Sermon #12 Series: Song of Solomon
Title: My Heart - His Garden
Text: Song of Solomon 4:16
Readings: Office: Merle Hart Auditorium: Bobbie Estes
Subject: The Believer’s Heart Compared To A Fruitful Garden.
Date: Sunday Evening - July 26, 1998
Tape # U-78b
My text tonight is the Song of Solomon 4:16. The title of my message is My Heart - His Garden.
In our text, as in many places in the Word of God, the believer’s heart is compared to a fruitful garden. If I am one of the Lord’s people, if there is true faith in my heart, my heart is the Lord’s garden. It is a garden which he has purchased, a garden which he has enclosed, a garden which he has tilled, a garden which he has planted and watered. The believing heart is a garden which belongs to Christ and brings forth many pleasant fruits for him. Here the beloved Bride speaks to her beloved Lord and expresses her hearts desire - “Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.”
What a difference between what we were by nature and what we have been made by the grace of God! By nature we are like a barren wilderness, or an empty desert. But now, by the grace of God, we who believe have been transformed into fruitful gardens. Our wilderness is made like Eden. Our desert has been turned into the garden of the Lord. We have been enclosed by grace. We have been tilled and sown by the hand of God. Our Lord said to his disciples, “My Father is the Husbandman.” Now the Divine Husbandman has made us fruitful to his praise. Where there was once no fruit and nothing to give him delight, he now comes to “eat his pleasant fruits.” Grace makes a change! (2 Cor. 5:17).
You will recall that in the parable of the sower, our Lord compares us to a garden. In a garden there are flowers, and fruits, and vegetables planted and cultivated with purpose and care. And in every true believer’s heart you will find evidences of the cultivation and care of the Divine Gardener. In the good ground, mentioned in the parable, some of the seed brought forth thirty-fold, some sixty-fold, and some a hundred-fold. It is true, not all of the Lord’s gardens are precisely the same in their productivity: some yield more, and some yield less fruit. But still, every garden brings forth its fruits and flowers in measure, to the honor and glory of God.
The believing heart is a fruitful garden.
Divisions: I will give you my message in three statements. May God the Holy Spirit make them effectual to your soul’s comfort, edification, and eternal good, for Christ’s sake.
1. Our hearts are compared to a fruitful garden.
2. Our garden and its fruit needs the breath of heaven upon it.
3. We greatly desire the Lord to visit his garden.
I. The first thing which strikes me in this text is the fact that OUR HEARTS ARE COMPARED TO A FRUITFUL GARDEN.
If you and I are true believers, then our hearts are the Lord’s garden, and they bring forth fruit both for his honor and for his pleasure.
NOTE: There is no such thing as a barren, fruitless, graceless believer. Wherever true grace is found in the heart, there will be the fruit of grace.
A. The believer’s heart is a garden into which the good seed of the gospel has been sown (Matt. 13:18-23).
No ground is naturally good. It naturally brings forth weeds, briars, and thistles. Before the ground is fit to receive seed, it must be prepared. A wise and good farmer will take much care to properly prepare his ground, before he sows his seed. As the farmer sows his seed, some may fall upon the rocks, some by the wayside, and some among thorns. But only that ground which is thoroughly prepared will receive the seed and bring forth fruit. How does a farmer prepare his ground?
· He purchases the ground.
· He plows the field.
· He encloses the field.
· He sows the seed.
· He waters the ground.
· He cultivates the tender plant.
In precisely this way the Lord Jesus Christ, like a wise husbandman, has made the hearts of his people his fruitful garden.
1. He purchased us with the price of his own precious blood.
2. He has enclosed us, marking our hearts and souls as his own peculiar property.
· We were enclosed by his decree of election.
· We were enclosed by the hand of his wise and gracious providence.
3. He has plowed the field of our hearts, thoroughly breaking up the fallow ground of our hearts, by conviction.
4. He has planted the good seed of the gospel in our hearts, enabling us to hear and understand the blessed word of grace.
5. He waters the ground of our hearts by his grace.
6. He cultivates the tender plants of his garden with trials and afflictions.
B. And every heart that belongs to Christ is a fruitful garden (Gal. 5:22-23).
In the new birth, God the Holy Spirit comes into a man’s heart in sovereign, life-giving power. And where the Spirit of God comes there is fruit. The Spirit of the Lord brings life, abundant, productive life (2 Cor. 5:17).
1. The produce of the Lord’s garden is “the fruit of the Spirit”, not the works of our own hands.
The believer’s graces are not characteristics, or moral virtues, which he produces by diligence and care. These things are the fruits of the Spirit, inevitable result of his grace and power.
2. You will notice that Paul speaks of “the fruit of the Spirit” as one.
He names many virtues; but they are all one. They are like a cluster of grapes. They are many; yet, in essence they are all one. They all spring from one Vine; and that Vine is Christ himself. All who are really and truly connected to the Vine bear the fruit of the vine (John 15:1-6).
3. Notice also that Paul, when he talks about the fruit of the Spirit, speaks of attitudes, not actions.
He is telling us that if a person is truly born of God, his inward heart attitude will reflect it. God regards not the actions of men, but the attitudes of their hearts. Human religion may change a man’s actions. But the grace of God changes the attitude of the heart. Hypocrites reform their actions. Believers undergo a mighty renewing of the heart.
4. In every believing heart these three clusters of fruit are found.
I do not suggest that every believer has this fruit in the same measure. But I do say that every true believer has this pleasant fruit in its essence. In one it is as the newly sown seed. In another it is like a tender plant. In another it is like an ear of corn, not yet full. In another it is like the fully ripe ear, ready for harvest. But in all, the essence is the same.
a. The fruit of the Spirit is Love - Joy - Peace.
This describes our relationship to God. Our relationship to the Lord is not one of dread, and fear, and anxiety. We walk before him in love, joy, and peace. This describes our marvelously free, open fellowship with the Lord God.
(1.) The true believer loves the Lord.
· His Word.
· His will.
· His ways.
· His worship.
· His people.
(2.) The true believer rejoices in the Lord.
· His Person.
· His purpose.
· His providence.
(3.) The true believer is at peace with God.
b. The fruit of the Spirit is Longsuffering - Gentleness - Goodness.
This describes our relationship and attitude toward those who are around us. The children of God are not hard, critical, and severe; but they are patient, gentle, and good to the people around them.
(1.) True faith is patient, both with providence and with people.
(2.) True faith is gentle: courteous, thoughtful, and kind.
(3.) True faith is manifest by goodness toward men: generosity, openness, simplicity, and understanding.
c. The fruit of the Spirit is Faith - Meekness - Temperance.
This describes the true believer’s inward character. It tells us what the people of God truly are.
(1.) Faithful, Honest, Dependable.
(2.) Meek - In honesty they are humble in their own eyes.
(3.) Temperate - The people of God are men and women who control their passions. They are modest and temperate in all things. Temperance is control from within. By the grace of God, they control their tempers, and their lusts, and their appetites.
These things are not the result of our labors of self-discipline and self-denial. These things are the natural result of God’s grace in regeneration. This is the fruit of the Spirit. It is simply the overflowing of the Spirit of grace in the renewed heart (John 7:37-38).
C. Now, I am constrained to ask this question - Is my heart truly his garden?
Am I truly one of the Lord’s own children? Let us each honestly examine ourselves in this matter. A truly renewed heart is fruitful. It brings forth the fruit of the Spirit. Let us quit looking at our actions and our experiences. We all must honestly face this question - Is my heart a fruitful garden to the Lord?
II. Secondly, I want you to see that - OUR GARDEN AND ITS FRUIT NEED THE BREATH OF HEAVEN - “Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden that the spices thereof may flow out.”
Sometimes, though the flowers are in bloom their sweet fragrance does not fill the air, because there is no gentle breeze to carry it about. One may walk in the garden where spices abound and never smell their rich odors, if there is no wind stirring. Therefore, the loved one of our text prays that the Breath of heaven might come and break the dead calm of her heart’s garden, so that the rich fragrance of her spices might flow forth.
Illustration: Shelby’s Fragrant Flowers
A. In this prayer there is an evident sense of inward sleep - “Awake, O north wind.”
This is a poetic confession that she herself needs to be awakened. Her appeal is to the Spirit of God, the great Breath of Heaven, who operates according to his own will, even as the wind bloweth where it listeth.
1. She does not try to raise the wind, and create a revival in her own heart.
2. She simply acknowledges her utter dependence upon God the Holy Spirit to awaken her graces and enliven her heart.
B. If the Spirit of the Lord will blow upon our garden, our spices will flow out.
Let him move upon us as he will, from the north or from the south; he knows best. If he will but move upon us, our hearts will respond.
1. Sometimes he revives our hearts with the chilling, rough wind of affliction.
2. Sometimes he revives our hearts with the gentle southern breeze of grace and mercy.
3. Sometimes he uses both the cold winds of the north and the gentle breezes of the south to stir our hearts.
Spurgeon said - “We may have much spice of piety, and yet yield small fragrance unless the living power of the Holy Spirit moves upon us.”
This is the thing we need. We wait for a visitation from the blessed Spirit of God. If the Breath of Heaven will blow upon us, the fragrant flowers of our garden will fill the air with their rich perfume.
III. Thirdly, WE GREATLY DESIRE THAT THE LORD HIMSELF WILL VISIT HIS GARDEN - “Let my beloved come into his garden and eat his pleasant fruits.”
Notice that the Bride does not desire for the spices of her garden to fill the air with their fragrance for her own enjoyment, nor even for the delight of the daughters of Jerusalem. Her desire is that her spices may flow forth for the pleasure and enjoyment of her Beloved.
A. The highest, noblest wish of our souls is that Christ may have joy, pleasure, and delight is us.
And the great condescension of grace is this - Christ does delight and take pleasure in his people.
B. She calls him hers - “My Beloved.”
What music there is in these two words. He is “My Beloved.” My graces, the flowers of my garden, may be terribly dormant. But he is my Beloved still.
C. She acknowledges that she belongs to Christ.
My heart is his garden. The fruit and affection of my heart belongs to him, only to him.
D. This is the prayer and desire of our hearts - “Let my Beloved come.”
1. Let him come in the glory of his second advent.
2. Let him come in the majesty of his judgment-seat.
3. Let him come to make all things new.
4. Let him come into my heart - “Let him come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.”
Children of God, open your hearts to the King of Heaven, and he will come. He will sup with you; and you will sup with him (Rev. 3:20).
1. Is your heart his garden?
2. Come, now, O Breath of Heaven, and revive us.
3. Come, Lord Jesus, into Thy Garden and abide with us.