Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Christ comes to the church in love

The church knows the voice of her husband. And he comes to her. Richard Sibbes shows us three ways from Song 5:2 (Bowels Opened, Sermon 5).
1. He knocks. 2. He comes, even waiting for her to answer. 3. He names.
Christ still desires a further and further communion with his church. Even as the true soul that is touched with the Spirit, desires nearer and nearer communion with Christ; so he seeks nearer and nearer communion with his spouse, by all sanctified means. Christ has never enough of the soul. He would have them more and more open to him. Our hearts are for Christ, who has the heaven of heavens, and the soul of a believing Christian for himself to dwell in. He contents not himself to be in heaven alone, but he will have our hearts. He knocks here, waits, speaks friendly and lovingly, with such sweet words, ‘My love, my dove,' &c, ...Christ desires further entertainment in his church's heart and affection that he might lodge and dwell there.
What if we are estranged from him, if he seems distant? Sibbes argues that this is often caused by our keeping of bad company instead of being with the church "evil company is a great dampener" and also from "discontinuing religious exercises" we lose a sense of his love "when we do not prize and value, as we should, the communion that should be between the soul and Christ." Yet Christ does not neglect those who are wayward from failing or weaknesses - he knocks! Christ is God and God is love "So Christ, as God, is all love to the church". This is always the case:
"If he be angry in correcting, it is out of love; if merciful, it is out of love; if he is powerful in defending his church, and revenging himself on her enemies, all is love."
He loves us and we know this because he knocks:
"He knocks, that we should open, and let him come into our hearts, into our more intimate affections and love. Nothing will content him but intimateness"
We might ask how does he knock? (to be continued)