READING: Isaiah 49:1-7, Psalm 40; I Corinthians 1:1-9; John 1:29-42
SERMON : "Look, The Lamb of God"
Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
The following is a more or less complete liturgy and sermon
for the upcoming Sunday. Hymn numbers, designated as VU are
found in the United Church of Canada Hymnal "Voices United".
SFPG is "Songs For A Gospel People", also available from the UCC.
Sources: The Pray of Invocation is based in part on one found in
John Maynard's "Prayers and Litanies for Ordinary 2, Year A" as sent
to the PRCL List in 2002. The Prayers of The People are based on
those by Bruce Prewer as found in Maynard. The Children's Story is
based on one for this Sunday as offered by Charles Kirkpatrick,
"Sermons4Kids", 2005. Sermon citations from Robert Ingram, "Worship
Workbook For The Gospels, Cycle A", CSS Publishing, 1995. pages 62-
* CANDLE LIGHTING AND INTROIT: "This Is The Day" (verse 1) - VU 412
* CALL TO WORSHIP: (based on Isaiah 44:21-26)
L The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
P And also with you.
L Give praise and thanksgiving unto God,
for he made all things,
he alone stretched out the heavens.
P He formed us in the womb
and called us to be his servants before we were born.
L Rejoice and be glad,
for God remembers his purpose
and does not forget his people.
P God has swept away our transgressions like a cloud,
our sins like a mist.
L He has visited us and redeemed us.
P He has not forgotten us.
L Sing, O Heavens, and shout, O depths of the earth!
P Break forth into singing, all you people of the Lord,
For God confirms the word of his servant
and fulfils the predictions of his messengers.
* PRAYER OF INVOCATION
Most Gracious God - we thank you for your eternal word, Jesus Christ, and
for your Holy Spirit which brings the light of his gospel into our lives.
We praise you for all your acts of goodness and pray that as we worship
you this day we might be grow in righteousness and in love. Come, visit us
with your presence as we wait upon you with penitent and believing hearts.
Grant that we might be a people who bless your name by all that we do -
both in this sanctuary and in the world beyond it. We ask it in Jesus'
* HYMN: "Praise To The Lord" - VU 835
CHILDREN'S TIME: "Show And Tell"
Object: Children Prepared to "Show and Tell" (pre-arrange)
Source: based on a story for this Sunday by Charles Kirkpatrick,
(Sermons4Kids.com), 2005 and used with Permission
Theme: Showing and Telling Others About Jesus
What do you like best about school? Is it reading? Writing? Math?
Spelling? Recess? Well, when I was in school, I think my favourite thing
was "Show and Tell." I always looked forward to the days when we had "Show
and Tell" because it gave me the chance to show and tell others about
something that was really important to me.
I have asked several of you to bring something this morning to show to the
other children and tell them something about it. Who would like to go
first? (Depending on how much time you have, allow several of the children
to have their time of "Show and Tell.") I want to thank those who shared
with us in "Show and Tell" time this morning. I really enjoyed seeing what
you had to show us and I learned a lot from what you told us.
It is really fun to show and tell others about something that is really
important to you, isn't it?
The Bible tells us about a man named John who loved to "show and tell"
others about Jesus. The Bible says that one day John was standing with a
group of people when he saw Jesus coming. He said, "Look, the Lamb of God,
who takes away the sin of the world! I have seen him and I tell you that
this is the Son of God."
Because John loved to show and tell others about Jesus, many people came to
know Jesus and follow him.
It is important for you and me to show and tell others about Jesus too. We
can show others about Jesus by doing the things that Jesus taught us to do
-- things like loving one another and being helpful and kind. Then people
will see that we know Jesus and that will give us a chance to tell them
about Jesus. We can tell them about what he has done for us and what he
wants to do for them. Yes, each day we should show and tell others about
PRAYER AND THE LORD'S PRAYER
Dear Jesus -- help us this week - to show and tell - others about
you - and your love. Amen
And in the word's Jesus taught us:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom
come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this
day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive
those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the
glory, for ever and ever. Amen
* HYMN: "Give Me Oil In My Lamp" - SFGP 130
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND SHARING JOYS AND CONCERNS
- Welcome and Announcements
- Birthdays and Anniversaries
- Special Matters
- Sharing Joys and Concerns
TIME OF SILENCE & AND INTROIT FOR THE WORD (v2 of VU 371)
Open my ears that I may hear voices of truth thou sendest clear
and while the wave notes fall on my ear, everything false will disappear,
Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God thy will to see.
Open my ears, illumine me. Spirit divine!
A READING FROM ISAIAH 49:1-7
(NIV) Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations:
Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made
mention of my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the
shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and
concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, "You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will display my splendour."
But I said, "I have laboured to no purpose; I have spent my strength
in vain and for nothing. Yet what is due me is in the Lord's hand,
and my reward is with my God."
And now the LORD says - he who formed me in the womb to be his
servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for
I am honoured in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my
strength - he says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my
servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of
Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."
This is what the LORD says - the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel -
to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant
of rulers: "Kings will see you and rise up, princes will see and
bow down, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of
Israel, who has chosen you."
L This is the Word of the Lord
P Thanks be to God.
RESPONSIVE READING: Psalm 40 (VU 764) and the Gloria Patri (sung)
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.
World without end. Amen
A READING FROM I CORINTHIANS 1:1-9
(NIV) Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of
God, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God in Corinth, to
those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together
with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ - their Lord and ours: Grace and peace to you from God our
Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ
Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way - in all your
speaking and in all your knowledge because our testimony about
Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any
spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be
He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on
the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into
fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
L This is the Word of the Lord
P Thanks be to God.
* HYMN: "You Servants of God" - VU 342
A READING FROM JOHN 1:29-42
(NIV) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This
is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has
surpassed me because he was before me.' I myself did not know him,
but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be
revealed to Israel."
Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from
heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him,
except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The
man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will
baptize with the Holy Spirit.' I have seen and I testify that this
is the Son of God."
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When
he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!"
When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.
Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you
They said, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?"
"Come," he replied, "and you will see." So they went and saw where
he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth
hour. Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard
what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing
Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have
found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to
Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You
will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter).
L This is the gospel of our Risen Lord
P Praise be to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
SERMON: "Look, The Lamb of God"
O Lord, we pray, speak in this place, in the calming of our minds
and in the longing of our hearts, by the words of my lips and in
the thoughts that we form. Speak, O Lord, for your servants listen.
The scripture readings for today are each so rich.
We have the prophet Isaiah declaring how the promised one - was called from
his mother's womb to be the one who brings salvation to the people of
Israel - and more - who is appointed to be a light to the gentiles.
It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the
tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will
also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my
salvation to the ends of the earth."
And we have Paul speaking to people of Corinth - to the believers in that
city - and saying that they will be kept strong and blameless till the time
of the promised one's return - strong through the spiritual gifts that God
has poured out on Christ's people through the Holy Spirit - and blameless
because of the what Christ has done for us on the cross.
Rich stuff. As is today's Gospel lesson with it's account of the testimony
that John the Baptist makes about Jesus - and it's description of how
Andrew (for whom this church is named) first visited with Jesus and then,
on the following day, brought his brother - Simon Peter - to meet Jesus.
Today I want to focus mainly on the gospel lesson - and within that -
mainly upon part of the testimony that John the Baptist made about Jesus on
two separate days. The first part.
"Look" said John on the first day, pointing to Jesus as Jesus draws near to
him and his disciples
"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
And on the second day John again says to his disciples as Jesus approaches.
"Look, the Lamb of God".
What does John the Baptist mean when he calls Jesus the Lamb of God?
What is a Lamb of God - that Jesus could be called "The Lamb of God?
Is John referring to the thousands of lambs that were sacrificed daily at
the temple in Jerusalem?
- Those lambs whose blood was spilled as a means of connecting the
people with God?
- Those lambs whose death expressed the worshippers' acknowledgement
of God's power over life and death?
The lambs that were sacrificed at the temple each day died as a way of
thanking God for the abundance of the harvest, for the increase in the
people's herds and flocks, and as a thank offering for the birth of a new
The time of sacrifice was a time of communion
- of communion between those who came to worship as the law required
- and of communion between them and God.
The flesh of the lamb was consumed by the worshippers and by the priests
who offered the sacrifices. Much as we do today as we gather to commune
with God and to thank God for being our God - prayers were said, psalms
were sung, scripture was read, and the people affirmed by their presence
and by their offering that they were the children of God and brothers and
sisters to one another.
Is it these lambs of thanksgiving - of communion
that John refers to when he calls Jesus 'The Lamb of God'?
Or is John referring to another kind of lamb - to the Passover Lamb,
- that lamb that every household in Israel slaughtered each year and
whose blood was then painted on the doorposts of their homes as a way
of remembering the first Passover - that time when the angel of the
Lord passed over the homes of the children of Israel as they suffered
in slavery in Egypt and struck down the first born of their
The flesh of the Passover Lamb was entirely consumed on the night of the
Passover - thus commemorating the strength that God gave the people to make
their escape from bondage in Egypt - an escape that led them to the land of
promise - to the land where God would give to them - in abundance - every
good thing they needed.
Which kind of lamb is 'The Lamb of God'?
We believe that it is both kinds of lambs - but in particular - we believe
that the is the Passover Lamb that John the Baptist had in mind - that Lamb
whose blood signified that those who sheltered behind it were to be spared
death and given new life in a new land.
But when John points at Jesus and says "behold the lamb of God" - he says
something more about Jesus than the images of the Passover Lamb and the
Lambs of Thanksgiving might suggest to us. He says that this person,
this Lamb of God, provided by God's own hands, does more than simply
spare the lives of his chosen people and help to bring them to the
He is saying that this particular lamb - this particular person - has been
given by God to take away the sins of the whole world.
Sin, as every child of Israel knew, leads to death.
That is - indeed the point of the story of Adam and Eve - who upon eating
of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil - come under the sentence of
death. And that is the message of the story of Noah and the flood and the
message of every prophet sent by God to the people of Israel.
Sin leads to death.
Not just for the people that God has chosen - but for all humankind.
As the Apostle Paul so simply puts it in his letter to the Romans
"All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God"
What John is indicating when he points to Jesus and says "Look, the Lamb of
God who takes away the sin of the world" is that this man - this Jesus - is
the one promised by Isaiah and so many of the other prophets:
- that he is the one who is sent by God to bring salvation to the ends
of the earth
- the one who will free all people from slavery to sin and reconnect
them to the perfect and holy God who created and sustains us.
He is saying that Jesus will free all people from the sentence of death,
not just those people God chose at the beginning to be his people
- and he is giving to those who hear him - to his own disciples - an
indication of how that would come about, namely by the offering of his
body and his blood.
Just as the Passover lamb is slain so that it's blood may cause death to
pass by the homes of the children of Israel and it's flesh may sustain the
people as they escape from their bondage,
and just as lambs in the temple were killed so that the prayers of
thanksgiving and dedication might be heard by God and so that the
people might rejoice and eat together,
So the Lamb of God who takes away the Sin of the World will offer
his body and his blood for us - and to us - once and for all.
From the time of his baptism by John, Jesus is led like a lamb to his
eventual slaughter in Jerusalem.
His teachings and his healings,
the miracles he works
and the journeys that he makes
all of his ministry,
leads to one moment - his sacrifice on the cross.
"Here is the Lamb of God" we say, as we stand stunned, watching our
Saviour's blood drain from his body for our salvation.
Here is one who was unblemished - one who was with out sin - an innocent
one taking upon himself the punishment that should be ours; giving his
life that we may have life.
As all the saints and the angels in heaven say
"Worthy is the Lamb, the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and
wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!"
A tourist visited a church in Germany and was surprised to see the
carved figure of a lamb near the top of the church's tower.
He asked why it was there and was told that when the church was
being built, a workman fell from a high scaffold. His co-workers
rushed down, expecting to find him dead. But to their surprise and
joy, he was alive and only slightly injured.
How did he survive? A flock of sheep was passing beneath the tower
at the time, and he landed on top of a lamb. The lamb broke his
fall and was crushed to death, but the man was saved.
To commemorate that miraculous escape, someone carved a lamb on the
tower at the exact height from which the workman fell.
That expresses a tiny bit of what it means when John says "Behold, the Lamb
of God that takes away the sin of the world" The sense indicated by Isaiah
with his promise of one "who will bring salvation to the ends of the
And with it's visible symbol, the carving on the bell tower that gives
testimony to what happened, it expresses a tiny bit of another important
part of the gospel reading today - that of John calling out to his own
disciples - and to all those who would hear his voice: "Look - the Lamb
As you know it was because John the Baptist said "look" that Andrew and
another disciple - most likely the Apostle John - turned and followed Jesus
and became excited by what they experienced with him and became his
And it was because of Andrew telling his brother Simon "We have found the
Messiah" and then bringing Simon to him - that Simon became Peter - the
Rock of the Church.
I call you to behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Like John the Baptist, I do not want you to follow me
- I want you to follow the one who gives everyone who comes to him life
and that abundantly.
- I want you to follow the innocent one, the pure one, the one of God
and from God who offered himself as the unblemished sacrifice for our
sins, once and for all.
I want you to follow Jesus and have the angel of the Lord's judgement pass
over your house and for you to escape from bondage and enter the
And more - I want you to be like John - and Andrew - and Simon Peter - and
every disciple since
I want you to call to those who trust you and to those who will hear your
voice - I want you to call to them and say "look, the Lamb of God who
takes away the sin of the world is still with us - to make us free and
to make us holy and to give us eternal life"
There is not one of us who does not need to draw closer to the Lamb of God.
There is not one of us who does not need to come to Jesus and be
cleansed and forgiven and given life.
There is not one of us who does not need to experience Jesus and his
transforming love on a deeper basis - day by day.
The Lamb of God my friends is here - here in the book we read
here in the songs we sing and the prayers that we pray
here in the love that we share and the forgiveness we grant in his name
here in the laughter and here too in the pain.
He is here in the Spirit that God poured out upon the world in response to
He is here
- and he is in heaven above
interceding for and protecting his people and calling to all the world to
come and be healed.
Blessed be his name - now and forevermore. Amen.
* HYMN: "Just As I Am" - VU 508
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Let us thank God for what he does and for who he is - let us centre
ourselves in the One who is the centre of all things and our only hope and
our truest and most enduring joy....
I thank you God for all those people who have shared the hope that is
within them. I thank you for those who first told me about Jesus and the
healing that comes through him.... I thank you for those who shared his
love with me and who showed me the way to the fuller and richer life he
offers to all people... I thank you for those who told me that he is the
Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, the one who brings new
life to all who turn to him.... O Lamb of God, I ask your blessing to be
upon those who witnessed to me and for you to encourage and bring peace and
joy to all those who this day share their faith with others. Lord, hear
Lamb of God, enable me to co-operate with your ministry in the lives of the
people around me. Cleanse me and grant that I may be your ears, eyes and
with the friends whom I have taken for granted.
with enemies whom I have ignored or derided.
with work colleagues of whom I have been jealous.
with the folk I forget to thank in shops, garages and banks.
with the neighbours whom I have shunned or forgotten...
Lord, hear our prayer....
Lamb of God, you who gave yourself for us, grant the prayers of those who
sit near me in this church today and help me to be a good neighbour to
them - to be a brother, a sister, a friend to them in your name.... Lord,
hear our prayer....
Lamb of God, we pray too the blessings of the earth and the justice of your
kingdom upon those who hunger or thirst for the things of daily living:
food, water, shelter, hope, and love. We especially remember:
-- the children who are victims of war and oppression
the people of Africa who have lost their lives or have been made homeless
by lava and by volcanic gas
the homeless and the poor of our nation
and those of our community and province who have lost their jobs or much
needed services this past week
Lord, hear our prayer....
Lamb of God, we lift up to you those who were named in our sharing time and
pray that the blessings of your healing, your peace, your joy, may be upon
those who are sick, those who grieve, and those who are or struggling with
unhappiness or fear about tomorrow. We pray .... BIDDING PRAYER... Lord,
hear our prayer...
Lamb of God, you share the pain and bear the shame of the world, and you
bring to all who follow you healing and salvation. Continue to have
mercy on us all, and grant us your peace. For your love's sake we ask it.
MINUTE FOR MISSION
* SHARING GOD'S BLESSINGS: As the Offering is presented all stand for the
Doxology (Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow - VU 541) and Prayer of
Father, we thank You for the new life, given to us in Christ Jesus.
Accept these gifts, O God, and all that we offer to you in his name.
Take our lives and let them be consecrated unto thee. Amen.
* DEPARTING HYMN: "To Show By Touch and Word" - VU 427
* COMMISSIONING (Unison): In the power of the Holy Spirit we now go forth
into the world, to fulfil our calling as the people of God, the body of
* BENEDICTION AND THREEFOLD AMEN
Go in peace, love and care for one another in Christ's name,
- and may God, the God who believes in you
- the Christ who laid down his life for you
- and the Spirit who gives you breath day by day,
bless you with a gentle heart,
a discerning mind,
and a spirit eager to share his love
both now and forevermore. Amen
* CHORAL BLESSING: "Go Now In Peace" - VU 964
copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild 2005
please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.