A Bride for Christ
Pastor C. W. Powell
A Sermon Preached February 25, 1996
At Trinity Covenant Church (R.C.U.S.)
Colorado Springs, CO.
There are several things about our text today that are important.
First of all, man was created to live in fellowship.
The ideal is not for him to be alone. We have been called into fellowship with Jesus Christ himself and God His Father. It is true that man was created alone, but God did not intend for him to remain alone.
The Nature of Adam
God knew what sort of creature He had made when He made Adam. Adam was created in the image of God, and in fellowship with God. As Christians we confess that God is One in essence, but that in that essence are Three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. These Three Persons have in that one essence know what it is to love, to be loved, to speak and be spoken to. There is fellowship in the Trinity, and man was created to live in that fellowship.
Also included in that fellowship is fellowship with the other men that God intended to live on the earth. This fellowship is with all the people of God, all the people that God made. There are a number of special figures that are used to describe the fellowship that the Christian has with God:
Man must be of suitable nature to fellowship with God: He was therefore created reasonable, self-conscious, with holiness, righteousness, and knowledge. But when man sinned, this image of God was corrupted in all its parts, so that man is unfit to be in the presence of God. He was driven forth from the Garden of Eden, and came under the judgment of God.
Because of this, in order to be restored to fellowship with God, man must be born again. He must be regenerated, to have the image of God restored. That is what God does in Jesus Christ. To express the origin of spiritual life and of the image of God in man, the soul is said to be born of God:
Second, In the New Birth Man Is Restored to the Divine Nature
“Whereby are given unto us exceedingly great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature....” 2Pet. 1:4: When a king placed his seal on a document, it left its imprint on the wax. Strictly speaking, the imprint in the wax was not the king's seal. It was only the image of the seal, but it was called the king's seal. In the same way, the work of the Holy Spirit in the soul of a man may be called the “divine nature,” that is the image of God is discernible in the man. Peter tells us that it is by the great and precious promises of God that we are sealed with the divine nature. In believing the promises in Jesus Christ we are renewed in the image of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Holiness unto the Lord
Deut. 26:18, 19. “The Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments; and to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor; and that thou mayest be an holy people not the Lord thy God, as he hath spoken.”
Hebrews 12:14: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord”
There is no wickedness or anything that defiles in God. He altogether perfect and separated from sin, and only that which is holy can have fellowship with Him. If man is to be the friend of God, man's sins must be taken away, his nature must be renewed, and he must be made holy and perfect. All of this is promised and provided for in the Gospel.
Adopted in Christ.
But having been born again, we are adopted in Christ. The evidence of this is the Spirit of Adoption: Galatians 4:4-7: “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
Fellowship depends upon liberty: We have been brought into liberty. Christ does not “lay down the law” to his people. His call is the call of love: Rom. 12:1 “Beseech you by the mercies of God” ; Matt. 11:30. “My yoke is easy.” Christ assumes that his bride loves him, and wants to do him good. The ungodly live in terms of a judge/criminal or a master/slave relationship. But when a man is born again, his sins are forgiven, and he is adopted into the family of God, and lives in the liberty of the sons of God. It is a relationship of love and fellowship, a husband/wife relationship.
Because we have been adopted as sons, we are introduced to the Father's secret counsels. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” John 1:18. “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father.” John 14:9.
“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” John 15:15
“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant.” Psalm 25:14
Because we have fellowship with the Father, we have free access to the Father: “For the law maketh nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” Heb. 7:19:
“If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” I John 1:6,7;
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb. 4:16.
Third. We Are Married to Christ
The whole purpose of God creating Eve, was to set forth in a relationship most wonderful of all that mankind has, the beauties of our Union with Jesus Christ. There is no book of the Bible that sets this forth more wonderfully than the Song of Solomon. Under the figure of the human, normal love of a man to his wife, and her love for him, the fellowship of Christ and the church is set forth.
There is not time to consider everything in Solomon's great book, but I want to consider several major things:
Christ loves His Church
Christ loves her dearly: Cant. 1:8. He calls her the `fairest among women.” He delights in her person.
The Church loves the voice of Christ: Cant. 2:8-12: “The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, showing himself through the lattice. My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land...”
The difference is the voice of Christ. She delights in his voice, and longs to be with him.
The Sorrow of the Church
The church cannot bear to be separated from Christ: “By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?” Cant. 3:1-3.
The true Church is miserable if the voice of Christ is obscured by false doctrine, by legalistic thunderings, or worldly methods or goals.
The Ravishing of the Heart of Christ
Christ is ravished with the love of his Church. “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee. Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards. Thou has ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.” Cant. 4:7-9
Oh, beloved of God! Love the Lord Jesus Christ. All is here, and here is all. Nothing else is important, and all your gifts and fastings and prayers and service is nothing if you do not love Him. He loves you. Hear his voice, and give him your love.
In this one figure: this one likeness of Adam and Eve, see the beauty of Jesus Christ and His church. There is something here for Everyone:
For the young who hope to be happily married someday. This is for you. The joy you expect to find in marriage sets forth the joy that you will find if you seek it in Jesus Christ. If you marry out of the Lord, your marriage will not be a pattern of Christ and His Church, and you will not find the joy and rest that you seek.
For the happily married. In the blessings of God see the love that Christ has for you as his beloved. If the figure is so wonderful, how much greater the fulfillment in heaven, when we are present at the marriage supper of the Lamb.
For the unhappily married. In your frustrations and grief, see the pattern in Jesus Christ. Seek to conform yourself to Christ, seek his love: you will be a better husband in considering Jesus Christ; you will be a better wife as you see the pattern set forth in the Bible concerning the church. God does not give all men and women happiness in marriage; there is both joy and pain set forth in the world, so that we would seek our rest in Jesus Christ. But do not lightly leave your duty and calling, study and pray to be a better husband or wife; for who knows whether you will be the salvation of your spouse. (I Peter 3:1)
For the widowed, the divorced. Know the pain of separation from Christ. Know that Christ will never forsake you nor leave you, but he is faithful always. If the sin was yours, he is faithful and will not forsake you, but will forgive your sins, if you confess them to Him. If you have been wronged, he knows what it means to be forsaken and betrayed. You can also find comfort in Christ.
May God bless you.
Trinity Covenant Church
6050 Del Paz Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80918