Sermon #17 The Song Of Solomon Notes
Title: “THIS IS MY FRIEND”
Text: Song of Solomon 5:16
Readings: Office: Ron Wood Auditorium: Paul Harries
Subject: Christ - The Sinner’s Truest Friend
Date: Sunday Evening - September 27, 1998
Tape # U-85b
The title of my message tonight is found in the words of my text
The wise man, Solomon, tells us that - “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly.” And I want you to see that there was never a person who showed himself so friendly as the Lord Jesus Christ. We are also told, “And there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” The Lord Jesus Christ is that Friend. “This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend.”
What kind of Friend is Jesus Christ? I cannot fully describe him. I cannot even tell you all that I know about him. But I do want you to see some blessed characteristics of my Heavenly Friend. I want you to know him.
Proposition: He is the truest Friend a sinner has.
I. Christ is a Friend of transcendent excellencE.
A. The Lord Jesus Christ is a Friend who has fully demonstrated his friendship.
The true extent of a man’s friendship must be measured by his deeds. Do you want a friend indeed? Christ is a Friend in deed. Tell me not what a man says, and feels, and wishes. Tell me not of his words. Tell me rather of what he does. “Friendly is as friendly does.” The things which our Lord Jesus Christ has done for his people, are great proofs of his friendship for us.
1. Our Lord agreed to become our Surety in the Covenant of Grace.
a. When our cause was desperate, he engaged it.
b. When justice was ready to give us the death blow we deserved, he intervened and absorbed it.
c. When he knew that we would run through all our stock and become bankrupt, he became our bondsman, agreeing to pay our whole debt.
d. When he saw that we would fall into the depths of sin and misery, he undertook to bring us out, to cleanse us from all sin, to clothe us in his own righteousness, and to bring us safe to eternal glory.
Was there ever such an eternal Friend as Christ? No, not one can compare with him.
2. For our sakes, the Lord Jesus Christ took upon himself our nature, and was born of a woman - “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, though he was rich yet for our sakes, he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).
3. For our sakes, the Christ of God lived thirty three years in this world, despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief - “He took on himself the form of a servant, and humbled himself” (Phil. 2:7-8).
4. It was for our sakes that the Son of God suffered the painful and shameful death of the cross.
Though innocent and without fault, he allowed himself to be condemned and found guilty. Though he was without sin, he was made to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. He who was the Prince of Life was led as a Lamb to the slaughter. He poured out his soul unto death. He died for us.
a. Behold the Christ of God, dying in your stead. Mark his sighs, his groans, his death, his victory as your Substitute, and know that “This is my Friend!”
b. Was Christ in anyway obliged to die for us? Perish the thought!
He might have summoned the help of more than twelve legions of angels, and scattered his enemies with a word. He suffered voluntarily and of his own will and purpose, to make atonement for our sins. He knew that nothing but the sacrifice of himself could satisfy God’s law. He knew that nothing but his blood could wash away our sins and make peace between sinful man and a holy God. He laid down his life to pay the price of our redemption. He died that we might live. He bore our shame that we might receive his glory - “He died the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” ((1 pet. 3:18).
c. O matchless love! Here is unparalleled friendship. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” But the Christ of God gives even greater evidence of his friendship, “for when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” “God commendeth his love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
I ask you, was there ever such a friend who was so high and stooped so low for his friends? Was there ever a friend who gave himself at such a cost in proof of his friendship as Christ? Never was there such a friend in deed as Jesus Christ. Yet, this is not the end of his deeds for us.
5. Christ, our Friend, has also gone to glory to take possession of it in our name, in our room, and in our stead.
6. Once more, Christ is now interceeding for us in heaven as an Advocate with the Father.
a. He presents our services, our sacrifices, and our prayers to the Father.
b. He pleads for every blessing we stand in need of.
c. He answers all of Satan’s charges against his friends.
B. For another thing, the Lord Jesus Christ is a powerful, almighty Friend.
There are few in this world who possess the power to help. Many have the will to do others good, but they lack the power. They feel the sorrows of others and would gladly relieve them if they could. They weep with their friends in affliction, but they cannot remove the grief. How helpless we feel to help our friends in their sufferings! We say, “If there is anything I can do to help,” but we know that there is nothing we can do.
I point you tonight to a Friend who is both willing and able to help. Though man is weak, Christ is strong. “All power in heaven and earth” is given to him. No one can do so much for his friends as Christ. Others can befriend our bodies a little. Christ can befriend both body and soul. Others can do a little for us in time. Christ can do everything for us in time and throughout eternity. Let me show you what power there is in this Almighty Friend.
1. Jesus Christ has the power to pardon and save the very chief of sinners. “Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:2-3). “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
2. Christ has the power to convert the hardest of hearts and create any man anew. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13). “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
a. Christ has power to break your heart over sin and give you anew heart.
b. Christ has power to break your stubborn will and give you a new will.
c. Christ has power to overcome your reigning lusts.
d. Christ has power to create you in his own image.
e. Christ has power to give you repentance and faith.
3. Here is a Friend who has the power to preserve all who trust him unto eternal glory. “This man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:24-25).
4. And Jesus Christ has the power to give to those who trust him and love him the best of gifts.
a. He gives us life out of death.
b. He gives us peace in adversity.
c. He gives us patience in tribulation.
d. He gives us joy in sorrow.
e. He gives us hope in death.
f. He gives us a crown of glory in eternity.
5. Jesus Christ alone is such a powerful Friend.
a. The self-righteous man has no such friend.
b. The legalist has no such friend.
c. the Romanist has no such friend.
d. The worldling has no such friend.
C. Again, the Lord Jesus Christ is a loving and affectionate Friend.
Kindness is the very essence of true friendship. Money, advice, and help lose half their power and value if they are not given in a loving manner. But my Friend, the Lord Jesus Christ, is a precious Friend, because his is a “love that passeth knowledge.”
1. The love of Christ radiates in his reception of sinners.
a. In love and mercy our Lord stands before publicans and sinners, inviting them tenderly to come to him for life and salvation.
b. It is the love of Christ that at last conquers our hearts, and wins us to him.
His holiness made us fear; his wrath made us tremble; his law frightened us away; but his love, demonstrated at Calvary, drew our hearts effectually to him. What love is this? Who can resist this love?
Oh hope of every contrite heart!
Oh joy of all the meek!
To those who fall, how kind Thou art!
How good to those who seek!
But what to those who find? Ah! This
Nor tongue nor pen can show;
The love of Jesus - what it is,
None but his loved ones know.
c. Christ never refuses any who come to him in repentance and faith, seeking mercy. Where can the poor sinner be found who eve went to Christ, suing for mercy, crying, “God be merciful to me, I am the sinner,” and found that the gate of mercy refused to open?
d. I say that there are no bounds to his pity; there is no end to his compassion; there are no limitations to his mercy; there are no restraints to his love. In lovingkindness, he says, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). Let your sins be as black and vile, abominable and wretched, as many and varied as they may be, only come to Christ in faith and you will go away saying, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”
e. Read the gospel narratives again and see how our Lord dealt with sinners in love and pity.
(1). There was woman taken in adultery. The law demanded her punishment. But the Friend of sinners said, “Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more.”
(2). There was a harlot who came and washed the Savior’s feet in tears of repentance. The Pharisee was indignant. But Christ was forgiving.
(3). There was a Publican named Zacheus, who was hated by all around him; but he was befriended, loved, and forgiven by Christ.
(4). There was a Samaritan woman, who had five husbands. The disciples marveled that Christ would stop to talk with such a woman. But he not only talked with her, he gave her the water of life.
(5). There was a dying thief who had joined others in railing against Christ. But soon his heart was broken, and in faith he prayed for mercy. To him the Lord promised eternal paradise.
Did ever a sinner meet with so loving a Friend as Christ Jesus? No, never! His churches may shut their doors against you. His people may be hardened against you. It may even be that his ministers will reject you. But he will never turn away one who seeks mercy. Go to him. Go directly to Christ, and see if he is not so loving a Friend as I have described.
2. Yet there is more, the love of Christ is also evident in every aspect of his dealing with sinners after they are converted and become his friends.
a. He is patient with our sins.
b. His ear is always open to our cries.
c. He is our escape in the time of temptation.
d. He is our comfort in the time of trouble.
e. He feels our sorrows and carries our griefs.
f. He supplies our daily needs.
g. He reveals his secrets to us - “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you” (John 15:15). “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant” (Psa. 25:14).
3. There is no love in heaven above, or upon the earth beneath, that can be compared to the love of Christ, our Friend.
a. He loves us at all times.
b. He loved us before the world began.
c. He loved us when he created us in innocence, after the image of God, in our father Adam.
d. He loved us when we fell in Adam.
e. He loved us when we came forth from the womb speaking lies.
f. He loved us when we hated him.
g. He loved us when we were helpless, ruined, depraved, and dead in sin.
h. He loved us when he called us to life.
i. He loves us in spite of all our sins.
j. He loves us perfectly and immutably.
k. He loves us forever!
l. And the only reason for his love is in himself. He loved us because he would love us!
Never, never was there a friend so real, so true, so loving as Christ our Friend.
D. The Lord Jesus Christ is also a wise and prudent Friend.
The friendship of men is sadly blind. We often injure those whom we love, by ignorance. We often give our friends bad advice, and lead them into trouble, even when we mean to help them. But the friendship of Christ is always wise and prudent.
1. Jesus Christ never spoils his friends by extravagant indulgence.
I have but one daughter. And I love her dearly. But I have, at times, spoiled her by extravagance. That is not wise. The Lord Jesus never makes such mistakes in managing the affairs of his friends.
a. Christ gives us all the poverty and all the wealth we need.
b. He gives us all the sickness and all the health we need.
c. He gives us all the sorrow and all the joy we require.
d. He gives us all the pain and all the comfort that is necessary for our good.
e. Like the wise physician, the Lord Jesus mixes our bitterest cups, taking great care that we have not a drop too little, nor a drop too much.
2. Christ faithfully and wisely rebukes us for our sins. “Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Prov. 27:5-6).
3. The Lord Jesus Christ is a friend whose company is always edifying.
His fellowship is always to edification. One day spent in the company of this heavenly Friend is better than a thousand spent with the best of earthly friends. One hour spent in private communion with Christ is better than a year in kings’ palaces. Never was there such a wise and prudent friend as Christ.
E. Moreover, the Lord Jesus Christ is a tried and proven Friend.
Six thousand years have passed away since the Lord Jesus began his work of befriending mankind. During those six milleniums he has had many friends in this world. Millions, regretably, have refused this Friend, and they are miserably lost forever. But there is an innumerable company of men in heaven and earth who have enjoyed the blessed privilege of Christ’s friendship, and have been saved by him. They all testify that Christ is a Proven Friend. Look at the great variety of friends Christ has had and know that there was never a friend like him.
1. He has had friends of every rank and station in life.
Some of them were kings and rich men, like David, Solomon, Hezekiah, and Job. Others were very poor in this world, like the shepherds of Bethlehem, James, John, and Andrew.
2. Christ has had friends of every age known in human history.
Some of his friends were very old like Sarah and Abraham, Jacob and Moses. Some of them were but children, like Joseph and Samuel, Josiah and Timothy.
3. Our lord has had friends of every possible temperament known to man.
a. Some were plain and simple, like Isaac; some were mighty in word and deed, like Moses.
b. Some were fervent, warm-hearted, and fiery, like Peter; others were gentle, shy, and tender, like John.
c. Some were active and stirring, like Martha; others loved to sit quietly at the Savior’s feet, like Mary.
4. Our Savior has had friends from every possible background and condition.
a. Some were married, like Enoch; others were unmarried, like the Baptist.
b. Some were sick, like Lazarus; others were strong and healthy, like John the Beloved.
c. Some were masters, like Cornelius; others were servants, like Onesimus.
d. Some of them had bad servants, like Elisha; some had bad masters, like Obadiah; and others had bad families, like David.
e. Some of Christ’s friends had been self-righteous Pharisees; others had been harlots; one had been a murderer; another had been a thief. Blessed be God, Christ Jesus stoops down to rescue the perishing scum and offscouring men of the world and make them his friends.
f. Our Redeemer has friends of every nation, kindred, race, tribe, and tongue in the world.
Go to Adam and Abel, Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, Moses and Joshua, Rahab and Deborah, David and Solomon, Isaiah and Jeremiah, Peter and John, James and Paul; go to any man or woman in this congregation and ask them if Jesus Christ is not a tried and proven Friend. We stand as one man and say, “This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend,” and there is none like him.
F. Once more, I say that Jesus Christ is an unfailing, present Friend.
Perhaps the saddest part of all good things in this world is their instability. Riches make themselves wings and fly away. Youth and beauty are but for a few years. Bodily strength soon decays. Mind and intelligence are soon exhausted. All is perishing. All is fading away. But there is one blessed exception to this general rule, and that is the friendship of Jesus Christ.
1. Jesus Christ is a Friend who never changes. He is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). He says, “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Matt. 3:16).
2. The Lord Jesus Christ will never leave his friends. He has promised “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5). He goes with us wheresoever we may go. And thus he fulfills his promise - “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20).
a. In our afflictions, Christ is a Friend present to comfort. “Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and though the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee” (Isa. 43:1-2). “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isa. 41:10).
b. When we are upon the bed of sickness, Christ is the Friend who makes the bed comfortable for us. “The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness” (Psa. 41:3).
c. In death, Jesus Christ is a Friend present to sustain us. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (Psa. 23:4).
d. In the day of judgment, Christ will be our Friend in the court of heaven. He will stand by our side in the reckoning day, as an Advocate to plead our cause.
3. I tell you that when all other friends have failed you, Jesus Christ is “a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up” (Psa. 27:10).
II. Now let me show you one other thing, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS A FRIEND WELL-BELOVED BY ALL WHO KNOW HIM.
“Unto you therefore who believe, he is precious.” All who can say in truth and sincerity that Christ is their Friend, will also gladly confess with all of their hearts - “This is my Beloved.”
The world thinks that we are fools for making such a confession concerning Christ. They say to us, “What is thy Beloved more than another beloved?” But they have not seen him. They have not known him. They have not embraced him. They have never experienced his love. Oh, but for us who know this Divine Friend, it is our joy to confess - “My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand…Yea, he is altogether lovely!”
A. Christ Jesus is a Friend loved by all who know Him, because we know who He is.
B. Jesus Christ is a Friend beloved by us, because we have experienced his love.
C. The Lord Jesus is a Friend beloved by all who know Him, because we know what He has done.
D. Our heavenly Friend is beloved by us, because we know that he is soon coming to receive us.
I am finished when I have made a few words of application to stir up your hearts to love my Friend, the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Is Jesus Christ the Friend of your soul?
2. If you are not numbered among the Redeemer’s friends, you are a very miserable creature.
3. If you really want such a friend as I have tried to describe, I tell you that the Son of God is willing to be your friend. He has set before you the terms of friendship.
a. You must submit to him as your King.
b. You must confess your sin.
c. You must trust him as your only Savior.
4. I finish with a word to you who can lay your hands upon your hearts and say, “This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend.”
a. Cherish this Friend above all things.
b. Praise this Friend and seek his glory.
c. Publish this Friend’s fame and character far and wide.
d. Love this Friend supremely.
One there is above all others,
Well deserves the name of Friend;
His is love beyond a brother’s
Costly, free, and knows no end:
They who once His kindness prove,
Find it everlasting love.
Which of all our friends to save us,
Could or would have shed their blood?
But our Jesus died to have us
Reconciled, in Him to God:
This was boundless love indeed!
Jesus is a Friend in need.
When He lived on earth abased,
Friend of sinners was His name;
Now above all glory raised,
He rejoices in the same;
Still he calls us brethren, friends;
And to all our wants attends.
Oh for grace our hearts to soften!
Teach us, Lord, at length to love!
We, alas, forget too often
What a Friend we have above:
But when home our souls are brought,
We shall love thee as we ought.
“This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend.” Oh, I pray that God will make Christ your Friend this day, for his own dear name’s sake.