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June 28, 2020 7:00 pm
Tonight I'm turning in my Bible to Matthew chapter 25 I want to consider the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. Matthew chapter 25, beginning to read in verse one Jesus said then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to 10 virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard. Behold, the bridegroom is coming go out to meet him.
Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps and the foolish said to the wise, give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out with the wise answered, saying no.
Lester should not be enough for us and you. But go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, those who were ready went in with him to the wedding and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us but he answered and said assuredly, I say to you I do not know you watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming heaven, preaching a series on the parables and we considered a series of parables under the heading of the parables of the kingdom, and then a number of parables under a second heading parables of salvation now are looking at some parables under the heading of the wise and the foolish parables of wisdom and folly in the setting here is the Olivet discourse. All three of the synoptic Gospels record extensively the teachings of Jesus in the Olivet discourse Matthew chapter 24 and 25 Mark chapter 13 in Luke chapter 21, and what Jesus is concentrating on in this ocean of his teaching is the second coming, the end time the Olivet discourse was given by Jesus. Three. Three days before his crucifixion. So that's the setting were dealing with the second coming of Christ and Jesus repeatedly in this section declares that no man knows the time nor the hour in which the Son of Man shall appear, I like to show you five times and just short space of time or space here where he says that notice with me.
Matthew chapter 25 verse 36 coming chapter 24 verse 36 Jesus said, but of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but my father only verse 42 watch therefore, for you do not know what our Lord is coming.
Verse 44 therefore you also be ready for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect verse 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of and then the last verse in the parable that were considering tonight verse 13 of chapter 25 watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. So the second coming of Jesus Christ is eminent. It couldn't come at any time, but we do not know exactly when Jesus said that there would be birth pangs would be signs and we saw those signs we would know that the time of his coming is near. So were not completely in the dark here but we do not have a date we don't have a time and exact time of Winnie's coming. But regardless of when he comes.
We know he is coming, and the exhortation to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is to be ready for his return as were considering the setting is important to understand that Jesus gives this teaching with a bit of Jewish wedding tradition in the background. Let me explain a little bit about the Jews Jewish tradition as it comes to weddings that were three parts of a Jewish wedding. There is number one. The engagement engagement would be an arrangement between the parents of the bride and the groom, the bride and the groom would have very little input in this, but would be arranged by the parents and primarily the fathers of the bride and the groom, that would be the engagement. Second, there is the truthful. The betrothed.
Is when the bride and the groom exchange vows in the presence of family and friends.
At that point, the couple is considered married and the relationship could only be broken by formal divorce and if either one of them were to die during that betrothal.
They would be a widow or a widower this. The betrothed. Could last several months. It could last even up to a year. It's time for the groom to establish himself in some kind of business in some trade farming or some other location where he could make provision for place for he and his wife to live in at the end of the betrothed. The wedding feast would be held and it was a feast and its related celebrations took up an entire week the whole community would be involved would begin with the groom's coming with his groomsmen to the bride's house where her bridesmaids were waiting with her and together, the bride and groom and their attendance would then parade through the streets, proclaiming the wedding feast was about to begin. The procession was generally begun at night lamps or torches were used by the wedding party to illuminate the path and to draw attention to the announcement and was at the end of the feast. That a close friend of the groom somebody we would identify as the best man would take the hand of the bride and place it in the hand of the groom and the couple would for the first time be left alone together to consummate the marriage and it was this Jewish festival time that is in the background is. Jesus gives this teaching in this parable that were looking at here in Matthew chapter 25 so let's consider this this parable is considered under three headings were going to look at the bridesmaids.
The more than a look at the bridegroom and them are going to look.
Number three at a warning. The bridesmaids notice it says them then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to 10 virgins. It's referring to the time of Christ's unexpected appearing in power and glory about which he has been speaking and it's in the context of the spiritual preparedness that's necessary for entrance into the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to 10 virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. So, make no mistake about it, Jesus is coming and when he comes he's coming to judge sinners and to reward the righteous for that day. We long for that day. 10 virgins, some wonder why Jesus speaks of 10 is really significance to tenant.
As I studied the only thing that I was able to conclude is that in Jewish thinking 10 is a number of completion require 10 men to establish a synagogue. It would take 10 men to celebrate the Passover, it would take 10 men to be able to pronounce 10 men in attendance to pronounce a formal wedding blessing.
So other than that, that's all I can tell you about number 10 say something about the division that's made of those 10 virgins five and five a little bit later in the sermon, but there are 10 virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. And Jesus says there were. There were there were five of them who were wise, and there were five who were foolish not outwardly the had the appearance of being incredibly similar. They both groups had an interest to meet the bridegroom. It made preparation to do that were with the bride and it was only when the bridegroom made his announcement that he was coming that the differences between the two manifested cells know there was a lot of similarity between the two. Five wise, and five foolish five foolish virgins miss the wedding banquet in their fault was no one's but their own. Jesus warned his listeners against such folly against following that example and being unprepared. As were thinking about the bridegroom and the bridesmaids. The bridegroom obviously in this parable is Christ himself.
The 10 virgins are professing believers in him, and the lamps or the torches symbolize their identity, their identification with the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Listen to what Charles Spurgeon had to say about this. He says a great change has to be rotten. You far beyond any power of yours to accomplish air. You can go in with Christ to the marriage, you must first of all, be renewed in your nature or you will not be ready. You must be washed from your sins or you will not be ready.
You must be justified in Christ righteousness, and you must put on his wedding dress or else you will not be ready. You must be reconciled to God.
You must be made like to God or you will not be ready or to come to the parable before us. You must have a lamp and that lamp must be fed with heavenly oil and it must continue to burn brightly or else you will not be ready. No child of darkness can go into that place of light. You must be brought out of natures darkness into God's marvelous light. Or else you will never be ready to go in with Christ to the marriage and be up and to be forever with him. Five foolish virgins. They didn't have the preparedness now as I read commentator someone to draw on the fact that oil is a picture sometimes in the Scriptures of the Holy Spirit. But if you impose that on the meaning here it doesn't make much sense. All 10 virgins had lamps with oils in them was only because there was a delay in the bridegroom's coming that the oil was diminished and they ran out of oil.
The five wise virgins had brought a vessel of oil to replenish that. So if you have the Holy Spirit you don't lose the Holy Spirit so that's not what is being communicated by the oil.
The oil is simply an inner preparedness wrought by the spirit of God that prepares you for the kingdom. It's to be born again is to have the life of God in you and here were 10 virgins, five wise five who been prepared for the bridegroom's coming for the wedding feast. Five who were mere professors who did not have the reality of God in them.
Outwardly, there was little difference and it was only when the bridegroom's announcement of his coming was made that the difference was manifest. Why didn't they have oil, they certainly had time to prepare for, but they didn't make the adequate preparation so five had oil in their lamps, and five did did not five ready and five were unprepared for the Lord's return.
Some say Oaxacan. How can I know how can I tell how can I be certain that on one of those whose ready will I think we could say that the crisis of the coming of Christ manifested the different than it was until that it was not until that crisis came that the different surface and I think if we consider life itself and the crisis sees that come into our lives, how we respond to crises is a pretty good indication of whether the reality of God is in our hearts are not whether were truly children of God whether we have really been born again because difficulty and trial suffering and disappointment if were children of God doesn't drive us away from God doesn't cause us to turn away from from God and be bitter toward God know God uses things to grow us into draw us closer to himself. So how we've responded to crisis I think is a pretty good indication so you see a torch without oil is pretty worthless.
They had these lamps is five foolish virgins but they didn't have oil for them and therefore they were useless in a profession of faith in Jesus Christ without a saving relationship to them.
So were talking about the oil of preparedness.
The oil is similar to the wedding garments in Jesus's parable of the wedding feast that a king gave for his son Yuri. Remember, the man happened to be there and he didn't have the proper attire someone ask him how he got there and he was cast out because he was not prepared.
You see, God himself is the one who provides the clothing pure spotless robe of righteousness that allows us to be in his presence. And this man was without that. So Jesus repeatedly warns about this reality, the potential the possibility of being deceived, thinking that you're in Christ thinking that you are a Christian, when in fact you're not. If it was true in Jesus's time and it was true.
After he left this world, it's even more true in our day and I thought about the fact that of these 10 virgins, Jesus doesn't say that there were nine wise in one foolish but he says there were five wise and there were five food, no I don't want to say that the professing church is half counterfeit, but I would say that Jesus is making that division and I think there's something to be learned here that there is a significant number of people who profess to know Christ. But in reality they have not the life of God in them. Many will send to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we do this and did we do that in Jesus will say, depart from me, you worker of iniquity.
I've never knew you. And he says something very similar. Here in this warning doesn't so we can draw any hard and fast conclusion regarding the number who will be saved from this division between five and five but the proportion suggests that a large part of the professing church does not belong to God.
That's a sobering reality and thought. It says in verse five, while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. We need to think a minute about this delay while the bridegroom was delayed, there is no delay from God's side there's only the appearance of a delay from the human side God is determined in eternity past it's already on the his redemptive calendar when he will summon his son to return for his church is not being delayed, nobody's frustrating God's purposes and that it just only appears to be a delay from our side as we think in long and anticipate his coming. While the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept in again. I don't think there's anything to be read into the slumbering and sleeping because all the virgins slumbered and slept. At simply the course of life you not you can be awake every hour of every day were meant to sleep in the evening. At night fact, most of us do some men work at night and that's the challenge. In and of itself, but again were considering parables, and there is a certain hermeneutic that applies to that particular genre. Not every statement is to be extracted in the biblical principle made from it so some places we would see slumbering sleep and would draw the conclusion of carelessness and lack of preparedness, but that's not the idea here. There's no indication in the context that sleep represents laziness or faithlessness. So that's the bridesmaids. Let's consider. Secondly, the bridegroom notice that it says verse six and at midnight a cry was heard.
Behold, the bridegroom is coming go out to meet him, the bridegroom's arrival at the time. Midnight underscores still again, the unexpectedness of Christ's return.
At midnight, not all of the bridesmaids knew the groom would be coming soon. Remember the engagement of a tropical now this anticipation of the groom coming for his bride. All the bridesmaids knew the groom would be coming soon and they were all gathered at the bride's house waiting for him.
They were well aware that the engagement in the tropical. Moreover, and that the final festivities were about to begin. At midnight the cry was heard. Behold, the bridegroom is coming go out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. They rose and trimmed their lamps. Trimming the lamps amounted to cutting any ragged edges of the cloth and then saturating it with oil to make it ready for lighting and when the virgins began that process. The five foolish virgins realized that they did not have oil for their lamps. It was only the wise virgins who had made preparation foolish bridesmaids realized their predicament seat was not that they were unaware of their lack of oil but they were not concerned enough about it to acquire it before the bridegroom's arrival.
There's no reason given for their negligence, but they had ample warning that the bridegroom was coming and they had ample opportunity to be totally prepared for his arrival, but they were not. Therefore Jesus said they were foolish they were foolish.
The foolish said to the wise, give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out but the wise answered, saying no less. There should not be enough for us and you, not enough for us and you.
But go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves again were talking about spiritual realities were talking about salvation, and salvation can't be bought, except in the sense of Isaiah chapter 55 in verse one, the declares hello everyone who first come to the waters and you who have no money come by and eat. Combine wine and milk without money and without cost. Because salvation cannot be bought in the buying of oil from the dealers refer simply to securing salvation from its only source, and that is God, and again, keep in mind were studying a parable so every every phrase every word is not meant to be extracted of a principal and a truth. Some would say well, this was not very compassionate or generous of the wise, foolish women not to share with the foolish ones, but again that that's that's not the point. This is a spiritual lesson. The Jesus is giving the wise answered, saying, no luster should not be enough for us and you. But go rather to those who sell, and buy yourself. So in the time that they left to go see if they could secure oil for their lamps, the bridegroom came while they went to buy, the bridegroom came in those who were ready went in with him to the wedding and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us but he answered and said assuredly, I say to you I do not know you, they were deceived they were not just foolish they were to see. So the lesson here is to be prepared for the inevitable eminent return of Jesus Christ. And that's part preparation that's knowing God personally being renewed by the spirit of God being born again. That's what were talking about. Here's a couple of lessons that I want to draw your attention to number one the life of the Lord Jesus Christ within us is not trance parable is not transferable and that's why the wise virgins could not share the oil with the foolish one, you cannot be saved by the life of Christ in another person, that's just the reality of it all. The day of Christ's coming. Each person must stand on his own ones mother's faith ones father's faith ones brothers faith, one sister's faith Sunday school teacher, pastor, none of those people's faith will do you any good. You must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ your self. It's nontransferable. No one can stand proxy for you. The question will be on that day. Where do you stand are you in Christ.
Are you ready will have anything to do with anyone else that will be solely you in the Lord. Secondly, lost opportunities cannot be regained, lost opportunities cannot be regained or something different about opportunities as it relates to the second coming as opposed to opportunities related to his first coming in them.
Explain what I mean. John tells us that Jesus came unto his own and his own received him not. They rejected and they wanted nothing to do with him, but at his first coming that initial rejection that lost opportunity wasn't the end, the door was enclosed was still opportunity because some of those who rejected Christ. Some of those who cried and demanded his death were converted became followers so there was continued opportunity is related to his first coming, but as relates to a second coming when Christ returns all opportunities for repentance and faith will be passed and that's what is being taught here the opportunity lost opportunities cannot be regained. The foolish women I set out to buy oil but the bridegroom was coming then and they already were too late. The time to of bought was passed so that will be when Christ returns in judgment. Those who are ready will be taken into the marriage feast and those who are not ready will be shut out. That's over sobering.
So my challenge to those who perhaps are listening and again I have no idea who might be listening, but I know that there are young people that are staying in the homes and one of the requirements is were gathering around the computer to listen to the preaching tonight so I very well could be to be preaching to lost people in the question tonight is are you unsaved are you unprepared for judgment. Are you unprepared for Jesus is coming in my exhortation to you is to flee to Christ, goading him believe on him, trust him to the saving of your soul.
The parable ends with a warning.
Jesus says watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is come. What is it mean to watch. Was it mean to be ready were to be about the Lord's business were to occupy until he comes were not to be idle were not to cloister ourselves away in a monastery somewhere were to be about the Lord's business.
This is the day of salvation. Today is the accepted accepted time.
It seems to me that there are two extremes as relates to the second coming and the timing of it. There are those who say well because we can't know the time and we don't know the day nor the hour, then love and let's not worry about it. Let's push it out of mind, let's busy ourselves with life and so on and so forth that's that's that's a wrong response to the second coming of Christ. The other response is to be so fearful in me even if you're Christian to be so full of expectation and so certain because you see this and that earthquakes and wars and rumors of wars and all these things and say with the Lord God to be coming tomorrow. He's got to be coming next week. He certainly will be coming before the end of this year one of us know that we can become so preoccupied with that that were not busy were not being faithful were not about the Lord's work. Some say we should be reading our Bible and them in the newspaper all and be weighing all the things that are happening and say all is another sign is another sign will these things are to prepare us for the Lord's coming, but again the warning is watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is Jesus will come without warning. Now Jesus could come without warning at your death, which amounts to the same thing. None of us are guaranteed another day, another week, another month, so let's take this message seriously.
Let's be ready. Let's be mindful let's be cultivating our relationship with the Lord. Let's be certain that we have the reality of Christ in our hearts in line. There are those that we know that we love and we care about and they profess to know Christ. But there's not much evidence to encourage us that they truly really are in Christ. Perhaps this is something that you could remind them of you know I was listening to a sermon at our church on Sunday night and if you ever thought about this that there's a in and talk to them about this parable that Jesus gives etc. I my concern is that were not in the category of foolish they were wise talk to him about what that means. Let's redeem the time for indeed, the days are evil.
Listen to this him. These words low he comes. Charles Wesley wrote to him the words to this him low incomes with clouds descending once for favored sinners, slain thousands thousand Saints attending swell the triumph of his train. Hallelujah, hallelujah, God appears on earth to reign, God appears on earth to reign every I shall now behold him, robed in dreadful majesty. Those who set at naught and sold him pierced and nailed him to the tree, deeply wailing, deeply wailing, shall the true Messiah.
See, shall the true Messiah. See now redemption long expected see in solemn pomp appear all his saints by man rejected now shall meet him in the air. Hallelujah, hallelujah, see the day of God appear see the day of God appear. Yay. Amen. Let all adore the high on thine eternal throne. Save your take the power and glory claim the kingdom for thine own O come quickly, O come quickly. Hallelujah, Lord, come hallelujah, Lord, shall we pray.
Father, we thank you for the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ second coming. We thank you that you are preparing a bride for your son. We asked our God, that you would cause your church to be a prepared church, a prepared bride for him who's worthy thank you for these warnings that Jesus gave and we've considered tonight. Use it.
Lord in our hearts and lives now the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen