Matthew 25:1-13 KJV Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:  But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.  While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.  Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.  Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
I. INTRODUCTION—PREVENTITIVE MAINTENANCE
-The more high-tech that cars become in our generation, the more important it is for them to have routine maintenance checks. More times than not major automotive repairs can be prevented if a little maintenance is done along the way.
• Change the oil.
• Make sure the fluid levels are good.
• Rotate the tires.
• Keep an eye on the brakes for wear.
• Watch for wheel alignment problems.
• Keep the air-filter clean.
• Check the battery and the cables for corrosion.
• Make sure the anti-freeze/coolant is adequate.
• Note the belts and hoses to see if they are worn.
• Power steering and brake fluid levels need to be checked.
• Transmission fluid needs to be at the right level.
• Wiper blades need to be able to clear the rain.
-A person who keeps an eye on these things can pile up the miles on a vehicle long after he has made the last payment on it.
-The same level of scrutiny that we have on our cars, homes, health, and relationships needs to have a priority in our spiritual lives also. Periodically it is good to take the soul and put it up on the rack and carefully inspect the direction that we are moving along in.
II. THE FIVE WISE AND FIVE FOOLISH VIRGINS
-Matthew 24-25 is called the Olivet Discourse. It is the last of the five discourses that are listed in the writings of Matthew. It contains some of the most important prophetic material in all of Scripture.
-The five major discourses in Matthew:
• The Sermon on the Mount—Matthew 5-7
• The Commissioning of the Apostles—Matthew 10
• The Parables of the Kingdom—Matthew 13
• The Childlikeness of the Believer—Matthew 18
• The Olivet Discourse on the Second Coming—Matthew 24-25
-At the end of all five of these discourses there is a similar phrase that Matthew uses: “when Jesus had ended these sayings.”
-Locked up in the Olivet Discourse there were several parables:
• The Parable of the Fig Tree—Matthew 24:32-34; Mark 13:28-31; Luke 21:29-33
• The Parable of the Two Servants—Matthew 24:45-51; Luke 12:41-48
• The Parable of the Ten Virgins—Matthew 25:1-13
• The Parable of the Talents—Matthew 25:14-30
-All of these parables were pointing to spiritual lessons the Lord was teaching His disciples for future days.
-What sparked the Lord’s words to His disciples were two questions they asked:
Matthew 24:3 KJV And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
-Their questions were about the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem and the end of the world.
-In His response, which we have in these two chapters, there are a lot of things that the Lord informed them they would see.
• Subtle and strong delusions.
• Sore tribulations and oppressions.
• Great confusion in the hearts of men and in churches.
• Great horrors and grievous sins in the hearts of men.
• The elements will be darkened and seemingly out of control.
• Sensual times like that during Noah’s day.
-All of these things should encourage the true believers to be very careful about the state of their own soul and to constantly be in state of alert watchfulness. Despite the great sin that was found in Noah’s day, there was a place of security and strength within the Ark.
-The Lord’s message for our day proves that there will be chaste, virgin, pure churches in the world that will not be defiled by the trashiness of a tramp church. In the concluding parable in Matthew 25, the Lord informed them and us that there will be some who are willfully careless about the welfare of their talents. But there will also be some who are very careful about improving their talents as diligently as they possibly can.
-It very well could be that we can sum up the whole matter in the Matthew 25:13:
Matthew 25:13 KJV Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
-It is a call to watchfulness and to continuance and to perseverance as we watch for the Lord’s return.
-Just a simple reading of the parable gives us a lot of details surrounding what actually happened. A total of ten virgins, five were wise and five were foolish. Five had enough oil and five did not. There were five who were ready to go when the call came at midnight and five who were not.
-The reality is that the five foolish were not openly irreverent, corrupt, or scandalous in their behavior and actions. In fact they all appeared to be the same until the midnight call came for them to awaken. It was in that moment that they had their carnal security jerked away from them. I can only wonder how often that takes place in churches all across the world.
-To make it all the way to Heaven there will have to be some continuous preparations and ready adjustments in our walk with the Lord.
III. SOME SIGNS YOU MAY HAVE AN OIL LEAK
-The Bible has some very good ways to show us if we have an oil leak as in the leaking of our Holy Ghost. What if we were to have the ability to put our soul up on a rack like they have at Super Lube?
-I have no doubt that many things could be added to this list but these are just a few things that ought to cause us to have a sense of alarm about our spiritual lives.
A. Ignorance of Sin
-There can be an ignorance of sin that can hurt and ultimately ruin us. That is why that if there was ever a need for discernment in our generation, it is now! There are common problems that most all of the saints of God will have to struggle with but there are some that are personal to a particular group of people.
-What is sin? Have we forgotten what sin is all about? It is anything that comes between God and my relationship with Him.
-There are sins that the Lord will cast off His people because of their activity with them. These sins are of such a nature that they will rot the roots of the plant and wither even the most flourishing of churches.
• Ephesus had her sin, it was a first love that had been lost.
• Sardis had her sin, it was defiled garments.
• Laodecia had her sin, it was neither hot nor cold. Desensitized to the world that was around it.
-God told Ephesus that her candlestick would be removed and He told Laodecia that he would spew her out of his mouth.
-Ignorance of sin sometimes leads us to the point of saying that “Oh, this is my liberty and I can participate in it all I want to. It is not really a big deal!”
-How can a man know that he is ignorant of his sin? Most often he isn’t aware of his sin because of the nature of self-justification but there are signs that he is falling to the ignorance of his own sin.
-How can he know that he is in the process of leaving?
-Evangelist Martyn Ballestero recently wrote on his blog a list of steps that are prominent when ignorance of sin is taking control of a man’s heart and his oil is leaking out. These are certain signs that he is in process of leaving the church:
• You start finding fault
• You undermine the all of the church leadership.
• You continually find ways to express your dissatisfaction.
• You express excitement over another church’s progress.
• You resign your position.
• You detach yourself from all of your commitments.
• You are no longer faithful to church.
• You don’t answer or return the pastor’s call.
• You avoid the pastor.
• Others notice how critical you are.
• Your prayer life has changed.
• Your worship is empty, it’s not the same.
• You’re not faithful with your tithes and offerings.
• You moved to the back of the congregation.
• You are more excited about worldly things than godly things.
• You no longer dress the same.
• You no longer look the same.
• You stop caring what the Bible says.
• You stop saying amen.
• You always hang around with backslidden or worldly people.
• You justify your carnal activities
• You become offended.
• You can’t stop talking about what offended you.
• You rationalize your disobedience.
• You always have an excuse not to obey standards.
• You become a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God.
• You have more friends out of church than in church.
• All you see are hypocrites in the church.
• You stop giving of your time.
• You stop serving.
• You disconnect with your church friends.
• You make decisions opposed to God’s plan.
• You made the choice to go against your pastor’s wishes.
• You resent being accountable.
• You disconnect with everything about the church.
-How well are you doing? We have to do whatever we can to prevent our lamps from leaking oil!
B. A Spirit of Self
-Another common enemy that will cause the oil to leak out very quickly is when the kingdom of Self becomes more important than the Kingdom of God. If every member becomes consumed with self and work toward preserving his own tent, that church will soon be easily conquered.
-The church is the Lord’s and we have to do everything within our power to make sure that our own preferences do not destroy it.
-When a man becomes so internal that everything about him becomes turned toward him, he will fail. Maturity means that we will soon discover that the world does not revolve solely around me.
There are others that I have a responsibility for.
The Wycliffe Bible translators send people all over the globe to work with tribes and various people groups. Sometimes a family with small children will go and Wycliffe will send a teacher along to take care of the translators children during the course of the time they are there. Sadie Sieker, who served for many years as a house-parent had a fascination and love of books.
Many of her books she would loan out but there are some she treasured in a footlocker under her bed. Once, in the quiet of the night, Sadie heard a faint gnawing sound. After searching all around her room finally she pulled the footlocker out and opened up. To her great dismay, she found nothing but a pile of dust in the footlocker. All the books she had kept to herself had been lost to termites. What we give away, we keep. What we hoard, we lose.
-Yet the very culture that we live in is totally opposed to this sort of living. It screams, “Serve Yourself!” “You need this (fill in the blank)!” “You deserve this (fill in the blank)!” and all the while the Lord is trying to tell us that there is a better way.
-When Self rules, it becomes a nasty dictator. You have to do all the things that Self demands for you to do. Things such as buy, drive, sell, cook, clean, call, shop, eat, plan, study, write, review, schedule, and so forth. What takes place when you serve Self is this: You are overwhelmed, overloaded, and exhausted just trying to keep up to serve yourself.
-When Self rules our families suffer, our health wanes, our priorities fade out, our joy evaporates, and most people have very little idea of the true direction of their life because their soul is dizzy from spinning around so much trying to serve self.
-Don’t let Self rule you in such a way that you lose your oil!
C. Making Peace with Sin
-Just as there is a danger in having an ignorance of sin, there is also a grave danger in making peace with sin. To make peace with our failures and to allow that sin to live in a secret quietness of heart and mind is a blueprint for spiritual disaster.
-The Canaanites were left alive because Israel could not drive them out. When you study the history of Israel you will find that the Canaanites vexed, poked, and tried to put a yoke on the neck of Israel.
-The sin that you are content to live with, yield to, and not mourn over will lead to the ruin of a man’s soul and even greater to the ruin of the church.
-We must be very careful to forsake our sin but the danger lies when we love the thing that the Lord hates. This was the great indictment against Jehosaphat, he loved him who hated the Lord.
2 Chronicles 19:2 KJV And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.
-The reference is to Ahab. God hated Ahab and his ways and Jehoshaphat loved him, a persecutor, idolater, and murderer. Don’t ever make peace with your own sin or the people who may promote sin in your own life!
Jerry Vines—Sin is a spiritual and moral malignancy. Left unchecked, it can spread throughout our entire inner being and contaminate every area of our lives. Even worse, it will “metastasize” from us into the lives of believers around us. None of us lives on a spiritual or social island. Our attitudes, words, and actions, and oftentimes even our private unspoken thoughts, tend to have an effect on those around us.
-There is a tendency that once we have been redeemed to think that because we don’t get involved with the “big-ticket” sins so to speak that we are safe but the reality is that as long as we contend with the flesh we have to war with it. That means that there is a battle against sin!
Romans 6:12-13 KJV Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
-That means that we have to fight against those things that will way-lay us in our walk with God. Don’t make peace with the subtle sin that we sometimes will ignore.
• Lack of Self-Control
• Impatience and Irritability
• Envy, Jealousy, and Related Sins
• Sins of the Tongue
-Don’t make peace with those things that will cause you to leak oil from your vessel!
D. Laying Down Your Weapons
-No kingdom will ever be safe if it lays down its weapons. God has provided a mighty arsenal for the church to have at her hand. In Ephesians 6, Paul made sure that we understood the force and character of those weapons.
Ephesians 6:10-18 KJV Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
-The same command was given to Joshua when he went out after Moses had passed on. In Joshua 1:17, the exhortation was given to “Be strong!”
-Leaking vessels lay down their weapons:
• The spirit of prayer begins to fail.
• The hunger for holiness falters.
• The desire to know the Truth and hear it boldly proclaimed is dropped.
• The peace of God is thrown aside.
• The shield of faith loses its ability to overcome.
• The sword of the Spirit has a dull edge to it.
• The tongue loses its ability to praise.
• The sense of majesty in worship disappears.
-When we no longer want to fight off the attack of the enemy, our vessel will lose its oil.
Thomas Manton—An army would be very cautious if they knew beforehand that one-half of them should be destroyed.
-We can’t afford to lay our weapons down!
IV. CONCLUSION—WHY DOES IT MATTER?
-Some might wonder why it matters that a pastor is constantly working toward getting men and women of the Kingdom to go through the process of self-examination. It matters because we must make a difference!
-Because there are people out there who are looking for an Apostolic Church that is on fire for God!
September 17, 2011