Dec 20, 2009 "The Wise and the Foolish!" To Hear the Audio with this Sermon Click "Here"
Sun Am Worship "Son Prepare My People"
Text: Matt 25 1-13 (King James Version)
Subject: Equipping the Church for the Harvest"
"Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."
Matthew 25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
Matthew 25:2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
Matthew 25:3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
Matthew 25:4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
Matthew 25:5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
Matthew 25:6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Matthew 25:7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
Matthew 25:8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
Matthew 25:9 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.
Matthew 25:10 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.
Matthew 25:11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
Matthew 25:12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
Matthew 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
In April, 1988 the evening news reported on a photographer who was also a skydiver. He had jumped from a plane along with several other skydivers and filmed the group as they individually dove out of the plane and opened their parachutes. As the video was being shown of each member of the crew jumping out and then pulling their rip chord so that their parachute opened to the wind,
the final skydiver opened his chute and then the picture
went berserk. The announcer reported that the cameraman had fallen to his death,
having jumped out of the plane without a parachute. It wasn't until he reached for the
ripcord that he realized he was free falling without a parachute. Up until
then, he was enjoying himself and 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 skill
he had. By forgetting the parachute he made a foolish and deadly mistake.
Nothing could save him, because his faith was in a parachute which he had never
taken the trouble to buckle on.
It is a story not unlike the parable which Jesus told about the foolish bridesmaids forgetting to bring something very important and necessary. He was not ready. He was unprepared. It would do no good to try and borrow a parachute of someone else on their way to meet the ground. He was not prepared and he passed the point of no return.
There are a few relevant points that this parable makes. The first is: You must be spiritually readyto meet the Lord. If there is one thing that Jesus consistently and continually preached it was that we need to be ready. Over and over again we hear him say, "So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him" (Matthew 24:44).
We often try to live as though there is no tomorrow. Our finances reflect this. The way we eat and treat our bodies reflect this. And certainly the moral lives of Americans reflect this. One of my great concerns for our country, and even within the church, is the great moral disconnect between personal faith and ethical / moral behavior. Many people within the church, as well as outside of it, seem to have lost their conscience or the ability to respond to it. The whole message of Jesus' warnings to be ready had to do with doing the right things. Being ready meant actively living in faithfulness to God. It is more than just calling yourself a Christian.
Dennis was a guy from Katy, Texas who had an emergency and needed his suit dry cleaned before he left on a trip. He remembered one store with a huge sign, "One-Hour Dry Cleaners." It was on the other side of town, so he drove out of his way to drop off his suit. After the clerk filled out the necessary information, he told her, "I have some errands to run and I'll be back in an hour to pick it up." She said, "I can't get this back to you until Thursday."
"I thought you did dry cleaning in an hour," he said.
"Oh, no," she replied, "That's just the name of the store, we don't actually do
that." There are many folks today who
wear a sign saying they are a Christian, but they
fail to deliver the goods.
If there is one thing I could get across to Christians here in America it would be this: Spiritual readiness, preparation and growth does not just happen. It comes as a result of intentional habits built into one's life. You cannot depend on a Sunday morning service to provide all your spiritual needs. It comes by taking time for prayer and being alone with God; reading God's Word; acts of service to others; moral faithfulness and loving obedience. It comes through spending time with other Christians for mutual prayer, study and encouragement. These are the things which enable a person to grow in Christ and be prepared for Christ's coming, as well as the normal difficulties of life. Without these things you will not be prepared. It cannot be hit and miss. It cannot be postponed. You cannot procrastinate or it may be too late. You need to develop some holy habits in your life which take precedence over other interests and claims on your life.
I read recently some excerpts from actual performance reviews for British Navy and Marine officers. One supervisor wrote this evaluation of a candidate: "He works well under constant supervision and when cornered like a rat in a trap." Another wrote: "This young lady has delusions of adequacy. She sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them." Those people did not get very far in the Royal Navy or in life, and they will have even less success in the Kingdom of God. Because being a Christian is like anything else the harder you work at it, the better it becomes.
It is interesting that in the parable the bridesmaids all appeared to be alike. They all thought of themselves as bridesmaids. They all dressed alike. They were all expecting the bridegroom. When the bridegroom was delayed they all fell asleep. They all had lamps. All of them trimmed their lamps. They all wanted to be a part of the wedding feast. But not all of them were prepared. This is a warning from the parable: Be sure that you are truly prepared, because it is possible to look just like everyone else, talk like everyone else, carry a Bible and desire to go to heaven, think of yourself as a Christian, yet ultimately be unprepared. It is possible to know about Christ and not know Christ. It is possible to know the Bible and not be living for the God of the Bible. It is possible to be a nice person and know all the right doctrine, yet have no relationship with God. It is possible to look like everyone else, and have your Christianity on the surface, while never allowing it to penetrate who you are and change the way you live.
Who we are in the Dark is reall who we are.. Who we are when no one is looking is reall who we are.. This is the person that a Holy God is aware of! He stated he knows his Sheep and His Sheep knows him. If we truly know him we fully understand his Ways and his character. God is Holy Church. I fear we as the majority of the modern churches havbe lost insight of just how Holy our God really is.
The Bible Declairs in
Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Then Jesus Stated in
Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Matthew 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Our Holy God see's right through the Exterior of Pretense. He see's the Hidden Sin that we often try to coverup.
Without Holyness no man or woman shall see God.
The word appears in the Bible over 600 times, the book of Leviticus is dedicated to the subject. Holiness according to Harpers Bible dictionary is "separate from the ordinary or the profane, it also implies connection to God. Therefore God is holy and things, people, and actions may be holy by association with God. Holiness also implies consecration and purity from what is evil or improper. When we become Christians we are consecrating ourselves to God. It is not a one-time thing, but an everyday thing.
In the Book of Romans 6:14
For sin shall not be your master because you are not under law but under Grace.
We live holy lives when we dedicate ourselves to this Grace. It is not just a bunch of dos and don'ts (you know the list Don't Smoke, Don't Chew and Don't go with girls or boys that do) Holiness is more than that. It is a separation to God and conduct befitting those who are so separate.
If it really is for every Christian why is it that we
We miss it because:
1. We have an unhealthy attitude toward sin.
a. We miss the fact that all sin no matter how big or small is an offense toward God
b. We miss the fact that all sin grieves the heart of God.
d. The Prodigal confessed, "Against you against Heaven I have sinned.
e. David confesses "Against you and you alone I have sinned."
We must take sin seriously
All sin is serious and an offense to God.
Solomon says in Song of Songs 2: "Little foxes that ruin the vineyard"
How do we not know that the little compromises won't lead to greater pitfalls?
By Staying prepared to Meet God!
All of the bridesmaids slept, and there is nothing wrong with that. Normal life goes on while we wait for the bridegroom. We work, we wait and we sleep.
The routine of life just keeps rolling on as we await
the time when we will stand before the King of the universe. Jesus said, "As it
was in the days of Noah, so it will
be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood,
people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day
Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the
flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the
Son of Man" (Matthew 24:37-39).
The important point is that we not get caught up in the routine of the world and forget that things are not always going to continue as they are. There is a new day coming.
It not that the foolish bridesmaids did not know that they needed oil, or that they forgot, it was a matter of foolish negligence and laziness. They overlooked their responsibility. They ignored what they knew to be important.
At the second coming there will be... I. Two Types of
A. Foolish Un Prepared
B: Wise Prepared
5.Our Entrance to heaven is based on faith and
faithfulness to the Lordship of Christ.
6. When Jesus returns to take his people to heaven, we must be ready. Spiritual preparation cannot be bought or borrowed at the last minute.
Our relationship with God must be our own.
a. God has no Grandchildren.
b. You won't get their because of Grandma and Grandpa's faith.
c. We have to have our own.
A.The Lord will return and Gather only Those Who Are Ready
1. The Lord will return and gather the wise. Christ shared two major points.
2. "The bridegroom came": three simple but powerful words.
a. So Christ shall come. The day will come when it will be said, "The bridegroom, Christ Himself, came."
b. He will come. We don't know when, but we know He will.
3. Only they who were ready went in with the bridegroom to the marriage.
a. This was their purpose, the reason they were ready.
b. They had looked for His coming; therefore, they were ready.
c. When the summons came, they were able to join in the processional of the Bridegroom and to enter the great marriage feast.
4. Lk. 12:37 Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.
5. They that are ready will receive the prize of righteousness.
a. They that have run and finished the race will receive the prize.
b. They that have watched and prepared will go in.
B.To The Foolish he will declare I Do Not Know You
1. Illustration: You can't read the article that appeared in the Atlanta Journal, June 5, 1997 without some remorse and sympathy for Clarence Jackson.
"The clock struck midnight, and Clarence Jackson didn't turn into a millionaire." Jackson, who is 24, works in a small cleaning business in Hartford, Connecticut to help support his elderly parents. He won the Connecticut Lotto jackpot in October 1995. It was worth 5.8 million dollars. He submitted the ticket three days after the one year deadline.
He had given the ticket to his ailing father and didn't realize it was a winner until fifteen minutes before the deadline. He didn't know he could verify the ticket at his local lotto dealer. Instead, he waited until Monday to redeem the ticket at lotto headquarters. It was too late. The Connecticut House of Representatives voted 82-63 to award Jackson the money. Senator Alvin Penn refused to allow the bill to come to the floor of the Senate, and thus the bill died. Representative Michael Lawlor said, "Give the guy the money . . . You say we can't change the rules. That's all we do here is change the rules! We're the Legislature."
left the Connecticut State Capitol a dejected man.
What's it like to be too late and lose 5.8 million dollars? I don't know - but it would be devastating. But it wouldn't be nearly as devastating as being too late for the return of Jesus.
2. When the foolish virgin's came back from buying oil it was too late.
3. "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' "
4. The door was shut. This was a custom in the East. When all the guests had arrived, the doors were closed.
a. They were closed in order to secure the marriage party and to exclude intruders.
b. Only the guests belonged; others were to be kept out.
c. When Christ comes, the door to heaven will be closed. Only the ready, the genuine guests will be secured in the joys of the great marriage feast.
d. The unprepared will find the door shut in order to exclude them.
5. The foolish will be rejected.
a. The reason is simple: the Bridegroom does not know them.
b. They were not ready when He arrived, nor were they in the processional; therefore, He does not recognize them.
to be prepared. Don't neglect to have oil in your lamp. Don't ignore what you
know to be important, for the closer it is to his coming the more important it
is to be prepared.
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 Jews of Jesus' day were fond of calling Abraham
their father. They were the physical descendants of Abraham and assumed they
were also his spiritual descendants. But one day, as Jesus saw them coming
toward him, he said, "Do not think you can say to yourselves, We have Abraham
as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children
for Abraham" (Matthew 3:9). You may have a great heritage, but you need to make
that heritage your own personal experience.
Don't try to borrow someone else's oil, be sure to have some of your own. Character cannot be borrowed. Neither can a relationship with God be borrowed. William Barclay says, "We cannot always be living on the spiritual capital which others have amassed. There are certain things we must acquire for ourselves." In the story, the foolish bridesmaids did not realize their need of oil until the bridegroom appeared. They were told to go out and buy oil, but they found that impossible.
This means that a relationship with God cannot be bought
at the last minute at any price. There are many, as Matthew Henry says, "who
care not to live the [Christian] life, yet [want to] die the death of the
righteous." The Bible simply says, "You, however, are controlled not by the
sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if
anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ" (Romans
8:9). Jesus said, "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning"
(Luke 12:35-36). The wise bridesmaids said to the others, "Go to those who sell
oil and buy some for yourselves." God is the dispenser of oil, and you need to
come to him while there is still time. Like the parachuting camera man, don't
let the moment of death to be the thing that alerts you to your own spiritual
poverty. You will reach for a rip chord that is not there.
There is a time called "Too Late." The experience of death is the great hope of the Christian and the great fear of the world likewise the return to earth of Jesus Christ. The second coming of Christ will be with finality and power. William Willimon, in writing about this parable, said, "Jesus viewed history as a straight line with a beginning and an end. . . . Today's contented, liberal church does not care for that view. Its members do not want to be reminded, even though they know its true, that someday there will be a reckoning, and no tomorrow." The foolish bridesmaids cried for the door to be opened to them, but their cries were insincere, for even though they said they wanted in, they never made preparation to enter. Their preparation would have been the proof of their true desire. We are to live in constant expectation, because there is coming a day when the future will be a thing of the past don't ignore the warning.
The Chicago Tribune carried a story titled "Man Electrocuted After Ignoring Warnings ." Jason Grisham shouldn't be alive. During his attempt to scale an electrical tower, the 22-year-old man received a shock that is usually fatal. Partway up the tower, 69,000 volts of electricity coursed through his body, knocking Grisham to the ground. Despite suffering burns to his chest and having his pants explode, the newspaper said the young man was admitted to the hospital in good condition. (I'm not sure who made that assessment, or if Grisham would agree with it.) How did Grisham get into such a predicament? One thing is for sure: it was no accident. A seven-foot-tall fence, topped with barbed wire, surrounded the electrical tower. Electric company spokeswoman Angeline Protegere said the spot where Grisham climbed over the fence was bracketed by signs saying "Danger/High Voltage."
It is always amazing how we can ignore warnings and then justify our behavior, thinking that we are getting away with something.
You can try your best to justify your foolish and
reckless behavior, but a day called "Today" will reveal that you have only fooled
yourself. The problem is that when you wake up it may be too late. You will want
to go in, but the door will be shut.
The Bible encourages us with these words: "See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first" (Hebrews 3:12-14). God has made this promise to us:
"Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever" (Daniel 12:3).
There was a king who had all his world could afford. The
thing he loved most, however, was to laugh. Once while being entertained a
jester came along wishing to join in the festival of activities and also wishing
to perform for him. His opportunity came and he put the best comical show
together he had ever done and the king never laughed so hard.
Once the activity was all over the king wanted to hire this jester to be his personal jester. Once hired the king in humor handed him a small stick and said, "You are the most foolish man alive. When you find someone more foolish than you, then you give them this stick," and the king laughed heartily.
After many years had passed by the king lay sick on his death bed ready to go at any moment. He called for his jester, for he wanted to laugh one more time before he died. When the jester was through he asked to speak to the king personally.
Once alone with the king the jester asked, "King, where are you going?" The king responded, "on a far journey." The jester asked again, "and how do you plan to get there?" Again the king responded, "I don't know." Then the jester pulled the stick from his back pocket and handed it to the king. The king was stunned and asked why he had given him the stick. The jester replied, "King, today I have found a more foolish man than I. For you see, I only trifled with the things of life, but you have trifled with things of eternity!"
Brothers and sisters, the worst foolishness of all is to trifle or play around in life until we are not prepared to die! Some foolishness will not hurt a person badly, but to play games with God is serious business and can hurt eternally!