Sermons & Sunday Schools

Don’t Be Late, Be Ready

In this sermon, David Capoccia examines Jesus’ Parable of the Ten Virgins. The main message of this parable is that all people must get ready to meet Christ and enter into his kingdom. David Capoccia explains how this message is developed through the different parts of the parable and then explains how one should get ready to meet Christ.

Full Transcript:

It was our first wedding anniversary and I had surprised my wife with box seats to the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Now for your first wedding anniversary, you don’t want to mess it up. When I told her in the morning that we were going to the Met to see an opera, she was thrilled. I had done my planning, got everything into place and looked at the train schedule the day before. We lived over in Bound Brook right near the train station. I checked the schedule the night before and selected a train time that would get us into the city and give us plenty of time to get to the opera when it began.

So we headed over to the train station at the appointed time and get onto the platform to find that there’s no train. We wait a little while and there’s still no train. My wife is looking at me and I’m looking at my watch, thinking to myself, “Where is the train?” I go over to the train station platform where they have a schedule of train arrivals and departures and I have a sinking feeling in me that the train time that I had selected the day before is not on the schedule. I’m asking myself what happened, and wondered if they changed the schedule last minute. Then I realized that the time is on there, but it was the arrival time rather than the departure time. In other words, the time I thought we were going to get on the train was actually the time the train was arriving in New York City and the next train wouldn’t be coming in a long while. Realizing this and swallowing a lump in my throat, I explained to my wife that we might be late to the opera.

So we do a little digging and find out that if you show up late to the Met Opera, they won’t admit you, not until at least after intermission. So we thought why bother going, let’s just get a refund and go some other time because it was going to be a wasted experience. Then we find out that the Met doesn’t offer any refunds. So now this day of joy and celebration turned out to be a day of disaster. My little mistake was going to cost us our enjoyment of the show, a bunch of money, and my wife’s happiness. And maybe also her respect for my planning. Happy anniversary!

Actually that day turned out well, I’ll tell you the story another time. But it was a painful lesson in making sure you’re really ready for what’s important in life. Have you learned that lesson? If you haven’t yet in your life, I’m sure you will. But what about when it comes to spiritual things and eternal realities? Are you ready for them? God in His Word commands that all people should get ready to meet Jesus Christ, either in death or at His coming. But how many people do you think are ready to meet Christ? How many people think they are ready when they’re actually not, even Christians?

Are you ready to meet the Lord Christ, ask yourself. If He were to come back today, what would be your response? Would you say, “Oh my Lord, I’ve been waiting for You!” Or would you say, “I’m not ready, can you give me a little more time?” We come now to the end of 2019 and you didn’t meet Jesus this last year and you’re still alive. The Lord didn’t come back to snatch up His church yet. But what about next year? Or even these few days before the next year? If He were to cause you to meet Him in those times, would you be ready?

We’re going to look at a parable in Scripture today that is all about being ready to meet Christ. The title of my message this morning is, “Don’t Be Late, Be Ready.” If you haven’t yet, make sure your Bibles are open to Matthew 25, it’s page 987 in the pew Bible. This is where we see the Parable of the Ten Virgins. This parable appears in Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, which is the title we give to the sermon in Matthew’s gospel. It spans Matthew 24 to 25 and has much to do with when Christ should come again and how God’s people should get ready to meet Him. Now to be a little more specific, Jesus Christ our Lord speaks regarding Israel’s future during the Tribulation period, the period of 7 years when Christ comes back bodily to the Earth to establish His Kingdom.

Many of the exertions in the Olivet Discourse are intended to be directly heeded and applied by future believers living during that tribulation period where they know that the Lord’s return is very near but they don’t know the day or the hour. Now even though that’s the direct application of many of the parts of this sermon, the principles here are still relevant for us because we must also get ready to meet Christ.

Let’s actually read the parable now in Matthew 25:1-13:

Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, “Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” But the prudent answered, “No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.” And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, “Lord, lord, open up for us.” But he answered, “Truly I say to you, I do not know you.” Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

This is a simple but profound parable. And it’s given to us so that we might not make a simple but profound mistake. The main truth of the parable can be stated in this way. Be ready to meet Christ and enter His Kingdom. Brothers and sisters and those listening today, you need to be ready to meet Christ and enter His Kingdom. This truth is explained in three parts in this parable and we’ll see them as we go along. The first part is in verses 1-4 where we meet the characters. Let’s look at them again:

Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.

This first part of the parable is all about introducing us to the main characters. Notice the word then at the beginning of verse 1. It could also be translated as at that time. Jesus had been speaking about the coming of the Kingdom and now He’s saying there’s a time coming, a future moment, involving God’s Kingdom that is going to be just like what this parable depicts. This parable shows part of a traditional marriage process.

In Jesus’ day for two Jews to get married they would follow a certain five step sequence. If you were going to get married, first the fathers of the two families would have to negotiate a contractual marriage agreement. Second, the bride and bridegroom would come together in a betrothal ceremony where they are legally married but do not live together yet or have consummated the marriage yet. This is where Mary and Joseph were when she was found to be pregnant. The third step is that the bridegroom would go away to prepare a home for his bride. It’s just like what Jesus says in John 14 where He says He goes to prepare a place.

Fourth, the bridegroom would come in procession to get his bride. For this procession, the bridegroom would gather his closest friends like his best man, and would go forth in a joyous parade in the evening. They would travel the streets of their local town until they reach the bride’s house where they would collect the bride and her companions. These companions would be unmarried young virgins. They were usually friends or family of the bride and bridegroom and are a lot like the modern day bridesmaids. They are the virgins that we see in our text.

When the full wedding party was collected, the whole band travels through the village until the group reaches the bridegroom’s house. We see the final part of the marriage process and that is the wedding itself at the bridegroom’s house. The bride and bridegroom are formally united and the wedding ceremony is followed by several days of festivities. This would be a time of great joy, which begins of course during the wedding procession. It is maximized at the wedding feast where there is singing, dancing, conversation and enjoyment of copious amounts of food and drink. During these festivities the bride and bridegroom would finally consummate their marriage.

This is how you would get married in those days. And our parable takes place during the fourth phase of this marriage process. This is the procession of the bridegroom to collect his bride. Notice that we don’t actually see a bride in our text because she’s not the focus. We do see though the virgin bridesmaids, the companions. And they’ve apparently been told to meet the bridegroom in a particular place. They’ve also been told to show up with lamps, or better yet torches. These torches are important for this evening procession because they go out in the dark and it’s not like today where there are lights everywhere. They need to bring light with them. They need to light the procession’s way as they move through the town through the night and back to the bridegroom’s house.

Now each bridal party member would be expected to carry his or her own torch. And verse 1 makes it seem like all the virgins are the same. But verse 2 shows that there is an important difference. Five virgins are foolish and five are prudent. The Greek word for foolish is moros, where we get the English word moron. Same idea, moros means foolish or even stupid. Five of these virgins lack foresight and even basic common sense. But the other five virgins are called prudent. The Greek word behind this term can be translated wise or sensible. These virgins are characterized by a practical kind of wisdom or forward thinking. And we can see how their foolishness and prudence manifested itself in verses 3 and 4. The foolish virgins are told that they take torches without taking any oil with them. The prudent virgins do take oil in flasks.

Now what’s the big deal about not taking any oil. It certainly matters because you see that the disciples listening to Jesus would know that taking torches without extra oil would be very foolish and stupid. Ancient torches consisted of a long stick with a bundle of cloth wrapped around one end of it. You take this bundle and soak it in olive oil and set it alight. That’s how the torch burned. As long as there were sufficient oil in the cloth, the torch would burn brightly and consistently. If the oil was used up, the torch’s flame would diminish and smoke until it just sputtered out and stopped burning all together. And this didn’t take very long to happen. An estimate is that an oil drenched torch would burn for only about 30 minutes before more oil would need to be applied to keep it burning.

So you can understand to take a torch without any extra oil is definitely a stupid thing to do. It would be like getting onto a packed highway in the middle of rush hour when your gas gage is already on E. This is a senseless thing to do. Or it would be like taking flashlights with you on a long camping trip, going into the middle of nowhere, but the flashlight’s batteries are really old and you don’t know how long they’ll work or if they’ll work at all. But you take these flashlights and don’t bring any extra batteries. If you do that, you’re just asking for trouble. It’s senseless and moronic. That’s exactly what these five virgins are doing in this parable. They take torches without extra oil. If the bridegroom is delayed at all in arriving to the meeting place, then any oil that is on the torches is going to be used up and then what are the virgins going to do? It’s definitely foolish.

The other five virgins are indeed prudent because they take the necessary oil. They make sure the car is filled up with gas before they go on the highway. They bring the extra batteries on the camping trip. They know the bridegroom can be delayed for any number of reasons and they plan accordingly. The bridegroom can arrive sooner or later and they will be ready to do what they’ve been called to do.

So then we have these ten virgins commissioned to be ready for the bridegroom’s arrival with their torches. But Jesus says this is about the Kingdom of Heaven. The symbolism of this parable is pretty straight forward. The bridegroom is Jesus the Messiah. He already called Himself the bridegroom in Matthew 9:15. And the context is His second coming that is being anticipated. The virgins are the ones that claim to follow God and expect to enter into His Kingdom. More specifically according to the parable’s context in Matthew 24 and 25, these are professing believers in the Tribulation period who know Jesus’ return is close but not how much. They are professing believers and expect to get into Christ’s Kingdom.

The wedding feast is the Heavenly Kingdom promised by Christ that will be established on the Earth when He returns bodily. What’s the wait for the bridegroom? That’s the wait for Christ and the Kingdom. The torches represent different things to different people. Some say they are symbols of good works and faith. But the best way to understand the torches is simply a symbol of readiness. We are going to see that the torches will not burn the entire time. But they do need to be lit at the required time. Some of the virgins will be ready for this but some will not. Having the torches and oil ready at the right time pictures the readiness of believers to meet Christ and enter His Kingdom.

Now if this is all true, notice what these first four verses indicate to us about God’s people as they wait for Christ. Some of them will not be ready to meet Him. Look at the numbers in our text, five out of the ten are not ready. That’s significant. This is not a prophecy saying that exactly half will not be ready. It just means that it’s going to be a lot. Jesus says this will be true of people in the Tribulation period with people who know that His return is so close. They’re seeing signs and wonders in the Heavens and on the Earth and yet a significant portion are not ready to meet Him. If that was true then, how much more is it true now?

Brothers and sisters, many Christians today think they are ready to meet Christ when they are not. They’re not ready to meet Him in death and they are not ready for His snatching away of His church at the rapture. These professing believers may even have a misplaced excitement about meeting Christ. They think they are so looking forward to meeting Jesus but they don’t even know they’re not ready. You need to ask yourselves can that be you? Are you truly ready to meet Christ? This is the first part of the parable that introduces the virgins to us.

Now let’s look at the second part, the crisis that we see in verses 5 to 9:

Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.

It’s in these verses that we are introduced to the central problem of this parable. The bridegroom is approaching but not all are ready. Verse 5 begins by telling us that the bridegroom is delayed. We don’t know why he’s delayed and it doesn’t matter. But we know that the bridegroom is going to be arriving much later than expected. So much time has gone by in fact, that the second half of verse 5 says that all the virgins, both foolish and prudent, have nodded off and started sleeping. We can sympathize with them right? They have been waiting for hours and it’s the middle of the night now! Nothing is happening and they just couldn’t keep themselves awake. The parable does not condemn them for falling asleep. Verse 6 says the bridegroom is finally coming. The phrase there was a shout indicates that there was a continual shouting and a loud cry that kept being repeated in the middle of the night: “Behold, the bridegroom. Come out to meet him!”

By the way, I think you understand that the middle of the night would have been a very unexpected time to begin a wedding procession, much less a feast. To give you an idea, it would be like inviting people over to your house for Thanksgiving dinner but telling them not to come until you specifically them, and you only start calling them at midnight. “Hey everyone I know it’s late but come on over, the Thanksgiving feast is ready!” Who would do that? All your guests would have already gone to sleep and concluded that the Thanksgiving feast was never going to happen and that they would just eat something else.

There’s something similarly surprising in the Parable with our bridal procession happening in the middle of the night. But unlike your guests at the theoretical Thanksgiving dinner, everyone back then would have known that the Jewish bridegroom had the right to begin his wedding procession and festivities whenever he deemed best, especially if he was someone important.

So the bridegroom is coming in the middle of the night and the virgins are awoken by the commotion. Verse 7 says they rose and trimmed their lamps. In other words they were going to put their torches in order. If their torches had been burning since the virgins arrived at the meeting site, they would need to reapply the oil since they would have gone out. Here’s where the crisis occurs because the foolish realize they don’t have enough oil for their torches. Why they didn’t think of this issue before, we don’t know! We are told they are foolish and maybe they thought they would have time later to get the necessary oil. Perhaps they simply did not expect the bridegroom to come when he did.

In Matthew 25:8 it says:

The foolish said to the prudent, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.”

They’re desperate, but the denying response from the virgins in verse 9 is very emphatic. It says:

But the prudent answered, “No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.”

They might sound like it’s mean but these virgins are fundamentally committed to fulfilling the bridegroom’s mission as given to them, so they know they cannot afford to give up their oil. It would be a little bit like going to the beach and not having enough sunblock for everyone so you spread the small amount on everyone evenly. The result is that everyone will get burned! Similarly, if they share, maybe all ten torches will go out! So the prudent virgins know they can’t share, so they suggest that the foolish will go and buy for themselves from the shopkeepers.

Now you might say how are they going to get it from the shopkeepers in the middle of the night? Well they could wake them up; a lot of the shopkeepers lived right in their stores. But likely, they are already awake. There’s this continual cry and procession, and everyone would have wanted to see the excitement! So they could get the oil from the shopkeepers, but it will take time.

You can understand that the foolish virgins are in a crisis. The unexpected arrival of the bridegroom has exposed their unreadiness to meet him. Now they’re desperate for a way to resolve the crisis. You can grasp the spiritual implications of this part of the parable can’t you? Jesus may delay His coming as well, or may determine that you’re going to meet with Him at a time that you do not expect. If you’re not ready, you too will be thrown into crisis. At that late hour, will be there anything you can do?

Now let’s look at the last part in verses 10-12 where we see the consequences:

And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, “Lord, lord, open up for us.” But he answered, “Truly I say to you, I do not know you.”

In this last part, we see the final consequences of the choices made in the beginning. Verse 10 begins with a tragic revelation. The bridegroom came while the foolish virgins were trying to fix their mistake. The prudent virgins were ready for him though, they had their burning torches and gladly went with the bridegroom on the rest of the procession through the time and arrives at the wedding feast. Like I said earlier, the procession is just the beginning of the joy.

Now for those ready virgins, many more days of feasting and celebration and joy await. Notice at the end of verse 10 that it says the door was shut. That’s an interesting construction. It’s a passive verb meaning we don’t know who did the action. You may notice there’s a certain finality in this statement. And you may be reminded of another door that was finally and mysteriously shut, talking about Noah’s flood. As you reach verses 11 and 12, we approach the greatest shock in this parable. In verse 11, we hear that the foolish virgins finally reach the wedding feast and encounter the closed door. Matthew 25:11 says:

Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.

And they had good reason for the bridegroom to open for them. They were good friends and family, the bridesmaids! At a typical Jewish wedding feast, the door surely would have been opened. They would have asked where the bridesmaids were and would have gladly welcomed them in. But look at what this bridegroom in verse 12:

But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’

Whatever the bridegroom is about to be said by the bridegroom is settled truth. It’s not flippant or a joke, it’s an official declaration. The bridegroom says he doesn’t know the virgins. The bridegroom has just disavowed the bridesmaids! He prevents his own family from joining the wedding feast! This bridegroom is not ordinary bridegroom and failure to be ready for him is no ordinary offense.

This is where the parable ends. The ready virgins go into the celebration with the bridegroom. But the foolish virgins who are not ready and did not arrive with the bridegroom are barred entrance and are totally repudiated. Do you see the implications of this final part of the parable? When you meet Jesus if you are not ready, there will no longer be any way to fix it. There will be no more hope or any escape. You won’t be able to say that you’ll make it right.

It won’t matter what association you claim to Jesus while on the earth. You can’t say that you profess to be a Christian because you went to Calvary Community Church and put your kids through Sunday School. You can’t say you led a small group, or even that you were a pastor and should be let in. If you’re not ready in the way that Christ called you to be ready, what will He say in response? “Truly I do not know you.” This is one of the most sobering realities.

Imagine Jesus Christ saying those words to you and barring you from His Kingdom. This latter part of the parable proceeds exactly how Jesus has already said in the book of the Matthew how the coming judgment would proceed with false followers who did not truly know Jesus or keep His Word. This is what it says in Matthew 7:21-23:

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’

I can surely see now why Jesus ends the parable here with what he says in verse 13:

Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

This is the moral of the parable. Stay alert and stay awake. Be ready and keep watching. Be ready for whenever you will meet Christ because you do not know when that will be. It might be sooner or later, or sometime you never be expected. But you need to be ready.

Of course the great question from this is how do you even become ready? Readiness becomes first and foremost by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. This is what Jesus proclaimed throughout His ministry is it not? Mark 1:15 says:

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.

Don’t automatically assume that you are a Christian or that you will get into Christ’s Kingdom. You need to do what Christ said and make sure that you have indeed repented and believed. In order to do that, you need to make sure that God’s Scriptures have examined you. We talk about examining the Scriptures, and that’s true. But the Scriptures also need to examine us. That’s actually what the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 4:12:

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

The Word of God discerns and judges you. You need to expose yourself to it. Ask yourselves, have you truly turned from your sins to God, have you given yourself up to God and click tightly only to Him and His gospel? Do you know that gospel that begins with God being the Creator? He made the creation of this earth that was totally beautiful and good. Even though God was totally worthy of this praise, we rejected it and went our own way to do what we wanted to do. We rebelled against God and we dishonored Him and impugned His holiness and the wrath of God was rightly placed over us. He is a holy, righteous, and just God and must judge sin as sin deserves. Rebelling against God deserves eternal punishment.

That is something we would all receive and not be able to do anything about it. Supposedly our good works before God are tainted by sin: pride, selfishness, the love of the approval of others, etc. This left us in an extremely sorry state and be judged forever by the wrath of God rightly and there’s nothing we can do about it, except that God made a way. And that’s the beautiful truth we’ve been celebrating this Christmas, is it not?

The Lord made a way by sending His own Son, Jesus Christ God in the flesh who lived a perfect life that you and I should have lived and died the death that we deserve. Not simply an excruciating and painful death on a cross, but one bearing the full wrath of God on Himself. Hell for everyone of us who believes in Him. He suffered on that cross, paid it all, died, rose again, and ascended to the Father. He showed that His sacrifice was accepted.

The message we have now is that whoever believes in Christ and in Him alone, to be His righteousness will be saved and made acceptable to God. Is that the gospel that you believe? Do you proclaim in your heart that it’s nothing but the blood of Christ that makes you right with God. It’s not any ritual or position or good works, it’s all Him. And we are simply attached to Him by faith, it’s Jesus Christ. Our faith simply connects us with Him.

That’s how you must become ready to meet Christ. You must repent and believe and give up your sins. You must give up every other way of making yourself acceptable to God, except for the way He provided through His Son.

This is the first way we are to make ourselves ready, but there is another way. We are to make ourselves ready be repentance and faith, but also by perseverance and obedience. By faithful obedience, if you truly know Jesus and His salvation, it will work itself out in increasing good works and holiness. It’s just as James 2:26 says:

For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Good works do not earn you salvation. Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ; which is the only way you can be made acceptable to God. But just as faith is the root, good works and holiness is the fruit. Is your life characterized by increasing obedience to your master? Does that obedience manifest itself as service to your brethren, love to them, humble sacrificial service to them?

As time goes on and as your meeting with Christ is delayed, is it causing you to become more like Christ or less like Christ? Right before this passage in Matthew 25, there is another parable about a slave. When this slave saw that his master was delayed? He began to slack off and beat his fellow slaves, and he began to eat and drink with drunkards. That slave was judged and repudiated by his master.

Is your life like the life of that slave? When you see Jesus delaying, does that cause you to say you don’t need to be serious about following Christ? Is there something holding you back and entangling you from following in perseverance to Christ?

We know what Jesus Christ has called you to do: make disciples, build up the church, proclaim Him to the world, be a faithful husband, mother, father, or wife. Are you doing these things? What cares or pleasures or worries of the world are preventing you from doing those things? You have a calling, you need to fulfill it.

What in your life right now would shame you if you were to meet Christ? What would cause you to say, “Oh Lord, I’m very sorry that I never dealt with this sin. I’m very sorry I never obeyed You in this way.” Brothers and sisters, don’t forget that even if you know Christ, and I praise God that many of you do, you still have to give an account to Him one day. Not to determine your salvation, but that’s how God is going to give you a reward.

We’re all going to have to explain ourselves, and what do you want to say to Christ on that day? Do you want to be spouting excuses or apologies? Or do you want to gladly proclaim like the slaves do in the parable that comes after this? You might protest and show how you were faithful!

We do need to be ready by repentance and faith, but we also need to be ready by persevering obedience. Are you ready to meet Christ in that way? There’s a third way that we all should be ready to meet Christ, and that’s by glad expectation. Isn’t it wonderful that Jesus compares the coming Kingdom to a wedding feast? Weddings and marriages are some of the happiest occasions on earth. And God says that is what the coming Kingdom is going to be like.

The gladness for earthly weddings is just a small picture of comfort, delight, and blessing of the Kingdom to come and the world to come. We were singing Joy to the World, and I don’t know if you ever thought of the lyrics to that song. But they most literally apply to Jesus’ second coming. Some of those things apply to the first coming. But just consider the verse no more lets sins and sorrows grow nor thrones infest the ground refers to that we will one day not have anymore thorns around us. He’s coming to establish an awesome Kingdom on the earth and if you know Christ, you’re going to be part of it.

Revelation 21 and 22 have more to say about the new Heavens and new Earth that will come after the new Kingdom. When you read through those, you find it’s so wonderful. Let’s see what Jesus says about it in Revelation 21:7:

He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.

Brothers and sisters, do you realize that you have been invited to the wedding feast of God and given a special place of honor, just like the virgin bridesmaids of our parable. Who are you and who am I? We are nobodies, less than nothing. We are rebellious sinners against God and He has put us in an honored place. Remember what Jesus says about the Son of Man coming, that He will gird Himself like a servant and wait on His slaves! Why should He do that for you or me? And yet that is what He has promised. If you are given such a precious invitation and position, will you not then over come and be found ready and faithful to what the bridegroom has called you to do? Then you can go in with full joy to celebrate in God’s Kingdom.

The prospect of your great reward should motivate you to over come sin and distractions. Do you have the power of God’s Spirit in you if you know Jesus Christ? Do you look forward to your coming inheritance in Christ in His Kingdom the same way a woman might look forward to a wedding?

Brothers and sisters there is still time now for each of us to get ready to meet Christ. This parable describes a future date that is not yet come for each of us yet. There is time for you to obtain the oil for your torches. There is time for you to repent and trust in Christ by faith, and believe His gospel. There is time for you to progress and persevere in obedience and embrace that glad expectation. But that time is not going to last forever, that’s the point of this parable. Jesus will eventually come, and you will meet Him. But will you be ready when you do?

We all must learn from this parable spoken by the Lord about the foolish and prudent virgins. Don’t be like the foolish virgins who were too late. Be like the prudent virgins who were ready. Let’s close in prayer.

Our Lord and God, thank You for this Word. As we look to this coming year, God, I think about myself and my brothers and sisters here. We know that You could come back at any time, or You could call us away from this world. There is no amount of healthiness or skill or wisdom that can keep us alive. There are people younger than us who have died. There are people who have survived to be much older than us. We don’t know what you’ve determined, but we do know that You’ve called us and commanded us to do. You’ve graciously told us here that we are to be ready. What a sweet and beautiful God, this invitation into Your Kingdom and wedding feast. Yet how foolish and rebellious would we be, God if we say sure but then don’t make ourselves ready.

Lord, I know there might be some here today who are not ready. God, I pray that Your Word would pierce and judge the thoughts and intentions of their hearts so they would make themselves ready. Lord I pray that they would not hide between some Christian tradition or ritual to give us the key into Your Kingdom. Only You are the way and there is no other way besides You. Lord I pray that You would encourage those who do know You, that they would be persevering in obedience and embrace this next year put their lives in order. Not by self will, but by the power of Your Spirit. We know what we’ve been called to do and with the glad expectation before us, enable us to do it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.