The Love of Christ

Expository Sermons on Verses from Song of Solomon Chapters 4-6

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Weight 0.33 kg
Dimensions 18.1 × 12.1 × 1.9 cm
page-count

376

format

Book

Original Pub Date

1639

Banner Pub Date

Oct 3, 2011

topic

Jesus Christ, Spiritual Growth, The Church

binding

Paperback

scripture

Song of Solomon

series

Puritan Paperbacks

isbn

9781848711440

Book Description

The Puritan John Dod wrote that this book is ‘so full of heavenly treasure, and such lively expressions of the invaluable riches of the love of Christ’ that it kindles ‘in the heart all heavenly affections unto Jesus Christ’. Indeed it does! And that was very much what Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) was about in all his ministry.

The Love of Christ is a series of sermons preached on Song of Solomon 4:16-6:3. For Sibbes, this Bible book ‘is nothing else but a plain demonstration and setting forth of the love of Christ to his church, and of the love of the church to Christ’. The Song of Solomon does not simply mouth a doctrine: its sensuous imagery sings its message. It is as if this love story is played on violins. The reader is thus brought, not simply to understand, but to taste and share the delights of the lovers. This is precisely what Christ’s people need, as Sibbes knew: it is not enough to be aware of Christ’s love; we must sense, grasp and enjoy it. Only then will we truly love the Lord our God with all our hearts.

That is one reason why so many avoid books like this one: they want information, and they want it fast. But Sibbes intends to affect you, to hold your eyes on Jesus that you might develop a stronger appetite for him. Such work cannot be fast work, but it is profoundly transforming.

Table of Contents Expand ↓

Foreword vii
Preface xi
Sermon 1 Song of Solomon 4:16-5:1 1
Sermon 2 Song of Solomon 5:1 33
Sermon 3 Song of Solomon 5:1, 2 49
Sermon 4 Song of Solomon 5:2 77
Sermon 5 Song of Solomon 5:2 93
Sermon 6 Song of Solomon 5:2 117
Sermon 7 Song of Solomon 5:2, 3 133
Sermon 8 Song of Solomon 5:3 163
Sermon 9 Song of Solomon 5:6 179
Sermon 10 Song of Solomon 5:6 199
Sermon 11 Song of Solomon 5:6, 7 209
Sermon 12 Song of Solomon 5:7, 8 221
Sermon 13 Song of Solomon 5:8, 9 233
Sermon 14 Song of Solomon 5:9, 10 249
Sermon 15 Song of Solomon 5:10 261
Sermon 16 Song of Solomon 5:10-13 273
Sermon 17 Song of Solomon 5:13-15 285
Sermon 18 Song of Solomon 5:16-6:2 301
Sermon 19 Song of Solomon 6:3 319
Sermon 20 Song of Solomon 6:3 339

Reviews

2 testimonials for The Love of Christ

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  1. R C Ross

    Unless the preacher was insensitive to the abilities of his congregation, his printed sermons tell us much about his hearers. And as Sibbes was anything but insensitive, his sermons stand as a lasting testimony to his hearers. The spiritual appetites and abilities of the congregations Richard Sibbes preached to must have been colossal. His sermons are long and packed as solidly with spiritual insight, warmth and wisdom as a tin of sardines is packed with fish. I choose to read a little at a time – clearly lacking the healthier capacity of his original hearers. Reading with such delight and profit this deeply satisfying and encouraging book – and Sibbes is a great encourager – I took advantage of the recent heavily discounted price to acquire the set of Sibbes’s works. (I would like to thank ‘Banner’ for these recent Christmas offers – they have been ‘a means of grace’ to me!) I do however have one complaint – the cover picture on this paperback edition: I cannot imagine what that Western decadent wedding foppery has to do with the Song of Songs!

  2. Stephen Steele

    I spent most of the last year reading slowly through ‘The Love of Christ’ by Richard Sibbes – and it was one of the best things I did.

    Of the 60+ Puritan Paperbacks, this is one of the longest, if not the longest, at 360 pages. It consists of sermons on Song of Solomon chapters 4-6, first published under the title ‘Bowels Opened’ in 1639.

    I first came across the book via Mike Reeves, who writes the foreward. As Reeves points out, the standard Puritan interpretation of the Song as a parable of the love between Christ and his Church is not held by the majority of commentators today – but ‘even if Sibbes is misappropriating the Song, the wonderful truths he expounds still stands’. Yet Sibbes is both careful and convincing in his exegesis, comparing Scripture with Scripture throughout and warning of the need to be ‘wary’ in applying some of the finer details (p. 285). Above all, he warms our hearts by fixing our attention on Jesus Christ and his love for his people.

    Sibbes believed that ‘it is the special office of the ministry to lay [Christ] open’ (p. 313) and he practiced what he preached. In fact, Sibbes’ sermons are a challenge to preachers today in how far short of this we sometimes fall. The consequences of a diet of sermons which major on ‘try harder’ will be tragic, because ‘our nature is such that we cannot love but where we know ourselves to be loved first’ and so ‘if the soul be not persuaded of Christ’s love it runs away from him’ (p. 340). ‘All preaching’, he says, ‘is that we may be able to say without deceiving our souls, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”’ (p. 347). Like Thomas Chalmers two centuries later, Sibbes believed in the expulsive power of a new affection: ‘One main end of our calling is to draw the affections of those who belong to God to Christ’ (p. 264).

    Throughout the book, Sibbes (who died in 1635) quotes from the Geneva Bible, which results in some memorable renderings of familiar passages, eg ‘all things work together for the best’ (Romans 8:28), ‘with our eyes we saw his majesty’ (2 Peter 1:16); ‘I will not fail thee, neither forsake thee’ (Hebrews 13:5).

    Unlike some of Sibbes’ other works in the Puritan Paperbacks series, the text has not been modernised; instead footnotes have been added to explain archaic words. As a purist, this is the approach that I much prefer – though a smattering of archaic or obscure words remain unexplained (eg ‘amain’, ‘tush’, ‘bane’ (in the sense of poison), ‘prevent’, ‘want’.) A typo has also crept into p. 132 where ‘loves till’ stands in place of ‘love still’.

    The fact that some of the earlier sermons are significantly longer than the others might mean that some will struggle to get into the book, but it will well reward those who stick with it. Sibbes is a joyful expositor who bubbles over with the love of Christ. Lloyd-Jones could testify to the help that Sibbes’ ‘Bruised Reed’ gave him at a particularly low point, and ‘The Love of Christ’ is similarly powerful.

    It will help guard against unbalanced introspection: when recommending self-examination, Sibbes encourages us to look for good within us rather than just evil, in order that we may be joyful and thankful (p. 47).

    It will help protect against legalism: ‘Is not his obedience enough for us? Shall we need patch it up with our own righteousness?’ (p. 331)

    It will help keep from despair: ‘In the most disconsolate state of a Christian soul, there is light enough in the soul to show…that it is day with the soul and not night’ (p. 212)

    It will help us stand against Satan’s accusations: Just like a wife not liable for her own debts can say to a creditor ‘Go to my husband’, so we can tell Satan to go to Christ: ‘When we cannot answer him, send him to Christ’ (p. 333-4).

    In short, it would be hard not to come away from the book rejoicing that ‘there is more righteousness in Christ than there is sin in me’ (p. 272).

    Highly recommended, particularly for ministers of the gospel. We and our people need these truths!

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