The Parable of the Ten Virgins

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

Although it is only during the past four years that I became a Christian and accepted our Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour, as I read my Bible and Pray, every day, I find myself drawing ever closer to our Heavenly Father and experiencing an ever-deepening relationship with Him.

In my reborn life, I always put God first and am obedient to His will. And it is through His grace and mercy that He gave me a Healing Miracle when I lay in my bed ‘dying’.

Before I was saved I was a serial sinner – but our Father God, in His loving and infinite wisdom, showed me that He had forgiven all my past sins and misdeeds and that now was the time when I could start afresh!

Living a sinless life is far from easy, there are temptations lurking around every corner and Satan is always trying to distract me by offering me the opportunity to do things that would be displeasing to God.

But with the guidance and protection of our Father God I tell Satan that he must leave me alone; that I am not interested in anything that he tries to offer me, and that he must stop trying to interfere in my life.

Whenever I face challenging decisions in my life, where choices are involved, if I ask the one question, “What would Jesus do?”, the answer is usually plain and simple.

When God created our world, the seventh day – the Sabbath – He intended it to be a day of rest. And for thousands of years the Sabbath Day – Sunday – was a day when no work was done.

It was, in my humble view, a great mistake and an error of judgement by those who approved the change in the law, for Sunday to become just another day in the week.

Satan must be jumping up and down with joy and happiness when he sees how much the Church is declining because people are being seduced away from the church because there are now so many leisure activities for people to attend that take them away from God.

Sadly, many traditional church-goers are being pressurised by their non-Christian friends and family to go out with them on Sundays, taking the children to Amusement Parks, Football Matches etc.etc.

And these ‘Christians’ are too weak to stand up for their beliefs and still attend their church regardless of the demands of their family and friends, who long ago have forsaken the Lord our God.

When I was a child, my parents insisted that I went to Church every Sunday morning, and my Sunday School was always full because other parents also insisted that my friends should go to Sunday School.

I was not allowed to go out to play with my friends on  Sundays and my parents never went anywhere on a Sunday, except, of course, to Church.

But, as I grew up, away from the influence and control of my parents, I became a backslider and indeed continued to be a backslider until Jesus saved me four years ago.

Perhaps the style of worship needs to change to encourage younger people to go to church? Many of the churches I have visited these past four years consist mainly of elderly people, who have been members of their church for many years; they are very happy and content to worship in their own cocooned comfort zone!

From my visionary standpoint, the main problem is that many of the church services are lifeless and (please forgive me, Lord) DULL. It is thus easy to see why young people fail to be attracted to the Church.

I have seen videos of church services in America where the young people take a prominent part, often through music. Music can prove very uplifting to the soul – and young people love charismatic hymns and tunes that are a very long way from anything written by Charles Wesley.

Churches here in the UK need to wake up and alter their modus operandi to meet the needs and expectations of the 21st Century generation of young people!

My wife, Marlene, and I now attend The Christian Centre in Ebbw Vale. The Christian Centre is an Apostolic Church with an ever-growing congregation, with a higher percentage of young people than many churches today.

It is a vibrant church. Every Sunday there are Worship and Praise Services and the singing is breath-taking. The anointing is very POWERFUL.

Where is the church (all churches) heading? Personally, I would love the old Biblical Teachings to manifest themselves into our 21st Century lives.

But times they-are-a-changing and with the ever-present internet (especially Facebook) we are now living in a world of which Moses could never have dreamt!

Here are some signs that the church is asleep:

  • The absence of conviction of sin
  • A lack of the fear of God
  • Little sense of outrage over the godlessness of society
  • Watching pornography and feeling justified
  • Avarice, greed and lack of financial integrity
  • No sense of outrage over the Church’s lack of credibility in the world
  • Little or no concern about people going to hell
  • Little concern about the lack of knowledge of God’s word
  • Indifference to the biblical view of marriage
  • Indifference to holding grudges and unforgiveness
  • Indifference to talking to people about Christ
  • Tolerating heresies such as open theism and hyper-grace teaching
  • Indifference to the teaching that the Bible is infallible
  • Indifference to how much time is spent in prayer and quiet time

When I was saved, and gave my heart to Jesus I thought that all Christians frequently read the Bible and prayed, at least once, every day.

But it didn’t take me long to discover the truth – that the average Christian doesn’t pick up, or look at, a Bible from one Sunday to the next.

Can we honestly say that we are ready for the Second Coming of Christ?

AW Tozer wrote that if the Holy Spirit were completely withdrawn from the Church, “95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference”.

Tozer is undoubtedly correct. Only a very few churches that I have attended since being saved have had the presence of the Holy Spirit. Very few Ministers and Lay Preachers ever refer to the Holy Spirit in their sermons and my impression is that very few members of their congregations know what the Holy Spirit does and can do for them.

Many Biblical Scholars believe that the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25: 1-13) is eschatological – referring to the last days. I am sure that God meant this parable to be prophetic.

This parable refers to the customs of the Jews, when celebrating a marriage. The bridegroom used to go in the evening to fetch home his bride by the light of oil lamps. These were carried by bridesmaids (the ‘virgins’), which could be as many as ten, and when they arrived at the bride’s house, there was a feast awaiting them.

Christ is the bridegroom of the church and those who are of the true faith are the companions of the bride, and they are patiently awaiting the arrival of Christ.

However, this does not refer to all Christians; some Christians cannot be included because they have strayed from the Lord’s pathway and are only lukewarm and synthetic Christians.

Of the ten bridesmaids/virgins mentioned “five were wise, and five were foolish”.

The foolish virgins had lamps, but no oil in their vessels to replenish them with: that is, they had enough religious knowledge to make a plausible appearance but their hearts were not truly sanctified and stored with holy affections and dispositions by the newly creating Spirit of God.

But the wise virgins already had oil in their lamps as well as a firm foundation in the Word of God.

In Matthew 25: 5 Jesus is saying that because the bridegroom took some time in coming, both the wise virgins and the foolish virgins fell asleep.

The five wise virgins, who have extra oil, represent those who are ready for that which is going to come; they are preparing themselves with great enthusiasm and excitement for the Second Coming and the return of Christ.

They not only have faith in Christ but they trust him implicitly and they are determined to wait patiently, for as long as they need, for Christ to return.

The five wise virgins have real grace in their hearts and who are, notwithstanding occasional lapses through sleepiness, in habitual readiness to meet Christ, either in death or in judgement, and they shall graciously be permitted to have eternal fellowship with Christ in His heavenly kingdom.

But the five foolish virgins represent false believers, who profess to know Gospel truths but they are more concerned about their worldly wealth and enjoying themselves rather than any deep desire to see the bridegroom (Jesus).

Their hope is that because they are associated with true Christians this will be enough to bring them into the Kingdom of God at the End Days.

The foolish virgins, when awakened through death or judgement, will soon discover that all their false truths will come to nothing and that their pleas for salvation will be too late and that they themselves will be permanently excluded from fellowship with Christ.

For in Matthew 25: 11-12 it is written: –

11 Afterwards came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

And in Matthew 7: 21-23 we read: –

21 Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name, have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

This parable dynamically demonstrates the wisdom and profound effect of being ready and the devastating effect that will take place if one is unready and unprepared,

The five wise virgins, being ready, were admitted to the marriage feast, but the door was then immediately shut; and the five foolish virgins, coming afterwards, were denied admission and disowned by the bridegroom, as persons with whom He had no acquaintance.

Are you prepared for His Second Coming?

Will you be invited to the Lord’s Table?

Amen

The Ten Virgins

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Suffer Little Children

But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

(Luke 18: 16)

Children need to be taught about Jesus. Churches are in serious decline because the parents are abdicating their responsibilities to ensure that their children go to Sunday School and learn about our Heavenly Father.

As a child, my mother used to read Bible Stories to me when I was in bed and before I went to sleep. How many parents do that nowadays?

Thirty years or so ago many churches had thriving Sunday Schools but somehow they must have failed abysmally to capture the interest and imagination of the children who went to Sunday School because these children neglected to tell their own children about the miracles of Jesus.

And if you go back in time to the 1800s, you will read in the newspaper archives that most churches were so full every Sunday that they could hardly accommodate everyone who wanted to attend!

Children are – or, at least, should be – the lifeblood of all churches but it is with great regret that I have to say that very few churches – here in the UK, anyway – have responsible adult members who encourage their children to go to Sunday School every week.

Jesus loved children – do you love your children and grandchildren enough to make sure that they read their Bible and go to Church every Sunday?

Praise be the Lord. Hallelujah

b

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Good Friday

Jesus fell with his face to the ground and prayed:-
 
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will but as you will.”
 
(Matthew 26: 39)
 
And in John 19: 28-30 we read:-
 
28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
 
29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
 
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
 
Thank you, dear Jesus, for having the courage and strength to suffer all the pain and humiliation of being crucified upon the Cross at Calvary so that all our sins may be forgiven and so that we may enjoy eternal life in your Kingdom.
 
Amen
Good Friday
With many peaceful blessings
Geoffrey

The Dusty Room

They came unexpectedly. Two of them following a man with a jar – he pointed me out, and then disappeared as the others hurried towards me. I recognised them immediately; they were followers of Him, the teacher.

We had spoken before, this teacher and I, He spoke wisely and seemed somehow to be able to look inside my very soul.

We had discussed money, something that I was very fond of, but He seemed to think that I should give more away, help the local poor, reach out to those in need around me. I was a little taken aback; after all, who was this man to tell me what I should do with my own money?

But He sowed a seed, and it really got me thinking. It was as if He knew it would, as if He even knew the outcome of my thinking.

Then of course it happened, his two disciples arrived and asked for my upper room so that they and the teacher could share the Passover together.

Here was my chance, to show Him that I had been thinking about our conversation. I welcomed the party and told them I would prepare it for them.

They went back to give Jesus the news and I went straight to the room that had not been used for a while and needed a good clean. I spent the afternoon cleaning everywhere, making it ready to receive Him.

It was not too long before they showed up. Everyone looked hot and bothered, He smiled at me as I had said nothing about charging Him for the use of the room. He knew I was beginning to change.

He asked me for a bowl of water, which I provided and then to everyone’s amazement He bent down and washed his disciples’ feet. I have never seen a teacher, a leader do that before. Who was this man who turned the norm on its head and changed everything from the inside out?

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

For Jesus It Was A Dangerous Day!

In the Shadows of Victory you are invited to ride the roller-coaster of Holy Week.

We now begin the journey, remembering that already we stand with Jesus Christ our Saviour in the shadow of the cross, remembering that for him, it was a very dangerous day.

Jesus knew exactly what he was doing mounting the donkey at Bethpage, as this was where the priests had calculated the city limits. For Jesus to mount here was a statement that spoke volumes to all that were there. It was, in effect, as if He was shouting from the rooftops that He was the Messiah.

Now, position yourself at the side of the road, having first run and chopped down a palm branch that you are waving frantically.

Picture if you can the Roman army standing there, thousands of them, making it very clear that you are part of an occupied people. Look up at the temple on the hill, and look beyond it. There overshadowing the holy place is the fist shaped Roman fortress. Built purposely taller than the temple just to remind you who was in charge.

Listen to the crowd hailing him as their King. But He does not come on a war horse, only a humble donkey. And He does not come with swords and clubs; He is armed only with God’s words of peace and love.

Wave your branches, as they are the national symbol of your people. Wave them at the coming Messiah, showing your defiance to the Romans, believing that this Jesus would send them packing once and for all.

Jesus knew that for Him, it was a very dangerous day.

Picture the children laughing and playing around your feet. In your fear, you push them forward. Somehow this fear is always lurking beneath your joy; your fear of the Roman soldiers and the power they hold over you.

The children – they are young, surely these soldiers wouldn’t launch an attack against them, no matter how unruly the crowd become. Push them forward, put them between you and the soldiers, not because you do not love your children, but because you fear for your own safety.

Jesus knew that for Him, it was a very dangerous day.

Sing your hosannas, not just a song of happiness, but also a song of rebellion, a song that speaks of freedom, and of victory over your enemies. Stand tall in the face of those who persecute you. Hold firm, ready to take up arms and fight, ready to rally around this new king and take back, by force if you have to, your land, and your home.

Jesus knew that for Him, it was a very dangerous day.

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Struggles for Survival Without Clean Water!

Not too long ago, there was a village characterized by a desperate struggle for survival. People lived in poverty and at risk of disease. But there was an even more pressing problem: In the hot, dry desert, there were not enough water sources to go around. The villagers depended on dirty ponds and rivers. Sometimes, it was difficult to find water at all.

Pastor Dalapathi ministered in this village and was deeply concerned about the people’s situation. While he worked hard to share Christ’s love with the people, it was difficult to break through, and he could see they desperately needed clean water.

By God’s grace, Pastor Dalapathi and the believers did not lose hope. Instead, they prayed and something changed: God provided a Jesus Well for their village. It was an amazing answer to prayer. Suddenly, the villagers had clean, safe water ready and accessible. But this gift had a far greater impact.

“The non-believers of the village were astonished by the good work that has been done by the church,” said one field report.

And this tangible act of love and prayer warmed all their hearts to learning more.

Never ever under-estimate the immense Power of Prayer. There is no limit to the abundance which our Father God will bestow upon you and those of whom you are praying.

Praise be the Lord. Hallelujah.

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey