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lwpray
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 Re: Followers of the Lamb



The Cross the Way of the Lamb
Now let us go back a little. What we mean by the Lamb is the Cross. The Cross is the way of the Lamb, and the Cross, or the Lamb, links the eternities. One arm, so to speak, of that Cross reaches right back over all the ages and beyond the garden into the eternal counsels, and there takes up all the immensity of those counsels of God, the eternal purpose. The other arm of the Cross touches the ages to come; and by way of that Cross, that from the beginning, which has in the meantime been challenged and upset, is realized: so that the way of the Lamb is the way of the realization of the eternal purpose of God, and nothing less than that.
That is why I have taken pains to stress the immensity of that purpose. Our conception of the Cross is so small. Our hymns about the Cross have such a limited view of that Cross. Oh, yes, “the burden of my heart rolled away” at the Cross — quite true and good, blessed; but the Cross is infinitely, transcendently more than our conversion. The Cross has come in not just to get people saved from their sin and secured unto heaven and have the blessings of forgiveness and access to God. No, the Cross has come in to lay right hold of that vast scheme of the divine intention and purpose and to realize it, and nothing less than it. We ought to see that the Cross is a very much bigger thing than we have ever imagined.

When the Lord begins to work subjectively by His Cross in a life, He does a very utter thing beyond conversion. In many lives it often comes to this: that a fuller apprehension of the meaning of identification with Christ in death and burial and resurrection is a far bigger thing than conversion, and that is significant. You cannot make too much of the Cross, for this very reason — that there is nothing greater and vaster than God’s eternal purpose in the creation of this universe, and the Cross has to do with every bit of it, touches it at every point. The things in the heavens are purged by the Blood of that Cross (Heb. 9:23).
The Cross is an immense thing because of the immensity of that with which it has to do. So the Cross is retrospective — but not merely to the fall, not merely to the entrance of sin. The Cross is retrospective to before the world was, from the laying down of the foundation. It is retrospective to the very purpose of God in having a world at all. If you can understand and grasp why God created this universe, what His thoughts were, what His intentions; if you can really comprehend all the immensity of His purpose in making this a heritage for Himself, worthy of Himself and satisfying to Him, then, and only then, will you be able to see the greatness of the Cross, the magnitude of the Cross. Yes, the Cross reaches right back to that.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/21 2:09Profile
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 Re: Followers of the Lamb



A Company in the Good of the Eternal Purpose
What are we to say about these people, these one hundred and forty-four thousand? If what I have said is right and true, surely they must mean this: they are a company standing in the good of the eternal purpose of God, and nothing less. They have “followed the Lamb whithersoever He goeth”, not a bit of the way, not more or less, not with reservations, not just so far as forgiveness of sins and no further. Not just that, on such-and-such a day in such-and-such a year so long ago, “I gave my heart to Jesus”. These have come into an apprehension of the greatness of God’s purpose concerning His Son, and have gone right on with it and are standing in it. Surely that is what it means.

I am not saying that these are an elect of the elect. I am not saying that this is not for all, this is only for a few — not at all. But anyone who has eyes to see knows quite well that very few Christians actually do go this way, comparatively few really do go all the way with God’s purpose. Look at Christianity today and tell me if what you see represents all the thought of God; and then enquire into it, investigate it, and see how many are willing to go farther, and you will be surprised. How many care about anything more? It is comparatively few who answer to God in His fuller thought as to His eternal purpose. Indeed, I fear that there are multitudes of Christians who do not know what you mean when you talk about the eternal purpose of God. And so God has to find His satisfaction as to this in a representative company.

Here is the position. Who will accept the fuller meaning of the Cross in order to satisfy God as to the fuller expression of His purpose? That is the issue. And this company has said Yes to the Lord. Not just that I am going to be saved and live a happy Christian life and do a lot of Christian work; no. But I am going to allow God to entirely reconstitute me, from centre to circumference, according to His own Son, conformably to the image of His Son; and that takes a profound work of the Cross, a tremendous operation of the Cross to do that. That is following the Lamb. The figures used may seem strange, but that is what it means, the way of the Lamb — He was made perfect through sufferings. That is, He was brought to completeness through sufferings. We shall come there in no other way. That we should be before Him without blemish, before Him in love. That is what reconstituting us means.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/21 10:26Profile
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 Re: Followers of the Lamb



I think the whole matter is clearly before us. Here is a company. (It is clear that, in the book of the Revelation, there are companies of saved people, various and different companies, larger and smaller companies, and here amongst the companies is this one marked out and clearly defined.) It is called the one hundred and forty-four thousand, with symbolic, not literal, meaning, and they stand in a special relationship to the throne, and, as we said in our previous meditation, they are in the good of a special secret that no one else knows or can learn. They have come into something by their walk with the Lamb, by their sufferings together with Him. What do they mean?
Once again, the Lamb takes us back to God’s purpose in fullness before the world was. He does not just say that He by His Blood will deal with the sin that has come in — that is a part of the whole — or with the conditions that have resulted from man’s disobedience: they are all included. What the Lamb does is right at the point where God lays down His whole ultimate plan for eternity: namely, to sum up all things in Christ, to fill all things with Christ and to make His people the fullness of Him that filleth all things. It is in order to secure that against the invasion of the disruptive forces — to secure that and nothing less than that. So the Lamb relates to the fullness of God’s purpose from eternity, and to “follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth” likewise relates to the fullness of that purpose, bringing those who so follow not only to heaven but into that particular position that answers to God’s thought in fullness from eternity.

Now you are able to see why it is necessary, before you can come to the Church, to have the Cross. You never can have the Church without the Cross. The Church is that in which God’s eternal counsels are to be fulfilled, and the Church is based upon the Cross. All that that means just comes back to one thing. Will we “follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth”? In other words, will we accept the Cross in all its meaning for the reversing of everything that is contrary to God’s purpose, the reversing of the very constitution that is contrary to God’s mind? And the reversing is a very practical thing. It is so practical, it is so terribly practical, that it is most unacceptable to any part of our being. The Lord tells you and me that in opposition and affliction and suffering heaped upon us by other people we are to be perfectly meek, not rising up and reacting in the heat of our own temper and hurt feelings and pride, but in meekness we are to accept it, allow it, commit the whole thing to the Lord and suffer.
That is not our constitution. We have to be reconstituted to do that. But when the Spirit of Jesus Christ, God’s Lamb, really does prevail in our hearts and get a victory there, when the Lamb overcomes in us, the ground is provided for God, in His own time and in His own way, to exercise His infinite power in that very situation. It might very well be that these people would come back and say, “Look here, if you had shown resentment, any bad spirit, I should not have thought much of you as a Christian; but because of the way you took it, somehow or other I have had a miserable time ever since!” God has had His opportunity. How many are won that way! Yes, the Lamb WINS.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/21 13:57Profile
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 Re: Followers of the Lamb



The Unity of the Company
But let us not get some objective mentality about following the Lamb. It is coming right home to us in a new way, any day that we live it is going to find us out all along. Nevertheless at the end there is this company right in touch with the throne, singing their song in such a oneness that the apostle said he only heard one voice. “I heard a voice… and the voice which I heard…” — singular. One hundred and forty-four thousand singing in unison so that it was like one sound or voice. God has done something. How has He done that? How does God bring about an utter unity and oneness, identity, in a disrupted creation? How is God going to deal with all the divisions that the enemy has brought about in this world and even amongst the Lord’s people? Only by the way of the Lamb — and He will do it that way, that is His way.
It is a mighty thing. You may try every other means conceivable to the human mind to bring about absolute oneness between two people, and you find there is always some kind of breaking out. It cannot be done. You think you have nicely patched up some matter, but somehow or other it breaks out again; you can never be sure of it. Yet here is something done where a great company is only heard as one voice, only identified as one person. That has undone the work of the devil; that has destroyed his works.
How is it done? THE LAMB, THE WAY OF THE LAMB. The Lord make us followers of the Lamb.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/21 15:56Profile
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 Re: Followers of the Lamb



Followers of the Lamb
by T. Austin-Sparks


Chapter 3 - The Pathway of the Lamb

Reading: Rev. 14:1-5; John 1:29,35-37.

This is the second actual view of the Lamb personally in the whole revelation. We were seeing in our previous meditation that the first is of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, taking us back to those counsels of God which were secured against all the subsequent eventualities, the breaking in of adverse forces and of sin. Here is the second view of the Lamb personally. In the fullness of the times God sent His Son. Of course there has been typology and prophecy previsioning the Lamb. The features of the Lamb have been set forth in numerous symbolic ways in the Old Testament and prophetic utterances. But this is the second view of Him personally and this is marked by a twofold “Behold!” “Behold, the Lamb of God!”

The first is a fuller utterance — “The Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world”. That seems to have been uttered in public. At that time the multitudes were coming to Jordan to be baptized of John and in a public and general and open way John made his declaration — “Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the WORLD!” This is a world matter.

But the second occasion, where the final clause is not repeated, is apparently to disciples, and now it is John looking upon Jesus as He walks and he says to these disciples, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” There is that presentation of the Lamb for the world in relation to sin and sin-bearing, but there is also the presentation of the Lamb to followers as the pattern for their walk — “He looked upon Jesus as he walked, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God!” It was not only as the sin-bearer; it was “Behold the Lamb” AS HE WALKED, and I think that takes us right up to Rev. 14:4. The hundred and forty-four thousand have, of course, beheld Him as their sin-bearer, but they have also beheld Him as One to follow closely all the way, following the Lamb wherever He goes. Whilst we may be rejoicing in the first beholding, rejoicing in the Lord as our sin-bearer, I trust it can also be said of us all that we are beholding as John beheld on the second day. There was a first day in our experience of the Lamb; there was a first beholding. But there is a second day and a day after for beholding, beholding with a view first of all to seeing how the Lamb walks, and then to following. The one hundred and forty-four thousand were those who had done both.


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Lars Widerberg

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 Re: Followers of the Lamb



God’s Lamb
“Behold, the Lamb of God!” We will recall the words of Abraham to Isaac — “God will provide himself the lamb” (Gen. 22:8). God’s Lamb. He is God’s Lamb before He is ours, God’s Lamb before He is anything else. God had need of a Lamb, for in His Son, in the great vocation and service, or transaction, of a Lamb, the primary thing was accomplished of God’s rights being honoured. God has rights, and those rights are the rights of His eternal conception of what man and the world, the creation and the universe ought to be — seeing that it belongs to God, seeing that it came from God, seeing that it was conceived in the heart of God. He associated certain ideas and ideals, standards and ways, a certain nature, with His creation, and He has a right to all that, and His rights have been taken from Him. He is not having His rights in man’s nature and in man’s life, in the world and in the creation, since that interference, since that terrible diversion from God. The Lamb of God, God’s Lamb, as the very first thing in His work, recovers and establishes the rights of God.
God has the right to absolute, unquestioning submission. That right has been taken from Him, and we know — oh, we know so well; it is the very plague of our hearts — how in our very constitution there is that lack of submission to God. What difficulties, what battles, what agonies, we go through in coming into absolute submission to God. It is our nature — it is not our deliberate, conscious insubordination, rebellion or will against God, but it is there in spite of ourselves, in spite of all our desires; it is there, this unmanageable something that is in the very nature of the creation which does not submit to God. Utter and immediate obedience to God — that is His right; and disobedience is the very nature of man, it is shot through this universe. Selfhood — we call it selfishness; it is selfhood. It would take a long time to try to compass the whole round of self-aspects. The Lamb — the very designation, the very word, the very idea, is the opposite of all that — it is the very picture of submission, obedience, selflessness. God gets His rights of submission, obedience, selflessness, in the One known as the Lamb.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/22 11:17Profile
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 Re: Followers of the Lamb



The Lamb Laying Down His Soul
In Him as the Lamb, as we have previously said, we can so clearly see the complete reversal of the whole course of fallen nature, the thought of God for man recovered, humanity reconstituted on another principle — that of the Lamb; a changed nature. It is not our nature to lay down our lives. Remember that that very phrase about laying down the life can equally well be translated “we ought to lay down our souls for the brethren” (1 John 3:16). We sometimes use the word “life” in that connection so that it means what, of course, it is meaning for many today on this earth — just dying a martyr’s death, laying down our life for the gospel of Christ in a single act.
But laying down our soul is a lifelong act, an every day act, a thing which challenges our very disposition, yes, our constitution, for we are immediately affected and influenced by how men of this world will think. They will say it is meek, weak, namby-pamby — you ought to stand up for your rights, you ought to fight for your ends; that is the way of the world. Take a view of the world today and see what that is producing. But the Lamb laid down His soul. When He was reviled, He suffered it, He endured it, He answered nothing. “As a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth” (Is. 53:7). That takes some doing, that represents a strength that is not in you and in me naturally. We have another nature. You say that is weak? I say there is no strength like it. You do not know what strength is until you can stand right up against the whole nature of this world and its judgments and standards and take the opposite view and the opposite course. He did that. That is the Lamb, laying down His soul.

To say to these feelings of ours, these uprisings of our souls, these strong hot feelings, these resentful feelings — to say to them, Now then, you get down, you stay under — that sometimes means a real battle when you are taking everything into account, as to what it is going to involve of cost for the time being, until God vindicates that attitude.
“Behold the Lamb”; follow the Lamb. The way of the Lamb may be the way of the Cross and the crucifixion of the natural life continually, but the end of that way is the throne, and the throne is not some merely geographical scene or spot. Do not interpret thrones in the Bible literally. It may not interest you at all to sit upon a literal throne — it does not interest me — but to come to a place of spiritual ascendency where there are values, where there is wealth, where there are riches, dignity, strength, honour and glory to be dispensed to others, that is something, that is the throne — the end of the course of the Lamb, the way of the Cross.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/27 11:50Profile
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 Re: Followers of the Lamb



Beholding the Lamb Every Day
Behold the Lamb walking, today and tomorrow and the day after.
So many Christians have stopped with the first day. They have beheld the Lamb, the sin-bearer, and they rejoice, as we ought to rejoice, in Him as the sin-bearer. We have stopped with that view, and today and tomorrow and the next day and all the days following we still keep our eyes on day one, forgetting that every day there is to be a beholding of the Lamb in very practical matters. It will require that you and I many times have to withdraw from the scene, as being too much for our natures, and get away with the Lord for a little while and fight that battle out — the battle of our souls, of our reactions, of our provocation. We may have to fight it out and get clear and come out with the Spirit of the Lamb, leaving it in the hands of the Lord to give an answer in His own time. That is following the Lamb. The Lamb repeatedly withdrew to be with His Father because of the situation, because of what He was meeting. He fought out the battle right to the end. He went a little further. “He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass away from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; remove this cup from me: howbeit not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mark 14:35-36). The cost was great. He fought it out and came forth serene, with an amazing serenity, resultant from that secret battle with His own soul. “He poured out his soul unto death” (Is. 53:12).


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/28 2:20Profile
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 Re: Followers of the Lamb



The Lamb at Jordan
So God’s Lamb is one that is wholly unto God. We see here two aspects of that: firstly, as He came to Jordan to be baptized of John, and John said, “Behold, the Lamb of God”. That is the initial and consummate attitude and committal. The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world is now declaring publicly, in the world, that that has, from eternity, been His attitude toward God’s interests. “I am come to do thy will”. I have not come to debate it, to question it; I have not come to contemplate it; I have come committed to it, fully, utterly committed. And Jordan was but a declaration; it was not an acceptance of the will of God — that had been done before the world was; the Lamb was slain then. Will you just dwell upon that statement — “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”. What does that mean? It only means this: that in the counsels of God, when the great design of God, that eternal purpose, was being “talked over” (speaking after the manner of men), and decided upon, then the Father said to the Son, “You know what is going to happen, you know the challenge that is coming, you know the result of that interference, that it will be an utmost cost to secure what we are talking about now — it will cost us everything”; and the Son said, “Father, I will pay the price”. That is the slaying of the Lamb. The Father said, “Very good, we will share it together; it will be My cost and Your cost”. And there it was that “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son”. And when the Son came into the world, He was only taking publicly, on this earth, the position that He had taken then, and declaring it. It was an utmost committal, a consummate attitude, declared at the Jordan.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/28 10:24Profile
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 Re: Followers of the Lamb



The Lamb as He Walked
And then again, it was a matter of beholding Him “as he walked”. The position that He had taken was the position in which He remained every day, meeting the cost of it. Every kind of test came to the position that He had taken. The world tested Him, and I do not mean only the world as a sphere and the people in it, but the spirit of this world, the ideas and conceptions and standards of this world, all so contrary to His. The prince of this world betrays the standard of this world when he suggests to Him that, by falling down and worshipping him, He should receive all the world’s kingdoms. The spirit of compromise — “If only you will drop your level a bit and forsake your utter and ultimate standard, if only you will do a little compromising, you can get so much more; do not be so utter, so absolute, so consummate, it is not to your interests”. That is the world. He was up against that all the time. He was tested by the world spirit, the world’s concept, which is so completely different from that of the Lamb.
He was tested by the evil powers. Very often the evil forces come nakedly, not through men and not through things. They seem somehow or other to break right in upon us, apart from other people and apart from other things, and we sense an awful working of evil. It seems as though the evil powers have got inside of us, ourselves. At other times they are in other people, provoking us; now they somehow seem to be working WITHIN. “Christian, do you see them, how they work within?” Yes, they do; that is how it seems. I am not talking about demon possession in the case of Christians, but it seems sometimes as though they have their grip upon our very vitals. He knew soul-travail in conflict with the evil powers; oh, if it were known what a secret history the Lord Jesus had! We only read of His doings and His sayings and see some of the incidents in His life, but there must have been a tremendous secret history, battles and conflicts and sufferings and issues being fought out. He was here for that, but the position taken initially was maintained day by day in His walk, in His going, in His progress, and we must constantly in every situation follow the Lamb.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/28 17:28Profile





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