DUNCAN/The ten virgins

DUNCAN/The ten virgins


I. Who is The Faithful Servant?

Please turn with me in your Bibles to Matthew 25:1-13. I think you will see three sections in the story. In verses 1-4, you will see the character of the bridesmaids described. You have ten wise bridesmaids and ten foolish bridesmaids. And they are described in that section. And then if you will look at verses 5-10, you will see the consequence of their care and the consequence of their carelessness. You will see what happened because of five of them in their care and five of them in their carelessness. And then if you will look at verses 11-13, you will see how Jesus applies the story. He will show you the consequences of their carelessness as reflected in what happens when the bridegroom comes. Let’s look at this together.

I. The Character of The Bridesmaids 

First, in verses 1-4, we are reminded that we ought to examine ourselves and consider whether we are wise or foolish. Whether we are nominal Christians, Christians in name only, or whether we are true Christians, trusting actively in our Savior and living only for Him. This parable reminds us that when Jesus comes, there are going to be two classes of people. Some are going to be believing in Him, some are going not going to be believing in Him. Let me set the context of marriage and wedding practice in Jesus’ time. The custom would have been for the groom to go to the home of his bride on the night that the wedding feast was to begin. The groom would come to the house and he would make his argument for bringing the bride along and the parents would delay him and stall him and talk to him and the longer they delayed, the more they honored their daughter. In this story, apparently this groom was delayed a long time. His bride’s parents honored her for a long time and the groom is delayed. And what he would do is once the parents released the bride, they would progress along with his groomsmen and then her bridesmaids would join them and they would parade through the darkness of the streets with their torches lit and they would make their way to the wedding feast. That is the setting of the story that Jesus is telling here.

But, of the bridesmaids of this bride, five of them were ready for this processional, and five of them were not. Five were prepared. But five were not. This story stresses the vital distinction between those who are outwardly, visibly part of the Lord Jesus’ kingdom. They profess His name, but some are nominal and some are real Christians. This story is reminding us of the absolute importance of watchfulness and heart religion, if we are going to be prepared for the day of the Lord’s coming. And this kind of watchfulness requires self-examination. We must ask ourselves if we are truly in Christ? Are we truly trusting Him? And are we living in such a way that we are saying that we long for His return, that we are preparing for His return. This story of the ten virgins is a compliment to the story to the faithful and unfaithful servants in the previous passage. It gives a picture of the predicament that the disciples are going to find themselves in at Jesus’ coming if they have failed to prepare themselves for it. Because when that day comes, the day of opportunity is passed. That is the moral of the story of the ten virgins. When He comes, it is too late then, to get prepared. You must be prepared now. Now is the day of salvation. Now is the day of preparation.

II. The care and carelessness of the bridesmaids 

Look at verses 5-10 as we see the care and the carelessness then of these virgins displayed. This section teaches us that when Jesus comes, it is going to be too late to become true Christians. That commitment must be made now. 

Now you might think in the context of a wedding ceremony that there might be a little more cooperation between the bridesmaids, but in this case, I think there is perhaps a moral behind the story. Saving grace is not transferable. Preparation is not transferable. And so, Jesus has this ironic exchange here where the prepared virgins say, no there is not enough oil for both of us. We have prepared for this, you haven’t. You go out to the dealers and you buy some. Then of course, the story tells us that while they have gone off to buy the oil to light their lamp, at that time, the bridegroom comes. And he takes the other bridesmaids with him and they go along with the rest of the wedding party and they go into the feast and the door is shut. The time had come and they were unprepared. Now is the time to prepare for the second coming of Christ. Then, will be too late.

III. The consequences of lack of preparation 

In these verses 11-13, the story begins to fade and the reality and the applications begin to come to the surface. These bridesmaids who had been part of the wedding party show up late and they knock on the door and the door is shut and the response is, I don’t know you. In this story, as they cry out, Lord, Lord, and the master of the house says, I don’t know you. You remember in Matthew 7:21, Jesus says that at the end there would be people who said, Lord, Lord, and what is Jesus going to say to them? I never knew you. That word 'to know' is filled with importance. To say that 'I don’t know you' means not only that I do not recognize you, but it means to say that I don’t acknowledge you as part of my people. For Jesus to stand and say, I don’t know you means you have never had a personal saving relationship with me. I don’t know you. 

This story, you see, is putting forth the consequences of nominal unprepared Christianity. Our choices here have everlasting consequences and we must take caution that we really care about the most important things. That the Lord Jesus Christ is truly Lord and Savior, that we truly trust in Him and that we are walking in His ways. All of us must be watchful of our hearts. We must examine ourselves to see if we are trusting in Him, lest we unprepared travel on. On that last day, as we stand before the Lord and we hold hands before the throne, I don’t want a one of you to be unprepared and miss out on hearing those beautiful words, well done, my good and faithful servants. Come and enjoy the glory that I have prepared for you. Now is the time.

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