Summary: This message is about professing Christians and the real church.
Matthew 25: 1/6
I would like to speak to you on the parable of the Ten Virgins. In this message I would like to call it the Parable of the Ten Professing Christians, or the Parable of the Ten Church Members.
The ten virgins are ten bridesmaids, no one of whom is the bride herself. The redeemed and purified Church universal will one day be a part of the Bride of Christ. “And I John saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” [Revelation 21:2] Then in chapter nineteen and verses seven and eight we have these words “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage supper of the Lamb is come and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”
During this present age, the church is referred to as the body of Christ “And he [Jesus] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18
The ten virgins may typify Christendom at the time of Christ’s return given the fact that some were ready for His return and some were not.
The book of Matthew chapter twenty-five and verse thirteen, tell us the reason for the parable. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour [of the Lord’s return]”. The Lord tells us that five of these young women had kept themselves ready for the bridegroom’s arrival and five had not.
All ten virgins had distinct similarities except for one thing. Let’s take a look at the difference between the wise and the foolish.
I believe the Lord used the word virgin to symbolize the upright character of all ten virgins. If moral up-rightness defines one as ready or not ready, all ten would have entered together into the marriage hall. Many church members or “professing Christians” are depending on their moral character to get them to heaven. Character is very important, but good character alone will not save anyone, because our salvation is by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God.
The parable of the wheat and the weeds in Matthew chapter thirteen needs to be considered along with the parable of the ten virgins. There is a difference in these two parables. The weeds grew from seed sown by Satan. Weeds in its early stages look like wheat but as it nears maturity it takes on a weed like appearance. On the other hand, the foolish virgins retained their likeness in life until it was time to reveal their true identity.
The foolish virgins did not recognize their lack of oil until it was too late; neither was their lack detected by the five wise virgins during the time of their waiting together. It is so important in our spiritual walk with the Lord to know our own heart, and what is in the heart of our friends, but that is a judgment that we must not make. We can see the evidences of salvation in our friends, but don’t lose sight of the fact that the five foolish virgins looked every bit the part of the bridesmaids until the testing time came.
It is not up to us to go around doubting the salvation of our friends. Instead we should confirm their faith, and limit our judgment to our own lives. We must give every professed believer the benefit of any doubt, and encourage them to give witness of their salvation to others, which will bring strength to their faith.
Now in the case of the seed that has been sown, we find a difference. As a pastor I have witnessed some professed believers who gave the appearance of WHEAT in their early church life, but as you looked at their fruit their real identify was made known. Paul referred to three such individuals, who in the church were spreading seeds of discord and warned the people to be aware of their deception. John wrote to the church warning them of Diotrephes, saying it was obvious that Satan was working in him planting bad seeds in the early churches.
We see in scripture that Satan planted seeds that brought destruction in the lives of believers. And we see the foolish virgins who had all the trappings of a bridesmaid but lacked the necessary OIL that was needed to be admitted into the wedding. “Not everyone who says, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonderful works in your name? And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!”