Jesus talked a lot about His Return and the characteristics of that age and what we need to do be prepared.
This series focuses on what we need to do; it’s not focused on what the times will look like, but what we need to be like during the ET.
Previous messages – Signs of the Times
The Context – Mt.24-25 are one teaching on preparing believers for the ET. He details the characteristics – Mt.24.1-31 – and then he outline how His followers need to position themselves – Mt.24.32-25.46.
I believe the ET will be characterized by the greatest harvest of righteousness and unrighteousness…of salvation and suffering…of angelic and demonic activity…there will be worldwide spiritual awakening and worldwide hardening – Mt.13.37-43.
My concern is that many in body of Christ will be:
Caught up in the world system – Rev.18. Like in the days of Noah & Lot
Dull and blind to what is happening – 2 Th.2.
Discouraged and Fearful b/c suffering – 1 Pet.4-5
Offended and mad at Jesus’ leadership – b/c of the hardships and suffering.
Become cold and even Turn away from the faith – not only quitting church but quitting the faith
We must be prepared for this hour in history. There is a darkness and glory that is coming upon the earth that our current level of faith in the American church is not prepared to handle.
The greatest outpouring of the HS and the greatest pressure in history will occur in the generation that Jesus returns> and if we are ready then we will be a part of bringing in the greatest harvest of souls ever known. This story teaches that there is a very distinct possibility that we could miss the opportunity.
The Parable of the 10 Virgins – Matt.25.1-13>
Big Idea: Be fully prepared for the return of the Bridegroom
“Then” – This is referring back to the theme of the ET that Jesus just emphasized.
“Ten virgins/bridesmaids” – this is referring to believers. Paul says in 2 Cor.11- refers to believers as virgins.
“lamps” – The inner working of the HS in their life – we are called the light of the world. They were responsible for fueling their own light. The “oil” is depth of the HS’s work in your life that you have submitted to and sought after in your relationship with Jesus. You have gone after the Lord and you have pursued Him with obedience and passion.
“went to meet the Bridegroom” – Jesus
“5 were foolish” & “5 were wise” – their position as either foolish or wise was dependant on whether or not they had adequate fuel. They all looked the same. Everyone looked like they were prepared until there was a long delay.
In the parable of the fig tree – there was a ripening
In the analogy of the Noah’s day – there was a long waiting
In the example of the burglar breaking into a house and the master of an estate not returning to checking on it, the point is the same, “there will be a delay and you don’t need to be messing around but prepared and taking care of my business.
“they were wise enough to take along extra oil”
They were thinking ahead…long term;
what does that mean for us – Jesus, I’m in this for the long haul; You have me heart, soul, mind & strength; it’s long obedience in the same direction; run the race all the way to end keeping my eyes on Jesus.
Wise believers: They live in a state of preparation; it is a conscious awareness of being prepared to respond to the bridegroom whenever they hear His voice. This must be the heart of every believer and especially those who live during the ET generation. They feast on the Word, fellowship with the HS, live in the love of the Father, walk in purity, strong loving relationships with believers, fully persuaded of the promises of God, heart of service, humble and teachable, childlike faith and innocence, etc
The foolish ones had a false sense of security – “I’m good…ready…this is enough” but the delay revealed the deficit.
The delay revealed who was prepared to pursue the Bridegroom during the hour of darkness (the ET activity of God).
What you do during the delay will determine how you respond during the darkness preceding the return of Jesus. What you do during the delay will be revealed in the time of darkness.
COVID-19 is a short period of darkness that God is using to reveal how much oil you have. He’s asking, “How ready are you to pursue my Son during the hour of darkness?’ Since mid-March, what have you been cultivating during this time…what have you spent your time doing…focusing on…where has your mind gone…what has this revealed about your faith and maturity…the strength/depth of your relationships…your emotional well being…etc.
Is it frustration or anticipating things to return to normal or fear of what tomorrow holds or bingeing on this and that or blithely saying “it’s all good” or just seeing it as a hassle
Or, have you spent pressing into Him and what He’s trying to say through this world-wide birth pain. Jesus referred to the intense events surrounding His return as birth pains
Listen to me: This is only one birth pain. Another is coming…and another. They only get more frequent and intense. There comes a point when you do not have time to recover from the layers of darkness & trouble – Natural disaster, financial crisis, terror attack, war, famine, societal change.
Jesus promises to shake everything that can be shaken before He returns so that the only thing that remains is His unshakeable Kingdom.
I’m not trying to scare you. If you were asleep and your carbon monoxide detector is alarming and your family member started shaking you violently and yelling at you, would you say, “Why are you trying to scare me…you shouldn’t talk like that…let me go back to sleep!”
How you are responding now during this moment of darkness is a revelation of what you did during the previous delay.