Sermon – A Festal Garment (Song of Songs)

Song of Songs Series Graphic

Do you love a good party? Go back a millennium and you may have found yourself at an Israelite party – or ‘festival’ to be more accurate. Israel as the people for God conducted festivals which celebrated or reminded them of what God had done for his people. At these festivals they would read out one of their (Old Testament) scrolls – Ruth at Pentecost, Song of Songs and Passover, Ecclesiastes at the Feast of Tabernacles, Esther at Purim and Lamentations at the anniversary of the destruction of Jerusalem. This custom was not continued by the Christian church.

Yet these little books exist in our Bible and it is not often that you hear them preached. So, in our Five Festal Garments series we are going to look at these little biblical treasure troves and see what Christians can learn today as we get dressed to live godly lives.

Let’s look at the Book of Song of Songs

Read the Bible text – Song of Songs

– Ben Smith

 

 

Obedience (Part 5 of 6)

Love, Truth, ObedienceWhat is love that is pleasing first to God? It has something to do with obedience in the context of truth. We have considered ‘Love’ (Part 3 of this series) and ‘Truth’ (Part 4 of this series), so this time let’s focus on ‘Obedience’.

 

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.  And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them (1 John 3:21-24)

A love that is pleasing to God is a love that obediently follows his commands.

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Truth (Part 4 of 6)

Love, Truth, Obedience

What does it look like for Christians to love the other? It has something to do with that which is true and something to do with obedience. We considered ‘Love’ last time (Part 3 of this series), so this time let’s focus on ‘Truth’.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:  If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. (1 John 3:16-20)

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Love (Part 3 of 6)

Without love, truth will not be valued. Without truth, it is difficult to know how to obey. Without obedience, it is impossible to demonstrate true love.

To understand Love, it will help to understand how it is integrally connected to Truth and to Obedience, such that you cannot separate the three. These three ideas intersect with one another at almost every point. Love, Truth, Obedience

Taking our lead from the letter of 1 John, we have looked at Perfect Love (Part 2 of this series). We turn our attention now to the relationships between Love, Truth and Obedience.

Let’s consider ‘Love’.

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Perfect Love (Part 2 of 6)

Love is a many splendored thing,

Love lifts us up where we belong,

All you need is love!

 

Love is just a game.

I was made for loving you baby,

You were made for loving me.

 

You’d think that people would’ve had enough of silly love songs…

So goes the lyrics of Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge (2001). It is a mash-up of love songs that highlight how confusing ‘love’ can be and captures many of the different ideas that exist about that wonderful little thing called ‘Love’.

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Uncomfortable Love (Part 1 of 6)

I remember the call. Nothing seemed right about what I was being asked to do!

I was in Damascus. The gospel work there had been growing as more and more became followers of Jesus. The rumour was that Saul of Tarsus was on his way to Damascus. This was unsettling.

Saul had led the charge against many followers of the Way. He had issued murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples and had arranged permission from the High Priest to travel around the synagogues seeking out Christians to imprison for their faith. He was a piece of work. We all knew the threat he posed.

And then the Lord called out to me in a vision:

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