The story is told about a woman who picked up her phone and called her insurance agent. She was in a state of panic. The woman said: “Mr. Johnson, I need to increase the insurance coverage on my house immediately.” Mr. Johnson said: “I would be happy to do that for you, I will need you to sign some documents”. The lady said: “I want to do it immediately over the phone.” Mr. Johnson once again responded that she could have more coverage once she signs the required forms. The lady said: “I need the coverage increased NOW as my house is on fire.”
Can we put off our relationship with God to the last minute? Look in Matthew 25 and you will see a powerful parable about being prepared.
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins
1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’
Do we believe that there is a cry that will go out? There are 21 of Jesus parables in Matthew and 14 of them refer to the Kingdom of God or the church. Jesus is very concerned about the spiritual condition of His people. Jesus is addressing His people-His church.
Notice in this parable Jesus is speaking about the ten virgins waiting for Jesus soon return. In the Bible, a woman represents the church. Jesus is speaking directly to the church. The number 10 is the smallest number of men to comprise a synagogue.
Notice in verse 2 how 5 of the virgins were wise and 5 were foolish. Jesus doesn’t make a distinction between the loyal or disloyal, the obedient or disobedient. Jesus points out that all 10 virgins go out to meet the bridegroom.
All of the virgins were asleep. Are we asleep to the Godless culture around us? God’s people are a people with a message-a people with a mission to share-to share a message of light to a community of darkness.
The message of the Seventh-Day Adventist church is to share Jesus with a dying world. All of the 10 virgins are part of the church. Half of the virgins missed out on the opportunity to spend eternity with Jesus because they were foolish.
In the ancient world, lamps could only hold a certain amount of oil. The lamps all looked the same. Lamps were designed so they could be held in their hands. You could use the lamp in your house or while out walking to see someone. The lamps could only hold so much oil. Wise people not only had the oil in their lamps but also took a small flask of extra oil so they could replenish their lamps when they went out.
The foolish virgins had oil, but they did not have enough oil to add when their oil was used up. The oil represents the Holy Spirit. When the foolish virgins ran out of oil, the bridegroom came. Jesus did not allow the foolish virgins in because they did not have the Holy Spirit.
In the New Testament, oil is used as healing and represents the healing power of the Holy Spirit healing us from our sins. The foolish virgins depended on oil that they had acquired in the past. They made a fatal mistake. They had oil but it was not enough oil. They cried: “Our lamps are going out!” They were not ready for that special day when the bridegroom came.
Are we depending on a religious or spiritual experience once upon a time, or has our experience now slipped away? Are we living in the past? Are we depending on an experience with God that is in the past tense? The foolish virgins did not have enough oil with them. They trusted in their past experience.
Are we in the church in 2011 trusting in our past experience? The foolish virgins neglected to nourish their souls. They are not hypocrites. They have not fully surrendered to the Holy Spirit. The foolish virgins were not developing their relationship with Jesus.
“As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, ‘Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.’ 31 So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. 32 Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them.
The foolish virgins have a casual knowledge of the church and are not fully prepared. Jesus wants us to get to know him personally. Jesus said perilous times are coming. We need a relationship with the Lord to strengthen us now.
The foolish virgins had the Word of God in their heart. The foolish virgins were informed but not transformed. They were instructed but not changed. Doctrinal correctness does not save. Has the truth that we believe and share with others transformed our lives? The foolish virgins wanted what the wise virgins had. There is plenty supply of God’s love for the entire world.
No one can be spiritual for us. We have to study God’s word and pray to the Father as part of our being wise.
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It is not human, but divine power, that works transformation of character. Those who plant and those who water do not cause the growth of the seed; they work under God, as His appointed agencies, co-operating with Him in His work.
A third evil angel said there is no worry.
Do you have struggles now? Jesus is passionate about every single one of us. All of us today are the 10 virgins. We have a choice to be wise virgins or foolish virgins. Is the oil in our lamps running low today? Are we depending on a recipe we made 30 years ago?
Preparation is God calling for people in this last generation. God shares compassionately. When we seek the Lord and acknowledge Him, He calls us to be a wise virgin and not be lost. Jesus is asking us to be a wise virgin. If you are ready, raise up your hand and make sure you are ready for eternal life.
Jesus wants us to have a Joy with Him in heaven. Are you going to be prepared? Will you partner with Jesus?
This sermon was given by Pastor Korter on Sabbath, 17 September 2011 at Bellingham Seventh-day Adventist church.