Sermons

Summary: Living in readiness and anticipation of the Second Coming of Christ.

Matthew 25:1-13

“Am I Doing Things My Way Or God’s Way?”

By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA

One day, while visiting a home for mentally challenged children...

...operated by a Christian friend...

...a minister noticed the tiny handprints of children covering the window.

“Why are their handprints all over your window?”, asked the minister.

“Oh, those,” his friend replied.

“The children here love Jesus, and they are so eager for Him to return that they lean against the windows

as they look up to the sky.”

In the parable of the Ten Virgins, the ten virgins were waiting for the bridegroom to come with word that

the wedding feast was now ready.

Five were foolish and five were wise.

One of the wonderful things about understanding the gospel of Jesus Christ is that it has nothing at all to

do with the level of our IQ’s.

What distinguishes the wise from the foolish is prepardness. The wise are ready for the marriage feast; the

foolish are not ready.

If Jesus were telling this parable today, He might replace lamps with flashlights.

Have you ever noticed that whenever you really need a flashlight, the batteries are often dead?

The oil for the lamps is faith and faith is something that takes constant recharging.

Is our faith being constantly recharged?

Our we prepared for the second coming of Christ...

...like the children in that home for the mentally challenged?

From Matthew chapter 24 on...

...Jesus is talking about the end of this age...or His second coming....

...He tells us to “Watch out,”...

...He tells us that “No one knows about that day or hour....”...

...He tells us, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before

the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and

they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.”...

...He tells us: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”

Throughout Scripture the symbolism lying behind this parable involves three pictures:...

...Christ is the bridegroom...

...Believers and the Church are pictured as the bride of Christ...

...and the return of Christ is pictured as a great marriage feast.

Jesus tells us that when He returns the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins (who represent people

who profess to be Christians).

Five are foolish and five are wise...

...and there is going to be a separation of the wise from the foolish.

Now, remember, the kingdom of heaven does not only refer to the perfect state of being in the future...

...it also refers to the present imperfect state of religion in the church.

And when Christ returns, something will be clearly seen---the foolish within the kingdom shall be separated

from the wise.

For a little background on this parable....

...among the Jews...

...the wedding festivities lasted for a whole week, and the bridegroom was allowed to show up at any moment.

The bride had ten young ladies or virgins who were always supposed to be prepared to rush out and

meet the bridegroom.

In the event that the bridegroom came at night, the virgins were to have lamps ready so they could go out

to light his path along the streets...

...and this is the picture that Christ is painting of His return.

Now, notice that there is no visible difference between the virgins.

They all had lamps, and they were all called to participate in the marriage feast.

In verse 5 Christ says an interesting thing....

....there was a long delay before the bridegroom came and all the virgins slumbered and slept...

....it wasn’t just the foolish who slept...

....but all the virgins slept.

And isn’t this so true throughout our Christian journey?

Even the true believers grow weary and at times find it difficult to stay awake and alert...

...it is very difficult for us to stay at our peak performance all the time...

...I know this is true in my life.

No believer, no matter who we are...walk anywhere near as close to Christ as we should.

The world is just too dark...

...and the darkness is so heavy that it is nearly impossible for any of us to be victorious over the pull of heavy

eyelids.

We have so many “things” competing for our attention....

....often we find it so easy to get so caught up in the ridiculous....

....it’s so easy to let pride and ego lead us instead of Christ...

....and sometimes it is very difficult to distinguish the difference between pride and ego and Christ Himself!

Am I doing things my way or God’s way?

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