Summary: Jesus reveals a parable of the Ten Virgins - each having their own lamp, but only five had oil in their lamps. When the call sounded to meet the Bridegroom, only five were ready. We must have oil in our lamps when the call is sounded to meet the Lord.
Behold, the Bridegroom Cometh
Matthew 25: 1-13
We have read another of Jesus’ parables. Parables were used of our Lord to communicate a heavenly truth through an earthly illustration. This parable was given to the people of Israel, but there is application and instruction for each of us. In this parable we can see a picture of the church. We all know that Jesus is coming to call for His bride, and only those who are prepared will be invited to join in the Marriage Supper.
As we will see in this parable, many find themselves in a state of complacency in regard to Christ’s return. We live in a day where many are presenting a universal acceptance, with little regard for the teachings of the Bible. General William Booth, founder of The Salvation Army, put it well when he said, "I consider that the chief dangers which will confront the twentieth century will be: religion without the Holy Spirit, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without redemption, morality without God, and Heaven without Hell." We have found ourselves in a day of many professors, but few possessors. Many have a form of godliness, a form of religion, but they deny the power thereof. Salvation involves much more than a religious experience, there must have been a day when we saw ourselves lost and undone before God and cried out unto the Lord for salvation. I want to examine the eternal truths of this passage and preach on a phrase in the text: Behold, the Bridegroom Cometh. As we consider this parable, I trust you will examine your heart to see where you stand with the Lord.
I. The Description of the Virgins (1-5) – Jesus begins His parable with a detailed look at those involved. Each of us is seen in one of these groups.
A. Their Presentation (1a) – Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. We find that there were ten virgins, each having their own lamp. These maidens were all morally and physically pure. As far as those who knew them could tell, they were pretty much the same. They had lived a good life and resisted the temptations of the flesh. Each had a lamp, which represents their personal testimony. No doubt these young ladies would’ve felt good about the life they had lived. There was nothing in their lives that could bring reproach or accusation against them.
There is a great truth to be learned here; we should all live a pure life before the Lord, but as we will see, there must be more than our works and the testimony that we carry before others. We must know Jesus in a personal way. There must be a time when you were born again. Living a good life cannot bring salvation!
B. Their Expectation (1b) – which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. Each of these virgins went forth to meet the bridegroom. In that day after the marriage ceremony, virgins would meet the wedding party with lamps lit to light the way for them. They all expected to have the opportunity to be included in the wedding party’s festivities.
Do you see a resemblance to the world in which we live? It seems that everyone we meet is “saved;” they are all going to heaven when they die. Everyone expects to meet the Lord and be accepted of Him. They are all carrying the lamp of their testimony. Well I’ve lived a good life; I attend church; I’ve been baptized; I pay my tithes, and I hope that the Lord is pleased with the life I’ve lived. This isn’t a “hope so” situation; it is a matter of knowing that you’ve been saved!
C. Their Separation (2-4) – To those who knew them, the virgins were all acceptable. There was little difference in them from a worldly perspective, but Jesus knew more than the world could see. Five of them were wise; they had oil in their vessels for their lamps. Five were foolish, having no oil for their lamps.
This is what makes all the difference in eternity. Oil is a picture of the Holy Spirit. Five were filled with the Holy Spirit and five were not. Those who have the Spirit within belong unto the Lord. Those who are not filled with the Spirit have no part in Him, regardless of the life they live. We fall into one of two categories – saved or lost. There is no middle ground. We have either trusted Christ in salvation or we remain lost in our sin. John 10:14 – I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. Is there oil in your lamp? Do you know the Lord?