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← We Love Because He First Loved (Song of Solomon Part 2) - Tim Conway

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Showing Revision 4 created 08/05/2018 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. Let's pray.
  2. We heard about it in the song;
  3. we heard about it in the first hour -
  4. the grace and truth of Jesus Christ.
  5. Grace and truth.
  6. Lord, we pray for that.
  7. Please deal with us in a way
  8. that is not according to our sins.
  9. Grant us grace.
  10. And truth - sanctify them with Thy truth.
  11. Thy Word is truth.
  12. We pray for that cleansing,
  13. purifying, sanctifying reality
  14. to be in this place today.
  15. Father, please.
  16. You sent Your Son to this earth.
  17. The Word became flesh
  18. and He dwelt among us.
  19. And because He did and because He has
  20. and because He died
  21. and because it is finished,
  22. because there is salvation to be had
  23. and there is a room full of
    saved people in this place,
  24. we would appeal to that blood
    by which we were saved
  25. and that cross work that was finished
  26. and made complete,
  27. so that we don't have to stand here
  28. in any of our own doings or works
  29. or accomplishments or merits.
  30. We stand here based on that sacrifice -
  31. the Lamb of God,
  32. who, we thank You, has put away -
  33. many of this in this place can say
  34. You've put away our sins.
  35. And we stand here forgiven -
    a forgiven people.
  36. And Lord, because of the kindness
    that You've shown to us,
  37. we pray, Lord, we want to appeal
  38. to Your past mercies
    to give us fresh ones.
  39. We ask in the name of our
    Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
  40. The love of Christ.

  41. I would take you once again
  42. to the Song of Solomon.
  43. This is a little bit of an aside
  44. for a number of weeks
  45. to the Song of Solomon.
  46. But the purpose is to keep
  47. in the spirit of Ephesians 3,
  48. "and that we would have the strength
  49. to comprehend with all the saints
  50. what is the breadth and length
  51. and height and depth
  52. and to know the love of Christ
  53. that surpasses knowledge."
  54. And as we're seeking to explore
  55. that love of Christ
  56. and to span some of the depths of it,
  57. as I told you last week,
  58. my thoughts have come back
  59. to the Song of Solomon
  60. again and again and again.
  61. The Song of Solomon.
  62. It's in your Bibles right before
  63. the major prophet Isaiah.
  64. Isaiah's typically easy to find
  65. even though the Song of Solomon
  66. may not be so easy.
  67. The Song - Solomon's Song.
  68. The old preachers called it: Canticles.
  69. Found right before the prophet Isaiah.
  70. I want you to look at 2 verses
  71. in chapter 1 of the Song of Solomon.
  72. Verses 15 and 16.
  73. Some of your Bibles don't supply this.
  74. Some do.
  75. The ESV has actually separated
  76. this letter into parts.
  77. And you can tell in the original language
  78. there are indicators
    as to who is speaking.
  79. You can see it in the flow
  80. of the song as well.
  81. But in v. 15, it says,
  82. "He."
  83. And He says,
  84. "Behold, you are beautiful, My love.
  85. Behold, you are beautiful.
  86. Your eyes are doves."
  87. V. 16, she says,
  88. "Behold, You are beautiful, my Beloved,
  89. truly delightful.
  90. Our couch is green."
  91. Now, I am not going to preach
    on "our couch is green."
  92. You can take your own
    meanings with that one.
  93. I don't know what that means
  94. and I haven't really thought about it.
  95. But hear me.
  96. Look back at v. 1.
  97. The Song of Songs.
  98. This is a song.
  99. Yes, we say, the Song of Solomon,
  100. but it's a song.
  101. It's meant to be sung.
  102. God gave it to us to sing it out.
  103. This is inspired. Don't miss that.
  104. This is in your Bibles.
  105. This is inspired.
  106. God gave a song for us to sing.
  107. And I can tell you this,
  108. that if you went up and down this road
  109. singing a song about Solomon
  110. and one of his harem,
  111. I would think you were pretty weird.
  112. That is not the kind of song
    He wants us to sing from this.
  113. That is not the song of songs.
  114. "Holy of holies" is used
    for the most holy.
  115. "King of kings" for the greatest King.
  116. "Lord of lords" for the highest Lord.
  117. And so this is the song of songs,
  118. being the most excellent of songs.
  119. You know what that means?
  120. Never has man spoken or written
  121. a song to excel this song.
  122. It surpasses all others.
  123. Not only human songs.
  124. Remember, if Solomon
    was simply saying this;
  125. if a man walked in here and said:
  126. of all the songs that I ever wrote,
    this is the song of all my songs.
  127. But you have to hear God's voice.
  128. This is inspired.
  129. The Holy Spirit is saying, Christian,
  130. this is the song of all songs
  131. not only humanly speaking,
  132. but divinely speaking.
  133. Again, if you were to say that's simply
  134. Solomon and one of his harem,
  135. that is not an impressive song.
  136. And remember just how fitting

  137. the placement of this book.
  138. You come out of vanity of vanities
  139. into song of songs.
  140. The emptiness, and then,
  141. Solomon turns us to the fullness.
  142. And as I reminded you last time,
  143. this isn't one woman
  144. with one she loves.
  145. If you look at chapter 1, v. 3,
  146. "Your anointing oils are fragrant.
  147. Your name is oil poured out.
  148. Therefore, virgins love you."
  149. Or you look at v. 4.
  150. "Draw me after You..."
  151. Not, let me run, let us run.
  152. As I said before,
  153. there's no woman who glories
  154. in the love other women
    have for their own husband.
  155. But if the virgins are those
  156. in the spirit of 2 Corinthians 11:2
  157. where Paul says that he's betrothing us
  158. as virgins to Christ,
  159. the whole thing makes sense.
  160. Each of us as individuals can glory
  161. in the love of Christ,
  162. but we can glory in the
    fact that other people
  163. run after Him as well.
  164. That's the flavor of the Song of Songs.
  165. Now, when we come to v. 15 and 16,

  166. the reason I want to take you here
  167. is you have mutual expressions.
  168. What jumped out at me first
  169. was what He says to us,
  170. we say to Him.
  171. What we say to Him, He says to us.
  172. It's the same language.
  173. Do you see it there?
  174. "Behold, you are beautiful."
  175. Both say that to each other.
  176. There's a mutual expression
  177. of admiration and attraction.
  178. Now, we know how we feel about Christ,
  179. because the truth is, we feel it.
  180. We know the attraction.
  181. What makes the Song of Songs so precious
  182. is that we hear God-inspired words
  183. as to how Christ feels about us
  184. and the attraction that He has for us.
  185. And the truth is
  186. it's something we would hardly believe
  187. unless it was written here.
  188. And watch this, in v. 15,
  189. "Behold, you are beautiful, My love."
  190. She never calls Him by that terminology.
  191. Those are His words for her.
  192. "My love."
  193. As you go through here,
  194. do you know what He calls her?
  195. My beautiful one,
  196. My perfect one,
  197. My dove,
  198. My bride,
  199. My sister.
  200. And that possessive pronoun: Mine.
  201. You know what that reminds me of?

  202. You kind of come across this
  203. and you must maybe shoot past it.
  204. You're reading Revelation.
  205. You know when Jesus is speaking
  206. to the churches in Asia Minor?
  207. Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation?
  208. He says something.
  209. He gives a promise to the people of God
  210. who overcome.
  211. Listen to what He says.
  212. He says, "I will give you..."
    if you overcome,
  213. "I will give you a white stone."
  214. What's that?
  215. Well, it's not so much the stone
  216. as what's written on it.
  217. Do you know what's written on it?
  218. A name.
  219. Does anybody remember what name?
  220. What was it?
  221. A new name. And listen to how it says it.
  222. "A new name written on the stone
  223. that no one knows
  224. except the one who receives it."
  225. Jesus has personal intimate names
  226. just between you and Him,
  227. and no one else knows it.
  228. He says these names,
  229. "My love," "My dove."
  230. Mine - not just love - My love.
  231. "My beautiful one," "My bride," "My dove."
  232. So what are we talking about?

  233. We're talking about the love
    of Christ for His people.
  234. A love that surpasses knowledge.
  235. And as we're looking at these two verses,
  236. v. 15 and 16 of chapter 1,
  237. I want to say something that might
  238. at first not register with us.
  239. If I were to ask you,
  240. which of these two verses
  241. seems to most capture
    Christ's love for us?
  242. Which one would you pick?
  243. You'd probably say that's easy.
  244. Yeah, v. 15.
  245. And undoubtedly it does
    express His love for us,
  246. but you know what?
  247. As I looked at these
  248. and I read through the whole book again,
  249. I found myself struck
  250. by how much v. 16 reveals His love to us.
  251. And yes, you heard me right. V. 16.
  252. V. 16 expresses Christ's love to me.
  253. Think what Christ has done for you
  254. that such expression should ever come
  255. from people like us.
  256. Think about the expressions here.
  257. Think about what Christ has done
  258. and how He's responsible
  259. and what expressions of love it is
  260. from Him to us that out of our mouth
  261. should ever come such
    expressions as these.
  262. If you think about where
    you have come from:
  263. the miry clay, the pit -
  264. if you remember the things you've done,
  265. if you remember the things you've thought,
  266. if you think about the stock.
  267. Look at chapter 2:3.
  268. 2:3, "With great delight,
    I sat in His shadow."
  269. Now, here's what I want you to feel.
  270. I want you to feel the expressions
  271. of the church to Him.
  272. Think about these.
  273. I find the most amazing expressions.
  274. She is saying,
  275. "Behold, You are beautiful."
  276. In 2:3, she says,
  277. "With great delight, I sat in His shadow."
  278. Now see the delight.
  279. Look at 2:5, she says,
  280. "I am sick with love."
  281. Now think.
  282. We're talking about the Christian.
  283. Think about the Christian.
  284. Think about you.
  285. Think about you going through this life,
  286. living in this world.
  287. We heard "love not the world,"
  288. but you're actually going along
  289. and your mind is working
  290. as you go through your day
  291. and go through your life,
  292. and such feelings well up in you
  293. that you could say I find beauty in Him.
  294. Or that you're even speaking to Him
  295. on an intimate level.
  296. You are beautiful, my Beloved.
  297. Not just that: truly delightful.
  298. "With great delight I sit in His shadow."
  299. I'm sick with love.
  300. I mean there's an ache
    to have more of Him,
  301. to see more of Him,
  302. to hear His voice more clearly,
  303. to have a visitation.
  304. Look at chapter 5:9-10.
  305. Here you have others in v. 9.
  306. Others say to her,
  307. "What is your Beloved more
    than another beloved?"
  308. I mean who is this?
  309. Who is this that you talk
    about Him like this?
  310. "O most beautiful among women,
  311. what is your Beloved more
    than another beloved?"
  312. And in v. 10 she says,
  313. "My Beloved is radiant."
  314. The NAS says "dazzling and ruddy."
  315. "Distinguished among 10,000,"
  316. or "Chief among 10,000" in KJV.
  317. Or the New American Standard,
  318. "outstanding among 10,000."
  319. Look at v. 16 of Song of Solomon 5.
  320. "He is altogether desirable."
  321. Or as the KJV says,
  322. "He is altogether lovely."
  323. And here's the thing.

  324. I would say to you, Christian,
  325. when you have felt the most,
  326. when you have seen Him most clearly,
  327. when you've heard His voice
  328. with most audibleness,
  329. when you've smelled the
    fragrance of His presence,
  330. when the power of the Word has opened up,
  331. when He has come across
    most beautiful to you,
  332. I would say where's the pen?
  333. Where are the thoughts?
  334. Who is the poet? Where is the songwriter?
  335. Some of the songwriters are fantastic
  336. in the way they're able to bring out
  337. what we feel,
  338. but who can put what a
    Christian feels into words?
  339. But the Song of Solomon
  340. seems to capture it oftentimes.
  341. And look, right now,

  342. I am not speaking to everyone.
  343. I'm speaking to you who
    know what I'm talking about.
  344. You who have felt this.
  345. Have you ever considered
  346. what Christ's love has done for you
  347. that you could even be delighted in Him?
  348. I mean, do you hear what I'm getting at?
  349. Christ finding me beautiful?
  350. I mean, that should blow us away.
  351. What sort of expression
    of love is that to me!
  352. But here's the thing, me
    finding Him beautiful,
  353. that too is a massive
    expression of His love to me.
  354. All these, I mean, they are vehement
  355. expressions of affection to Christ.
  356. Look, think with me.

  357. If you go looking around the world,
  358. go looking on the Internet,
  359. go through the channels,
  360. do whatever,
  361. do whatever gives you a
    picture into this world.
  362. Go through the radio stations.
  363. You know what?
  364. To find men who are attracted to women
  365. on the computer screen,
  366. that's common.
  367. To find young men
    attracted to computer games,
  368. that's pretty normal.
  369. To find young ladies that are interested
  370. in being attractive,
  371. addicted to their cell phones,
  372. trying to make themselves pretty,
  373. that's average.
  374. To find people grasping for money,
  375. movies, popularity, clothes,
    food, fame, power,
  376. there's nothing unusual about that.
  377. You think with me here.
  378. To find a man, a woman, or a child
  379. whose heart jumps
  380. when they hear the name of Christ,
  381. that is rare.
  382. That is special.
  383. That is a mark of God at work in somebody
  384. in an absolutely miraculous way
  385. because that is not common.
  386. Not at all.
  387. The thing to ask is this:

  388. Where do such people come from?
  389. Go back there.
  390. Go back to Song of Solomon 1:16.
  391. Now I recognize that for a man
  392. to actually speak
  393. with some of these words
  394. and speak them about Christ -
  395. I don't know, maybe it
    would cause some people
  396. to be uncomfortable.
  397. But I can tell you this,
  398. the manliest of men -
  399. and Christians should be men.
  400. "Quit you like men."
  401. Be men.
  402. But you know what?
  403. The purest men in this world,
  404. they may not walk around using
  405. terminology like this,
  406. but God's man, he feels this in his heart.
  407. He feels v. 16.
  408. When he feels the realities of Christ,
  409. he can say,
  410. "Oh Christ, You are beautiful.
  411. You are truly delightful."
  412. He feels it in the
    very fabric of his soul.
  413. And the thing to ask is
    where do they come from?

  414. Where do people who truly feel
  415. in the depths of their being
  416. that Christ is beautiful and desirable -
  417. where do they come from?
  418. Seminaries don't make them.
  419. The truth is churches don't make them.
  420. None of us have a mother
    that makes people like these.
  421. Listen - in fact, turn there.

  422. You're very close to it.
  423. Turn to Isaiah 53.
  424. Isaiah's right after Song of Solomon.
  425. Go to the well known Isaiah 53.
  426. All I have to do is take you here
  427. and take you in your mind
  428. back to former days.
  429. And here we are.
  430. Isaiah 53:2.
  431. "Like a root out of dry ground..."
  432. A root sticking up out of dry ground.
  433. "...He had no form or majesty
  434. that we should look at Him,
  435. no beauty that we should desire Him."
  436. That statement right there
  437. given the chapter of
    Scripture that it's in,
  438. man in his fallen state is so backward.
  439. "No beauty..." and look at v. 3.
  440. "Despised, rejected by men,
  441. as one from whom men hide their faces,
  442. He was despised
  443. and we esteemed Him not."
  444. Do you remember?
  445. Pilate said to the Jews,
  446. "Behold your King."
  447. And they did.
  448. They looked. They beheld Him.
  449. See Him standing there
  450. with His crown of thorns.
  451. His robe of purple.
  452. I mean, never, never had they stood
  453. in the presence of one pure
  454. or more beautiful or more pleasing to God
  455. or more willing to save,
  456. and they cried out.
  457. You know what they cried out.
  458. "Away with Him! Away with Him!
  459. Crucify Him!"
  460. You know what that songwriter said.
  461. "Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
  462. call out among the scoffers."
  463. Do you remember?
  464. Do you remember those days?
  465. That was your voice.
  466. That was my voice.
  467. Ashamed.
  468. Ashamed. I can hear my voice
  469. in that crowd.
  470. I can listen for it.
  471. Clint was telling me

  472. that when he's over on the oil rigs,
  473. he sometimes watches us livestream.
  474. I said you listen for Caroline's voice
  475. in the singing, don't you?
  476. And he said, yeah, I do.
  477. But you listen for your voice
  478. in this crowd because it's there.
  479. We didn't esteem Him.
  480. We despised Him.
  481. Despised Him.
  482. That any of us should
    find Christ attractive
  483. is only shocking to the degree
  484. that we realize it is not natural,
  485. it is not normal.
  486. Do you know what normal is?
  487. "They hated Me without a cause."
  488. You know what normal is?
  489. "He came to His own
  490. and His own received Him not."
  491. You know, we get these guys.

  492. They want to write these stories
  493. about the end times;
  494. tell us about the antichrist.
  495. You know, he's going to come
    from the European Union.
  496. He's going to have 666
    stamped on his forehead.
  497. You don't have to look to Europe,
  498. because the reality is all we had to do
  499. is walk into the bathroom
  500. and look at ourselves in the mirror.
  501. You know what John said?
  502. He said, "Now many antichrists have come."
  503. We were the antichrists.
  504. Anti means to be against.
  505. We were them.
  506. We would have never admitted it,
  507. but that's precisely...
  508. Man's natural disposition is such
  509. that the Song of Songs
  510. is a foreign language.
  511. The lost man - it is unintelligible.
  512. It's basically a parable.
  513. And you know how in the New Testament,
  514. the disciples asked,
  515. why do You speak to them in parables?
  516. And Jesus said this is why
    I speak to them in parables:
  517. "Because seeing they do not see,
    hearing they do not hear,
  518. nor do they understand."
  519. You see, that's the thing with this.

  520. The Song of Solomon to the unconverted:
  521. what's that?
  522. It is in a foreign language.
  523. But I know we have a whole number
  524. of people in this room
  525. that do have eyes to see and ears to hear
  526. and you do understand.
  527. And when you hear these expressions
  528. come from her to Him,
  529. something jumps inside you and says,
  530. yes, that's how I feel.
  531. You see the thing is
  532. Christ is not ugly.
  533. He is not unkind. He is not cruel.
  534. He is the Savior of the world
  535. and robed in the beauty of holiness.
  536. He's altogether lovely,
    altogether desirable.
  537. Man's great problem? Newton said it
  538. in his most famous song:
  539. "I was blind, but now I see."
  540. Do you recognize

  541. that when Adam took that fruit
  542. and he brought it up to his mouth,
  543. you can just imagine
    two daggers right there.
  544. The moment his teeth
  545. broke the skin on that thing,
  546. those daggers took his eyes out.
  547. And the problem was they took
  548. all of our eyes out as well.
  549. They were gone.
  550. We could see the ground,
  551. the fields,
  552. the weeds that now were in the world.
  553. We could feel the pain that came,
  554. the age.
  555. We could see the sun,
    the moon, and the stars.
  556. But we couldn't see.
  557. Our eyes had been put out.
  558. We sang this too:

  559. "Something lives in every hue,
  560. Christless eyes have never seen."
  561. Beloved, do you remember
  562. when you carried around in your head
  563. Christless eyes and Christless ears?
  564. I remember it.
  565. You remember how it was?
  566. Jesus said it.
  567. Jesus said it this way,
  568. "those who are well
  569. have no need of a physician."
  570. Do you know how it was?
  571. No need.
  572. We didn't need Him.
  573. We were okay without Him.
  574. We could walk around. We could smile.
  575. We could joke. We could laugh...
  576. without trembling.
  577. We could casually sin
    without screaming in terror.
  578. We could go to sleep each night.
  579. We could talk about death and hell
  580. as if they were fairy tales.
  581. I mean, here we were walking through life,
  582. this great big mouth of hell
  583. underneath us waiting to swallow us.
  584. And we were so casual.
  585. So careless. So confident.
  586. No thought ever crossed our minds:
  587. "Oh, may He kiss me
  588. with the kisses of His mouth."
  589. Things like that - what? Christ?
  590. We sang "Joy to the World."
  591. He's a little baby in a manger.
  592. I would see it.
  593. Yeah, that crucifix up on the wall.
  594. Yeah, that's Christ.
  595. For me it was a word of cursing
  596. and swearing in my mouth.
  597. Some effeminate looking picture
  598. of probably some Catholic priest.
  599. Isaiah is spot on.

  600. Look at it.
  601. V. 2, "No beauty."
  602. Isaiah 53:2, "No beauty
  603. that we should desire Him."
  604. What Christless eyes we had!
  605. "One from whom men hide their faces."
  606. We don't want to look at Him.
  607. We hide our faces from Him.
  608. We don't want to look His way.
    We don't want to look at Him.
  609. We don't want to regard Him.
  610. We don't want to esteem Him.
  611. And just see where Isaiah takes us.
  612. Look at v. 4.
  613. This is what's so amazing about it!
  614. It's not as though you
    continue reading here
  615. and you look at it and you say,
  616. oh yeah, yeah...
  617. yeah, there was no beauty.
  618. He was ugly.
  619. Listen to it.
  620. "Surely He has borne our griefs
  621. and carried our sorrows."
  622. V. 5, "He was pierced
    for our transgressions,
  623. crushed for our iniquities.
  624. Upon Him was the chastisement
  625. that brought us peace.
  626. With His wounds we are healed."
  627. Or v. 6, "The Lord laid on Him
  628. the iniquity of us all."
  629. V. 8, "Stricken for the
    transgression of My people."
  630. V. 11, "Out of the anguish of His soul,
  631. God shall see and be satisfied.
  632. He shall make many to
    be accounted righteous.
  633. He shall bear their iniquities."
  634. V. 12, "He poured out His soul to death
  635. and was numbered with the transgressors,
  636. yet He bore the sin of many,
  637. and makes intercession
    for the transgressors."
  638. What Christless eyes!
  639. Do you remember?
  640. Well, I have no memory of these verses
  641. because I doubt I ever saw them.
  642. I didn't care.
  643. In the midst of my life,
  644. if somebody would have
    read those verses to me
  645. it's like clear them aside.
  646. I lived for the weekends.
  647. I just existed during the week.
  648. I lived for the weekends.
  649. Make money during the week to live it up.
  650. Words like this meant nothing.
  651. Don't bother me with
    that religious nonsense.
  652. We had it figured out, right?
  653. I mean, most of us,
  654. we kind of come from the same stock.
  655. A bit of religion - that was me.
  656. Just a bit.
  657. A lot of superstition.
  658. A good dose of self-love.
  659. A portion of self-righteousness.
  660. We were good. We were good!
  661. Jesus? We had a manger thing growing up.
  662. Or my dad had a crucifix on the wall.
  663. Yeah, He's either a baby or He's dead,
  664. but don't bother us with that.
  665. We're pretty good.
  666. We esteemed Him not.
  667. And that is the world around us.
  668. This idea, this Song of Solomon
  669. is so foreign to this world.
  670. People - yeah, show me how to miss hell.
  671. But the idea,
  672. this is what it means to be saved.
  673. So often, people just think
  674. no lake of fire in the end.
  675. That's not really being saved.
  676. Yes, yes, that's not suffering
  677. the consequences and the punishment
  678. that our sins deserve.
  679. But to truly be saved,
  680. to truly have life
  681. is to know God and to know His Christ.
  682. To know - intimacy - to have this love.
  683. We know this.
  684. Listen, the greatest thing
  685. about the way God has designed us;
  686. the thing that causes the greatest joy
  687. and expression in who we
    are as human beings
  688. is when we are madly in love.
  689. There's no getting around that.
  690. This is what we find here.
  691. Brethren, how did we ever come

  692. to esteem Him?
  693. What happened to us
  694. that we looked up one day?
  695. I can remember that time in my life.
  696. It's like suddenly the fog was gone.
  697. How did I never see Him before?
  698. Who is this?
  699. I was stunned.
  700. (incomplete thought)
  701. How did this even happen?
  702. John tells us.
  703. We love Him because what?
  704. You see, the thing is,
    we're incapable of loving Him -
  705. and you say, I didn't get that.
    What did he even say?
  706. 1 John 4:19,
  707. "We love Him because He first loved us."
  708. What John is teaching is this:
  709. The one has to come before the other
  710. because the one is
    responsible for the other.
  711. The one produces the other.
  712. We're incapable of loving Christ
  713. apart from what He does to us.
  714. Left to ourselves, the reality is,
  715. there's nothing in us
    to call forth love for Him.
  716. I loved everything else.
  717. Many other things.
  718. What did our Lord teach us?

  719. He said this -
  720. He said one day after He had fed
  721. those 5,000 people,
  722. He was talking about the true bread.
  723. He said, "No one can come to Me
  724. unless My Father who sent Me draws..."
  725. What sort of drawing was that?
  726. It wasn't chains of a slave.
  727. It's something else.
  728. Something pulled us to Christ.
  729. This is how He saves.
  730. He saves by causing us to behold Christ.
  731. Christ asked the question:
  732. What think ye of Christ?
  733. How you answer that
  734. says everything about you -
  735. not about Him.
  736. What you say positive or negative
  737. doesn't change Him.
  738. But how you answer that question
  739. says everything about you.
  740. And it says everything about the love
  741. that Christ has expressed to you,
  742. what He has done for you,
  743. what He has done in you.
  744. And we can go back to Song of Solomon now

  745. if you're in Isaiah.
  746. Song of Solomon - you remember this.
  747. Chapter 1:4 - I mean, yes, you have
  748. there in John 6,
  749. "No one can come to Me
  750. unless My Father draws..."
  751. Here it's the church herself saying -
  752. she's coming to that recognition.
  753. "Draw me. Draw me."
  754. We will run. Let us run.
  755. Draw, draw, draw.
  756. (incomplete thought)
  757. Look, this is appealing to Him
  758. to do something to us.
  759. Pull me.
  760. We are so willingly hard,
  761. so willingly blind, so willingly do we not
  762. want to find anything beautiful in Christ
  763. that unless there is this powerful,
  764. effectual drawing of the soul to Christ,
  765. both at conversion and afterwards,
  766. we will gladly run right into hell.
  767. We will.
  768. A soul's coming to Christ for life
  769. is not the product of any power
  770. or free will of man -
  771. power found in man -
  772. it's the result of Christ giving us life.
  773. Have you ever read this?

  774. "Whoever does not love
  775. abides in death."
  776. Think about that.
  777. To love is to live.
  778. To live is to love.
  779. We looked up one day
  780. and we can't explain how it happened.
  781. But Christ was increasing.
  782. He was growing brighter.
  783. And everything else was growing pale.
  784. Everything else was decreasing.
  785. You know.
  786. The Apostle Paul comes along
  787. to the Philippians and he says,
  788. there was a day my circumcision,
  789. my Jewishness,
  790. my belonging to one
    of the premier tribes -
  791. the tribe of Benjamin -
  792. that was one of the two tribes
  793. that stayed loyal to the Southern kingdom.
  794. A Hebrew of the Hebrews.
  795. He says but I saw Christ.
  796. I saw Him.
  797. I mean, the Christless
    eyes were taken away.
  798. And what does he say?
  799. I count it all loss
  800. that I might have Christ,
  801. that I might know Christ.
  802. For the sake of Christ.
  803. Indeed, I count everything as loss
  804. because of the surpassing worth of knowing
  805. Christ Jesus my Lord.
  806. We looked up one day
  807. and we began to have such thoughts
  808. as like we find in the Song of Solomon.
  809. Do you notice?
  810. Do you remember how that happened?
  811. Out at Community, we used to sing a lot -

  812. we sing it sometimes here,
  813. but from Revelation 5 -
  814. 4 and 5, they both have the words:
  815. Worthy.
  816. Can you remember when you were lost,
  817. you never, unless you were lost
  818. and your parents made you go to church
  819. where they sang Revelation 4 or 5 -
  820. you never put the word "worthy"
  821. in the same sentence with Christ.
  822. Ninety-nine percent of the time
  823. when His name came out of my mouth,
  824. I was simply cursing and swearing.
  825. Never did the term worthy
  826. fall in the same sentence with Him.
  827. Or the term "precious."
  828. Or the term "beautiful."
  829. Therefore - this is the KJV,
    the New King James Version,
  830. but you know this from 1 Peter 2:7.
  831. "Therefore to you who believe,
  832. He is precious."
  833. And the thing that was amazing

  834. is that once you have the eyes to see -
  835. because I remember this -
  836. I could see and I suddenly looked around,
  837. and all my friends -
  838. all the comrades that I hunted with
  839. and drank with
  840. and lived my life with
  841. and my co-workers,
  842. my family -
  843. and you look around,
  844. and they're like the
    deer caught in headlights.
  845. I had such revelations to my soul.
  846. I said oh, I am certain
  847. that once I tell them,
  848. they are going to see what I see
  849. and they are going to jump on board.
  850. And one after another,
  851. they looked at me like I had three heads.
  852. Unwilling to come to Christ for life.
  853. But this is what He says,
  854. "You refuse to come to Me
    that you may have life."
  855. All day long - the book of Romans -
  856. "I have held out My hands to a disobedient
  857. and contrary people."
  858. But here's the thing,
  859. those Christ sets His love upon
  860. are made willing in the
    day of Christ's power
  861. by some secret, invisible power.
  862. He slays that enmity that was in us.
  863. That that despised Him;
    that that didn't esteem Him;
  864. that that was repulsed, that hid our face.
  865. We didn't want to see.
    We didn't want to know.
  866. Give me a small christ,
    a weak christ, a dead christ -
  867. not the Christ of Scripture.
  868. I can't tolerate Him.
  869. Not the one that says
    that I have to die to self
  870. and carry my cross and follow after Him.
  871. And unless I forsake all that
    I have, I can't be His disciple.
  872. And unless I repent, I'm going to perish -
  873. not that Christ. I don't want Him.
  874. Not the Christ that deals
    with me about my sin.
  875. Not the Christ that's
    going to make me holy.
  876. Not the Christ that's going
    to love me so much
  877. that He's going to remove
    every single idol from my life.
  878. I don't want that.
  879. But we were made willing.
  880. Christ exercised such a power on us.
  881. He killed that enmity that was in here.
  882. It was in the heart, in the brain,
  883. in the thoughts, in our discernment.
  884. (incomplete thought)
  885. Something way beyond our power.
  886. But we weren't forced.
  887. It was like it was a sweet drawing.
  888. It was us beholding that He was desirable
  889. that makes us run.
  890. He captures us by
    capturing our affections,
  891. changing the desire.
  892. That's precisely what happened.
  893. I was thinking as we
    were listening to Jeff

  894. in the first hour.
  895. Those words:
  896. We have seen His glory.
  897. But you know, what glory?
  898. He didn't walk around shining.
  899. I know on the Mount of Transfiguration,
  900. but I don't believe that is at all
  901. what John is talking about.
  902. His glory - we have seen His glory.
  903. But that "we" right there,
  904. that is not everybody.
  905. There are many people who with their eyes
  906. they saw Christ do His miracles.
  907. They didn't repent.
  908. They didn't believe.
  909. Jesus appeals to them in John 5.
  910. We'll see that when
    our brother gets there.
  911. He says they bear witness.
  912. My works bear witness that I am Him.
  913. It is a gift of all gifts

  914. that you stand in the crowd
  915. and Christ does His miracles
  916. and you say,
  917. I need Him more than I need anything else.
  918. I've got to have Him.
  919. There's a beauty, there's a power,
  920. there's forgiveness.
  921. This is what my heart has
    been looking for forever.
  922. When the crowd is big
  923. and you look around and most in the crowd:
  924. what's for dinner?
  925. And away they go.
  926. This is a phenomenal gift.
  927. Brethren, do you count it

  928. one of the greatest gifts
    of Christ's love to you
  929. that your heart aches for Him?
  930. Because it is. And it's special.
  931. And He doesn't just haphazardly
  932. and randomly throw that gift around.
  933. They are for His loved ones.
  934. He said this, that drawing -
  935. He said you lift Me up
  936. and I will draw all men.
  937. That doesn't mean all without exception.
  938. It means men from all the nations.
  939. There were Greeks there.
  940. That's the context in which He said that.
  941. The thing that is so
    beautiful about Christ
  942. is not like the beauty that we would find
  943. in a woman necessarily or in a sunset.
  944. Actually, that which Christ Himself says
  945. has that drawing efficacy
  946. is lift Me up and I will draw.
  947. Do you realize His death, His blood,

  948. the gore, the agonies,
  949. the shame of that cross,
  950. that's where so much
    of His beauty is found.
  951. It's found in those words
    we read in Isaiah 53.
  952. That is the most
    precious thing imaginable.
  953. "The Word became flesh
  954. and He dwelt among us."
  955. But He took His humanity - the God-man,
  956. to do what He did.
  957. Would you not say it is
    one of the greatest gifts
  958. He has ever given you
  959. to find Him whom you have never seen -
  960. this is what Peter says.
  961. Peter says though you have
    not seen Him, you love Him.
  962. I mean, can you imagine it?
  963. Can you imagine that
    you have been given a gift
  964. to ache for, to worship, to long after,
  965. to feel the need of, to have a love for,
  966. to find desirable this Christ.
  967. And you love Him more
    than anything else.
  968. More than father or mother
    or husband or wife.
  969. And you've never seen Him.
  970. That is a miracle.
  971. That is a gift.
  972. And that is altogether
    an expression of His love
  973. that you can look up and say,
  974. You are beautiful, my Beloved.
  975. Altogether desirable and precious.
  976. That is a manifestation of His love.
  977. Now next week, what I want to look at

  978. is Him looking at her -
  979. looking at us;
  980. looking at His people and saying,
  981. "You are beautiful, My love."
  982. "You are beautiful."
  983. Because we often don't feel it.
  984. But I want you to see His heart
  985. expressed to you, Lord willing, next week.
  986. Father, I pray,

  987. help us just to delight
  988. in the fullness, the realities
  989. of what it means to be loved by Christ.
  990. This love that surpasses knowledge.
  991. Help us, give us according
    to the riches of Your glory,
  992. Lord, enable us to comprehend
  993. with all the saints
  994. what is the breadth and length
    and height and depth.
  995. We ask this in the name
    of our Savior, Amen.