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Sermon No: 67325-The parable of the ten virgins



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SERMON TOPIC: The parable of the ten virgins

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 15 March 2020

Topic Groups: RAPTURE, PROPHECY, PARABLES

Sermon synopsis: Jesus warned of signs that would lead up to his Second Coming, like the increase in false messiahs, wars, earthquakes and Christian persecution. He also predicted increased pestilences - and in the 20th to 21st we have seen an exponential rise in this - where HIV, Ebola, H1NI and the Corona COVID-19 are simply the latest.

Jesus told many parables regarding the return of a master who had gone away. In all cases, the master returns unexpectedly. In the parable of the faithful and wise servant Jesus says, “The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.” (Matt 24:50, cf. Luke 12:38-39)

The parable about the virgins refers to the Rapture because the groom comes unexpectedly to take only those wise virgins who are waiting and prepared. All the virgins were sleeping – everyone will be surprised at Jesus’ coming. But although the wise virgins were sleeping, they were prepared.

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THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS

The parable of the Ten Virgins is only in Matthew’s gospel.

Storytelling is an ancient art of communicating ethics, values and social norms. Storytelling paints pictures which listeners relate to and will remember.

Parables are stories with hidden messages.

They teach heavenly truths using earthly stories people could relate to.

They provoke the imagination and enable us to see God’s truth from a new perspective.

PARABLES

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

MATTHEW 25:1-13 (NIV)

Five of them were foolish and five were wise.

The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.

The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.

The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

At midnight the cry rang out:

Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!

Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise:

Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.

No, there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.

But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bride-groom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

Later the others also came.

Lord, Lord, open the door for us!

But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.” Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

In keeping with the passage (Matthew 24-25) it is one of a series of parables told about the return of Jesus.

The context of this parable is the Olivet discourse. While at the temple in Jerusalem, Jesus had predicted its destruction .

CONTEXT

Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down. (Matt 24:2)

Later on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew (Mark 13:3) question Jesus about this.

CONTEXT

When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? (Matt 24:3)

What does the coming of the bridegroom represent?

This describes Jesus’ return. The meaning is clear: be prepared for his return and for the Day of Judgment.

Which return of Christ is this? Is it his return for the Rapture of the Church, or is it his return at the end of the Tribulation (Second Advent)?

They didn’t know when the bridegroom was coming. The Rapture is an unknown day (like a thief in the night) while the Second Advent will be a known day.

Q: When is the Rapture?

A: No-one knows because “the day of the Lord will come like a thief” (2 Pet 3:10).

COMING OF THE GROOM

Matt 24:36 (NIV) “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

1 Thess 5:1-2 (NIV) Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

Jesus uses the thief analogy to show that we must be vigilant and prepared for his coming.

Rev 16:15 (NIV) “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.”

A THIEF IN THE NIGHT

A thief does not announce the time of his coming but instead, comes when he is least expected. Jesus says that his analogy about “the thief” was to emphasize his unknown and unexpected date of return:

Rev 3:3 (NIV) “But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.”

Matt 24:43-44 (NIV) “But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

A THIEF IN THE NIGHT

Millennium

2nd Advent

7-year Tribulation

PRESENT AGE

AGE TO COME

Rapture

AN UNKNOWN DAY

A KNOWN DAY

A THIEF IN THE NIGHT

Jesus told many parables regarding the return of a master who had gone away. In all cases the master returns unexpectedly.

In the parable of the faithful and wise servant Jesus says, “The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.” (Matt 24:50, cf. Luke 12:38-39)

The parable about the virgins refers to the Rapture because the groom comes unexpectedly to take only those wise virgins who are waiting and prepared.

All the virgins were sleeping – everyone will be surprised at Jesus’ coming. But although the wise virgins were sleeping, they were prepared.

AN UNEXPECTED RETURN

1 Thess 4:15-18 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up (Greek: harpazō) together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.

THE RAPTURE

Who are the figures represented?

The bridegroom is obviously Jesus.

John 3:27–29 (ESV) John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.”

THE BRIDEGROOM

Christ is pictured as the bridegroom of the Church.

Matt 9:14-15 (ESV) Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

Then in Luke 12:36 Jesus referred to himself as a “master” who would “come home from the wedding feast”.

THE BRIDEGROOM

Who are the ten virgins?

Some feel that they represent the Church which is described in Scripture as the bride of Christ (Eph 5:25–32) and in 2 Cor 11:2-6 as “a chaste virgin” promised in marriage to Christ.

But as the NT frowns on polygamy elsewhere, others dislike the idea of the parable supposedly having ten brides. They believe the story is more likely about a bridal party (who would use their lamps in a night-time procession) or the virgins being the equivalent of modern bridesmaids.

Irrespective the point of the parable is that the virgins depicted are supposed to be ready for the coming of the bridegroom – whatever their relationship to him might be.

THE VIRGINS

Describing a first-century Jewish wedding, D.A. Carson describes the setting this way:

Normally the bridegroom with some close friends left his home to go to the bride’s home, where there were various ceremonies, followed by a procession through the streets – after nightfall – to his home. The ten virgins may be bridesmaids who have been assisting the bride; and they expect to meet the groom as he comes from the bride’s house… Everyone in the procession was expected to carry his or her own torch. Those without a torch would be assumed to be party crashers or even brigands. The festivities, which might last several days, would formally get under way at the groom’s house. 1

1 Expositor’s Bible Commentary

HISTORICAL SETTING

Dr. Thomas Constable’s notes on the Jewish wedding customs of the time that “on the evening of the day of the wedding the groom would take his bride home. This involved a night-time procession through the streets… there would be a banquet that would often last as long as seven days. This often took place at the groom’s home. The scene in

HISTORICAL SETTING

this parable is at night as the bride’s friends wait to welcome the couple and to enter the groom’s house where the banquet would begin shortly. All ten of the virgins knew that the groom’s appearing would be soon.

All the virgins had lamps.

Matt 5:14-16 (ESV) “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

THE LAMPS

Jesus uses a similar parable about men with lamps.

Luke 12:35-40 (ESV) “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

THE LAMPS

What does the oil represent?

In many Biblical passages oil symbolises the Holy Spirit. Oil was used to anoint kings and priests to consecrate them to God’s work.

1 Sam 16:13 (ESV) Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward…

Isa 61:1 (ESV) The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor…

THE OIL

In the tabernacle the oil was to burn continually.

Lev 24:1-2 (NIV)The Lord said to Moses, “Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning continually.”

In the New Covenant we are the temple and must be continually full of the Holy Spirit.

Eph 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit

THE OIL

“Be filled” - present tense: continual, progressive action.

Wuest: … But be constantly controlled by the Spirit

The present tense describes the ideal situation of every saint (the command is plural so not just a select few) as being continually (not just an experience for special occasions) filled – “keep on being filled” or “be being kept filled”. Filling is not a one-time event! In fact, the present tense aspect of the command indicates that we are not to rely on a past filling nor in expectation of future filling, but can live only in present tense or continual filling. Be filled is a command that includes the idea of conscious continuation. 1

1 https:// www.preceptaustin.org/ ephesians_518_commentary

THE OIL

The parable is not talking about Spirit-filled and non-Spirit-filled Christians (baptism in the Holy Spirit); the distinction is between true Christians and false believers.

Rom 8:9 (ESV) You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

1 Cor 6:19 (ESV) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? …

THE OIL

If you have no oil (Holy Spirit) this will describe you:

Gal 5:19-21 (ESV) Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

If you have oil (Holy Spirit) this will describe you:

Gal 5:22-24 (ESV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

THE OIL

Saving grace in the lives of those who are expectant of Jesus’ coming is evidenced by the following:

Titus 2:11-14 (NIV) For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

THE OIL

The foolish virgins thought they were safe by association.

Their hope is that their association with true believers (“give us some of your oil”…) will bring them into the kingdom at the end. This, of course, is never the case. One person’s faith in Jesus cannot save another. 1

The five virgins without the oil represent false believers who enjoy the benefits of the Christian community without true love for Christ. They are more concerned about the party than about longing to see the bridegroom. 1

They have a lamp in their hands, but no oil. They have profession but no possession – seeing the lamp makes people think they have light, but actually they do not.

1 https:// www.gotquestions.org/ parable-ten-virgins.html"

THE FOOLISH VIRGINS

They didn’t realise that there are some things we cannot borrow. We cannot borrow from the preparation of others. Preparedness can neither be transferred or shared (D. A. Carson). That is what the foolish virgins tried to do. They waited till the deadline was about to pass to try to amend their situation. But while they were gone, the deadline passed. They were excluded because they never prepared.

“It is a warning addressed specifically to those inside the professing church who are not to assume that their future is unconditionally assured; all ten are expecting to be at the feast, and until the moment comes there is no apparent difference between them – it is the crisis which will divide the ready from the unready.” (France)

THE FOOLISH VIRGINS

Matt 25:11-12 (ESV) Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

Both the “Lord, lord” and “I do not know you” are reminiscent of Jesus’ earlier words in the Sermon on the Mount to describe people who think they are true believers but have no relationship with Christ.

Matt 7:21-23 (ESV) “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

THE FOOLISH VIRGINS

The five virgins who have the extra oil represent the truly born again who are looking with eagerness to the coming of Christ. They have saving faith and have determined that, whatever occurs, be it lengthy time or adverse circumstances, when Jesus returns, they will be looking with eagerness. 1

Luke 21:36 (ESV) “But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

1 https:// www.gotquestions.org/ parable-ten-virgins.html

THE WISE VIRGINS

How many of you have ever run out of petrol? In most audiences, this would be nearly everyone. According to the Daily Mail (2015) nearly a million UK motorists a year break down because of empty fuel tanks.

Besides flat tires, dead batteries and misplaced keys, running out of petrol ranks high in the reasons why people call for roadside service.

But amazingly the number running out of petrol or diesel has risen every year since 2011.

1 https:// www.dailymail.co.uk/ news/ article-3212222/ More-800-000-drivers-year-run-fuel.html

THE CRY GOES OUT

One might understand this happening years ago when petrol gauges were not always accurate and there were no warning lights. But now we have flashing lights indicating that our fuel is running low and gauges showing the estimated kilometres of driving we have left.

Why then, do we still run out of petrol, seemingly as often or more than people did years ago, when all of the advantages of technology were not available? We could say that most people who run out of fuel are “without excuse.”

THE CRY GOES OUT

Likewise the five foolish virgins had no excuse for their lamps having no oil.

So too people today are without excuse. There are so many signs and “warning lights” indicating that the return of Jesus is near – but people ignore them.

In the parable, at midnight a cry goes out that the bridegroom is approaching. Similarly we have many signs today that the bridegroom is near.

Luke 21:29-31 (NIV) He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.”

THE CRY GOES OUT

When his disciples ask Jesus “what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matt 24:3) he responds by saying that there will be:

the appearance of many false Christs

wars and rumours of wars

famines and earthquakes in various places

pestilence in various places

persecution of believers

Matt 24:6 “…see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.”

Jesus said, “All these are the beginning of birth pains.” Matt 24:8 (NIV)

OLIVET DISCOURSE

He then says that the gospel would be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end would come (v14).

To those who respond that earthquakes, wars, famines, false Christs have been happening for thousands of years, the response is:

Yes, they have. But Jesus said, that “these are the beginning of birth pains.” Birth pains increase in intensity as the time of birth approaches. So too we clearly see an increase in intensity in these events.

SIGNS OF 2ND COMING

FALSE CHRISTS

Matt 24:5 (ESV) For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.

Jesus said that these events would be associated with the presence of false messiahs and false prophets.

What is the trend with people who have claimed to be Christ?

18th century: 1

19th century: 6

20th – 21st century: 30 (so far)

Our age is much well described as a time when “false messiahs and false prophets will appear”. Note the increase in frequency (birth pains).

WARS

Matt 24:6-7 (NIV) You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

We see the same trend with wars. There has always been wars. But the 20th century with its two World Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the First Gulf War was one of the most violent periods in human history.

According to Associated Press, the century came to a close with a third of the world’s 193 nations embroiled in conflict. The National Defence Council Foundation listed 65 conflicts in 1999 alone, up from 60 the year before. During the course of the century, an estimated 191 million people lost their lives directly or indirectly as a result of conflict.

Luke 21:11 (NIV) There will be … pestilences in various places

Sixth Cholera Pandemic (1910-1911) death toll: 800,000+

The Spanish influenza killed 40-50 million people in 1918, more people than those who died in the preceding World War One.

Asian Flu (1956-1958) death toll: 2 million

Hong Kong Flu pandemic (1968): death toll: 1 million

During the 20th century, TB killed approximately 100 million people. A total of 1.5 million people died from TB in 2018 (including 251 000 people with HIV).

PESTILENCE

Smallpox is estimated to have killed up to 300 million people in the 20th century and around 500 million people in the last 100 years of its existence. As recently as 1967, 15 million cases occurred a year.

The most recent pandemics include SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in 2003 caused 774 deaths.

Mad cow disease (Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease), slowly destroys the brain and spinal cord in cattle. People cannot get mad cow disease but in rare cases can get a human variant (vCJD), which is also fatal.

2009-2010 Swine Flu (H1N1) pandemic: 18,036 deaths.

PESTILENCE

The most widespread outbreak of Ebola virus in history from 2014-2016 caused major loss of life in West Africa. A total of 28,616 cases of EVD and 11,310 deaths were reported in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and 15 deaths in other countries.

We currently have the Coronavirus causing havoc worldwide. As at 14 March 2020 there were 145,698 Coronavirus cases and 5,436 deaths.

PESTILENCE

The most recent pandemics include the HIV pandemic.

Globally, around 37.9 million people were living with HIV in 2018. An estimated 1.7 million individuals worldwide became newly infected with HIV in 2018.

According to UNAIDS, since the start of the epidemic, 74.9 million people have been infected with HIV and 32 million people have died from AIDS (end 2018).

As at 24 Feb 2020 South Africa has the biggest HIV epidemic in the world:

7.7 million people living with HIV (20.4%). Prevalence is even higher among men who have sex with men, transgender women, sex workers and people who inject drugs.

PESTILENCE

Matt 24:7 (NIV) There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

Between 2004 and 2014, 18 earthquakes with magnitudes of 8.0 or more rattled subduction zones around the globe. That’s an increase of 265 percent over the average rate of the previous century according to a report to the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. 1

“If we look at all earthquake magnitudes, the past 10 years is not unusual in terms of the rate of events; the rate increases are just seen for events with magnitudes larger than 7.5 or so” says study author Thorne Lay, distinguished professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz. 1

1 https:// www.nbcnews.com/ science/science-news/ worldwide-surge-great-earthquakes-seen-past-10-years-n233661

EARTHQUAKES

This graph illustrates the change in global surface temperature relative to 1951-1980 average temperatures. Nineteen of the 20 warmest years all have occurred since 2001, with the exception of 1998. The year 2016 ranks as the warmest on record. (Source: NASA/GISS). 1

1 https:// climate.nasa.gov/ vital-signs/global-temperature

GLOBAL WARMING

Some scientists are predicting that earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, giant landslides and tsunamis may become more frequent as global warming changes the earth’s crust.

Professor Bill McGuire of University College London told Reuters “When the ice is lost, the earth’s crust bounces back up again and that triggers earthquakes, which trigger submarine landslides, which cause tsunamis.” 1

1 https:// www.reuters.com/ article/ us-climate-geology/ global-warming-may-bring-tsunami-and-quakes-scientists-idUSTRE58F62I20090916

EARTHQUAKES

SOURCE: https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ List_of_tsunamis

TSUNAMIS PER CENTURY

NOTE: 18 tsunamis so far in the 21st century projects to 90 if the rate continues.

Matt 24:9 (NIV) “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.”

More Christians were martyred in the 20th century (45.4 million) than in the previous 19 centuries combined. 1

Christians martyred at the hands of...

Atheists: 31,689,000

Muslims: 9,121,000

Animists: 7,469,000

Mahayana Buddhists: 1,651,000

Hindus: 676,000

1 Source: World Christian Encyclopedia (2001)

PERSECUTION

According to World Watch Monitor:

4,344 Christians were “killed for faith-related reasons” in 2014, which is “more than double the 2,123 killed in 2013, and more than triple the 1,201 killed the year before that”.

The largest number of deaths occurred in Nigeria (2,484), the Central African Republic (1,088), Syria (271), Kenya (119) and North Korea (100).

1,062 churches were “attacked for faith-related reasons” in 2014. The majority of attacks took place in 5 countries: China (258 churches), Vietnam (116), Nigeria (108), Syria (107), and the Central African Republic (100).

PERSECUTION

Matt 24:14 (NIV) “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

True Christianity has grown by more than 300 million believers in the past 10 years.

About 10 million (3%) of these new Christians are from North America and Europe.

The rest, 290 million (97%) are from developing countries like Nigeria, Brazil, India and China.

The church in the non-Western world is growing fast while the church in the West is decreasing.

GOSPEL PREACHED

The South & East: The new faces of Evangelical Christianity

THE CHURCH IS CHANGING

The most remarkable change in 20th century Christianity is the rapid growth of Christianity in Africa and Asia. The Christian centre of gravity has shifted from the West to the South & East.

Year

% Christians in Europe & N. America

% Christians in Latin America, Africa & Asia

1800

99%

1%

1900

90%

10%

1985

50%

50%

2010

31%

69%

Christianity, which a century ago was overwhelmingly the religion of Europe and the Americas, has made a historic advance into Africa and Asia. 1

1 TABLE SOURCE: Joshua Project

The new faces of true Christianity

THE CHURCH IS CHANGING

Major Religions Annual Growth Rates

Evangelical Christianity is growing faster than Islam and twice as fast than Buddhism and Hinduism.

SOURCE: Joshua Project

GOSPEL PREACHED

Spread of the major religions

Source: Wikipedia

Buddhism - regional Islam - regional

Hinduism - regional Christianity – most widespread

According to Joshua Project’s website (2015):

65 million people hear the Gospel for the first time every year.

178,000 will hear the Good News today for the first time.

In the last 12 months 50,000 new churches were started. 1

1 SOURCE: Joshua Project

GOSPEL PREACHED

The overall and easily seen thrust of the parable is that Christ will return at an unknown hour and that His people must be ready. Being ready means preparing for whatever contingency arises in our lives and keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus at all times while we eagerly await His coming. As seen in the fact that all the virgins were sleeping when the call came indicates that it doesn’t matter what we are doing when Christ returns. We may be working, eating, sleeping, or pursuing leisure activities. Whatever it is, we must be doing it in such a way that we don’t have to “make things right” (get more oil) when He comes. 1

1 https:// www.gotquestions.org/ parable-ten-virgins.html

READY OR NOT?

Being ready for Christ’s return ultimately involves one major thing which manifests itself in several areas of our lives. If we would be ready for Christ’s return, we must be born again through saving faith in Jesus Christ… His death, burial and literal resurrection from the dead (John 3:16; 14:6; Romans 10:9 and 10; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Ephesians 2:1-10). Saving faith in Jesus Christ will manifest itself in every aspect of our lives. The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) will begin to show. A desire for greater holiness and less sin will be apparent. And a consistent looking for His coming will mark our lives. 1

1 https:// www.gotquestions.org/ parable-ten-virgins.html

READY OR NOT?

Jesus spoke of a PREPARED PLACE for a PREPARED PEOPLE:

John 14:1-2 (NIV) “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”

But Jesus also spoke of a PREPARED PLACE for an UNPREPARED PEOPLE:

Matt 25:41 (NIV) Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

READY OR NOT?

We read in Matt 25:5 that the groom was delayed.

(NIV) The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

(ESV) As the bridegroom was delayed [chronizontos], they all became drowsy and slept.

(KJV) While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

STRONGS

chronizó: to spend or take time, delay

Definition: to spend or take time, delay

Usage: I delay, tarry, linger, spend time.

DELAYED

Why does it seem like the Lord is delaying his return?

2 Pet 3:3-9 (NIV) Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” … But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

DELAYED

Despite the fact that the bridegroom was delayed there was a deadline when the door was closed to the wedding celebrations.

On God’s previous judgments there was a deadline when the door of the ark was closed.

There was a time when Lot had to leave Sodom or risk being “swept away in the punishment of the city.” (Gen 19:15, ESV)

TODAY IS THE DAY

The door is still open. The opportunity to make things right is now, not tomorrow.

Jesus relates many instances in his parables about his return that some people will be surprised when they do not gain entrance into his kingdom. They expect to be there even though they are not prepared.

1 John 2:28 (NIV) Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.

Eph 5:15 (NIV) Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,

1 Thess 5:6 (NIV) so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.

TODAY IS THE DAY

1 Pet 4:7 (NIV) The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.

Rev 3:3 (NIV) So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.

May we not be found “going away to make the purchase” (v. 10) when Christ returns. Take the time now to fill your lamp with oil and take extra along. Keep waiting and watching with joy and anticipation. 1

1 https:// www.gotquestions.org/ parable-ten-virgins.html

TODAY IS THE DAY

HOW THEN SHOULD WE LIVE?

1 Thess 5:1-6, 23 (NIV) Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled… May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

CONCLUSION

HOW THEN SHOULD WE LIVE?

2 Pet 3:10-17 (NIV) But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. ... So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him… Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.

CONCLUSION

1 John 3:2-3 (NIV) Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

In closing, let us remember the words of Jesus:

CONCLUSION

That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. (Matt 24:39-42, NIV)

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http:// www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV: Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




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