Text: Song of Solomon 2:3-4

Title: "Jesus Christ as the Apple Tree"

Subject: The provision of Christ as reflected in the type of an apple tree

Intro: Valentine's Day is almost upon us. On this day, young men summon the courage to give the little red-haired girl a card, candy, or flowers as a token of their secret admiration. Valentine was a pastor at Rome, martyred for his faith in the 3rd century, then elevated to "sainthood" by the Catholic church. When the church transferred the ancient pagan practice of men picking women's names out of a box into a "religious" practice, Valentine's birth or death day became associated with it, but the pagan practice was still not stamped out. Thus, Valentine's Day.

Here is an actual excerpt from an magazine article in 1755. "Last Friday was Valentine's Day, and the night before, I got five bay leaves, and pinned four of them to the four corners of my pillow, and the fifth to the middle; and then, if I dreamt of my sweetheart, we should be married before the year was out. But to make it more sure, I boiled an egg hard, and took out the yolk, and filled it with salt; and when I went to bed, ate it, shell and all, without speaking or drinking after it. We also wrote our lovers' names upon bits of paper, and rolled them up in clay, and put them into water; and the first that rose up was to be our valentine."

And what does this have to do with my message? Almost nothing, but I thought you would get a kick out of it! Actually my purpose tonight is to speak of the Beloved out of the Song of Solomon, the book of love. So there is a tie-in after all!

I take a little different approach to the Song of Solomon than my contemporaries. I believe the Song of Solomon is first of all about the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Song I find three main characters. King Solomon, who is a picture of the world. The Shulamite maiden who is a picture of the Nation of Israel to the Jews, and a picture of the church and/or individual Christians to us. Then there is an unnamed Shepherd, who is the perfect picture of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Song, Solomon loves and attempts to woe the Shulamite maiden away from the Shepherd, but the Shulamite loves the Shepherd and refuses Solomon's advances. Thereby we have the proverbial love triangle. This is the story of the Song of Solomon.

In the passage we will consider tonight, the Shulamite maiden has been brought into the presence of King Solomon, who is attempting to woe her with smooth words, royal pageantry, and wealth. But though she must acknowledge the king who is in her presence, her mind is stayed on her beloved Shepherd. You see, even a king cannot control what you think!

Song 1:12-2:6 -- Jesus Christ as the Apple Tree -- prayer

I. CHRIST AS THE APPLE (Citron) TREE (2:3)

Note: This is one of the many O.T. types of the Messiah, or Christ. Since the Messiah was only promised in the O.T., God used many types and figures to speak of the great Redeemer who was to come, and many of these came from the realms of nature. The picture is; as an apple tree would stand out among the trees of the forest, so did the Shulamite's beloved stand out among the sons of men. "The idea here is one of rareness, for it was rare to find an apple/citron tree among forest trees." If you, as a weary traveler, came upon an apple tree in the midst of a forest, you would instantly appreciate the contrast. This is the same contrast we should see, appreciate, and appropriate in Jesus Christ when compared with those around us. Here, the Shulamite is seeking a place of mental rest from the king's crowd, and maybe you need a place of mental rest in the midst of your circumstances. Go to the Apple Tree!

Notice Christ as the apple tree

A. A tree, but not one of the "trees," and a Man, but not one of the sons.

"But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men" Philip. 2:7

"For such an High Priest became us, Who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens" Hebrews 7:26

B. A different tree (holy = separate, unique, peculiar, one of a kind)

Heb. 7:26 above

C. A noticeable tree (you couldn't miss the difference) (Other men have been deified, but God was magnified!)

"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets (even lost men saw a difference). He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" Matt. 16:13-16 (the saved saw the difference)

D. A shady tree (The apple/citron foliage gives a pleasant shade)

E. A providing tree (The apple/citron fruit is sweet and eatable)

F. A fragrant tree (The apple/citron flower gives a fragrant oder)

G. A restoring tree (The apple/citron possesses restorative properties)

II. CHRIST IS MY BELOVED (2:3)

A. My (personal) Beloved (Christianity is a personal relationship!)

1. Because of what He did for me (sacrificed Himself for you)

2. Because of what He is doing for me (conforming you to Himself)

3. Because of what He is going to do for me (resurrect & glorify you)

"The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want" Psalm 23:1

In deep circumstances remind yourself of all He is to you

B. He is Beloved (root is...)

1. Loved one

Note: The most misunderstood word in the English language is "love." True love is not an emotion, though emotions are involved. True love is a commitment to another person, which should be based on your relationship to the Lord. Though the Hebrew only uses a general term for love, the Greek has three distinct words that are translated "love."

Eros: Selfish love or self-centered love. Love for your own satisfaction

Phileo: Selfless love. This is marriage or friendship love. It is a relationship between two people going in the same direction with same goals.

Agape: Sacrificial love. This is love for another without any hope or expectation of return. Loving another despite what/who they are.

"Jesus saith to Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, agapest thou me?

"Peter said to Jesus, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I phileo thee."

Note: Thus true Biblical love for Jesus Christ should be a natural expression of one who has been delivered--and appreciates it!

2. Uncle

Note: This root refers to the picture of the kinsman redeemer (Ruth), who was normally a relative who could redeem (buy back) the other party from some distress. Jesus Christ became our kinsman redeemer when He bought us back from our slavery to sin, and the paid the price of our redemption. This is what our love is to center on, the D.B.R. of our Lord Jesus Christ. If your circumstances are so grievous that you cannot meditate on anything else, mediate on Christ hanging on the cross on your behalf!

III. CHRIST BRINGS REST (2:3)

A. I Sat Down

"The Lord is my shepherd; He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters" Psalm 23:2

Note: Sometimes, in the midst of trying circumstances, we just need to 'sit down' and collect our thoughts. And sometimes in the same circumstances, the Lord sits us down! But at least we have a place to sit down!!!! This pictures our entire confidence in the Lord. Remember, this is not your battle, it is the Lord's!!

"The Lord is my shepherd; He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake" Psalm 23:3

IV. CHRIST IS A REFUGE (2:3)

A. He extends His shadow/influence over us all the way from heaven

1. This is so because Jesus Christ is the ever-present God

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" Heb. 13:5

2. This is so because Jesus Christ is our Mediator/Advocate

"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" 1 John 2:1

3. This is so because we have been given another Comforter

"And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you" John 14:18

B. He shadows His own

Note: "The shadow is a figure of protection afforded." "This is an abiding shadow. All other shadows are constantly fleeting." It is a picture of Christ's shadow interposing itself between ourselves and our circumstances, thereby affording us the opportunity of quieting ourselves because of Him. It is that superintending presence of our Lord. This is found throughout the Scriptures. There is the shadow of God's wings (Ps. 17:8) the shadow of the Almighty (Ps. 91:1); the shadow of the Tabernacle (Isa. 4:6); the shadow from the heat (Isa. 25:4); the shadow of a great Rock (Isa. 32:2); the shadow of God's hand (Isa. 51:16; and the shadow of God's Branch (Hos. 14:7). Satan's shadow is the shadow of death!

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me" Psalm 23:4

V. CHRIST BRINGS DELIGHT (2:3)

A. "Great Delight" = covet, to desire greatly, to take pleasure in: Gr. to joy or rejoice in

Note: This is something that has eluded present day Christians, yet if you go back to our Baptist forefathers of the 1800's and before, you find in their writings this "delight" in the Lord. They somehow took and found great pleasure in the Person of Jesus Christ. He was like a rare gem that sparkled no matter which way they viewed Him. This pleasure then superseded all their trials, put everything into perspective, and gave them great joy despite their circumstances. Now, I can assure you that Jesus Christ hasn't changed, so the loss must be ours

"Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass." Psalm 37:3-5

"Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth; Thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul" Psalm 94:17-19

VI. CHRIST BRINGS REFRESHMENT (2:3)

A. Refreshment is Found in His Fruit

1. O.T. "Refresh" = to take a breath: N.T. to pause, to give rest from labor or effort

Note: You've heard of "the pause that refreshes"? We have a Lord who refreshes. And His refreshing pause is found in His fruit. "Fruit" = what is produced; Webster; the consequence or outcome of actions. The Shulamite found refreshment by considering the fruits of her beloved Shepherd. She thought of Him, what He was like, what He said, what He did, etc. This is a lover mediating on her beloved! These are "the unsearchable riches of Christ," which are available to every believer.

B. Refreshment is Found in His Sweetness (sweet, pleasant)

Note: The promises of Christ are sweet to the believer. The pardon of Christ is sweet to the believer. The assurance of love and love's provision is sweet to the believer. The peace of conscience is sweet to the believer. The joys of this life and the hope of the next life are sweet to the believer. Every benefit of belonging to Christ, when tasted, is like honey from the honeycomb.

C. Refreshment is Found in My Tasting of Him

1. It is a personal tasting. Each person experiences a different sensation, and that changing with each circumstance, when tasting of Christ.

"Taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him" Psalm 34:8

2. It is a "sensible/experimental" tasting. "Taste" = a knowledge of someone through intimate personal experience

"How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Psalm 119:103

a. We experience Christ in Bible reading, prayer, preaching, trusting, obedience, faithfulness, etc.

Concl: This certainly is the "season of love." Beginning with Valentine's Day, through springtime, when the thoughts of a young man's fancy turns to love, shouldn't we as blood bought believers refresh our love for our Lord? As we consider Jesus Christ under the type of an apple tree, shouldn't we rejoice in the benefits of His rest, His refuge, His delight, and His refreshment? When we say we love someone, we refresh our commitment to them, and refresh their confidence in us. Should it not be so with our Lord? I don't know your need tonight, but I know where you can find rest. "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy ladened, and I will give you rest." Will you come to Christ tonight?  

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