Sermon #16 Series: Song of Solomon
Title: DO YOU NEED A FRIEND?
Text: Song Of Solomon 5:16
Readings: Office: Merle Hart Auditorium: Rex Bartley
Subject: Christ The Friend of Needy Sinners
Date: Sunday Evening - August 30, 1998
Tape # U-85a
Do you need a friend; a faithful, powerful, and loving friend? Some of you, if I may judge by the expressions of your faces, desperately need such a friend. I have such a friend; and I want to recommend my friend to you.
I’ve found a Friend, O such a Friend!
He loved me ere I knew Him;
He drew me with the cords of love,
And thus He bound me to Him.
I’ve found a Friend, O such a Friend!
He bled and died to save me;
And not alone the gift of life,
But His own self He gave me.
I’ve found a Friend, O such a Friend!
All power to Him is given
To guard me on my onward course,
And bring me safe to heaven.
I’ve found a Friend, O such a Friend!
So kind and true and tender,
So wise a counselor and guide,
So mighty a Defender!
My Friend is my subject tonight. You will find my text in the Song of Solomon chapter five and verse sixteen - “This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend.’ The Friend that I speak of, the Friend that I want you to have, and know, and love is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Friend of publicans and sinners.
Someone once said, “Friendship is the only thing in the world concerning the usefulness of which all mankind are agreed.”
A friend is one of the greatest blessings on earth. Tell me not of money: affection is better than gold; sympathy is better than property. The poorest man in all the world is the man who is friendless and alone. If you would be happy in this world, you must have friends. And if you desire happiness in eternity, you must find a Friend in the Person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only Savior of poor sinners.
The world is full of sorrow, because it is full of sin. It is a dark place. It is a lonely place. It is a disappointing place. The brightest sunbeam in this dark world is a friend. A friend will make our sorrows half what they would otherwise be. And a friend makes all our joys double. But a real friend is a scarce and rare treasure.
There are many who will eat, drink, and laugh with us in the sunshine of prosperity. But there are few who will stand with us in the night of weeping. There are few who will love us when we are sick, helpless, and poor. Above all, there are few who will care for our souls!
The friendship of this world is as bitter as it is brittle. Trust in it, and you will have trusted a robber. Rely upon it, and you will have leaned upon a spear that will pierce your soul.
Proposition: The Lord Jesus Christ is a real Friend; and he is the Friend you need.
May God the Holy Spirit give me his special anointing and grace, as I endeavor to speak plainly and personally to you about your soul’s greatest need. I want to simply make three statements to you.
I. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Friend of sinners, the only true Friend sinners have (Matt. 9:10-13).
The Son of God came into this world specifically on an errand of mercy, love, and grace. He came into the world to save sinners. He lived for sinners. He died for sinners. He rose again for sinners. He intercedes for sinners. He loves sinners. He saves sinners.
II. The Lord Jesus Christ is the “Friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Pro. 18:24).
On a purely earthly level, Solomon tells us that if we would have friends, we must show ourselves friendly. “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly.” That is a sermon in itself. I have never known an obviously friendly person who did not have an abundance of friends.
· If you would have people be thoughtful of you, be thoughtful of others.
· If you would have kindness shown to you, be kind to others.
· If you want people to speak well of you, speak well of others.
· If you want people to be generous toward you, be generous toward others.
I have observed that usually those who are most easily offended are those who think nothing of offending. Those who complain the most about doing things are those who always do as little as they can without public embarrassment. Those who are the most selfish are those who complain about the selfishness of others. Those who are the most unfriendly are the very ones who complain that others are unfriendly. That is not my message tonight; but it is a message that needs to be preached and preached often. “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly.”
Look at the next line of this text. Solomon tells us, “There is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” He did not find this Friend in his unbridled pleasures, nor in the wanderings of his unlimited research, but in the pavilion of the Most High, in the secret dwelling place of God, in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I can tell you, both from the Word of God and from the experience of more than thirty-two years, that our all glorious Christ, my Lord, my God, my Redeemer, my Savior, is the greatest, best, wisest, most loving, disinterested, and faithful of Friends.
How happy is that family whose family Friend is Jesus Christ! How happy and blessed is that man whose best Friend is the Son of God! “There is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother,” and his name is Immanuel, the Christ of God. “This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend.” I have never been much of a friend to him; but, oh, what a Friend he is to me!
Poor, weak, and worthless, though I am,
I have a rich, almighty Friend;
Jesus, the Savior, is His name:
He freely loves, and without end.
He ransomed me from hell with blood;
And by His power my foes controlled:
He found me wandering far from God,
And brought me to His chosen fold.
He cheers my heart, my wants supplies,
And says that I shall shortly be
Enthroned with Him above the skies:
Oh! What a Friend is Christ to me!
But, oh! My inmost spirit mourns;
And well my eyes with tears may swim,
To think of my perverse returns:
I’ve been a faithless friend to Him.
Sure, were I not most vile and base,
I could not thus my Friend requite:
And, were He not the God of grace,
He’d frown and spurn me from His sight!
III. Christ is the one Friend we all need.
The Son of God is a Friend in need. And man is the most needy creature on God’s earth, because he is a sinner. There is no need so great as that of sinners. Poverty, hunger, thirst, cold, sickness, all are nothing in comparison with sin.
As sinners, we need righteousness; but we have no power to get it. We need atonement; but we have no abiity to make it. we need pardon; and we are utterly unable to provide it for ourselves. We need deliverance from a guilty conscience and the fear of death; but we have no power in ourselves to obtain it.
Christ, is a Friend to sinners in need. He came into the world to relieve us of the great need caused by sin. He came to remove our guilt, save us from sin, and deliver us from the curse of the law. It was said of the child Jesus, “Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). “This is a faithful saying, worthy of all acceptation, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief!” (1 Tim. 1:15). Let me show you from the Word of God why we all need Christ as our Friend. If you will listen to me, I am certain that your conscience will echo and say “amen” to every word I speak in this regard.
A. All of us by nature are poor, diseased, dying creatures.
From the President in the White House, to the farmer in the field, from the professor at the University, to the school-boy in kindergarten, we are all sick from the mortal disease of the soul - sin.
Whether we know it or not, whether we feel it or not, we are all dying, because of sin. We are as “a sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers, children that are corrupters: we have forsaken the Lord, we have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, we are gone away backward…the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the soul of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in us; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment” (Isa. 1:4-6).
1. The plague of sin is in our hearts.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man” (Matt. 15:19-20).
a. Our problem is that we have a heart disease, a disease incurable except by the blood of Christ and his almighty grace.
(1.) The root of all sin is in your heart and mine by nature.
(2.) It is the heart that must be changed. We must have a new heart implanted within us. Christ alone can change the sinner’s heart.
b. This plague of the heart has so permeated our being that every faculty of man, both body and soul, is defiled with sin.
“We have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that we are all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. We are all gone out of the way, we are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Our throat is an open sepulchre: with our tongues we have used deceit; the poison of asps is under our lips: our mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Our feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in our ways: and the way of peace have we not known: There is no fear of God before our eyes. Now we know that what things so ever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God…For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:9-19, 23).
(1. ) Our understanding is so perverse that we will never seek God.
(2. ) Our throat is so corrupt that it is like an open grave.
(3. ) Our tongue is a deceitful weapon.
(4. ) Our lips are full of poisonous words.
(5. ) Our mouth is but a vehicle to express his wrath.
(6. ). Our feet run to do evil.
(7. ) Our ways are full of misery and end in destruction.
(8. ) Our eyes look to do evil, having no fear of God.
These things are not true of a few, very wicked, depraved people. They are true of us all. We are all, at the very core of our beings abominably wicked and totally depraved. There are no exceptions.
2. This disease of sin, this plague of the heart, is an inbred, family disease, passed on from father to son, generation after generation.
3. It is a disease which grows worse and worse, with every passing hour.
4. Christ alone, can cure our souls of the disease of sin.
We could never cure ourselves. No angel or man could produce a remedy for sin. But the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to cure us of the plague of the heart - “Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth” (Jer. 33:6). He came “to abolish death, and bring life and immortality to light through the gospel” (1 Tim. 1:10).
B. All of us by nature are debtors to God.
We were bankrupt sinners, head over heels in debt to the Almighty. We owed our God ten thousand talents, and had not one penny with which to pay. We could never have freed ourselves from the debt of sin; but only got more deeply involved day after day. But the Lord Jesus Christ came to pay our debt. He canceled the bill, paying the full requirements of God’s holy law.
Jesus paid it all, all the debt I owed! O my soul, how I ought to love him! There is not a soul out of hell whose debt was so great as mine (Lk. 7:40-43).
C. All of us by nature were under the curse of the law.
The sentence was upon us - “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” We could never satisfy the demands of the law. We could not keep its precepts. We could not appease its wrath. We could not atone for sin. But Jesus Christ came to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. He kept the precepts of the law as our Representative before God. He died under the curse of the law as our Substitute, putting away sin.
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree” (Gal. 3:13). “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24).
D. All of us by nature were shipwrecked, perishing, and sliding into hell.
We could never, in ourselves, have reached the harbor of everlasting life. We were sinking in the midst of the waves, shiftless, hopeless, helpless, and powerless.
We were tied and bound by the chain of our sins, in bonds under the burden of guilt, imprisoned under the yoke of the law, and slipping into hell. All this, our Lord saw and undertook to remove. He came down from heaven to “proclaim liberty tot he captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isa. 61:1). He came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk. 19:10). He came to “deliver us from going down into the pit” (Job 33:24).
E. Yes, I say that the Lord Jesus Christ is a Friend in need. He is the Friend you need.
1. We could never have been saved without the Lord Jesus Christ coming down from heaven.
Soalvation would have been an impossibility without Christ. The wisest men of Egypt, Greece, and Rome combined could never have found a way of peace with God. Without the friendship of Christ, we would all have been lost forever in hell.
· Could we have changed our hearts?
· Could we have satisfied the demands of the law?
· Could we have delivered ourselves from the bondage of sin?
· Could we have paid our debts to God?
· Could we have delivered ourselves from the jaws of hell?
No! No! A thousand times no! Without our Friend, Christ Jesus, we would be forever damned.
2. It was our Lord’s own free love, mercy, and pity that brought him down from heaven to save us.
He was in no way obliged to do so. He came and saved us, unsought, unasked, unwanted, because he was gracious, just because he loved us!
Search the history of the world. Look around the globe. Examine all of those whom you know and love. I tell you that there never was such a friend as Jesus Christ, my Friend.
There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,
No not one! No not one!
None else could heal all our souls diseases,
No not one! No not one!
1. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only true Friend a sinner has.
2. The Lord Jesus is the one Friend who will always be your Friend, the one Friend who sticks closer than a brother.
3. The Son of God is the Friend you need.
4. Sinners can have this Friend unconditionally, forever!
5. “This is my Friend!” May God the Holy Spirit make him yours.