Summary: A message on being ready for the Lord’s return from the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins.
If the Oil Runs Out
Text: Matthew 25:1-13
In my younger, more foolish days, there was a game that I liked to play that my wife didn’t like very much. We’d be driving down the highway, when I’d notice that the fuel gage was getting close to empty. My wife’s preference at this point, was for me to stop at the nearest gas station, while I preferred to get the best deal that I could.
I remember a time we were headed back home from Michigan. I knew that the best place to get gas was at Bowling Green, OH; however, I was still about a half hour away from there when the fuel light blinked on. There were many fuel exits that I passed by though that little yellow light burned the warning that I needed gas. Tricia was getting antsy as the miles passed, while I joked, “Let’s see how long we can go on empty.” She didn’t think I was funny.
Soon, we came to our exit. I pulled onto the off-ramp; however, the ramp went uphill, causing the little gas I had to slash to the back of my tank. The car sputtered and died. Now, I was concerned as I put my car in neutral and tried to restart the car while praying to myself. Miraculously, the car started, but then I had to wait at the red light. The light turned green, and I started toward the closest station. However, we had another problem. I had to sit in the left turn lane waiting for traffic to pass, and still that light mocked me for my foolishness. Finally, I was able to pull into the station, and just as I pulled up to the pump, the car sputtered and died. I had made it, but that was too close!
In our text, we find five virgins who foolishly tried to do the same thing that I did, but, unfortunately, they didn’t make it. They ran out oil, they were not ready when the bridegroom came, and they missed out on everything; the door was shut, and they were in darkness.
I. We have been Welcomed (v.1)
All ten of these women were welcomed to the marriage feast. They were all issued invitations. They were to be the bridesmaids. Each one was looking forward to the party. This was going to be some celebration!
But not only were they invited, they had accepted the invitation. They had sent their RSVP’s in. They wanted to be apart of that number. They were looking for the bridegroom. They wanted to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
All of us here have been invited to join the bridegroom at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Over and over through out the Scriptures, we read that God is calling out to us to come to Him. We are invited to enter into His rest. Jesus called, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11:28) He died with His arms outstretched in welcome.
When I was running my tank on empty, there were many invitations for me to stop and fuel up, but I ignored them wanting a better price. But that wasn’t fault of these virgins. They had accepted the invitation, they had made themselves ready. They had brought their lamps, worn their best dresses, and were looking for the bridegroom.
II. We must be Waiting (v.2-10)
While the virgins were alike in that they responded to the call to meet the bridal party and to go to the bridal feast; they were all dressed in the same bridesmaid gowns, they all carried a lamp, and they all fell asleep waiting for the bridegroom; they were very different in that the wise had brought extra oil, while the foolish virgins’ lamps were flicking out with no oil on hand.
They begged of the wise for some of their oil, but the wise didn’t want to run out as well. “Go to those who sell and buy from them,” they replied, but it was midnight, and it was too late. The shops were closed, the merchants were home in bed, and the foolish went out in vain hoping that they might somehow get oil for their dying lamps.
How could these women be so foolish? Why didn’t they think to bring some extra oil like the wise did? Jesus did not tell us why these virgins failed to have enough oil, but the most likely answer is that they didn’t think that it is necessary.
Throughout the Bible, we find that the Holy Spirit is represented by oil. While, these virgins were pure and had a measure of oil, they didn’t have enough when the bridegroom tarried. There are many who do not believe that they need to get sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit in order to make it. They do not believe they need to be holy. They are saved and that is good enough, but that isn’t good enough. They need to go on! The Hebrew writer wrote, “let us go on unto perfection.” (Heb. 6:1)