Maintaining Fellowship with Christ (Part 1)

Maintaining Fellowship with Christ (Part 1)

Turn in the word of God to the Song of Solomon, chapter 2. We are going to read just the last few verses from verse 14. We’ll see how we get on. If we have to cut the message short, I trust it will be enough for us to meditate upon, but the voice is certainly not exactly what it needs to be today. I’ve been up a number of nights coughing, keeping myself awake at night which I’ve never actually had before. It’s a new experience for me. I trust the Lord will give much grace. Let’s hear the word of God.

14 O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.
15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
16 My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.
17 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.

Amen. Let’s still our hearts in prayer. Let’s all seek the Lord. Coming to the table is our main focus this morning that we would come with eyes to see Christ and feast on him. May he be pleased to condescend in an unusual way.

Lord, we are glad that there is nothing too hard for Thee. We are glad that Thy word is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. We pray today that what needs to be said will be said simply, so that we may come to this table in the frame of mind that would be honoring and glorifying to thee. We pray that our hearts would be kept in a condition of humility. Lord, while we may not physically be firing on all cylinders, we are thankful that it does not take this in order for souls to be blessed. We pray for the ministry of the Spirit of God. We pray for him to condescend in mercy and in power. We pray that all of our hearts will be quickened in an unusual way, to give attention to the word. May it please Thee to enliven us to hear what the Lord Jesus is saying to us as He beckons us to sit at this table today. We pray fervently that the Spirit of God will fall on us, that the Holy Ghost will work upon us, and that each heart will not miss out on what the Lord Himself is saying to us today. So, give the help that is needed. Empower us and move our hearts toward Christ. May we behold the cross so we might even say with Watts, “Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small. Love so amazing so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.” Bring us to that point, we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Every time we have come to communion in this year of 2019 beloved, we have turned our attention to the Song of Solomon, endeavoring to go through these verses in a fashion that would help us in our communion with Christ. My focus and desire is that we would not miss out on the whole intention of the communion table. That is that the Lord wants us to experience and enter in to a felt sense of communion with Himself, that it is not some mere head knowledge, not something simply that I know I am in union with Christ and we live on in a somewhat stoic fashion. The Lord desires to woo us to Himself; to have those experiences where we feel his love and know his condescension and experience afresh, perhaps what we experienced at the first, when we came to know Christ and we realized that our sins were forgiven and we were overcome by that sense of the fact that we are accepted in the beloved. It’s a wonderful thing to know that we are in Christ and to feel that sense of acceptance and to know that no matter what is going on, no matter what we are going through, no matter we are facing, no matter what the accuser roars in our ears, that we are in Christ. We belong to Him. That our sins, though they are many, they are all washed away. It’s very easy for us to lose out in that sense of fellowship with Christ; very easy for us to dip in and dip out of that sense of the felt experience and reality with the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us.

I was recently reading through 1 Kings and 2 Kings and came to that passage in 2 Kings in the life of Elisha, where the prophet laments to Elisha that the ax head had fallen off and I see in that, something of our experience sometimes with the Lord, that the sense of really walking with God is not felt in the way that it once was. We might say in terms of our walk with the Lord that the ax head has fallen off. The question comes from Elisha, of course, “Where fell it?” Where have you lost out? What has happened? I may have mentioned this before, but there is a dear old lady, almost 100 years old, a member in the church in Calgary. Sometimes you’d go visit her and she would lament over this sense of this distance that she felt between her and the Lord, and she was in that home under continual care and she would say, “Who moved?” Of course, she was asking herself that, knowing that Lord had no intention in moving away from her. He had no desire to create distance between Himself and herself, so causing the question to come back to her own heart: “Who moved? I must have moved.” Well there are times of course, in certain experiences with the Lord does distance himself from his people for certain reasons. Generally, the case is that when there is distance put between us and the Lord, it is because of our own sin and negligence in the matters of grace. So we ask the question this morning, if we are coming to the table of the Lord not in the place where we need to be: “Where fell it?” Where have I dropped the ball? Where have I lost out with the Lord? What sin have I permitted? At what point have I stopped enjoying fellowship with the Lord by neglecting His Word, neglecting prayer or other matters that relate to our fellowship with Him?

Last month, when we looked at verses 8 through verse 13, we saw much encouragement. I think our souls were very much encouraged by the language of the text, but in verse 10, you will note how she is recording what her beloved said, “My beloved spake and said unto me” and she is rehearsing this. She is rehearsing the language where he encouraged her, “Rise up, my love, my fair one and come away.” When you come to verses 14 and 15, he is still speaking. He is still addressing her, calling her and communicating to her in language that is designed to woo her after himself. So this morning, we are considering these verses in the remainder of chapter 2, under the heading:

Maintaining Fellowship with Christ

There are a number of things I want you to see here. First of all, there is

1) A Call. Look at the language of verse 14: “O my dove that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice and thy countenance is comely”. The heart of the address here in verse 14 begins with the word “Let.” Let me see thy countenance. Let me hear thy voice.” As we look at this, I want you to be paying attention to the text. Have your Bibles open. Pay attention to the language and see the Lord Himself, as he speaks to your heart, words of this nature. Where he is saying, “Let me hear thy voice. I want to see your countenance. I want to hear your voice.” This is the Lord addressing his church. The groom calls the bride into fellowship. Christ would say to his people, “Let me see thy countenance. Let me hear thy voice. This is my will for you. I want to see your face. I want to hear from you.”

Now, we may stop and ask the question “How?” How can it be, that we with all of our sin, as we have already acknowledged this morning, how can we be brought into the presence of the Lord? We should be asking that question. You’ll remember Peter, when he was struck by that miracle of the Lord in Luke chapter 5, where he has toiled all the night and caught nothing, and then the Lord says, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a draught” and he tells him what’s happened, “Nevertheless at Thy word” and away he goes and they let down their net and pull in this massive draught of fishes and he is just stunned, utterly stunned. Everyone is astonished. And on that occasion, Peter cries out, “Depart from me for I am a sinful man, o Lord.” Depart from me! Peter was overwhelmed with such a sense of the power and the authority and the majesty of the person who was in his presence that his sense was, “I have no right whatsoever to be in the presence of this One.” There’s a huge distance. We’re going to see this tonight in the language of John the Baptist as well. He talks about there cometh One mightier than I. He elevates the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. But Peter did the same thing. He saw on that occasion that he is not worthy. “I’m not worthy to be in your presence. Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” That should be our default position, beloved. Our thinking should be, “I have no right to hear language like this.” Look at it! “Let me see thy countenance. Let me hear thy voice.” There should be no sense in which we think that is normal. To think to ourselves, “Yes, I can understand why Jesus would see me and want to hear from me.” No, this is the King of Glory that we read of! We should marvel and be utterly stunned at the condescension of the Son of God to come and exhibit language like this. “Let me hear thy voice. Let me hear they voice.” That’s what He is communicating today. He wants to see us. He wants to hear from us. He is calling us into communion. He wants us to be there in his presence and we should be stunned by that.

Now, if you grow up in the church and many of our young people here, you’ve grown up in the church and you are in a condition and a stage where perhaps, you think to yourself that this is just the thing you do. You come to church on Sunday. You go through all of this and there’s communion every month and it’s just something you do and you’ve professed faith and you’re going to participate in the table, but I want you to strip back all of the privileges you’ve had and all the blessings you’ve enjoyed and all that you’ve been immersed in the blessings that have just become completely normal to you. Strip them away. Listen to me: strip them all away and realize, I have no right to any one of these blessing. There is nothing in me by nature that would call the Lord Jesus Christ to condescend in such a way that he would beckon me that he might see my countenance and hear my voice. Nothing! I have no right to any of this. The privilege of being here under the sound of God’s word, being with the Lord’s people in this ministry and enjoying the fellowship of the Lord’s people is a marvelous condescension of grace. Now you might not think it, but it is. So, we begin trying to answer the question, “How is it that this can be?”

Remember what Cain said to God on that occasion whenever Cain and Able came to worship? They had a place of worship. I believe Adam had set up a place of worship for the family because the verb that is used is that “they brought” their offerings. If they are bringing them they’re bringing them somewhere, so there is somewhere set up for worship, like we have here though it probably didn’t look like this, but they had a place for worship. They brought their offerings to that place of worship and they came to worship the Lord. You know what happened, how Abel’s was accepted and Cain’s was rejected. On that occasion in Genesis 4:13-14, we read these words: “Cain said unto the Lord, my punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth and from thy face shall I be hid.” I have no right into the presence of God. I have no acceptance before the presence of God. It’s going to be an alien presence for me from now on. Cain understood that. God’s rejection of his offering, and ultimately God’s rejection of Cain was because he would not repent and would not come on the grounds of the gospel, because of his felt sense of his own worth and he wouldn’t acknowledge that the only approach to God is by the blood! He refused to accept it, but he understood the consequences: from thy face shall I be hid. It is in awful judgment but it is an actual judgment for sinners to know that they should be hid from the face of God. If you are not a child of God, if you’re not borne of the Spirit, you are as Cain was. You may come to this table and you will not see the face of Christ. You will not. We will call you as we already have, but we will call you not to participate if you do not know the Lord; if you’re not in fellowship with Christ and yet the elements may be passed, it happens all the time. The elements are passed around and people participate. They take the bread. They take the cup. I don’t know why. They take it because they think they’re fine, or they’re afraid someone might look and think “Oh, they’re not believers. I always thought they were believers” and so they do it because of peer pressure, or those around them. I don’t know the motivation. I’m sure there are a plethora of reasons given, but deep down in your heart, you know nothing of Christ. Nothing of Christ! You’ve never been born again! Yet you will sit and take the bread and take the cup and you will not SEE the face of Christ! You won’t see it because you won’t be meditating there. Instead you’ll be thinking “I’m going to take this and I know I shouldn’t. You’re thinking of that, or you’re thinking about the fact that ….literally, I have no idea what’s going through your head, but I am quite sure of this: you will not see the face of Christ, and that’s fundamental. You’re not walking with him. You have no fellowship with him. Who are you trying to fool; taking the bread and taking the cup? The Lord beckons his people to come to him. If we are not his people, walking with him enjoying fellowship with him, we will not see his face. We will be as Cain, “from thy face shall I be hid.”

On the flip side, for those that are in Christ, this is the call: “Let me see thy countenance. Let me hear thy voice.” This is what Jacob enjoyed. Again, the rascal that he was, and yet he was to enjoy the grace of God and salvation. The Lord stepped into his life, saved Him. Washed away his sins and when he met with the Angel of the Lord and wrestled with him until the breaking of the day in Genesis 32. We read in verse 30, “Jacob called the name of the place Penial for I have seen God face to face and my life was preserved.” And you can see again, even his default was this sense that “If I ever see God, first I have no right to see God, no right whatsoever to see God, and if I should see God, I should die. This is Jacob’s understanding, is it not? I have seen God face to face and my life was preserved. If I should ever see God I should die. But his life is preserved. He sees God face to face and why, why is that? Why did he see God? Why was his life preserved? The only reason is the heart of the gospel itself, the mediatorial work of the Son of God. There you have in the Son of God, in Jesus Christ, you have the divine and you have the humanity coming together for one purpose and one purpose only: to mediate between two parties that have no foundation for fellowship, but that foundation is created by the person and work of Jesus Christ, so that we as sinful as the next person, may have this call, “Let me see thy countenance. Let me hear thy voice.” It is in Christ that we see God. So, when he beckons us to see himself and for us to look upon him, that he may behold us, it is so that we see the glories of his person and worship, but he wants for us to bask in his presence, to be in his presence, and for us to speak to him. It’s a wonderful condescension: “Let me see thy countenance. Let me hear thy voice.”

As she receives this call, and you look at the verses, there are a number of things that we may see about it.

a. She receives his call because of her protection. The protection is given in language of the clefts of the rock. “O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock”. Cleft of the rock means a place of refuge, a place of hiding. It’s a place where we are brought so that we can be preserved from some danger. Language of refuge is found throughout the Psalms particularly and various parts of the word of God. You can think of Psalm 18 for example, where the Psalmist begins “The Lord is my rock and my fortress” and he goes on and speaks of other descriptions of where he hides and the strength that he has as he runs to the Lord for safety. This is what the Lord’s people do. We run to the Lord for safety and this is where we are, therefore. As he addresses us “Let me see thy countenance. Let me hear thy voice.” The only reason we are hearing this language, look at the text, is because you’re in the clefts of the rock! You’re already in the place of refuge. You’re already hiding in that place where he communicates with those that are hiding in that place. It’s a wonderful imagery of where we are as the people of God. He’s communicating to us where we stand. As we stand there, the Lord communicates with us.

Now where are we? Well, it’s the rock. If we take it as Scripture reveals it to us it’s Christ. It’s Christ Himself! He communicates to those in union with himself. Look at the text. There they are in the clefts of the rock, hiding in himself. They’re running from their sin. They’re running for refuge to the Son of God. They’re running from all the evils of the world. They’re running from all the dangers. They’re running from everything into Christ. “From every stormy wind that blows, there’s a place found beneath the mercy seat” for the people of God. We run in to the clefts of the rock. This imagery is brought out also from the life of Moses in Exodus chapter 33, where he wants the Lord to show him His glory. Verse 22 says, “it shall come to pass that when my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by.” I’m going to hide you in the place of refuge. I’m going to shelter you so that as my glory passes by, you’ll be able to sense something of it and be preserved. Now again, what is the imagery there, beloved? Is this some special rock that somehow shelters man from the glory of God and the fact that he should be consumed by that glory? No! It’s imagery that’s designed for us to see the effect of the person of Jesus Christ. You run into the rock of Christ. You hide in him and you’re able to see something of the glory of God and live! But more than that, not just seeing the glory of God, but actually being in fellowship with God and that is the point of the text. As we are in the clefts of the rock, “Let me see thy countenance. Let me hear thy voice.” You’re in there for the purpose of fellowship. The Lord is essentially saying to his church, “Now you’ve run into me. You’re hiding in me. This is what happened when you came to Christ, beloved, when you were saved and turned from your sins”. You accepted Christ when you ran to him, you recognized your need for the Son of God and you ran as fast as you could get yourself to Christ to be saved. Now that you’re in there, what is the purpose of being there? It is fellowship! You’re there in the clefts of the rock and the invitation is: “Let me see thy countenance. Let me hear thy voice.” You’re not in there for no reason. You don’t run to Christ just to avoid hell. You don’t run to Christ just to make your parent happy! You don’t run to Christ just to be accepted within a community that might further your employment or help in some other practical fashion. You run to Christ because you are out of fellowship with God. Once you get into Christ you’re there in the place of fellowship and that fellowship should be manifest. Jesus says, “Let me see thy countenance. Let me hear thy voice.” Are you getting the picture? She receives this call because of her protection. She hides in Christ. She’s there in the clefts of the rock.

b. She receives this call because of her position as well. She’s in the secret places of the stairs. This is strange language, no doubt, but stairs speak of elevation and height, and for those that are in Christ, they are taken to a place of elevation. They are! Read the book of Ephesians, chapter 2, that we are seated together in heavenly places in Christ. In Christ! We dwell in a place that is heavenly. We dwell in the place that is other-worldly. We dwell in the place that has not been merited by our work. So, where we dwell is in Christ, in the secret places of the stairs. Again, that’s in Christ, too. Heavenly places in Christ. It’s all Christ. There you are, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, elevated to heavenly places in Christ, made kings and priests unto God. There you are. There you are, a lost, hell-deserving sinner, and this is your experience when you come to Christ. It’s not something you have to wait for. It’s not a matter of well, when I’m a Christian maybe 5 or 10 years, or if I’ve lived really well as a Christian for a period time, then these truths will be true about me. Oh I wish I was like that Christian. There’s a Christian I can see. They definitely are up there in the secret places of the stairs and they have a right to see the countenance of the Lord and be there for him to see them and hear their voice. No, no! No, this happens from the moment of conversion! The moment you are saved, this is true of you. I think it’s a marvel. Remember what the Lord said of Jerusalem because of their rejection of him. He gave warning that the days would come when they would cry out to the rocks to fall on them. As sinners in the hands of an angry God, the only thing rocks should do is crush us and destroy us. But because Christ has come in to aid his people, to save them, to forgive them, to wash away all their sins and impute to them his righteousness, now we are in the clefts of the rock. We are hidden in the rock. We are elevated to secret places of the stairs that we may see the countenance of Christ and he may see our countenance and he may hear our voice as well as us hearing his voice no doubt as well. This is union with Christ. This is what it is to be joined to him. Now, you read through the epistles of Paul particularly, you will see his emphasis on our union with Christ. He will speak in very definitive language. And if you’re a believer, you died in Christ. You died in Christ. In other words, you were in union with Christ when He was dying on the cross. You are equally in union with Christ when he rose again from the dead. So that the merit of his work becomes yours. You don’t have to fear the judgment of God. You don’t have to wonder, “As a child of God, should I be at this table”? No, if you’re in fellowship with the Lord, if you’re not running from him and living in overt sin and rebellion, if there aren’t issues between you and another brother, then you come here and you enjoy this sweet fellowship. Look at what the Lord has done for you beloved? You ask, “How am I in the clefts of the rock. How am I in the secret places of the stairs? How am I there?” Christ! All Jesus Christ from beginning to end. No merit in ourselves. You see, Christ communes with his people on the basis of his own merit. We sang that hymn about the mercy seat. Look, you’re not going to go to heaven, at least in my opinion, for what it’s worth, and there be an actual, physical altar there, as it were, where there’s a mercy seat and all of that going on. Christ is the mercy seat! Christ is the mercy seat. It’s his blood that is there before the Father. It’s his wounds that speak on our behalf. As we fellowship here, as we shall there, it is all on the basis of his work. It’s all because of what he has done from beginning to end. So this call, which again, should amaze us, let me see thy countenance…put your own name there, beloved. I want to see your face. I want to hear your voice.

I wish Christians would get this in the public prayer meeting. I don’t know whether it’s right or not, but sometimes I wonder whether some Christians feel like they have no right to pray. That is the place for other people to pray. They’re there and they’re praying along with other people, but they never actually audibly pray and I wonder, did they feel that they can’t. Did they feel that they’re not permitted? That they’re not allowed, or what is it that holds them back? I’m not saying that every person should pray every week, not at all. But is there ever a thought where you begin to say to yourself, “I couldn’t pray or I’ve no right.” That is utter nonsense. Every single child of God, every last one, this is the glory of the gospel. The glory of the doctrine of justification is that you are justified as justified as any other believer that ever has lived or ever will live. The grounds of your communion with Christ are equal to the grounds of any other believer that has come before God. So, he says to you, like he says to them, “Let me see thy countenance. Let me hear thy voice.” Don’t be hiding away! So she receives this call because of her protection in the clefts of the rock, her position in the secret place of the stairs and:

c. She receives this call because of her purity. “O my dove”, that’s how she’s addressed. The Bible attributes a sense of purity to doves. They are one of the only birds that are allowed in the sacrificial system, showing something of their cleanness. We also know the Holy Spirit came upon the Lord Jesus Christ in the form of a dove at his baptism, so there’s a sense of purity about them. Even through the history of Noah as well we see something of their purity. So, the Christian as we’ve already considered before, they are to have these pure qualities; a sense of purity like the dove. Now, this purity is to be manifest in different ways.

Purity first in relation to the world. She is in the world, isn’t she? She can’t help it. The church is in the world, but we are to have these dove-like qualities in relation to the world. So, we are to maintain a sense of purity even though everything around us is impure. Now that’s a great difficulty. That’s a challenge. In fact, it’s a challenge that only the gospel can address. Truly, in its real sense because while in the past there have been efforts to promote monasticism, because the idea was as we cut ourselves off from the world, then we will cut out all the uncleanness from the world. Then we will be kept pure and holy. Of course, it didn’t work that way. The impurity within the heart was sufficient to make it corrupt. That corruption wasn’t long in manifesting itself behind those walls. But the child of God is to live in this world and not be of the world and show forth these dove like qualities in all of their purity. Becayuse this is what the Lord would have for us. He calls us a dove, “O my dove. MY dove. You’re my dove. You belong to me. You’re bought with a price; the precious blood of Christ you don’t belong to yourself. You’re bought and your spirits are gods. You belong to him body and spirit. Everything you are belongs to the LORD. He says, “I want you to be like a dove.” Like a dove: so as we live in this world we are to, 1 John 2:15 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Not to love the world.

Oh, what is the world? I always get a little bit dubious when someone asks what the world is. What is the world? Are they looking for a way of escape here? Why are you asking what the world is? Usually when the question is asked about what is the world, often at least, it is with the intention of removing responsibility to holiness. That’s usually the motivation. Now, you know your own heart and may say that may apply to some but not to me. Often that’s the case. As soon as you put it in a question “what’s the world?” It’s with the intent to remove the responsibility. It is with a desire to be as close to the world and like the world without actually being on the broad road that leads to destruction that the world is on. So you want to have all the benefits of the word, the aspects of the world, how the world lives, you want all of that. You want to imbibe in its principles its activities its philosophies. You want to imbibe in it all and still be on the way to heaven. That’s a very dangerous approach!

Let me put it as James puts it: First in Chapter 1:27 he says, “pure religion and undefiled is to keep,” there’s another aspect to it of course, visiting the fatherless and the widows but “keeping yourself spotless from world”, keeping yourself unspotted from the world; unspotted from the world. In other words, the world can spot you. It can’t mar you. It can get little bits of it onto you. The purity of the Christian religion, the desire for a genuine walk with God that is only possible because of Christ, is to actually keep myself unspotted from the world, untainted from the world. You know it grieves me; I know that more and more, we have permitted certain things and made things permissible and tolerable in the Christian church. We allow things to come into our lives and we think we have a control on them because they don’t lead into immediate sin. You can watch a program. I mean, there are Christians today who watch a program and, I’ve never seen one or even a clip, I have no idea I’ve never seen a thing to make sure that is clear, a program called Game of Thrones and I looked up on Wikipedia to try and figure out what is this thing that everyone’s talking about. A part of the reason also is because it made part of where Melanie I grew up very famous because there is a scene in an area there that is very familiar to us that was used in one their program. I read the Wikipedia of it and it talked about how it’s pushing the boundaries. I mean, this is a secular, ungodly journalists talking about how the program is pushing the boundaries of what’s acceptable on television. I can’t quite believe what I’m reading, but I know that there are professing believers who watch this; who actually watch it and they excuse it! You may manage to watch those things and it will not have a direct, very evident influence upon your life. What I’m saying is, you may watch it and say a tragedy happens in your life and you can’t draw a straight line. I began to watch this and this happened. That may not be the case. The devil is far more clever than that. But when you watch the world and all its spewing out of the world and the filth. I mean everywhere. Not just programming. Everywhere, the media at every level, it’s just like the dripping of water continually on a rock. Sit there and try to watch and see the change in that rock. You’ll sit there a long time before you’ll see it, but come back in 20 years. The point is, by the continual dripping of a worldly philosophy and ungodly presupposition, a sense of militancy even against Christ, and you’re imbibing it more and more. You can’t imbibe that and you can’t retain that and you can’t take that in without something being driven out. So you have today, people who are grounded in the word of God, still profess to be believers, but they look nothing like and act nothing like and speak nothing like and desire nothing like what Christians in the past were interested in. Unspotted from the world; I should be very suspicious of everything generated by the world system. VERY suspicious! I should be suspicious of everything that Disney puts out, wondering what influence is it going to have on my children? Well it’s just a lot of fun and I’ll grant you, perhaps some one movie, watched once will not have a detrimental effect, but most children, when you bring those DVDs in or you start streaming them all, they will watch them until they KNOW every word off by heart. EVERY word! I know it because I grew up in such a home. My sister and I could go through entire Disney movies and we could describe certain characters, “You be this character and I’ll be that character”, and you could mime off every, EVERY WORD of the entire 90 minutes or whatever length of time it is and you knew exactly…what were you doing, but you are imbibing all the philosophy; Everything that is not founded in Scripture. So kids I say to you, when mom and dad say no, they may not always have the greatest reason why. They may not answer your curiosity as to why am I not allowed to do this or go here or whatever. They may not be able to give you an answer but they are suspicious of the world. They are caring for your soul! Oh I know I sound like I am back about 50 or 100 years, but I read the text: you are to keep yourself unspotted from the world Are you doing it. Am I doing it? James goes on to say in James 4:4, “Know ye not that friendship of the world is enmity with God. Whosoever therefore will be a friend with the world is the enemy of God.” Yes, I need to be very careful. I am to be like a dove.

Purity also in relation to not only the world, but our witness; our witness because Matthew 10:16 says “Be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Harmless. In other words, my life is to be such that it doesn’t bring harm to others and harm especially to the cause of Christ. Isn’t it amazing how unbelievers can have lots of excuses that relate to how other believers live, as to why they don’t believe? Be very careful how you conduct yourself. Every post you put up in social media is reflecting something, not just you and your opinion, but also the overarching testimony you claim in relation to being a Christian. The world watches on and they see it and they say “That Christian said… that Christian believes… that Christian” so on and so forth. We need to be really careful. Why, why, why? Let’s get back to the motivation of it all. Is it because I’m saying it? “He says therefore, we should do it or not do it. He said so it doesn’t matter or he said because he is a voice of authority.” NO! Get back to the text:L O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock. You’re there in union with Christ and the secret places of the stairs, elevated. Elevated! In heavenly places, not in the world NO, no elevated out of the world in Christ. Let me see thy countenance. Let me hear thy voice. I want you to be at communion with me. I want to see your face. I want to hear your voice. I’m not interested in the world. Christ makes that plain. “The world receiveth him not neither knoweth him but YE know him”. You know him. There’s a distinction between the church and the world and Christ has NO fellowship with the world. None. None whatsoever and he doesn’t miss it, you know. He’s not pining after it. He’s not interested. He is interested in you. You, beloved. He’s interested in you; so keenly interested in you! No divided attention, No divided not at all. Christ is not looking at the world thinking Oh I wish I had all of that. That’s what Satan tried to offer him. Satan tried to offer it all to him. He wasn’t interested. “I have my sheep the Father has given to me. It’s for them. My whole goal is for them. My desire is after them. My whole intent is them. I want fellowship with them.” Look at it! Let me see thy countenance. Do you hear Christ calling to you child of God? You haven’t been in the place of prayer. You haven’t been worshiping him as you ought. There’s a distance. The Lord is not seeing your face and he’s not hearing your voice. It’s a marvel, for sweet is thy voice. And they countenance is comely. Do you see that? Sweet is thy voice.

Imagine yourself, there you are, your spouse, (many of you are married). You imagine your spouse saying to you that, maybe you’ve been at a distance for a while. Something has taken you away and you’ve not seen each other for a number of weeks. You’re on the phone, “sweet is thy voice.” What that does to the heart! There they are hearing all these other voices, but your voice, there’s no voice like your voice. All the other faces, but there’s no face like your face. If I can say it reverently, Christ is not happy until all of his people, every last one, is speaking to him and is before him. He’s not going to give up his work and he will not quit gathering in the elect until every last one of his sheep are gathered in. Then, then, there countenances are all before him. All of them, all of those for whom he shed his blood. They’re all gathered in and then there is true jubilation for the Lord Jesus. He wants to hear your voice, yes, the churche’s voice, yes, the church face, but even on an individual basis. Are you not the church? Part of the church? Making up the church? A member of his body? Sweet is thy voice and thy countenance is comely. We don’t understand the love of God, do we? The love of God in Christ. I can look back on the past week. I can do it. You can do it. Just stop for a minute and think over the past week. Let’s look back and realize we’ve been far from being the Christians that we are meant to be. There have been harsh words. Impatience, whether in the home, or on the roads of traffic. There have been evil thoughts, discontentment, outright anger, a lack of compassion, manipulation of others to get our way, avoidance of responsibility, idleness, laziness, greed, envy, speaking of others behind closed doors in ways we would never speak to them to their face. This goes on all the time. The Lord sees it all. When we come today in penitence, all those sins we put under the blood, all of them. Put them under the blood, by faith we claim the promise. The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s son cleanseth us from all sin. Have them all washed away. And then the Lord can hear from us. Our voice is sweet, sweet and our countenance is comely. The Lord is attracted I’m amazed. What grace is this? What love is this?

I’ll not deal with the rest of the verses. The Lord has said enough, I feel, through this one text. It is sufficient for us to leave it at verse 14. See that at this table today, beloved, is this call. A call to a people who are in union with Christ, only to them, only to them, get it please. Do not be taking bread and cup. Do not be participating in something that doesn’t belong to you. Are you in union with Christ? Are you in fellowship with the Lord? Are you walking with Him? Yes, it’s all about those people. If you’re not in fellowship with Christ, don’t participate but right here this morning you could be saved. There’s nothing to hold you back. Why would you put it of? Why would you say “another time, another place”? No! There’s no more glorious position than to have your sins washed away and to be rightly related to God through Christ and to know no matter what happens, I am right with Him! Even if it is aspirations after a wonderful life, a fruitful life. You should have come and heard the testimony, the legacy left by our brother at the funeral yesterday! You should come. You should have listened to it and heard it for yourself. No regrets living for the Lord. A life that was lived well, a life that has left a legacy whereby hundreds and thousands of people, when the name “Dr. Gingery” goes through the mind of thousands of people, they thank God! What do they think when your name goes through their mind? It was just another person in this world living for self and for sin? Or will it be that at your home-calling hundreds thousands realize that not many of us will have the breadth of ministry that he had. Will it be a true sense of “Thank God for that person” Even in the small circle of people. God has put us in the midst of. The Christian life is the only life. May the Lord help us. Let’s bow together in prayer.

Lord we acknowledge today how we fall so far short. We are unworthy. We pray that Thou wouldst give us more and more grace to live in the Spirit of genuine heartfelt gratitude, that Thou hast called us from nature’s darkness into the glorious light of the gospel. Thou hast called us that we would keep ourselves unspotted from the world that we might truly enjoy intimate fellowship with the Lord Jesus, himself. Our hearts are so wicked. We know that there is nothing sweeter than fellowship with Christ and yet still, day by day, we battle to truly prioritize our affections. Father in Heaven, have mercy on us today. Give us the help that we need every last one of us. We pray that Thou wilt be with us around this table. Renew fellowship with us. Revive our sense of Thy presence Deal with our sins. Enlighten our eyes to Thy glory and move in our hearts. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.