Sermon #5 Series: Song of Solomon
Title: Sitting With The King At His Table
Text: Song of Solomon 1:12-17
Reading: Psalm 47:1-9 and Colossians 3:1-17
Subject: Communion With Christ
Date: Sunday Morning - , 1998
Tape # U-70b
The object of public worship is that we may meet with and worship the Lord Jesus Christ, that we may sit with him at his table, communion with him, and be fed by him. I hope you have come here today seeking him. I pray that he will be pleased to make himself known. That is what I want to talk about today. The title of my message is - Sitting With The King At His Table. Our text will be the Song of Solomon 1:12-17…
(Song of Songs 1:12-17) "While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof. (13) A bundle of myrrh is my wellbeloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts. (14) My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi. (15) Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes. (16) Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green. (17) The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir."
Do you know this King? Is Jesus Christ your Lord, your Savior, your King? Do you know the sweet taste of his saving grace? Have you experienced the blessedness of sins forgiven? Do you trust Christ? Are you washed in his blood, robed in his righteousness, and born of his Spirit? If you are, if you are a sinner saved by the grace of God, saved through the blood of Christ, saved by the power of his Spirit, I am certain that your very soul longs, thirsts, pants, and hungers for him, like a love sick young bride longs, thirsts, pants, and hungers for her husband. You want nothing like you want the embrace of his arms and the kisses of his mouth.
Proposition: That which we need and, I hope, desire above all things is communion with our all glorious Christ.
Oh, that the Lord Jesus might be pleased to visit us this morning and make himself know in our midst! It is the presence of Christ which gives life and meaning to our worship. Our gathering here for worship without the fellowship of Christ is dreary business. It is like a brook without water, a cloud without rain, a sky without a sun, a night without a star. We need Christ! Without him all is vain!
· The doctrine of Christ without the presence of Christ is a lifeless corpse.
· The ordinances of Christ without the presence of Christ are meaningless rituals.
· Our songs of praise without the presence of Christ are but sorrowful groans.
· The Word of God without the presence of Christ is a sealed Book.
· The preaching of the gospel without the presence of Christ is only an exercise in futility.
We must have Christ, or we have nothing! We cannot live without him. Without him, we have no light. Without him we have no comfort. Without him we have no strength. Without him we are nothing. Without him we can do nothing. I hope that you can enter into the Spirit of our text.
We have before us a picture of King Jesus sitting at his table, a table spread with the rich morsels of the gospel, manifesting himself to his people. We have here a picture of communion and fellowship with Christ himself. Could it be that Christ will come and sit with us here in his own house this hour? Could it be that he will appear in our midst, reveal himself, and speak to our hearts? My very soul is thrilled by such a prospect! May God the Holy Spirit now open this blessed picture to our hearts. If he is pleased to do so, it will be sure to create in our hearts such a thirst for the blessed fellowship of Christ that we will not cease to seek it until we have it. Give me your attention, as I endeavor to expound this blessed text to you.
Divisions: In these verses of Inspiration the Spirit of God informs us of three blessed facts…
1. There is nothing so precious to the true believer as Christ himself (vv. 12-14).
2. Nothing in this world is so precious to Christ as His church (v. 15).
3. When Christ makes himself known to us and reveals his love to our hearts, all is pleasant (vv. 16-17).
I. To begin, I want you to see that THERE IS NOTHING SO PRECIOUS TO THE TRUE BELIEVER AS CHRIST HIMSELF (vv. 12-14). Here, the bride speaks about her Beloved.
(Song of Songs 1:12-14) "While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof. (13) A bundle of myrrh is my wellbeloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts. (14) My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi."
What a picture this is! King is sitting at his table in his palace with his beloved Bride. She is so overcome by his beauty and goodness that her heart must speak. In tender affection she tells him how precious he is to her.
The picture, of course, is of our Lord Jesus Christ, sitting in the midst of his church in precious fellowship. Truly, our meetings are blessed when he meets with us. The gospel is truly a feast for our souls when he spreads the table.
Christ is precious to believing hearts; and he is never more precious than at those times when he reveals and manifests himself in sweet, intimate, and real fellowship with his people (1 Pet. 2:7).
(1 Peter 2:7) "Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,"
A. We see Christ, the king, revealing himself in the blessedness of fellowship with his people (v. 12).
(Song of Songs 1:12) "While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof."
This is the thing we most greatly desire at all times, when we come together for worship as a congregation of believers. If Christ will meet with us, all is well. It matters not where we meet, or even how many of us there are. If Christ is present, we have all that our hearts can desire.
1. All true believers reverence Christ as their sovereign King.
2. The king has his royal table spread in the gospel.
The gospel of the grace of God is a feast of fat things prepared for all nations. It is a table furnished, by which the souls of men are fed.
Our Lord has promised to be present with two or three who gather in his name. He comes, by his Spirit through the ministry of his Word, to sup with us, and he allows us to sup with him.
3. When Christ himself meets with us, our meetings are truly blessed. His presence draws out the grace he has created in our hearts. That is what is meant by the words “My spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof” (John 12:3).
(John 12:1-3) "Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. (2) There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. (3) Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment."
When he withdraws and hides himself from us our spirits languish like tender plants in the sun. But when our Lord reveals himself our souls are renewed and made fruitful.
NOTE: Nothing gives our souls so much joy and satisfaction as fellowship with Christ. The children of God are not morbid people. We know how to enjoy the good things of life. But the greatest joys known to men in this world are mixed with a measure of bitterness and sorrow. The blessed fellowship of Christ is pure joy. There are no dregs in this wine.
B. The Lord Jesus Christ is unutterably precious to every believing soul (vv. 13-14).
(Song of Songs 1:13-14) "A bundle of myrrh is my wellbeloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts. (14) My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi."
Here we have a picture of our Lord’s beauty, his value, and his love to a believing soul. The language is the language of intimate love. It is altogether spiritual.
1. Christ is well-beloved, the choice object of our hearts’ affections.
He is not merely beloved, but “well-beloved.” He is chosen and preferred above all others. In our innermost souls his is uppermost. None can rival him. None can be compared with him.
2. Christ is like a bundle of myrrh to us.
Myrrh was a very costly and rare plant, greatly valued in ancient times for many reasons. It serves very well as a picture of Christ in this passage. Here are five ways in which myrrh fitly represents our Savior…
a. Christ may be compared to myrrh, because of its preciousness.
It was a very expensive thing. It is always represented in Scripture as being rare and costly. Jacob, you will remember sent some myrrh down into Egypt as a choice gift. But no myrrh could ever compare with our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the precious gift of God to us. When God gave us his Son, he gave us his all. What a precious gift Christ is to us!
· In His Incarnation.
· In His Atonement.
· In His Resurrection.
· In His Ascension.
· In His Intercession.
· In His Grace.
b. Christ may be compared to myrrh, because it was a very pleasant perfume.
It was sweet to the smell. In the Old Testament, myrrh was mingled with the sacrifices, so that when the fat of the kidneys of rams and beasts were burned the smoke that ascended up to heaven had the sweet fragrance of myrrh. You see the picture. That which makes us acceptable to God is the sweet perfume of our Lord Jesus Christ.
· Our Prayers
· Our Songs
· Our Ministries
· Our Sacrifices
· Our Labors
· Our Persons
We are “accepted in the Beloved.” (2 Cor. 2:15-16; 1 Pet. 2:5; Phil. 4:18; Mal. 1:11).
(2 Corinthians 2:15-16) "For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: (16) To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?"
(1 Peter 2:5) "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
(Philippians 4:18) "But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God."
(Malachi 1:11) "For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts."
c. Christ may be compared to myrrh, because it was a preservative.
The Egyptians used myrrh to embalm the dead. Nicodemus and those holy women brought myrrh and aloes to wrap the body of our Savior. Myrrh was used to prevent decay and corruption. Even so, Christ, like a bundle of myrrh, preserves us.
d. Christ may be compared to myrrh, because it was used for purification.
The ancient people thought that myrrh had certain medicinal qualities. In times of pestilence and plague, they would carry a little bag of myrrh around their necks, hanging between their breasts, to serve as a disinfectant. I do not imagine that they were correct in their ideas. But I know that the Lord Jesus Christ has infinitely great medicinal value for our souls. His name is “Jehovah-Rophi.” “I am the Lord that healeth thee.”
· He has cured our hearts of the deadly plague of sin.
· He makes us pure and perfect before God.
e. Christ may be compared to myrrh, because the women in ancient times used it as a beautifier.
You will remember that before Esther was presented to Ahasuerus she prepared herself with myrrh. The ancient, oriental women thought that myrrh would remove wrinkles and soften the skin. I don’t know about that. But I do know that nothing makes a believer beautiful except Christ. He removes every spot and blemish and wrinkle from all his people.
Women in ancient times would very carefully take precious, costly, rare sprigs of myrrh, tie them together, and hang them in a bag between their breasts for all of these reasons. And for all of these reasons, we will cling to Christ. His presence, his fellowship is like a bundle of myrrh between our breasts. When we have him all is well.
Children of God, cling to Christ. Keep him near you. Bind him to your heart. “He shall lie all night between my breasts.” Throughout the long night of my pilgrimage through this world, I want his fellowship. If Christ will be with me, I want no more! “He shall lie all night between my breasts.”
· This is an expression of intense desire.
· These are the words of confident faith. He said he would!
· This is a firm resolve.
3. Christ is our only acceptance before God (v. 14).
(Song of Songs 1:14) "My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi."
The word translated camphire is the same word that is usually translated atonement, covering, or propitiation. Christ is a cluster of merit and righteousness to all believers. He is precious to us, because he is our propitiation before God.
I do not suggest that Christ is so fully precious to all people. He is not. Some of you may see nothing in him. But, no matter what he is or is not to you, every heaven born soul speaks like this about Christ- My Beloved is unto me all that is needful, all that is lovely, all that is precious. He loved me and gave himself for me. He is my Lord and my God. “Unto you therefore which believe, he is precious!”
II. But in the second place, I want you to see that NOTHING IN ALL THE WORLD IS SO PRECIOUS TO CHRIST AS HIS CHURCH (v. 15). Here the Lord Jesus speaks to us about us.
(Song of Songs 1:15) "Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes."
(Isaiah 43:4) "Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life."
It is one thing for me to speak of Christ with great delight and satisfaction. But here is something that is almost unbelievable to us - Christ speaks of you and me, all who are united to him by faith, with delight and satisfaction! Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ has great delight in his church. Every true believer is beautiful in his eyes! “Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair: thou hast dove’s eyes.”
A. In the eyes of Christ we are perfectly beautiful.
There is no cause for pride, or for arrogance on our part. We have no beauty of our own. But his beauty is upon us, and he delights in that which he has made us to be in himself.
1. The beauty which Christ beholds in us is the real beauty of true believers.
2. The only beauty which Christ looks upon with delight is the beauty which he has created.
3. We must never cease to be humbled by our own blackness, and never cease to rejoice in the beauty which Christ has given us.
a. Christ looks upon us as we really are in him (1 Cor. 1:30; 6:11).
b. Christ looks upon us as we shall one day be (Eph. 5:27).
B. Here our Lord assures us of his special, peculiar love for us - “My love.”
The Lord Jesus Christ holds his own elect near to his heart as the objects of his special love and favor. He speaks not to the world, but to his own chosen and beloved companion, his bride, his church, when he says, “My love.” The love of Christ for our souls truly is special.
1. It is a sovereign love.
2. It is a selective love.
3. It is a sacrificial love.
4. It is a saving love.
5. It is a satisfying love.
C. One instance of beauty which our Lord mentions is that his people have the eyes of a dove.
1. They have eyes that are enlightened and guided by the Dove of heaven, God the Holy Spirit.
2. They have eyes that are loyal and faithful - Eyes for Christ alone.
3. They have weeping eyes, that mourn as a dove (Ezek. 7:16).
(Ezekiel 7:16) "But they that escape of them shall escape, and shall be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, every one for his iniquity."
III. My friends, WHEN CHRIST MAKES HIMSELF KNOWN TO US AND REVEALS HIS LOVE TO OUR HEARTS, ALL IS PLEASANT (vv. 16-17).
(Song of Songs 1:16-17) "Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green. (17) The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir."
Recognizing his beauty, and recognizing that whatever beauty we may have he has given us, we would turn all attention and praise to our beloved Lord. He is fair in himself. We are fair only in him.
It is really impossible for me to say who is speaking here, Christ or the bride; but it really makes no difference. The message is the same whether coming from the bride or the Bridegroom.
A. Our marriage to Christ is a blessed, happy, fruitful union (Rom. 7:4). “Our bed is green.”
(Romans 7:4) "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."
B. Our union with Christ is a firm and lasting union. “The beams of our house are cedar.” It is both an ancient and durable union, a union which shall never be broken.
C. Our fellowship with Christ is most delightful - “Our rafters of fir.”
The word “rafters” literally means “galleries” or “balconies,” the porches which extend out from the bedroom, where the bride and groom sit and walk together in intimate fellowship. These galleries were made of fir, a fragrant and durable wood.
· The Word
· The Ordinances
· The Assembly Of God’s Saints
· Private Prayer And Meditation
· The Covenant Of God’s Grace
· The Doctrines Of The Gospel
1. Is Christ truly precious to you?
2. Cherish Christ and his fellowship above all things.