Here is a book of judgment, the judgment of all the nations, sealed with seven seals. That book has to be opened, the nations have to be judged, but who is worthy to open that book? Who has the right, who is morally worthy to judge the nations? And the seer says that he wept much because no one was found worthy to open the book, to deal with all this state of things in the universe, this corruption, this iniquity, this sin, this wickedness. Oh, get the force of that! God is not going to deal with things because He is sovereign God. No, the dealing with sin and iniquity demands a moral condition and its a question of who is worthy to do it; who is morally in the position to say to every man in the creation, Now then, come to judgment! “I wept much because no one was found worthy to open the book, or to look thereon; and one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not; behold, the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath overcome to open the book and the seven seals thereof” (Rev. 5:4,5). The seer heard those words — “The Lion that is of the tribe of Judah!” This is power! This is might! This is force! This is greatness! This is majesty! Verse 6: “And I turned and I saw …” — can I believe my eyes? A Lion of the tribe of Judah? — “and I saw … a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain”!

This deliberate change in imagery by the Spirit of God is for one purpose, one object. What is the secret of power, what is the nature of power, what is the resource by which to overcome? What is it that is to be our life, our overcoming life, our triumphant life, our life of glory and fulness? Feeling like a lion, approaching everything like a lion? No, it is knowing the meaning of the cross as to the destruction of all natural strength and resource, and the Lord Jesus Himself being in us the Overcomer. Believe me, you and I will never be overcomers. The Lord Jesus is the only Overcomer and all the rest will overcome because He, the Overcomer, is within them.

That means that if the Lord Jesus is really to be in us and in the church, what He is here set forth as being, the same thing has to happen in us. He emptied Himself, became obedient unto death, yea, the death of the cross, and, while you and I will never have that which He had of which to empty ourselves, nevertheless there has to be a very real emptying, an emptying of all self-strength, of all self-will, of all self-esteem, of all self- interest, of all self-desire, of all self-reasoning. Self, the sum total of the old creation, is Satan’s strength, and where Satan ?nds in you or in me this self, he is the victor. For Satan to be defeated and cast down and the kingdom to come within, self has to be broken — the very backbone of self.

This immediately sets up terri?c warfare. What is the nature of this warfare? It may be general spiritual pressure and con?ict, and we know much about that. It may be persecution and suffering from the outside, (and the church has known much of that), but when you open the book of the Revelation, you ?nd that the risen Lord is dealing with the church as represented here on the earth, and the effect of His coming to the church as here represented in the seven churches is to challenge concerning that which means defeat for the church and victory for Satan. When you ask: What is it that reverses victory, what is it that gives Satan his power to overcome, what is it that means that the church, the Lord’s people, are defeated in any one case or any number of cases? When you ask those questions, you have got to look inside, not outside. Remember that Satan has absolutely no power over the people of God only in so far as they give him that power; that is, only in so far as there is that in them which is of Satan himself, and that is exactly where the application of the cross has to be made, and, in a word, it is this.

We are not going to get very far towards the realization of all God’s fulness of purpose now as well as hereafter; we are not going to come into the place of power, victory, life, glory, effectiveness or spiritual fulness until a basic thing has been done, a foundational thing. That is that the cross of the Lord Jesus has to be planted right at the very heart of our old nature, the old creation, and all that that means. It is going to take us a whole lifetime to discover what that means. You and I do not know what the old creation means, only in some things, but right on to the end of our lives, under the eye that is as a ?ame of ?re, we shall be making further discoveries of what the old creation is. But, although we can never know it all at once, although the discovery will take us all our lives, there has to be a real de?nite crisis, a crisis of the cross in which we do not only accept something that we believe about the cross, are taught about the cross as teaching, but in which there is something done in us which represents the snapping, the breaking in two, of the very backbone of the old creation.

You know what a broken limb means, don’t you? Well, if you really have got a broken limb, what can you do? You have no power over it, no control over it. Whatever you may want to do with it, you cannot do it. You have lost all power to direct it, to govern it, to use it. The power has gone. Now, apply that to the backbone, to the spinal column, upon which your whole frame depends, your whole man — a fractured spine! What can you do in any part with that? It is broken. That does not mean that all your bones are broken. You discover that you still have a lot of whole bones, but the mainstay is broken, the main strength is dealt with and you know that, right at the very centre of your being something has happened.

Although there may be many bones yet to be broken (and the Lord is going to break all our bones; He is going to fracture every bone of that old creation and make it helpless, incapable of functioning), God has laid His ?nger upon the central strength of our old creation life and touched it. The one thing by which we know that He has done that is that there is a realm in which we cannot move; there is a realm we dare not touch; there is a resource upon which we dare not draw; there are ways which we dare not
take; there is a life which we dare not, if we could, live. We cannot. It is like Jacob’s thigh. The Lord touched the sinew of the thigh of Jacob in the hour of his strength, in the hour of his self-assurance. It was only the ?nger of God, not the mighty power of God; just a touch, but it was enough. Jews, from that day to this, if they are orthodox, never eat of that portion. It has come under the forbidding of God. The thigh is a symbol of strength, natural strength, old creation strength. God has put His ?nger upon it, and Jacob, from that day to the day of his death, went leaning on a staff, and we are told that, on the day of his death when he blessed his sons, he blessed them leaning on the top of his staff. Here is a man who is lame to his deathbed because God touched his thigh, his strength.

And that is the old creation — it is Jacob. By nature we are all Jacobs. The cross means that the strength of our natural life has been touched. Oh, I do not say the strength of sin! While I mean that, if I were to say that you would begin to think of sins. Oh yes, it is sin and it is sins, but inclusively and comprehensively, it is us, ourselves. It is using our own natural powers in divine things.

Now then, to reach that intention and thought of God, it is by way of the Lamb, and the Lamb is just a contradiction of all natural strength. Now the lion — what do you expect when you talk about lions? Something terri?c, ferocious, mighty, that demonstrates power. Oh yes, that is the natural way of looking at things, but God’s thought is this, that God’s Lion is the Lamb, and that as though it had been slain. It is victory by the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and His death was our death. His death was your death. His death was my death. It is not only that Jesus died for you and for me. Remember that the Word teaches so clearly that He died for us, on our behalf, but also that He died as us. When He died, in God’s thought we died. We must never move away from this or take it for granted, however much we know it. There has to be in us that work of the cross which really has broken all the strength of our natural life, so that using our natural life in spiritual things cannot be. We know it.

If we essay to do it, we know the Spirit puts His veto on that. We know it is death; we have a bad time and have to ask the Lord sooner or later to forgive that and to cleanse. We have touched an old realm which lies behind the cross and God says, No! Have you had that break, that real break, at the centre of your being? Do you know what I am talking about? If you do not, I ask you to have dealings with the Lord on this matter. The enemy will continue to make his mess of things, he will be strutting about holding his own everywhere until this is done. Every one of us must know that veto of God which is represented by the cross of the Lord Jesus which says to the life of nature — No, never!

The Spirit of God brings that up every time we begin to argue according to our own ideas, every time we begin to project our own desires and manipulate things to have them as we want them. We seek to project our wills to get things, to have things, to direct things, to govern things. It is death and we know it. Oh, these things are very real! We know what death is spiritually. This is the education of the people of God to know in this inward way what is under the ban of God. It is that crisis, it is that breaking, that snapping of the very centre of our natural life, our old creation, which makes it possible for the Lord to bring us right on to all His will. It is from then that we know the meaning of an opened heaven. It was when the Lamb of God went down into Jordan, the waters of baptism, and there in type declared His going to the cross and dying and rising again. It was then that the heavens were opened and the Spirit lighted upon Him, and everything so far as the kingdom of God was concerned commenced then. He was already through in Spirit to the heavenlies.

When we are baptized, we are saying, “I accept all that the cross of the Lord Jesus means from God’s standpoint so far as I am concerned, and I understand that to mean: ‘I have been cruci?ed with Christ; it is no longer I’, no longer what I want, what I like, what I dislike. It is now Christ, and my attitude, my spirit, my demeanour, is the Lamb, yielding to the will of God.” “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter”, but do you think it was men who made Him the Lamb? Do you think that He was a Lamb to Satan? Oh, not at all! He was the Lion to Satan; He was the Lamb of God. What does that mean? Yieldedness to the will of God. Oh, there was no hammer, nails or Roman soldiers powerful enough to put Him on the cross. It was the will of God that put Him on the cross. No Roman legions could have put Christ on the cross. Never! “Thinkest thou that I cannot beseech my Father, and He shall even now send Me more than twelve legions of angels?” When you remember what one angel did to the army of Sennacherib, you can imagine what twelve legions could do! There is no power in this universe capable of putting Jesus Christ on the cross, only that of the will of God; that is the Lamb — yielded to the will of God.

May the Lord bring His word to our hearts in a new way. Come right back there, recognize the foundation of everything. The foundation of the throne and the kingdom is the Lamb.

Revelation 5:2-6

King James Version (KJV)

2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah , the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
6 And 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 , having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

7 And he came and

took the book out

of the right hand of

him that sat upon

the throne.