2017-10-29 – Matthew 25.1-13 – Here is the Bridegroom!
1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. 11 Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ 13 Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
2017-10-29 – Matthew 25.1-13 – Here is the Bridegroom!, pg 28
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
Reminder: Annual Business Meeting November 5th, Teams should be preparing their annual report and I will present a year in review.
If you recall, last week we talked about the grand wedding banquet and although many were invited, several gave excuses why they couldn’t attend. We closed last Sunday with the understanding that although many are invited into Heaven, they must first accept the invitation in order to go through the gates of heaven. Doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank, or how good you look. There is only one way into heaven, through accepting Jesus’s invitation.
Today’s message is entitled Here is the Bridegroom from Matthew 25. But first Please turn in your Bibles to Matthew 24.45, page 28 in the Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God. But first let us Pray…
In this twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus had just given the Disciples some instruction about false profits. He also told them that the time was drawing near when Jesus would be calling God’s children (Christians) home into heaven, therefore we should live a life of expectancy. Prepared to leave here in the blink of on eye, but until that happens we should be serving His mission.
That takes us to the last paragraph of this chapter, verse 45, Jesus said:
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked slave says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and he begins to beat his fellow slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. 51 He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This story Jesus tells here should cause each of us to consider how we should be living out our Christian lives; or if you are not a Christian, then it should cause you more concern as this clearly shows the dismal situation that is waiting for those who have rejected His invitation and therefore are destined to Hell.
So in all of this, Jesus is trying to convey that we should all live in anticipation of His second coming. I cannot tell you how many times I have said to myself,
‘today Jesus, let it be today’, or something to that effect. That is how much I truly am looking forward to going to Heaven and being with my Lord and Savior.
And that takes us now to our parable today which starts on Chapter 25, verse 1. The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids (Virgins)
(Show Paintings of Bridesmaids)
But before we go through it, I want to take you through a little schooling about Brides, Bridesmaids, Bridegrooms and weddings. You ever notice that the Bible makes a lot of references to such things.
The Jewish wedding customs back in Jesus’s day had three major parts. First, a marriage contract was signed by the parents of the bride and the bridegroom, and the parents of the bridegroom or the bridegroom himself would pay a dowry to the bride or her parents. This began what was called the betrothal period, or what we would today call an engagement. This betrothal was what Joseph and Mary were in when she was found to be with child.
The second step in the process usually occurred a year later, when the bridegroom, accompanied by his male friends, went to the house of the bride at midnight, creating a torchlight parade through the streets. The bride would know in advance this was going to take place, and so she would be ready with her maidens, and they would all join the parade and end up at the bridegroom’s home. This custom is the basis of our parable today of the ten virgins.
The third phase was the marriage supper itself, which might go on for days, as illustrated by the wedding at Cana where Jesus performs His first known miracle of turning water into wine.
In our parable today Jesus in fact is the bridegroom, and His bride is the church itself. There are many verses that convey this idea. Recall in Matthew 9 we went over previously, when the disciples of John asked Him, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast”.
And another great example is in Revelation 19, John describes a wedding event he witnessed in the future like this, he said: “I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure’—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb’” (Revelation 19:6-9).
So the King of the universe God Incarnate Jesus came into the world to betroth or engage Himself a bride at the price of His own blood as a dowry. Jesus is now the Bridegroom. And we see in Revelation that He will come a second time to get His betrothed bride to marry her.
Now everyone who trusts in Jesus is part of the bride which is the church. Not every person will be a part of the marriage supper of the Lamb. Some will be outside wishing they could get in. So I urge you, “Trust Christ. Love Christ. Be a part of his bride.” The joys He will give us are beyond anything experienced or imagined on this present earth.
So with that understanding, now lets look at our parable. In verse 1 of chapter 25 it says: 1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.
Notice three things in this first verse. It is about a Kingdom, and about a bridegroom. The betrothed King who is coming to be married. The king is the bridegroom, he has gone on a journey, and he is going to return to be married.
Second, we can also deduce that this is a parable about the time between the first and second coming of Christ. Jesus the bridegroom has gone but will be coming back to get His bride.
Third, notice that the bridesmaids or virgins represent the members of the church, that is, they represent those who profess to be Christians. They are going out to meet the Bridegroom. You will notice the bride herself makes no appearance in this parable. That’s because the whole Christian church is pictured as the bride. Jesus’s is betrothed to wed the whole church. And that wedding will come after He takes the church (or Raptures) the church out of the world, right before, as I believe, the tribulation period starts.
Then verse two continues talking about the bridesmaids:
2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.
So all ten of the bridesmaids had a job appointed for them to do. They were to be ready to welcome the Bridegroom with shining lights when he comes. That was their job, their calling—to be ready to shine their lights when he comes.
But five of them did not take seriously their calling to give light, and they neglected the only means by which they could do what they were called to do. They took no oil. They only had lamps. Their job was to provide light, and they had lamps without oil. Notice that they must have liked their position, otherwise they would have left. But they did not have passion enough to use the necessary means to fulfill their role. Maybe they thought that the mere form of a religious lamp would be sufficient. Or perhaps, that the oil to light a lamp could simply be borrowed at the last minute. Very poor reediness indeed. Verse 5 says:
5 As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept.
Notice two things. Jesus gave us advance warning here that His coming would be delayed. This has been a stumbling block for two thousand years. The Apostle Peter wrote about this in his second letter, he said: “Scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” . . . 8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:3-9)
So Jesus is telling us in advance here in that he would be “delayed. Then it says that all ten of the bridesmaids slept, not just the foolish. This is not sleeping on the job of life. Sleeping is part of the job. What sleeping signifies in this parable is simply the ordinary activities of life. We are not called to go up on a mountain and gaze idly into the sky as we wait for Jesus. We are called to do our work, then rest. All ten slept because sleep is part of the normal rhythm of life that we should follow as we work and rest and wait for Jesus. Then our verse 6 says:
6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’
I believe this is referring to the rapture that is yet to come. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 says, “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.” The cry goes out: “He’s here! Go meet him! Let your lamps burn brightly as you go!” This is going to happen some day! And what we are about to see in the rest of this parable is a very sober warning to be ready. Verse 7 says:
Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’
When the shout goes out that the bridegroom is here, the foolish five also trim their empty lamps, but of course there is still no oil. They have neglected doing their duty, and therefore are in shock as what they should do. They ask the impossible, ‘Give us some of your oil’. The fact that the five wise virgins won’t give them any oil is not meant to teach selfishness. It’s meant to teach the impossibility of borrowing faith. It’s meant to teach the impossibility of borrowing the power of the Holy Spirit—the impossibility borrowing obedience and faithfulness. It’s too late. That is what we will see.
What the wise virgins mean when they say in verse 9, “There won’t be enough both of us, go buy your own oil,” is this: We can’t have faith for you and for us. We can’t have inner spiritual life for you and for us. We can’t give you obedience and the faithful use of God-appointed means. If you neglect them, in this life, we can’t create them for you. Each one bears his own load. So in desperation the foolish virgins, who wasted their lives, ran for the impossible: instant end-time obedience. Instant end-time faith. Then in verse 10, the parable continues:
10 And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. 11 Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’
These are terrifying words at the end of the age when Jesus comes back. “I never knew you.” You were part of the church—one of the ten virgins—not part of the world. You had lamps. You had religion. You had opportunity. But you took no care for what was inside. You carried the lamp. You kept it shiny. Others looked at you and assumed you had the oil of life and faith, but all you had was an empty lamp. And now, you are about to face the one who sees right through your soul, and says, “Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.” You don’t want to hear those words. Many will. But you don’t have to.
Then finally we have Jesus’s closing words:
13 Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
“Keep awake” does not mean look out the window at night. It does not mean go up on a mountain and wait. Even the wise virgins slept when it was time to sleep. “Keep awake” means: Be spiritually awake! Be alive and alert to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that He gives now. Use all the means God has given you to know Him and love Him and trust Him. Be filled with the oil of faith and joy and hope.
Let this thought govern your life: Jesus Christ came to betroth a people to himself at the price of his own blood as dowry. If I am a part of that betrothed people (the church) by faith in Jesus, then one day soon He will come to me (and all who believe in Him) and say, “Come, O faithful bride, enter into My gardens and into my chambers and into My Love. I can’t wait until that day.
Here are a couple of paintings that depict what that Marriage between the Bridegroom Jesus Christ, and His betrothed bride the Church might look like from an Artists perspective.
Jesus said all who call upon His name will be saved. I know that I am going to Heaven. I have accepted His invite, and I look forward to attending the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and experiencing His eternal love. Praise the Lord!.
[Alter Call & Prayer]