The Parables Series  #8




TEXT:         Matthew 25:1-13


INTRO:       Many people think the idea that Jesus is coming again is a joke!  The idea of an “end of time” seems more like a great movie script to thrill audiences.  The reality is that one day everyone in this world is going to face God, Jesus is coming again and there will be a time to give an account for our lives!  How many will be caught off guard?  None of us know when it will happen, but it will happen!


ILLUS:    Story of the man who always slept during church -- one day one of the members decided to teach this man a lesson, he sat down besides him during the service and after the man had fallen asleep he poked him in the side and told him he had just been called on to close the service in prayer by the pastor -- startled, he stood up and prayed, “Lord, thank you for this message we heard and this service, apply it to our hearts as we go...” of course the service had barely started and he embarrassed himself, he had been caught off guard! – Source Unknown


We too in God's kingdom must be alert, He is coming again, let's not be caught off guard!


PROP. SENT:    This Parable teaches us to be prepared and ready for Jesus' return whether it is soon or delayed, He is coming again and our lights must be shining when He returns!


I.   MARRIAGE   (1st Century customs are instruction for Jesus’ teaching)


A.   Engagement

1.   Settlement made by father of bride and groom.

2.   Our heavenly father has made a settlement between Jesus and His bride the church.  (Eph. 5:31-32)

a.   In Christ we belong to the Lord, no longer to this world.

b.   We cleave to Christ; the church is like the bride of Christ.

c.   The image of marriage is used to explain the idea of the church and Christ.

3.   Christ's first coming was like an engagement.


B.   Betrothal

1.   Ceremony was held in the house of the bride's parents.

a.   Our parents were Adam & Eve.

b.   This earth was their house.

c.   Pentecost was ceremony of the Holy Spirit's coming on the people of God -- the church.

2.   During this ceremony there was the exchange of mutual promises made before witnesses.

a.   10 virgins could have been Jewish custom for witnesses:  (Note:  Boaz & Ruth had 10 witnesses.)  (Ruth 4:2)

b.   Synagogue, circumcision, Passover, marriage required no less than 10 witnesses.

c.   Notice again at Pentecost there were many witnesses of the promise that Jesus had made to His people of the Holy Spirit.


C.   The Marriage

1.   About a year after engagement the bridegroom with friends came to get his bride, and took her to his home for a permanent possession.

a.   Bridegroom surprised bride with a trumpet blast just before entering, woke neighborhood up this way and alerted her to his immediate coming!

b.   Marriage feast then held in his father’s home, bride was swept away to his home for 7 days.

c.   Christ's second coming is reference here; coming with friends may have reference to angels and departed saints, the disciples, coming with Christ to get the bride, the church!

d.   Groom had to wait until father told him to go … father waited until son had finished building wedding house for bride … gives insight into Jesus’ words, “only the Father knows the time” … and “I go to prepare a place for you and will come again.”

e.   It is also interesting that Jesus mentioned His coming would be announced by a “trumpet” call … Mat 24:31 “And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”  The apostle Paul also mentioned this concerning the return of Christ:  1 Th 4:16  “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”

f.    As in the Jewish marriage, once the trumpet was sounded and the groom came and took the bride … she was carried away to the groom’s father’s home for a wedding banquet that lasted 7 days.  In the Bible Christ receives the church after the trumpet call into heaven (Father’s home) where the marriage supper of the lamb takes place: Rev 19:9 “Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" And he added, "These are the true words of God."” (The 7 years of tribulation on earth takes place during this time).

2.   Jesus in this parable is referring to this time of coming as the next event on the calendar of God's events.


II.  THE VIRGINS   Matt. 25:1-5


A.   5 Foolish Virgins   Matt. 25:2-3

1.   No Oil!

a.   Attempting to demonstrate a Christian life without the oil (Holy Spirit or new life ... acting Christian without being Christian!)

b.   Their lives were unprepared.

c.   Wanted to make a good appearance but without preparation.

d.   Hope only in soon return, thus lazy about really preparing for return!

2.   No Light!

a.   Lived in darkness -- no oil, no light!

b.   Unwilling  to prepare for future.


ILLUS:    The May 1984 National Geographic showed through color photos and drawings the swift and terrible destruction that wiped out the Roman Cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in A.D. 79.  The explosion of Mount Vesuvius was so sudden; the residents were killed while in their routine: men and women were at the market, the rich in their luxurious baths, slaves at toil.  They died amid volcanic ash and superheated gasses.  Even family pets suffered the same quick and final fate.  It takes little imagination to picture the panic of that terrible day.

   The saddest part is that these people did not have to die.  Scientists confirm what ancient Roman writers record -- weeks of rumblings and shakings preceded the actual explosion.  Even an ominous plume of smoke was clearly visible from the mountain days before the eruption.  If only they had been able to read and respond to Vesuvius's warning!

   There are similar "rumblings" in our world: warfare, earthquakes, the nuclear threat, economic woes, breakdown of the family and moral standards.  While not exactly new, these things do point to a coming Day of Judgment (Matt. 24).  People need not be caught unprepared.  God warns and provides an escape to those who will heed the rumblings. -- Michael Bogart, Lemoore, California. Leadership, Vol. 6, no. 4.


c.   Only living for the now!

3.   These foolish virgins were not even thinking of a “future” … as was evidence in their bringing no additional oil.  They had only planned on the moment.  They represent those whose lives are wrapped up in living for “now” … not for eternal things.

a.   They are left behind!

b.   They have no future!


B.   5 Wise Virgins   Matt. 25:2,4

1.   Plenty of Oil!

a.   They had energy!  (Holy Spirit never has a shortage!)

b.   They were prepared for anything, a soon return or a delay!

c.   Worked to insure they would be ready, not lazy!  They were looking for the groom’s coming for the bride.  They had prepared to receive the groom, and go with the bride to celebrate.  They had planned so they would not be caught off guard.

2.   Plenty of Light!

a.   “Let your light shine before men ... you are the light of the world…”

b.   Living not just for the now, but also for the then!


ILLUS:    During his 1960 presidential campaign, John F. Kennedy often closed his speeches with the story of Colonel Davenport, the Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives.  One day in 1789, the sky of Hartford darkened ominously, and some of the representatives, glancing out the windows, feared the end was at hand.  Quelling a clamor for immediate adjournment, Davenport rose and said, "The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not.  If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment.  If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty.  Therefore, I wish that candles be brought."

   Rather than fearing what is to come, we are to be faithful till Christ returns.  Instead of fearing the dark, we're to be lights as we watch and wait. -- Henry Heintz, Troy, New York. Leadership, Vol. 5, no. 2.


c.   Where there is oil there is light, where the Holy Spirit lives there is shining and preparation for the future!


C.   Slumbered & Slept    Matt. 25:5

1.   Likely a reference to physical death.

2.   Some who had waited while the Lord delayed His coming had fallen asleep with their lights shining, for others their lights had been out already.  Mat 25:5 “The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.”

3.   Note that it says while the groom took a long time (may indicate a time would pass between 1st and 2nd comings) with many sleeping or dying.

4.   This also talks about the element of “surprise” of His coming.  They were caught off guard.


ILLUS:    In 1988, Edgar Whisenant wrote a booklet proving that the world would come to an end in 1988, probably on September 12.  When that failed to happen, Whisenant re-checked his mathematical calculations and found his error.  The end was then predicted to be September 1, 1989.  Like so many date-setters before him, Whisenant was wrong.  Our Lord said no one would be able to predict the time of the second coming.  We must always be ready. -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).




A.   He Comes!   Matt. 25:6-7

1.   They arose to meet Him!

a.   Perhaps a hint at the rapture!

b.   Only those who were ready would meet Him.

c.   Some were ready, some were not!


ILLUS:   You cannot repent too soon because you do not know how soon it may be too late. -- Sir Thomas Fuller, Christian Reader, Vol. 32, no. 5.


2.   The trumpet blast had awakened them … they knew the bridegroom had come!

a.   The call to come meet the bridegroom had been given and they all started to trim their lamps.

b.   5 of them however would soon discover they couldn’t go meet the bridegroom, their lamps were not prepared.


B.   Too Late!   Matt. 25:8-lOa

1.   Could not greet the bridegroom ... they weren't prepared and never met Him at his return – they were actually gone at His coming!

a.   We must be ready at all times!


ILLUS:   After church, where she had been taught about the Second Coming, a little girl was quizzing her mother.

   "Mommy, do you believe Jesus will come back?"


   "Could he come this week?"




   "Could he come in the next hour?"


   "In a few minutes?"

   "Yes, dear."

   "Mommy, would you comb my hair?" -- Don Hussong, East Wenatchee, Washington.  Leadership, Vol. 4, no. 3.


b.   We should be ready at a moment’s notice!


2.   You can't get in by knowing someone else who is saved or by being a relative of someone saved, only if you know the savior!

a.   "But my parents were Christians ..."

b.   "But I attended church with good Christians..."

3.   Note the foolish tried to make it by borrowing off the wise virgins and they couldn't, there is no other way in but by Christ!


C.   The Door Shut!   Matt. 25:10b-13

1.   It is final once He comes!  Matt. 25:10-13

a.   The door is shut before the 5 foolish virgins can return!

b.   While others cried to enter later they were all denied entrance!  Matt. 25:11

c.   Jesus’ response was poignant:  Mat 25:12 "But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.'"

d.   The door is not opened again once it was shut!

2.   Now the door is open, this is the time to be prepared!

3.   There is no second chance after Jesus' second coming, the time is now – you can’t get a “second opinion” after Christ comes!


ILLUS:    To start a discussion on core values, our youth pastor asked the teenagers: "What would you do if your doctor told you that you had only 24 hours to live?" The teens mentioned being with friends and family, and the discussion seemed headed in the right direction.  But it came undone when Jason, our 13-year-old, said, "I'd get a second opinion." -- Donna Spratt, Melfort, Saskatchewan.  Christian Reader, "Lite Fare."


a.   You can’t borrow or buy oil after the bridegroom arrives!

b.   You either have it when He arrives, or you don’t!


CONCLUSION:   Are you among the wise or foolish, are you preparing for His coming, is your light shining or are you living only for the moment?  Are you experiencing an oil shortage or oil glut?  He is coming again!!!