Summary: Jesus is coming soon. Are you prepared for His coming?
Intro: ILL- In April, 1988 a cameraman who was also a skydiver jumped from a plane along with several others & filmed them as they individually jumped out of the plane. After the final skydiver opened his chute something tragic happened. The cameraman, having completed his filming of the other skydivers, reached for his ripcord. It was then that he realized he had forgotten to put it on. Up until then, he was enjoying himself & was absorbed in what he was doing. But tragically, he was unprepared for the jump. It did not matter how many times he had done it before or what kind of skill he had. By forgetting the parachute he made a foolish mistake. Nothing could save him; his faith was in a parachute which he had foolishly forgotten to put on. And he plunged to his death because he was unprepared.
Woven into our scripture lesson is the Eastern custom of a wedding. The bridegroom is probably at the house of his bride’s father; from there he would take her to their future home. This parable opens at the point where some of their friends are waiting to join the procession & go in w/him to the marriage feast. There does not seem to be much difference in their external appearance.
They were all virgins; they all took their lamps; they all slept while they waited; & they all went forth to meet the bridegroom. Yet there was once vital & essential difference between them: Five of them were wise & five of them were foolish. Five of them were prepared; five were unprepared.
So w/t story before us, let me draw your attention to 3 vital facts concerning SPIRITUAL UNPREPAREDNESS:
I. It is a FASHIONABLE Way of Life. Vs. 1a
We live in a day of prepared & unprepared; the wise & the foolish. It has become fashionable for some to be numbered among God’s people w/o a true experience. But it matters not if you are numbered w/t saints, what matters is being named. A writer of 100 years ago said, “I looked for church & found it in the world; I looked for the world & found it in the church.”
A. A Common Profession.
They all took their lamps w/them. The emphasis is on the outward not the inward. It was the fashionable thing to do. A symbol of religious profession can never substitute for the realty of knowing Christ.
We live as though there is no tomorrow. Our finances reflect this. The moral lives of many reflect this. One of my great concerns for our country, & even w/in the church is the separation between personal faith & ethical/moral behavior. Being ready means actively living in faithfulness to God; it is more than just calling yourself a Christian but it living like one.
B. A Common Intention.
They all went forth to meet to meet the bridegroom. They all had the same profession & they all had the same intention. But even though their intentions were good they were still unprepared.
Many today have good intentions.
You may intend on being a Christian; but are you?
You may intend on making it to heaven; but are you heading that way?
You may intend to bring your family up around a family altar; but are you?
You may intend to walk in holiness; but will you?
You may intend on getting spiritually prepared; but what about now?
It matters not your good intentions what matters is where you are now. The road to hell is paved w/good intentions. You may be sincere & mean well, but well-meaning will only bring you defeat & heartache. As long as you have profession & intention in your religious life you will be found by Christ to be spiritually unprepared.
II. It is a FOOLISH Way of Life. Vs. 3
The Bible declares that the man who does not prepare to meet God is foolish.
He may be an intellectual man, but God says, The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” Psalm 14:1.
He may me rich & own vast amounts of property, but God says, You fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided? Luke 12:20.
He may be a religious man, but God says, Those who were foolish took their lamps & took no oil w/them.
When the crisis came, those foolish virgins discovered two facts:
A. They Were Unprepared to Meet the Bridegroom. Vs. 8, …give us your oil…
It’s easy to move along w/t fashion of religion; but when the final crisis comes, only personal experience counts. No one can do it for you. No one can wear a parachute in your place. It doesn’t work that way. You need your own. The foolish saw that they did not have enough oil, & they asked their wise friends to loan them some of theirs, but that was not possible. This means that another person’s faith will not cover you. Just because you were reared in a Christian home or you are in church with other people of faith does not mean that you have faith. It will not rub off. You cannot “catch” faith like you catch a cold. God has no grandchildren, only children. Every spiritual birth comes directly from Him. Your faith must be your own. It is good to sing “Faith of Our Fathers,” but it is also good to sing, “Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine!” Don’t try to borrow someone else’s oil, be sure to have some of your own.