The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 25 : The SONG OF SOLOMON

[25-13] (Song of Solomon 8:8-14) What Do You Need To Live out Your Faith?

(Song of Solomon 8:8-14)
“We have a little sister,
And she has no breasts.
What shall we do for our sister
In the day when she is spoken for?
If she is a wall,
We will build upon her
A battlement of silver;
And if she is a door,
We will enclose her
With boards of cedar.
I am a wall,
And my breasts like towers;
Then I became in his eyes
As one who found peace.
Solomon had a vineyard at Baal Hamon;
He leased the vineyard to keepers;
Everyone was to bring for its fruit
A thousand silver coins.
My own vineyard is before me.
You, O Solomon, may have a thousand,
And those who tend its fruit two hundred.
You who dwell in the gardens,
The companions listen for your voice—
Let me hear it!
Make haste, my beloved,
And be like a gazelle
Or a young stag
On the mountains of spices.”
 
 
Earlier today we ruminated on the Song of Solomon, and this evening also, I would like to continue to share the Word of God from the Song of Solomon. It’s written in The Song of Solomon 8:8-10: “We have a little sister, And she has no breasts. What shall we do for our sister In the day when she is spoken for? If she is a wall, We will build upon her A battlement of silver; And if she is a door, We will enclose her With boards of cedar. I am a wall, And my breasts like towers; Then I became in his eyes As one who found peace.”
In my previous sermon I explained to you what it means to lead a life of faith. This evening, I would like to address what you need to live out your faith.
 
 
First, You Need God’s Grace
 
God said here in the Song of Solomon 8:8: “We have a little sister, And she has no breasts. What shall we do for our sister In the day when she is spoken for?” As it’s written here, we have a little sister who fell in love and is about to get married. Yet, she still does not have breasts as she is not mature enough. What should we do for her? This passage should not be interpreted literally, for it has spiritual connotations. In other words, it asks us what we should do for our fellow saints who have not yet reached spiritual maturity. The “we” here refers to those of us who received the remission of sins earlier.
The answer to the question is found here in the Song of Solomon 8:9, which says: “If she is a wall, We will build upon her A battlement of silver; And if she is a door, We will enclose her With boards of cedar.” As it’s written, we need to build upon her a battlement of silver. The “battlement of silver” here refers to God’s grace. So, if a young sister has no breasts—that is, if our fellow saints have not reached spiritual maturity yet, then we need to clothe them in God’s grace. It’s also written here, “And if she is a door, We will enclose her with boards of cedar,” implying that what our young saints really need is our prayers. In this way, they are made ready to get married to the Groom, just as it’s written: “I am a wall, And my breasts like towers; Then I became in his eyes As one who found peace” (Song of Solomon 8:10).
Today’s Scripture reading is speaking of the saints who have found God’s grace. What do we really need to live out our faith? God’s grace is absolutely indispensable to us. Here the Lord spoke about “the battlement of silver,” and the biblical meaning of silver is God’s grace. The cedar here, on the other hand, carries many symbolic meanings, but in the context of today’s Scripture reading it refers to the prayers that we offer to God. Cedar is also fragrant, indicating a prayerful life. What we gain from praying to God is the fruit of faith. This speaks to what all of us need right now.
It shows us that God’s grace is absolutely indispensable to us. The grace of God that the Lord has bestowed upon us is absolutely necessary for us to follow the righteousness of the Lord. It’s very important for us to live with a clear understanding of this absolute need to have our Lord’s grace. We must remember that without God’s blessings and help, we cannot live out our faith, and without God’s grace, we cannot live as His servants even if we wish so. Unless we have found God’s grace, we cannot even call ourselves God’s workers.
If we are a door, we need to ask the Lord to enclose us with boards of cedar, and if we have no breasts, we need to ask the Lord to build upon us a battlement of silver. In this way, we must fill our hearts with God’s grace. Indeed, all of us have absolutely no merit before God, nor do we have anything righteous by ourselves. Yet, even though we have nothing righteous on our own, our God wants to turn us, the believers in His righteousness, into His own brides and workers, and to thus fulfill His will through us. And ultimately, the Lord wants us to live with Him forever.
We must believe in this that God wants to clothe us in such splendor and glory. To fulfill His will on this earth, God has to clothe us in His grace. Therefore, we can realize here that what’s absolutely indispensable for us to live out our faith is God’s grace. We now know that without the righteousness of God and His blessings, we cannot live a proper life of faith. This is impossible unless we have God’s grace.
Now, all of us want to live out our faith properly, looking toward and trusting in the righteousness of God. The life of faith that’s proper in God’s sight is made possible only by His grace, which is found only after receiving the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. As we carry on with our lives of faith, many of our weaknesses are exposed from time to time. Although we have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, our own talents and strength of the flesh are not enough for us to follow our Lord. As a result, sometimes we fall into despair when we see our weaknesses, thinking to ourselves, “Woe is me! Why do have so many shortcomings? Everyone else seems to be strong enough to lead a proper life of faith, but alas, I am too weak!”
However, as we lead our lives of faith and follow the Lord by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we discover that God’s mercy is absolutely indispensable to all of us the saved. We are of those who abide in God’s grace and mercy. That’s because God has truthfully blotted out all our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It’s because we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we have become sinless, and it’s by the grace of God that we are able to live as His workers. Because God has saved us once and for all from all our sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we can now live by faith.
Our faith and our blessings here refer to not only the Word of God and the remission of sins that God has given us, but they also refer to the gifts of grace that God gives us according to His time. As God has made into His own people all of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we can live as God’s workers in spite of our shortcomings. It’s absolutely critical for us to never forget this but remember it always.
We should never forget that it’s only all because we found God’s mercy that we have been able to lead our lives of faith to this day and live as God’s workers. What we come to appreciate more and more as we live out our faith is God’s protection. It’s by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we have received the remission of sins and are now living out our faith, and all of this is thanks to God’s grace, His mercy, and His blessings. In other words, God has been clothing us in His perfect grace every day so that we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit may live out our faith. It is none other than God Himself who has made it possible for us to dedicate our lives on this earth to the gospel ministry. That’s why we have been able to live as God’s workers despite our shortcomings, all thanks to God’s grace.
We can appreciate profoundly here that all these things have come about because God has helped us throughout our lives of faith. However, until we understood God’s grace, we used to disobey His will by turning to our own judgment. Some of you might have thought, “Why am I like this? It’s been many years since I received the remission of sins, so why am I still so weak?” Have you not had such thoughts? I’m sure most of you had thoughts like this at one point or another. However, by holding onto the righteousness of God and praying to Him by faith, we have come to get all our problems addressed.
What are we compelled to confess before God? It’s that we have reached our salvation only because God Himself has saved us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and that we have been able to carry out God’s work only because He has bestowed His mercy on us—it’s all thanks to God’s grace, in other words. The life of faith that we are leading is not led by our own strength, but by the grace of God, His love, and His blessings.
It’s because God wants to fulfill His will through us. This is precisely why we are abiding in God’s Church. And this is why we do not fall into despair, and instead we are able to live out our faith boldly until the day we stand before God. What all of us need to lead such a life of faith is God’s grace. In His grace, we can see that God has saved us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit; that He has made us His own children; that He has become our own Shepherd and Guide; and that He is bestowing His power on us and blessing us every day. Despite the fact that we suffer from many shortcomings, God does not forsake us, and we can realize here that this, too, is all thanks to His grace. Today’s Scripture reading is teaching us that such grace of God is absolutely indispensable to us. What is the second element that we need to live out our faith?
 
 
God’s Church And its Leader Is Indispensable to Us Now
 
Let’s turn to Song of Solomon 8:11-12 here: “Solomon had a vineyard at Baal Hamon; He leased the vineyard to keepers; Everyone was to bring for its fruit A thousand silver coins. My own vineyard is before me. You, O Solomon, may have a thousand, And those who tend its fruit two hundred.” My fellow believers, everything we have is to be returned to our Lord. All our possessions belong to the Lord. As we are doing God’s work, everything we have is to be returned back to our Lord. As it’s written here, Solomon leased his vineyard to keepers, and every keeper was to offer him a thousand silver coins from the fruit of the vineyard, which was then used for a worthy cause. Similarly, God’s Church is His vineyard, and we are His keepers offering Him the fruit of our labor.
It’s a wonderful blessing that God’s Church is His vineyard. By carrying out God’s work, we are receiving amazing blessings. By living our lives according to God’s purpose, we have much to gain. What is it that we have gained from God? We have gained a workplace from God. God’s Church is absolutely indispensable for us to live out our faith. All of us who have become God’s people need His Church. It’s by God’s blessings that we are living in His Church. Without God’s Church, we would not be able to carry out God’s work. Unless we unite our hearts with God’s Church, we would not only be unable to do God’s work, but we would also be unable to receive and enjoy God’s blessings.
What, then, is the existential purpose for God’s Church in this world? It is spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit throughout the whole world in obedience to the will of the Lord. God’s purpose for us, in other words, is to preach His gospel being united with His Church. That’s why the righteous need God’s Church. What, then, is the third indispensable element?
 
 
The Predecessors of Faith in God’s Church Are Indispensable
 
Fellowship with the predecessors of faith is also absolutely indispensable for God’s servants and saints to live out their faith. Just as all of us need God’s grace and His Church, so do we also need fellowship. Fellowship with God is had by sharing spiritual communion with our predecessors of faith. Spiritual fellowship is crucial, whereby we can open up ourselves and share with each other both the blessings that we have received from God and the difficulties we face in our lives of faith.
Let’s turn to the Song of Solomon 8:13: “You who dwell in the gardens, The companions listen for your voice—Let me hear it!” This passage shows us how fellowship is absolutely indispensable. It’s because fellowship is so important that we share our lives with one another, breaking bread together from time to time, working together, and playing together. Without sharing fellowship with the predecessors of faith, no life of faith can be led. We need to talk to one another, listen to one another, and pray for one another. We need to talk with both our predecessors of faith and colleagues alike.
By sharing fellowship like this, we can see where God’s Church is heading, anticipate its direction, and follow its steps faithfully. It’s God who leads His Church, but He does so through the leader of the Church. There are guidelines that signal to us what it is that we should do now to serve the Lord, against whom we should now wage our spiritual battle of faith, and against whom we should expect to fight in the future. For us to see and follow these guidelines well, we need to share fellowship with God’s workers. If we were to otherwise lead our lives of faith separately on our own, then we would end up leading a life of faith that is far removed from the will of God.
Such people are doomed to lead an isolated life of faith all on their own, completely oblivious to the direction taken by God’s Church. This is not the proper life of faith that’s led according to God’s guidance. If you are not following the direction of God’s Church, then this means that you are not following God’s guidance, and therefore you will ultimately be unable to live out your faith in obedience to God. In God’s Church, such a life of faith cannot be described as proper.
We now find ourselves in the stream of God’s Church. Only if we follow this stream can we live out our faith properly. To do so, we must share fellowship with one another and together break the bread of faith. That’s why it’s so important for us to be led by our predecessors of faith if we all want to move in the same direction with the same purpose. Do you understand what I am saying here? Spiritual fellowship is absolutely indispensable for us to live out our faith. Some of you may still think that you can lead your life of faith all by yourself, but that is absolutely not the case. That’s not what faith is all about.
It’s true that there are some people in God’s Church who say, “I believe in the righteousness of God. I’m leading a fine life of faith. There is hardly anyone who loves the Lord as much as I do. I love the gospel so dearly and I’m serving it so devotedly.” However, unless they unite themselves with God’s Church, in the end the only fruit they will produce will be servitude to the Devil. The will of God for us is to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over the world by supporting this gospel ministry.
Inside the Holy Place there were lamp stands, and these lamp stands were shaped like flowers, with bowls and pedestals below. It was these pedestals that supported the bowls on the lamp stands. Like the pedestals on the lamp stands of the Holy Place, we are also supporting the gospel ministry, but in doing so, it’s very important for us to know the will of God. So, while in the past I used to preach the gospel diligently with my lips, nowadays I am spreading it through literature. I realized that there were limits to how much I could accomplish by relying on just my lips. Even when it comes to sermons, explaining the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the hardest part.
When preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit to a large crowd, sometimes I even find myself physically exhausted and end up not being able to explain it completely. When I preach the gospel, I begin with Genesis and then move on to cover Leviticus, Matthew, John, Hebrews, and Romans. It is physically very exhausting to cover so much material in a single sermon, and nowadays I have to recharge myself in the middle of the sermon. That’s why I’ve put a bottle of honey water on the pulpit and drink it whenever I can.
Once you begin to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit you will also be waging a difficult spiritual battle, you will come to know just how hard it is. You might even wonder when we would ever finish spreading this gospel throughout the whole world. Yet, God wants us to preach this gospel of the water and the Spirit to the ends of the world, but there would be no end to this if we were to preach the gospel just with our lips. That’s why we have to rely on our literature ministry to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Through our literature ministry, we are now preaching the gospel all over the world.
Like this, God’s work should be done according to His will. By yourself, you cannot live in accordance with God’s will no matter how hard you work. All the saints throughout the whole Church must play their role as the pedestals of the gospel to support its ministry, and this is how the gospel of the water and the Spirit can be spread all over the world. So, we have set the direction of God’s Church on the literature ministry. By relying on the words from my mouth alone to preach the gospel, I will not be able to reach everyone in my own neighborhood. Even if I were to visit every man and woman in my neighborhood and preach the gospel every day until my voice was gone, I wouldn’t be able to reach that many people. Even if I were to preach the gospel for a whole year, it would not be possible for me to reach everyone.
That’s why I’ve decided to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit through the print media. I have my sermons recorded and transcribed, and then edited and published into books. So, whenever we want to preach the gospel to people, we can now just give them one of our books that explain the gospel of the water and the Spirit and ask them to read it. Isn’t this also a way of spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Did the Lord ever tell us not to preach the gospel in this way? Did He say that we could only use our lips to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Where in the Bible does it say that we have to preach just with our mouths? While the Bible tells us to confess our faith with our mouths, it says that as long as we preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it can be preached in any shape or form. That’s why we are engaged in our literature ministry.
There are some people among you who are trying to establish their own righteousness by themselves and think that this is the way to live out their faith. These people do not want to follow the direction of God’s Church. But, unless these people are following the direction of God’s Church, they cannot actually lead a life of faith. Spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit throughout the whole world is the right thing to do, regardless of the method used. This is the Lord’s will. Unless we preach the gospel through our literature ministry, we will not be able to spread it all over the world. That’s why it’s so important for you to share spiritual fellowship with your predecessors of faith.
It’s through this fellowship with your predecessors of faith that you can find the wisdom to support the gospel ministry in obedience to the will of the Lord. All of us must fulfill our roles as the pedestals of the gospel and work in unity to serve the righteousness of the Lord. Only then can the will of God be fulfilled. By oneself, it’s impossible. For us to follow the righteousness of the Lord, we must defend our faith and be zealous for the Lord, but by working separately on our own, we cannot find the passion for God. Have you ever felt spiritually strengthened when trying to carry out God’s work all on your own? No, of course not. Right now, we are doing a wonderful job carrying out God’s work in unity with His Church. You and I are fulfilling our roles admirably as the pedestals of the gospel to proclaim it all over the world.
  
  
When You Unite Yourself with God’s Church and Together Achieve Its Purpose, That’s When You Truly Live out Your Faith
 
We renew our strength when we carry out God’s work in unity with His Church. So, there are Sunday school teachers in God’s Church guiding the children to faith. They are doing God’s work. All our Sunday school students here, from Hagyung to Minseok, are also doing their part in God’s work. There is no one among us here who is not doing his part in God’s work. Hamin here, Yongjun, and Donghun alike are also doing their part. Can they not serve the gospel just because they are young? No, of course not; in God’s Church, children do their part just as adults do.
My fellow believers, I can’t emphasize enough just how important it is for you to continue to share fellowship with your predecessors of faith and your fellow saints alike. Only then can your faith grow, and only then can you understand the direction the Church is going. If you otherwise just work hard by yourself, you cannot realize where the Church is heading.
Let’s turn to the Song of Solomon 8:14 again, which is the last verse in today’s Scripture reading: “Make haste, my beloved, And be like a gazelle Or a young stag On the mountains of spices.” This passage teaches us that because God is our God, we have nothing to be afraid of. As long as we set our minds to live out our faith, there is no obstacle to our lives of faith. God says to us, “Make haste, my beloved, And be like a gazelle Or a young stag On the mountains of spices.” When God sees us, we are so beautiful and lovely in His sight.
God is saying to us here, “Make haste, My beloved. Run fast; there is no obstacle ahead of you. I have given you My grace; I have given you My Church; I have given you predecessors of faith and My servants; and I have given you colleagues. So you have no want, nor do you lack anything.” In other words, God is admonishing us to set our hearts on the direction of His Church by faith, and run ceaselessly towards the will of the Lord by faith. God is saying these things to us because all of us His workers are so beautiful in His sight. The Song of Solomon ends with chapter 8. The core message of this last chapter is that we are exceedingly lovely in God’s eyes. That is what the last chapter of the Song of Solomon is teaching us. Let us therefore have faith, never forgetting the fact that God sees us as such lovely beings.
Whenever I get weary in my heart, I turn to this Song of Solomon. I can then renew my spiritual strength, as I can understand God’s heart and realize just how much He loves me. This, my fellow believers, applies not just to me but also to you equally. God is so much in love with His people. And we, too, know that God is good and trust in Him. The problem, however, is that all too often we understand this God only by the letter, and as a result there are so many things that we are missing out. Having saved us, God has made us His own workers, allowed us to live a blessed life, raised us to be His last ministers in these end times to work through us, and blessed us to live forever thereafter in His Kingdom. Like this, God has already given us countless blessings, but it takes a long time for us to appreciate them all.
This indicates that the problem lies with us. Therefore, it’s absolutely critical for all of us to believe unwaveringly that God loves us beyond words and that His love is forever. We must realize that God does indeed love us and that He has given us His Church and entrusted us with His righteous work because He wants to bless us. We must therefore set our hearts on God as we carry on with our lives.
By sending His Son to us, God the Father has saved us from all our sins through the water, the blood, and the Spirit. God is now telling us to accept this salvation. He is telling us to accept His love into our hearts. In other words, He is calling us to share with Him this spiritual fellowship of love. In God’s sight, we are like the Shulamite woman. In this age and time, it’s we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit who are God’s workers. We need to realize that just as God loved this Shulamite woman, He also loves us.
So we ought to resolve our hearts, remove any and all desire towards this world, realize what kinds of blessings we have received from God in His Church, and put all our expectations on them. And we must unite ourselves with Gods’ heart, discern in what direction God is guiding us, and carry out His work by trusting in Him. What we are doing now to support the gospel ministry is God’s work, but it’s also your work and mine. Why is that so? It’s because we are God’s brides. We are one family with God. We have become God’s own family. This then means that God’s work is our work. From now on, we are God’s brides and His work is our work, and therefore whatever we do for God’s work, we must do it all as we would do our own work. I do God’s work like it’s mine. I sincerely feel that God’s work is my own work.
That’s why I have carried out God’s work by faith to this very day, and that’s also why I think about the days to come and prepare for the future. I am constantly thinking about what I need to do in the future so that I may be ready for it. Your needs are always on my mind as well, as I want to support you in every way possible. I ask myself how I can ensure that you are able to serve the Lord faithfully in good health until the day you stand before the Lord. Anticipating your future needs is also God’s work, and this, too, is my work. Just as you are God’s people, I am also God’s worker. So let us all live according to the will of God.
My heart is overjoyed to see that you and I alike want to carry out God’s work. I’ve already decided to live by faith long ago. Whatever good things we might have, we ought to share them with one another. If any of us is facing hardship, we ought to come to his assistance and relieve him of his burden. Even though we all have many shortcomings, we all are carrying out God’s work. So we have nothing to be ashamed of, and we are happy to be living a worthwhile life.
In the last chapter and verse of the Song of Solomon, God says to us: “Make haste, my beloved, And be like a gazelle Or a young stag On the mountains of spices” (Song of Solomon 8:14). Have you seen a gazelle before? It’s a beautiful animal. Wouldn’t you be happy if such a beautiful animal recognized you as his master and ran towards you whenever you called for him? That is how God sees all of us who are carrying out His work by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
As God’s servants doing His work, that’s how lovely and beautiful we all are in God’s sight. We are loved by God. So we have nothing to worry about even if all the people in this world hate us. We are living by faith, neither afraid nor reserved, saying boldly, “I am not starved of love. I am loved by God Himself! I am content!” There is a popular Korean gospel song called, “You Were Born to Be Loved.” This refers to none other than us. All of us who are now carrying out God’s work by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit were indeed born to be loved.
The purpose with which God made us is to give us His love. We are now living amidst God’s blessings. What has made all this possible is faith, and this faith can be had only if we unite our hearts with God’s Church. Only when we throw away our wickedness and unite our hearts with God can we receive His blessings in our lives. This is the message of love that God is giving to us today. This is God’s heartfelt desire for us and His blessing. God has given us such blessings forever, so let us all receive them by faith and enjoy them in our lives. Hallelujah!