Friday, September 25, 2009

A Spurgeon Sermon on the Song of Solomon

Many know by now that the Song of Solomon is become an "issue" to me. The modern teaching popularised by Mark Driscoll or C J Mahaney has bothered me, and I've made no secret of that. But I was challenged recently that it's no good being "anti" everything without examining what I DO believe. So I am writing my own commentary of sorts on the Song of Songs - and reading everything I can lay my hands on.

C H Spurgeon preached a great number of amazing sermons on the Song of Solomon but this one in particular caught my eye. It wasn't just the way he touched on this wonderful book but it was his teaching on the Presence and glory of God that thrilled me. C H Spurgeon is popular among evangelicals - mainly for his gospel-centred preaching. Maybe this one was overlooked.

Text: Song of Solomon 3:4-5 -

"It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me. I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please."

Brethren, if a church be without the Spirit of God in it, it may have a name to live, but it is dead, and, you know, that after death there follows corruption, corruption which breeds foulness and disease. Hence, those churches which have turned aside unto error, have not only lost all power to do good, but they have become obnoxious and the causes of great evil in the midst of the world.

Let the Spirit of God be in the church, then there is power given to all her ministries; whether they be ministries of public testimony in the preaching of the word, or ministries of holy love amongst the brethren, or ministries of individual earnestness to the outside world, they will all be clothed with energy, in the fullness of the power of the Lord Jesus. Then her ordinances become truly profitable, then baptism is burial with the Lord, and the sacred supper is a feast of love; then the communion of the brethren in their solemn prayer and praise becomes deep and joyful, and their whole life and walk are bright with the glow of heaven.

In the presence of the Lord the graces of the saints are developed; the church grows rich in all spiritual gifts; her warfare becomes victorious, and her continual worship sweet as the incense of the golden censor.

I. And first, we learn from the text that before ever we can bring the Well-Beloved into our mother's house, the church, WE MUST FIND HIM PERSONALLY FOR OURSELVES.

I am not now about to speak of the need of conversion; we all know that no spiritual act can be performed until we become spiritual men; but I am now speaking about something higher than bare conversion. If we would bless the church, we must ourselves occupy a higher platform than that of being merely saved; we must be believers, walking in fellowship with Christ, and having, in that respect, found him whom our soul loveth.

There are many believers who have only just enough grace to enable us to hope that they are alive; they have no strength with which to work for God's cause, they have not an arm to lend to the help of others, neither can they even see that which would comfort others, for they are blind, and cannot see afar off, they want all their sight, and all their strength, for themselves. Those who are to bring the Well-Beloved into our mother's house, must be of another kind. They must get beyond the feebleness which is full of doubting and fearing, into the assurance which grasps the Savior, and the fellowship which lives in daily communion with him.

Pray ye for Laodicea in her lukewarmness, and Sardis in her spiritual death; but you will only prevail in proportion as your inmost soul loves the Redeemer and abides in his love.

In seeking our Lord we must use all ministries. The spouse enquired of the watchmen. We are not to despise God's servants, for he is usually pleased to bless us through them, and it would be ungrateful both to him and to them to pass them by as useless.

But, while we use the ministries, we must go beyond them. The spouse did not find her Lord through the watchmen.

But she says, "it was but a little that I passed from them, that I found him whom my soul loveth." I charge you, my dear hearers, never rest content with listening to me. Do not imagine that hearing the truth preached simply and earnestly will of itself be a blessing to your souls. Far, far beyond the servant, pass to the Master.

Oh, for more Enochs, men who walk with God, whose habitual spirit is that of close communion with Jesus, meditating upon him, yea, more than that, sympathizing with him, drinking into his spirit, changed into his likeness, living over again his life, because he is in them the monarch of their souls. O that we had a chosen band of elect spirits of this race, for surely the whole church would be revived through their influence.

II. This brings us to the second point of the subject. If we would be a blessing to the church, and have already found Christ, WE MUST TAKE CARE TO RETAIN HIM.

To come to Christ, and to sit down at his feet, is a simple thing enough for believers, and many of us have attained to it; but to sit day after day at the Master's feet is quite another matter. Oh, could I always be as I sometimes am! Could I not only rise above but remain there! But, alas, our spiritual nature is too much like this weather—it is balmy to-day; one would think that spring or summer had come; but, perhaps, to-night we may be chilled with frost and tomorrow drenched with rain. Ah, how fickle are our spirits. We are walking with Christ, rejoicing, leaping for joy; and anon the cold frosts of worldliness come over us, and we depart from him.

Mark, that according to the text, it is very apparent that Jesus will go away if he is not held. "I held him and I would not let him go;" as if he would have gone if he had not been firmly retained.

But note, next, he is very willing to be held. Who could hold him if he were not? He is the omnipotent Savior, and if he willed to withdraw he could do so: let us hold him as we might. But, mark his condescension. When his spouse said, "I held him, and I would not let him go," he did not go, he could not go, for his love held him as well as her hands. Christ is willing to be held.

He loves that sacred violence which takes him by force, that holy diligence which leaves not a gap open by which he may escape, but shuts every door, bars every bolt, and saith, "I have thee now and I will take care that if I lose thee it shall be through no fault of mine." Jesus is willing enough to be retained by hearts which are full of his love.

III. It appears from the text that, after the spouse had thus found Christ for herself and held him, SHE BROUGHT HIM INTO THE CHURCH—"I brought him to my mother's house."

IV. This leads me to the last point, which is this, to CHARGE THE CHURCH THAT SHE BE CAREFUL NOT TO DISTURB THE LORD'S REPOSE, if we have been enabled by divine grace to bring the Lord into the chambers of our mother's house.

May you stand as a sparkling pile of precious gems, inhabited by the eternal Spirit, to the praise and the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved. Amen.

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