(Song of Solomon 8:1-7)
“Oh, that you were like my brother,
Who nursed at my mother’s breasts!
If I should find you outside,
I would kiss you;
I would not be despised.
I would lead you and bring you
Into the house of my mother,
She who used to instruct me.
I would cause you to drink of spiced wine,
Of the juice of my pomegranate.
His left hand is under my head,
And his right hand embraces me.
I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
Do not stir up nor awaken love
Until it pleases.
Who is this coming up from the wilderness,
Leaning upon her beloved?
I awakened you under the apple tree.
There your mother brought you forth;
There she who bore you brought you forth.
Set me as a seal upon your heart,
As a seal upon your arm;
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy as cruel as the grave;
Its flames are flames of fire,
A most vehement flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor can the floods drown it.
If a man would give for love
All the wealth of his house,
It would be utterly despised.”
Warm greetings to you all. I am very glad to see you here today. This week we began making our gospel e-Books available on Kindle, an electronic device developed by Amazon.com to display e-Books and other digital media. We have stocked many gospel books on Amazon.com in both paper and electronic versions. Today I heard that four copies of one of our Spanish e-Books were sold on Amazon.com. Christians all over the world have paid to download our gospel e-Books that hold the righteousness of God. We are all very grateful to our God for this. How wonderful would it be if Christians throughout the whole world were to download and read our gospel books. Reading our gospel books will surely help them a great deal in their spiritual growth.
We’ve seen that a lot of people are interested in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but in particular, they seem to be especially interested the Tabernacle and the Book of Revelation. So far we have published over 60 books in English, giving people plenty of choices to choose the topic that interests them the most. Christians from around the world can now be saved from all their sins and lead a proper life of faith once they read one of our gospel books available from Amazon.com. So we are all the more thankful to our God. While we will continue to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit through the print media, we plan to put more emphasis on e-Books in the years to come.
Thanks to the advent of e-readers such as Kindle, our gospel books have become much more accessible, as people from anywhere can now download them onto their devices. As the market for e-readers expands, it will become increasingly easier for us to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The market for e-books is expected to grow dramatically and eventually take over paper back books. Given this trend, it’s important for us to pay closer attention to e-Books as a new means of spreading the gospel. There is much to be done to expand into e-Books, including digitizing our many gospel books, but, fortunately, we have already been preparing for this eventually for quite a while, so the transition will not be too difficult.
What Does It Mean for Us to Lead a Life of Faith?
Today’s Scripture reading comes from the Song of Solomon 8:1-7. The life of faith is all about nurturing faith by trusting in the Word of God. Put differently, for us to truly live out our faith, we must nurture our souls with faith. This is what our Lord is addressing in today’s Scripture, as it’s written in Song of Solomon 8:1: “Oh, that you were like my brother, Who nursed at my mother’s breasts! If I should find you outside, I would kiss you; I would not be despised.”
Here, God is teaching us that we can lead a proper life of faith only if we are nurtured by our elders of faith. In other words, God is saying to us in this passage, “If you were nurtured properly by faith, you would not embarrass Me, your King. If only you were raised properly, you would never let Me be despised by anyone.” When the Bible says, “Oh, that you were like my brother, Who nursed at my mother’s breasts,” the “mother” here refers to God’s Church. Put differently, if we were nurtured by God’s workers in His Church, we would have seen our faith grow. God’s Church is training His workers who will walk before you and lead you. So, those who are spiritually wise can please God by letting their elders of faith nurture them.
God’s Church is the place that trains you spiritually so that you would be able to carry out God’s work even more. That’s because those who are nurtured with the Word of God are shaped into great workers of faith in God’s sight. These people want to lead their lives in this world in a godly way that does not embarrass the Lord or tarnish His glory. By believing in the righteousness of the Lord, they are able to continue on living a genuine life of faith. God’s workers being trained now are growing by leaps and bounds as they come to trust in God and His Word. It’s through these workers that the Lord shines the light of salvation to this world. It’s through such people that the Lord not only fulfills His will but is also glorified.
The Lord entrusts God’s work to those who believe in His righteousness, and He is blessing them do this work by faith. As these workers are nurtured in faith, they are the ones carrying out the Lord’s will. Right now, your soul is being nurtured as you put your faith in the Word of God. Now that you have received the remission of sins by believing in the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit, you are about to embark on a life of faith. But, are you really ready for this? You can lead a proper life of faith only if you are nurtured in the faith, by trusting in the Word of God. Just as children can lead a responsible life as adults only if they are nurtured properly by their parents, so can you live out your faith properly only if you are nurtured properly by God’s Church.
If we had not been nurtured in the faith with the Word of God properly, then we would not be leading an upright life of faith now. Without being trained in faith, we would surely be lost, for we would not even know how to lead a proper life of faith. Those who lack spiritual training are not only incapable of leading anyone else properly, but they themselves have no idea how to receive God’s blessings through faith, for they have little faith in God. It’s therefore all the more important for you to receive proper training from your elders of faith who are walking ahead of you. Such spiritual training is absolutely indispensable to all of us, and this training is available only in God’s Church.
Let’s turn to today’s Scripture reading here: “I would lead you and bring you Into the house of my mother, She who used to instruct me. I would cause you to drink of spiced wine, Of the juice of my pomegranate. His left hand is under my head, And his right hand embraces me” (Song of Solomon 8:2-3). This passage means that those who are nurtured in God’s Church first have the responsibility to teach and lead those who would receive the remission of sins after them. In other words, spiritual training is done from one generation to the next, with the elders teaching their juniors, and the juniors teaching those who are following in their footsteps. As those who receive such training from God’s Church are given spiritual nourishment, they come to exercise even greater power of faith. That’s how they ultimately come to unite themselves with the Lord their Savior by faith. If you really have been nurtured with faith in God’s Word, then you have become one with the Lord.
You Can Lead a Genuine Life of Faith Only If You Have Faith in the Righteousness of God
Song of Solomon 8:4 says: “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, Do not stir up nor awaken love Until it pleases.” My fellow believers, we believe in the love of the Lord and His righteousness, and it’s by this faith that we are following the Lord. A life of faith following the righteousness of God is not led by relying on your own carnal thoughts, but it is led by your faith in the Word of God. If you are otherwise trying to lead a life of faith just because someone told you to do so, then your life of faith is a coerced one rather than the genuine one.
You are following the Lord right now because you believe in the righteousness of the Lord and His love. We are faithful to the Lord’s work out of our own volition precisely because we believe in the salvation that God has brought to us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Therefore, for you to lead a genuine life of faith, you must follow your spiritual elders by faith. It’s written: “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, Do not stir up nor awaken love Until it pleases” (Song of Solomon 8:4). Although you have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, you must emulate the faith of your spiritual elders. Only then can you follow the Lord by trusting in His righteousness.
Together, you and I are now preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over the world. But, have you ever wondered what might have been in my mind as I’ve been preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit together with you through our literature ministry? There were times when I was afraid of being persecuted and even killed for preaching the gospel. Yet, I could not give up my ministry, for the gospel of the water and the Spirit I was preaching was too precious. Likewise, because you have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Word of God, you also have the duty to preach this gospel to others in every possible way.
That’s because the gospel of the water and the Spirit we are preaching is the real Truth of salvation. From now on, all of us must be united with God’s Church and live for the spreading of this gospel of the water and the Spirit. We must realize that God is now commanding all those who have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit to spread this gospel throughout the whole world.
He is admonishing each and every one of us to live by faith, to trust in His righteousness and also to pray to Him. God has given all these commandments because we believe in His Word. Now that we believe in the Word of God, all of us ought to live accordingly by faith. Like this, trusting in the Word of God and living out our faith according to God’s will is what it means to lead an upright life of faith before God.
We Lead a Genuine Life of Faith When We Take God’s Blessings by Waging Our Spiritual War of Faith
Our lives of faith are all about fighting our good battle of faith before God and taking all the blessings He is offering to us. As we continue to serve the Lord in our lives of faith, it’s not the case that only good things would happen to us. On the contrary, we will also face extremely difficult obstacles. However, we must realize that the hardships we face in our lives of faith have been permitted to us by God in order to bless us.
God allows such obstacles in our lives of faith so that we would fight them by faith and then to accept His blessings. As we all know, difficult problems can arise even in God’s Church at times. In times like these, I tell myself that I must face such trials regardless of whether I want to or not, even though I’m already struggling enough as it is. That’s because trials and tribulations bring growth to my faith. If there is no way for me to avoid hardships in my life of faith, then shouldn’t I fight it by putting all my faith in the righteousness of God and take His blessings?
If it’s my destiny to fight the Lord’s enemies in my life of faith, then there is no need for me to try to avoid this battle. So I know very well that God lets me face such trials and tribulations so that I would grow in faith, wage my spiritual battle by trusting in God and His righteousness, and accept His blessings as a result. That’s why I confront all the hardships that come my way by trusting in the righteousness of God. Such godly battles are actually good for us.
God said to all of us, “All things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28). Therefore, the difficulties that God allows us to face are not just all bad. Once we confront and overcome such difficulties by faith, we will receive even more blessings from God, for our hearts and faith will be all the more strengthened. So, we all need to realize here that the problems that are confronting us right now can actually turn into God’s blessings once we overcome them by faith. It’s very important for us to learn this lesson that living out our faith before God is all about taking His blessings by trusting in His righteousness.
Do you remember when God quenched our thirsty hearts? This happened when Jesus Christ blotted out all our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It’s at this moment that our Lord quenched our thirsty hearts with the gospel of salvation. The gospel Word of the water and the Spirit has saved us from all the sins of the world once and for all.
When God met us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, He quenched our hearts. When we realized that God had blotted out all our sins with the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, and when we believed in this, our hearts thirsted no longer. We have now come to grasp clearly that our Lord has wiped out all our sins with the gospel truth of the water and the Spirit. That is why we can’t help but thank the Lord for His righteousness. It’s absolutely indispensable for us to realize beyond all doubt that we have been saved from all our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, for only then can we follow the Lord by trusting in and relying on His righteousness.
By believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we can all understand the righteousness of our Lord, and we can all follow the Lord by relying on this faith of ours. No matter what hardships might come our way, we can follow our Lord as long as we have faith in His righteousness. If only we have faith in the righteousness of the Lord, all of us are more than able to follow Him. What, then, prevents us from following the Lord? It’s our carnal desires. If we give into our fleshly desires, we cannot follow the righteousness of the Lord, for the desires of the flesh can lead us to betray the Lord’s righteousness. It’s by our faith in God’s righteousness that we are serving Him.
We Are Now Supporting the Gospel Ministry by Trusting in the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
It’s so wonderful that we are supporting the gospel ministry despite our shortcomings. As we believe in the righteousness of God, God loves us all, takes care of all our needs, and solves all our problems for us. Just as He has blessed us to this very day, so will He continue to bless us forever. The blessings that God is giving to all of us the redeemed believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can be received only by overcoming our carnal desires by faith and confronting the many hardships that come our way by trusting in God and His righteousness.
We have seen time after time that God does not just give us His blessings without first letting us face some hardship. If God were to give us His blessings too easily, it might actually have a corrupting influence on us. We may not realize the preciousness of the God-given blessings of faith, and as a result end up losing them all. It’s through our hardships, through many trials and tribulations, that God teaches us what true faith is all about. It’s when we overcome all these trials and tribulations by faith, and when we serve the Lord’s righteousness, that we receive God’s blessings. And that is why I am saying that a life of faith is a battle of faith waged by trusting in God’s righteousness.
It’s written in the Song of Solomon 8:6-7: “Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm; For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love All the wealth of his house, It would be utterly despised.” A genuine life of faith is led when we embrace our Lord’s love and His righteousness into our hearts. It is like setting the Lord’s love as a seal upon our hearts and arms, as it’s written, “Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm.” A seal represents its bearer.
The Lord has set His seal on us. He has sealed our hears with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. He said to us, “I have saved you from all your sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.” That is why the Lord told us, “Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm.” The seal here refers to the seal of love that God has put on us. The Lord has sealed our hearts with His love. Therefore, whoever knows and believes in the Lord’s gospel of the water and the Spirit can never reject His love. Whoever knows the Lord’s love can’t help but believe in Him, follow Him, and obey Him. So we are compelled to obey and follow the Lord, even though we are all flawed.
Because those who know and believe in our Lord’s love have this love in their hearts, they can’t help but follow it. It’s written here in the Song of Solomon 8:6, “Love is as strong as death.” Love is indeed as strong as death. Even if death were on our way, we can never forsake the love that the Lord has given to us. That’s why the Bible says, “For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame” (Song of Solomon 8:6). This means that no matter who persecutes us, what tribulations we face, and how we are tempted by the things of the world to depart from the Lord’s love, we can never allow ourselves to do so.
My fellow believers, the Lord’s love is as strong as death, jealousy is as cruel as the grave, and its flames are flames of fire. The Lord’s love is stronger than death. Just as no one can escape when death comes, we can never survive if we depart from the Lord’s love. That’s because God’s love has saved us from all the sins of the world through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Having thus been saved from all our sins, we have become the brides Jesus Christ and the Lord is our Groom. The Lord is also the Shepherd of all the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. For each and every one of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, God is our very own Shepherd.
He is the Chief Shepherd and the Master of our lives. The righteous God is our strength. He is our God, our Shepherd, our Savior, and our Leader. That is why God has saved us from all the sins of the world through the water, the blood, and the Spirit, why the Lord is taking care of us, and why He is leading us to the path of righteousness and blessing us all. No one can therefore cut us off from His love. Who could ever do this? Even if we were offered all the riches of the world in exchange for forsaking our faith, we could never give up the Lord’s love for these earthly riches, just as the Bible says if a man would give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly despised.
For us to lead a proper life of faith, we must learn to fight the battle of faith and overcome all our hardships by trusting in God. As long as we are nurtured with faith in God, we can all live out our faith properly. From the Song of Solomon, we can also realize that we must have faith to follow God and live out our faith by trusting in God. We are now leading our lives of faith properly. All of us who believe and serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit are leading an upright life of faith.
Our coworkers throughout the whole world are also spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit just like us, through our printed books and e-Books alike. This gospel of Truth is spreading all over the world through our ministry thanks to the Lord’s help, and we can continue to sustain this ministry if we defend our faith in the Lord and overcome all our trials and tribulations. As God’s Church preaches the gospel and shares its gospel books with our coworkers all over the world, it is nurturing their faith, and as a result, the gospel is being spread even more. Those who have become righteous by believing in the gospel preached by us are also spreading this gospel boldly.
I have a great deal more to say about this, but I’ll leave it for another day and return to today’s theme. The question I’ve raised in today’s sermon is this: What does it mean to live an upright life of faith? The answer lays in being nurtured properly. Repeat after me: “My life of faith is all about spiritual training.” Your life of faith is led with training and nurturing. It’s about taking the God-giving blessings by faith. It’s led by embracing the Lord and His love into your heart. That is what your life of faith is all about. So I ask you all to realize this important lesson and live out your faith properly. For you and me alike, this lesson is immensely helpful as we carry on with our lives life of faith.
My fellow believers, today’s Scripture reading taught us that love is as strong as death. Love is indeed strong. It also said that jealousy is as cruel as the grave. This refers to the ferocity of our spiritual battle. There are some really nasty people who hate us and oppose us. However, just as it’s written here that love is as strong as death, there is no one who can overcome the Lord’s love and our faith in it, for He is our God Almighty. Because this God loves us, we, too, love Him. And as a result, we can overcome all our hardships. God is protecting us and blessings us all. Words cannot describe just how thankful we are to God.
God is our God and our Shepherd. He is our Lord. He is our Guide. I believe with all my heart that God is helping us all, protecting us all, and blessing us in all the things that we are doing to support the gospel ministry and spread His Word. And I believe with equal conviction that God will continue to strengthen all His servants in both body and in spirit. Hallelujah!