He was Delayed!

  • Matthew 25:1-13 he was delayed
  • Parable of the Wise and foolish virgins
  • Jesus has been talking about his eventual and unscheduled return for a while in this sermon he’s been preaching. He tells them 3 different ways to ‘be ready’ for his return. 
  • This fact is so important to Jesus that he REPEATEDLY tells his disciples to be ready. 
  • People will take one verse out of context and base their whole life on it, Jesus clearly repeats himself and people say “That probably wont happen” or “That’s not probably what he meant” 
  • 24:13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved
  • 24:25 See, I have told you beforehand.
  • 24:42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 
  • 24:50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of,
  • Your salvation is based on the belief that Jesus brought himself back from the dead after he died and paid the penalty for your sin and that he descended into heaven in bodily form. 
  • But for some reason, people don’t believe that he’s coming back in bodily form. Its not an allegory- It is a tangible real truth that everyone will experience one day. He’s coming. 
  • The parable- The context is that Jesus is using a known example of bridesmaids and oil lamps that was common during the time. This is what weddings looked like. 
  • The Virgins (Bridesmaids- the Church) are attending to the bridegroom (Christ) until he is ready to come to his bride. They must be prepared to receive the bridegroom when he arrives. 
  • This clearly represents Christ as the bridegroom coming for his bride the Church
  • Now, the meaning of the oil, the ten virgins, etc are very contentious within Christianity
  • During my studies, I uncovered people who said the oil is the HS, salvation, Mercy, Olive oil etc, That the Virgins represented this and that. Much of it was conjecture and guessing. I’m not going to ascribe value to something that isn’t clear and try to make it into something Christ never intended. 
  • Barnes- Which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom – The “lamps” used on such occasions were rather “torches” or “flambeaux.” They were made by winding rags around pieces of iron or earthenware, sometimes hollowed so as to contain oil, and fastened to handles of wood. These torches were dipped in oil, and gave a large light. Marriage “ceremonies” in the East were conducted with great pomp and solemnity. The ceremony of marriage was performed commonly in the open air, on the banks of a stream. Both the bridegroom and bride were attended by friends. They were escorted in a palanquin. carried by four or more persons. After the ceremony of marriage succeeded a feast of seven days if the bride was a virgin, or three days if she was a widow. This feast was celebrated in her father’s house. At the end of that time the bridegroom conducted the bride with great pomp and splendor to his own home.
  • Here’s what’s undeniably crystal clear- Jesus is coming back, we need to be ready, this story illustrates that some were ready, some were not. The ones that were ready were invited into the wedding, those that weren’t were locked out. You don’t want to be locked out. 
  • One commentator– (John Calvin) Some people give themselves a good deal of uneasiness about the lamps, the vessels, and the oil; but the plain and natural meaning of the whole is, that it is not enough to have ardent zeal for a short time, if we have not also a constancy that never tires. But the general instruction of the parable consists in this, that it is not enough to have been once ready and prepared for the discharge of duty, if we do not persevere to the end.
  • If the Bridesmaids are representative of the church- there’s some issues here to discuss
  • Some were wise, some were foolish, Some planned ahead, some did not, Some made it into the wedding, some did not. You do not want to be locked out
  • But while the bridegroom was delayed
  • I don’t know specifically who is who in this, but there’s some wise and foolish in the story
  • A parable is used to illustrate a point to get people to change their thinking and actions to get different results from something that is going to happen in the future
  • Jesus isn’t telling this parable to condemn the foolish and praise the wise, he’s telling this parable so that his listeners can adjust their thinking and actions so as not to be shut out. 
  • It’s not a prophetic story with a predetermined end- when Jesus tells it- and tells them to watch its not to encourage the wise and condemn the foolish- it’s a window into future activities so the listener can be wise and not foolish- Hear the parable and change their life. 

How then should we live from reading this? What should we do differently

  1. The bridegroom is delayed- Watch and stay ready
  • 13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
  • None of us know when Jesus is coming back, again, Jesus repeats himself, we repeat it for him- Jesus is coming back to redeem his family of believers- it behooves us to remain ready
  • Jesus uses clear language here- He’s repeatedly told this to his disciples so will we
  • Foolish- mo-ros’ dull or stupid (morally) blockhead,absurd: – fool
  • Wise-fron’-ee-mos thoughtful, that is, sagacious or discreet (implying a cautious character; intelligence or mental acquirement); 
  • Sagacious- having or showing keen mental discernment and good judgment; shrewd.
  • I like that word- Sagacious- Its to be shrewd and show good judgment. 
  • This is what wisdom is- Proverbs 27:12 A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; The simple pass on and are punished.
  • This is very hard for a population of people who do not plan ahead and do not avoid evil
  • I am an over planner- I constantly over think and look for the pitfalls in most situations. 
  • Part of it is that that’s what the military trains you to do- because lives are at stake if you do not plan ahead effectively. People die if you don’t plan. (pit in stomach- no gas mask)
  • But I’ve also suffered at the end of poor planning and I don’t want to go through it again. 
  • So when Jesus says “Watch therefore” and says some are morons and some are intelligent, he’s aptly telling his listeners- hey- if you watch and prepare, you’re not a moron, but if you don’t, that’s who you are, you’re going to be shut out and you’re stupid if you do
  • When I was in the army, we were old school doctrine of warfare before the GWOT. We had fox holes and set up waiting for the enemy to attack- its tedious and boring
  • Viet nam- The next night a chopper came in after dark, landing with its lights on. It dropped off two new replacements. They were assigned to the position above and behind us, which belonged to another platoon. These guys were total cherries, but it was decided that they might as well take their turn at guard. They may have been rather short on sleep to begin with, since it is not irrational to worry about being assigned to the field. One of the gems of training that I acquired at Folk Polk still stuck with me. It was a good way to stay awake, so we were told. The instructor took out a grenade, and holding it in his hand while sitting on the edge of a foxhole, told us, “If you pull guard with a live grenade in your hand, I guarantee you, you will not fall asleep!” Our new guy had been taught this article of wisdom, and not being too confident that he could stay awake, put a grenade in his had and pulled the pin. Now he would stay away for sure. Guaranteed. That night there was an explosion, and soon afterwards the Medevac chopper took this guy away, that is, all of him but his two legs.
  • Dire consequences if you do not stay alert. “Stay alert stay alive” is what we always said
  • So spiritually speaking, is there anything more important than daily expecting Jesus?
  • Do whatever it takes to stay watchful, but realize- you have to do whatever it takes. 
  1. Remind yourself what its for
  • A wedding day is a special day for the bride and bridegroom. Don’t mess it up. 
  • I’ve performed hundreds of weddings, the worst ones that I have done are not because of bridezilla, its because of momzilla or auntzilla who is trying to take the day over because of the inadequacies of their life and their past history of failed weddings and or marriages
  • At the rehearsal I speak to everyone- Lets remember who this is for- I only listen to them
  • The specific details of this parabolic wedding are not found, but from antiquity we know that there were bridal parties, torches, palanquins, 3 day for widows, 7 for virgins
  • It was a party and it was a huge deal- But apparently, these morons missed it
  • 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
  • How do you fall asleep on someone’s wedding day? Its not about you
  • The moment you stop thinking about the bigger picture, you ruin the day for the groom
  • We are a remembering people! When you remember and remind you stay on track
  • Remember as a kid when you would leave- “be on your best behavior” don’t act normal
  • We are people who are called to remember! God knows what happens to his people who don’t remember so he constantly reminds us to remember so we wont go astray
  • Parable about a wedding, but if they had remembered why, they might have stayed awake
  • IF we remember why- maybe we’ll stay awake and on watch as well
  • Remember that God delivered you Deuteronomy 6:12 then beware, lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
  • Remember that God is God Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,
  • Remember your salvation- Heb 2:3 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation
  • Ps 77:11 I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
  • 1 Corinthians 11:24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, [a]“Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
  • Remembrance brings remembering- And when that happens, you should better stay on track
  • We all need to be reminded from time to time and remind ourselves and others- 
  • I realize I’ve said this before- Philippians 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
  • Not rich, not famous, not understanding, not accomplished- Know Jesus- Make heaven. 
  1. He was delayed- Get some unity
  • As I was reflecting on this parable- I thought about the remedy for the problem
  • At the core- this story (remember it’s a parable) could have ended differently if there was some unity. Now specifically in this scripture Jesus doesn’t prescribe unity as the remedy, but can we agree that if they had stayed together and worked together they would ended together, We can hear this story and say- “how do I not end up this way” UNITY
  • Ten virgins started but then there was some division at some point and they all didn’t end 
  • If all the bridesmaids had the same instructions, the same goal and the same heart, they would have received instruction, and gave instruction to the other bridesmaids, but they didn’t. 
  • 1 Corinthians 1:10 that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, 1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, Philippians 2:22 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Ephesians 4:3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another. 
  • The bible is abundantly clear that we should be in the same mind and be in unity
  • That we should be people that share, help and encourage one another and not be out for ourselves! We should be checking our own oil and others as well- “you good bro”
  • If I’m in this story, I’m asking the wise- why are you not helping the foolish fill their lamps before hand? I’m asking the foolish, why are you not asking for help to fill your lamp?
  • If we’re going to stay alert stay alive and make it to the marriage supper of the lamb, we need each other. We need to walk in unity if we’re going to make it. We can’t do it alone. 

Do you what that takes?

  1. While the bridegroom is delayed- Be generous
  • “no- lest their be enough for us” 
  • Its quite sad that the moronic bridesmaids couldn’t receive from the intelligent ones
  • In the same way unity seemed to not be a remedy, generosity wasn’t either. 
  • How different of an outcome if those that had, shared with those who didn’t
  • We’ve established that the exact representation of the oil is unknown- but it means something- Mercy, salvation, holy spirit, whatever- It was needed to make the cut
  • Acts 20:35 remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Proverbs 11:24 There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty
  • Now this is full-on conjecture here- I’m inserting my thoughts into the scripture- but I’m asking the question- why no generosity? Why no helping a brother out? Why no- Hey man looks like you’re running low- I can help you out- 
  • Because as I’m hearing this parable- I’m not thinking “I’m the wise one” I’m thinking, “I’m probably the moron” and I need help! I need my brothers and sisters to watch out for me
  • I need people to come along side me and share whatever oil they got- and I’ll receive it
  • I’m telling you today- If you got the oil and I don’t, please share, and if I got I will too! 
  1. Keep your oil full
  • 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
  • You cannot share what you do not have, so you have to keep yourself full
  • If someone comes to you and needs it and you don’t have it you cant share it
  • Undisciplined, tired, overextended, unhealthy, biblically illiterate, spiritual bereft
  • I’m not sure what you’re full of, but the bible says to be full of the spirit of God
  • Ephesians 3:19 that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit 
  • If you’re not full you can’t share- and the best way to be able to share is to stay full
  • Get close to God! Stay spiritually full! We don’t want anyone to not have enough oil. 
  • Stay full! Stay close to Jesus and full of his word and his ways. You can have some to share! 
  • Proverbs 11:25 The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.

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