“ARE YOU PREPARED FOR JESUS’ COMING?” CONCLUSION!

All slumbered and slept. As they waited until near midnight, they all fell asleep. This is not to imply that all Christians will be asleep, or cold and careless, when the Lord Jesus comes. All slept, except that some had the Spirit of God (pictured by the oil) and some did not – those who are not genuine Christians. True, many will be asleep, but many will be looking for His coming. We believe that Jesus is simply teaching preparedness and readiness for His coming.

Verse 7, “Trimmed their lamps. Burning until midnight, the oil was gone, and they trimmed the lamps by removing the burnt parts of the torch, so that they would burn a little longer, picturing one’s own efforts in salvation. They did right to dip them in oil, or to pour oil upon them; however, it was gone. This is a picture of most people when death threatens.  It is only then that they begin to prepare. They often become troubled, anxious, and ask for help; often then it is too late.

Verse 10, “Went in with him to the marriage.” This represents those who are ready, or prepared to enter into the kingdom of God when the Son of man cometh; those who have repented of their sins, believe on the Lord Jesus, are living holy lives, and waiting for His coming.

Verse 11, “saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.” This is not teaching or implying that any will come into the kingdom of heaven after the door is shut. This is to illustrate the truth that once the door is shut, it will be too late to enter. As with Noah and the Ark, once the door was shut, it was shut.

Matthew 7:21-23, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Hebrews 12:17, “For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”

Verse 12, “I know you not.” You were not among those who attended the marriage feast, and you are unknown to me. This applies to professing Christians who are without real salvation. He is saying I know you not as a Christian, and the word “know” is often used in the sense of intimacy and approving, loving, acknowledging as real friends and followers of Christ.

Finally, in verse 13 Watch therefore. This is the purpose of the whole parable, and is the great truth He wants to impress upon all. Like the virgins, many are professedly going to meet the Bridegroom – the Lord Jesus Christ, and His coming, like the coming of the bridegroom, will be sudden and unexpected.

Many professing Christians will have been entangled in the business of the world; never thinking about eternity; not expecting judgment, and not prepared. They will only profess to know Him, but in works they will deny Him, and death will come. Many will be like the foolish virgins, when they see Him coming at death and the judgment, but it will be too late. Those of us who are ready will enter Heaven, but the doors will be closed forever against all others.

The coming of the Saviour is certain and fixed, but the time is unknown.  As the virgins should have watched and been prepared, so should we. Christians should always be prepared; and those who are not Christians should waste no time getting ready.

 Verse 13, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” 

Are you prepared?

ARE YOU PREPARED FOR JESUS’ COMING?” Part 2

“Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him” Everyone lighted their lamps, and ran with them in their hands to take their positions in the procession. Some of them had lost their lights, and were unprepared, not having brought enough oil, but it was too late to find lights or buy fresh oil. The procession reached the house of the bride, where they all entered a large, lighted area, where family and friends were dressed in their very best, and seated upon mats. The bridegroom was carried in the arms of a friend, and placed in the best seat, where he sat a short time, then went into the house, the door of which was immediately shut and guarded by (sepoys) guards or soldiers. It was customary to have two stages in the typical Jewish wedding:

  • The bridegroom would first go to the bride’s home and observe a religious ceremony.
  • Then he would take the bride to his own home to conclude the ceremony.

     What a beautiful picture of Christ taking His bride to heaven before the tribulation period, (not teaching that marriage is like the tribulation period, ha) and later returning with His bride (us) to the marriage supper on earth.

And the door was shut. At midnight the cry was made by some of the attendants, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; and immediately five or six men set off to meet him.

Verses 2-4 And five of them were wise. The words “wise” and “foolish” refer only to their conduct in regard to the oil. The wise were wise in taking oil, the others were foolish in neglecting it. The conduct of those who were wise refers to those who are prepared for the coming of Christ; prepared by possessing real salvation, and not only a profession. On the other hand, the conduct of those without oil pictures those who profess to love Him, but are not truly under the grace of God, and are unprepared to meet Him.

In this parable Jesus teaches us to watch and be prepared; it is not meant to teach us that some will be saved and some will not be saved. Or, as some believe, only a certain group will be saved.  This is referred to as a “partial rapture.”

Oil in their vessels. Oil is symbolic of the Spirit of God. As then, at the first coming of Christ, so now; many professed, but only had the lamp and no oil. The five foolish virgins probably expected the bridegroom to come immediately, and they planned for no delay, but the wise virgins knew that the time of his coming was uncertain, and they brought enough oil with them.

Verse 5 The bridegroom tarried. While they waited for him. It was not certain when he would come; he delayed longer than they would have expected.

TO BE CONCLUDED TOMORROW!

 

“ARE YOU PREPARED FOR JESUS’ COMING?

Please study Matthew 25:1-13.

Verse 1, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.”

The kingdom of heaven refers to His coming in the Day of Judgment at the end of the Great Tribulation period. Kingdom of heaven, kingdom of Christ, and kingdom of God, often appear in the Bible. They all refer basically to the same thing, and were taken from Daniel:

Daniel 7:13-14 13, “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

It was prophesied that there would be a successor to David who would sit on his throne. 1 Kings 2:4, “That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.” 8:25, “Therefore now, LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me.”

The Jews were looking for a national deliverer, and when the Messiah would appear, all the dead would be raised, the judgment would take place, and the enemies of the Jews would be destroyed, and the Jews would be blessed with national dignity and honor. However, this parable is speaking to the Jews that remain during the Great Tribulation period, and the fact that the Messiah will return with His bride – the church.

Shall be likened or resemble. The meaning here is simple: when the Son of man returns for judgment, it will be like the case of these ten virgins in a wedding. The coming of Christ for His people is often represented by marriage or a wedding; the church represents His bride. In this parable Christ uses marriage as a picture of His relationship with the church because it is to be the most loving, tender, and closest of all relationships.

Matthew 9:15, “Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them.”

John 3:29, “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.”

Revelation 19:7, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.”

Ten virgins. Some believe that these virgins represent the church because it is to be pure and holy. Others believe that they represent the professing Jewish remnant on earth at Christ’s return. Either way, we believe that the application is to all believers, the Jew, as well as the Gentile.

Which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. The lamps of that day were more like torches. They were usually made by winding rags around pieces of metal. In some cases, they were made hollow to contain oil, then fastened to handles of wood. As the need would arise, the torches would be dipped in oil and lighted.

Marriage ceremonies in the East were conducted with great spectacle and ceremony. They were usually performed in the open air, on the banks of a stream, or near a lake. Family and friends of the bridegroom and bride would attend, dressed for the great occasion. Not knowing the exact time the procession would come, the virgins probably went out early, and waited until they could see some indication of its beginning. After waiting several hours, it was near midnight when the announcement came,

CONTINUED TOMORROW!

“WHAT IF IT WERE TODAY?” Conclusion!

My personal testimony is that Jesus Christ saved my soul on May 20, 1971; then after several years, He called me to preach the Gospel; attend Bible College two thousand miles away; begin our first ministry in Turlock, California, and pastored in San Diego for 27 years. Now we are serving on the faculty at Golden State Baptist College in Santa Clara California and loving it. It is hard to explain; however, we felt an urgency, an alertness, and a readiness for what He wanted us to do. I believe it should be with that same kind of urgency, alertness, and readiness with which we watch for His coming.

  • Urgency implies no time to waste and not quitting in Proverbs 27:1, “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”
  • Alertness implies  followship or   forsaking all: Matthew 19:27, “Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and  followed thee; what shall we have therefore?”
  • Readiness implies willingness and eagerness in Luke 9:62, “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.:

THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST SHOULD BRING US COMFORT

Verse 18, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

Here is a fearful thought: over one million people die during a one week period, and most of them are going to hell. On the other hand, thank God for those souls we will see again, and this should give us comfort, and help us to comfort others with these words.

IT GIVES AN INCENTIVE TO WIN SOULS TO CHRIST

Incentive implies that we are motivated to respond to God’s call and it implies that we will be encouraged by God’s commendation, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Make sure you are ready and stay occupied until He comes.

“WHAT IF IT WERE TODAY?” Part 2

The disciples asked the three questions: verse 3, “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

  • When shall these things be?

Luke 20:20-24, “And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor. And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly: Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no? But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me? Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesars.”

The silver coin had the head of Caesar stamped upon it, and the superscription, TICAESARDIVIAVGFA VGVSTVS, which stands for the words Tiberias Caesar, Divi Augusti Filius Augustus; that is, Tiberius Caesar, the August Son of the Divine Augustus. It is plain to see that Caesar is still very much in power. Jesus is saying that the time has not yet come to restore the kingdom of Israel. Acts 1:6, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”

The Temple must first be destroyed by Titus and Jerusalem destroyed in 70A.D. Herod the Great began building the Temple in about 20 B.C. and finished in approximately A.D. 64. The stones the disciples saw were about

10-12 feet long, and the foundation stones were even larger than that.

  • What are the signs?

Verse 30, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”

The literal and visible return of Christ. We must understand that when we see wars, earthquakes, pestilence, and famines on the increase, it does not necessarily mean that Jesus is on His way. No! They are simply characteristic of the times. The Bible says, “… see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet” verse 6b.

  • And of the end of the world … at the end of the Tribulation period?

But Jesus said plainly that no one could know the time, verses 36, 42, and 44.

Verse 36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. Verse 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. Verse 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”

The apostles looked expectantly for His coming:

Paul hoped for it in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

Jesus said it plainly in Acts 1:6-7, “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.”

The simple truth is Christ could have come anytime after Pentecost. We are to watch, wait, and work. Titus 2:13-14, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

One thing is certain, His coming is imminent. He could come at any moment according to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

No one, not even the angels know the time of His coming. We do know that we are commanded to watch for His coming. What should His coming do for the Christian? Matthew 24:42, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”

THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST SHOULD BRING ALERTNESS

Continued Tomorrow!

“WHAT IF IT WERE TODAY?”

Pease read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

It is actually possible for us to have breakfast in New York City and lunch in San Francisco. I think all would agree that is pretty miraculous to say the least, but that is nothing as compared to the trip I am getting ready to take when Jesus comes! One of these days He is going to break the eastern skies with the trump of God and we are out of this sin-cursed world.

The Bible says that we are to comfort one another with these words. I cannot think of a greater comfort than to know that one day we will be with The Lord Jesus Christ forever. I wonder how many are packed and ready to go on that great trip. Remember that Jesus commanded us to “Occupy till I come,” and to “watch and wait” for His coming, much as we wait for the plane to arrive to take us to our destination. We know that it is going to be there at the appointed time and so will Jesus be coming for us at God’s appointed time. The question is, “Are you ready for His coming? That is, are you packed up and ready for travel?

When I prepare to leave on a trip I not only prepare myself, but I also have to pack all of my belongings. When we take that final trip there will be nothing but our bodies to go with Him. All things will be left behind and that will make it possible for us to travel lightly. No more baggage, security checks, crowds and schedules to meet (or miss), but this trip comes without notice or time of arrival.

It will happen in the twinkling of the eye, or 1,000th of a second. When we think about Christ coming again, it ought to have some kind of effect on us. In other words, it ought to change us. When Jesus walked the earth He said, “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Prevail: Katichuo … overpower.

Christ has given the church three basic responsibilities until He comes:

  • To fight the warfare against Satan. In Ephesians 6:10-18. We are to take the offensive, not the defensive.
  • To run the race. Hebrews 12:1-2, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
  • To win the lost. Matthew 28:18-20, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

When the church is not involved in these three areas, it has been weakened, is forced to be on the defensive, and soon dies. When the church has left its first love, (souls), it is weakened, the Holy Spirit is grieved, and the church has lost its power. Here is the good news: though we are in warfare, run the race and win the lost – we are to do it all while watching for His coming. Please study Matthew 24:3-8, 36-44.

In verse one He speaks about the Temple; we will look at that a little later.

In verse three, the Mount of Olives is just East of Jerusalem across the Kidron Valley.

Of all the disciples, only Peter, James John and Andrew were with Jesus at this point. Jesus answered two of their three questions.

In verses 4-14 He gives the characteristics of the first half of the Tribulation period.

In verses 15-28 He gives the characteristics of the second half, which are also given in Revelation 6:1-8.       

Many cults have used and are using chapter twenty-four to try to prove that Christ has already returned. It is extremely important that we not apply this chapter to the church today. God is speaking to the Jew, so we cannot read the rapture of the church into this.

“WHERE’S THE PASSION?” Conclusion!

There are two kinds of peace:

  • Peace of the world – never a lasting peace.
  • Peace with God: only Jesus can give this peace.

The things that bring peace are “hid from your eyes,” with two possible meanings:

  • They closed their eyes to Jesus and His message of peace.
  • God counted Jerusalem as having lost its opportunity.

Please read Matthew 13:15-17

The leaders had gone too far in rejecting the King, because they refused God’s offer of salvation in Jesus Christ, and soon their nation would suffer; but God did not turn away from the Jews who obeyed Him. He continues to offer salvation to the people, both Jews and Gentiles.  Eternal peace is within our reach; we must accept it.  He had compassion on them as He has on us today.

It was said in Moody’s day that he was the only man living who should preach on hell, because he did it with such compassion.

Jeremiah was the weeping prophet, yet he pronounced judgment on the nation because he loved them. Some leaders thought that Jesus was Jeremiah.

NOTICE THE COMPASSION OF JESUS, VERSES 41-45

  • He had great love for the city.
  • The terrible fate of the city.
  • The cause of the city’s destruction.

Fulfilled by the Roman General Titus in 70 AD, and over 600,000 people were killed after the Jews revolted against Rome starting in 66 AD.

Think of it: The destruction of Jerusalem may have been avoided.

  • Nineveh listened to Jonah and was spared.
  • England listened to Wesley and Whitefield, and great revival spared them from the anarchy that came to France. England was given new prosperity and blessing.

So, “Jesus wept” over the city.

NOTICE ALSO THE CRY OF JESUS, VERSES 46

They did not know that the rejection of the Saviour would mean the destruction of the City.

LASTLY NOTICE THE COURAGE OF JESUS, VERSES 47-48

The people of Jerusalem missed their day of opportunity because they failed to see their day of visitation due to blindness and lack of passion. Think about that for a moment and do not reject Christ another day. This may be your day of visitation.  Don’t miss the opportunity, and Christian, this may be your day of a new passion for the things of Christ:

So, “Where’s the Passion?”