Title: You are dearly loved by God
Central idea: God loves you more than you can imagine.
Specific purpose: to spread the truth of God's love, that God loves you like you love your own children, even more than that.
Written in second person
The first of today’s scriptures tells of John, the writer of the Book of Revelation, hearing this powerful musical voice call for rejoicing about the future; Christ, the lamb of God, has come to marry His bride, the Church.
I. Revelation 19:7, "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”
This scripture takes us back to an older scripture, our scripture for today, from the Song of Solomon, chapter 4 verses 7-9, "You are altogether beautiful, my darling, and there is no blemish in you. Come [down] with me from Lebanon, my bride, may you come with me from Lebanon. Journey down from the summit of A-ma-na, from the summit of Se-nir and Her-mon, from the dens of lions, from the mountains of leopards. You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride; you have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes, with a single strand of your necklace."
II. Listen to verse 7. "You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you." This is the bridegroom speaking to his bride. This is Jesus speaking to His church. This is God speaking to you.
A. It is easy to for Christians to point out sin, to busy ourselves trying to convince men and women of their need to repent that you forget that you are saved. You do not hear enough of something that is clear throughout Scripture, "You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you." This is how God looks at you. The one who has saved you has made you this way. He has declared you to be "altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you."
B. If you are struggling against sin and you desire passionately to please God and you morn when you realize how often you come short, you need to hear how He looks at you, "there is no flaw in you." Christ Himself has put away your blemishes with His own scars, with His wounds, with the wrath of God that He took upon Himself to hang on the tree in your place. Christ was tortured in the most painful ways imaginable, shedding His blood for you because He dearly loves you.
C. You, rejoice as you remember what He has done for you. He has done a solid work, a strong work; a work that will not fade that will not run that will not dissolve over time. By the power of what He has done for you, you are without flaw and He loves you.
III. Look at what He says to you, "You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you." He calls you darling.
A. It is difficult for men to be called darling. You struggle with this idea, the dearness that God has for you. However, look at it in the context, He is your Father.
1. We Americans have this idea of production, of doing something for God, of doing something that is measurable good that we miss His love for us. We Americans can so easily see people who we believe have done more for God than we have.
2. That idea comes from the pit of hell. It is not in the Bible.
3. Do you think that He redeemed you and then thought you unworthy? You are darling to Him. You always will be darling to Him; always because He has done a work for you, to you.
B. God dearly loves you. You cannot do anything to make Him love you less. You cannot do anything to make Him love you more.
C. To be His darling does not depend upon what you deserve by your own virtue or merit. He has made you His darling by His own work, and His work is solid, sound, permanent, eternal and immutable. It will not change. He is always there loving you. His Holy Spirit is working to prefect you. He is always there looking to you, desiring you, loving you. It will never, never change.
IV. Next in chapter 4, verse 8, "Come [down] with me from Lebanon, my bride, may you come with me from Lebanon. Journey down from the summit of A-ma-na, from the summit of Se-nir and Her-mon, from the dens of lions, from the mountains of leopards."
A. God says, "Come down." Come down from all of your work and worries. Come down from all of your thoughts, all of your striving and everything else. Come down from that.
1. Even in praying, your mouth is going before your knees hit the floor. So much business, so much doing, so many things, so much noise, He wants you to come down from that and retreat with Him. In silence, in the quiet of the night, in listening, He wants you to retreat with the One who loves you.
2. Psalm 131:2, "Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me."
a. Be like a child of God. You do not have to say a thing to God to pray. You are His child. Simply go to Him and remember, He has you in His arms exactly as a mother holds her child. Rest in His arms and get away from the troubles of the world. Real love of God is not demonstrated in human advancment, but in retreating in communion, to be with Him, just to be with Him is enough.
b. The man, the woman who will set their goal to commune with God will find that all else falls into place, absolutely everything will fall into place.
B. Further, He says, "from the dens of lions, from the mountains of leopards."
1. You put yourself in so many dangerous places. You put your eyes on so many dangerous things. You open your ears to so many things that can hurt you terribly; He is calling you away from those things.
a. When God is calling you away from sin, He is not like a prison guard, not like a task master or a cold vile school marm who wants to break you and reign over you.
b. No. He is a Father calling a child away from the edge of a cliff. He is a lover calling His love away from lust that can destroy, rape, pillage and do harm that is not easily to undo.
c. It is the voice of love. It is a calm loving voice saying, Come, stay away from that. Please, get away from that. Come back, do not do it.
2. There are things that can destroy you. God has given you His Word as a means of discerning that which is evil so that you may run from it like it is a disease, a plague. He has given you His word so that you will cleave to it like a lover.
3. His Word, His Bible, has not been set upon you to drive you into the ground or to make you a slave that knows nothing of a personal relationship with your Maker. His Word has been given to you to save you, to bring you joy and to bring you into communion with Him.
C. The picture in our scripture is of a wedding, the bride dressed in the finest linen, clean and white ready to wed. Jewish wedding were a process. The father of the bride wrote a contract, the groom agreed and the groom gave a dowry, usually at least a gold ring. Then there was a betrothal ceremony. After betrothal, the bride continued to live with her parents for a year. The groom could only be alone with his mother, grandmothers, sisters and aunts. He could never be alone with any other women un-chaperoned. After all of this, the bride and groom were wed. Our scripture is of the wedding.
1. That is not the way we do things now. Our young people play with “lions” and “leopards”. The man and woman are usually alone many times before they wed. No wonder 50 % of marriages end in divorce. No wonder 40 % of births are out of wedlock. We violate biblical principles too easily.
2. Jesus says come away from that.
D. An old fiddle player, a master of mountain music, was playing one night at the Rex Theater. At the break, a young fiddle player came up to him and said, I would give my life to play like that. The old fiddle player answered, I did; I did give my life to play like that.
1. Yes, you will have to give your life to God. In doing so, you will learn about dangerous places and begin to stay away, avoid them as you would avoid a person sick with Covid-19 or the Ebola virus.
2. Come down from sitting in your Lazy Boy and watching TV. Maybe your dedication to your hobby is out of control. Come down from there and get into God's Word, into Bible study, into some kind of Christian fellowship. Learn where the lions and leopards live, where the dangerous mountain cliffs are.
E. In Matthew 5:29-30, "If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell."
1. We hear that and say yes, but many are unable to miss a television show to go do some work around the church or set aside a special time each day for prayer and Bible study. Yes, if television is taking more time than your Bible, cut it off. If your hobby is taking more time than your church work, cut it off.
2. Pick-up your cross and follow Me.
V. Next verse is Song of Solomon chapter 4 verse 9, "You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride; you have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes, with a single strand of your necklace."
A. I have gone through many phases of developing my communion with God, my prayer life. Today, I begin my nightly prayer by putting my knees on the floor and looking toward heaven. When I do this, God's heart beats faster.
1. Why do I do that? Why do I believe that? Why should I not. In Hebrew scripture, when something is repeated, it is for emphasis. "You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride; you have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes...."
2. Understand me. When I do Bible study, it is work. When I prayer for someone, it is pleading with God, that is work. When I go to a nursing home to visit, it is work. When I am preparing a sermon, it is work. Ah, but when I am praying at night, it is communion with God. That is our time together.
B. Where does your beauty come from? What makes you attractive to God? It is the way He made you, and the "single strand of your necklace" that He gave you.
1. When my children were little, and later when my grand children were little, I remember the times I went in their rooms and they held out their arms for me to pick them up. They had nothing to do nothing to earn my love. They had accomplished no work. They were totally dependent on my wife and me but we love them dearly
2. When I got my first hand drawn Father's Day cards, little stick people, their work was more beautiful than the most pleasing painting I have ever seen.
3. That is how God sees you, "You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride; you have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes...."
4. My looking up to God requires no effort; I do not have to say a thing. I just have to look at Him for Him to know that I love Him.
C. I see my faults, my problems, as so significant that I can hardly look at myself in the mirror, but I am my Father's creation. He has and will continue to forgive my faults.
1. As a fact, if you could see my faults as well as I can, you would not be able to stand me. Yet, I tell you my Father and yours adorns you. How can that be? It is because He made you for Himself.
2. Not to believe this is to believe that the power of the blood of Jesus is somehow lacking. Do not think that your disobedience is stronger than Christ obedience to our Father. You are dressed properly for the wedding. You are beautiful to your Father, to Jesus and to His Holy Spirit. You will be at the wedding.
3. It is all about His love for you.
D. If God is, and He most certainly is, the most glorious, most weighty, the One of the greatest beauty, value, excellence and worth, then God would not want you to take your eyes off Him. He has formed you in His image. That is how special you are. You are His. Never take your eyes off Him.
VI. Fall on your knees and realize that "You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you." Christ is coming back for His Church. Are you ready to meet Him in the sky? If not, come to the alter today and ask Christ into your life.