Sermon #1653 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: Holy Kisses
Text: Psalm 2:12
Date: Sunday Evening — September 10, 2006
Tape # Z-10a
Readings: Ron Wood and Bobbie Estes
Did you ever notice how often the Scriptures speak of people being kissed? In ancient times it was customary for people to greet one another with a kiss. Kisses were as common as a hand-shake in our society. In many countries, the custom is still very common. But it is a great mistake to think that the kisses of salutation in the ancient world meant no more than shaking hands does today. And the incidents given in the Word of God certainly imply much, much more than a casual, friendly greeting. In the Scriptures we read about kisses of reverence, love and adoration, kisses of respect, peace and reconciliation, kisses of joy, and holy kisses. The Scriptures also speak of kisses of idolatry, hypocrisy and deceit.
For now, we will pass over those kisses of natural affection so commonly mentioned in Scripture. No one has any difficulty understanding the meaning of those many kisses of natural affection between people who love each other.
Š Old Isaac kissing Jacob (Gen. 27:26)
Š Jacob kissing Rachel (Gen. 29:11) — Love at First Sight
Š Jacob and Esau kissing one another after many years of separation (Gen. 33:4)
Š Joseph kissing his brothers (Gen. 45:14-15) and his father (Gen. 50:1)
Š Jonathan and David kissing one another (1 Sam. 20:41)
Š Elisha kissing his parents when he left them to follow Elijah (1 Kings 19:20)
Many other examples of such kisses of natural affection are found in the Scriptures. But I want us to look at those kisses mentioned in the Book of God that are commonly overlooked, but overlooked with great loss. First, let’s look at some kisses of treachery. There are four of them that stand out in the Word of God.
The Kiss of Self-Righteousness —The kissing of the hand is a show of high respect and admiration. In Job 31 Job uses that idea to speak of the kiss of self-righteousness. He had been denounced and upbraided by his miserable friends as a proud, self-righteous man. After listening to their relentless accusations until he could no longer endure them, Job raked them over the coals, denying their unfounded accusations. Zophar, Eliphaz and Bildad denounced God’s servant Job as a man who was “righteous in his own eyes” (Job 32:1). But nothing could have been further from the truth. Job was a man who found his righteousness in Christ alone, a man made righteous by God. And he denounced any, including himself, who kissed his own hand as one who had denied God (Job 31:24-28).
“24 If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence; 25 If I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much; 26 If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; 27 And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: 28 This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.” (Job 31:24-28)
Job is saying, “If I trust myself, if I congratulate myself as a righteous man because of anything in me, or anything I have done, I have denied God and shall be punished by him.” Self-righteousness is the denial of God.
Š It denies any need of God, his Son, his grace and his salvation.
Š It denies everything revealed in the Book of God.
Š It is the denial of Christ, who is the Righteousness of God (Rom. 9:31-10:4).
The Kiss of False Religion — In the Book of Proverbs Solomon speaks of the kiss of a harlot as the kiss of false religion (Proverbs 7:13). Throughout the Scriptures false religion is spoken of as a harlot, deceiving people with flattering words (Pro. 2:16). She uses soft, smooth words to work on the passions, move the affections, and win the heart. Fawning over unsuspecting souls, all freewill, works religion uses good words and fair speeches to deceive the hearts of the simple (Rom. 16:18). — “For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil.” (Pro. 5:3). With her golden cup of false doctrine, she promises wealth and ease, prosperity and peace, good health and great joy (Rev. 17:4; Pro. 7:6-23).
“6 ¶ For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, 7 And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, 8 Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, 9 In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: 10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. 11 (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: 12 Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) 13 So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, 14 I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. 15 Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. 16 I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. 19 For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: 20 He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed. 21 With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. 22 He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; 23 Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.” (Pr 7:6-23 AV)
The Kiss of Idolatry — Deceived souls embrace the harlot’s lies and give her the kiss of idolatry (Hosea 13:2-3). Because Ephraim was “joined to idols,” God said “let him alone” (Hosea 4:17). He pronounces everlasting wrath upon all who reverently and lovingly observe the vanities of false religion, kissing the idols they have made.
“2 And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves. 3 Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.” (Hosea 13:2-3)
The Kiss of Hypocrisy — Of course, we are all familiar with the kiss of hypocrisy, called “the Judas kiss” (Matt. 26:47-49). But I doubt that many ever stop to think much about it.
“47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.” (Matthew 26:47-49)
When Judas said, “Hail, master, and kissed him,” the words “Hail, master,” mean, “Joy and happiness to you, my master.” Thus, the hypocrite, with brazenness and hardness of heart, pretended to worship, honor , love and serve Christ, even in the act of betraying him! — May God ever save us from the treacherous kisses of self-righteousness, false religion, idolatry and hypocrisy!
Kiss of Redemption
In Psalm 85:10 the psalmist tells us that the Lord God has forgiven our iniquities, covered our sins and turned away his wrath by a great kiss of redemption.
“10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. 12 Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase. 13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.” (Ps 85:10-13)
At the appointed time the Lord Jesus Christ, our incarnate God and Savior set his face like a flint and went up to Mt. Calvary. There he was made sin for us. When he was made sin for us, the Lord God cried, “Justice, slay my Son. Mercy save my people. Righteousness, punish the Substitute. Peace, gather my banished ones.”
When, by mercy and truth iniquity was purged, purged by the precious blood of Christ, the Lord God said to mercy and truth, to righteousness and peace, “Delivered my chosen from going down to the pit. I have found a Ransom! Justice is satisfied!” (Pro. 16:6; Job 33:24)
Kisses of Repentance
At his own appointed time of love, the Lord Jesus pours out his Holy Spirit upon ransomed souls, causing them to come to him with kisses of repentance. Let me show you four of these kisses of repentance (Psalm 2:12; Song 1:2; 8:1; Luke 7:45).
If we would have God’s salvation, we must kiss his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as our Lord and King (Ps. 2:12).
“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” (Psalm 2:12)
The word translated “kiss” in Palm 2:12 is one of those words that implies much more than we might think. It is an imperative command. It means “reverently bow to the rule of the Son,” “choose the Son,” “fasten yourself to the Son, kissing him.”
Do you ask, “Pastor, may I kiss the Son?” If God commands it you may; here God commands it. He says to you, — “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Oh, may he give you grace to kiss him in sweet repentance!
Kiss him who the Lord’s Anointed, chosen, selected, and set apart, him who is the Christ, God’s Elect, in whom alone his soul delights (Isaiah 42:1).
Š Kiss with a kiss of reverent adoration and willing submission.
Š Kiss him with a kiss of faith and love.
Š Kiss his holy wounds.
Š Kiss his glorious crown.
Š Kiss his righteous scepter.
Kiss the Son of God as your Kinsman and your Sovereign, your Righteousness and your Redemption. Kiss him who is the sinner’s Friend and the sinner’s Savior. Kiss the Son today; and kiss him forever. Kiss the Son in Repentance and He will kiss you in reconciliation.
But repentance is not merely something we have done. Repentance is the continual turning of our hearts to Christ, seeking him, desiring him, longing for him. That is how it is pictured in the Song of Solomon (Song. 1:2).
“1 The song of songs, which is Solomon’s. 2 ¶ Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.” (So 1:1-2)
Here is the Church, the Bride of Christ, the ransomed sinner, the heaven born soul, ardently longing for the kisses of the Savior’s mouth.
This is an enormous desire. It is a privilege, beyond comparison, to have the Lord Jesus Christ himself kiss us. In days of old, it was considered a high, high honor for a king to stretch out his hand and allow one of his subjects to kiss just his hand. Here, the Shulamite expresses a desire which would be utterly unthinkable. – She desired the King himself to kiss her, not only to kiss her, but to kiss her intimately, passionately, and repeatedly with the kisses of his mouth! She desired all the kisses he had to offer.
The desire would be unthinkable, except for one thing. – She knew; she was fully convinced that the King wanted to kiss her as much as she wanted to be kissed by him! But, there is much more here than a story of romance between a Shulamite woman and King Solomon. This is an expression of a soul in love with the Lord Jesus Christ, longing for him to come in sweet manifestations of himself and his love, with the kisses of his mouth.
The Request — Meditate on this heartfelt request. “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.” Really, the text might be read, “O that he would kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!” She speaks as one who has experienced Christ’s love, as one who knew how sweet the kisses of his mouth are. She had tasted that the Lord is gracious. She had found grace in his lips, overflowing, abundant and sweet. She is, therefore, anxious and ardent in her request, venting her soul passionately before him.
Though she does not call him by name, clearly, this is a request addressed to Christ himself, though spoken publicly before others. As John Gill put it, “She had him so much in her thoughts, her love was so fixed on him, she knew him so well, and had had so much converse with him, that she thought there was no need to mention his name; but that every one must very well know who she designed.” She speaks of him as if there were no one else in the world but him. Indeed, there is none other but him for our souls. — “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee” (Ps. 73:25).
The Kisses — What are these kisses? How can the Lord Jesus kiss us? Obviously, the kisses with which the Son of God kisses his people, the kisses by which he manifestly expresses his love to us, by which he assures us of his everlasting love for us, are the manifestations of himself to us.
“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.” — These kisses are fresh manifestations and discoveries of our Savior’s love to us, by some precious word of promise from his mouth applied to us by his Spirit. In regeneration the Son of God kissed us with his grace and openly wed himself to us forever. He betrothed us unto him in righteousness, in judgment, in loving kindness, in tender mercies, and even in faithfulness, and caused us to know him (Hosea 2:19-20).
He has kissed us with the kiss of redemption, that great act of his love in which mercy and truth met together and righteousness and peace kissed each other (Ps. 85:10). He bought us to himself (Hosea 2:3; Titus 2:14), distinctly and particularly bought us. When he called us by his grace, he declared, — “I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, and thou art mine” (Isaiah 43:1).
With that came the kiss of reconciliation, by which our Savior wrapped us in his arms of mercy and declared in our very hearts that our sins are all put away and that we have been made the very righteousness of God in him, reconciled to God by his blood and reconciled to God by the power of his grace (Rom. 8:1-4).
When he kisses us in grace, we kiss him in faith. The sinner loved, chosen, redeemed and called by the grace of God is kissed by Christ and is sweetly compelled by irresistible grace to kiss him.
Š He espouses us; and we espouse him.
Š He chooses us for his bride; and we choose him for our husband.
Š He loves us; and “we love him because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
The Reason — “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.” That is our desire. Here is the reason for it. We have discovered that “thy love is better than wine.” The love of Christ, that love with which he loves us, that love which in its length is longer than eternity, in its breadth is broader than the earth, in its depth reaches the lowest of sinners, and in its height ascends to the very throne of God is better than wine.
Š Wine is a temporary cordial for the body’s weakness. — Christ’s love is the everlasting cordial for our immortal souls!
Š Wine may relieve worldly sorrows for a brief moment. — Christ’s love will cure all sorrows forever!
Š Wine, if used too freely, will only add drunkenness to thirst. — Christ’s love is such that those who drink the deepest draughts, those who are most intoxicated by it are most blessed and never injured.
The love of Christ is more than pleasant. It is always effectual. It raises sinners dead in trespasses and sins to eternal life. It raises us from the dunghill to the King’s chamber. It delivers us from all curse and condemnation. It makes us the sons of God. It infallibly saves us from the second death. It brings us to eternal glory.
Look yonder to Calvary’s cursed tree. Behold our crucified Substitute, and behold how he loved us! Oh, let our souls be ravished with his love! Have we tasted the love of Christ? Have we drunk this sweet wine? If so, we are constrained to cry out, — “Stay me with flagons, for I am sick of love!” (Song 2:5). Let this be the unceasing prayer of our hearts. — “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; for thy love is better than wine!”
There is a similar expression of love found in chapter 8, in the last line of the first verse.
“O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised.” (Song 8:1)
The request is just this, “O Lord, give me constant, intimate communion and freedom with you. Let me always know your presence” (Deut. 5:29; Job 23:2; Ps. 14:7). As Mary sat at the Savior’s feet and heard his word, so the believing heart longs ever to live in communion with him who loved us and gave himself for us, that we may learn of him.
The Bride and her Beloved, when they met in public, could not be so intimate and affectionate as they might desire. Therefore, she wishes that she might be looked upon as his sister, and that she might have the same chaste and innocent familiarity with him that a sister has with her own brother. A brother and a sister who had nursed at the same breasts might be most affectionate, intimate, and free with one another, without any fear of reproach or shame.
This is a prophetic prayer of the Old Testament church for the incarnation of Christ. Our Lord, by means of his incarnation, has really and truly become our Brother.
Š He is not ashamed to call us brethren; and he is made to be the Elder Brother, the Firstborn, of the family of God (Heb. 2:11, 14, 17).
Š We have been adopted as the sons of God (1 John 3:1).
Š His Father is our Father (John 20:17).
Š We and our Lord are of the same nature and disposition.
Š In the incarnation, he assumed our nature. I
Š n regeneration, he gave us his nature.
His love toward us is compared to the love of a brother (Pro. 18:24).
Š Like a brother, he sympathizes with us in all our afflictions.
Š Like a brother, he is touched with the feeling of our infirmities.
Š Like a brother, he helps us in all of our trials.
Š Like a brother, he is tender, compassionate, and caring.
Š The Lord Jesus Christ is a Brother indeed.
Š He is a Brother who is near at hand, ready and willing to help.
This is truly the desire and prayer of every believing heart. Those who know Christ love him. And all who love him desire uninterrupted, intimate communion with him. In essence, this is what she is saying - “O Lord, when I find you present with me, I will embrace you, kiss you, and show my love to you, as a sister would show her love to her brother. Without shame, I will own you, acknowledge you, and love you, even in the presence of your enemies. I will publicly avow my love to you.”
The Bride her says to the Lord Jesus, “I would kiss thee and continue to kiss thee.” Earlier she cried, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine” (1:2 cf Luke 15:20). Here she longs to kiss him. Those who have been kissed by him in grace wish to kiss him in gratitude.
Š He gave me a kiss of forgiveness; I will give him a kiss of faith.
Š He gave me a kiss of peace; I will give him a kiss of praise.
Š He gave me a kiss of acceptance; I will give him a kiss of adoration.
Š He gave me a kiss of redeeming love; I will give him a kiss of returning love (1 John 4:19).
In Luke 7 we read about a woman who was a sinner, a sinner saved by the Lord Jesus, who kissed his feet in loving gratitude.
“37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.” (Luke 7:37-38)
The word “kissed” means “to kiss fondly, to caress,” or to “kiss again and again. Our Savior said, said, she “hath not ceased to kiss my feet” (v. 45). Her kisses were expressions of intense love, springing from a sense of much forgiveness. He who knew her heart said, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much” (v. 47). Where she met the Savior, what words from his gracious lips brought life to her dead heart and spoke divine pardon to her guilty soul, we are not told. She was one of the many “publicans and sinners” our Savior so commonly drew around him, to whom he graciously said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden; and I will give you rest.” Now, as she anticipated him laying down his life for her, as she anticipated him being made sin to put away her sin, dying to give her eternal life, being made a curse to remove the curse from her, the love and gratitude that filled burst forth in such simple devotion that her whole soul seems to be poured out upon him.
Kisses of Reconciliation
Now, let me show you what happens when sinners kiss the Son, when sinners come to Christ in repentance. It is beautifully pictured in Luke 15.
“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20)
Some of you are yet without Christ. My message tonight is intended to tug at your hearts. I want especially to speak to you who fear you may not be welcome at the throne of grace, that you may not be admitted into the Father’s house. I am preaching this message especially to you. But I haven’t forgotten you, my brothers and sisters in Christ. My message is especially for you, too, for you who have come to the Father’s house. It is you who know best and shall rejoice the most in the Father’s great mercy, love and grace.
“And.” — This is one of those words that is often passed over lightly by readers and seldom commented upon by expositors. But this little, three letter word is very important. This word, “And,” at the beginning of this verse takes us back to all that has gone before. It is a connecting word, connecting this verse with everything else in the story of the prodigal son.
Š The Prodigal’s Rebellion
Š His Riotous Living.
Š His Time in the Hog Pin of Religious Legalism.
Š His Turning Point (v. 17) ― “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!”
Š His Resolution (vv. 18-19) ― “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, (19) And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”
“When he was yet a great way off…” ― There you are, you who are yet without Christ. You are a great way off. No matter how near you think you are, no matter how near others may think you are, you are still a great way off. Your changes of life, your resolutions, your determinations, your imaginary steps toward God, all leave you just as far off from God as ever you were. Nothing you do, no step you make brings you one step nearer God, until God steps out to you and brings you into his house. Oh, how I want you to come to God! But I will not deceive you. I know, and I want you to know, you will never come home until God himself, by an act of almighty, free, sovereign, and irresistible grace, brings you home.
“When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him!” ― His father saw who he was ― Where he had been. ― All that he had done. ― What he was. ― All the filth that was upon him. ― All his great need. ― And he saw something else. His Father saw all that his cherished son would soon be! He saw all that he was about to do for him!
“When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion…” ― That word, “compassion,” is a tremendous expression of God’s inexpressible love toward us in Christ. It means “co-passion”. Our God is a God full of compassion! There was no anger, no resentment, no hostility, only love in the father’s heart for his returning boy. That’s our God!
When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran…” ― What? God almighty in a hurry? God running to a sinner? That’s the picture. Oh, blessed be God, that’s the picture! This is the only place in all the Bible where we have a picture of God getting in a hurry to do anything. Here we see the Lord God of heaven, the God against whom we have sinned, rushing, running out to meet a sinner in mercy, a sinner who deserves nothing but his wrath!
“When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck…” ― This is another expression of the greatness of his affection to him (Gen. 45:14 46:29; Acts 20:37) and of the greatness of his condescension and grace. The father fell on that neck that had been like steel, so stiff and rebellious. Surprising as it is to you who do not know him, that is just like our God!
“When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him!” ― He kissed him earnestly. He kissed him eagerly. He kissed him ardently. He kissed him much. He kissed him continually.
What do these many kisses mean? What do they teach us? They tell us that when a sinner comes home to God by faith in Christ, God welcomes the sinner with all the fulness of his infinite love! Let me show you seven things revealed in Holy Scripture which I believe these kisses upon the prodigal’s cheeks must signify!
1. The Father’s kisses mean much love deeply felt and demonstrably expressed.
True love cannot be dormant. Like fire, it must be active. Like water, it must break out. It must show itself in words, actions, deeds, and expressions. Behold the love of God for us. — “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” — “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Our blessed Savior did not have to die. — We had no claims upon him. — There was no appeal on our part for him to die. — When he died for us, the Lord Jesus knew that if he laid down his life for such sinners as we are he would get no love in return from those for whom he died, except he create it. — The Son of God died by the hands of men, as well as for the sake of men. — He died for men who wished that he should be made to die, for men who counted him worthy of death. — In dying for us, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, voluntarily took upon himself the awful mass of shame and dishonor which we deserve because of sin, and took unto himself an infinite, indescribable, ignominious relation to sin! — “For he hath made him sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Truly, “We love him, because he first loved us.”
2. The Father’s kisses mean full forgiveness, freely bestowed.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” — “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” — “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”
His kiss tells me that all my sins are gone. — He gives another kiss, and tells me that he will never remember my transgressions. — With another kiss, he assures me that he sees no fault in me. — With another kiss, he tells me that he will never treat me any the less graciously because of my sin. —
3. The Father’s repeated kisses mean complete restoration.
“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” — With a kiss, God owns me as his son again. — “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” — With the kiss of his grace, God answers all my prayers. — With the kiss of God upon my cheeks. I am assured that all my lost, forfeited privileges are completely restored.
4. The Father’s kisses are tokens of great, abundant joy.
The angels of God rejoice, because the prodigal over whom they watched, whom they constantly protected, has now come home. — The saints of God rejoice, because a lost brother has now come home. — The triune God rejoices, because the object of his eternal love has returned to his bosom. ― He has been returned by the grace of God. Yet he gladly returns of his own accord! — The prodigal himself rejoices.
5. Surely, these kisses from the lips of our Father mean overflowing comfort for the hearts of redeemed sinners. ― They mean…
(Jeremiah 32:38-40) “And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: (39) And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: (40) And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.”
Once in Christ, in Christ forever!
None from Him my soul can sever.
He will never, never leave me,
Nor will let me quite leave Him!
6. The Father’s kisses, if they mean anything, mean strong assurance of grace most free.
His kisses assure us that his mercy, love, and grace are all real. — His incessant kisses assure us that his love is immutable, unfailing, and everlasting. — His kisses assure our hearts that we are, indeed, his! — Our Father’s kisses are kisses that suck out the sting of death!
7. The Father’s kisses mean intimate communion and complete reconciliation established by grace.
Let me wrap this up by showing you one other group of holy kisses. I will call them “family kisses.” You will find them mentioned and encouraged six times in the New Testament (Acts 20:37; Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; and 1 Peter 5:14).
(Romans 16:16) “Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.”
(1 Corinthians 16:20) “All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.”
(2 Corinthians 13:12) “Greet one another with an holy kiss.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:26) “Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.”
Peter says, “Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity (a kiss of brotherly love). Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:14)
Justin Martyr, who lived in the middle of the second century, referred holy kisses among the saints as a regular part of their gatherings. Tertullian and Chrysostom said the same practice was common in their days as well. In those early days such kisses, as tokens of peace, friendship, and brotherly love, were frequent among believers in their public assemblies, as well as in their occasional meetings.
It is not the intent of the Holy Spirit that we are to go around kissing one another physically, though that was clearly the common practice of God’s saints whenever they saw one another. — But that which is symbolized by such kisses is to be characteristic of believers everywhere, all the time. John Gill wrote…
“The apostle did not mean that any outward action should be made use of, only that their Christian salutations should not be mere complaisance, or expressed by bare words, and outward gestures and actions, either of the hand or mouth; but that they should spring from real love and true friendship, and be without dissimulation, hearty and sincere.”
Whenever and wherever we meet one another, God’s people are to greet one another with a holy kiss, embracing one another as brethren, each showing to the other everything that such kisses symbolized.
Š The Highest Esteem
Š The Most Ardent, Sincere Love
Š Complete Reconciliation — Forgetting all offences, putting aside all those things that separate ordinary people, living in blessed peace and harmony, each assuring the other of tender affection and care.
Charles Hodge suggests that “This salutation was expressive of mutual affection and equality before God.” “Behold, how these Christians love one another!” was the constant remark in those early days. Let us make it so today.
In Acts 20:27-38, as Paul was leaving the saints at Ephesus, we are told, — “And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him, Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.”
Two hundred and fifty years ago, John Fawcett wrote a hymn that states beautifully what I have been trying to preach to you tonight…
“Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one
Our comforts and our cares.
We share our joys and woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.
This glorious hope revives
Our courage by the way;
While each in expectation lives,
And longs to see the day.
From sorrow, toil and pain,
And sin, we shall be free,
And perfect love and friendship reign
Through all eternity.”