Sermon #14 Series: Song of Solomon
Title: “I SLEEP, BUT MY HEART WAKETH”
Text: Song of Solomon 5:2-8
Readings: Office: Buddy Daugherty Auditorium: James Jordan
Subject: The Cause And Result Of Spiritual Indifference
Date: Sunday Evening - August 16, 1998
Tape # U-81b
I have a sad but common story to tell tonight. Our text sets before us a picture of the church of Christ, his beloved, chosen, and redeemed bride in her most lamentable condition. She is slothful, negligent, and indifferent. In other places the Bride speaks to Christ, but here she speaks of him, because now he had withdrawn himself.
Tonight, I am going to just briefly talk to you about the cause and result of spiritual indifference. I can tell you something about the cause. And I can tell you something about the result. But I am afraid that I cannot prescribe any certain remedy.
When our fellowship and communion with Christ is broken, because of our base ingratitude, neglect, and indifference, the only remedy is that the Lord himself graciously return to us and revive our hearts according to his own sovereign pleasure.
You have the title of my message in the opening words of our text: “I Sleep, but my heart waketh!”
· Sometimes this cold, deathly indifference steals over only one or two hearts in a congregation.
· Sometimes it seems to engulf entire assemblies.
· Sometimes this black plague seems to engulf the whole church of Christ.
This is a subject about which I am afraid we are all too familiar. We all know by bitter experience the deep base notes of Newton’s hymn -
How tedious and tasteless the hours
When Jesus no longer I see!
Sweet prospects, sweet birds, and sweet flowers,
Have all lost their sweetness to me.
The mid-summer sun shines but dim;
The fields strive in vain to look gay;
But when I am happy in Him,
December’s as pleasant as May.
His name yields the richest perfume,
And sweeter than music His voice;
His presence disperses my gloom,
And makes all within me rejoice:
I should, were He always thus nigh,
Have nothing to wish or to fear;
No mortal so happy as I;
My summer would last all the year.
Content with beholding His face,
My all to His pleasure resigned,
No changes of season or place
Would make any change in my mind;
While blest with a sense of His love,
A palace a toy would appear;
And prisons would palaces prove,
If Jesus would dwell with me there.
Dear Lord, if indeed I am Thine,
If Thou art my sun and my song,
Say, why do I languish and pine,
And why are my winters so long?
Oh, drive these dark clouds from my sky,
Thy soul cheering presence restore;
Or take me unto Thee on high,
Where winter and clouds are no more.
I will have nothing new to say to you tonight, nothing deep, profound, or mysterious. I am simply going to remind you of those things which most afflict the hearts of God’s children. It is my prayer that you will be encouraged to avoid the terrible tendency of your heart and mine toward indifference regarding our Lord. If our text speaks of the condition of your own heart, I pray that the Holy Spirit will make my words this evening as a light to show you the way back into fellowship and communion with Christ.
Proposition: There is within each of us a terrible tendency to become neglectful, indifferent, and lukewarm towards the Lord Jesus Christ. This common, sinful tendency of our nature must be marked and avoided.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love:
Here’s my heart, Oh, take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
I want to call your attention to seven things in our text which tell us the sad but common story of spiritual indifference.
I. Here is A VERY COMMON SIN - “I sleep.”
The wise virgins often sleep with the foolish. Far too often this is the bad effect which great privileges have upon our sinful hearts.
When we indulge ourselves in carnal ease and security, our hearts become cold, neglectful, drowsy, and indifferent.
· Religion becomes routine.
· Devotion is lifeless.
· Service is drudgery.
· Worship is formal.
· Zeal is gone.
II. Here is A HOPEFUL SIGN - “My heart waketh.”
It is a hopeful sign that there is grace in the heart when the heart struggles against our sinful sleep. Ours is not the sleep of death. There is life within, struggling, struggling hard against sin (Rom. 7:14-22).
III. Here is A VERY LOVING AND TENDER CALL - “It is the voice of my Beloved.”
All is not gone. Though my heart sleeps so foolishly, yet Christ is my Beloved. Though my love is so fickle, so shameful, and so unworthy of him, I do love him. And what is more, I still hear his voice and know his voice.
A. Christ tenderly knocks to awaken us to come and open to Him (Rev. 3:20).
· By His Spirit.
· By His Word.
· By His providence.
B. He not only knocks for entrance. Our Beloved Redeemer graciously calls us, wooing us to himself by his grace.
1. Whose voice is it? “It is the voice of my Beloved that knocketh.”
2. Who is He calling? “My Sister” “My Love” My Dove” “My Undefiled!”
3. What does He call for? “Open to Me.”
4. Why is He calling? “My head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.” - In the night of his agony, in Gethsemane, in the judgment hall, when he was crowned with thorns, piercing his brow.
IV. Here is A MOST UNGRATEFUL EXCUSE (v. 3).
Because of her carnal case, she refused the Lord’s gracious invitation to communion. She did not wish to trouble herself, and she did not wish to be troubled. Her heart was so cold that she preferred her ease to the fellowship of Christ.
· Carnal Ease
· Worldly Care
V. But our Lord is gracious still. Our Redeemer’s love cannot be quenched. He is longsuffering, patient, and gracious to his people, even in our most sinful rejection and denial of him. Here is a picture of OUR SAVIOR’S PERSEVERING, EFFECTUAL GRACE (v. 4; Psa. 110:3).
I rejoice to know that Christ will not leave his people to themselves.
He will never, never leave us,
Nor will let us quite leave Him!
· His grace is effectual.
· His grace is persevering.
· His grace is irresistible.
· His grace is preserving.
VI. Here is a sad picture of THE LOVING CHASTISEMENT our neglect and indifference brings upon us (vv. 5-7; Isa. 54:9-10).
VII. Here is ONE LAST HOPE (v. 8).
She could not find Christ for herself, so she employed the help and assistance of the Lord’s people.
1. A word to you who believe - When Christ calls you, come to him. “Today, if ye will hear his voice harden not your heart.”
2. A word to you who enjoy the fellowship of Christ - Cherish the precious fellowship of Christ. Let nothing rob you of your rich privilege. Do nothing to drive him away (Eph. 4:30).
3. A word to you who are the Lord’s children, but have by your own neglect lost the blessedness of fellowship with Christ.
· Go back to the cross.
· Confess your sinful negligence.
· Go on seeking him.
· Trust Him still (2 Sam. 23:5; Lam. 3:18-33).
Return, O Son of God return!
Come knock again upon my door.
Dear Savior, my Beloved, return.
Possess me and depart no more!