Summary: The Parable of the ten virgins - by focusing on 3 symbols, a Wedding, foolish virgins, and the wise virgins leading up to a lesson to be watching for Christ's return and ready once He does.
The Midnight Cry
Introduction: In an a news article from Austin, Texas: The headline read: MAN EXPERIENCES HEART ATTACK AFTER THE RAPTURE
Herbert Washington, whom co-workers at Significant Plastics Inc. say was unduly concerned with the rapture and the second coming of Christ, suffered a serious heart attack when co-workers pretended they’d been caught away without him.
Last Tuesday, they lay work outfits on their chairs and hid in a supply room, and when Herbert came back from the restroom, he thought the rapture had occurred. The janitor, an outspoken Muslim, pretended to have witnessed everyone disappear and ran around the office feigning panic. Herbert fell to the ground clutching his heart and screaming, "I knew you’d forget me, Jesus! What did I do wrong?" He was taken to a local hospital. The employees emerged, sobered, from the supply room and gathered up their extra clothes.
"We didn’t mean to scare him to death," said one woman. "He’s just always talking about it, so today we decided to turn the tables on him."
Washington underwent bypass surgery and is recovering well and "digging into the Bible like never before," says his wife. (sermon central ill.) Probably to pray for his friends, no doubt.
A remake of the movie Left Behind has come out. And we watched it and I enjoyed it. It got me to thinking how we are always hearing about a variety of things that point to our Lords' return, and we can see them taking place around us. Some may say “they have been saying that for years” well that's true, they have. And it is a good thing they did. When they died, they showed that, had Jesus came - they would have been ready. They prove that when they went to heaven they went watching for him. The truth is one of these days He will come and the question is when He does will you be going or will you be left behind?
Scripture: Matthew 25:1-13
Transition: The bridegroom is Jesus, The virgins are professed Christians, The lamp is our christian witness, the oil is grace /operation of Holy Spirit. But I would like for us to focus on 3 key symbols in this parable of the ten virgins, which has one overarching lesson - Christ will return at an unknown hour and his people must be ready! So let's look at the three key symbols: First is the wedding.
I. The Wedding – (the coming of Jesus) - Rapture - The parable is about a Jewish wedding ceremony. There are a couple of things you need to know about Jewish weddings during Jesus' time.
1) There were usually young men (groomsmen) who attended the bridegroom at his house and there were young bridesmaids (virgins) that attended the bride while she was at her father's house. Which may have been down the street, across town, or in another village.
2) As the bridegroom left his house, parading toward his bride, and the virgins learned He was approaching, the virgins would go out to meet him with their lamps lit so they could light his way back to where the bride was, where the nuptials and celebrations would take place.
But it's upon the next point that I want to spend the most amount of our time
3) Jewish weddings were usually at night (thus the need for light) Jesus is going to return during our darkest hour, the midnight hour, so to speak, when we least expect him. “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.” I Thess. 5:2 As dark as it seems now, it will get darker. What seems should be our greatest discouragement; the word tells us, it should be our greatest hope. “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Lk 21:28 It's the natural progression of things for night to get darker, until the sun rises again in the morning. Until that happens, as morally dark as our world is, Christians are to be the light of the world until Jesus returns. (Mt. 5:14)
What will these dark days be like when Jesus returns? Well, there is too much to go into today but the best place to look is in the previous chapter which spurred this parable in the first place. In Matthew 24 some of the signs of the last days were: False Christs & false prophets deceiving many people all over the world. Verse 5 refers to false christs. Verse 11 refers to false prophets. And verse 24 refers to both and all three have one thing in common: THEY WILL BE SUCCESFUL - “they will deceive many” (how many millions have been deceived by Mohammed, Joseph Smith, Charles T. Russell etc.?)