Sermon #13 Series: Song of Solomon
Title: CHRIST PRESENT WITH HIS CHURCH
Text: Song of Solomon 5:1
Readings: Office: Rex Bartley Auditorium: Merle Hart
Subject: The manifest presence of Christ with His church
Date: Sunday Evening - August 9, 1998
Tape # U-80b
My subject this evening is one which should be of great interest to all of the Lord’s people. The title of my message is - CHRIST PRESENT WITH HIS CHURCH.
In the preceding verse we see the church, the bride of Christ, making a twofold prayer. First, she asked for the gracious influence of the Holy Spirit. “Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden that the spices thereof may flow out.” Then, she asked for the manifest presence of Christ himself. “Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.”
In our text tonight (5:1), we have the Lord’s gracious answer to that prayer. Here Christ himself speaks and says, “I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.”
Here our Lord Jesus speaks of his manifest presence with his church. We should not be greatly surprised to hear him speak in such a manner. Did he not say that if any would open to him he would come in and sup with them? Our all glorious Christ is always as good as his promise. No sooner did his church throw open the doors of her heart than he entered and made himself known in sweet communion.
Proposition: Of this one thing you may be sure - Every heart that is prepared by God to receive Christ, and anxiously seeks and desires the presence of Christ shall have Christ (Isa. 65:24).
· Certainly this is true with regard to poor, needy sinners (Heb. 4:16).
· This is most assuredly true with regard to you who are the Lord’s
George Burrowes made this statement - “The fact of the existence of such desires for him, is evidence of his being with us; as in this passage, in immediate connection with the request, he adds, ‘I have already come.’ He was present in the heart, though his presence was not felt.”
The fact that our hearts truly long for Christ’s presence is evidence that he is with us already. Sometimes we are like Jacob when he awoke out of his sleep, he said, “Surely, the Lord is in this place and I knew it not.” We are often like Mary; on one occasion the Lord was standing by her side in the garden, and she knew him not.
How I pray that our God may be pleased to visit his garden. May it please our dear Savior to grant us once more his manifest presence.
Divisions: There are three things in this text to which I want to call your attention.
1. The Lord Jesus calls for us to take notice of his presence.
2. Our blessed Savior here shows us that he finds great satisfaction in his church.
3. The Son of God gives a loving invitation to his beloved people.
I. To begin, I want you to see that - THE LORD JESUS CHRIST CALLS FOR US TO TAKE NOTICE OF HIS PRESENCE.
Our prayer in the last verse of chapter four was, “Let my Beloved come into his garden.” Here he says, “I have come into my garden,” as if to say, “Look up, my beloved, I am here!” Could it be that he has come without us perceiving it? Could he be present and us, who so earnestly long for him, not know it? I am afraid that it is so. Our hearts are so much taken up with doubt and worldly concern that unless Christ advertises his coming, as he does here, he might be at our side and us fail to see him.
A. Our Master promised that where two or three gathered together in his name, he would be present with them (Matt. 18:20).
· The place is not important.
· The number is not important.
· The denomination is not important.
· The only matter of importance is that we gather in his name.
But what does it mean to gather in his name?
1. To gather in his name is to gather believing on his name.
2. To gather in his name is to come together to worship him and seek his glory.
3. To gather in his name is to come together to seek his righteousness.
4. To gather in his name is to come together to seek his will.
5. To gather in his name is to come together to seek his mercy.
6. To gather in his name is to come together to seek his sheep.
B. Our Lord has promised to be with his people, those who truly worship him in Spirit and in truth, at all times (Isa. 43:1-3; Matt. 28:18-20).
He said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:4).
C. And our Lord Jesus Christ has promised his manifest presence to those who love him (John 14:18-23).
This is the thing I am talking about. We know the doctrine of Christ’s presence. But we want to know his real, manifest presence with us.
· Wherever the door is opened to Christ, he comes in (Rev. 3:20).
· Wherever there is a heart broken and contrite before God, Christ takes up his abode in that heart (Isa. 57:15; 66:1-2).
D. This personal, manifest presence of Christ among his people is an unspeakable blessing of grace.
I am not talking about a fanatical delusion. I am talking about the real presence of Christ with his people.
1. When He is present there is life in our midst.
· In Our Prayers.
· In Our Singing.
· In Our Reading.
· In Our Preaching.
· In Our Hearing.
When he is absent, all is lifeless and dead.
2. When He is present there is joy in our midst.
3. When He is present there is peace in our midst.
NOTE: I cannot tell you that you will always find Christ present with his people here. But I can tell you this - He will be present with all who come seeking him (Jer. 29:12-14).
· Those who ask, to them it shall be given.
· Those who knock, to them the door shall open.
· Those who seek, they shall find.
· Any who miss Christ, miss him because they will not seek him.
II. Secondly, it is evident in our text that - OUR DEAR SAVIOR FINDS GREAT SATISFACTION IN HIS CHURCH.
NOTE: When I speak of the church, I am talking about all true believers.
This is what Christ here says to his church - “I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk.”
A. Our Lord claims the church as his own garden, his rightful possession.
In this one verse he uses the personal possessive pronoun “my” nine times. Certainly this is meaningful.
1. We rightfully belong to the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
a. We are his by divine purpose.
b. We are his by lawful purchase.
c. We are his by sovereign power.
2. The sweet produce which Christ finds in his garden is the result of his own cultivation.
· He takes pleasure in us just as a farmer takes pleasure in his fruitful field.
· He finds satisfaction in us just as a mother finds satisfaction in her living, healthy baby.
B. The words of our text have been interpreted many ways by learned scholars. But surely they convey to us the message that - Christ finds great satisfaction and delight in his people.
What condescending grace! The Son of God comes to us! But that is not all; he even looks upon us with complacency, delight, and satisfaction! Because of his own blood and righteousness, he accepts the sincere though feeble worship of our hearts (1 Pet. 2:5).
1. Our offerings are to him like the gathering of his myrrh and spice.
2. Our prayers are like sweet-smelling myrrh to him.
3. Our songs of praise are like spices and incense before him.
4. Our love toward him is like honey in the honeycomb to our Redeemer.
5. Our joy before him is like exhilarating wine.
6. Our daily life is before him like refreshing milk.
Illustration: Faith’s Dandelions
NOTE: In this heavenly poetic verse, Christ is fed first, then his children are invited to eat. It seems to imply that our first concern should be for him. The first and best of everything must go to him.
III. Thirdly, THE SON OF GOD GIVES A LOVING INVITATION TO HIS BELOVED PEOPLE.
Here is the invitation which our beloved Redeemer gives to us - “Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.”
A. Notice the two words by which he tenderly calls us to the feast.
This is a feast of fellowship, communion, and life. It is spread not for the world, but for his own peculiar people.
1. He calls us his friends (John 3:29; 15:13-15; Luke 15:7).
We were by nature his enemies. And we would have forever remained his enemies. But he has graciously reconciled us to himself. We are his friends!
2. He calls us his beloved.
We who are born of God are the peculiar objects of his great love.
· Electing Love.
· Redeeming Love.
· Immutable, Unchanging Love.
· Saving Love.
· Preserving Love.
Oh, what blessedness is heaped up in that word as it falls from our Savior’s lips, “Beloved”!
B. Notice the two provisions for our souls to feast upon - We are bidden to eat and drink.
You know what the food of faith is, and what the delightful drink is. The food and the drink are in him. By faith, we eat his flesh and drink his blood (John 6:50-56).
C. Notice also this delightful word - “Abundantly”.
Our Lord tells us to feast abundantly upon him. Let faith eat and drink, feeding upon Christ without end. The more your hunger and thirst is satisfied, the more you will hunger and thirst - feast on! This is healthy gluttony.
NOTE: The marginal translation of this last phrase is - “Be drunken with loves.” It is as though the Lord was saying, “Come, my friends, my beloved, drink the rich wine of my love, until your heart is drunk with my love, until you are totally under the influence of my love” (Eph. 5:18).
There is never any danger of overindulgence when it comes preaching, feeding upon, and worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, child of God, gorge yourself on Christ! Drink of him, O my soul, until you are thoroughly, completely intoxicated with him, and then drink on!
Application: That which is here spoken specifically to the Lord’s own beloved friends, I am at liberty to alter somewhat and present to you who know him not, because in other places he has done so - I boldly make three sure promises to you, upon the authority of God’s Word.
1. If you will seek Christ, you will find him.
2. If you will accept Christ, you will be accepted of him.
3. If you will believe on Christ (Eat his flesh and drink his blood) you will have everlasting life.
God help you now to trust Christ. Oh, hungry, thirsty souls, “Taste and see that the Lord is good!”