Matthew 25:1-5 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.”
Jesus is teaching about the kingdom of heaven by using another parable about a wedding; “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” (Revelation 19:7) The commentaries say the ten virgins represent the church; “The coming of Christ to receive his people to himself is often represented under the similitude of a marriage, the church being represented as his spouse or bride. . . . These virgins, doubtless, represent the church – a name given to it because it is pure and holy.” (Barnes’ Notes)
Can you be pure and holy and foolish? I don’t think so. This parable shows that some churches that aren’t ‘pure and holy’ only look and act that way. These churches have lamps and light for a time until their oil runs out. What does the oil represent in this parable? Having it distinguishes the wise from the foolish virgin or the real from pretender church.
The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary states; “This supply of oil, then, representing that inward grace which distinguishes the wise, must denote, more particularly, that ‘supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,’ which, as it is the source of the new spiritual life at the first, is the secret of its enduring character.” Jesus is Grace and Truth; “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) Without Him there is no light and no overcoming; “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4,5)
The world has been waiting for what seems to be a long time. Many churches have fallen asleep while letting their lamps burn out. When Jesus returns what a startling time that will be for all in the church. It will be a terrible time for those churches that have run dry of His Oil; “It will be a day of search and inquiry; . . . . Those that take up short of true grace, will certainly find the want of it one time or other. An outward profession may light a man along this world, but the damps of the valley of the shadow of death will put out such a light. Those who care not to live the life, yet would die the death of the righteous. But those that would be saved, must have grace of their own; and those that have most grace, have none to spare.” (Matthew Henry)
You see, I cannot give my grace to another because each of us must carry a sufficiency to cover ourselves and that is all we are able to carry; “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’” (Matthew 25:6-9)
Each of us must make our own purchase of this Grace for ourselves – no one can do it for us. Every person must lose his life for Jesus as Jesus gave His life for us all; “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39) The promise of empty religion without His Spirit, is that this grace is free and easy – all are entitled to it. Demand it – you’re all dressed up for it and your lamp is empty! But, Jesus didn’t preach this ‘cheap grace’; “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45,46)
We cannot demand oil from a church that doesn’t have it. Our parents can’t give us their oil. Nor can we bestow our oil upon our children. Individually as well as corporately we must purchase His oil ourselves. If no one in your church believes this then you won’t either. If your church has no oil how can it point you in the right direction to get some? When Jesus returns, it will be too late to get more oil to rekindle the flame; “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'” (Matthew 25:10-12)
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” (Matthew 25:13)
Praise the Lord!