Friday, March 10, 2023

The Vision (3.10.23): Applications from the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins


Image: First century oil lamp with original wick, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Note: Devotion based on last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 25:1-13.

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut (Matthew 25:10).

What applications can we draw from Christ’s parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13)?

First, we are to be watchful as we live in “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4), never flagging in our zeal for the coming of Christ.

Christ closes with the exhortation, “Watch therefore” (v. 13a). We are to avoid the error of the foolish virgins, who were not prepared to live the Christian life for the long-haul.

I think one commentator got it right when he wrote, “The lamps that are lit are a symbol of spiritual intensity and vigilance, readiness to greet the Son of man who may come in any watch of the night. The lights that are going out, on the contrary, are a symbol of lack of preparedness for this meeting, of carelessness and irresponsibility” (Alfeyev, Parables, 371).

I remember as a younger Christian hearing often the warning that when we take up any activity or action in this life, we should ask ourselves, Would I be willing to be found doing this if Christ were to come in the midst of it? Or would it bring me shame and disgrace?

Second, there is a warning here against false professors.

The foolish virgins missed the coming of the bridegroom, “and the door was shut” (25:10b). They cried out, “Lord, Lord, open to us” (v. 11), but the bridegroom responded, “I know you not” (v. 12). This echoes Christ’s teaching on false professors in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:21-23).

We find various calls in the Scriptures for self-examination (see 1 Corinthians 10:12; 2 Corinthians 13:5-6; 2 Peter 1:10).

Here are at least four Scriptural tests by which we might examine ourselves:

First: the doctrinal test. Do you say you believe? See Romans 10:9; Acts 8:37.

Second: The ethical test. Are you striving to keep the commands of Christ?

John 14:15: If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 15:14: Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Third: The social test: Do you love the brethren?

1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

Fourth: The endurance test. Are you remaining in the faith?

Matthew 24:13: But he, that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

May we be like the wise virgins watching and ready when Christ, the Bridegroom, comes with power and great glory!

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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