Sermon #26 The Song Of Solomon
Title: LEANING ON CHRIST
Text: Song of Solomon 8:5-7
Readings: Ron Wood - Bobbie Estes
Subject: The Believer’s Dependence Upon Christ
Date: Sunday Evening - December 20, 1998
Tape # V-1a
Faith in Christ is described by many symbolic actions. Faith toward Christ has nothing whatsoever to do with physical acts, physical posture, or physical movement. But, in the Word of God, faith is described symbolically by many actions of the body.
1. Faith is looking to Christ and seeing him.
He says, “Behold me, behold me...Look unto me and be ye saved all the ends of the earth, for I am God and there is none else” (Isa. 45:1, 22). Our Lord says, “This is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him may have everlasting life” (John 6:40). Saving faith is looking to Christ, like the perishing Israelites looked to the brazen serpent and were healed.
2. Faith is coming to Christ.
“He that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). “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). Saving faith is coming to Christ, acknowledging him as Lord and trusting him as Savior. We come to thee, our Savior, for pardon, for redemption, for righteousness, for life. We have come to him. We are coming to him. And we shall yet come to him.
3. Faith is fleeing to Christ.
We “fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us” (Heb. 6:18). Christ, “the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe” (Prov. 18:10). Realizing that were are under the wrath of God, and knowing that the Lord Jesus Christ is God’s only appointed place of refuge for guilty sinners, we flee to him! We venture our souls on him, on the merits of his blood and righteousness. We cast ourselves into his arms of power and grace, trusting him alone to save us. Saving faith is fleeing to Christ in hope of mercy.
4. Faith is laying hold of Christ.
Like a drowning man lays hold of the line thrown to him, we lay hold of Christ and cling to him.
5. Faith is receiving Christ.
“As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12). It is not receiving Christ into the head that brings salvation, but receiving him into the heart. It is not receiving the doctrine of Christ that saves us, but receiving Christ himself. True faith receives the whole Christ as he is revealed in Holy Scripture.
· In All His Offices.
· For My Whole Acceptance Before God.
· In Preference To All Others.
But in our text, we see faith described in richer, fuller, more intimate connection than we have seen before - “Who is this that cometh up out of the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?” Here is faith, but it is something more than “looking for life”, or “coming in hope”, or “fleeing for mercy”, or “laying hold of help”, or even “receiving a Savior”. This is intimate, confident, loving, admiring, adoring faith - Leaning on Christ. Here is a description of the church of God and of every true believer.
Proposition: The people of God are as a bride coming up out of a dark, dangerous, and desolate wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved, the Lord Jesus Christ;.
Divisions: In the three verses of our text, we have set before us four pictures of faith.
1. Faith Leaning (v. 5).
2. Faith Remembering (v. 5).
3. Faith Praying (v. 6).
4. Faith Persevering (vv. 6-7).
I. First, we see FAITH LEANING - “Who is this that cometh up out of the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?”
There is no better description of true faith than the picture of a sinner leaning on Christ. Like a cripple man leans on his crutches, the children of God lean on Christ. Like a timid, frightened women, passing through some strange and dangerous forest at night, might lean upon the strong arm of her husband, we lean upon our Beloved.
· We lean upon him, because he has proven his love for us and his faithfulness to us.
· We lean upon him, because he is mighty and able to protect us.
NOTE: There is a clear connection between fellowship with Christ and faith in Christ. The more we trust him, the more heavily we lean upon him, the more constant and real our fellowship will be.
Some suggest that this question was raised by Christ. But it seems most likely to me that it is a question raised by the daughters of Jerusalem, when the Shulamite had solemnly charged them not to disturb her Beloved.
A. The people of God in this world are passing through a wilderness.
To the heavenly pilgrim, this world is a barren and desolate wilderness. Sometimes our pathway leads us through rivers of woe, deep waters of affliction, and seas of temptation. There are many dangers to be overcome, many snares to avoid, and many enemies to face. The world, the flesh, and the devil oppose us. The lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life make our journey a troublesome one. But onward we must go.
1. Don’t ever forget, my brethren, we are only pilgrims here.
Be sure that your heart is fixed upon Immanuel’s land, and not upon the things of this world (Heb. 11:8-10, 14-16; 1 John 2:15-17; Col. 3:1-3).
2. But our pilgrimage is not a lonely one.
The Bride is not alone. Her Beloved is with her. Every soul that journeys toward heaven has Christ for its companion. Our Lord allows no pilgrim to the New Jerusalem to travel alone.
a. Christ is with us in sympathy.
Whatever our temptations may be, he has been tempted in every point, just as we are. Whatever our afflictions may be, he has been so afflicted. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities.
b. But Christ is also with us in reality (Isa. 43:2-5; 41:10).
This is not a fiction, a novel, or a fairy tale. This is fact, a blessed, glorious fact. “The Lord is at hand!”
3. And though our pilgrimage sometimes seems long, we are passing through this bleak land. “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness?”
a. This is a picture of our conversion.
b. This is a picture of our conversation.
c. This is a picture of our conquest.
“Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come:
‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.”
B. Throughout our pilgrimage here, it is our privilege and joy to be leaning on Christ - “Leaning on her Beloved.”
I like that chorus -
“Learning to lean, learning to lean
I’m learning to lean on Jesus;
Finding more power than I’d ever dreamed,
I’m learning to lean on Jesus.”
Do you know anything about this posture of faith? Do you know anything about leaning on Christ? That’s what faith is, it is leaning on Christ. Faith leans on Christ for all things and at all times (Prov. 3:5-6).
· For All Things Related To Salvation
· For All Things In Daily Providence
“Every hour of everyday,
Every moment, and in every way,
I’m leaning on Jesus, He’s the Rock of my soul,
I’m singing His praises wherever I go!”
1. The bride is leaning upon her Beloved.
Christ is the Beloved. He is Beloved of the Father. He is Beloved of the angels. He is Beloved of the saints in heaven. He is the Beloved of every saved, believing soul. Is the Lord Jesus Christ your Beloved? (1 Pet. 2:7; 1 Cor. 16:22).
2. There is no better description of faith than leaning on Christ.
· We lean on the person of Christ for acceptance with God.
· We lean on the righteousness of Christ for justification.
· We lean on the blood of Christ for pardon and cleansing.
· We lean on the fulness of Christ to supply all our needs - Both physical and spiritual (Lam. 3:23-26 ).
In prayer, we lean on Christ. In worship, we lean on Christ. In giving, we lean on Christ. In praise, we lean on Christ. All our hope of acceptance with God is Christ, so we lean on him. Oh, may we evermore learn to lean heavily upon the Son of God. Go ahead and lean on him! He can bear all the weight of your soul.
NOTE: This word “leaning” has many shades of meaning. It suggests a picture of the bride…
· “Casting herself upon her Beloved.”
· “Joining herself to her Beloved.”
· “Associating with her Beloved.”
· “Cleaving to her Beloved.”
· “Rejoicing in her Beloved.”
· “Strengthening herself in her Beloved.”
· “Clinging to her Beloved.”
This is the posture of faith - “Leaning upon her Beloved.”
II. Secondly, we see FAITH REMEMBERING - “I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought the forth that bare thee” (v. 5).
NOTE: Reading only the English translation, we would assume that these words were spoken by Christ to the church. But in the Hebrew, the pronoun “thee” is masculine. So again, the Bride is speaking to her Beloved.
A. She remembers the past - “I raised thee up.”
That is to say - I have wrestled with thee in prayer and prevailed upon thee to help me and to comfort me (Psa. 44:23; 34:1-6). Like the disciples raised Christ up to help them in the storm, crying, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?”, the children of God raise him up in prayer.
NOTE: He is ready and willing to yield to our importunate cries of faith.
NOTE: Out of the bitter pains of conviction and repentance, Christ is found in the soul and brought forth in travail, like a son born of his mother’s travail into the world.
B. She looks prophetically to the future.
1. Christ came in the first advent, in his incarnation, being conceived in and born into this world out of the womb of the Old Testament church (Rev. 12:1-17).
2. Our Lord himself uses this metaphor to describe the joy his people will have at his second advent (John 16:21-22).
III. Thirdly, we see FAITH PRAYING (v. 6) - “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm.”
As she makes her pilgrimage through this world, she prays that her union with him might be confirmed, that her communion with him might be constant, and that her fellowship with him might be intimate.
Each of us, as believers, might very well take these same words to express the prayer and desire of our hearts - “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm.”
A. Let me have a place in thy heart and an interest in thy love.
The allusion is to the High Priest (Ex. 28:11, 12, 21, 29, 30). It is enough for me, and all I desire, that Christ be my sin-atoning High Priest, that he carry me upon his heart when he stands before God.
B. Let me never lose the place that I have in thy heart.
Let thy love be secured to me, as a deed that is sealed cannot be broken (Eph. 1:14; 4:30).
C. Let me always be near and dear to thee - “Set me as a seal upon thine arm.”
The allusion here is to those bracelets that young lovers wear with the name of their sweethearts engraved upon them (Isa. 49:13-16).
D. Let thy power be engaged for me as token of thy love for me.
Oh my Beloved, defend me and protect me with the right arm of thy power!
IV. Fourthly, we see FAITH PERSEVERING (vv. 6-7).
All true faith is persevering faith. It perseveres in love for Christ. If ever a man comes to know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, he will continue in both faith and love toward him.
A. Love for Christ is the vigorous passion of the believing heart.
1. It is strong as death.
· His love for us was stronger than death.
· The love of true believer for Christ is as strong as death. Love for Christ makes the believer dead to everything else.
2. Jealousy is cruel as the grave.
· We are jealous of anything that might draw us away from him.
· We are jealous of ourselves, lest we should do anything to provoke him to leave us.
3. Love for Christ is an all-consuming fire in the hearts of his children.
B. Love for Christ is the victorious passion of the believing heart (v. 7).
Neither the substance of this world nor the swelling floods of death could quench our Savior’s love for us (Rom. 8:38-39). And where there is true love for Christ, it cannot be destroyed.
1. Waters of affliction cannot quench love. It only grows stronger.
2. Floods of trouble cannot destroy love. It only clings more firmly to its object.
3. All the riches of the world cannot buy love.
4. Even life itself would be despised, before love could be sacrificed.
May the Lord graciously grant to each of us this holy faith.
· Leaning Faith - Upon Christ
· Remembering Faith - What Christ has done for us and been to us.
· Praying Faith - Seeking Christ
· Persevering Faith - Loving Christ