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The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
April 27, 2021 8:00 am

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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April 27, 2021 8:00 am

It’s true that ultimately, only God knows the condition of each person’s heart. However, Scripture also speaks of fruits of God’s spirit that grow in us and are very visible manifestations of true faith. Join us for The Bible Study Hour as Dr. Boice makes the argument that the way we respond to crisis in this life can be a good indicator about where we’ll stand on judgment day.

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It's true that ultimately only God knows the condition of each person's heart.

However, Scripture also speaks of fruits of God spirit to grow in sin are very visible manifestations of true faith. Stay tuned for the Bible study our as Dr. James Boyce makes the argument that the way we respond to crisis in this life can be a good indicator about where will stand on Judgment Day to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically.

If we can only remember to all important priorities in life, they should be. Watch and be ready. Let's listen together as Dr. Boyce teaches from the Gospel of Matthew.

On these two important commands keep watch and be ready might think I over did that abed in the last study because we were looking at the very end of Matthew 24.

In those last verses, Jesus uses four illustrations, each of which makes exactly that point talked about the flood coming suddenly in the days of Noah spoke of two men working in the field and two women grinding corn, one of which was taken out or lost in each case. Talk about talk about a thief coming in the middle of the night and then the dog about servants, one of whom was working faithfully while his master was a YM another one wasn't to use the absence to indulge himself in every case, our Lord said this is that you keep watch ready because you don't know when your Lord is going to return my overdone and tight cannibal redundant because having said that, at the end of Matthew 24. Jesus goes on to elaborate it even further in Matthew 25 goes what he gives us in this great chapter are three wonderful parables, illustrations, point of which is exactly the same. He talks first of all of 10 women who had been invited to a wedding and five of them were ready in five were not when the bridegroom came, he talks about men who had been given talents to invest while the master was gone. When was given five other two third just want to of them use the talents and recommended when the master came back one. It is talents and was disapproved. And finally, the well-known story of the separation of the sheep from the goats. Now each of those parables makes its own distinct points, but they are alike in many ways, and certainly the cumulative effect is strong. Can't miss it.

What I been talking about you don't know when Jesus Christ is coming back, so be sure that you're ready for them when he comes now are going to study each of those, in turn, were going to look for the specific points of each, but at the beginning we have to look at a number of ways in which they're all alike.

We suggest three of them.

First of all, in each case the return of the Lord is sudden and unexpected have it in the case of the first story because there the women are waiting.

It's like time I fall asleep but then suddenly in the midst of their sleep when it's least expected.

The cry goes forth here.

Bridegroom come out to meet him. So the Lord appeared suddenly in the second one. It's exactly the same man who have been left behind to invest the talents that they been given Don that working away on it.

I don't know when the Lord is coming, but that were told that suddenly appears on I have to give an accounting in the last story is exactly the same way. The decisive moment arrives. Verse 31, when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all his angels with him, that's the point that Jesus has been making from the very start of this discourse, the disciples remember wanted to know when these things were going to happen. Jesus, a talk about destruction of Jerusalem. He talked about his own retirement in the heavens for signs of the Angels and they said when are these things going to happen in Jesus response to that was that you don't know when they're going to happen there. Lots of things that people are going to call signs and since there signs.

Certainly they indicate the nature of the world in which we live. But they repeat themselves. Generation after generation that you can't know for sure when the Lord is coming because he said I'm going to come back suddenly. That's the point is made in these three stories and so they have to be ready.

The story of the wise and foolish virgins is connected to the previous chapter because it ends with words that are a deliberate echo of verse 42. Therefore keep watch, because you don't know on what day your Lord will come in the parable ends the same way. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour when the story of the servants obviously elaborates on the shorter version of the same thing that was in the previous chapter 1 servant is not ready in the other servant is you have an elaboration of that and then finally the final parable picks up on this matter of the Lord coming in his glory. So that's the first thing Lord is going to return suddenly. Secondly, in each case in each of these three parables Lord's return results in an unalterable division between two groups of people. First, it's between the five women who are wise and prepared for his coming and five women were not prepared in the second case it's a division between the two servants who have served the Lord master faithfully during his absence in the one was not 1/3 case, it's a separation between the sheep and the goats and sheep inherit the kingdom that has been prepared for them from before the foundation of the world and the goats go into everlasting punishment.

The third thing is that in each case the people who are lost are utterly surprised that the rejection is the most striking of all the features women were shot out and believe that there shut out and imagine why the bridegroom wouldn't open the door to late callout, Lord, Lord, open the door to us when he refuses to do it they are just dumbfounded they can believe it. That is happened to them the case of the servants, the one that was disapproved can understand why the master is in satisfied with the zero growth performance. After all, he didn't squander the talent he hid it in the ground and the master came back and added 40 David back. Why shouldn't the master be satisfied with that. In the case of the goats were sent away and everlasting darkness they can understand it either. I say Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, it didn't help you see when we begin to think about that aspect of the stories we realize these stories are not about people who have no use for the gospel are still less people who never heard the gospel.

These are people who have heard it think that they are in a right relationship with God. These are stories about people who belong to what we today would call the visible church. Many people in our churches today. They think their say they think they're on their way to heaven and actually their destiny as hell was it any wonder our Lord repeats his warning so forcefully and repeatedly as he says the people just like us keep watch. Be ready. Don't know when the Lord will return the story of the 10 women. There is a masterpiece or Bible students are recognized for a long time.

It's realistic in its details and its poignant's and its application. Besides the deeper one explores it, the more profound it becomes. Here Jesus tells about 10 young women who are invited to this marriage feast fiber wise fiber foolish five or why show their wisdom by bringing along extra oil for their lamps. Fiber foolish neglect to do that are all there waiting for the bridegroom to come they don't know when it is like time while they're waiting. They fall asleep.

But then, suddenly, the bridegroom is on his way. The cry grows out that bridegroom is coming and they all wake up from their lamps and those who are wise have sufficient oil and so their lamps are burning brightly and the groom comes others don't have enough their lamps are going out. They say to those who have it Islam because our lamps are going out. The ones were wise. They know because of that week might not have enough for all of us go to those who sell oil and Byetta and so they go off to buy oil for their lamps while they're gone. The bridegroom column slows were waiting in with him to the marriage feast door to shot when foolish come back later and they cry out Lord, Lord, open to us. He replies I don't know you so Jesus says therefore keep watch because you do not know the day or the hour. I was difficult to see the main points of that story, particularly the main point be ready and keep watch is worth exploring some of the other points as well.

One of the things it's worth noticing about the story is the ways in which all of these women were alike.

Currently seven similarities just run through them. First of all, all of them had been invited to the banquet.

Undoubtedly, there were many who hadn't received invitations to the banquet was talking about a wedding feast in the time that would've been lots of lots of people anyone invited these were were to apply this in the way we obviously are expected to do what it's applies the people who heard the gospel gospel is gone now believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved here are people who have heard that invitation.

That's the first thing all 10 of them had received it. Secondly, all 10 of them had responded positively. Imagine that some might not have responded positively as a matter of fact, the townspeople in one of Jesus.

Other parables didn't do it.

I refused, so the king was dishonored and his son as well. He went out to the highways and byways to gather up people to make up the wedding feast, but I wasn't the case here. Invitation is gone out of every single one of them heard it and responded.

All 10 of them were there and they were waiting. Therefore, if we are to put it this way. All were part of what we would call the visible church to join the fellowship of those who were waiting for the Lord for thing. All had some affection and even love the bridegroom were didn't difference participants is because of their respect for them that they had accepted the invitation is because of their love for him that they were waiting had great affection, which is why they took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Number five all confess Jesus as their Lord. This is some secure somewhat in the new international version because it takes that were clearly on us, which is usually translated Lord on this particular situation renders it, sir. I'm sure the translators were trying to do that was to preserve the distinction they were trying to say that these women didn't actually regard the bridegroom as their Lord but just dressing him with a tone of respect but this word Lord is translated Lord later on in verses 37 and 34. Certainly, that's a lamps to be taken. They counted that the bridegroom was that works. That's the point of it spiritually. People in the church about heard the invitation responded to and have made visible association with the people of God. And actually, as they pray call Jesus Christ are Lord, all of them were the same and that number six all believed in and in some sense they were waiting for Jesus second coming will that's highly commendable listener. I suppose most ministers of most churches of the world if they had a congregation filled up with people like that would consider themselves very blessed indeed. Blewitt heard the gospel invitation would responded to an identified with the church in terms of membership, who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and were waiting for a second coming. Other was a man named Thomas Sheppard a Puritan preacher who did some magnificent work on the parable of the 10 virgins writing back in 1660 that long ago and he had so many wonderful things to say about the foolish virgins of someone said rather facetiously afterwards to be one of Shepard's foolish virgins, but here you have these foolish women and I nevertheless perish with one other thing in which they were all alike, they all became drowsy and they fell asleep on the bridegroom's coming was delayed like Peter, James and John and the other disciples in the garden of Jesus were praying before his arrest and crucifixion. Just like Jonah asleep on the inside of the ship while it was running away from the Lord, honey Christians are asleep on the way. And yet, when Lord appeared suddenly and they were awakened from their sleep fiber ready fiber not that's the point of it all don't get sidetracked when you think about this by working out the meaning of the oil. Some of identified with the Holy Spirit. It's easy to understand how they might do that because oil is a symbol for the Holy Spirit elsewhere in Scripture. But if you do that it brings you to some ludicrous theology as if you could go out and buy some of the Holy Spirit when you're missing MRU could run out of them. What you needed was about filling to keep them actually there. That's not what it's talking about all the only point here is to be ready and that's what it is illustrated within the story, but just the question, what does it really mean to be ready when we tell you what Charles Haddon Spurgeon said about that. He talked about it being an interchange brought about by birth or regeneration. And he wrote this way. He was a powerful preacher, a great change has to be right and you far beyond any power of yours to accomplish before you can go in with Christ of the marriage was first of all, be renewed in your nature or you will not be ready must be washed from your sins or you will not be ready. You must be justified in Christ's righteousness, you must put on his wedding dress or else you won't be ready must be reconciled to God must be made alike 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 you will not be ready when he concludes that this way no child of darkness can go into that place of life. You must be brought out of nature's darkness in the God's marvelous light or you will never be ready to go in with Christ of the marriage, and to be forever with him, all of which brings us back to the point of the parable are you ready I once ask of you responded to the gospel message if you're ready, you must've done that but that's not the question that I'm asking about asking do you belong to the visible church. I'm not asking whether in your prayers.

You address Jesus Christ as Lord or not. I'm asking are you ready you believe God MRU regenerates are your sins washed by the blood of Christ for you reconciled to God. Will you be ready when it comes I notice here. That's the difference between the wise women of the foolish women was revealed by the coming of the bridegroom. What I mean by that is that it was revealed in the crisis moments during the days before this when they were getting ready one of recognize no difference at all between five or wise in the five were working with Helsing to be in exactly the same boat, but then suddenly bridegroom came in the great difference between them was immediately made evident for same is going to happen when Jesus Christ returns. Many who have considered themselves true children of God will not be ready when he comes in. It will be made evident in that day, and others will will be received by how do you know whether you're in one camp or the other. Well, one way is whether you're actually serving Jesus Christ. Another way is whether you're serving others loving them in caring for them in Christ think that's what the next two parables go on to talk about matter of the talents has to do with serving the master about matter of the sheep and the goats and those who are hungry and thirsty of all the others has to do with serving others in Christ night but let me suggest another test that grows out of the story of sister were talking about a crisis. You know, judgments is the word crisis. That's what it is.

In the Greek language we spell it with the CS but with a K in the Greek what it refers to as a parting of the way something that suddenly comes into our lives that forces us to go in one way or the other. It's a real part.

So the question is, how have you handled the crises in your life. In past days because that's an indication of how you're going to handle them or be regarded at the great crisis of judgment when Lord Jesus Christ returns was a man named Taylor who preached in New York years and years ago wrote about it he said you have to just look at your past and say luck when real disastrous apartment of my life, followed by respondent when I suddenly lost a job or a loss of life. First, the Lord, and Natalie drawn closer to him, or do I turn my back on them and say why is God doing this to me now suppose it death comes into the family. I was reminded just today the family years ago lost Islam. It was promising all sorts of ways. He was a senior in high school and then suddenly in a very short space of time, a matter of days. He died the parents were standing there at the funeral and they were saying.

One we got the God to do this sort of thing to us. It brought out to see where he actually stood there relationship to him. I had never actually realized the first thing about the gospel that we owed nothing by God. That is all of grace how different it was in their case from that of Job lost everything that is said that happened to him. The Lord gives the Lord takes away.

Blessed be the name of the Lord. That's how Job handled the crisis of that's all we know he was a regenerated man know when you're ready or not to the parents say how I handled these things with the trials of my life actually brought me closer to the Lord, or taken me from M. Andrew Fuller said very wisely. On one occasion that a man has only as much religion as he can command in trial another few more lessons grow out of this.

I have to touch on the briefly first of all, the coming of the Lord may be delayed. That's an inescapable inference from the story and from the others would follow and they indicate that an dissipation of the Lord's return say in the very first of the Christian centuries was mistaken. Some I pointed out earlier understood the prophecies that wipe many indications in these chapters of the Lord may be long in coming. One was in the earlier chapter was this that the gospel had to be preached throughout all the world before the Lord would come here we have these indications that the Lord carries and in such times, even Christian people fall asleep. Secondly, the Lord returns a return without warning. That's why parable ends as it does why the point is made again and again. Keep watch and be ready. You don't know when the Lord will come. Years ago I did a study of the parables I published a small book on them. At that time and I was working on this. The very week in which I was studying this particular parable. I got up call from a friend who wanted some help in the problem that he was having at his church.

He had been in seminary with me, but very many years before he was a young man he was out in Montana. As I recall and I called back so little while later to see how things were going.

Woman answered the phone. It turned out to be his mother and what she told me was that her son died suddenly only been a week or two since I had spoken to him last suddenly and had a massive heart attack and was gone.

He was suddenly with his master Lord's return is going to be sudden and even if he doesn't return in glory with the Angels while we are living, certainly the moment of our death is a sudden encounter going to be ready for them when it comes with the story is all about. That's what Jesus was urging upon us is 1/3 point that we can't miss being prepared is not transferable.

I don't mean by this, that one person can't bring the gospel to another. That is how we bring the gospel as as Paul says in Romans passing from faith to faith. That is the faith of one testifying to Christ of the faith which God brings in the heart of another is it's received. But that's not what I'm talking about. What I mean is that you're not saved by the faith of someone else. When people think along these lines, I think that because they been exposed to the gospel for a long time, or because they know godly people somehow it will be all right with them in the day of the judgment when they are going to stand before God himself, and he's going to ask that great question. What right do you have to come in the my heaven will answer something like this. Well I don't really know how to answer that Lord but I did have a godly mother as she prayed for me for many years of you considered our Lord's going to say it's not the question I asked you I asked what right do you have to come in the my have all my handsome godly Sunday school teachers. They taught me Bible verses. They were they were really wonderful. Jesus says what right do you have yourself to come into my heaven. That's the way we have to understand that matter. Of the five wise women, refusing to give the oil the fiber were foolish as we read that we take it literally.

It sounds uncharitable. After all, shouldn't they have shared what were taught from nursery school up share what you hamper, that's not the point of it is not moving on that level.

What that really is saying is that the faith of one is not going to save another. You can't be saved by standing on somebody else's record.

It has to be you, yourself, your mother's faith will not save your your wife's faith will not save you your children's faith will not save you have to believe on Jesus Christ alone. You have to be alive and him are you ready here's 1/4 and final point, lost opportunities can't be regained. These five foolish women went off to buy oil, the bridegroom was coming and it was too late. Then, so it will be when Christ returns and judgment.

Those who are ready will be taken into the marriage feast and those who are not ready will be shut out so don't say all turned to Christ. Later I'll repent. After a few more years of sin is always time to believe on Jesus you don't know that. Furthermore, a life of sin makes you hard to the gospel and it will be harder for you to get ready and become the Christ later. Certainly than it is right now.

You're not ready. If you're not trusting Jesus Christ as your Savior. If you're not born again, now's the time to do it can happen right now. Let me tell you something personal. I don't normally tell personal stories with my mother happens to be here today and it was on this day Palm Sunday 59 years ago that she became a Christian she was sitting right here on a gray barn house was the pastor at the time and he said, look, this is what it's like. The Bible and the Holy Spirit point you to the cross of Jesus Christ and you look at that cross and that cross you see a door and there's an invitation written on it that says whosoever will make, there's the door and you walk through it when you walk through the door you turn around and you look back and you see written on the backside of the cross chosen in him before the foundation of the world.

My mother said, as it is simple as that is adjusted matter of going through the door and she did it in her life was radically changed. She passed from death to life, and that's what I hold out before you. There's the door was stand on the side will never be ready when he comes to pass through their Jesus is waiting for you. And when he comes, he will say, blessed of my father enter into the joy of your Lord, and enjoy master happiness and you live with them forever more. Let's pray our father we ask you to bless the study. Here's this powerful story, but we can talk about it and preach it and explain it.

However, powerfully, and less your holy spirit true power in spiritual things carries it home to the human heart.

There will be no fruit. So father we ask you to do that they get home to many to diagrams they might come to rest in Jesus Christ. Trusting him as Savior and be ready when he comes, you are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview.

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