Christ’s Love For His Bride

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I will like us to consider for a title this morning Christ’s Love For His Bride. We will do it under four points. 1) The Display Of Christ’s Love , 2) The Delight In Christ’s Love, 3) The Dependability of Christ’s Love 4) The Destination of Christ’s Love
The Song of Solomon is written by Solomon as a poem celebrating love: “The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s (v.1). More specifically it is a celebration of marital love between a man and a woman: husband and wife. This clarification is important because nowadays when you speak of marriage, you don’t assume the default and biblical position of marriage is in view because all kinds of things are out there. So you specify what you are saying. It is also described as Song of Songs. It is just like saying King of Kings or Lord of Lords. This means it is the highest expression of all songs about love. I believe we all know one love song or the other. Once a while, I hear a love song that I pause to listen to the words carefully. Obviously, because I like it. And you know what I do, when I am alone with Theodora, I will play it for her. And indeed there are many love songs out there. But all the lyrics of all the love songs or poems you can think of pales in comparison to this book.

Now the Song of Solomon is not speaking about just any love. Rather, it is an expression of the purest of love in the context of marriage as originally intended by God. In Eden, when God created Adam, he caused a deep to fall on him and out of his rib created woman. And when the woman was brought to Adam, he “wowed.” He was taken aback with bated breath. He may have stood back in silence, looked at the woman and praised God’s handiwork. Genesis 2:24 tells us “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife: and they shall become one flesh.” “they shall become one flesh” It is a tight union—they were glued together (Cleaved together (KJV v.24). They belonged to each other.
Look at the first lines of verse 16 of Song of Solomon 2: “My beloved is mine, and I am his” This is a perfect picture of love intended by God. But instead of experiencing this beauty of marital love, for many people, marriage is a bondage often filled with many pain and disappointments obviously because of the presence of sin. Sin destroyed our relationship with God and ourselves. In a sense, the song of Solomon brings to us the purity of the love relationship between a man and a woman in a marital context. This book holds nothing back. It speaks of everything concerning marital love. As you know, if you have read it, this book is highly sensual and perhaps if it were not in the Bible, Christians will not read it. And in fact, in church history, a warning was issued about reading this book. Origen, a church father is quoted to have said.

“I advise and counsel everyone who is not yet rid of the vexations of flesh and blood and has not ceased to feel the passion of his bodily nature, to refrain completely from reading this little book and the things that will be said about it. For they say that with the Hebrews also, care is taken to allow no one even to hold this book in his hands, who has not reached a full and ripe age.”

In today’s words, Origen, has placed an x-rated on the book and says stay away. But this is a book of the Bible and we must read it. And people of every age must read it. So what do we make of this book and particularly this text on a Holy, Gospel Sunday?

  • In church history, Song of Solomon has been interpreted in three ways
    As marital love between Solomon and his bride
    A figurative revelation of God’s love to Israel
    As an allegory of Christ’s Love for the church.

In sermon, I will blend all three

The Bride Of Christ

Now despite the imperfection and weakness of marriage, the best example Scripture uses to describe God’s relationship with his people is the marital relationship between a man and a woman. Others may disdain and look down on marriage, but the Christian cannot and must not. Marriage is an analogy for the relationship Christ has with the church. The church is the Bride of Christ. Christ is the Bridegroom

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for it; that he might he might sanctify her , having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing that she might be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Now the scene of the verse we read (v.4) is a marriage reception where the bridegroom and bride showered adoration on one another. There is a kind of praise showering going on where bride and bridegroom celebrates each other’s love. Bridegroom speaks of what the bride is to him and the bride does same (v. 1 The bride speaks; v.2 The groom speaks; vv3-9 The bride speaks, v.10-17 The bride reports a speech by the groom)

A Display of Christ’s Love 
“His banner over me is love” (2:4b)

This is the bride speaking or celebrating her bridegroom’s Display of Love towards her. The banner as used here is a sign, a sign that is displaying the bridegroom’s love and affection for the bride. And this sign displayed is love. Now though Song of Solomon is an expression of pure marital love, we know that no human relationship or love can satisfy our deepest desires and yearnings. We cannot find complete fulfilment in life in our spouses. Very soon they will disappoint us. That is if we have not been already disappointed numerous times. So True joy and satisfaction can be found only in Christ. The deepest display of human love cannot compare with Christ’s love for his church. And how is this love displayed?

Christ Died For His Bride
In Ephesians 5:25, we see the sacrifice and atonement of Christ for the sins of his bride—He gave himself for the church. He gave himself for sinners. He died to reconcile sinners to God. This is the highest picture of love and sacrifice. That one should die for another (John 15:13). And this is the Christian message. God out of love gave Christ to sinners to pay for our sins and reconcile us to himself. This is high-grade love. Love without boundaries. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son” (John 3:16). Love gives. Love sacrifices. And Christ died for us out of love. Truly, can a husband die for a wife? This picture of the husband being tasked to love like Christ loved the church is a high task. But fundamentally, it is a charge for sacrifice. Husbands, love your wives. Husbands give yourself to your wive’s. Sacrifice for them. If only we Christian husbands will love our wive’s as Christ love the church, our marriages will be a perfect example of love. Unfortunately, because of sin, we cannot display this perfect picture of love. And what scripture tasks us to do has become a power play among men and women. Men are screaming submission on top of their voices. And women are screaming love as a condition for submission. So Christian marriage is not portraying what it should portray.

Christ Sanctified His Bride
The effect of Christ’s sacrificial love is that sinners might be sanctified and made pure (Eph. 26-27). Christ died to purify his bride. In v.2 and 7, a picture of the purity of the bride is in view here: “As the lilly among thorns, so is my love among the daugthers.” A flower among thorns is a picture of distinction. Christ’s bride has been made distinct from all others. The bride of Christ stand’s distinct from the world. Thorns is a picture of shame and ugliness. Lilly among thorns is a picture of beauty in the midst of shame and ugliness. Note that it is the bridegroom stating who the bride is to him. Christ has sanctified his bride and made her pure. The righteousness of Christ has been imputed to his bride. Now, since we have been sanctified and set apart, our lives must reflect this. We must walk in purity of thought and deeds.
I adjure you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that not stir up or awaken love till it pleases (v7).

This here is a call for purity. More specifically sexual purity. Don’t stir up the passions of love until it is ready. Marital and sexual love must be in the proper context of marriage. For the young ones, love and sex is not a thing to be thrown around and played with. Its proper context is in marriage and you must all wait till you are ready.

A Delight In Christ’s Love
As you read the text, you notice the bride expressing her delight in the groom(vv. 3-5). If the picture of the Bridegroom is Christ, then we can only find true joy as we are drawn to Christ: He sustains us. He refreshes us. He speaks loving and encouraging words to us (v.10). Do you have this desire? This delight will manifest in many ways: communion with him in prayer, study of the word, fellowship with one another…these things can be argued as litmus test for our desire of Christ. There is an expression of the delight of the bride in the latter part of v.4 of Chapter 1: “we will be exult and rejoice in you, we will extol your love more than wine; rightly do they love you.” In ancient times, wine is a symbol of joy and the bride here contrasts the joy from the love of her groom with wine: “we we will extol your love more than wine” . Now the line first part of our text “the banqueting house“ presents us with a picture of festivity and joy. The banqueting house from the original reads as a “house of wine.” This depicts joy in the love of the groom. We may hold very strong views about wine and alcohol, but at least there is biblical evidence wine is used to depict joy in Scripture. ( Psalm 104:14-15;.Isaiah 25:6).

The bride delights in his groom. She sings and describes the groom in moving ways. The groom is like an apple in the tress of the forest (v.3a). This depicts the beauty of the groom and his uniqueness. And truly Christ is unique among men Christ (Psalm 45:7-8).

The Dependability Of Christ’s Love
Christ’s love is secure and dependable. When Christ saves, he loses none of those he saves. Christ’s love is not like human love that easily fluctuates. Two people take an oath to love themselves till death, but in the course of their marriage, they begin having problems and they divorce. And contrary to the lovers they were, they become bitter enemies. I pray that none in this church will have to walk the bitter path of divorce. Whatever happens in your marriage, deal with it and seek reconciliation with the help God and other brethren. That said, men may divorce their wives. Wives may divorce their husbands. But not Christ. Christ’s love towards his Bride, the church, is secure and dependable. The bride sits under the shadow of the groom (v.3). Shadow is an emblem of God’s protection

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence (Psalm 91:1-3)

There is another picture of the security of Christ’s love (v.6). The picture here is that of the embrace of the bridegroom. It is a picture of warmth and assurance (Isaiah 41:10)

The Destination Of Christ’s Love
The love of Christ has a future glory to it when the church shall be fully delivered from sin and restored. We look forward to our day of redemption when Christ’s love will be fully realised. It is called the Golden chain in Romans 8:30. God’s work will be fully completed and Christ’s bride will be glorified. “He brought me to the banqueting house” This as I indicated earlier depicts a wedding reception. And the bride of Christ looks forward to a future glorification where all things will be perfected. Revelation 19:6-8. One day the church, the Bride of Christ—made of many believers— will be at this great marriage feast. Will you be there? Every believer must look forward to this great day in redemptive history. We look forward to the revealing of the glory of Christ. The bridegroom calls the bride away(v.10). This is a call from Christ to his bride, the church “Come away” He calls sinners unto himself from the world into a union with him. Another call is issued in v. 13: “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.” The bridegroom delights in his church. Presently, the church is made up of all kinds of people and doesn’t give a picture of a beautiful bride. Yet still, Christ sees his church beautiful. Such comforting words. Come away, Christ calls his church.

In conclusion, let me ask. Is Christ your delight? Do you delight in Christ? Do you possess of the joy and delight expressed in this Song of Solomon? Let me leave you with some final thoughts

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