Monday, September 06, 2010

The Church knows Christ's voice.

The two great relationships in the Bible are Father-Son, as in The Father and his Son Jesus and our adoption (this is our relationship with The Father), and Husband-Wife as in Jesus and the church (this is our relationship with Jesus), both relationships happen through the Holy Spirit - who expresses our sonship and flows from Christ the head on to his body the church.

This week I have the exciting prospect of teaching student leaders about Adoption and I'm gutted that we'll probably only have time to touch upon on the sweet reality of Espousal Theology, of the church's relationship with Christ - something that Richard Sibbes was particularly gripped by - and no where more than in Bowels Opened. Walking through the series we're up to Sermon 5 of 20 and we're in The Song of Songs 5:2
"It is the voice of my Beloved that knocks, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled; for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night." SONG 5:2.
He opens with a recap of the previous sermons before laying out two signs that the church is not in a desperate dead sleep. 1. The church acknowledges Christ's voice ('It is the voice...'). 2. Christ comes to her ('he knocks')

However sleepy the church is, if she is the church she knows the voice of Christ 'my sheep hear my voice'
"He has a spiritual taste, a discerning relish in his ear, because he has the Spirit of God, and therefore relishes what is connatural, and suitable to the Spirit. And surely so it is, that this is one way to discern a true Christian from another, even by a taste in heating. For those that have a spiritual relish, they can hear with some delight things that are most spiritual. "
By contrast those who have itching ears...
"No sermons will please them; no bread is fine and white enough; whereas, indeed, it is their own distemper is in fault... If Christ himself were here a-preaching, they would be sure to cavil at something, as then men did when he preached in his own person, because they labour of lusts, which they resolve to feed and cherish.
But people ask: how do we know the word of God to be the word of God? has such a majesty and power to cast down, and raise up, and to comfort, and to direct with such power and majesty, that it carries with it its own evidence, and it is argument enough for it, 1 Cor. 14:24, 25; 2 Cor. 10: 4, 5.
What is the reason there be so many that apostatize, fall away, grow profane, and are so unfruitful under the gospel, notwithstanding they hear so much as they do?
The answer is, their souls were never founded and bottomed upon this, that it is the word of God, and divine truth, so as to be able to say, "I have felt it by experience, that it is the voice of Christ...."
The Christian is different
"...take a Christian at their worst: when he is asleep, he loves Christ, he will do nothing against him. ‘I can do nothing,' says Paul, ‘against the truth, but for the truth,' 2 Cor. 13:8. He will do nothing against the cause of religion. There is a new nature in him that he can not do otherwise. He cannot but love; he cannot sin with a full purpose, nor speak against a good cause, because he has a new nature, that leads him another way. Christ is her beloved even when she sleeps. Take a Christian at the lowest, his heart yearns after Christ. Acknowledging him to be his beloved, there is a conjugal chastity in the soul of a Christian. Holding firm to the covenant and marriage between Christ and it, he keeps that inviolable. Though he may be untoward, sleepy, and drowsy, yet there is always a conjugal, spouse-like affection. 'It is the voice of my beloved,' etc."
O to love his voice, to have a hunger to hear him speak!


  1. I recognise that diagram!! Yours is definitely cooler though!!


  2. Doesn't this reduce the third member of the trinity to a function? Shouldn't the Holy Spirit be a main heading?

  3. In a different diagram, yes. I guess I wanted to show the Spirit's involvement throughout all of the life of the Trinity in this one. Certainly not a function but a wonderful person!