Watching for the Last Day, with Faith in Christ
Matt 25:1-13 - Last Sunday after Trinity(25) - Nov 22, 2015

Believers in Christ, baptized of God. “The Son of Man cometh.” Jesus is coming back. Every day that passes is yet another day closer. The biggest question of all is, are we ready? Are we ready to meet our maker who demands absolute perfection?

Deep down, everyone knows that heaven is not a place of unrighteousness. And since Scripture says, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”, how does anyone get into heaven?

Unrighteousness cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven. God is no unjust judge. God never sweeps sin under the rug. God never ignores or disregards sin. He must punish sin, otherwise He wouldn’t be holy, righteous, and just. Otherwise He would be like an unjust judge who lets unrighteousness rule. Scripture says, “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.” Every sin must be paid for.

The Good news of the Gospel is that Jesus already paid it. He paid the penalty for us. “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” The resurrection of Jesus is our assurance that the penalty is paid in full. Jesus promises, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” His resurrection means our sins are forgiven, and it means we too will rise.

So we need not be afraid of Judgment Day. Jesus already faced it for us. He says, “Be not afraid, only believe.”

But that faith in us needs to be fed. Doesn’t every living thing need to be fed to stay alive, whether we’re talking dogs or cats, plants, animals, insects, humans? Faith too, stays alive, only because it is fed. God says, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

Our faith needs God’s Word. We need His promises to strengthen and support our faith. We need the assurance that Jesus already faced Judgment Day for us. We need the comfort that Jesus already died and rose again for us. We must not neglect it, otherwise our lamps could go out when they are most needed. Every Christian must watch and be ready, through faith in God’s Word.

Today Jesus gives yet another reminder. The story of the wise and foolish virgins is another reminder always to be ready for the last day.

Today weddings usually begin in the daytime, and end at night. In Jesus’ day, weddings often started at night, and lasted for days. Today weddings usually take place at church and end at the reception hall. But in Jesus’s day, the wedding started at home and ended at home.

The groom would travel from his home to the home of the bride. He would take his wife-to-be back to his own home, the place of the formal ceremony, but it was all part of the wedding, from the moment the groom arrived to take his bride.

Some things have definitely changed over time, when it comes to wedding ceremonies, but some haven’t. One thing that definitely hasn’t changed: a wedding is always something to prepare for. Imagine if today, someone tried to prepare for a wedding, after it started?

These virgins were to accompany the bride and groom while they travelled from her house to his. They only had one responsibility: to have enough oil for their lamps, because they never knew exactly when the groom might come. Not only could he be living a considerable distance from the bride, but he could also be waiting for more wedding guests to arrive, from afar. Even as Jesus is waiting, delaying Judgement Day, not because He is lazy, but He is waiting for more souls to be saved through repentance and faith.

Since the groom could arrive at night, their one responsibility was to have enough oil to last them the night. But the 5 foolish virgins couldn’t seem to be bothered with this. Some have tried to explain why they didn’t bother. But there is no explanation. There is no explanation for foolishness. Imagine if a bridesmaid today were to attempt to buy her dress, after the wedding started (or if the groom tried to get the ring, after it started). There would be no explanation. There would be no excuse. We cannot reason with such utter foolishness.

After the groom arrived, the 5 foolish virgins demanded the wise virgins give them some of their oil. Their response may seem harsh. “The wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you.” Their response might also seem selfish. Why couldn’t they spare at least a little oil?

Why? Because the meaning is that we cannot believe for someone else, and someone else cannot believe for us. Grandpa or Grandma’s faith will not save us, and our faith will not save them. Or, having someone religious in our family does not give everyone else in the family a free pass. Every person must believe in Jesus for salvation in his own heart. That is the only way to be prepared.

So the foolish go to buy some oil. But it was just too late. The wedding had already begun. The door was shut, and they were left outside. Jesus says, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh.”

Our one responsibility is to have oil for our lamps. Jesus says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Our one responsibility is to have faith in Jesus Christ, in our hearts. Paying attention to faith in Christ, paying attention to His Word, after He comes again, will be like trying to plan for a wedding, after it’s already begun.

Jesus Christ is our groom. Believers in Christ, Baptized of God, you, the church of all true believers, are His bride. As a bride waits for her groom, we continue to wait for Jesus to come. He will bring us to our permanent home, and we will share eternal life with Him.

But as we wait, Judgment Day can seem so far away. Jesus doesn’t come immediately. Everything seems to go on as usual. There are signs of His coming, like earthquakes, and floods and hurricanes. But how quickly everyone goes back to life as usual after it happens. It is a very real temptation to delay repentance, and to neglect daily devotions, prayer, and true faith.

Yet, Scripture says, “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.”

The one thing we need to be ready is faith in Jesus Christ. The one thing that feds that faith, is God’s Word. Believers in Christ, may we then remain ever watchful, ready to receive our Lord, and ready to be received by Him. “Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching.” In Jesus’ name. Amen.