29th June 2023
Read (Matthew 25v1-13)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
Have you ever heard the phrase "fail to prepare, prepare to fail"? It has been attributed to the American founding father Benjamin Franklin, although there is no evidence to suggest that Franklin ever said or wrote such a phrase. Regardless of where the wisdom came from, it has a certain amount of truth to it. Imagine you and yours are hoping to head off camping this weekend. You'll need a tent, food, water, sleeping bags and a host of other items to make your trip a success. What I suspect you wouldn't do is just jump into the car on Friday afternoon and start driving without any thought or consideration to the trip that lies ahead.
In the same fashion, Jesus taught a parable about five wise virgins and five foolish ones (v2). The ladies were all invited to a wedding but unfortunately the bridegroom was delayed well into the night causing the ladies to fall asleep (v5). For the wise virgins this really wasn't an issue as they had brought extra oil for their lamps (v4). They were prepared for the bridegroom's arrival regardless of the length of delay. The foolish virgins had given no thought to extra oil and so they were utterly unprepared for the bridegroom's arrival when midnight came (v6).
The foolish virgins asked to borrow some oil from the wise virgins, but there wasn't enough to go round (v8-9). Instead they hurried off to buy some oil from the local dealers. Tragically while the five virgins were oil shopping, the bridegroom arrived, the wedding feast started and the door was shut (v10). The five wise virgins were inside at the feast while the five foolish virgins were locked outside crying "Lord, lord open to us." (v11). The lord's answer should not be missed, he said "Truly, I say to you, I do not know you." (v12). The foolish virgins had been invited but they had failed to act upon that invitation.
This parable teaches us the need for being prepared for the arrival of Christ the bridegroom. The time to receive and rest in Christ is now, the Gospel is urgent now, the day of salvation is now. Christ's word is clear that He has died for sin, been raised for justification and is coming back in judgement. The response to this is repentance and faith. The one who believes in Christ is like the wise virgin who bought extra oil in preparation for the bridegroom's delayed arrival.
Not so the person who rejects Christ. They are like the foolish virgin who gave no consideration to the time of the bridegroom's arrival. They had failed to prepare and they were left outside in foolish disgrace. My friends the Gospel is a serious business and those who thumb their noses at Christ will find themselves left outside in the outer darkness of hell. There will be no second chance - the doors to heaven will be slammed shut.
Benjamin Franklin probably didn't say "fail to prepare, prepare to fail" but we heed its message regardless. Those who fail to prepare to meet the Lord are currently preparing themselves for a lost eternity. Don't be one of those fools! Behold the bridegroom is coming and coming soon, put preparations in place, repent and believe the Gospel.
Q85 What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse, due to us for sin? To escape the wrath and curse of God, due to us for sin, God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption.