Meet the bridegroom
Matthew 25:1-13; BCBC/IOUC; 5/2/2021; Rev. Paul Wang
The Son of Man is near, what is going to happen? Maybe most of us care more about disasters, such as earthquakes, famine, pandemic, and wars, etc.， right? Actually we may neglect a greater thing, Christ is coming to marry His bride, the church, that is each one of us who believes in Him! Let’s see the first point:
Ten virgins, why is it ten? not seven, or twelve? In the bible， seven churches, twelve branches, each has its belonging. Only the number ten is used here. Therefore, God uses it to describe the people walking on the path to heavenly kingdom through Matthew. Who are they? First, church congregations. For the people who relatively attend church worship activities, we call them church congregations. Last year before the pandemic, church had physical worship as the main method. Therefore, worship attendance was according to congregations’ arrival. It seems like today’s churches are no longer so strict, right? When you come to worship, usually it’s possible for you to participate in some limited serving. Therefore, ten virgins should be among church congregations, do you agree? Maybe you came to the church recently， you are not quite used to it, 、 and feel out of it， even somewhat puzzled。 But at least, you already are one of the congregations. Don’t overlook this status, to worship, listen to the sermon, to live out God’s words, to believe in Jesus, and receive eternal life! What a great hope! Right?
Second, church members. Becoming a church member, is moving a step further than the status of church congregation. At this moment, you no longer feel content about coming to the church for fun. After listening to the sermons for a period of time, God’s words gradually enter into your heart. you are unwilling about the outcome of life and death from birth to the grave, and you are longing for eternal life. Therefore, you believe in the gospel, follow Christ, attend a church, and become a church member, this is a great transition in your life. From the self-perceived level, it seems like you are qualified to “take the lamp and go out to meet the bridegroom. ” However， Do you hold the lamp steadily? Is there oil in the lamp? Or to say, do you think you can enter heaven just by holding the lamp handle tightly? As long as I attend Sunday worship, as long as I offer tithing, as long as I participate in prayer meetings, then for sure I can meet the bridegroom?
Lastly, church co-workers. church co-worker has broad sense and narrow sense, agree? As long as you serve the Lord, co-work with church, then you are co-worker. In the narrow sense, church co-worker means the team members who are in charge of church administrative management and various servings. At this moment, your degree of contentment has expanded one step, a big step, do you treasure it? Not just longing for eternal life, but with greater responsibility about mission. The life model is willing to suffer, willing to bear responsibility, do not give up, commit, read the bible often, ove to pray, with good testimony, with a good reputation! May I ask, is this you? Each believer of Jesus Christ may not be in the co-workers meeting in the narrow sense, but at least must be the co-worker to serve God in the broad sense. Are you willing to? The bible says, Among the ten virgins, Five of them were foolish and five were wise. (Matthew 25:2) ” May I ask, which one is you? Let’s see the second point: Five lamps with oil
To meet the bridegroom, how will you prepare? Whether using the firstfruits of the crops from Cain, or the firstborn lamb of Able? No need! It is not only by memorizing scriptures, we need to live out Christ’s will. Very simple, ten virgins, ten lamps, is it reasonable? First, the foolish and the wise. Jesus says, the foolish build a house on the sand, when it rains heavily, the house will be washed away. The wise man builds a house on the rock, not to mention the heavy rain, even with strong winds, the house would remain standing. What is our value? What is our standard and measurement to make decisions? Is Christ your Lord? Or is He only our Savior? Do you think you can buy the lamp oil? No, you can’t! The lamp oil is our relationship with God， whether we have a relationship with God and how much the relationship is, the oil in the lamp would reflect the situation. Can you understand?
Second, finding an excuse and being responsible. People are easily to find an excuse to evade, right? My work is very busy, I have insomnia, I did not rest well, I couldn’t come to worship, I can’t join the discipleship either. Pastor, please forgive me! I feel heartache when I hear it. What does it do with me? Is this your relationship with the pastor? You attend the worship, you join the discipleship, you serve in the church, it is for your relationship with God, it is for your lamp to have oil! If you are busy at work, then adjust your work! If your sleep is not good, then take a good rest! This is the responsibility you should bear, and it is not your excuse to the pastor. Do you understand? How come “The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. “(Matthew 25:4) ” Why are you so willing to persist being foolish stubbornly? While today God still reminds you through the pastor, quickly bear the responsibility to prepare the lamp oil! Okay?
Lastly, opportunity and boundary. When the Lord comes again, you are still sleeping? can’t you pray together with God? The bible says, when God comes, He will come like a thief without notice ahead of time! Here it is： At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ (Matthew 25:6) Now you just realize there is no oil in the lamp? it’s too late! Do you know what you missed? Right, it’s an opportunity! Maybe you will play some smartness, use some relationship, get in by the back door. Talking to the smart brother， ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ (Matthew 25:8b) ” This is the boundary! You need to be responsible to fill the oil of your own lamp, you cannot expect from others. Don’t lose the opportunity, and lose boundaries, to humiliate God’s name！ Let’s see the third point: Three alerts
What is alert? It means to affirm and persist in faith and hope, to live out the model of Christ toward God’s love. Ten virgins, five lamps with oil, what is required is to be watchful! First, be watchful in the mindset. As the bride of Christ, since being engaged, they must have the mindset to get married. The core of mindset is to be faithful to the Lord! in the book of Philippians 4:6-7 describes faithfulness: Without any worry is a command, are you willing to follow? By prayer, petition and thanksgiving to the Lord in everything! It is not only to pray when you attend the prayer meeting, but to pray at any moment. Did you notice this: Setting the mindset is not only an important point of time, it even is a process to learn and to receive disciple training! I encourage you to participate in the church’s discipleship training!
Second, be watchful as usual. A person with a will sets his will persistently, a person without a will sets his will frequently. A big will is composed of every single will, can you understand? When you hear the sound of the bridegroom’s coming, if you are able not longing for staying in bed and quickly get up to meet the Lord, it means you are doing great! You cannot being not sleep in order to be watchful. At the same time, you cannot not pray and be watchful in order to sleep then fall into temptation. Actually there is no secret, just start with daily devotion and prayer, down-to-earth to live the daily life. For every simple mindset, each
daily life decision, and the smiling face and friendly attitude each time you meet people. Allow God be the first priority and have sovereignty in you.
Lastly, be watchful with effort. Enter into the kingdom of heaven with effort， is the calling from Jesus Christ! Do you hear it? Why should you put in effort? The reason is very simple, if you do not put in the effort, the door of the heavenly kingdom will be closed soon! Today we did not see God come back, then we thought it is okay, and can wait and delay? Falling asleep while listening to the sermon, no interest in living out God’s truth, hard to persist in doing devotion, praying is like having a meeting. 。 With the situation like this, how can the lamp be filled with oil？ Until God arrives, then you go out to buy oil? The bible tells us very clearly, the door is shut, it is too late! Since you did not put in effort in advance, what you while God still can be found, quickly come to seek Him! While we still have the opportunity to put in effort today, we should strive to get close to God!
Dear brothers and sisters, the Son of Man is near, He is at the gate, are you prepared? Are you ready to meet the bridegroom? Ten virgins, which one is you? Five lamps with oil, do you have a portion? Three alerts, have you completed them all?
Let us pray……