Sermon #21 Series: Song Of Solomon
Title: Inward Conflicts
Text: Song Of Solomon 6:11-13
Readings: Office: Larry Criss Auditorium: Merle Hart
Subject: The Believer’s Inward Struggles
Between The Flesh And The Spirit.
Date: Sunday Evening - November 1, 1998
Tape # U-91b
In these verses our Lord speaks to his church, not in her time of doubt and despair while she was seeking him, but he speaks here to his church in her very best condition. She had just begun to again enjoy his blessed fellowship. Christ has now returned to his spouse. The breach she had made by her neglect, he had healed by his grace. There was now a sweet renewing of love and fellowship.
In verse 11 our Lord speaks to his beloved church and says - Though I had withdrawn myself from you and gave you no comfort for a while, even then I had my eye upon you, even then I was watching over my garden with tenderness, love, and care. Though you did not see me, I saw you. I will never forsake the apple of my eye or the work of my hands.
In verse 12 our Savior tells us how that he was overcome by our broken, aching hearts and how anxiously he returned to his people who cried after him. It is as though he said - I could hide my face no longer. My love for you compelled me, with irresistible force, to return to you. Almost before I knew it, “my soul set me on the chariots of my willing people” (See margin).
Illustration: Joseph hid himself from his brethren, because of their evil actions, to chastise them. But he could no longer refrain himself. His loving heart broken, he burst into tears, and said, “I am Joseph” (Gen. 45:1, 3).
1. We ought to be a willing people, seeking Christ always in love, faith, and hope. These will be like chariots to bring him to us.
2. If we continue seeking the Lord, he will return to us in due time. “No chariots sent for Christ shall return empty” (Matthew Henry).
3. Our Lord will return to us, because of his own grace, love, mercy, and faithfulness. We can do nothing to win his favor. He is gracious, because he will be gracious. He loves us, because he will love us. He returns to us, because he will return to us. He is faithful!
In verse 13, the Lord Jesus, having returned to his beloved church, courts her, wooing her heart, and invites her to return to him. “Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee.”
1. Solomon chose his bride and espoused her to himself, giving her his name. “Shulamite” should be translated “Solyma”. The Hebrew word is the feminine of the name “Solomon.”
The Lord Jesus Christ has made us so thoroughly one with himself that he has given us his name. He is our Solomon, and we are his Solyma. (Compare Jeremiah 23:6 and 33:16). All that our Lord Jesus Christ is, he has made us to be by divine imputation.
· This name “Shulamite” or “Solyma” means “Perfection.”
We are perfect in Christ. We are complete in him. Being washed in his blood, we are spotless. Being robed in his righteousness, we are glorious, holy, and pure.
· This name “Shulamite” or “Solyma” also means “Peace”.
“Therefore, being justified, by faith we have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” We are no longer at enmity with God. Our consciences no longer accuse us. Peace has been made for us with God. The warfare is ended. God’s sword has been sheathed in our Savior’s heart. Justice no longer cries against us, but for us.
2. Our Lord graciously calls for us to return unto him. Four times he says, “Return, return, O Solyma, return, return.” So you see how willing Christ is to have us in his fellowship and communion?
· Return to me.
· Return to your first simple faith.
· Return to your first tender love.
· Return to the place where we first met - The cross.
3. Now catch these next loving words. Our Lord says to his beloved, he says to you and me - “Return, return, that we may look upon thee.”
Our Lord seems to say, “You have not been with me much alone lately. You have neglected reading my Word and hearing it. I have seldom heard your voice, or seen your face. Return, return unto me, that I may look upon you. If you return, I will look upon you again. I will show you my face again.”
· I will look upon you in love.
· I will look upon you in forgiveness.
· I will look upon you in kindness.
· I will look upon you in pleasantness and satisfaction.
But then, in the second part of verse 13, we hear the bride, the church, the people of God speaking. Being convinced of her own sin, being full of shame, she confesses her frustration with herself. She thinks that there is no beauty in her, nothing in her that he could want to see. “What will ye see in Solyma? As it were the company of two armies.” She is saying, “There is nothing in me but conflict and confusion. In my heart two armies are at war. If you look upon me, you will see a raging battle, good fighting evil, light contending with darkness. I am not worth looking upon. I am a house divided against itself.” Is there something in that language that you can relate to, something that is true to your experience?
Proposition: This is a true and accurate description of the people of God. All of God’s elect experience Inward Conflicts between the flesh and the Spirit continually.
I want to talk to you tonight very plainly and honestly about these Inward Conflicts which cause us so much pain and trouble.
1. These inward conflicts are facts in every believer’s life.
2. This conflict is caused by and begins with regeneration.
3. These inward conflicts do have some good effects.
4. These inward conflicts will soon be over.
I. THESE INWARD CONFLICTS ARE FACTS IN EVERY BELIEVER’S LIFE.
The believer’s life is not all sweets. It is not all joy and peace. Faith in Christ will bring some bitter conflicts, which will cause God’s child much pain, much toil, and many tears. All of you who are God’s children know what I am talking about. The struggles between the flesh and the Spirit are evident enough to you. To the unbelieving, unregenerate religionist, true Christians are confusing paradoxes.
· We are the happiest and the most mournful people in the world.
· We are the holiest and the most sinful.
· We are the richest and the poorest.
· We are men and women who possess perfect peace, yet we are always at war.
A. You see traces of this conflict throughout the Song of Solomon (1:5; 3:1; 5:2).
B. You see these inward conflicts throughout the Psalms of David (Psa. 42; 43; 73).
C. You see these inward conflicts in the writings of the Apostle Paul (Rom. 7:14-25; Gal. 5:16-18).
D. You see these terrible inward conflicts in your own daily experience.
The people of God throughout the centuries have had the same struggles that you and I now have.
Bunyan wrote a book about his conflicts of heart and soul - The Holy War. Richard Sibbes wrote another book entitled - The Soul’s Conflict.
1. We all have a corrupt nature within us, which would drive us to sin.
2. We also have within us a righteous nature, which would draw us into perfect conformity and union with Christ.
3. Between these two forces of good and evil there is no peace (1 John 3:7-9).
II. THIS CONFLICT IS CAUSED BY AND BEGINS IN REGENERATION.
Spurgeon said, “The reigning power of sin falls dead the moment a man is converted, but the struggling power of sin does not die until the man dies.”
A. A new nature has been planted within us; but the old nature is not eradicated.
Do not think for a moment that the old nature dies in regeneration, or even that it gets better. “Flesh is flesh.” (Noah, Lot, David, Peter.)
B. We need no proof of what I am saying beyond an honest examination of our own hearts and lives.
· Our Thoughts
· Our Prayers
· Our Bible Reading
· Our Worship
· Our Love Of Self
· Our Love Of The World
From time to time we have all found by bitter experience the truthfulness of the hymn -
Prone to wander,
Lord I feel it!
Prone to leave the God I love:
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
God could remove all evil, but he chooses not to!
III. THESE INWARD CONFLICTS DO HAVE SOME GOOD EFFECT.
Without question, we will look back upon these days of great evil with gratitude, and see the wisdom and goodness of God in all of our struggles with sin.
A. Our struggles with sin humble us and curb our pride.
B. Our struggles with sin make us lean upon Christ alone - “Salvation is of the Lord!” “Christ is all!”
C. Our struggles with sin cause us to prize the faithfulness of our God (Lam. 3).
D. Our struggles with sin upon this earth will make the glorious victory of heaven sweeter.
E. Our struggles with sin make us to rejoice that salvation is of the Lord.
NOTE: It may be that we will one day see that God allowed us to fall into one evil to keep us from a greater evil; or to make us more useful in his hands.
IV. THESE INWARD CONFLICTS WILL SOON BE OVER (Phil. 1:6; Jude 24-25).
· We shall be free from sin.
· We shall be perfect.
· We shall be triumphant.
Children of God, so long as we live in this world we will be “as the company of two armies.” So I give you this one word of admonition - “Keep thy heart with all diligence: for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23).
1. Keep your heart tender.
2. Keep your heart in the fellowship of Christ.
3. Keep you heart full of the Word.
4. Keep your heart in prayer.
5. Keep your heart full of the Cross.
Rest your soul upon Christ. He is our Sabbath!