Sermon #10 Series: Song of Solomon
Title: Christ and His Church
In Their Royal Chariot
Text: Song of Solomon 3:6-11
Readings: Office: Paul Winderl Auditorium: James Jordan
Subject: The Safety Of The Church In This World
Date: Sunday Evening - July 12, 1998
Tape # U-76a
Song of Songs 3:6-11 "Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant? (7) Behold his bed, which is Solomon's; threescore valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel. (8) They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night. (9) King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon. (10) He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem. (11) Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart."
Try to picture the scene before us in our text - A royal wedding has taken place. King Solomon has taken Pharaoh’s daughter to be his wife. She is arrayed in all the beauty and splendor of a royal bride. Solomon, with all of his wealth, has spared no expense for this glorious occasion. The wedding ceremony is now over. The marriage supper is ended. The royal pair, the newly wed king and his queen prepare to leave for their honeymoon. The king nods his head and his nuptial chariot is brought forward. It is a chariot which he has especially prepared for his beloved bride. It is a splendid, richly arrayed coach, which will carry the happy couple through the wilderness to the place where their marriage will be consummated.
Standing in the front of the chariot are two men carrying torches to light their way through the wilderness. The torches burn with all the powders of the merchants, giving off in their smoke the fragrances of romantic perfume. In front of the chariot, on both sides, and in the rear there are sixty valiant men, selected by Solomon himself, to guard the royal pair as they make their way through the wilderness. Every man is expert in war, and ready to die, if need be, in defense of the king and his bride. The chariot is made of the fine woods of Lebanon. Its four posts are of silver. The bottom of it is covered with gold. Its curtains are made of fine purple. Secluded behind those curtains, safe and happy, is the king and his bride upon their bed, a bed made by his own hands. They recline together upon the soft cushions of love which he has prepared.
The picture, of course, is an allegory referring to Christ and His Church in Their Royal Chariot. It pictures both the happiness and safety of the church of Christ as she is carried through the darkness and wilderness of this world in the arms of Christ. Resting in his love, secure in his arms, we can almost hear her speak - “I will fear no evil: for thou art with me…Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
As our text begins, the daughters of Jerusalem speak with astonishment. They are overcome with awe by the beauty and majesty that has been given to the church of Christ. It is not at all uncommon for new converts to be astonished by that which Christ has made his church to be. She who was once black and despised is now adorned with beauty and admired. Looking upon the church, chosen by Christ to be his bride, adorned with his love, and protected by his power, the daughters of Jerusalem are astonished and cry, “Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all the powders of the merchant?”
This question tells us two things about the church of Christ in this world.
1. So long as we are in this world The church of Christ is in a wilderness.
The Lord’s people here are passing through a wilderness, as strangers and pilgrims in a foreign and hostile land. Here we must expect to meet with danger on every hand, trials, tribulations, and temptations. And mark these words: the church is passing through this wilderness. She is coming up out of it. She has no attachment to it.
NOTE: My friends, you and I must not live for this world. We simply must not entangle ourselves with the affairs of this world. To love this world is to be the enemy of God (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15; Matt. 6:31-33).
Matthew 6:31-33 "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (32) (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
James 4:4 "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
1 John 2:15 "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
2. As the people of God make their way through this world their hearts are set upon another world.
The church is said to be “like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense.” Her heart is inflamed with love for Christ. Her affections are set upon things above, not on the perishing things of the world (Col. 3:1-3; 2 Cor. 4:18).
Colossians 3:1-3 "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (2) Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (3) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."
2 Corinthians 4:18 "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
The graces of the Spirit in the believer’s heart are like sweet spices and holy incense, arising from the altar of the renewed soul heart.
Proposition: But the thing that I want you to see tonight is that while the church is in this world she is with Christ and Christ is with her, and she is safe.
Sometimes our doubting hearts become fearful about the welfare and safety of the Lord’s church. But our fears are ill-founded. The church belongs to Christ. He loved her, chose her, and redeemed her. She is in his hands. He will defend her, protect her, and perfect her. The church of Christ and the cause of Christ are safe.
Zion stands by hills surrounded,
Zion kept by power Divine;
All her foes shall be confounded,
Though the world in arms combine:
Happy Zion, what a favored lot is thine!
Every human tie may perish;
Friend to friend unfaithful prove;
Mothers cease their own to cherish;
Heaven and earth at last remove;
But no changes can attend Jehovah’s love!
Zion’s Friend in nothing alters,
Though all others may and do;
His is love that never falters,
Always to its object true.
Happy Zion, crowned with mercies ever new!
If thy God should show displeasure,
‘Tis to save and not destroy;
If He punish, ‘tis in measure,
‘Tis to rid thee of alloy.
Be thou patient; soon thy grief shall turn to joy.
In the furnace God may prove thee,
Thence to bring thee forth more bright;
But can never cease to love thee;
Thou art precious in His sight;
God is with thee, God thine everlasting light.
In our text we see the daughters of Jerusalem (our younger brothers and sisters in Christ (Those who truly are converted, but still just babes in grace, and those who only profess to be converted, but are yet lost, blind, and ignorant.) stand admiring the Bride, the church, and commending her; but she overlooks their praises and points them to her Beloved. She transfers all the glory to Christ. The church would have all to look away from her to Christ. We applaud and praise him. We recommend him to your esteem. Christ alone is worthy of praise. He alone is worthy of notice.
She calls him Solomon; but the One spoken of is Christ. The One who is greater than Solomon is here. Solomon was a type of Christ. Both are the sons of David and the sons of God, kings of peace over the house of God. Solomon was a type of Christ…
· In his wealth.
· In his wisdom.
· In the greatness and peacefulness of his kingdom.
· In his marriage to the daughter of Pharaoh.
· In building the temple.
Divisions: In these verses the church expresses her admiration and praise for Christ in three ways - She admires:
1. The Safety Of His Bed (vv. 7-8).
2. The Splendor Of His Chariot (vv. 9-10).
3. The Greatness Of His Person (v. 11).
I. The church here admires and praises Christ because of THE SAFETY OF HIS BED (vv. 7-8).
Song of Songs 3:7-8 "Behold his bed, which is Solomon's; threescore valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel. (8) They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night."
She calls for the daughters of Jerusalem to “Behold his bed,” look to him and trust him, because there is safety in him.
The church is his bed. He said of it, “This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell.” The believer’s heart is his bed. He lies all night between our breasts, and reveals his love in our hearts (Eph. 3:17). Heaven is his bed, the rest into which he entered when he had finished his work.
But here “his bed” refers to that rest and satisfaction which believing hearts find in communion with Christ. When we are nestled in his arms in sweet communion and fellowship, we find rest and peace for our souls. Here is a bed long enough and broad enough for a man to stretch himself upon it. The bed upon which we rest is Christ himself! The covers of this bed (Our Lord’s own righteousness!) are infinitely broard, broad enough for the biggest sinner in the world to wrap himself in! It is a green, fruitful bed (1:16). It is my bed (3:1). And t is his bed (3:7). The bed he bought. The bed he owns. The bed he gives. The bed he is!
A. In particular, the bride is safe and secure because the Lord has posted guards about his bed to protect her.
Traveling through this wilderness in the darkness of night, the people of God are always subject to danger, being susceptible to attacks at all times. But we have no need to fear. The cause of Christ is safe in this world. The Lord himself protects his people. And he has set his angels to protect his saints. But we have something more tangible than this.
NOTE: It is the responsibility of those who preach the gospel to be watchmen, caring for and protecting the church of God. Faithful pastors are angels of the churches to guard them and watch over them (Heb. 13:7, 17; Rev. 1:20).
1. Read verses 7 and 8 carefully, and you will notice that there are always enough swordsmen for the work.
“Threescore valiant men” - There are always enough men chosen of God for the deliverance of his people and the protection of his church. “The Lord gave the Word, and great was the company of them that published it.”
There shall always be just as many faithful pastors to carry on the battle as the battle shall require (Gen. 19:16).
· The Lord knows who they are.
· The Lord knows where they are.
· The Lord knows where they are needed.
· The Lord knows what he will use them to accomplish.
2. These warriors were men of the right mettle.
They are “the valiant of Israel.” The servants of God are men, bold and fearless men, men with a cause to inspire them and courage to carry them through. Valiant men are dependable men, courageous men, devoted men, and proved men.
3. These men were all in the right place.
“Threescore valiant men ABOUT IT.” There were some on the right, some on the left, some in the front, some in the rear.
· Each man was in the place where God had put him.
· Each man was in the place where he was needed and for which he was gifted.
· Each man kept his post.
4. These sixty valiant men were all well armed.
The text says plainly, “They all hold swords.” Every valiant warrior in Christ’s Israel holds the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. The only weapon of our warfare is the Word of God.
5. Again, these valiant men, chosen of God for the safety of his church are well trained.
“They all hold swords, being expert in war.” They are all men of war. They had been tried and proved, again and again. These men were not academy cadets. They were seasoned veterans.
NOTE: Those who are set apart for the work of the gospel ministry must not be novices. They must be well trained, well equipped men (1 Tim. 3:1-7). The church of Christ does not need any “preacher boys” any more than the U. S. Marine Corps needs “soldier boys”! We need men to stand as watchmen over Zion!
· Men who have endured trial.
· Men who have proven their faithfulness.
· Men who have an insight into the human heart.
· Men who are burdened for the cause of Christ.
· Men who have a sound knowledge of gospel doctrine (Jer. 3:13).
· Men who are gifted for the work - Men who can preach and preach with persuasive power and understanding.
6. These valiant men were always ready.
Every man had his sword upon his thigh and his hand upon his sword. With Paul, every man called of God to the work will cry, “I am ready!”
B. The reason for the Lord’s appointment of his soldiers is to secure the welfare of his church.
They stand at their post “because of fear in the night.”
1. To protect her from any real danger.
2. To comfort her and silence her fears about supposed danger.
3. To light her path and guide her through the wilderness.
II. Secondly, the church here expresses her admiration and praise toward Christ, because of THE SPLENDOR OF HIS CHARIOT (vv. 9-10).
Song of Songs 3:9-10 "King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon. (10) He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem."
As the bed speaks of the believer’s communion and fellowship with Christ in the blessed gospel rest of faith. The chariot speaks of the everlasting gospel of Christ.
NOTE: The gospel of the grace of God is that chariot in which Christ reveals himself in this world. The gospel is that chariot in which Christ our King rides forth conquering and to conquer. And the gospel of grace is the chariot in which the church of God is carried through this world.
NOTE: The gospel of the grace of God is a chariot which the Lord made by his own hands.
· He devised it and established it.
· He made it for himself.
· He made it for the daughters of Jerusalem whom he determined to save.
Now let’s look at the details of this blessed gospel chariot. Its splendor reflects the glory of our King, its Maker.
A. The four silver pillars which hold up the canopy of this chariot are the attributes of God himself.
The great atonement of Christ, beneath which we are sheltered from the terrible wrath of God, is supported and buttressed by the attributes of God. The divine attributes, God’s character, guarantee the efficacy of Christ’s atonement.
1. There stands the silver pillar of God’s justice.
God cannot and will not slay any soul that is sheltered beneath the blood of Christ. Justice will not allow it. If Christ paid the debt for us, justice cannot demand payment from us.
2. There stands the solid, silver pillar of God’s power. We are kept in the hands of Omnipotence!
3. There stands the silver pillar of God’s immutable, everlasting love.
His love for us is strong and everlasting, unchanging, and eternal. It is as strong as his power and as sure as his justice. His love for us secures our souls!
4. And there stands the silver pillar of God’s immutability.
Oh, what a pillar this is! The Lord our God changes not! And since he changes not, our souls are safe and secure! (Mal. 3:6; Eccles. 3:14).
B. The purple canopy, or covering of this chariot is the atonement of Christ.
It is dyed in the purple blood of our royal King which he shed to redeem us at Calvary. That blood-red canopy of finished atonement shelters our souls from the burning heat of the day and the terror of the night. We are sheltered safe and secure under the blood of Jesus.
Let me tell you five things about the blood of Christ.
· It is propitiatory.
· It is plentiful.
· It is powerful.
· It is permanent.
· It is precious!
C. The bottom of this blessed gospel chariot is made of gold, the solid, enduring gold of God’s eternal purpose and decree (Rom. 8:28-30; 9:16-18).
Romans 8:28-30 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."
Romans 9:16-18 "So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. (17) For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. (18) Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth."
D. Then there is the pavement of needlework, the soft cushions upon which we are made to rest our souls are most delightful. This blessed gospel chariot is paved with Christ’s special love for his own elect. “The midst thereof being paved with love for the daughters of Jerusalem.”
1. That love was the basis of his eternal decree.
2. That love was revealed in his atoning sacrifice.
3. That love is manifest in his daily care.
III. Thirdly, the church here admires and praises Christ, because of THE GREATNESS OF HIS PERSON (v. 11).
Song of Songs 3:11 "Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart."
This is the admonition which I would drive home to our hearts tonight, especially as we keep the feast of the Lord together. Let each one of us who are true believers recognize that we are a part of the Lord’s church, inside the gospel chariot, yet, looking upon ourselves as one of the daughters of Jerusalem, let us “Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold King Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of heart.”
· Behold the honors put upon him by God his Father.
· Behold the dishonors put upon him by the Jews - The crown of thorns.
· Behold the dishonors put upon him by the apostate church of this reprobate age - UPON HIS PERSON! - UPON HIS BLOOD! - UPON HIS POWER!
· Behold the honors put upon him by his church and all true believers, in whose heart he is formed, and of whom he said, “These are my mother” (Matt. 12:50).
When we come to Christ in faith, receiving him as our Lord and Savior, it is a great privilege of grace for us; but it is more - Christ is honored by it. True faith is honoring to the Son of God.
A. It is his coronation day as King in our souls.
True faith acknowledges and submits to Christ as Lord and King.
B. It is the day of his espousals.
He joins us to him in faith and love, and he betroths all that he is and has to us (Hosea 3:3).
Hosea 3:1-3 "Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine. (2) So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley: (3) And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee."
C. It is the day of the gladness of his heart.
There is joy in heaven, in the presence of the angels when a sinner trusts Christ. He sees with satisfaction and delight of the travail of his soul (Lk. 15:6-8, 10).
Luke 15:6-8 "And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. (7) I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. (8) Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?"
Luke 15:10 "Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."
My friends, go forth and behold the greatness of Christ’s grace toward sinners. This is his crown. This is his brightest diadem of glory!
Application: I say to you who believe and to you who believe not - “Behold him!”
1. Behold the safety of all who trust him.
2. Behold the splendor of the gospel of his grace.
3. Behold the greatness of his person.
· He is great in majesty.
· He is great in power.
· He is great in pardon.
· He is great in mercy.