The Silence of the Lambs
On many and differing occasions Jesus himself refers to Gods Children as “Lambs” and John the Baptist calls Jesus “Gods Lamb” … “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world” John 1:29 Jesus tells Simon Peter to “Feed both Lambs and Sheep” (John 21) In the Church we think of Gods lambs, as Gods little ones, Gods children, the infants of the faith … and rightly so. Yet “the Lambs of the flock” need not necessarily be Children, simply we may think of them as those who have not yet matured. Sadly, God has many grown up Children who have not yet matured – not yet become Sons and Daughters able to take on or take over the Fathers Business – Gods Business! In spite of the fact that they have been following Christ for many years, they remain as infants, not walking for God and not talking for God: And are as those who the apostle Paul says are “ever learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth” 2 Tim 3:7.
Today in my Sermon entitled
“THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS” I want to talk with you about the sin of “Staying Silent”?
My Brother and his family live in Canada, and the laws of that country state that it is a crime to do something that would harm another person, but neglecting to do something that resulted in another person’s harm is equally as criminal. Take a moment to think about that in light of the number of people in our generation who are about to perish without God. So many are living under the illusion that mankind can pursue his own objectives, follow his own reasoning, and still manage to arrive at some utopian, heavenly end. Yet, in reality, the end that awaits those who choose to live without God is one of such hellish terror that our minds cannot even begin to comprehend it.
You and I are aware of the reality of heaven and hell, and we also know that in between the two stands a Saviour. We know that it is His Cross that bridges the gap. We know the truth because the truth has set us free. The truth has made us into new creatures and continues to usher us into greater measures of strength and freedom every day as we sincerely follow Christ. We do not hold to a mere concept about God, we have the living reality of God inside of us. And so the question arises: Why is it that we, knowing the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, still remain silent?
Consider first of all – THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
We read earlier in the Service from some Godly advise given by the Apostle Paul to young Timothy (his son in the faith) that -“God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind… ” 2 Timothy 1:7. Paul then identifies the root of this problem of remaining silent as fear or more specifically, as I see it, the fear of man—a fear of retaliation and rejection. It is not debatable that we are going to experience rejection when we choose to stand for what represents God in a godless hour. Yet just as Paul warned Timothy, we are not to back away in the face of difficulty. God is willing to give us the power we need to take the inconvenience, the rejection, the scorn, the retaliation—these “afflictions” of obeying the gospel.
It is helpful to understand that the fear of man finds its fuel source in our sin nature. It all began when Satan was no longer content to be a worshiper in heaven—rather, he longed to be worshiped. That lust in his heart led him to think outside of the parameters that God had established for him. When he came to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, he subsequently sowed that fallen nature into the human race—a desire to live and think independently of God, ultimately wanting to be as God.
With that sin nature now entrenched in humanity, the next step was the innate desire to be worshiped—and so fallen man began to turn to one another for approval. That’s why we tend to be so greatly affected by other people’s opinions of us; why our whole identity suddenly hinges on whether we are a success or failure in other people’s eyes. In fact, this lust for the praise of man has driven many to sporting or to acting careers where they can live in the realm of seemingly constant applause and accolades.
Although they may realize the trap of it all, by the time they reach some pinnacle of adoration, they nevertheless become addicted to men’s approval and can no longer live without it.
Consider how tragic it would be to stand before the Lord one day and have somebody we once knew, look us in the eye and say, “You knew the truth. You knew there was a heaven and a hell! I know I was nasty, but why didn’t you open your mouth and tell me anyway? You knew I was going to go to Hell. You knew my children would end up in Hell. Why didn’t you speak to me?”
Sadly, the only reason any child of God would have is: “I longed for your favour more than the favour of God. I wanted you to like me. I didn’t want you to laugh at me; I wanted your accolades and praise.” What a trap it is when we love the praise of men more than the praise of God! Some of you don’t like me, or to be more accurate – you don’t like my preaching, yet amazingly you still listen week by week? Yet as I have stated on many occasions,- I am not about “pleasing you” I am about “preparing you” for that place we call eternity. I would much rather live with your displeasure today than face Gods displeasure throughout eternity!
Secondly let us consider – THE ROAD TO THE SOLUTION.
According to Paul, the only way to escape this snare of the fear of man is by calling out to God, – knowing that He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. God alone can give us the ability to escape being governed by the praise or the criticism of people. Furthermore, the Scriptures tell us, that “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…” 1 John 4:18. The road to the solution, is to walk in Love!
The love of God will not only drive out fear, but it will compel us to go back to those who are living without God in order to do them good, irrespective of their attitude towards us.
No doubt Jesus had the power to resist the accolades of man. The Bible tells us, that “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone” John 6:15. We know that Jesus was so full of the love of God that He allowed Himself to be given, and to die for the needs of the very ones who opposed Him. When people walked by His cross and reviled Him, wagging their heads and gambling for His garments, the only thing that came out of His mouth was, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” Luke 23:34.
This is the perfected love of God! It is walking in this perfected love that will empower us to do what we are called to do in this generation—to love those who hate us, for their souls’ sake.
On the other hand, the one who fears is not perfected in the love of God. He is as the blind man who was touched by Jesus yet only saw people as trees walking… Mark 8:22–25. In other words, this man had only half a vision. Similarly, when you and I do not have a heart to see people the way God sees them, we will be driven back by their hard looks and condescension. However, when that blind man was willing to be touched by the Lord a second time, he lifted his eyes and suddenly saw all men clearly. Let God touch your heart today with a new compassion and a new care for those around you. God can put in you the ability to do what you cannot do by yourself. He can enable you to see them as he sees them … Only God can do that!
In the Third place, Consider with me –
THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CHURCH
We are not allowed to be SILENT, we have been commissioned to “GO AND TELL”.
If you are desperate to be a witness for Jesus Christ—if you are tired of being one thing in Church but another outside; if there is a cry inside of you that says, “God, I have had enough of this powerlessness! I don’t care who laughs at me or who thinks I have lost my mind and my marbles, – I want Your power to be able to stand up for Jesus Christ!” Then I have good news for you: God is willing to touch you again, just as He did that
Years ago in my late teens, God spoke to me about my unwillingness to be vocal for him. It is never enough to have a visual faith, God wants us to have a vocal faith. It was on Palm Sunday and the Preacher on that occasion spoke about a little Donkey, who Jesus needed to carry him into Jerusalem. I figured that if God could use an Ass, then God could use me.
That day I surrendered my life, my love and my lips to His service and that day God anointed my lips to Preach.
At first, I was fearful, and at first I wept over the daunting decision I had made, to embark upon this life to pursue what the Bible calls “The foolishness of Preaching” 1 Corinthians 1:21.
God had put a compelling love in my heart. Yes, there were times when I was opposed and even threatened. Nevertheless, I simply could not remain silent, for I genuinely cared about the people I was speaking to. It was not about a program or something I felt obligated to do, nor was I merely waiting for the right moment to pass someone a tract. No! I was compelled to speak about Jesus Christ. Men and women, and boys and girls around me were dying in their sin, and somebody with the compassion of God had to speak to them. This is the calling on each one of our lives – we simply cannot remain silent.
Paul said it this way: “Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things” 2 Timothy 1:11–12. Paul said: “I suffer, I am called, and I am appointed.” In the same way, each of us is appointed by God to be a vocal witness of the truth. We are not called to be silent in this hour.
Finally let us consider THE URGENCY OF THE TASK.
This is a critical day in the history of our world, God is moving all things into place to end this age of Grace, this Church age, and bring us into the Kingdom age. We have only a little time left before us, before Jesus comes back. We are called to stand for what we believe in; to testify of how God has transformed us and continues to work in our lives. We are called to stand unashamed rather than cowering down under the sneers of fallen humanity. It is not OUR responsibility only, but it is OUR time now – and God has made a way for us to get the job done.
Prior to these verses, Paul said to Timothy, “…but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” 2 Timothy 1:8–9. It is according to His own purpose and grace! It is as if God is saying, “I saw you coming, and I made a way for you. I made a way to cut the cords of needing the praise and approval of man. I made a way for you to fulfil My holy calling on your life—not just in part but in full measure.
I made a way for you to love people with a supernatural love. I am willing to fill you with My Holy Spirit, giving you courage to stand as a voice for the kingdom of God—not by your ability, but by My Holy Spirit!” We will never do it without God. Only God can impart that love, that supernatural love, that indwelling compulsion to “open our mouths” and speak up for him. Much of what we will do, he will already have set up for us long before we will get there. God knows who we need to talk to, and he knows what they need to hear. Believe me, if you open your mouth wide, God will fill it! Psalm 81:10
How exciting it is to be led by the Holy Spirit into such encounters. To know that God has placed someone in my path today, who I can influence for time and eternity … there is no greater joy. All God wants from us is a willingness to speak and a determination never to be silent. To be silent is sin. It is to shut off the water supply near a burning house – to leave the baby playing in the traffic, – to steal the bread from the beggars plate. It is a SIN to stay silent!
Proverbs 22:15 reads: “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him“.
Sadly many have never had that foolishness driven from them and they have grown up with it – taking it into their marriages, their businesses, their politics and their thinking. Every day I am amazed at the foolishness of the decisions being taken at the highest levels of our society. Decisions that have brought us into the crisis and calamities we are now facing. In Politics, in Business and in virtually every strata of Society, we have shunted to the sidelines our “Elder Statesmen” men of vision and wisdom and replaced them with youthful entrepreneurs who are full of the brightest of ideas but no common sense, who have academic ability but are clueless about life! Oh How God needs His Church to speak in these dark days, … Let there be light again Lord – is my Prayer. I am calling for the “grey haired” voices to rise from retirement and raise their voices again.
If the lambs are Silent, the Sheep may have to speak up!
The task before us has an urgency like never before. We cannot afford to remain silent any longer. There comes a point in the testimony of the Christian church when we realize that we simply do not have time to argue about doctrines and theologies any longer. Instead, we recognize that we need the power of the Holy Spirit in order to stand up and do what we are called to do. Remember, God has not given us a spirit of fear – but of power, love and a sound mind. It is only the power and the love of God that will compel us to open our mouths and reach out to people in a time when godlessness appears to be pulling into the fast lane. And it is the sound mind that says, “God’s promises are true. What He has done for others, He will also do for me.” After all, Jesus Himself said, “If a son asks for bread, his father will not give him a stone. How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask?” Matthew 7:9–11.
And so I encourage you today to ask the Lord to touch your life and your lips again and fill and anoint you afresh with the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to perfect you in the love of Christ—a love that will cast out all fear; a love that will not allow you to remain silent in these perilous times!
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
Imagine for a moment that you are a Shepherd caring for your sheep and lambs, spending the night along with them in the field as the Shepherds do in many parts of the world.
Now supposing you’ve had a tiring day and you are finding it difficult in the still of the night to keep your eyes open. Momentarily you take your eyes of the flock and you nod off and doze a little. Suddenly you spring to life with the horrible realization that a wild animal of some sort, a lion, or a wolf has been in the field and torn many of the flock to pieces – killing both sheep and lambs and devouring their flesh. Wouldn’t you be surprised that the flock were SILENT? Don’t you think that one of them might have raised the alarm, one of them might have cried out in the prevailing panic and pain?
My dear friends, my Bible shows me that there is a “Roaring Lion” out there going about seeking whom he may devour – His name is Satan, and unless you and I raise the alarm, make no mistake about it, He will devour your family, your neighbours, your colleagues and your friends unless you warn them of his sinister cruel and murderous ways. The Devil is hell bent on taking every last one of them to a Godless and Loveless eternity.
We must stop him – we have no other option. We must sound the alarm, we must “occupy” until Christ, the Good Shepherd comes back. We must get up, dress up, stand up, and speak up – now is our time.
May God help you and God Bless you.