The Lamb is Promised
This may seem like a strange place from which to preach a Christmas sermon. Yet, here in the midst of man’s greatest tragedy, is the revelation of man’s greatest hope. For it is in this tale of sin, judgment and death that we meet the message of the saving Gospel and the Person of the Lamb of God for the first time.
God made man in his own image. He created man in perfect innocence and placed him in a perfect environment. Adam has been given dominion over the Lord’s entire creation and he has been presented with a perfect companion, a woman called Eve. They live an idyllic existence, free from pain, disease, death and sorrow. Every need they have is met and they enjoy unbroken, unhindered fellowship with God Himself. The only restriction they have regards one tree which is located in the Garden of Eden. This tree called, “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Adam is warned to stay away from this tree, for to eat its fruit will bring death into the world.
Well, for an undefined period of time things go well in the Garden, until one day when Eve finds herself confronted by a serpent controlled by Satan. This serpent tells her that god is holding out on her and Adam. He tells Eve that god does not want them eating of the fruit because God knows that when they eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they will be like him. Eve succumbs to the temptation of the devil and eats of the fruit. Adam also falls for the lie and eats as well.
In an instant, everything changes! They are no longer innocent and pure, but they have become sinners; they have become fallen beings. Immediately, they are aware that everything has changed. They become ashamed because of their naked condition and seek to cover themselves with fig leaves. In the midst of this tragedy, God comes into the Garden to fellowship with Adam and Eve. He calls out to them because they have hidden themselves from Him. God knows what they have done and extracts a confession from Adam. Then the blame game begins. Adam blames Eve and God, while Eve blames the serpent. God immediately pronounces judgment upon Adam, Eve and the serpent, and God casts them out of the Garden of Eden.
Yet, right in the middle of this tragedy is a flicker of hope. Verse 15 shines out of this darkness like a great beacon of amazing grace from God. This verse has been called the “Protevangelium.” That is Latin word that means “First Gospel.” I know that some of you are thinking that the pastor has lost his mind on this one, but just hang in there with me and it will become clearer as we go along. It is here, in seed form, that the Gospel of salvation through the grace of God is seen. Here, for the first time, we see a glimpse of the Lamb of God who will later give Himself on Calvary’s cross to redeem a lost and dying world. Here we can see the first stitch in the scarlet thread of redemption that courses its way though the entire Word of God. This precious verse gives us the very first promise in the Word of god regarding the coming Lamb. I would like to take a few minutes to look into this passage as I preached on Behold the Lamb Promised. This passage reveals some precious truths regarding the promised Lamb. Please allow me to share these truths with you today as we consider the thought.
I. The Personality of the Promised Lamb
a. This Lamb is Unique in His Origin
• We are told that this One Who is coming will be the “seed of the woman.”
o This is a strange statement because by God’s very design the “seed” is provided by the male members of every species.
o Here, we are told that the woman will produce the offspring without the aid of a man.
o This verse gives us the first kernel of a great truth that will be more fully revealed down the road.
o This verse is the first prophecy of the Virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
• Satan did not understand it, Adam and Eve did not understand it; but God indicated that He will send His Lamb into the world through a woman without the involvement of a man!
o Of course, we know this is how the birth of Jesus came about.
o Isaiah prophesied it in Isaiah 7:14; and the angel Gabriel announced it to Mary and to Joseph .
• Why is this important?
o The Bible clearly teaches that sin and the sin nature are handed down through the man.
o Every person who has entered this world through the old fashioned method of sexual union between a man and a woman has inherited a sin nature, and is in fact a sinner at birth.
• The birth of Jesus was, however, very different.
o Since He came into this world without a human father, He was born without the taint of sin!
o He was born pure and sinless, thus He was qualified to die for the sins of humanity.
o Of course, what makes the birth of Jesus particularly unique is the fact that He was no ordinary baby, but He was, and is, god in the flesh.
b. This Lamb is Unique in His Occupation
• This Lamb was coming into the world to do battle with the forces of evil.
• We are told that he was coming to “bruise” the serpent’s head.
• This refers to a fatal injury.
• This Lamb was coming to this world not to show men a better way to live.
• He was not coming to improve their environment.
• He was not coming to improve their social standing.
• He was coming to defeat evil.
• That was His sole mission.
• This promised One was coming to deliver humanity form the sin into which it has just fallen.
• Many men and women would battle evil over the years; this One would deal it a death blow.
• He was coming to do for men that which they could never do for themselves. He was coming to secure their liberty and salvation from sin.
• More will be said about this in a moment.
II. The Purpose of the Promised Lamb
a. He Would Come as a Warrior
• The word “enmity” means “hatred or enemy.”
o Of course, it brings to mind the natural hatred humans have for serpents, but there is much more in view here.
o The enmity or hatred referred to here runs far deeper than that of a man hating a snake.
o It refers to the hatred Satan possesses toward the Lord and all the Lord represents.
o It refers to the hatred that resided within the heart of the devil that caused him to attach Adam and Eve in the Garden and tempt them to sin.
o It is a hatred that desires nothing less then the overthrow of the Lord and His kingdom.
o It is a hatred that demands the death of god and the installation of Satan as god.
o This is the battle that was raging in Eden!
o It had less to do with mankind than it did with Satan’s desire to wage war on God.
• We are told that the One who is coming to this world as a Warrior.
o He was coming as One who would engage in warfare with a determined enemy.
o He would take up the fight that Adam had lost in the Garden of Eden.
o He would come to do battle with Satan!
• Of course, Jesus did just that!
o From the instant this prophecy was given in verse 15, until the moment Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again from the dead; Stan did everything in his power to stop “the seed of the woman” from being born.
o He worked through Cain to kill Abel.
o He sought to corrupt the human blood line through evil marriages.
o He tried to kill the people of Israel in Egypt.
o He tried to bring about their destruction by leading them into gross idolatry during the kingdom years of Israel.
• Then when Jesus was born, Satan tried to destroy Him as an infant.
o He tried to lead Him to sin on the Mount of Temptation.
o He tried to get Jesus to claim the crown without going to the cross.
o He tried to kill the Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane
o And, surely he thought he had won the victory when Jesus dies on the cross.
o What Satan did not realize was that the greatest bombardment fired by Heaven was the instant God became sin and died in the sinner’s place.
o Jesus, the blessed Lamb of God, came into this world as a mighty warrior!
b. He Would Come as a Winner
• The serpent is told that he will “bruise the heel” of the seed of the woman, but the seed of the woman will “bruise” the head of the serpent.
o Bruising the heel refers to an injury that is not fatal; while bruising the head refers to a fatal wound.
o The word “bruise” has the idea of “crushing or striking.”
o The serpent might strike the heel of the coming Lamb, but the Lamb would crush the head of the serpent.
• Of course, this was fulfilled at the cross.
o The Lamb of God endured death for God’s elect, but death could not hold Him!
o On the third morning, He arose from the dead as the Victor in the greatest battle ever waged.
o But, in His dying and rising again, he inflicted as mortal would upon the head of the serpent that will ultimately end with him sentenced to an eternity in the Lake of Fire.
• The Prince of Life entered the arena of battle with the Prince of Death.
o When the battle ended, the Prince of Light emerged as the lone Victor.
o Now, all those who know Him enjoy His victory and share in the spoils of His conquest.
o When He arose, he became the “First fruits from the dead” according to 1 Cor. 15:20; and a such he promised eternal life to all who receive Him by faith.
• If you have already claimed Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are not just on the winning side, you are on the side that has already won! AMEN.
III. The Portrait of the Promised Lamb (v. 21)
After god pronounces judgment on the guilty parties, he does something very remarkable. God Himself slays a beast of some type and uses it skin to make garments for Adam and Eve. In this graphic scene of death, there is a wonderful portrait given of the coming Lamb.
a. It is a Portrait of Sacrifice
• Imagine the horror that must have filled the hearts of Adam and Eve as they witnessed death for the very first time!
o They had never seen blood before, now they watch as God, with His Own hands, slaughters an animal to provide a covering for their nakedness.
o It was in that instant that they saw first hand just how much their sin really cost.
o They finally understood that the wages of sin is death.
• What we see in this verse is a clear portrait of what the coming Lamb would do for us.
o Remember that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
o Remember that He had never sinned, and that He did no deserve to die.
o Remember that He came to this world to have His heel bruised so that He might crush the head of the serpent.
• Now, look back at Calvary.
o See the Lamb of God nailed to a cross.
o See His tormentors as they spit in His face.
o Watch them as they pluck the beard from His cheeks.
o Listen as they mock Him.
o Curse Him and mock Him.
o Watch as the very people He came to this world to save deliver Him up to be crucified.
o Can you hear the sound of the whip as the cruel strokes fall again and again upon His back?
o Can you feel the agony as He is nailed to that cross of wood and lifted up between Heaven and earth to die?
o Watch Him as the blood pours from the wounds in His head, His hands and His feet.
o Look at Him as the blood runs down the cross pooling up on the ground.
• Now, understand that everything He went through; every stripe on His back; every agony He suffered; every disgrace He endured; everything he suffered during His life, His trial and His death was because of your sins!
o He was marred for you.
o He bled for you.
o He died for you.
• Realize that Calvary is God’s billboard, screaming out His love for fallen man.
o Look at that scene and see the awful hatred god has for sin.
o Look at that cross and see the boundless love God has for sinners.
o Look to the suffering Savior and live!
b. It is a Portrait of Sufficiency
• After Adam and Eve sinned and became aware of their nakedness, they attempted to cover themselves by making aprons of fig leaves.
o But, their efforts were insufficient and God killed and innocent animal to provide a covering for their bodies.
o God wanted to show them, and us, that the works of the flesh can never atone for, or cover, sin.
o It requires the death of the innocent in the place of the guilty.
o Sin is taken away only through the shedding of innocent blood.
• This is a clear picture of the inability of man to make himself presentable to God through his own efforts.
o The very best we can produce will always fall woefully short.
o Man has always tried to craft for himself garments of righteousness and garments of religion.
o But, man’s effort never succeeds in covering his sins form terrible gaze of Almighty God.
o Man needs a covering that he cannot provide for himself.
o When Jesus, the Lamb of God, came into this world and died on the cross, He provided a sufficient covering for the sinfulness of man.
o When a person comes to Jesus by faith and is born again, He robes them in His righteousness, and makes them worthy to stand in the presence of God.
• The whole point to this is this: you can try anything you please, whether it is religion, good works, clean living, etc, to please the Lord; but, nothing will be sufficient to deal with your sin problem, until you come to Jesus and are saved by grace.
o Then, and only then, can you stand before the Lord and be accepted by Him.
o Only Jesus Christ and his shed blood is sufficient to allow us to stand in His presence.
I am sorry that Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eve. Imagine what the world would be like today if they had not. But, they did, and because they did you and I were born into this world with a desperate sin problem. I thank God that He saw our need and sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world to die on the cross as the perfect Lamb.
As we enter and move through this Christmas season, do you know for sure that you know the real reason for the season? Do you know Jesus as more than a baby in a manger? Is he you personal Savior? Or is He just a story in a book; a sweet though but nothing more, during the busy holiday season? You need to be sure!
You see, just as surely as Adam and Eve came to the end of their lives and died and went out into eternity, you will too! You need to know where you will go when that even happens. And, where you go hinges upon what you do with Jesus Christ. Are you saved? If you are then praise the Lord! IF you are not, you need to know you can be. If the Lord is calling you to come to Him, now is the time to do just that. Why not come to Jesus today and meet the Lamb of God?