Okay, well, I would have you turn once again to the Song of Solomon. A little book of 8 chapters right before the major prophet Isaiah. After the Proverbs and Ecclesiastes you will find the Song of Solomon. We are actually in the midst of a study of the book of Ephesians, but there is a place in chapter 3 of Ephesians where the apostle tells the Ephesians that he is praying for them and how he bends the knee before His Father, and what it is that he lifts up. And his desire is this, that God according to the riches of His glory would do something in these Ephesians. And it specifically has to do with the love of Christ. He wants them to be strengthened with power by the Spirit in their inner being. He wants them to be able to comprehend what the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses understanding or knowledge. And one of the ways that I'm wanting to help bring that out - if the Lord will allow that to happen - is by taking us to the Song of Solomon. Right here at the beginning, you can just move your eyes to Song of Solomon 1:15. I mentioned this last week and told you that I'd be going back here. "Behold, you are beautiful, My love. Behold, you are beautiful. Your eyes are doves." Now, I thought that perhaps I would just start - this is not inspired, but I think nevertheless helpful. Charles Spurgeon in his introductory remarks to a message that he preached from the Song of Solomon. And I don't exactly remember what verse it was he was preaching on, but he had an introduction to the message. And these are the things that he said. Spurgeon: "Certain theologians have doubted the inspiration of Solomon's Song. Others have conceived it to be nothing more than a specimen of ancient love songs. Some have been afraid to preach from it because of it's highly poetical character." And I think what he means by highly poetical is its sensual character. Now listen to this. In his estimation, "the true reason for why men avoid one of the most heavenly portions of God's Word lies in the fact that the spirit of this song is not easily attained. Its music belongs to a higher spiritual life and has no charm in it for unspiritual ears. The Song of Solomon occupies a sacred enclosure into which none may enter unprepared. 'Put off thy shoes from off they feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground,' is the warning voice from its secret tabernacles." Now listen, he looks at all of the books in the Bible and he says this: "The historical books of the Bible, I may compare to the outer courts of the temple." He says, "the Gospels, the epistles, and the Psalms bring us into the holy place or the court of the priests. But the Song of Solomon is the most holy place - the holy of holies, before which the veil still hangs to many an untaught believer. It's not all the saints who can enter here. For they have not yet attained unto the holy confidence of faith, and that exceeding familiarity of love which will permit them to commune in conjugal love with the great Bridegroom. The Song is in truth a book for full grown Christians. It takes a man who has leaned his head upon the bosom of his Master and been baptized with His baptism to ascend the lofty mountains of love on which the spouse stands with her Beloved. The Song of Solomon from the first verse to the last will be clear to those who have received an unction from the Holy One. You're aware, dear friends, that there are very few commentaries upon the epistles of John, where we find 50 commentaries upon the book of Saint Paul, you will hardly find one upon John. Why is that? Is the book too difficult? The words are very simple. There's hardly a word of four syllables anywhere in John's epistles. Ah, but they are so saturated through and through with the spirit of love which also perfumes the book of Solomon, that those who are not taught in the school of communion cry out, 'we cannot read it, for it's sealed.' The Song of Solomon is a golden casket of which love is the key rather than learning. Those who have not attained unto heights of affection; those who have not been educated by familiar intercourse with Jesus cannot come near to this mine of treasure seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living and kept closed from the fouls of heaven. Oh for the soaring eagle wing of John; oh for the seeing dove's eyes of Solomon. But the most of us are blind and cannot see afar off." And you know what he prays? He basically prays for his people that day much like Paul prays there in Ephesians 3, "may God be pleased to make us grow in grace and give us so much of the Holy Spirit that with feet like hinds' feet, we may stand upon the high places of Scripture and this morning have some near and dear intercourse with Christ Jesus." The Song of Solomon. This is not a book to come to if you're simply looking for expositions of correct doctrine. That is most true. There is correct doctrine here, but it's not for the cold; it's not for the dry; it's not for the academic. Song of Songs. Holy of holies. Undoubtedly, Spurgeon's right at that point. I want to tread carefully here. So that being said by way of introduction, I just want you to think of the theme here. Look at chapter 1:4. This is the bride: "Draw me after You." And notice how the bride kind of goes from singular to plural. That's how it is. I can speak on very personal terms about Christ's love to me. I can pray to Him, "Draw me, but let us run." It opens up into a plurality. But notice this: these are the two words I want you to see right here. "The King has brought me into His chambers." There's a King. This is a book about a King. And it's precisely this King who utters those words that we just read in Song of Solomon 1:15. Go back there. This is the King. This is kingly expression. The King of Kings: "Behold, you are beautiful, My love. Behold, you are beautiful." Who's He speaking to? Now, I want you to see this woman. Notice chapter 1:6. And again, I would say to you, this cannot be taken literally. King Solomon did not have wives who were being abused by their brothers, who were being forced to keep vineyards. That would never have happened. But when you think about the picture of this being the church - just think with me here. Song of Solomon 1:6. She says, "do not gaze at me because I am dark." In some sense, the church can say that. I am dark. How? We'll touch on that in a second, but listen to this: "...Because the sun has looked upon me. My mother's sons were angry with me. They made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept." She is a tender of vineyards in the sun, in the heat of the sun. Just tuck that one away. Go to v. 7. "Tell me, You who my soul loves, where You pasture Your flock." And go to v. 8, He answers, "If you do not know, O most beautiful among women, follow in the tracks of the flock and pasture your young goats beside the shepherd's tents." So she's a tender of vineyards. She is also a shepherdess. But then let's go back. Look at v. 5. "I am very dark." She isn't dark because she's an Ethiopian or from some African country. She specifically says why she's dark. Notice: she's dark because the sun has looked on her. What does that tell us? She's not from among the ranks of the pampered. She's accustomed to work. She's unaccustomed to being spoiled in the lap of luxury and palaces and covered carriages. She's acquainted with the fields and the farms. Now, I don't know much about this, but I do know that like when the kings of England, when the princes, when they marry girls who are not royalty, that gets attention. Like Prince Harry, she may be an actress, but she's a commoner. And wasn't that the case with his brother too? She wasn't royalty was she? Wasn't that the case with dad? (incomplete thought) But it gets people's attention. Maybe it's become more of a common thing, but the thing I want you to see here is this King has set His love upon a commoner. Oh, that's good news. No matter how she might be, there's one thing in this little 8 chapter book that you just cannot miss throughout the whole Song of Solomon. The King finds this lowly girl ravishingly beautiful, and He keeps saying that - just look here: v. 15 where we already looked, "Behold, you are beautiful." You know, typically in very cultured circles - especially in ancient times, the lighter the skin complexion because they weren't in the sun, there's something almost desirable about that. And here's a girl that's dark, and He finds her ravishingly beautiful. "Behold, you are beautiful." And if you backtrack a little bit back to v. 8 - we just read this. "Most beautiful..." "Most beautiful among women," v. 8. And look at 2:2 - this is the title of my message. I called this "A Lily Among Brambles." "As a lily among brambles, so is My love among the young women." I mean, do you realize what that's saying? The King is not saying to His church that she is a lily among lesser flowers. You see that? The truth is God's people stand out from the rest of mankind like a beautiful flower stands out - not from flowers of lesser beauty, but from weeds, from brambles, from briars. That's the picture. What we have to recognize is this, you are either most beautiful or you're briar. There's no middle ground here. It's one or the other. Again, that imagery doesn't really work in this world. Because as far as beauty goes, there's a whole spectrum. But here, this King is saying either lily or bramble. No in-between. Look at Song of Solomon 4:1. He just can't quit saying it. "Behold, you are beautiful, My love. Behold, you are beautiful." And if all that wasn't enough, look at 4:7. I mean, there's two expressions here. What could we say if you could really embrace this? Christ says this to you, Christian. "You're altogether beautiful, My love." And then not just beautiful. He said you're beautiful altogether. And He examines her and says, "You're perfect." "There's no flaw..." Brethren, my goal is still the same ever since the beginning of this. It is: Father, You had Paul pray, according to the riches of Your glory, have these people to be strengthened so that they can comprehend something of the love that Christ has for them that surpasses all knowledge. Christian, may God give you the ability to comprehend that these are thoughts that Christ has towards you. How many true Christians here among us truly believe that Christ looks at us with such thoughts as these? "You're altogether beautiful, My love. There is no flaw in you." Brethren, do you realize what the blood of Christ is? It's beautifying blood. We think of it as cleansing. Yes, indeed it does that. We think of it as washing. But you have to remember something. It really does cleanse. You know what it is to cleanse? It means the water takes the dirt away. The blood really does that. It really removes every single stain and spot and blemish. Every one of them. We think of it as washing. It does wash, but recognize it for all that it is. It is beautifying blood. The blood of Jesus Christ washes us beautiful. We don't often think that, but that's what you get here. And I think Spurgeon's right, this is the holy of holies. This is the pinnacle. The other books - even the Gospels perhaps take us into the holy place, but this takes us in further. We get the very thoughts of Christ as He's looking upon His bride, washed in His blood, and He sees not a single flaw. Brethren, men of this world, they find women attractive though there be no love about it. Now all sorts of men in this world can find women attractive, but they don't love the women at all. And men in this world can find women attractive even if there are flaws because there always are. But our Lord's love is never separated from those He finds beautiful because it cost Him His life's blood to make them beautiful. And this is the thing we need to see, He makes them entirely beautiful. It's only those in which there is no flaw that He finds beautiful. Do you recognize? Jesus has no lesser attraction for people who are just somewhat lesser beautiful. That's not the case. Because you know if He finds even a blemish, He finds them ugly. Totally unfit. Adam's one sin - what happened? God put him away. God put him out of the garden. There were cherubim with flaming swords. If there's even one blemish, you will certainly go to hell. We need to recognize what it is that Christ has done for us. He's made us altogether beautiful. And that is hard. That's hard for us to swallow. Christian, I know how you think because I know how I think, and I'm made of the same stuff that you're made of. (incomplete thought) We walk through life. What happens? We're still subject to sin, failure, falls, coldness, dryness of soul. We didn't sing it today, but we know it's true. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. And we do that. Because all that's true. So we have a massively hard time believing that Song of Solomon 4:7 is true. Altogether beautiful? Am I altogether beautiful? There's no flaw in me? Not even one? Look, isn't it a flaw when I don't show hospitality like Brother James said? What if I get selfish, lazy? What if I have thoughts of jealousy or covetousness or pride? Are you telling me that's no flaw? It sure feels like a flaw to me. And we feel that way. We're not thankful. Aren't those blemishes? I feel that they are. You feel that they are. But I would ask you this, have you never read one of the simple statements made by John? I mean, Spurgeon said it. You can hardly find a four-syllable word in John's writings. Listen to this. You've heard this, but hear it again. "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." Did you hear that? The blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all - altogether beautiful. All of it's gone. Listen to what John is saying. "If we walk in the light..." You see, he doesn't say, "Everybody is beautiful." "Everybody is without blemish." "Everybody has had all sin..." Uh huh... nope. How can we tell in whom the cleansing has taken place? Because they no longer walk in the darkness. They walk in the light. If you're a real Christian - a person who walks in the light - Jesus said those who walk in darkness, they wouldn't come to Him. Why? Because their deeds were evil. They loved the darkness more than the light. Oh, but if you know it, you love Christ, you love to be in His presence, you love His righteousness, you have a desire for that. Your heart's been changed. You love God's people. You love His truth. You have a desire for that light. You have this promise. I know you know this, but listen. Doesn't Scripture say that for our sake God made Christ to be sin who knew no sin, so that we might what? Become what? Do you really take that for what it is? Do you know what it is to become the righteousness of God? It's to have no blemish in you. It's to be perfect. It's to be altogether beautiful. "By one man's obedience..." have you ever read that? "By one man's obedience" what happened? "The many will be made righteous." And they really are. Do you recognize, Christian, you really are righteous? You really are the righteousness of God. You really are altogether beautiful. His blood really has cleansed away every single sin. And the reality is, every time there's a new sin, washed clean. It's clean. No blemish can stick to you. You say, oh, those are flaws, but don't you realize the power of the blood? Altogether beautiful - even on your worst day. Altogether lovely. I love the imagery of the Song of Solomon. Look at Song 4:9. Hear Jesus speaking to you, Christian. "You've captivated My heart, My sister, My bride. You've captivated My heart with one glance of your eyes." Now listen to this. This is what I'm shooting at here. "With one jewel of your necklace." I searched "necklace" in the English. And do you know what popped up? This text popped up. Don't turn to it. Just listen to it. Psalm 73:6. Now this is speaking of the wicked, not of the righteous. But if you want to know what a necklace is symbolic of, listen to this. "Therefore pride is their necklace. Violence covers them as a garment." Now you just think about that. Pride is their necklace. When a person is proud, what the psalmist is saying is it's like having a necklace on. It's visible. It's something that's apparent. It's close to the face. It's above the clothes line. It's visible. A necklace is likened to the character of the person. A necklace. The church's necklace obviously is not pride, but rather whatever it is, it's that which Christ finds beautiful in His bride. But here's the question to ask: Where does a lowly shepherdess get a necklace of jewels? Well, He gave it to her. You say, where's that in the text? Brethren, I've had a thought cross my mind more than once as I've read through Scripture. Typically, I try to go through the Bible roughly maybe from beginning to end once a year. So maybe once a year over the last almost 30 years I hit the book of Daniel. Have you ever read something like this? Listen to this - Daniel: "I lifted up my eyes and looked and behold a man clothed in linen with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around His waist. His body was like beryl, His face like the appearance of lightning. His eyes like flaming torches. His arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze. The sound of His words like the sound of a multitude." This one before Daniel, He says to Daniel, "O Daniel, man greatly loved. Understand the words that I speak to you and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you." I read those words: "O Daniel, man greatly loved..." I don't know if you've ever read that and thought what I've thought, but I've always thought: Oh Lord, I want to be that man. I want to be that man that is greatly loved of the Lord. Or you think of John. Remember how John described himself? Just there at the end of John's Gospel. "Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved." Don't you want to be that guy? Don't you want that kind of title? I mean he's using it of himself. It's not even somebody else that's saying, "oh, we can see..." (incomplete thought) He's under inspiration. He's certainly not saying that in pride. I think he's saying it in amazement. The thought I've had is this: Oh, to be greatly loved like Daniel! To be the disciple whom Jesus loved like John! And listen, why do I have thoughts like that? Because I feel inferior to them. Because it strikes me in my own mind and my own conscience: Oh, well, for him to say that, for those expressions to be made, they were favorites. They were loved more. I mean, I'm less deserving. I feel that. I'm not as holy. I haven't measured up to where they were. I fall short somehow. We're not like so-and-so. But brethren, if only we might have the eyes to see. The thing is there's no step-children. (incomplete thought) I was just thinking. My mind went to Matthew 25 and I thought Jesus saying "as much as you've done it to one of the least of these, My brethren..." But then I was also thinking in 1 Thessalonians 5 where it talks about the faint, the weak, the unruly. I'm thinking about the most faint Christian that's ever lived; the most unruly Christian that's ever lived; the least of these My brethren. And you know what Jesus says? You're perfect. You are altogether beautiful. There's no flaw in you. There's no blemish. (incomplete thought) Look at chapter 7:10 - He can say this: (this is actually the church speaking). But listen to her confidence. You see, this is where I want you. This is where we need to be. We need to think and say with the same confidence that she can say in this verse: "I am my Beloved's, and His desire is for me." And that's no lie. She wasn't making that up. That's altogether the truth. But oh that we might have the confidence. Listen to me, what happens in the Christian's life? What happens to us when we really believe this? What happens when we really get to the place where we believe we're not second-class Christians? We don't fall short of Daniel and John. The reality is that these words are spoken to every one of us equally. "I love you, and I find you beautiful, and I desire you." What happens? What happens to a person when they become filled with the confidence and the assurance that Jesus Christ actually desires them and finds them altogether beautiful all the time? Even when I've had a bad day? What happens when the Christian really embraces this reality? What reality? Like this reality - chapter 2:10. Look at it. Again, this is her at the beginning, but she's going to tell you what He says. You know, brethren, listen to me. Oftentimes in the Song of Solomon, it doesn't just tell you what He says. She tells you what He says. You say, what does that mean? She has become confident in His love for her. And that's where we need to be. Now listen to this. This is 2:10, "My Beloved speaks and says to me..." Oh, Christian, may God give you ears to hear this as Christ's voice to you. "Arise, My love, My beautiful one and come away." "Come away." From where? Whatever preoccupies; whatever distracts; whatever takes you away from Him. Come away. "For behold, the winter is passed. The rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth." I love this: "The time of singing has come." If you are saved, this description fits you and it is a time for singing. Christians ought to be the people of all people on the face of this earth that sing. We have reason to sing. "It is a time of singing and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree ripens its figs. The vines are in blossom. They give forth fragrance." And He says it again, "Arise, My love, My beautiful one, and come away." I mean, what happens to the Christian who truly hears these words in his or her ears? Look at v. 14. "O My dove in the clefts of the rock..." This is a good picture. We are those doves. Where are the clefts of the rock? That's where the doves hide. Notice: "In the crannies of the cliff." We find places to hide. Where are those hiding places? They're away from being with Him. And He's calling, "Let Me hear your voice." In other words, when you're hid in the crannies of the cliffs, He's not hearing your voice. You're hiding. He's saying, "Come! Come out of there." Remember what she says. "His desire is for me." He says, "Your voice is sweet. Your face is lovely." One of the reasons we shy away is because we feel dirty. We hide. We're too much like Peter, right? We're just like him. "Peter, if I don't wash you, you have no part with Me." And we feel it. Lord, wash my head. Wash my hands. And He's saying it's not necessary. But we feel like Peter. Ugh... I haven't had a perfect day, so we feel defiled like Peter. "Wash us, Lord," and He's saying "you're already clean." You're washed. What happens when this truth grabs us? That our Lord finds us beautiful? Desires us? Calls us to come away? Arise because He wants to hear our voice? See our face? I'll tell you what happens. No matter what failures you've experienced, you'll find it a time for singing, a time of shouting, a time to arise and go away. You know what happens when you really start to believe this? It doesn't matter if you've had a bad day. It doesn't matter the things that you've done. What you're going to find is: I can go to Him and He wants me to go to Him and He finds me beautiful. And this thing never was based on my performance. His blood really has made me as clean as what Scripture says. He finds me altogether beautiful. Why? Not because there's any innate beauty in me. He found me ugly. He found me in my blood and in my sin, but He washed me. And He made me clean and that is so real. And even the eyes of God Himself find no blemish in me. Altogether lovely. Altogether. If you believe this, it will entirely energize your prayer life, because you won't feel like: oh, I've had a rotten day. How could I go pray? And if you can hear His voice saying: "Your face is lovely. I want to hear your voice. My desire is for you. Come to Me." Oh, the fools we are! We are fools! So often. Why? Because we buy into the lie of the devil. And you can be sure it's him. And I'll tell you this, what he seeks to do is the same thing he did with Eve, and it's to pull you away and the thoughts of your head away from a pure devotion to Christ. That's exactly what the apostle told the Corinthians. That's what he's doing. And if there's any way to do it, to pull you away from a sincere devotion to Him, it's by telling you you're ugly, you're full of sin, you can't go to Him, who are you? Paul says that we would not be outwitted by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his designs. Listen to me, one of the great designs of the devil is to convince you that this is not true. And he will seek to do that and he will seek to whisper his venom in your ear. (incomplete thought) Listen to the text. (incomplete thought) This is what Paul says to the Corinthians: "I'm afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts..." This comes out of 2 Corinthians 11. "I'm afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts..." or your minds, "will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ." Now did you get that? He wants to attack you right here. How you think. (Incomplete thought) What this tells us is there's a constant attack on your thoughts. How does he do it? I don't know how he does it. But you know thoughts come into your brain. What this tells me is he's got the ability to interject thoughts in your head. When thoughts pop into your mind, that is often him. Now, God can bring thoughts to your mind, but we're not ignorant of his designs. What does he do? He wants thoughts going through our minds that lead us away from Christ; that lead us - did you get the word? Astray. Astray from what? Astray from Christ. Astray from this sincere and pure devotion to Christ. That's the issue. How did the devil deceive Eve? Lead her astray from pure, concentrated attraction and devotion to Christ? Well, just listen. "The woman said to the serpent, 'we may eat the fruit of the trees in the garden.'" Because you remember, he said, "did God really say that you can't eat of all the trees?" She said, "No, that's not what He said." "'He said we may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden,' but God said, 'you shall not eat of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it lest you die.' But the serpent said to the woman, 'you will not surely die.'" But you know that's not all he said. He didn't just say God's a liar. Listen to what he says. "God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing good and evil." See? There it is. God's holding out on you. God full well knows that in the eating of that tree, far from dying like God threatened, the result of eating that fruit will be that you will have a clearer understanding of both good and evil, a degree of knowledge like you never had before. You're going to be like God, and God is unwilling that you should enjoy that. God's unwilling that you should be as happy as you might be. Brethren, we're not ignorant of the devil's designs. Right? So let's not be ignorant. That's the issue. One design of the devil is this: He will make God's ways into cruelty and drudgery and slavery. He doesn't want you to think that Christianity is like this Groom who comes in and finds you altogether lovely and His desire is for you and He says, "Commune with Me. It's a time for singing. Come out of your crannies and cracks of the rocks and I desire to be with you. I want you to walk with Me. I love your voice. I love your face. I want to commune with you." The devil doesn't want you to think Christianity is like that. And you know what? Most of us, when we were lost will admit, we thought Christianity... no, we don't want that. God's a killjoy! He's going to give me a bunch of laws and rules and make my life miserable! And see, the devil's right there. Oh, he wants you to think exactly like that. Exactly. The devil would have us think that Christ doesn't really like us. You know what he wants you to think? He's constantly frowning. You didn't measure up today. That's how he wants you to think because that's how he is. But that's not how Christ is. That blood washed you clean. The devil's always whispering: "Oh, God has such a hard time liking you." "He doesn't really love you." He puts a spin on God. "God is selfish and self-serving and uncaring." He would have us see God and see Christ as being cold towards us and distant and unapproachable and angry and hostile, uncaring. Bunyan picked up on this in Pilgrim's Progress. Listen, Pilgrim is coming across the plain and it says, "Now Christian had not gone far in this valley of humiliation before he was severely tested. For he noticed a very foul fiend." Apollyon coming across the field. Listen to what Apollyon says to him. "Consider what it will be like when your spirit is low." So, he's saying to Christian, you better think about this path you're getting on following the king's path. He said "Christ is going to bring you into low places, and at the same time, you have much to encounter in the way you're going. You're aware that for the most part, Christ's servants come to a wretched end. And yet, He's never come from His heavenly residence to rescue any of His servants." He's basically saying Christ is going to put you on a hard way. It's going to be a cruel way, and He doesn't come to help you. But you just tell me this. What happens when God comes from Heaven and takes upon Himself human flesh? What does He do? What is He like? When this pure, radiance of the glory of God walks this earth as a man and He says out of all the miracles that I could start my ministry with, what would send the clearest message to these people of My goodness towards them? He goes to a wedding and He turns water into wine. It's the best wine! Scripture says, "Your love is better than wine," there in the Song of Solomon. What does that say to us? Is He saying, "Look at Me. I'm cruel. I'm uncaring. I've come to make life hard for you." He comes saying, "I have come to give mankind joy and freedom and life more abundantly. I've come to pour out My love on you." As undeserving as you may be, He came to procure for Himself a bride. But He knew the stock of mankind into which He was coming. He came to make Himself a bride out of the fallen, the wretched, the broken, the lowly. This is the love of Christ. It surpasses understanding. Just look at the desire of the Savior in the Song of Solomon. I'll take you here again. Chapter 2:10. Again, this is her speaking. I want you to speak this way, brethren. I want you to be able to say this with confidence. "My Beloved speaks and says to Me, 'Arise, My love, My beautiful one and come away.'" And you know one of the things that I'd say is we should tune our ears to hear His voice. You feel quickened to pray? You feel some drawing? You feel some necessity? Don't ever despise that. "For behold, the winter is passed..." Again, He says, "the time of singing has come." Or you look at v. 13 again. "The fig tree ripens its figs. The vines are in blossom. They give forth fragrance. Arise, My love, My beautiful one, and come away." Or you go to Song of Solomon 4:8. Here you see it again. "Come with Me from Lebanon, My bride." Come with Me from Lebanon. Come with Me. He bids you to come away. Not to go away from Him. Come with Me. Brethren, I don't know how it is with you, but I know how it is with me. I fall. I fail. I'm foolish. And a thought arises in my head: Can I just go to Him now? After what I've done? There's an innate works mindset built into us just from the stock of which we come. It's almost like we feel like we have to do a certain measure of penance to kind of get ourselves back. But listen, the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us. Didn't John say it? He said, "My little children, I'm writing to you that you don't sin, but if you sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous." We can run to Him. We can confess our sins and He's faithful and just to forgive. The last place you want to go anytime is away from Christ. But the devil will have you do it. Don't despise this. We know his designs. His design is to take you away from this pure, sincere devotion to Christ. Having Christ in your eyes. He's calling you, "Come. Come away." "Come to Me." The devil's right there: "No, you can't go. You can't go. He's angry with you." But listen... listen to His voice. "Arise, My love, My beautiful one, and come away." That's a statement for the ages. It's true every single day of your saved life. And Satan says, "Uh huh. You're ugly." And Christ says, "You're beautiful." He says, "You're ugly!" Christ says, "You're beautiful." Who are you going to believe? He's a liar. Who are you going to believe? Have you ever considered the account in Zechariah? You might want to turn there. Go to Zechariah. Second to the last book of the Old Testament. You have Zephaniah, Haggai, and then Zechariah right before Malachi. Look at chapter 3. Chapter 3:3. "And Joshua was standing before the Angel clothed with filthy garments." Zechariah 3:3. "Joshua was standing before the Angel clothed with filthy garments." Now go back up to v.1. "He showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord." Notice, Satan's there. So you have Joshua clothed in filthy garments. There's Satan. He's standing - undoubtedly at the right hand of the Lord - to accuse Joshua. And look at v. 2. "The Lord said to Satan, 'The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you. Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?'" You know what's true? He was standing there in a filthy garment. And you know what's true? Most of the devil's accusations about you are true. Your failures that he throws in your face? You did fail. That's a reality. We do sin. We do fail. We do fall. We are foolish. And yet, we can say, "Satan, the Lord rebuke you." Why? Because we too are brands plucked from the fire. Look at v. 4, "The Angel said to those who were standing before Him, 'remove the filthy garments...'" This is what the blood does. "Remove the filthy garments from him. And to him He said, 'Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you and I will clothe you with pure vestments.'" You see, the devil, he knows what we do. He throws it in our face. But the reality is that the Lord says to us: "I know what you've done. And I know better than the devil what you've done. And I didn't withhold My love from you at the first because of your sins and I don't withhold it now. Arise, My love, My beautiful one, and come away." What a special love this is! Because listen, when the devil fell, there was no sweet voice bidding him to come away. The way is barred for him forever. And he would have you think that the way is barred to you as well, but you remember this: he's a liar. He's the father of lies. The voice of your Savior is this: "Let Me see your face." You wake up in the morning; this is true all the time. It speaks in your ears every moment of your saved life. "Let Me see your face. Let Me hear your voice." If you listen to the devil's voice, you know what you'll hear? "Well, even if Jesus is bidding somebody to come which it seems like in these words He is, it's someone who's beautiful. And that rules you out. And if that actually is Jesus saying that He finds you beautiful, well, now you know you can't really take Him seriously because you know that doesn't describe you." Or he just says to us, "You know what? None of this is Jesus speaking to you at all. This is just Solomon talking to one of his women. This isn't Jesus talking to you." But if you'll listen to Jesus' voice: "Let Me see your face. Let Me hear your voice. For your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely." And you know, to those of you that don't know this Savior, there is a text, and it speaks to you. It's found in Psalm 45 and it goes this way: "Hear, O daughter, and consider and incline your ear. Forget your people and your father's house and the King will desire your beauty." That's a beautiful picture of repentance. Turn away from your ways, your people, and turn to Him, and look to that blood to wash you, and the King will desire your beauty as well. But you've got to go to Him to make you beautiful. Don't think - don't ever tell somebody, "Well, I'm a good person. I'm going to get there." If you say that, you are ugly. All your best works do - the best works of righteousness that you accomplish are filthy rags. You say, "Well, I'm a good person." No, you're not. You're ugly. But if you say, "I went to Him in all my sin. I cried to Him and He's washed me with His blood." I'll tell you this, you're perfect. There is no spot. There is no blemish. And His desire is for you. And He wants to commune with you. He knocks at that door. He says, "Open to Me, so I can come in." And we're going to see in chapter 5 of the Song of Solomon, it is to come in and eat and it is to come in for intimacy. We're talking the picture of a bridegroom and his bride. This is what He wants with His people. Christianity is the best imaginable thing. It is being drawn into this world of the love of the Savior; the attraction of the Savior; the purity of the Savior; the longings of the Savior; the intimacy, the communion and interaction with the Savior - this is true Christianity. You don't want to fall short of this. Don't buy into cheap imitations of Christianity. Oh, well, I made a decision. I said a prayer. People have a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. You don't want that. You want this. This is good. This is a time of singing when you've got this. If you don't have this, it's all a mirage. It's a fake. It's an imitation. You don't want that. Religion like that - it's morbid, it's horrible. You may as well go back to the world than have that. It's just a delusion. In the end, you spend your whole life religious and then you hear His voice. "Oh Lord, I did all the things." "Depart from Me you workers of lawlessness." No, go to Him and have Him wash that lawlessness altogether away so that you are altogether beautiful. Father, I pray, may You convince Your people of the reality that Christ actually thinks these thoughts towards His people. Convince us. According to the riches of Your glory convince us, that we might comprehend the realities of this love. I pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.