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                        "THE PARABLES OF JESUS"

               The Wise And Foolish Virgins (Mt 25:1-13)

INTRODUCTION

1. We have seen that several of Jesus' parables describe the
   consummation of the "kingdom of heaven" which takes place when Jesus
   returns...
   a. "The Wheat And Tares" - Mt 13:24-30,36-43
   b. "The Dragnet" - Mt 13:47-50

2. Following His Discourse on the Mount of Olives in which He seems to
   address...
   a. Either the destruction of Jerusalem (which occurred in 70 A.D.)
   b. Or His coming at the end of the age (yet to occur)
   ...we find another parable:  "The Wise And Foolish Virgins" - Mt 25:
   1-13

3. Scholars often debate over whether the discourse of Matthew 24 
   pertains...
   a. Strictly to the destruction of Jerusalem that occurred in A.D. 70
   b. Strictly to the Second Coming of Christ
   c. To both events, as the first is a type or shadow of the latter,
      such that certain terms can be used to describe both events, 
      though figurative in one case and literal in another

4. Whichever it might be, in the final analysis the parable of "The
   Wise And Foolish Virgins" has important lessons to be learned
   a. For even if Matthew 24 pertains solely to the destruction of
      Jerusalem...
   b. ...other passages in the New Testament teach the Second Coming of
      the Lord, and we need to be watchful for that great event! - cf.
      2Pe 3:10-14

[With that in mind, let's use this opportunity to take a closer look at
this parable Jesus taught...]

I. THE PARABLE ANALYZED

   A. KEY ELEMENTS IN THE PARABLE...
      1. Ten virgins go out with lamps to await the arrival of the 
         bridegroom - Mt 25:1-4
         a. Five foolish virgins take no oil
         b. Five wise virgins take extra oil
      2. The bridegroom is delayed in his coming - Mt 25:5
      3. The bridegroom's arrival is announced, and the virgins trim 
         their lamps - Mt 25:6-7
      4. The foolish virgins find that their oil is running out - Mt
         25:7-9
         a. They plead with the wise virgins to share their oil
         b. But the wise virgins refuse, saying there is not enough
      5. As the foolish virgins go to get some oil, the bridegroom 
         comes and those prepared go in with him to the wedding, and 
         the door is shut - Mt 25:10
      6. The foolish virgins then arrive, but they are not allowed in 
         - Mt 25:11-12
      7. Jesus then makes the application - Mt 25:13

   B. THE MEANING OF THE PARABLE...
      1. The main message is quite clear, as evident from:
         a. Jesus' comments leading up to this parable - cf. Mt 24:
            42-46
         b. Jesus' comment at the end of the parable itself - Mt 25:13
            1) There is the need for constant watchfulness
            2) For no one knows the moment when the Lord is coming!
      2. As worded in Hendriksen's commentary, "...the need of being 
         prepared at all times for the coming of the Bridegroom, Jesus
         Christ."
      3. This message is repeated later on in the New Testament...
         a. By Paul, writing to the Thessalonians - 1Th 5:1-6
         b. By Peter, to the Christians in Asia Minor - 2Pe 3:10-12
         c. By Jesus, to the church at Sardis - Re 3:2-3

[Not knowing the day or hour of His coming, we must be always be 
ready...this is the basic message of the parable.  But what else can we
glean from this parable?]

II. THE PARABLE APPLIED

   A. CHRISTIANS ARE LIKE THE VIRGINS AWAITING THE BRIDEGROOM...
      1. Some are wise
         a. They diligently prepare themselves for the Master's coming,
            heeding the call to grow in the grace and knowledge of the
            Lord - 2Pe 3:18; 1:5-8
         b. Knowing what is to come, they "look" for it and live 
            accordingly - 2Pe 3:11-14
         c. For them, the coming of the Lord will be a blessing! - 2 Pe
            1:10-11
      2. Some are foolish
         a. They know the Lord is coming, but they are not prepared
         b. They may even be like that evil servant who says "My master
            is delaying his coming", and act accordingly - cf. Mt 24:
            48-49
         c. Yet Jesus has warned what will happen to such evil servants
            - Mt 24:50-51
      -- Are we like the wise virgins, or the foolish ones?

   B. ONE SHOULD NOT TRUST IN PREVIOUS ACCOMPLISHMENTS...
      1. Note that the foolish virgins did have "some" oil - Mt 25:8
      2. So they had made some preparation, but foolishly trusted in 
         what they had done in the past
      3. Neither should we "rest on our laurels", but have the attitude
         of Paul - Php 3:12-15
      -- Are you foolishly depending upon what you have done in the
         past?

   C. PREPAREDNESS IS NOT TRANSFERABLE...
      1. The wise virgins could not share their oil with the foolish
         virgins - Mt 25:9
      2. Nor can we impart what salvation we have received to someone
         else (they must receive it from the Lord Himself) - cf. Ps
         49:7; Pr 9:12
      3. Do not think that we can be "saved by association"
         a. It did not work for the Jews - cf. Jer 7:4-7
         b. Neither will it work for us; each of us must have our own
            name in the Book of Life - cf. Re 20:12-15
      -- Are you foolishly trusting in your relationship with someone
         else for your salvation (a parent, a spouse, a church, etc.)?

   D. THOSE UNPREPARED DO NOT RECEIVE A SECOND CHANCE...
      1. Despite their pleas, the foolish virgins were not permitted to
         the wedding - Mt 25:10-12
      2. When the Lord comes again, the time for salvation is gone!

   [Each of these points is related to the main message of the parable:
   the need to be prepared at all times for the coming of Christ.  In 
   view of this great need, here are some thoughts on...]

   E. MAINTAINING A STATE OF PREPAREDNESS...
      1. Be careful not to let this world to pre-occupy you - Lk 21:
         34-35
         a. Through its worldly lusts
         b. Through its worldly concerns
      2. Be steadfast in prayer - Lk 21:36
         a. For in prayer we naturally maintain an attitude of 
            watchfulness (which is a mark of preparation) - cf. Ep 6:18
         b. For in prayer we can assure that we will be counted worthy
            as we confess our sins - cf. 1Jn 1:9
      3. Be diligent to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ
         - 2Pe 3:18
         a. As defined in 2Pe 1:5-8
         b. The blessings of which are described in 2Pe 1:10-11

CONCLUSION

1. This parable teaches that a great day is coming, a day in which 
   those in the kingdom today will find themselves in two different
   groups...
   a. Those who prepared themselves and faithfully watched for His
      coming
   b. Those who were not prepared, to whom they will hear the Lord say:

               "Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you."

2. Dear brother or sister in Christ, if the Lord were to come today...
   a. Would He find you watching?
   b. Would He find you prepared?
   -- Would He even know you? - cf. Mt 7:21-23

      "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour
      in which the Son of Man is coming." (Mt 25:13)
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