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THE SIN OF THE WORLD REMOVED

Preaching in Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Lord’s Day, 20 December 1970
Deryck Noakes

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John 1 : 29 (Behold . . . )

Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

I can see a connection between this verse and chapter 3 verse 17: “For God has not sent his Son into the world that he may judge the world, but that the world may be saved through him.” That greatness of the Saviour is before us in these scriptures – the greatness of Christ as Saviour, that “the sin of the world,” “the sin of the world,” was not a great enough obstacle to stop Christ. That anyone should say that they cannot be saved, therefore, is ridiculous! “The Lamb of God” could deal with “the sin of the world,” take it away. So that the Lord substituted for those that are saved; everyone that is saved will find out that there was a Substitute. But in another sense, as we’ve been taught, from one point of view the Lord substituted for every sin, so that God is satisfied – absolutely – about what has come into His universe, and that will yet be proved, that that’s so, that there will be a moral basis for the millennium. The millennium won’t be introduced into this world on a basis that is not righteous; it will be righteous. Christ will be here – rightly so – as the Messiah, as a King. Nations will in a right sense owe allegiance to Him. It won’t be by bypassing any national sins at all. The One to whom they’ll owe allegiance is the One that will have dealt with the whole matter. This extends far beyond . . . the force of this verse extends far beyond the forgiveness of our sins, those of us of the assembly – it extends far beyond it – that Christ will have formed a righteous basis where these nations can own Christ as King, and owe their allegiance to Him. And the millennium will not be based upon anything else, but righteousness. In the meantime it’s to draw our attention to the fact that He’s before us in the gospel – Christ is – and it’s to get us to be engaged with His ability, the Lord’s ability, to deal with anything – no obstacle’s too great for Him! There’s no case too bad for Him, for Christ! Not that this is directly what is referred to here, because the sum of it, of all sin, is referred to here; the aggregate of it all is referred to here: “the sin of the world”; He takes it away for God; not for us exactly, but for God. “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” So that we rest in that. I think that’s what you feel with God, and for God, you rest in that, that there’s a Man that does that: “takes away the sin of the world.” He’s about to do it practically. He’s about to do it, the Lord – the practical effect of this that ‘the sin of the world’ is removed! The “man of sin” (2 Thess. 2 : 3) will be removed. It involves this, too, you know, this scripture involves that, as well. The devil will be cast out, and the false prophet and the beast will be cast out, and everyone that doesn’t repent will be confined to “the lake of fire,” Rev. 20 : 10, 15. It’s involved in this scripture, that there’s a Man that’s got a basis, a righteous basis, to do it, because He’s taken away in the sense that He’s been able to measure the whole thing before God. So that He substituted, in one sense, for far more than just those that are saved. It’s not that He substituted for people that are lost; that’s not the truth. But He stood in the place where He measured every sin and all sin before God; in that sense, He substituted, and He’s able to do it.

Now this is to give confidence, confidence to people; it’s to give faith to sinners. It’s to give faith to sinners that there’s such a Saviour as that! Because sinners need convincing; not convincing mentally, but they need faith. It’s the same thing, it’s the same thing really, that we speak about. If you’re convinced that there’s a Saviour, it’s the same thing as getting faith; it is that. It’s not that you’re convinced in your mind, exactly, but it’s that you’re convinced in your heart – ‘believe in his heart’ (Rom. 10 : 9). Therefore God is wide in His thoughts in blessing, not limited. Chapter 3 is that, that He’s wide. He says, “For God so loved the world” (v. 16) – that’s wide – “that he gave” – that’s activity; that’s what we’ve been speaking about today. “God so loved the world”: His love then is the spring; the source of His activity is His love; God’s love is that. “That he gave” is His activity. “His only-begotten Son”: now there’s the relationship that our brother was speaking about, but the relationship brought out in this sense that He was prepared, God was prepared, to have it interrupted; the giving of His Son means that it would be interrupted. The giving of His Son implies the abandonment; it’s inferred in that, that He gave Him. I think that’s absolutely clear, that that’s so. “That he gave his only-begotten Son” infers the abandonment. But then He’s given as a Saviour, “that whosoever believes on him may not perish, but have life eternal.”

So we believe in a lot of things, people believe in a lot of things, for their satisfaction. People, young people, believe in holidays! I don’t blame them, in one way! You believe in holidays, but they don’t give you satisfaction! You come to that in the end – you’re not satisfied. However good time I have, you have, finally you’re not satisfied! In fact, the better it is, the less satisfied you are, because it comes to an end! The more disappointed you are when the end comes, the better the holiday! There’s no blessing except God’s blessing, to which there’s no sorrow added to it. That’s as clear as anything. Every other blessing that you get – we don’t say it’s not blessing – but there is sorrow added to it in some way or other in the end. But what you want is life eternal. That’s what you want. You want the kind of life that is not subject to curtailment here. The kind of life that you can live anywhere. Life eternal is that: the kind of life that’s here in the presence of death and yet superior to it anywhere. It says, ‘If you believe, you get that.’

So God has not sent His Son into the world that He may judge the world, but that the world may be saved through Him. That the world might be saved through Him. That’s a thought of God that’s got to be viewed from the point of view of which John is writing, because it’s not “the present evil world” (Gal. 1 : 4), but it’s God’s whole thought about the world. And God loved the world; do you know why He loved the world? – because He loved men. God loves the very thought of man, and He loves the very thought of this world, as compared to other worlds. Do you know that? The earth, as He made it, He loves that, because it’s an environment in which men can live. Actually when He looks on the heavens, He looks on this earth with favour; He still does. He still thinks that this earth is a place for men, and so it is. And He still, He’s still got affection for it, in that sense, you might say. Because He made it, He made it as an environment in which men can live. These people are proving this that the hostile environment physically of these other planets – the starkness of the moon, and the desolation of it! And other planets, it’s the same thing, I think. I think you prove that the earth is different; it’s made for man, made for man to live in. The world is a moral thought, of course; it’s not only physical; it’s moral, but I venture to say that the moral thought includes the physical. God’s got that whole thought in His mind: that men should live on the earth, apart from sin – apart from sin; that He’s got a Saviour that took away “the sin of the world” – takes it away. So God’s not defeated! Think of the terrible things that are occurring in this world today! The sins that are being heaped up by men! Yet God’s got a Man that takes it all away, and God rests in that Man. Regardless of what’s happening, He rests in a Man that takes it all away.

Then what He’s showing and what He’s working out with such delight: I think God is delighted in what He’s working out. He’s working out His thoughts in the assembly, and not only in the assembly, but in men and women and children that are in the assembly. So that He goes right through with His thoughts, and He brings it out – what He meant, what He meant it should be – that men should be apart from sin here. Our belovèd then brought this out; our belovèd brought it out: not only what it was to be in the assembly, but what it was to be in the world, what it is to live in the world, apart from sin. They had the devil beaten, too. They took away the sin of the church in a large extent, too, you know, because there’s been the sin of the church. The sin of the church has been clericalism, and the sin of the church has been letting the world into it. Someone’s taken it away, practically – put it out. Well, these things are wonderful, when you start to get God’s scope! The sinner’s scope is always limited; what a sinner needs is just a Saviour for his own ends. It’s wonderful to get God’s scope of things! You think of ‘God loves the world,’ a moral thought involving this planet with men on it, living on it – living on it apart from sin; living on it as owning Christ; living on it with the power of the devil, not only defeated, but absolutely annulled, so that it’s not working there any more! These are fine things, these, and have been, I say again, have been demonstrated in a man amongst us that has lived here! So that God’s been infinitely interested in what has happened, because it’s a foreshadowing of what He’ll do publicly, and yet, what He’s done has been greater than what He’s done publicly. So we’re living in a time when the world in the sense of this “present evil world” is known by us, and some of us are nearer to it than others – circumstantially we are nearer. Maybe because of your age, you are nearer to it; you are nearer to this “present evil world,” but you need to always think, come back to this: as to how God thinks about it; He’s got a Man that’s removed “the sin of the world,” a Man that can do that. He can remove “the sin of the world.” He takes it away; it’s activity – divine activity, Christ acting, a Man acting, taking away “the sin of the world,” and God delighting in that.

Well, dear brethren, then let us be impressed by the greatness of the Saviour, impressed by the greatness of what Christ has done, and can do, and will yet do. It’s not that He’s stopped, but He will yet do it. He’s working to that conclusion where sin will be expunged from the universe, and God will be satisfied – infinitely satisfied with what the Saviour’s brought in. His blood then is inferred in this – no direct reference to the blood, but it’s inferred. In His giving of His Son, His blood is inferred – the blood of Christ. ‘Darkness came over the face of the whole land’ (Matt. 27 : 45) at that time; there’s meaning in that, that the ‘darkness came over the whole land.’ It doesn’t say, ‘The whole world,’ really. It’s ‘the land’ that is in mind there, I think; that ‘darkness came over the land.’ That’s the religious area; it’s ‘the land’ that was favoured of God; it’s the land that had Jehovah as their God, Who had been declared to be their God in that way, over which the darkness came. Showing how God was not going to address Himself to what was religious at all, but He’s addressing Himself to faith in what He was doing. Therefore it’s a great mystery to men; it has been and remains so. It’s a mystery to natural man, as such, as to how the blood of a Man shed at Calvary can mean so much; and you cannot understand it apart from faith. You cannot understand it apart from God showing you that He is satisfied by the blood of Jesus. When you see that, you see the full force of it.

Well, may we be helped then to see how great Christ is as Saviour! It’s needed amongst us, because we tend to get our minds full of other things, especially at certain times. You think a lot of your relatives; it’s not wrong, too, in one way, but the thing is to think a lot of Christ, to see how great Christ is as Saviour, and how He can save at the present time! Salvation of our families depends on this! Salvation in a local assembly depends on this! Everything in the way of salvation depends on Christ’s ability to save! In His name.

Originally published by The Bible and Ministry Depot, 101 Heugh Road, Walmer, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

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