When the Church Is Sick of Love

By John Thiel, mp3

Scripture reading: Song of Solomon 2:4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me [was] love.

When the church is sick of love – May this never happen to us, because it would be terrible for us to be separated from Him. But there is such a thing as being sick of God’s love.

Redeemed From Corruption

Believers who compose God’s church have been redeemed from corruption. It is in reference to the Hebrews in the Old Testament, Israel, that we are given a very vivid description of how God redeemed His church from corruption. This is where God found His people, and how His church was redeemed from that position:

Deuteronomy 32:9 For the LORD’S portion [is] his people; Jacob [is] the lot of his inheritance. 10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. 11 As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: 12 [So] the LORD alone did lead him, and [there was] no strange god with him.

God found His church in the howling wilderness. He redeemed them from Egyptian captivity; He brought them into a secure place with Him. In Ezekiel we have more detail on the kind of redemption, the kind of love that God had and has to His church. This is the pit from which His people are redeemed:

Ezekiel 16:5 None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. 6 And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee [when thou wast] in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee [when thou wast] in thy blood, Live. 7 I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: [thy] breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou [wast] naked and bare. 8 Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time [was] the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine. 9 Then washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. 10 I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers’ skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. 11 I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. 12 And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head. 13 Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment [was of] fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. 14 And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it [was] perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD.

This is a symbolic description of how God raises His church from the gutter, from its pollution. Every believer who has become part of God’s church has come from a corrupt background, and God has raised up a people throughout the ages. He puts His skirt around her – that is His beautiful righteousness – and He makes her His own. He makes a covenant with her and she is brought forward by His comeliness, by His righteousness, to stand as a church to His glory. He has taken her from the pit of corruption. Here was the condition of the church in Egypt, in the wilderness:

Isaiah 38:17 Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul [delivered it] from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.

All the sins of the people God has cast behind His back in the process of justification. All sins were cast behind Him. This amazing work, that God’s people have been redeemed from the pit of corruption, this amazing redemption that can be enlarged in our meditation, cost heaven dearly. We are told that God spared not His Son, but delivered Him up for us all. He spared not His Son. I would like to spend some time to meditate a while on God not sparing His Son, not sparing all the securities of heaven for such a people who were so depraved.

What It Cost

Let us meditate, not just for information’ sake, but let us read this to appreciate what cost was expended for the church.

Isaiah 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, [there is] no beauty that we should desire him.

Jesus comes from the ivory palaces of heaven into this dark world, and He grows up out of a dry ground, nothing by way of earthly glory. In fact, He was born in a stable. What a contrast from heaven to earth. But as He continued to develop in the city of Nazareth, He didn’t have a good name. Nothing there.

Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither [was any] deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

These words are for us to spend time to meditate upon, to realise what it cost heaven, what it cost the Father, the Son, to pick the people up from their degradation and take them into the condition of a queen dwelling with beautiful clothing and beautiful gems. As described in Ezekiel, all symbolic of the spiritual righteousness that was imparted to the church. In the meditation of what Jesus went through He appeals to us to let it sink deep. We have often quoted Lamentations 1. This is always important for us to hear this lamentation of Jesus as He was burdened with the sins of the people that He was washing them from by His blood.

Lamentations 1:12 [Is it] nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted [me] in the day of his fierce anger. 13 From above hath he sent fire into my bones, and it prevaileth against them: he hath spread a net for my feet, he hath turned me back: he hath made me desolate [and] faint all the day. 14 The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand: they are wreathed, [and] come up upon my neck: he hath made my strength to fall, the Lord hath delivered me into [their] hands, [from whom] I am not able to rise up.

As you connect these words with Isaiah 53, you see that Jesus came to wash the church of her blood, to cleanse her, to lift her up, and this is what it cost Him. To redeem us from the pit of corruption Jesus had to go through experiences that were a living horror to Him, just what the church should experience, were it not for His mercy. We should think of Christ’s humiliation.

Think of Christ’s humiliation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin. He took our sorrows, bearing our grief and shame. He endured all the temptations wherewith man is beset. He united humanity with divinity: a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh. He united Himself with the temple. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” because by so doing He could associate with the sinful, sorrowing sons and daughters of Adam (YI Dec. 20, 1900). {4BC 1147.4}

He could associate and drink our misery with us. It cost Him severely. As we permit this to sink in, as we meditate upon it, we realise that this is for me, so that I can be part of His pure church. He is going to have a church that is going to be pure, but He found her in this condition, and He took upon Himself all those powerful realities of the guilt and the degradation that they were in the pit with. Romans 8 needs to be absorbed in the light of what we have been reading:

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? [It is] God that justifieth. 34 Who [is] he that condemneth?

He spared not His own Son; He delivered Him up to everything we have read before. As we stop to think what that meant, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? All things, all heaven is given us because of what He did for us. Are we to carry guilt? Are we to respond to any charge that has been laid upon us by any man? It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? Today we live in a world, in a culture, of blame. They want retribution; they want to destroy the image of people who have been powerful lights in the world, because they can search through and find all sorts of things true or untrue to bring them to the forefront.

This removes all the condemnations that come upon God’s people. Because many things that God’s people have done in the past have been described, that is why Jesus came and took it all away. When the Pharisees were ready to stone the woman caught in adultery, Jesus had to remind them, Are you any better? There is not a single person on this planet who is not in the gutter of sin, not a single person; and Jesus has redeemed a people by His wonderful gift.

Song of Solomon 2:4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me [was] love

Why did He do all this? Why did He sacrifice so much for a vile, blood-covered, corrupt people?

Proverbs 17:9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love;

That is what it’s about. He is seeking love.

Proverbs 17:9 …but he that repeateth a matter separateth [very] friends.

You know how true that is. Even families become separated because they repeat a matter. But through His wonderful sacrifice God is covering our transgression. Why? Because, as the margin reads, He procureth love. The person who is taken from the gutter and knows what a sinner he is and sees what God has done for him, something happens inside of that person; and you realise, I am not worthy of any of this amazing work. Then He wakes up, Oh, He wants to lift me into this glory, dressed in beautiful garments, with jewellery, etc. (spiritually speaking), and the heart is drawn out to Him. He procureth love, or, He evokes love. He brings it about; He obtains it through this amazing story.

In order to secure us to Himself and ensure our eternal salvation He gave all that He had–His riches, His glory, and His own precious life. {12MR 115.1}

All heaven was given so that we might be secure in salvation.

For us He endured the agony of the Garden of Gethsemane, when the mysterious cup trembled in His hand and His anguished soul cried out, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me.” From His pale, quivering lips came this anguished prayer, and then the words of submission, “O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me except I drink it, Thy will be done.” An angel from heaven strengthened the royal Sufferer to tread His blood-stained path to Calvary, and to drink the cup of suffering to its very dregs. Oh, why was all this suffering, this ignominy, and torturing agony? {Ibid.}


It was that by this sacrifice of Himself His love might stand revealed, that He might woo men from the ways of sin. After man has cost so much, will He leave him now? {Ibid.}

After it cost so much for Jesus, after mankind has cost so much, will He leave him?

Oh no, no! He is faithful that has promised; His arms are outstretched to clasp the repentant, believing ones to His heart of love, with all the tenderness of divine affection. In Jesus we have an enduring, unchanging friend, and though all earthly prospects should fail and every earthly friend prove treacherous, yet He is faithful still. {Ibid.}

He woos us to Himself. He woos our love. He evokes us to appreciate His love. Indeed, this is what the apostle John says, We love Him; why? Because He first loved us. We love Him in consideration of this amazing work of drawing us out of this murky pit. This is all the same thing as a young man who wants to woo his bride. The symbol is very much on the same vein. It’s just that this Bridegroom has paid so much.

Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, [saying], Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Wooed thee. God commended His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners He did this. That is the wooing love, the power of what Jesus suffered and that I should have suffered.

Isaiah 62:5 …and [as] the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, [so] shall thy God rejoice over thee.

That is His church, His bride – a people who come together because of His saving grace by which He has brought each individual from the murky pit in which they were.

Asking for Admittance

Today He comes to His bride in these last days, in the Laodicean period, and He is knocking.

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

This valiant Bridegroom comes to the people whom He has redeemed, and He is speaking here to the Laodicean church. He has said to the angel of the church, “You don’t even know how miserable, poor, blind, and naked you are; and I am going to spue you out, but I am standing at the door, and if any man will open the door, I will come to him, and will sup with him.” Jesus is ascribing to the bride, the Laodicean church, the picture of Song of Solomon 5:2-6. Revelation 3 says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock;” and here is now the picture that He got it from in Song of Solomon. He inspired these words to Solomon so that He could then appeal to His church in the last days:

Song of Solomon 5:2 I sleep, but my heart waketh: [it is] the voice of my beloved that knocketh, [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.

What is He talking about? His Gethsemane experience, when the dew was upon Him because He was praying there, suffering for her. He reminds her of this, Behold, I stand at the door and knock, do you love Me? What does she answer? Oh,

Song of Solomon 5:3 I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?

She is there lingering, This is too uncomfortable, to get up out of bed; because the doorknob is on the inside, not on the outside. She can’t just say, Come in. Jesus is waiting for her to open. While He was waiting for her to open He was wondering, Well, maybe I can get my hand in that hole and try to get to the latch:

Song of Solomon 5:4 My beloved put in his hand by the hole [of the door], and my bowels were moved for him.

Here was an extra special sort of a thing. He had already paid the price for her, she was already His bride, but she was there all lazy like – Laodicean! He is there trying to get in, and as she sees Him doing that, she says, Oh, no, this is too much.

Song of Solomon 5:5 I rose up to open to my beloved;

And as she rose up,

Song of Solomon 5:5 …my hands dropped [with] myrrh, and my fingers [with] sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.

Can you see her languidly drooling towards the door, and then languidly opening the latch? She’s been waiting a long time, not answering as quickly as she could have. And what happens?

Song of Solomon 5:6 I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, [and] was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.

Have you any time for Jesus,
As in grace He calls again?
Oh, today is time accepted,
Later you may call in vain.

You may call in vain. That is what happened to this woman, this church. She called, but He wasn’t there anymore. And she began to wonder through the streets. This is the Laodicean bride, the church that made a high profession, that had been lifted high. Revelation 3:15-17 is Christ’s words to her, “You say you are rich and increased with goods. You are lukewarm! you are lethargic! you are not on fire for me anymore! Something has gone awry.” Here is this particular condition of the church, this ministry, this angel of the church to whom He says, I am going to spue you out of My mouth:

Revelation 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot:

She was lying in her bed, still feeling for Him; but she wasn’t hot enough to jump out of bed and open the door.

Revelation 3:15 …I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

We see what is meant with this in the words of Jesus in Matthew 24. This is the description in application and detail:

Matthew 24:48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49 And shall begin to smite [his] fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for [him], and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint [him] his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

This is the Laodicean ministry which finally, because it/she has not got the perfect indwelling of Christ there, is languidly going to the door to open it and let Him in; and what does she do? She called and He gave her no answer, and then,

Song of Solomon 5:7 The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me. 8 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I [am] sick of love.

I am sick of love – This is what she finally says. He is gone because of her fault. She didn’t come and show Him powerful faithfulness by running to the door. She was so comfortable in her bed, in her own Laodicean condition, so He withdrew Himself.

Fraternising With Other Churches

Now she is running out into the streets, and she is coming to the other daughters, the other churches, and she starts to fraternise with them, and says, Can you find Him, please?? I want to get back with Him! Then they turn around and say interesting things:

Song of Solomon 5:9 What [is] thy beloved more than [another] beloved, O thou fairest among women? what [is] thy beloved more than [another] beloved, that thou dost so charge us?

This is the way they reason when they are not in harmony with Jesus; they say, “Well, you see to that yourself. You love Jesus, you love Him? Well, what’s your love any better than the others’?” because the other churches have fraternised with other gods. This is what Jesus said about the servant that is eating and drinking with the drunken and saying in his heart, My Lord delayeth His coming.


Love of self excludes the love of Christ. Those who live for self are ranged under the head of the Laodicean church who are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot. The ardor of the first love has lapsed into a selfish egotism. The love of Christ in the heart is expressed in the actions. If love for Christ is dull, the love for those for whom Christ has died will degenerate. There may be a wonderful appearance for zeal and ceremonies, but this is the substance of their self-inflated religion. Christ represents them as nauseating to His taste [Revelation 3:17, 18 quoted] (MS 61, 1898). {7BC 962.6}

What has happened? The love that brought this woman to such a high position has gone into self-love, into the comforts of their own riches that have been multiplied to them. Love of self excludes the love of Christ. The ardor of the first love has lapsed into a selfish egotism. What happens to a bride who has lost her fascination for, her absolute devotion to, her husband or her bridegroom? She starts to see things from a totally different perspective – ego. What does she say? I am sick of love. How is this possible? How can the love grow cold like that? How is it possible to be lukewarm? There is another rendition of this in the message to the church of Ephesus,

Revelation 2:4 Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

Because iniquity abounds what happens? The love of many grows cold (Matt. 24:12). Egotism, self-indulgence takes over. And when the intense love with which they loved Jesus has worn down, and yet they still feel that there is something attractive about Him and they languidly go to open the door, they find that it’s too late.

We want to conclude this message with the counsels of God to prevent such a condition from happening to you and me. Examine the process by which we become tired of God’s love. How does that happen? We have had a little introduction already with the thought of egotism. But what will bring this about, that God’s love becomes sick to the church? What does God’s love lead to? Because the woman has been so touched by God’s love she was brought out of the pit, she was dressed in beautiful apparel, etc. myrrh, and beautiful fragrances; this is what God’s love has started in the woman:

1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

What is the love of God? That we keep His commandments.

God’s Law

Jesus says,

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

How is it in today’s Christian world, in today’s Christian churches, including the Laodicean people? What is happening in their ranks? It is the lament of Psalm 119:126. The genuine believer, the one who is truly hot for Jesus, is crying to God:

Psalm 119:126 [It is] time for [thee], LORD, to work:


Psalm 119:126 …[for] they have made void thy law.

This is the reality of Christianity today. The churches, the different varieties of women that are recorded, and that have come through the history to our time, have once been redeemed, but they have become cold. They have lost their first love. What is described about them here? The law that has been their fascination because of the love of God, that law has been made void. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” When you uphold the law of God before the people today, when it comes to the Sabbath they will say, No, that was done away with. When it comes to war, No, no, that’s not an issue, we have to go to war. When it comes to marriage, the divorce and marriage situation, No, no, that’s not so important anymore. It goes from one subject to the other. The law has been made void. If you break one, you break them all.

A Constant Warfare

The sinner who is continually being helped by Jesus to recover from that, becomes alive and hot for the law of God; but trying to keep the commandments of God, and motivated by the love of God to keep that law, it is a crucifying experience to the flesh. The flesh does not enjoy keeping God’s law. In Galatians is the description of this in the Christian’s life. It says very emphatically that there is a warfare between the Spirit and the flesh.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Inside of the Christian there is flesh and there is Spirit, and the experience is one of conflict within. They are motivated by the love of God to keep the law, but the flesh is making it hard – the temptations of the flesh. It’s a crucifying experience to follow Jesus and to follow His crucifixion of self. And slowly the church members forget the love, or feel uncomfortable with a love that is making them uncomfortable.

And it is the very hardest, sternest conflict which comes with the purpose and hour of great resolve, and decision of the human to incline the will and way to God’s will and God’s way, relying upon the gracious influences which accompanied him all his life long. The man must do the work of inclining,–“For it is God which worketh in you (us) both to will and to do.” And the character will determine the nature of the resolve and the action. The doing was not in accordance with the feeling or the inclination, but the known will of our Father which is in heaven. Follow and obey the leadings of the Holy Spirit. {6MR 14.3}

What does it say? The obeying to do the will of God was not according to the inclination of the flesh. It’s contrary to that. It’s a battle! So the church has to continue to conquer, and each individual has to conquer the inroads of the flesh.

The Christian life is a battle and a march. In this warfare there is no release; the effort must be continuous and persevering. It is by unceasing endeavour that we maintain the victory over the temptations of Satan. Christian integrity must be sought with resistless energy and maintained with a resolute fixedness of purpose. {MH 453.2}

Does that sound like getting tired? If we lose slowly the love of God in redeeming us from our undone condition, we will find the Christian walk a burden; and the love that motivated me to carry that burden becomes unpleasant to me. I am sick of love. That is what the church said, because it’s hard-going, it’s the path of the cross that Jesus walked. Oh dear, I’ve got to get out of bed, oh dear, I’ve got to make myself uncomfortable, ahh… And when it’s too late, the love finally draws it to get out of there, but He’s gone.

Self-indulgence – I am so comfortable in my bed. I have taken off my garment, how can I put it on? I’m going to get my feet dirty to do God’s will! But it was because I love Him. He is standing at the door, He is still soliciting my love, but I am sick of love, it’s getting too much.

In this life we must meet fiery trials and make costly sacrifices, but the peace of Christ is the reward. There has been so little self-denial, so little suffering for Christ’s sake, that the cross is almost entirely forgotten. {5T 215.1}

What was the cross that brought us there? You see?

We must be partakers with Christ of His sufferings if we would sit down in triumph with Him on His throne. So long as we choose the easy path of self-indulgence and are frightened at self-denial, our faith will never become firm, and we cannot know the peace of Jesus nor the joy that comes through conscious victory. The most exalted of the redeemed host that stand before the throne of God and the Lamb, clad in white, know the conflict of overcoming, for they have come up through great tribulation. Those who have yielded to circumstances rather than engage in this conflict will not know how to stand in that day when anguish will be upon every soul, when, though Noah, Job, and Daniel were in the land, they could save neither son nor daughter, for everyone must deliver his soul by his own righteousness. {Ibid.}

Self-indulgence is the problem.

But it should be ever kept before their minds that the Christian life is a constant warfare; that the indulgence of sloth or indolence will be fatal to success. {5T 183.3}

We will become sick of love because of the self-indulgence and not wanting any longer to fight the battle against the flesh. It’s too hard. Jesus said, Behold, I stand at the door and knock, and then in the following verse He says,

Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

The overcomer will sit there. Not the one who gets the knock on the door, but the one who will go to the door fast and open it and overcome his sloth and his self-indulgence – he will, together with Christ, conquer in the battle with self.

We have to remember that love constraineth us. The mind must be relentlessly charged by the love-sacrifice of God, or we will sink into the bed of languid sleep, when, too late, our Lover is gone. May we become occupied with meditation upon the amazing love, keeping it always fresh in our minds so that the battle we have to fight with our sinful nature, our sinful flesh, will be courageously fought because we are looking at our Lover, whom we love so much that we will sacrifice anything to be with Him. This is our prayer and my prayer that we will not become sick of love, as the Laodicean church has become.


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Posted on 07/05/2016, in Divine Service Sermons. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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