Transcript of a sermon by Jerald Finney
December 1, 2018
PREFACE TO SERMON
[This to lay a brief foundation for the sermon—a brief explanation of the whole book “Song of Solomon. My comments and those of others, mainly Dr. J. Vernon McGee. See, for study of the Song of Solomon: The Love Relationship between Christ and His Churches as Depicted in Song of Solomon.]
Let me first point to and comment on Song of Solomon, 2.16: “My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.” This Song of Solomon expresses the highest spiritual state of the relationship between the Lord Jesus Christ and the believer and the Lord Jesus Christ and the local visible church. There is no other book of the Bible which portrays theses relationships any better than this little book, and there is no higher plane than this right here: “My beloved is mine, and I am his.” This is one of the deepest, most profound of all theological truths which our Lord Jesus Christ put into seven simple words: “Ye in me, and I in you” (John 14.20). The bride says,”My beloved is mine, and I am his.” The Lord Jesus said, in effect,’Down here I took your place when I died on the cross. I am in you. Now you are to show forth My life down here in this world.”
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5.25).This love is depicted in Song of Solomon which is a picture of the beautiful love relationship between Christ and his churches (and between the believer and the Lord Jesus Christ). Song rebukes asceticism, but also condemns lust and unfaithfulness to the marriage vow. It is a beautiful song of marital love and the love between Christ and His churches.
The Song of Solomon, “[p]rimarily, is the expression of pure marital love as ordained of God in creation, and the vindication of that love as against both asceticism and lust—the two profanations of the holiness of marriage. The secondary and larger interpretation is of Christ, the Son and His heavenly bride, the Church (2 Cor. 11.1-4, refs.).”1917 Scofield Reference Edition, Headnote to Song of Solomon, p. 705.
The Rose of Sharon
Song of Solomon 2:1 “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.” I believe that this was the bridegroom,the Lord Jesus speaking, that He was saying, “I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valleys.” I know some say it is the bride saying this, but I do not agree. If it is the bride, it has to be a reflection of the bridegroom.
The rose is an unusually beautiful flower. “An ancient author wrote: ‘If the king were set over flowers, it would be the rose that should reign over them, being the ornament of the earth, the splendor of plants, the eye of flowers the beauty of the field.’ See McGee, “Song of Solomon” pp. 131-132.
When our Lord says that He is the bread of life, He is speaking of a necessity. As the true vine, He gives the glorious,wonderful joy of the Lord. When He says He is the Rose of Sharon, He is presenting Himself not as a necessity but as an object of pure admiration and delight to mankind. God’s children need to behold Him and let Him occupy our thoughts. He is the One of truth and honesty and purity and beauty that we are to think upon. Oh would those who are lost look upon Him, doeth truth, come to Him, look upon Him, find His love, His charity.
Our Lord would say to believers and churches today, “Consider the Rose of Sharon!” Consider Him. Hebrews 3:1: “Wherefore,holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.”
When we consider Him, we must consider not only love in this sense, that is temporal earthly love—love, kindness, affection, tenderness,springing from natural relations; as the love of father, son, brother, husband,wife; but charity in the eternal spiritual sense. “In a 1 Corinthians 13 sense, charity includes supreme love to God, and universal good will to men.” Go to 1 Corinthians 13. [Comments on 1 Co. 13 in context: 1 Co. 13 follows 1 Co. 12 (of course) and is a continuation of thought for a local church body. As described in 1 Co. 12, a church is a spiritual body made up of Spirit filled believers, each with a spiritual gift or gifts. Paul says to the church at Corinth, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” Likewise, every church of Christ is the body of Christ. A body is local and visible, with all the parts connected and functioning together. 1 Corinthians 13 describes charity and only a born again believers can begin to understand and apply “charity,” supreme love to God and universal good will to men. “Charity is defined in 1 Co. 13.4-13. Not only that, without charity, the actions of the individual believer and the church body is “as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal,” profits the believer and church nothing, and leaves the believer and church as nothing in God’s eyes. 1 Co. 13.1-3.].
This afternoon, let us consider the Rose of Sharon, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us consider charity and love.
The rose is a symbol of Jesus Christ, who declared Himself the Rose of Sharon. The rose is a symbol of love even to temporal man. Keeping our eyes on a symbol reminds us of that for which it stands. The American flag with its stars and stripes and red, white and blue colors reminds us of freedom and democracy. Focusing on the rose and the qualities of the rose strengthens our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and our comprehension of charity and love. The born again believer who was once dead, who was once enslaved to death and the grave should cherish the Rose of Sharon, Christ Jesus, and the charity that he can now begin to understand. He should enjoy the fragrance of the Rose of Sharon.
Smelling the fragrance of a rose will help anyone through what would otherwise be the loneliest and most hopeless periods of this life on earth. Husbands, even if lost, give your wife one rose,or a dozen roses. See that frown or lack of expression turn to a smile. The stories of the martyrs verifies Christ and the grace of God does for one in the worst of temporal circumstances. As their flesh was consumed in the flames of their persecutors, they smelled the fragrance of the Rose and sang, with joy, praises to God.
This message is about love, something with which everyone wants and seeks. It’s about the rose as the symbol of love.It’s most importantly about the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for his children, His earthly family and also for espoused, his bride, His body,the local visible church. It is about the Rose of Sharon.
Poets have written about love. Robert Burns, a Scottish romantic poet, I believe, understood God’s love. I believe He was writing about that love when He wrote:
“Oh my luve is like a red, red rose, That’s newly sprung in June,
Oh my luve is like a melody, That’s sweetly played in tune.
“So fair art thou, my bonnie lass, So deep in luve am I,
That I will luve thee still my dear, Thou all the seas gang dry.
“Thou all the seas gang dry, my luve, And the rocks melt with the sun,
And I will luve thee still my dear, Thou the sands of life shall run.
“So fare thee well, my bonny lass, And fare thee well a while,
But I will come again my luve, Thou it were ten thousand mile.”
I read Robert Burns before I was saved. Then, I related the poem to the love of a husband for his wife. As a believer I now know that Robert Burns was probably writing, as was Solomon in Song of Solomon, not only about the lady He loved, but also about Christ’s love for each of His children and for His local visible church. Robert Burns wrote that he was going away for a while, but that he would come again.Our Lord has made clear in the Song of Solomon that He returned for His love just as He said He would.
One can read what philosophers and poets write, we can even read the Bible and 1 Corinthians 13 and still not understand what love, including love for one’s fellow human being is. I was like that. Then, after the Lord Jesus saved me, I began to understand. I am still learning as I try to keep my eyes on the Rose of Sharon and enjoy His fragrance.
One who is thirsty seeks water, and one who is lonely seeks love. Only love will blow away the clouds, the storms, the loneliness and depression in one’s life. Without smelling the fragrance of the Rose, without keeping one’s eyes on the Rose, one will be hopeless, no matter his or her outward appearance. Keeping our eyes on the Rose keeps us from following the teaching of public schools and universities, well-meaning friends and relatives, and secular media and publications. One needs to listen to,read about, study, and smell the Rose of Sharon.
“Words cannot describe the beauty As upon the stem it grows,
Matchless in its glory, The tender little rose.
“When its petals are broken Its greatest beauty it shows,
For more sweeter the fragrance Of the broken rose.
“When its petals are broken, Its greatest beauty it shows,
For more sweeter the fragrance Of the broken rose.
“The most beautiful rose Was broken one day.
Nailed to a tree On a hill far away.
“Forsaken by His friends Bruised by His foes,
How sweet it the fragrance Of heaven’s sweet rose.
“Then they laid that broken rose In a borrowed tomb,
But on that third day That rose again did bloom,
“Now to the heights of heaven Down to the deepest hell,
The fragrance of heaven’s rose Continually dwells.”
The rose takes nothing but the sunshine. The rose always freely gives to anyone, friend or foe, who stops to observe it. Like the rose, Jesus Christ who is God’s personification of God’s love – charity – always gives and asks noting in return. The Apostle Paul described the beauty and fragrance of heaven’s rose in I Corinthians 13.
God despises, scorns, slights,neglects or rejects with disdain all that a believer or a church does, whatever professions of love it makes, if those acts and/or professions are without charity. The love between Christ and his local visible church is seen in the Song of Solomon. “Many waters cannot quench love,neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would be utterly contemned.” Song of Solomon 8.7.“Contemned” means “despised, scorned, slighted, neglected, or rejected with disdain.” Many a man has given his wife a beautiful home, the best of clothes, anything a wife could want and money could but, but He gave for selfish reasons and lost his wife because He could not love her. This was a theme of the movie called Citizen Cane made in 1940. Many a person has lived his life lonely because He could not love. Christ despises, scorns, slights,and rejects with disdain all that a church does if that church does not have charity, God’s love. (1 Co. 13.1-3).A church that does not honor its husband,its bridegroom, by remaining pure and chaste, does not display love for the Lord. The Lord Jesus is jealous over his church. If we do not love the Lord Jesus, He despises all the “Christian” work we do and the money we put in the offering plate.
Read 1 Cor. 13 or a portion of it here or somewhere else in this sermon and make appropriate comments especially about the importance of a church loving the Lord and not committing spiritual fornication by becoming a legal entity such as a corporation (aggregate or sole), a 501c3 or 508 tax exempt organization (as opposed to a First Amendment non-taxable church), an unincorporated association, and so forth) or encourage the assembly to read it and study it again.
The believer who reads and studies 1 Corinthians 13 learns what real love, God’s love,charity is. To love is to give without reservation wanting absolutely nothing in return. Living without God’s love leads to a vain life filled with loneliness and depression.
Consider,look upon, and smell the fragrance of the Rose of Sharon. By keeping our attention on God’s perfect rose, one will learn some invaluable lessons. One will learn to put aside selfishness, to die to self, to give to others to enrich their lives, to increase their joy and happiness with no thought of what He or she will get in return. This is the essence, the beauty and the fragrance of the rose, of God’s love.
Our Lord Jesus Christ showed us true love when He died on the cross. He died for the individual, but He also died for His espoused, His local visible church.
All of the epistle to the Ephesians is written to the church at Ephesus, and by extension,to every local, visible church body. This is evident from a study of the entire Epistle. Ephesians 4, for example, describes the spiritual body which is a local church under Christ. In Ephesians 5 Christ and His local church is compared to husband and wife; there the Holy Spirit empowersPaul to write:
“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. That He might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5.23, 25-27, 29-32
A church that is not under Christ in all things, is not a church of Christ. See Matthew 16.18, Ephesians 1.22, Colossians 1.18; see also, The Bible Answer to the Question, “Is an Incorporated 501(c)(3) or 508 Church a Church of Christ?”
Christ is also called the bridegroom and the church the bride. The wedding will one day be in heaven. Revelation 19.7-9; see also Revelation 21.9-22.17.
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And He saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And He saith unto me, “These are the true sayings of God.” Revelation 19.7-9.
“And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem,descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.”Revelation 21.9-11; I suggest that one read Revelation 21.9-22.17.
A story is told about a beautiful slave girl who was on the auction block in dark time in the history of our country. A man known to be a cruel slave master was bidding on her. She would cringe in fear every time He placed a bid because of his reputation. A kind, benevolent man saw what was happening and began to bid against the tyrant who wanted her for depraved purposes. He won the bidding and turned to walk away. She came running to him and He turned and said to her, “My dear, I did not buy you to make you a slave, I bought you to make you free.” She fell at his feet in gratitude and said,good master, I will serve you forever. She was saying, “I won’t serve you because I have to, I will serve you because I love you for what you did for me.”
As already mentioned, the lost seek love. Without Christ, they may find some degree of love in the temporal sense: some degree of kindness, affection, tenderness, springing from natural relations; as the love of father, son, brother, or spouse. They will never find charity in the eternal sense except they become espoused to the Rose of Sharon. They will never find love in the 1 Corinthians 13 sense, they will never smell the fragrance of the rose, without turning to God and trusting the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.
Those in the world usually look in all the wrong places and find all the wrong answers from the wrong source. Believers are often deceived by Satan and his devices. One should take care to examine all that the world offers for entertainment. You see, Satan counterfeits all that God offers. This song I am about to play is a prime example. Keep in mind, 2 Corinthians 11:14 “… Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” I heard this song many times as I photographed weddings in Baptist churches in the late 1970s and 1980s. It is beautiful. As Satan always does, He takes some truth and poisons it; but he presents his lies in a beautiful package. Back then, I thought this was a wonderful song for a “Christian” wedding ceremony. Of course it was a beautiful song; but the message was from the god of this world. I was saved in 1980, but I remained a spiritual baby for many years.
I will play the song, then analyze it with you. The song was written by Amanda McBroom in 45 minutes. She was inspired by her god. Keep in mind that there are thousands upon thousands of adoring fans listening as she sings. They erupt into applause for the singer and the song.
PLAY “THE ROSE” SUNG BY BETTE MIDLER
[NOW ANALYZE THE SONG: DISPLAY THE SONG.]
Some say love, it is a river, that drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor, that leads your soul to bleed,
Some say love, it is a hunger, an endless aching need.
Lines 1-3 speak of the lost person who is seeking love in all the wrong places and from the wrong person(s). The audience in the video I played obviously could relate. They gave the singer and the song a standing ovation.
I say love, it is a flower, and you its only seed.
In this line, the singer on behalf of the author gives an answer to the dilemma. The same answer that most of the religions of the world, the counterfeit religions of Satan, give. You have the answer within you. You are a god. You can do good. The seed of love is within you. Wrong! Only Christ, the Rose of Sharon, can fill the void within every person with His eternal spiritual charity. Temporal earthly love will lead one to eternal death in the lake of fire. That is what the spirit that inspired this song desires for you.
It’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance.
Don’t let your fear of being hurt stop you from dancing. Go on and take a chance. The song tells you to seek the answer within you, but God’s Word teaches that the born again believer who keeps His eyes on Christ, loves and follows Him, learns to “dance.”
It’s the dream afraid of waking, that never takes a chance,
Don’t be afraid, take a chance. Within you is the seed of love.
It’s the one who won’t be taken, who cannot seem to give,
And the the soul afraid of dying, who never learns to live.
If you don’t take a chance and go for it, you will never learn to live. But Christ will give you life and life more abundantly. Eternal life; a life you will never have if you do not humble yourself, turn to God, and accept the Lord Jesus Christ, the Broken Rose, as Savior.
When the night seems too lonely, and the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only, for the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snow,
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love, in the spring becomes the rose.
It repeats again–you are a God and what you do, not what Christ did, is the answer. The sun is nature, the force, that is within all of us.
“Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone. But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it, and He that hateth his life in this world, shall keep it unto life eternal.” John 12.24-25.“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15.13.
In conclusion, I am thankful that I one day smelled the fragrance of the rose. I am thankful that once you smell that fragrance, you can never get rid of the smell. I am thankful that God sent his heavenly rose to smell its fragrance, to enjoy His beauty, that we might one day also be like unto it—with perfect beauty and happiness.
Eph. 5.2: “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.”
Love can take a hard, lonely seed that is willing to fall into the ground and die and transform it into a beautiful, fragrant, red, red, rose.
See, for study of the Song of Solomon: The Love Relationship between Christ and His Churches as Depicted in Song of Solomon.
Gen. 8.20-1 “And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl,and offered burnt-offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more everything living, as I have done.
Exo. 29.18, 25, 41
Lev. 1.9, 13, 17; 2.2, 9, 12; 3.5, 16; 4.31; 6.15, 21; 8.21, 28; 17.16; 23.13, 18; 26.31
Numbers 15.3, 7, 10, 13, 14, 24, 18.17; 28.2, 6, 8, 13, 24, 27; 29.2, 6, 8, 13, 36
Ecl. 10.1; Song of Solomon 1.3; Ezekiel 6.13; 16.19; 20.28, 41; Joel 2.20
Mt. 5.13; 14.24; 2 Cor. 2.14, 15, 16; Eph. 5.2.
 AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOAH WEBSTER (1828) definition of “CONTEMNED.”
 The Holy Spirit enables or empowers a believer to act, but never acts Himself. No verse of verses in the New Testament describe the Holy Spirit as the actor. The Holy Spirit is always the enabler, and the Spirit indwelt believer is the actor. For example, a contextual study, starting with a study of the entire verse, then the Chapter, then the book then the entire Bible makes clear that that Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12.13 is the enabler and that a spirit filled man is the doer of the “one baptism” (see Ephesians 4.4-6), spoken of in that verse.