Summary: This is a verse-by-verse exposition (1 of 4). Big idea: Of many practical guidelines in Dating and Courtship, the most important is this: Passionate Love is meant to lead to Permanent Love.

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Sacred Romance 1: Passionate Love Awaken

{Intro: World’s Song and God’s Song}

My favorite old movie is Casablanca. A classic film with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, where Bogie owns Rick’s Café American bar in Casablanca, Morroco. It takes place during World War 2 in Casablanca, which was then a French territory that was under German occupation. One of my favorite scenes when a group of Nazi soldiers gathered at Rick’s start singing German songs loudly and without consideration.

It is a rude gesture. Here they are in occupied territory, a conquering army and they are spitting in the face of the French citizens. The down cast French people sit glumly. Then Victor Lazlo, a brave resistance fighter, stands, walks over to the band and says, "Play La Marseilles" the French National anthem. The band members are tentative, they fear the German officers.

But Bogie nods his approval and Lazlo begins to sing at the top of his lungs. The band comes to their feet, playing their instruments with gusto. The music soars, and the crowd come to life. They do not protest the Nazis. They do not shout them down in anger. They just simply so loudly this song of their hearts, that they drown out the German soldiers who then close the bar in disgust. With that one strong positive voice, they drowned out the destructive voices...[i]

In a way, what Victor Lazlo did in the midst of the destructive voice in that nightclub in Casablanca is what I believe we are doing through this series "Sacred Romance" for our church.

The world had already singing its song, proclaiming a view of sexuality and passion that is also so destructive.

- We listened to it; and you see many of your secular friends cast all moral precaution aside, calling it old-fashioned, to pursue casual sex.

- We listened to it; and at least two men (in the Marriage Builders small group) shared with me that 90% of their friends are divorced.

- We listened to it; and quite a few young unmarried among you feared that your future marriages would either end in divorce, or in estranged with each other (from the postings on our church web-forum).

It’s time for us to hear a new song, a song from the designer of love and marriage.

* The Bible talks about love and marriage more than you think. At the beginning it pictures the union of the first woman [Eve] and the first man [Adam].

- [Listen to it; and you know that] It was a union accompanied by shouts of delight: "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh" (Gen. 2:23).

- [Listen to it; and you know that] It was a union [bounded with solemn mystery]: "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Gen. 2:24).

- [Listen to it; and you know that] It was a union marked by attractive innocence: "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed" (Gen. 2:25).

* The Bible talks about love and marriage more than you think. At the end it depicts the consummation of all that God intended, as he guided the course of history with a redeeming hand, in terms of a marriage celebration: "Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, "Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’" (Rev.19:7-9)[ii]

* The Bible talks about love and marriage more than you think, and at the middle of it, you found the Song of Solomon - a short book with just eight chapters about love and marriage, describing the way that God intended it for His people.

I am excited to study this book with you for the next four weeks. This is what we need to learn from God.

{Let’s pray}

{Background - Author}

Please turn to Song of Solomon, chapter 1. We will start with verse 1.

1 Solomon’s Song of Songs.

This is actually the title of the book. It had the author as Solomon. Solomon was the third king of Israel, son of David and Bathsheba. He was famous for his wisdom, wealth, and women.

* Wisdom: The Bible recorded that he was the most wised person: "29 God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. 30 Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 He was wiser than any other man, including Ethan the Ezrahite-wiser than Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. 32 He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. 33 He described plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. 34 Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom." (1 King 4:29-34). Many people believed that Solomon wrote this book when he was young, wrote the book Proverbs when he was middle-aged, and wrote Ecclesiastics near the end of his life. His wisdom evidently can be seen through out three books.

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