Issue #167

How do we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus? How can we be watchful? How can we be waiting expectantly? How can maintain faithful service over the years and decades? How can we avoid the hurdles and pitfalls of life and stay focused on walking the narrow path that leads to life? These are challenging questions to say the least. Yet God’s word answers these questions over and over again. We are currently considering what God’s kingdom looks like and who comprise the kingdom’s citizens. We have already learned that we are to be waiting expectantly for the Lord’s return. We are to be watchful and we are to be faithfully serving as if expecting our Lord to return this day. But it is hard … very hard to maintain this day in and day out, week in and week out, month in and month out and year in and year out!

Today’s parable is a very interesting one. It has caused me much thought and if I am honest much soul searching. It is the parable of the ten virgins or ten bridesmaids. It has caused theologians much headache and debates rage over its exact meaning. Yet there is a very clear and simple message for us to grasp. The message is that we must be fully prepared for the Lord’s coming at any moment of the day. It is about a wedding party that is waiting for the bridegroom to arrive. The parable is again speaking to Jesus’ disciples … people like you and me! It is again teaching that Jesus is coming again and that we must be ready. This time we are called to be prepared for possible delay. How then can we be prepared as we wait patiently and expectantly?

Five of the bridesmaids were prepared for a delay in the bridegroom’s coming and five were not. Five took extra supplies of oil just in case they needed the oil for later. The other five did not forget the oil but rather chose not to come fully prepared. There is a great lesson for us in being prepared. I desire to give you some counsel this morning in how you can always be prepared … day in and day out. It has much to do with living out the spiritual disciplines. It first has to do with making sure you are right with the Lord and that salvation is yours. It involves consistent Bible reading, prayer, corporate worship, meeting together to spur each other on and faithful service. This counsel will help in ensuring that you are never ‘running on empty’! There is nothing new in today’s sermon. It is the ‘same old same old’ … pure gold really!