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Saturday, August 17, 2019

8-17-2019 Ten Virgins and Today’s Church

Let Me in - The Sensations 11962

I’ve shared with people before about how Ezekiel chapter thirty-seven’s valley of dry bones leads up to and impacts today’s church.  That is, the things God is preparing to do in our time – and soon.
But this time I want to talk about the ten virgins in Matthew twenty-five and put people on alert as to what God is doing today and the potential results it will have.  Or rather, should I say what we need to be doing?

1          The kingdom of heaven is compared to ten virgins and took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

            Today, the ten virgins represent the ‘church’.  The bridegroom is, of course, Jesus.  We know that the church contains both ‘sheep’ and goats’.  Sheep are those who truly love and live for the Lord.  The goats are those in the church who look like followers of Christ but their hearts are far from Him.  Sort of like when Jesus reprimanded the scribes and Pharisee for their hypocrisy (Matt. 23:24-30).  Sheep and goats are similar and we may not be able to tell them apart, but God knows their hearts and He will separate them on that day (Matt. 25:31-46).

2          Five were wise and five were foolish.

3          The five foolish virgins took only their lamps but no extra oil.

4          The wise took their lamps plus extra oil.

Jesus tells us that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15).  Here the oil represents living in Jesus’ commandments which are “to love”.  Five virgins continued living in Jesus’ love, five did not.

5          The bridegroom didn’t come immediately and all the virgins slept.

Jesus told His apostles and disciples that He would come back for us but no man knows the time (Matt. 24:36).  The early disciples looked for Jesus’ return.  Here we are, two thousand years later, still looking and waiting. 

6          At midnight, the cry was made “The bridegroom comes, go out and meet him.

7          All the virgins arose and trimmed their lamps

Even after sleeping for a while, they were all still looking for the bridegroom.  Unfortunately, an implication here is that the church has fallen asleep.  Become comfortable, maybe even complacent.  But all the virgins arose and put things in order to go meet the bridegroom.  

8          But the foolish virgins said to the wise “Give us some of your oil for our lamps have gone out.”

            Oops! What has happened here?  Though looking for His return, the five foolish virgins were not living in God’s love and realized that they were lacking.  Rather than getting their own lives together, they thought they could catch a ride on the coattails of the five wise virgins.  They could get to the bridegroom on the faith of the wise virgins.  Know anybody like that today?

9          The wise replied “No, for then there not be enough for all of us.  Rather, go to those who sell and buy your own oil.”

            The five wise virgins said that they couldn’t get the lives of the five foolish virgins straightened out for them.  I mean, we’re talking about a relationship here.  That, the foolish virgins would have to do for themselves.  Were the wise virgins being selfish by not sharing?  I don’t think so.  Should we hang around garbage long enough we start acting, looking and smelling like garbage.  The things around us drag us down to their level.  The foolish virgins were asking to enter into the faith of the wise.  To live off of their relationship with God.  My relationship with God is ‘my’ relationship.  One on one.  I can point someone in the right direction, but I can’t give anyone some of my faith, my relationship.  Take note in reading the gospels.  Though Jesus refused no one who was sincerely seeking Him, instead of sinking to their level, He brought them up to His.  “Go and sin no more” (John 8:1-11).  The wise virgins pointed the foolish in the right direction.

10        And while the foolish virgins were out buying, the bridegroom came.  Those who were ready went to the marriage with him and the door was shut behind them.

            The foolish virgins went out trying to figure out how to get their lives together.  Their lamps had gone out.  They had lost their love for the Lord and now they were trying to get it back.  In the meantime, “back at the ranch house”. The bridegroom had taken those five virgins, who were ready, to His house.  Isn’t it interesting, those who were ready when Jesus called entered into His house and into His eternal rest.  Those who were not ready (when the call comes) well, read on.

11        After a time, the five foolish virgins came saying “Lord, open up to us.”

Think about this part here.  The five foolish virgins knew where the bridegroom lived. They knew how to get ‘saved’.  They just didn’t persevere in God’s love.  Maybe they were beset by hard times.  Maybe things just didn’t go the way they thought things should.  Maybe they didn’t get recognition in the church.  Maybe they never really knew the Lord but were just treading water hoping that was enough because they were associated with God’s people.  We can speculate all day on “why”.  The point is that they didn’t persevere with the Lord nor did they repent.  When the Lord was ready, they weren’t! 

12        But the bridegroom responded “Truly, I don’t know you

Did you notice that the foolish virgins didn’t knock (Luke 11:9)?  But knocking requires a level of faith – believing that the door will be opened.  In faith it will, but they yelled.  The bridegroom’s response, however, puts those five foolish virgins in the place of that perhaps they never really knew the love of Christ.  Like when Jesus blasted the scribes and Pharisee when He called them a whited sepulcher (Matt. 23:27).  They knew the law, but didn’t keep it themselves.  They knew what God expected but they selfishly lived their own lives for their own gain.  When we truly live in ignorance and “don’t know”, Jesus will bear with us drawing us closer. BUT when we know better and still refuse (2 Peter 2:21), that’s when Jesus will lower the boom!

13        Watch, for we don’t know the day nor the hour when the Son of man comes.

Consider the bride as she prepares for her wedding.  She does everything she can to look the best she can for husband-to-be.  Should we be doing any less when our Lord calls?

We don’t know exactly when Jesus is coming back for us.  He does give us indications when that time is nearing.  Wars, rumor of wars, natural disasters going bananas, men against men, etc.   Take note that even though the disciples anticipated and hoped for Jesus’ return back in their day, things are a little different today.  All the signs we are seeing today were not prevalent back then. Read Matthew chapter twenty-four to see the signs of the end times. 

Paul tells us to persevere (Psalm 119:1-8, Phil. 3:12-21).  Run the race and don’t quit (1 Corinth. 8:23-27).  Remember that childhood song “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine”?  Our light shines, as we live for Christ, in this world.  God made us in His image (Gen. 1:27)!  I believe this carries a physical and spiritual connotation.  Even though God is Spirit (John 4:24), He allowed Moses to see His backside (Exod. 33:20-23).  This implies that God may be constructed, shaped, like us; head, body, arms and legs.  But God is pure love (1 John 4:7-8) personified and God is Spirit (John 4:23-24).  To be in God’s image is to live in His love.  That is to be a true reflection of that love so that those around us may see God’s love reflected in our lives.  So we persevere in living God’s love in this world that the world can see His love – in operation.

Jesus tells us that He will be with us always (Heb. 13:5-6) so we don’t have to face life in this world alone.  Jesus tells us to take ‘His yoke’ for it is easy to bear (Matt. 11:29-30).  Jesus desires us to be one with Him and the Father (John 14:10-21). 

The five foolish virgins seemed to love God, but they didn’t continue in His true love.  The five wise virgins continued in God’s love until and into their “homecoming”. 

We have a choice.  We can join the devil, the ‘beast’ and his false prophet in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10-15) by not letting God be a part of or remain in our lives.  Or, because we have persevered in His love, we can experience the new heaven and earth with Christ Jesus where there is no more death or sorrow (Rev. 21:1-5).

The ten virgins represent today’s church.  In this world, the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ abiding together until the angels separate us (Matt. 25:31-46).  The question is: Are we foolish?  Or are we wise?

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