Summary: how to keep oil in your lamp

November 17, 2002 Matthew 25:1-13

1 "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

6 "At midnight the cry rang out: `Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

7 "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

9 "`No,’ they replied, `there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

10 "But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11 "Later the others also came. `Sir! Sir!’ they said. `Open the door for us!’

12 "But he replied, `I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’

13 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. (NIV)

Triumphant Saints are Ready for the Bridegroom to Come

I. They have enough oil

II. They have their own oil

There’s an American tradition that happens at almost every American wedding. The husband will take the garder from his wife’s leg and toss it to the eligible unmarried bachelors in the crowd. The wife will take her bouquet and toss it to the eligible unmarried women in the crowd. It is thought that the one to catch it will be the next one to get married. These are examples of American traditions.

The Jews had traditions as well. Some time after the groom had asked the bride to marry him and gotten the consent of the parents, he would go over to the bride’s house at sometime during the early evening and escort her to the wedding banquet. Then on the way to the wedding banquet, the bride’s maiden companions - the virgins - would wait for the groom and bride to come, and escort them to the place of the festival with lamps. They would pick a point between the bride’s house and the place of the festival, and wait there until the procession would pass. Then when the bride and groom got there, they would use their lamps like torches in the festal procession. This was tradition.

God has a tradition that He has going as well. He has a tradition of keeping His Word. He has promised that His Son will come in the clouds on Judgment Day. He will take some to be with Him on His triumphal procession to heaven, while He will leave others behind to suffer in hell. Some will be triumphant, others won’t. The question is, how can we be one of the triumphant? Jesus shows us how to be trimphant saints today, as we look at the parable of the ten virgins.

As we look at all of the virgins, both the wise and the foolish, we’ll notice something in common with them. They’re both waiting for the coming of the bridegroom. So who could this represent? Not everybody in the world is waiting for Jesus to come on Judgment Day. So these virgins must be representative of the people in this world who are waiting for the Second Coming of Christ. These are people who know who Christ is, who have heard that He was coming, who have some knowledge of the Bible. So these virgins could be compared to people who go to church and know that Jesus is coming again on Judgment Day. He will take some of these who are waiting for him to heaven, and others will be left to hell.

The question is, “how can we be one of the ones who are ready for the Groom to come?” How can we be “Triumphant Saints and go to heaven?” Notice from the parable that all of the virgins wanted to get to the marriage feast in heaven. But just wanting to go isn’t enough. We need to be like one of the wise virgins in the parable. If we are foolish, we won’t be let in.

So let’s look at what makes the wise virgins wise, and what makes the foolish virgins foolish. There were two things that made the 5 virgins wise, and the other five foolish. The first thing you notice was that 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The foolish virgins thought that the bridegroom would come right away. So they assumed they would have enough oil to escort him into the banquet hall. They assumed that their oil would last, but it didn’t. They were foolish for making such an assumption. They didn’t plan for the improbable, that the bridegroom would show up in the middle of the night. But that’s exactly what happened. When the groom arrived late, the foolish virgins didn’t have enough oil to have a procession for him.

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