[SW349] 10/20/2018 message notes by
Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018
Behold! The Bridegroom!
Text: Matthew 25:1-13
There will be a shout — Behold! The Bridegroom! When Jesus Christ returns, will He find you filled with His oil? If so, you will be ready to meet Him and go in with Him to His marriage supper, as His bride!
It will be the consummation of the Father’s plan for His Son, Jesus Christ (Matthew 22:2). But only those who are ready will be there when the shout comes.
I cannot get around it, beloved, though I have closely examined the commentaries and the Word of God, and have prayed long and hard. We are saved from God’s wrath and reconciled to God when we believe into Jesus, and we are given eternal life (John 3:16). But I see, from Jesus Christ’s own words in all of Matthew 25, that there are believers who will come before Him unprepared and empty-handed, and they will face His judgment.
Before I explore these verses, I will identify the ones in this parable, and show you some scriptures, to help you understand what Jesus Christ is saying.
— First, Jesus is the Bridegroom, and His church, both Jew and non-Jew, is His bride
Matthew 9:15 And Jesus said to them, “The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
John 3:28-29 “You yourselves are my witnesses that I (John the Baptist) said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ 29 “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full.”
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her . . .
— Second, the bride must make herself ready by asking Jesus Christ to purify her heart by filling her with His glorious Spirit
Revelation 19:7-8 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” 8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory (literally, glorious), having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
— Third, Jesus is ready to do His part to prepare her, and He assigns His ministers to exhort her to seek Him and ask Him to do it
2Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.
Ephesians 4:11-13 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping (perfecting) of the saints for the work of service (the work of ministry), to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
— Fourth, oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit and of holiness, and is sometimes referred to as “the anointing,” meaning the believer is filled with the Spirit
Exodus 40:9, 13 (The LORD directed Moses) “Then you shall take the anointing oil and anoint (with oil) the tabernacle and all that is in it, and shall consecrate it (make it holy) and all its furnishings; and it shall be holy. 13 “You shall put the holy garments on Aaron and anoint him and consecrate him (make him holy), that he may minister as a priest to Me.”
(NOTE: The oil was to be poured upon Aaron’s head, so that it ran down his beard, per Psalm 133:2.)
1John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One (that is, you are filled with the Holy Spirit), and you know all things.
1John 2:27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things (John 14:26, 16:13), and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
Now I pray you will be able understand the parable of the ten virgins, from Matthew 25:1-13. May it speak to your heart.
Verse 1 —
Then (when Jesus Christ returns, per Matthew 24:44) the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins going out to meet their Bridegroom. All ten took their lamps, because the Jewish marriage tradition was that the Bridegroom would come at night. In the natural, these would be small, oil-fed lamps. All ten were believers, because they all called Him Lord (see Verse 11).
Verse 2 —
As with the parable of the talents, and the separation of the goats and sheep, there is a difference between the virgins —
— Five are foolish (scorned both for the condition of their hearts, and for their character)
— Five are prudent (understanding, having keen discernment)
Verses 3-4 —
They were judged by Him to be either foolish or prudent by their actions.
— The foolish took their lamps, but they took no oil with them. These were believers. But Jesus Christ commands us to be filled with the Holy Spirit, after we believe into Him (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5).
— The prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. They not only had a measure of the Holy Spirit (John 20:22), but they had their own endless supply of oil, in flasks (that is, within themselves). They had obeyed Jesus’ command to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Verse 5 —
It seemed to the virgins that the Bridegroom was slow in coming. He tarried, in the eyes of all ten virgins. But He will come exactly when it is time!
It was late, and all ten became tired, both the foolish and the prudent virgins. First they were drowsy, and then they fell asleep, because they had been waiting for Him for a long time.
Even those who are filled with the Spirit say, Come, Lord Jesus! It has been so long! We love Your appearing (2Timothy 4:8)! But Peter reminds us of the reason for His tarrying:
2Peter 3:8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
Verse 6 —
So, all ten virgins were asleep. But suddenly, at midnight, there was a shout, Behold! The Bridegroom! Come out to meet Him! And the shout woke them! It will be impossible to miss His coming!
1Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Verses 7-8 —
Then all ten virgins rose and trimmed (put in order) their lamps. They checked them to ensure they had oil, and trimmed the wicks so they would burn cleanly.
But the foolish believers discovered something! Their lamps were going out, and they had no oil to refill them! But they did not bring flasks filled with oil — they were not filled with the Holy Spirit.
They had heard the shout! Jesus was about to arrive! So they said to the prudent, Give us the oil of you (the literal translation), for our lamps are going out. We cannot go to the Bridegroom without oil for our lamps! But everyone must experience their own personal Pentecost, just as in Acts 2:3.
Verse 9 —
So the prudent said, No, there will not be enough for us and you. They could not give them all of their oil. So they said, Go instead to the ones selling, and buy for yourselves.
Go to those who have been exhorting you that you must obey Jesus’ command. Ask them to lay hands on you so are baptized with the Holy Spirit. Then you will be ready, because you will have an endless supply of oil!
The cost to be filled with the Holy Spirit is very great. You must humble yourself! You must heed His words, see your poverty-stricken heart, and cry out to be filled with the Spirit. He will answer your cry, beloved, just as He answered mine!
The prudent knew where the foolish could get the oil they needed. They had already humbled themselves. Their flasks were full — they were filled with the Spirit! So they directed the foolish to hurry off to get what they needed.
Verse 10 —
The foolish hurried off to buy, but while they were going away, the Bridegroom came! The five prudent virgins went in with Him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut.
The five prudent virgins were ready! And after they went in, He closed the door. John writes of the supper in the revelation given to him by Jesus Christ —
Revelation 19:9 Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”
The five foolish virgins were not ready, so they were not present when He came. They had no oil in their flasks. They had gone away to do what they should already have done.
Verse 11 —
So, when the foolish virgins finally saw their lack, it was too late! They came to the closed door, saying, “Lord, Lord, (original translation) open up for us.”
Beloved, they called Him Lord, so they were believers, just as with the group of believers who buried the gospel, and the group of believers who did natural good deeds, rather than what He called them to do.
Some commentators say every tongue will have to confess that He is Lord, in the day of judgment, so the five foolish virgins were not believers. But that argument stems from the theology of “once saved, always saved.” They must set that aside and look at the word of God. The five foolish were virgins, so they were believers who had been saved.
Verse 12 —
“Lord, Lord (original translation), open up for us,” they cried. But He answered, “Truly I say to you, I do not know you.”
The literal translation of “I do not know you” is “I have never, ever seen you.” They had never come to know Christ intimately, because they had never obeyed His command to be filled with His Holy Spirit.
Both He and I want you to be ready, so you are able to go in before He closes the door. Yes, you were saved from the wrath of God and reconciled to Him when you believed, but do not disobey His command and thus sin against Him by rejecting the truth that you need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Verse 13 —
So Jesus warns His disciples, and all believers, Be on the alert then (wake up), for you do not know the day or the hour (of His coming). Wake up, and ask Him to fill you, beloved!
Jesus warned the church at Sardis, which, He said, had a reputation for being alive but they were dead —
Revelation 3:2-3 “Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 3 ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.”
Paul exhorts the believers in Ephesus —
Ephesians 5:14 For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (See Isaiah 60:1.)
Ephesians 5:17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
Do not be foolish, but do the Lord’s will, beloved. Be filled with the Spirit! Then you will be ready! Then you will have a never-ending supply of oil within yourselves.
Jesus tarries, but He will come just according to the timetable the Father has set. Do not be empty-handed and unprepared when the shout comes, “Behold! The Bridegroom!”
Lord Jesus, may all who have believed into You hear Your words, and humble themselves and repent and cry out to You now, rather than when it is too late. Amen.