Sermon #31 Series: Song Of Solomon
Title: The Lord’s Last
Word To His Church
Text: Song of Solomon 8:13
Readings: Paul Windrel & Ron Wood
Subject: The desire of our Savior for his Church
Date: Sunday Evening - February 14, 1999
Tape # V-12a
Nothing is more precious in the memory of a woman whose beloved husband has gone to be with the Lord than her dear husband’s last words to her. How often I have sat across the room from a widow, whose husband had departed many years before, and heard her say, “I can remember the last thing he said to me, as though it were just yesterday.” The last words spoken by a loving companion are precious words.
Even so, the last words of our Lord Jesus Christ to his believing people are words we particularly, tenderly cherish in our hearts (John 14-17 - The Seven Sayings From The Cross).
The Song of Songs is almost ended. The chosen Bride and the Glorious Bridegroom have come to their last stanzas. They are about to part company for a while. The Lord, our Savior, our Great Bridegroom must depart this world for a season. His bodily presence must be taken from us. He must enter again into his glory. And his Bride, the Church which he has chosen and redeemed with his own precious blood, must remain upon the earth until he comes for her. Therefore, the Bridegroom, our Lord Jesus Christ, bids us farewell. These are the last words of our Savior to his believing people…
“Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it.”
In other words, our Lord is says to each of us - While I am away from you, fill this garden with my name, and let your heart commune with me. As she sees him rising up into the clouds of glory, the Bride quickly responds - “Make haste, my Beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.”
It is as though she said - I know, my Love, that you must go away for a while; but hurry back. As soon as it pleases you, when my work upon the earth is done, come to me again; and take me home to the ivory palaces of glory land.
Even his leaving us was an act of great love and grace. In fact, it was his greatest act of love. If he had not left us and gone to the tree of his death and up to the throne of glory, we could never have been redeemed and saved, we could never have entered into glory. You remember what he said - “I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16:7).
1. It was truly expedient for our Lord to go away, to suffer, die, rise again, and ascend into glory. By his going away to die for us and to live again for us in heaven, many evils were prevented from falling upon us which otherwise would have destroyed us.
· The Heavy Strokes Of Divine Justice.
· The Curses And Condemnation Of God’s Law.
· The Wrath And Vengeance Of God.
· Eternal Death, Ruin, And Destruction.
2. Our Lord’s going away was expedient for us, because he went away to obtain for us all the blessings of grace and eternal good for our souls.
· Eternal life
3. When we realize what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us, we know that it is best for us that he went away for a while.
· He has opened for us an entrance into the holiest by the blood of his cross (Heb. 10:19-22).
· He has taken possession of heaven and eternal glory as our Representative (Heb. 6:20).
· He has gone to prepare a place for us in glory, in the Father’s house (John 14:1-3).
· He has gone away to appear in the presence of God for us (1 John 2:1-2).
· He has gone away so that he might send his promised Spirit into the world to gather his elect from the four corners of the earth, to regenerate, sanctify, and preserve them unto his eternal glory (Gal. 3:13-14).
Truly, it is best for us that our beloved Savior has gone away. Surely, then the last words of our heavenly Bridegroom must be of special interest to us. Here is The Lord’s Last Word To His Church - “Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it.”
Proposition: With those parting words, our blessed Savior tells us most plainly what he desires of us while we are yet upon this earth.
I see four things here expressed by our Lord as the desires of his heart toward us.
1. A Blessed Residence
2. A Beneficial Relationship
3. A Benevolent Request
4. A Believing Representation
I. First, our Lord describes his Bride as one who enjoys the benefits of A BLESSED RESIDENCE. -- “Thou that dwellest in the gardens.”
The Hebrew construction of this phrase is in the feminine. Literally, the Lord is calling his Bride, his Church by this name, “Thou inhabitress of the gardens.” We who are born of God, we who make up the church of Christ, the body of God’s elect are addressed under this term - “Thou inhabitress of the gardens.” It describes our residence upon the earth, the assembly of God’s saints, the congregation of the Lord.
A. This term distinguishes us from our Lord.
He whom we love dwells in the ivory palaces. He has gone up to his Father’s throne. But he has left us in these gardens here below.
1. He dwelt here with us for a while. But now he has finished the work which his Father gave him to do and he has returned to his throne. He is no longer physically present with us.
NOTE: The Lord’s presence with his Church is real, true, and constant; but it is a spiritual, rather than physical presence, that we now enjoy (Matt. 18:20; John 14:23).
2. Like our Lord, we must remain upon the earth, dwelling in his gardens, until our work upon the earth is done (John 14:12).
Our Lord has gone to heaven, because he best accomplishes the purposes of God from there. He has left us upon the earth to serve him, because we best accomplish the purpose of God here.
B. Our place is in the King’s gardens.
1. This is the place of our great employment.
Those who serve the Lord serve him by serving his garden, the local church, the assembly of his people. Each of God’s people is placed in the garden for the good of his own soul and for the service of the Lord’s church.
Spurgeon said, “You and I are set in the garden of the church, because there is a work for us to do which will be beneficial to others and to ourselves also.”
It is best for us, for the glory of God and for the church of Christ that we abide here a while longer.
· “Ye are the lights of the world.”
· “Ye are the salt of the earth.”
· You are dew from the Lord in this dry and thirsty land.
Have you found out what it is the Lord has for you to do in his gardens? Have you found the tender plants for which you are to care?
2. This is the place of our great enjoyment.
This is the place where the Lord meets with us, instructs us, teaches us, refreshes us, and makes himself known to us (Song of Sol. 6:2).
I cannot stress too much the importance of the local assembly of God’s saints in the life of a believer (Heb. 10:26).
· The Lord himself walks in the garden.
· The River of the Water of Life flows through the garden.
· The Tree of Life is planted in the Lord’s garden.
3. This is the place of our great eminence.
The greatest blessing God can ever give to you or me upon this earth is the privilege of dwelling in one of the Lord’s gardens. The greatest blessing God ever gave to a community of men is the establishment of a local church where the gospel is preached. And the greatest curse God ever sent to any town was withdrawing from them the witness of a gospel church.
4. This is the place of our great establishment.
“Thou that dwellest” - Those words imply a permanent residence, a permanent establishment. As for me and my house we are established in the house of God, the garden of the Lord. All things are secondary to this.
I am ready to give up anything before I will give up…
· The Worship Of God.
· The Fellowship Of His Saints.
· The Ministry Of The Word.
How charming is the place
Where my Redeemer God
Unveils the beauties of his face,
And sheds his love abroad.
Not all the fair palaces,
To which the great resort,
Are once to be compared with this,
Where Jesus holds his court.
There is nothing more important to a believer than the blessed residence God has appointed for his people, the Garden of the Lord, the Church of God, the House of Prayer. I leave it to you to judge whether or not you have found the Church of God a garden for your soul and this garden a blessed residence in which to dwell.
I love Thy Church, O God!
Her walls before Thee stand,
Dear as the apple of Thine eye
And graven on Thy hand.
For her my tears shall fall,
For her my prayers ascend -
To her my cares and toils be given
Till cares and toils shall end.
II. Secondly, our Lord speaks of A BENEFICIAL RELATIONSHIP which the people of God should enjoy with one another - “Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice.”
The church of God is a family. A local assembly, if it is what it should be, is a commune of pilgrims, companions whose hearts and lives are wed to one another. I hope that I am not deceived when I say that God has given us the mutually beneficial relationship of brothers and sisters in this place. We are a family!
The church of God is my family (Matt. 12:48-50).
Let us endeavor to maintain the unity, peace, and joy of our family (Eph. 4:3-7).
One thing which is essential to every family is communication. Families which get along well must talk to one another. They must know one another, encourage one another, and support one another. This blessed communication between believers is what our Lord is talking about - “The companions hearken to thy voice!”
I am calling for and encouraging you to build your relationships to one another by personal conversation and pleasant communion. Like marriages, good relationships with other people do not just happen; they must be built. Our Lord seems here to be commending the conversation of his people with one another.
If you desire to build better, stronger, more personal, more beneficial relationships among yourselves, I recommend these things:
A. Be sure that you frequently talk to one another.
Heaven will, in great measure, be an everlasting communion of saints. If we would enjoy heaven below we must commune with one another.
Children should never come in and out of their Father’s house without speaking to one another.
B. Be sure that your conversations with one another are edifying, Christ honoring, and spiritually beneficial.
I do not mean that you must always talk to each other about spiritual things; but I do mean that you should strive to be spiritually helpful to one another in your speech.
When we come together in the house of God, we should be especially careful to assist one another in our conversations before the service and after the service.
C. Be sure that you develop a genuine interest in one another.
Truthful and thoughtful commendation is not out of order.
We enjoy a blessed residence. We should build a beneficial relationship.
III. And, thirdly, our Lord presents to us A BENEVOLENT REQUEST. -- “Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it.”
It is as though our Lord were saying to us - “I am going away for a while, and you will see me no more; but I will not forget you. My heart will always be with you. Therefore, do not forget me. Cause me to hear your voice. Though you cannot see me with your physical eye, nor audibly hear my voice, I can see you and hear you. So cause me to hear your voice.”
· This is a very natural request. Love seeks the company of its object.
· This is a very loving and condescending request.
· This is a request which is most beneficial to us.
· This request seems to have many implications.
A. Cause me to hear your voice in prayer.
B. Cause me to hear your voice in praise.
C. Cause me to hear your voice in intimate communion.
D. Cause me to hear the voice of your heart.
Our Lord desires to hear the inmost groans and sighs and feelings of our hearts, as well as the joy and laughter of our hearts (Heb. 4:16; Phil. 4:6-7; 1 Pet. 5:6-7).
Cause me to hear your voice…
IV. There is one more thing hidden in our text. The text could be translated like this - “Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: Cause them to hear me.” In other words, our Lord is placing upon us the responsibility of A BELIEVING REPRESENTATION.
He is saying, since you are among them, and they hear your voice, be sure that you cause them to hear of me. Make those who dwell in the garden with you hear your voice speaking of me.
My friends, as believers, we should often speak to one another, and to those strangers who happen to come into this house of worship, and to those we meet in the streets, of Christ. The Lord has given us the gift of speech; we should use it to tell of him. Cause Christ to be heard!
A. Use your voice to speak of his glorious person.
B. Use your voice to speak of his wondrous works.
C. Use your voice to speak of the Lord’s abundant grace.
1. The Lord has given us A Blessed Residence - The church, the garden of his grace.
2. The Lord would have us to build A Beneficial Relationship with one another, as companions in this world.
3. The Lord has made A Benevolent Request of each of us. He desires to hear our voices.
4. The Lord has placed upon us the responsibility of A Believing Representation. As his believing people in this world, we are the representative of Christ to the world. We must cause those around us to hear of him.