MATTHEW 25:1-13 PRINCETON CHRISTIAN CHURCH 23 APRIL 2023
I am hearing a lot of talk these days about the need to be stocking up on food, supplies, and whatever we might need in case of an emergency situation. We hear about supply chain issues, and shortages of all kinds of products we use and need for our everyday living.
In the winter we might expect some very freezing weather with a blizzard on the way. We need to stock up on food in particular for the days we may be locked into our homes with no way out to obtain supplies.
And it is inevitable that some people will be doubters and will not see the need to prepare ahead for something that MIGHT happen.
But you know there is something that all people need to know about preparation. No matter who they are, what they do in life, whether successful or not so much; whether rich or poor, whether educated or uneducated. The preparation I am referring to is his or her preparation for the coming of the Lord at the end of time.
Let’s turn to Matthew 25:1-13 for some insight on the necessity of preparation. READ.
In the parable of the ten virgins, Jesus is speaking about being ready when He comes. He, of course, in this passage, is the bridegroom.
We must give heed to His warning and His instructions.
Being ready requires three conditions we must find ourselves in.
Being ready requires adequate preparation, faithfulness, and urgency.
As we begin looking at this Parable of the Ten Virgins, we find that Jesus is answering the question His disciples asked Him as they were sitting on the Mount of Olives. Here is that question: “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” READ 3-8.
As we look at this Parable, it is important that we understand the characters and the meanings of the events.
We recognize the bridegroom is Jesus. The Marriage is the Judgment. The delay is the period between Christ’s ascension and His return – NOW, for us.
The Virgins are the waiting church. The wise ones are the faithful, light-shining members of the body of Christ. The foolish ones are members, but they are the cold and lifeless ones.
The midnight cry is the call of death and judgment. The cry for oil is the deathbed repentance in the face of judgment.
The door is shut is evidence that it is too late.
The disciples were looking for a sign – a way to tell when the world was going to end. Jesus told them it was not necessary for them to know the time. What they needed to know was that it is necessary to be ready, to be prepared, and to be watching and waiting.
I. So, first of all, Adequate Preparation is essential.
Not just any preparation. Not just some preparation. But adequate preparation. What does “adequate” mean? It means sufficient for a specific need or requirement. So, our preparation must be sufficient to meet the need – the need of meeting Jesus upon His return.
God’s plan of salvation must be obeyed. It is only on the foundation of Jesus Christ that anyone can be adequately prepared for the end times.
We must be as the five wise virgins were – adequately prepared for the coming of the bridegroom.
That midnight cry will ring out and ---- will you be ready? Will you be adequately prepared? That midnight cry is the call of death or Judgment.
2. Secondly, Faithfulness is required.
We must be faithful in doing what is essential to meet the Lord when He returns.
Many will be deceived. They will think all is well with their souls……but ……. Jesus says, in Matthew 7:21-27: we must, at all costs meet the requirements of the Gospel to prepare our hearts and lives for His coming.
Nothing can be substituted for the Word of God and His requirements. God does not say to us, “Be successful, and I will give you’re the crown of life.
He says to us, “Be faithful, and I will give you a crown of life.
We must have an adequate supply of oil in our lamps. We must have our wicks trimmed. We must have our globes clean.
Each of us, individually, must strive to attain faithfulness and readiness. We must each strive to be obedient servants doing those things Jesus talked about in.
Matthew 25:34-40: 34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You as a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of the least of these brothers, you did it to Me.”
All the things Jesus mentioned in that passage are the things of preparation. Feeding, visiting, providing clothing, encouraging one another.
We must not be like the foolish virgins. They came looking for Mercy when it was time for Judgment.
3. There is urgency in being ready.
They started out ok but lost their faith. They lost their sense of the urgency of being prepared.
The door is now open. Look at Luke 13:22-35: “And He was passing through from one city and village to another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem. And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us! Then He will answer and say to you, “I do not know where you are from.” “vs. 27: “I tell you; I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.”
The door is now open to us as we make our preparations. But when the foolish virgins came the door was shut. There was no more opportunity for them to prepare. They had arrived at their Judgment.
Other things – things of the world had apparently been more important or urgent for them. Those were the things which were on their minds – of top priority.
If we are expecting to spend eternity in the presence of Jesus, nothing in our lives should be so important or urgent that it takes us away from our preparation. Nothing should take us away from the faithfulness which would make us ready to meet the Lord at His coming.
ILLUS; An ancient king was attending a banquet. There was an atmosphere of eating, drinking, and be merriment. A trusted servant came and placed a message in the king’s hand. He said to the king, “ This message is important business. Please read it immediately.”
The king thought to himself: “This night is for entertainment and enjoyment. I will deal with this urgent business tomorrow.” So he tucked the note into his robe and went back to the party.
On the way back to the castle that night, he was ambushed and killed. In his robe his servants found the note he had put there to take care of in the morning. The note revealed the warning of a plot to kill the king. It went unheeded and it cost him dearly – it cost him his life.
We must be ready. We must be faithful now. We cannot wait until someday. We cannot wait until tomorrow. We cannot wait for a more convenient season as did Felix in Acts 24. We cannot wait until another day because we have no assurance that another day will come.
There can be no putting it off until tomorrow. We find in Hebrews 3:7: “Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts….”
ILLUS: A tourist was visiting a villa in Italy, and he was escorted through the beautiful gardens by the long-time gardener. He asked the gardener how long he had been working in the gardens there. He said he had been there 25 years. Then the tourist asked the gardener how often the owner of the villa comes to visit. The gardener said that the owner had been there only 4 times in that 25 years. And the last time he was there was 12 years ago.
The owner never wrote, nor did he ever announce when he would be coming. There were never any other visitors to the villa, either. Yet, the gardener kept the gardens and the grounds immaculate and in perfect condition.
The visitor commented that the gardener must expect his master home tomorrow. The gardener said, “Oh, no. Not tomorrow. I expect him today! He was ready. His preparations were constantly made, ready for the owner to come.
We must be a ready in our walk in Christ. We must be just as faithful in our expectation of His return.
Those who prepare themselves and are faithful to His commands will hear, on that momentous day: “Well done. Good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Come, and share in your Master’s happiness.”
ALWAYS BE IN A STATE OF READINESS!
Are you going out, as a bride, to meet the Bridegroom? Are you unprepared? Is your light burning low? Is your light already gone out? Prepare Now!