Sermon #2 Series: Song of Solomon
Title: “Do I love The Lord, Or No?
Am I His, Or Am I Not?”
Text: Song of Solomon 1:5-7
Reading: John 21:1-19
Subject: Four points of self-examination
Date: Sunday Morning - April 26, 1983
Tape # U-65a
‘Tis a point I long to know; Oft it causes anxious thought
Do I love the Lord, or no? Am I His, or am I not?
If I love, why am I thus; Why this dull, this lifeless frame?
Hardly sure can they be worse, Who have never heard His name.
Could my heart so hard remain, Prayer a task and burden prove;
Every trifle give me pain, If I knew a Savior’s love?
When I turn my eyes within, All is dark and vain and wild;
Filled with unbelief and sin, Can I deem myself a child?
If I pray, or hear, or read, Sin is mixed with all I do;
You that love the Lord indeed, Tell me, is it thus with you?
Yes I mourn my stubborn will, Find my sin a grief and thrall!
Should I grieve for what I feel, If I did not love at all?
Could I joy His saints to meet, Choose the ways I once abhorred;
Find at times the promise sweet, If I did not love the Lord?
Lord, decide the doubtful case, Thou Who art Thy people’s Sun;
Shine upon thy work of grace, If it be indeed begun?
Let me love Thee more and more, If I love at all, I pray;
If I have not loved before, Help me to begin today!
This one thing I want to know - Am I a true believer? Am I a child of grace? Am I born again by the Spirit of God? Am I redeemed by the blood of Christ? Am I united to Christ by a living faith? These are the questions which lay heavy on my heart. I desire to be neither presumptuous nor unbelieving. But I know that multitudes are now in hell who lived and died with an assurance of salvation. They hid themselves in a refuge of lies and never questioned the matter again.
I do not want to wake up in eternity and find out then that my hope all these years has been a false hope and a vain delusion. I do not want you to meet God in that great day without the wedding garment of Christ’s righteousness. Therefore I urge you, as I urge my own heart, to take this matter seriously.
“Do I love the Lord, or No?
Am I His, or am I not?”
1. I know that God has a people in this world whom he has chosen and determined to save. There is a remnant according to the election of grace. But am I one of God’s elect?
2. I know that the Lord Jesus Christ has redeemed a people to himself by the blood of his atoning sacrifice for sin. But am I one of his redeemed ones?
3. I know that the Holy Spirit regenerates and effectually calls all of God’s elect. But am I called, regenerated, and born again by almighty grace?
4. I know that every true believer has eternal life in Christ and will persevere unto the end. But am I a true believer?
5. I know that all the blessings of grace are in Christ.
· Redemption is by His blood.
· Justification is by His righteousness.
· Sanctification is by His holiness.
· Preservation is by His power.
· Acceptance is by His substitution.
Everything is in Christ. All spiritual blessings come to men through him. All that God in heaven can or will do for any sinner upon this earth, he has done for every sinner who is in Christ. But this is just the point of my concern - Am I in Christ? Are you in Christ?
Paul admonishes us to examine ourselves in this matter. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your ownselves. Know ye not your ownselves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobate?” (2 Cor. 13:5). Peter says, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give deligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things ye shall never fall” (2 Pet. 1:10). Am I in Christ? Are you in Christ? We must not take this issue lightly. There is a false faith in which multitudes are confidently resting. There is a false faith by which multitudes are deceived and perish for ever in hell.
1. A false faith may be greatly enlightened and knowledgeable in gospel truth (Heb. 6:4).
2. A false faith excites the affections (Stony Ground Hearers.)
3. A false faith reforms the outward life (The Pharisee).
4. A false faith may speak very well of Christ (The Jews).
5. A false faith confesses sin (Saul).
6. A false faith may humble itself in sackcloth and ashes (Ahab).
7. A false faith may repent (Esau - Judas).
8. A false faith may diligently perform religious works (The Pharisees).
9. A false faith may be very charitable and generous (Annanias).
10. A false faith may tremble at the Word of God (Felix).
11. A false faith may experience much in religion (Heb. 6:1-4).
12. A false faith may enjoy great religious privileges (Lot’s wife).
13. A false faith may preach, perform miracles, and cast out demons (Matt. 7:23).
14. A false faith may attain high office in the church (Diotrephes).
15. A false faith may walk with great preachers (Demas).
16. A false faith may be peaceful and carnally secure (The Five Foolish Virgins).
17. A false faith may even persevere and hold out until the day of judgment (Matt. 7:22-23).
If you have the faith of God’s elect, it will bear examination. If you do not, if you are resting in a false faith, you need to be awakened so that you may flee to Christ in true faith.
Proposition: All who profess the faith of Christ and call upon the name of the Lord need to examine themselves, lest any perish in a false faith.
Divisions: In our text we have set before us a beautiful example of the believer’s faith.
· The Church, the Bride, speaks about herself to the Daughters of Jerusalem (5-6).
· Then she speaks about herself to her Beloved Lord (7).
Taking these three verses for my text, I want to call your attention to Four Distinguishing Characteristics of True Faith.
1. True faith acknowledges and confesses sin.
2. True faith rest upon the merits of Christ alone.
3. True faith loves Christ supremely.
4. True faith seeks Christ continually.
NOTE: True saving faith is a work of God upon the heart. It is not merely mental assent to doctrinal truth. It is not merely a reformation of life. It is not merely devotional piety. True faith is a heart work (Rom. 10:9-10).
If any of us miss Christ, it will be right here. Let us examine ourselves by these Four Distinguishing Characteristics of True
I. TRUE FAITH ACKNOWLEDGES AND CONFESSES SIN.
“I am black.” The people of God are charged by both the world and by self-righteous religionists with many evils. But none of our enemies have such a loathsome view of us as we have of ourselves. Do any charge us with evil? It is true. “I am black…My own vineyard have I not kept.” I am black in myself, by nature. I am black in the eyes of others, because of my actions. I am black in my own eyes. True faith does not defend herself, she does not seek any excuse for sin. True faith acknowledges and confesses sin (Job 40:3-5; 42:5-6 ; Psa. 51:4-5).
Illustration: The Believer’s Inward Warfare
(Rom. 7:14-24; Gal. 5:17).
A. We are sinners by nature.
B. We are sinners by choice.
C. We are sinners by practice.
D. We are sinners at heart.
Sin is not to be measured by our actions, but by our attitude. Sin is not to be measured by our deeds, but by our principles. Sin is not so much what I do, but what I am.
E. Sin is mixed with all we do.
Old man Adam is still present with us. He is no longer master. But he is still present. That is a fact from which we cannot escape.
1. Before you were converted, did you ever think that you could love God so little as you do?
2. Did you ever think that prayer could be so difficult as it actually is?
3. Did you ever think that a believer could grumble so much against the providence of God?
4. Did you ever think that a believer could be so thoroughly attached to the toys of this world as you are?
5. Did you ever think that a believer could be so reluctant and timid about holding up the banner of Christ among his enemies as you are?
Sin is so much a part of us that it is mixed with all we do - Prayer - Bible Reading - Worship - Service - Preaching.
Truly, we may say - “I am black.”
II. TRUE FAITH RESTS UPON THE MERITS OF CHRIST ALONE.
In ourselves we are black; but in Christ we are comely (suitable, beautiful, seemly). In our own eyes we are black; but in the eyes of God we are comely (Song of Sol. 4:1; Ezek. 16:9-14).
The Lord Jesus Christ has made us beautiful in the eyes of God, through his righteousness and shed blood; and we trust his merits alone for our acceptance with God.
A. In Christ every true believer is perfect and complete (Col. 2:10; 1:28). “In him is no sin!”
B. Through the merits of Christ’s blood and righteousness He will present us before the Father in the perfection of holiness (Eph. 5:25-27).
C. We trust the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ alone for our entire, complete, absolute, and everlasting acceptance with God.
· I am nothing. I have nothing, and I can do nothing in myself which God will accept.
· All my hope before God is in Christ (Lam. 3:22-26).
III. TRUE FAITH LOVES CHRIST SUPREMELY.
Notice the title which is here given to our Lord, “Tell me, O Thou whom my soul loveth.”
A. All true believer’s love Christ (1 John 4:19).
1. His love for us precedes our love for him.
2. His love for us is infinitely greater than our love to him
3. His love for us is the cause of our love to him.
4. But if we know the Lord Jesus Christ, we love him.
B. Our love for Christ is something which the world cannot understand, because they do no know our Lord 1 John 3:1-2).
1. We love him because of all that he has done for us.
2. We love him because of all that he has given us.
3. We love him because of himself because he is who he is.
C. And all true believers love Christ supremely (Matt. 10:37-39).
1. Our love for Christ grows as our knowledge of him grows.
2. Our love for Christ is the motive of our actions (2 Cor. 5:14).
3. Our love for Christ is the governing principle of our lives.
Illustration: Robert Hall and the Farmer
IV. TRUE FAITH SEEKS CHRIST CONTINUALLY (v. 7).
True faith never becomes self-confident and self-sufficient. It continually seeks Christ (Heb. 12:1-4; Phil. 3:7-14). Faith is not an act of life. Faith is a way of life.
1. We seek him, Christ himself.
2. Those who seek Christ feel their need of Christ.
3. Those who seek Christ seek him continually.
4. Those who seek Christ seek him earnestly.
5. All who truly seek him shall find him (Jer. 29:10-13).
1. Honestly search and examine your hearts by these questions.
· Do you really acknowledge and confess your own sin?
· Do you rest your soul upon the merits of Christ alone?
· Do you love the Lord Jesus Christ?
· Do you seek the Lord?
2. Are you willing now to trust the Son of God?
3. I admonish you, my brethren, never seek to grow beyond simple, childlike faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Col. 2:6).