The Royal Love Song - 2019

Scripture: Song of Solomon 8:6, Genesis 2:7, 1 Corinthians 7:3-5
Date: 05/11/2019 
Lesson: 6
"How can we protect ourselves against cultural and moral forces that either make sexuality into nothing but degrading animal passion or turn it into something shameful that must never be talked about? How does the Bible show us that both extremes are wrong?"
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Good morning, friends. Welcome again to Sabbath School Study Hour here at the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sacramento, California. I'd like to welcome our online members and our friends who are joining us across the country and around the world on various television networks. And again we would also like to welcome our regular Sabbath School members that are here in person as well as those who are visiting with us. Always a joy to see you week after week, here you are to study the lesson together.

Now few weeks ago, we started new series dealing with the subject of the family. Our lesson quarterly is entitled Family Seasons. And today we're looking at lesson number six, entitled, "The Royal Love Song." You can guess where our topic of scriptures gonna be based upon that title. Probably, you're gonna be looking at the Song of Solomon, but we'll get to that in just a few minutes. We'd like to let our friends know, those who are joining us online, we do have a free offer. It's entitled "Determining the Will of God." And we'll be happy to send you this book. All you need to do is give us a call and ask for it. The number is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer number 778. We'll be happy to send this book out to anyone who calls and asks or if you're outside of North America, you can download for free this book by just simply texting the code "SH025" to the number 40544. You'll then get a link where you'll be able to download the book "Determining the Will of God." And I think it'll be a blessing, if you wanting to know what God's will is for your life. There are some good biblical principles that will help you in making decisions that are in harmony with His will. Well, before we get to our study this morning, we like to begin by lifting our voices in song. I'd like to invite our song leaders to come and they will lead us in our music.

Let's bow our heads for a word of prayer. Dear Father in heaven, we thank You that we have this opportunity to gather in Your house and open up Your Word and study a very important topic dealing with the family. The Bible tells us that God is love and it's Your desire, Lord, that we'll reflect Your love to those around us and in a special way to our family members. So we ask Your special blessing on our study time this morning. In Jesus' name, amen. This morning, our lesson is gonna be brought to us by our Family Life Pastor here at the Granite Bay Church, Pastor Shawn Brummund.

Well, good morning, everyone.

Good morning.

It's good to see you and it's good to hear a good morning from you as well. It is a beautiful morning. Of course, it is a very special day as we come together during our Sabbath School time and we continue to study the Bible, continue to grow as Christians and continue to grow in the knowledge of the truth. Now, this particular study is a very interesting study. It's very unique because we're looking at one of the most unique books that we can find in all the Bible.

How many here have read the Song of Solomon? How many hands? Okay, I see several hands going up. How many have not read the Song of Solomon? Go ahead, put your hand up. If you haven't, that's okay. Okay, so we have a couple that haven't read the Song of Solomon. All right, so this is your first introduction, perhaps to the Song of Solomon. If you haven't gone through the quarterly study throughout the week, then this for sure will be your introduction to the Song of Solomon. And you're gonna find out very quickly why this is such a unique song and book in the Bible.

And so, before I say too much, I just want to introduce us to the actual lesson study and go to page 46. Because on page 46, we find there the memory text and I think that the memory text really… I'm gonna use that as a closing if we have time. And look at the verse that comes after this particular verse as well. But this really is an important verse in the whole book. And it's found in the last chapter, 8:6. It says, let me… "Set me," I should say, "as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is as strong as death, jealousy is as cruel as the grave, its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame." And so, of course, this is called the Song of Solomon.

Now, some of your translations and editions of your Bible may actually call it the Song of Songs. And traditionally both of those titles have been used by different Christians, by different Bible printers. And both are accurate in the fact that Solomon is referred to more than once throughout the actual song and he is the groom, so he plays the role of a groom or a new husband. And then, of course, so we can rightly call it the Song of Solomon because it's also believed that Solomon was the inspired author of this particular book. The Song of Songs is also a title that is fitting because it is kind of the song of all songs. It's one of the longest songs that you can find in all the Bible by far. It is a unique song and the fact that it is a very romantic song. Today, we would call it a love song. In fact, the authors of our title called it the Royal Love Song.

Anybody ever heard a love song before outside of the Song of Solomon? Okay, many of us have, haven't we? Love songs are as old as the sun. Was the Song of Solomon the first love song that was ever sung, that was ever written? Well, not likely. Okay, now Solomon lived around 900 to 950 BC. And so we go back quite a ways before we come to this particular inspired love song, but not very likely that that was the first love song ever written. Now I have to confess I never did any research. I never looked and kind of dug and saw what history tells us. But you know, if I was a betting man, which I'm not, I would put all my money on the fact that there were many, many love songs that were written before the Song of Solomon was written. There been quite a few love songs that have been written since the Song of Solomon. There's been hundred thousands and thousands and maybe even in the millions, if we were to look across all nations since 900 BC or over the last approximate 300 or 3000 years. Love songs is of the most popular genres of music and songs that you can find. There's just something about a love song that reaches the heart of millions and billions of men and women throughout history. And if it's written right, certainly it is something that can be a blessing and inspiration for us. Love songs are still the best sellers today. If you were to look at the top 10 of the best charts and the hits of our popular radio stations today here in America, you can be bound to find at least five, probably more, over half of those will be some kind of love theme to the actual lyric in song. And so love songs are still bestsellers today and not just in country music either, you know, when you look at your pop music and the pop culture that we find in the music today, you'll find all kinds of love songs there as well.

Now sadly, just like country music love songs, if you look into the pop scene and you look into these other music genres and industry and so on, the vast majority of them failed miserably in regards to the love song that God has inspired and the love that God would desire to be found between a man and a woman, between a groom, a bride, between a husband, and between a wife, and so love songs can be a beautiful thing. In fact, it's such a beautiful thing that God had inspired the Prophet Solomon to write an entire Bible book, a whole long song on love. And, of course, when we talk about love songs, we're talking about love that takes place between a man and woman. There's just something that touches the heart about a love story. And a love song quite often will reflect that love story.

Now, historically, the Song of Solomon is a song that has been quite controversial over the years, over the centuries, over the millennia, especially during the Christian era. And so it's an interesting thing, when you look back in Christian history, you'll find that there have been times when different church organizations locally, denominationally, individually as Christians have banned the Song of Solomon, that was a forbidden book to be read by its members. Some have referred to it as the R rated book that we find in the Bible. And so we asked the question, why? Why has it been banned? Why is it been forbidden? Why is it referred to sometimes as the R rated book of the Bible? Well, it's probably due to the fact that even today, there are more than one mainstream radio station that would kind of hesitate to air all the lyrics that are found in the Song of Solomon. If you were to come up with some new tune and record a well sung version of the Song of Solomon, bring it to a local radio station. Most of them would probably hesitate, say, you know, "I'm not sure if this is going to fly. I'm not sure if this is family friendly enough for all of my, our viewing audience."

And so the response of more than one Christian or Christian denomination has sometimes hesitated to promote the Song of Solomon. And yet, as Bible Christians, of course, we understand that this is part of the sacred text of the Bible that God had inspired it, that the Holy Spirit was responsible for it. He had chosen a prophet, in this case, the Prophet Solomon. And He said, I want you to write about your experience in this first love experience, and marriage experience, a wedding experience that Solomon had experienced. And so God says, "I want you to put it down in a very beautiful and poetic text, and I want you to tell the world and I want you to tell all of my children," God told Solomon, "what romance truly is intended to look like." And so that's what makes the Song of Solomon a very important book.

Now, I have to confess that there are certain portions of the Bible not only in the Song of Solomon but other portions of the Bible as well that I would have to rate as PG. Everybody know what PG means? PG stands for parental guidance. And, of course, the entertainment industry came up with that term as they were trying to determine how do we rate different movies or TV programs and so on, so that parents can make decisions on what is appropriate for their younger children to watch and what is not appropriate. Now, of course, as Christians, there is a number of things that are not appropriate for any age, and so I'm thankful for some of those ratings for that regard as well. But this particular book of the Bible is one that I would have to rate as PG, or perhaps PG 13, you know, and some of us might even put it up near the R rated version.

So that being said, you know, when I had raised our daughters, you know, one of the pleasures that I had was be able to take my children at night at times and when it was my turn to be able to take one of our daughters into bed, in their first growing years, I would read the Bible, verse by verse to them as part of our tuck in devotional time. And as a result of that, by the time they got into their early teens, they had been exposed to every verse of the Bible. And I wanna highly recommend that you do that with your children as well. Now when I say every verse, I have to kind of qualify that a little bit, because the fact of the matter is that there were certain verses that it came along or even a passage that would have come along too, and I would just kind of conveniently, you know, skip that passage and continue on knowing that that was something that was intended for my daughter when she became just a little older and a little bit more mature, that was a PG portion. And so what am I saying?

What I'm saying is that I would not recommend that you read this particular book to your seven year old as part of their tuck in devotional time. It just wouldn't be appropriate for that age bracket. But that being said, I think it's also important to understand that I would highly recommend that all Christians eventually come to read, and study, and pray over this particular book. Why? Because God doesn't give us any of the counsels and any of the sacred text for no reason. He has a very needful reasons for us. And so God gives us priceless counsel. In this case, He gives us priceless counsel and direction on romantic love that is found between men and between women. And romance is one of the most popular experiences and portions of life that there is in all of the human experience in all of history. And it's no different today. But the problem is that we live in a world where romance has been distorted on a number of different fronts.

We live in a world where romance has been changed and it has been altered in ways that bring some very negative consequences and results. And so God says, listen, I came up with romance. I invented it. It was My idea. But the problem is that we have so many different alternate ideas about it, that I wanna make sure that you understand the real romance that I came up with, just like every other topic. And so does that make the Song of Solomon a very priceless important book? Sure it does, doesn't it? Yeah.

Okay, now not only is it priceless direction and counsel in regards to romantic love that takes place between a man and a woman, a bride and a groom and such, but there's also a very powerful allegory that some of the earliest Christians had also discovered in concern to the relationship between Christ and His church. There is a deep love and transparency that God desires for us to be able to have with Him as our maker. And so there's nothing that we should be ashamed of to be able to share with our maker in regards to our hearts, in regards to our struggles or thoughts, and even our thought life, and some of our shortcomings that take place, you know. And so there's a deep allegory that is also available in the same book between the relationship of Christ and His church.

But we don't have time to look at both because one in itself, the allegory in itself would be a whole week study and a whole program study in itself. And so I'm gonna take the direction of the actual theme of this quarter and this week lesson study and look at the practical counsel and implications that are there concern the earthly romance, concerning the romance between a man and a woman.

Now, although the Bible speaks about sex in a positive light, in several places you would be hard pressed to find another Bible passage or book that speaks of sex in the context of spirit lead, and spirit filled romance, romance that takes place between a bride and a groom, between a husband and a wife. Now, this brings up a very important subject. And one of the days of this week's lesson study points that out. Now, I don't think that we'll have time to go into all the details on that particular subject. But I think it's important for us to be able to pick up at this point, that the context, one of the first context that we wanna pick up in regards to the romance that we find God directing and counseling in this beautiful book, is the fact that it's all found in the context of the commitment of marriage, that there is a bride and that there is a… There is a groom, there is a husband, and there is a wife throughout the entire book. And so it's important for us to be able to understand. And by the way, the book of the Song of Solomon confirms that, we're gonna look at that in a future text in our study here today. But there's several other passages in the Old and New Testament that make it very, very clear that God has always intended sex and romance to be found within the marriage union. And so it's not by surprise that we should find that context in this beautiful love song.

Now, is that different from most of the love songs that we hear on the radio today? Is that different from most of the love stories that we watch on television today? It is, isn't it? And so that's the first takeaway that we have. And the counsel that God gives to us is that the context of romance and sex is always and only been intended to be found within the marriage union. And so that's important for us to be able to, to pick up as well. And so the Song of Solomon, that becomes a vital handbook for every husband, for every wife, every potential husband, every potential wife. And so if you were one of those that didn't put your hand up when I asked, have you read the Song of Solomon before, this is your introduction. And so we're gonna get a good taste of it here today. But I wanna encourage you to read it all the way through and pray over it, and talk to the Lord about it and ask Him how it fit in your life, perhaps as a present husband or wife, and then how God is talking to you as a future husband or a potential wife as well. Well, as we look at Sunday's lesson, we find that there's a bit of a brief history lesson in concern to some Greek philosophy. In this case, the Greek philosophy is referred to as dualism. And some of you are familiar with that, some of you are not.

Now Plato, the ancient and famous Greek philosophers, the one that kind of came up with it, or at least he's the one that made it well known and infamous, and that is the philosophy of dualism. Anybody know who had tutored and had taught Plato by the way? Anybody know who tutored and taught Plato? Socrates. Okay, so Socrates had tutored and discipled Plato, and then Plato discipled and tutored Aristotle. Okay. Does anybody know who Aristotle tutored and taught? Alexander the Great! Good. Yes, yes, Vonda. It was Alexander the Great, the great Greek General and King. Of course, he's famous in history not for philosophy by any means, but he's famous as a king and a very successful general of wars. He led his kind of Greek army to overcome and develop his world empire. And, of course, the Persian Empire then was conquered and expanded by Alexander the Great.

So that's just a little bit of side trivia, but Plato is in the middle of these three famous, very influential Greek philosopher that had preceded the Christian church, and had influenced the Roman Empire in which the Christian church was born in a very real and sadly in a very detrimental way. Now, the gist or the simple gist of dualism is that it rejects the physical world and the flesh, the body, all anything that you can touch, see, smell or feel or hear is evil, and it's inferior. The only thing that is not evil and inferior and that is pure is the invisible soul or spirit that is said to exist within ourselves. Now, of course, that opens a whole other can of worms because of course, that's where the Christian church that was born in that context was influenced to start to adopt. The soul is something that is invisible and separate from the physical body, which the Bible actually doesn't teach.

But we don't want to get sidetracked on that too far, but in regards to the Song of Solomon, romance and so on, Plato's philosophy also influenced Christianity and introduced ideas of holiness that are actually opposed to the religion of the Bible. Dualism is not something that is, comes from the Bible. It's not something that God wants us to understand and live by, and it certainly doesn't want us to influence us into ideas of holiness. Now, some people have got little bit confused sometimes because the Apostle Paul actually was inspired to use the popular philosophy and thought process of dualism in some of his scriptures in the New Testament.

Ever heard of the sinful flesh that Paul talks about? Okay, some of us have read that many times. You know, Paul in several different times talks about the flesh and he uses the flesh to symbolize the sinful nature that all of us have been born with, that we've been inherited because of Adam and Eve sin. And so we all are born with a natural bent to sin, we all have a propensity to this particular error. And so Paul then was inspired to say, well, that we can use the flesh to symbolize that. But Paul was not asking us or inviting us to adopt dualism. No, not at all. In fact, he said, the only way that we can overcome the sinful flesh that we all experience is through accepting and having the abiding Holy Spirit in our hearts, okay? Does that sound like dualism? No. Okay, it sounds similar to it and again Paul is kind of using something that the minds of his generation understood to a certain degree, but now he's altering it and putting the gospel in there. And so he's saying the gospel experiences that we are all born sinners, we're all born condemned, as we are all guilty and all have sinned and therefore all face death.

But the good news is that Jesus Christ came to die in place of our sin, in place of our guilt, and now we are open to the Holy Spirit, we become born again as Jesus placed it and coined it, and therefore we are now filled with the Spirit that is outside of ourselves, not some invisible soul or spirit that we have internally and intrinsically existing within us as Plato taught in dualism, but rather it is the Holy Spirit that comes from outside, God Himself starts to dwell in us and our bodies are holy temples of the Holy Spirit.

Now, if our bodies are holy temples of the Holy Spirit, does that make our bodies important? Sure, it does, and that's in harmony with all the rest of the Bible, all of the scriptures tell us that God views us in a holistic way. He created us. He created Adam out of the material, dust and elements of the earth. And then He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, the spark of life that helped his heart to start beating, his mind to start thinking, his lungs to start breathing. And so we find that God has always intended for us to understand that there is a union between the mind and the body, and our thinking or consciousness in the body. And so the Bible takes a much more holistic different view than that of Plato. In Galatians 5:17, it says, "I say, then walk in the Spirit," now that's a capital S Spirit, Holy Spirit, "and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." Once again, so the key differences that we need to be led and live by the Holy Spirit, not by our own spirit, not by our own intrinsic soul invisible of some kind, but by the Holy Spirit. And so Paul never intended to tell us that our physical bodies and its functions are evil. It's something to be shunned. And let's confirm that with one verse and we have a volunteer that has kindly agreed to read Romans 12:1. And so we're gonna invite Hafdis to read that for us. Thank you, Hafdis.

Romans 12:1, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service."

Okay, so what does God want us to present to God? Your bodies, okay? Does that include your mind? Sure it does, okay? Biologically includes your brain but includes the rest that's attached to it, right? Okay, so God is asking us and telling us, invited us to present our bodies, everything from the top of our head to the tips of our toes. God wants to present us as a holistic person. Our entire soul as the Bible properly teaches of what a soul is. And so as we bring that before the feet of Christ, our entire being, as a living sacrifice, that we may demonstrate that which is good and acceptable, that good and acceptable service to prove that God can work through us in a powerful way. This is the pervading theme that we find throughout the New Testament.

But again, sadly, many of the early, most influential names and leaders and pastors within the church began to adopt much of which they had been indoctrinated before they were converted to Christianity, and that is Platonism, or platonic thinking and philosophy, dualism, and that is that there's something evil intrinsically in the body, ever since physical existence came into being. And, of course, that would also include anything biologically that exists within our bodies as well. And so as it turns out, the subject that we're looking at today is romance and a big part of romance within marriage also includes biological sex, it includes a sex life. And so the early Christians and believers, leaders started to view physical sex as a necessary evil to procreate at best. And some of them even went further and said that the texts that come in after the fall, and before that one had even suggested that we used to reproduce by some form of vegetation, and in such.

And by the way, I wanna be very sensitive as we look at this particular subject because I know that there's some very sincere Christians and people that I know and love very well in this room that are watching online or on TV and such. And I've been pastoring for 20 something years now. And in that I've been exposed to a lot of different members' perspectives and so on. Now, I had some sincere, beautiful Christians that will come to me and said, "I always understood sex as something as a result of sin that came in after sin." And so this is not just ancient history that we're looking at, we're also looking at some perspectives that some of you may have even here this morning. And so we wanna be able to find out what the Bible teaches. Amen? And so sadly, again in early history in the very first centuries, many of the biggest and most influential names in early Christianity, they even conclude that indeed physical sex was a necessary evil that came in as a result of sin.

Now, Clement was one of those names, Alexandria, Tertullian, Ambrose, Chrysostom, Jerome is a more well-known historical name origin, Thomas Aquinas, Augustine or Augustine as some of us might pronounce it. All concluded that sex was either a result of the original sin or was never intended for pleasure and only was to be practiced when you're intending on having more children. It was only to be practiced when you're intending on making babies. Now, since the position of the priest came to be known as the holiest of all callings, and certainly comes with a high responsibility, and even though we don't use the term priest today within our church rightly and biblically so because this, we only have one priest, and that's the high priest, Jesus Christ.

And the Old Testament priesthood and priests were only designed as a shadow pointing to the ultimate substance, which is Christ. But nevertheless, I stand in a position that is very similar as a pastor to that of the early priests of the first centuries. And that comes with a lot of responsibility and we feel, if you're sincere, the weight of that responsibility that God gives to us. Does that mean that God has called me to lead a holier life than you? Well, it's another subject but the answer really is no. All of us are called to the same standard of holiness, yes or no? Sure, we are. Okay. Some of you are starting to process that.

You know, I've had some people come up to me, even my daughters and they say, "Have you ever sinned?" You know, they are welcomed, though I'd swear they could almost see a bit of a glow over their heads, you know and in such. And so, no, God has called us all to the same standard of holiness. But another thing that came into the early church in the first centuries was that to be a priest was a holiest calling, it was the holiest of callings. And God has called every man to be a man of God, yes or no? Not just me. Every Christian should be recognized that they're just as called to be a man of God as I am. All of us are called to be men and women of God. And so the priest was the holiest of callings.

And so the next natural step in this kind of distorted view that dualism had brought into the church and into the theology and the thinking of the Christians of those early centuries, is that it was to lead to the next mistake was to forbid priests and their holy calling and the holiest of callings to either marry and therefore also not engage in any kind of romantic lifestyle and experience. And so, of course, if sex is evil, then of course, to be in the holiest of callings, you need to be able to make sure you never expose yourself to that evil. And so it was forbidden to be married.

Now unknown to the church, and this is fascinating, but the church in the sixth century, now this is in the 500s AD, not too long into the church's history compared to our day and age. The church also began to forbid any of its married members, married members from engaging in any sexual activity on certain days of the year. In fact, they got so carried away that over half of the calendar days were forbidden. And, you know, interesting, fascinating stuff. Now, is this biblical? No, not at all. Now, it's important to understand that all of this stems from a very wrong and unbiblical understanding of our bodies and of sexuality. Whenever we depart from God's plan and Bible truth, I think it's important for us to understand that we always suffer negative consequences. And this is no exception. We can't ignore this. Is it a more uncomfortable subject? Yeah, some of us get a little bit squirmy, you know, when we talk about this subject. We're saying, "Hey, you know, I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with this." But you know what? The fact of the matter is, it comes from God. And it's so important that He gave us a whole book in the Bible to give us some important counsel and directive on it.

So to view sex within marriage, and some of us have mistakenly come to that conclusion that sex is either gross, or it's sinful, this is not in harmony with the Bible. It will always bring unhappiness. And not only do we, if we have this distorted view of sex, it also will come with some very real sins that can result from that particular conclusion and perspective. And God wants you to have a happy marriage. And God wants you to be able to avoid real sin, yes or no? And so that's why it's important for us to be able to open our hearts and our minds to what God wants to speak to us in regards to this particular subject. We don't want to be found fighting against the wisdom and plan of God. This is where the Song of Solomon can come to our rescue. This is where the Song of Solomon can speak to us in a needful way. It presents sex in its proper light. It presents it in true love between one man and between one woman, again and the commitment of? Of the marriage commitment.

Okay. It is here that we find biblical romance that God wants all married people to experience. Now, at the same time, I wanna stop and just spend a couple of minutes telling one or more individuals that I know is in this room today, that I know is watching this program right now. And that is in regards to sexual abuse. Now sadly, sexual abuse is something that many of us have experienced. More than one of us in this room has experienced it as a child. When we are exposed to sexual abuse either as a child and some of us have been exposed to criminal rape and so on. When we experience that, and now and again as a pastor, you know, I'm fortunate I wasn't exposed to that. I've never experienced that, my wife has never experienced that and so our marriage doesn't struggle with that. But I know that more than one marriage here struggles with that, more than one person is struggling with that. And sadly, more than 50% of us are exposed to that before we reach adulthood. That's the reality of our day and age, you know.

The reason I bring it up is because we're looking at the subject, and the Song of Solomon is something that presents it in a needful, and positive, and contextual way. But I understand that if sex is something that you've concluded is either gross or sinful or something that is distorted and you understand that that's tied to your experience in the past because you've been abused, you've been victimized because of it. And I just wanna encourage you to spend some prayerful time going through the book of the Song of Solomon, and saying, Lord, help to straighten things out of my heart and my mind, help me to understand how you view romance and how you want my marriage to be. And God can do some beautiful things in your heart. Spend some time praying over it. And if you haven't talked to your spouse about it, I wanna encourage you to open up to your spouse about it.

You know, I've talked to one or more members over the years that have come to me and said, "Pastor I was raped repeatedly times when I was growing up as a girl." And, of course, I'm not going to share the gory details, but she had been married for well over 25 years, and she knew that her sex life, her romance was not where it really should be, and where God wanted it to be. And she knew the reason and so she opened up with me first, but I said, "You know, you got to work through this with your husband as well." So I just wanna encourage you, talk to your spouse open up with them and start to share your heart and work through it together as you prayerfully work through that together. Because if you hadn't, it's affecting your marriage inevitably, at some measure it's affected your marriage in a negative way. And it's robbing you from some happiness that God wants you to have, that you're not experiencing now. So I'm really sorry that, you know, that we have to talk about these things sometimes. You know, because I know they're not easy to talk about and yet they're part of the human experience. And we are in a worst place, if we don't talk about it. And so it makes the Song of Solomon a priceless tool for you as well.

Now, this is a very long intro to a book that we've only read one verse from so far, isn't it? Let's read some sample verses that reveal the romance. Now I just wanna tell volunteer number two that I did save and they probably read it already ahead of time. I've saved the easy verses for the volunteers just to be easier. Okay, so Solomon 1:2, and then we're also gonna look at 2:6-7. And so our volunteer number two, Alberto is gonna be a little bit busier.

Ok, Song of Solomon 1:2. "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine." Solomon 2:6-7, "His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, but the gazelles or by the does of the field, to nastier up nor awaken love until it pleases."

Okay, thank you. Does that sound romantic? Does it sound physical? Sure, it does. Okay. Within the marriage union, physical romance is part of God's plan. You know, even as he is describing there, you know, the groom's, the man's hand is behind her head and embracing here and so on. And this is more intense intimacy, isn't it that's been described here. This is more than just a quick peck on the cheek or a peck on the lips, you know. This is real romance within the marriage union. And so the Bible talks about it in a very real and open way, in a holistic way. Sounds very romantic. And it's also good counsel here.

And I just want to talk about I should say in a way that counsels our young people, those who are single that are listening here today, and that is that God has also told us in that 2:7, we have some advice from the bride to those who are not brides yet, from the bride to those who are single yet. And she's saying, hey, listen, when it comes to engaging in some of this more intense intimacy, including this particular style of kissing, is designed and withheld or should be reserved until marriage, until you find the one that you're gonna spend the rest of your life with.

You know, there's a saying, and maybe I'm making up the saying, I'm not sure exactly how it goes. But once you start warming up the oven, it can be very difficult to cool it back down. And some couples have made the mistake of warming up the oven and then they can't cool it down. And next thing, you know, they have a bun in the oven. And I know that we're getting a bit of chuckle out of that, and we need to break the tension a little bit. But I'm telling you, as a pastor, I've had more than one or two young women that have come to me and some of them, you know, they had demonstrated through the years before that they were saving their virginity for the special man that they were gonna marry. They were saving themselves and they'll come up to me in tears in privacy and they're just bawling. And they're saying, "You know, Pastor, I made the mistake, I started to engage in, start to warm up the oven and we couldn't cool it down. And now I'm pregnant." You know, the first time she compromised and now she's with child.

You know, this is serious stuff, is it not? Yeah, there's some very negative consequences. And so we find that it's repeated three times, verse 7 is repeated later in Chapter 3 and then I think it's later in Chapter 8, three times we find this counsel from the bride and saying, "Hey, listen, don't start warming up the oven too much until you know that, that's the one, until you know that you found your bride, you found your groom." Even worse than that, bun in the oven is falling in love, you start to fan the flames too much, you start to warm up the oven too far and then all kinds of hormones and emotions start to flood into your brain, and your mind, and your heart and now you can't think straight. And now you're making decisions that you shouldn't because this is not the woman that God intended for you. Maybe this is not the man that God intended for me. But now you're seeing red because you started to fan the flames too early.

Now scientific research has revealed that our bodies release several different hormones during sexual experience. One of those is oxytocin. Now oxytocin is more familiar and more well-known to be the hormone that God has created in a woman, in a mother that is released in a very substantial measure when she is both giving birth to a child as well as when she's breastfeeding. Why? Because science research has discovered that hormone develops an emotional bond that would never be as strong if it wasn't for that hormone being released. And so God is forming a bond between the mother and the child in a very powerful way.

Now, the fascinating thing is that science has also revealed and discovered that oxytocin is released in a very substantial measure when a woman is engaged in sexual activity. Why? Because God had designed that for the heart of the woman and also the man to a real degree as well. It releases oxytocin to bind an emotional binding and bond that was never designed to be broken again. And that's why God designed it that way. Why? Because when you consummate your marriage, when you have your fun in your honeymoon and so on, you are bonding your hearts together in a way that God has designed you to become one and never to be separated again.

It's a beautiful picture biologically and scientifically when you see it in the context of the commitment of marriage, but when we start to engage in it outside of marriage, it creates a big mess, doesn't it? And that's why we have so many broken hearts. Many of us have experienced a number of deep and broken hearts before we ever find the person that we marry, because we left the counsel of God.

And on the same vein, I wanna talk some on dating and going steady. The Shulamite's counsel also can apply in principle to the youth. And that is don't make the mistake of following what the world models for you and don't start dating and going steady with men and women or even worse with boys and girls. Okay, boys don't get married. Girls don't get married or they shouldn't not in our day and age anyway. Okay? Men get married and by the way ladies don't pipe down, I don't get start preaching a sermon I have coming you know, you know, don't marry a boy, you marry a man. Okay, ladies. And sometimes we’ll say, well, boys will be boys. Yeah, that's right. They are still boys. If he's still a boy don't marry him. He's not a man. God has only intended women to marry men. And so make sure that he's a man before you marry him. That's a different subject.

So yeah, don't follow what the world models. Now, I know the world models that once you reach grade school time nowadays, you know, it's cool, it's invoke, you know, that in fact, some parents are encouraging you to start engaging and dating and going steady. Start practicing for that special person you gonna have in the future. Listen, that's just a bunch of hogwash. Don't follow it. Don't fall for it. That's what the world models, but that's not what God gives to us. You start dating and you start going steady with somebody only when you know that you're seriously ready and that person is seriously ready in considering marriage. You'll save yourself a whole lot of pain and heartache.

Now, because of this, my wife and I had decided very early on after we had our first child that we would not allow our children to watch any entertainment that involved or model teenage romance. Now, teenage romance is just pervasive. There's so much of our entertainment industry today. And we decide we are not gonna expose our children, our daughters to any kind of teenage romance. Why? Because that's not part of God's plan. So why would I want to expose them to a model that tells them something different than what God has planned for them. Now for some of us, I know that kind of steps on some toes, you know, one of Denise's favorite movies when she grow up was "The Sound of Music." Now The Sound of Music has some real teenage romance and so Denise and I scratched our head and we thought, "Where do we go with this?" You know, this is one of the classics but friends, we decided no. We're not gonna allow our daughters to be exposed to any teenage romance, even if it's as benign as the Sound of Music. So this is something for you to take away and talk about.

Okay, we're almost out of time. In one way I can say, I don't have to get into the deeper stuff, but let's go to Chapter 4. And we're just gonna go to the punch line of the book, 4:1, says, "Behold, you are fair, my love." Now this is the groom. This is Solomon, the groom speaking to his bride, he says, "Behold, you are fair, my love! Behold, you are fair! You have dove eyes like your veil, behind your veil. Your hair is like a flock of goats going down from Mount Gilead." You know, when my wife and I read this together years and years ago at the beginning of our relationship, and we used to tease each other and you know, we read somewhere, I went to a marriage encounter and they said, "Never go to bed without telling your spouse you love them, and always give them one compliment." And so when we say good night, at night, I'd say, "Good night, honey, and so by the way, I love you and your hair's like a flock of goats." She wasn't sure how to take it, we still kind of giggle over that. "Your teeth are like the flock of shorn sheep," of course, nice and white and clean, "which have come from the washing, every one which bears twins, and none is barren among you. Your lips are like a strand of scarlet and your mouth is lovely. Your temples behind your veil are like a piece of pomegranate. Your neck is like the Tower of David, built for an armory, on which hang thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men."

Now I have to confess, I'm gonna go ahead and skip number five. And the reason being is that I know this is program for family, programming on different television networks. And so I'm not gonna put them on the spot that way. You go ahead and read that yourself. Verse 6, it says, "Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away, I will go my way to the mountain of myrrh into the hill of frankincense. You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you." As far as he was concerned she was perfect.

Now, not too many wives find themselves with a perfect body, you know, like the models in the magazines and so on. And this one probably wasn't perfect either in regards to her physical body but the point is that for him she was perfect. And that's the view that God wants us to have about all our wives. "You are fair, oh my love, and there is no spot in you. Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse," and there's the context of marriage again, "with me from Lebanon. Look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and from Hermon," these are all mountains in Israel, "from the lions' dens and from the mountains of the leopards." Sounds a whole lot like lookout point here, doesn't it?

"You have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse," now she wasn't his physical sister but sister in the faith as Jesus said, if you believe and follow the will of God, you are my sister. "You have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes, with one link of your necklace. How fair is your love, my sister, my spouse! How much better than wine is your love, and the scent of your perfumes than all spices! Your lips, O my spouse, drip as the honeycomb, honey and milk are under your tongue and the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.

A garden enclosed, is my sister, my spouse, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed." And by the way, this is symbolically speaking of the bride presenting her virginity before her groom. Now that's another subject if you've already lost that part of your experience and you haven't found that special person to marry, God can still make you a spiritual virgin. "Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with pleasant fruits, and fragrant henna and spikenard. Spikenard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all the trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices. A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon."

And then we have the Shulamite that's the bride who comes from the town of Shulem. "Awake, O North wind, and come, O South! Blow upon my garden that it spices may flow out. Let my beloved come to his garden and eat its pleasant fruits." And then the groom responds. "I have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse. I have gathered my myrrh with my spice. I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey. I have drunk my wine with my milk." Is it just me or is it getting hot here? The groom has arrived to the Promised Land. Okay, he's using the language of milk and honey, is he not?

All right. So this is beautiful love romance that God has designed for us to be able to experience as a husband and as a wife. This not only speaks of having a good romantic physical relationship with each other, one that brings happiness and joy and bonding of hearts. Of course, but it's also something that is based on pure love, godly love. And that's important for us to understand as well. Well, we're wrapping up and I think we're out of time. And, of course, there's always some other good stuff that I was looking forward to be able to share with you. And, of course, one of those as it points out on Monday, and I'm just going to close with that. And in fact, I'm gonna ask our volunteer, if they can read and we can see if we can fit that into this program or not, we'll see. Go ahead, please.

"His mouth is most sweet. Yes, he altogether lovely. This is my beloved. And this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem."

Okay, so what is the spouse refer to? I think it's her as spouse, I mean as a friend, and too often as husband and wife, we lose that. And we think well, it's just about the romance, it's sharing the bills and sharing the kids and so on, and we forget and we missed one of the main points of marriage and that God has called the husband to be the best friend of the wife. And for all husbands out there, your wife should be your best friend, your closest companion. If you're spending more time with friends outside of your marriage of the same gender rather than with your spouse, that's a problem. You know why? Because God has called your closest and most constant companion to be your spouse. "Well, I don't like my spouse!" Well, then you have a bigger problem. And you need to address both of those problems, if you want happiness in your marriage and in your life. And so we'll leave it at that. We are just so thankful that you've joined us here today. I know that this has been a unique subject, we're happy that we could study it here together. We look forward to seeing you next week and God bless you. Until then we love you.

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We are all part of the family of God. This is what you heard each of our friends just say. Hi, we're here in Papua New Guinea, where the people speak over 800 different languages. In fact, this is the most language diverse place in the entire world. The reason for that is because of the topography of this country with the tall mountains, steep ravines, deep gorges and rushing rivers. Over the millennia, as the country was settled, the different people and tribes were isolated by the terrain. So they evolved their own very distinct languages. When people cannot communicate, sometimes it causes misunderstandings. So the people in New Guinea have overcome that by speaking a common Pidgin English.

It's a very beautiful dialect that combines some German, some English words and some of the tribal words.

You can read in the Bible in Genesis Chapter 11, there was once a time when all the world spoke one language. But then men began to rebel against God. They started to build a tower as a monument to manmade salvation and manmade worship. It's better known as the Tower of Babel. Matter of fact, after God confused the languages, people started babbling, which is where we get the word. For thousands of years, this confusion of tongues caused all kinds of problems in communication, even wars were fought. But then, in Acts Chapter 2, in the upper room, God did something extraordinary to reverse the curse of the confusion of tongues. He poured out the Holy Spirit, and Jesus did what He promised. He said, "You will speak with other tongues," Mark Chapter 16. The disciples were supernaturally given the ability to communicate in many different tongues the good news of God. Throughout the Bible, we learn that sin causes division. On the other hand, God is love. And so when we're filled with the Spirit of God, we naturally have love for one another. This is the big command in the Bible that we should love one another. Jesus' prayer for His people in John 17 is, "Father, that they might love each other and be one, even as we are one." Paul says in the Book of 1 Corinthians, "That we're many different parts, but we are one body." And so this is God's plan that we might all be one and speak the language of heaven. So if we have the Spirit of God, we will have the love of God because love is the language of God and we will all be of one family.

God loves you

The heavens were parted for him. The Holy Spirit came down. This is what God wants you to experience. You come to Christ, your sins are washed away, you become a new creature. It's a land of beginning again, and how many of you wish you can restart.

"For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat. Inasmuch you shall do it to one of the least of these, My brethren, you did it to Me."

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