The Wise and Foolish Virgins Matthew 25:1-13

If you are a pastor or lay person who wants to use this to preach in church – that is why I posted it.  I don’t care about credit, I only care that God’s word is preached and Christ is glorified.  I pray He uses this sermon in a mighty way through you.  You have my permission to alter it and use it however God leads you.  God bless you in your ministry. You can bookmark this to check out the other free written sermons on my blog.

The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary says that this story was “dear to the early church”. The bridegroom was delayed and that was a comfort to those who thought Jesus was coming right back. The story was a comfort to those being persecuted for the name of Jesus.

A wedding party was one of the greatest of all festivities in a village of that time. Attending a wedding was more important than studying the Torah! The neighbor girls, the maidens, like all girls would be eager to be present. While a marriage festival would last several days, the high point of the wedding occurred when the bridegroom took the bride from her father’s house to her new home. It would commonly occur at night with countless torches and singing and/or instrumental music.

There was joy in a wedding and most weddings today that still rings true. Jesus said in effect, that the joy of a wedding is the proper sign of the kingdom of God. So when I say that the scribes were able to forsake their study of the holy books and in addition the bride and groom were permitted to be released from certain religious duties, it is a reminder that the gladness of Christ overwhelms customary religion. Sometimes I am guilty of grumbling, and especially of grumbling about the grumblers, and then I remind myself of my calling and the Holy Spirit within me does a work, and I get back to the joy that I find in Jesus. Yet for the life of me, I cannot understand miserable Christians. (and if this offends anyone reading or hearing this, that is undoubtedly a conviction from the Lord). The NIBC says, too many Christians make the mistake of thinking Jesus only prepares them for death. Jesus prepares you for life! He came that we may have life, and have it abundantly. The Amplified Bible puts John 10:10 this way: The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance!

The point of the parable is this: If you have not prepared ahead of time, you too will be late for the Kingdom of God, as the girls were too late for the party. The theme is preparedness – not being prepared for the worst, but being prepared for the best.

Preparedness is the crux of the story. What preparedness? What is the oil? It’s pretty obvious that the oil is a faith in and relationship with Jesus, fed by prayer and confirmed in an obedient life, and in spite of worldly circumstances, a joy filled life. Do not be robbed of the joy. Charles Spurgeon said, “ Psalm 20:5 – “I will rejoice in thy salvation.” While it becomes our own by an act of faith, it is not our own so that we can claim any merit or take any part of the glorying to ourselves. The only salvation that is worth being our own is that which is God’s. “I will rejoice in thy salvation.”

Spurgeon continues, “showing that it (salvation) was not a mere deliverance from wrath to come, but from the present wrath of God, and yet more essentially from sin, from the power of evil within us.” As Joel Osteen’s famous book title states, having the oil in your lamp truly is “Your Best Life Now”. And that is not an endorsement of the book, I have not read it. But there is something to the title. When you have Jesus and a relationship with Jesus, there is joy and peace.

Think about this: Both the wise and foolish were asleep – It is quite possible that the five with the oil slept because they were at peace about the Bridegroom, Jesus’ return. The other five slept because they were oblivious to the fact that they had no oil. Yet, they all would have appeared the same until d-day. Rev. William Stevens wrote, “The lamps represent the outward profession of religion. the oil in their lamps signifies the grace of God in their heart. And where the Spirit of Christ is not, there is an absence of the oil of grace by which one can not become “a burning and shining light”.

At midnight there was a cry.

Exodus 12:29-30: Now at midnight the LORD struck down every firstborn male in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on his throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner in the dungeon, as well as all the firstborn among the livestock. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.

Yet in this story, for those with the oil, at precisely the darkest hour, there is unspeakable joy. It seems like a contradiction – joy at midnight. When slumber was the deepest and when the strength of the day was spent, Jesus came. But when the cry sounds, there is no time for preparation.

Also from NIBC – For those with the oil in their lamps, The midnights of life are not the signs of doom: they are the hour when heaven comes to offer heaven’s joy for man’s weariness.

Those without the oil in their lamps are left in the darkness. And by the time they finally reach the hall, the door is shut.

Revelation 3:7-8 – “Write to the angel of the church in Philadelphia: “The Holy One, the True One, the One who has the key of David, who opens and no one will close, and closes and no one opens says: I know your works. Because you have limited strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name, look, I have placed before you an open door that no one is able to close.

Isaiah 22:22 NLT – When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them.

in the daylight, the wise and the unwise, those with the oil and those without the oil seem the same. Midnight is the test and the judgement. In vain they cry, “Lord, Lord, open to us!” And He said, “I know you not.” Likewise, false professers will fail to gain admittance to the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven. Lacking the oil of grace, they will be unable to join in the party of heaven. All the previous outward morality, all the church attending, all the good works of this life – All are worthless.

Once the midnight cry is heard, each person is on their own.

It is true his grace is free, offered as Isaiah 55:1 says, without money and without price. but it is only a gift to those who will receive it. And today is the day to receive it. Today is the day of salvation. Today, I can offer you some oil and you can receive it. It is not too late. The midnight cry is not yet. All you need to do is bring your pathetic lack and longing to the cross of Christ, yet nobody else can do that for you. At the judgement throne of the midnight cry, each person is alone. They can no longer share their oil with another. They can no longer receive oil from another. It will be too late. That is the tragedy of the closed door.

Matthew 7:21-23 – 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

What does watchfulness look like? We must watch the affections of our hearts. We must watch what we put in our minds. We must watch the desires of our souls. We must watch out for the snares the enemy sets at out feet – the wiles of the devil who lays in wait to deceive – and who tells us that our sin is acceptable to God and we do not need to repent. That is an empty lamp. Even the devil will hand you a lamp. But only God provides the oil.

I closed singing this song that I wrote to the tune of Blessed Assurance:

Partial Assurance Jesus is mine,

I said a prayer once, that suits me just fine.

Spend my time boating, or enjoying golf.

Or sleeping in on my only day off.

This is my story, this is my song.

Luuukewarm living all the week long.

This is my story, this is my song,

Jesus demands are much too, too strong.

Modest Assurance Jesus is mine

I go to church about half the time.

Give when I have it, if ever at all,

saving my money to go to the mall.

This is my story, this is my song.

Luuukewarm living all the week long.

This is my story, this is my song,

Jesus demands are much too, too strong.

Final assurance Jesus ain’t mine.

I took my last breath, it’s sort of sublime.

Standing before God, to hell I go.

Eternal torment, way down below.

This is my story, this is my song.

I missed my chance, now every day’s long.

Never ending, not able to please,

Satan’s enjoying this thousand degrees.

I know the ending is bad theology. Satan will be in hell right along with those who show up in the presence of the Bridegroom with no oil in their lamps.

Give an invitation to accept Jesus.