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. "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.' "But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. "Late the others also came. "Lord, Lord,' they said, "open the door for us!' "But he replied, "Truly I tell you, I don't know you.' - Matthew 25: 3-12 (NIV)
I am grieved when I look out across Christendom and see the falseness God has warned us about growing within the Body of Christ. The abandonment of sound doctrine for the tickling of our ears. The trading of eternal rewards for temporal pleasures. Cries of "what's the big deal" as discernment dies a horrible death. The attacks upon those who would stand in the gap and sound the alarm. The Bridegroom is coming! Do we truly understand the gravity of that statement? We all like to shout out - "come now Lord Jesus" - but are we ready? This is not a game beloved. There is no second chance once the Bridegroom returns. We cannot blame our church. We cannot blame our pastor. We cannot blame the parade of false teachers we followed on television. We will either be found in Christ or He will say that He never knew us. Not found in ministry. Not found in our purpose. Not found in our church attendance records, tithing history, or political votes taken. We will either be found in Christ or we will be found wanting.
So we come to the Parable of the Ten Virgins, given to us by our Lord and Savior to illustrate the importance of being truly prepared for the second coming. Let us unpack the verses to dig deeper into what God is saying to us today. Ten virgins went out to wait for the Bridegroom, who is representing Jesus in this story. Five were wise and five were foolish.
The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.
Oil is one of the representations of the Holy Spirit in the Bible. The foolish virgins had the lamp. They had the appearance of a relationship with Christ but no true power of God. Spurgeon describes it as follows:
They thought that, if they had the external, it would be quite enough. The secret store of oil, they judged to be unnecessary, because it would be unseen. They would employ one hand in carrying the lamp, but to occupy the other hand by holding the oil-flask seemed to them to be doing too much,-- giving themselves up too thoroughly to the work; so they "took their lamps, and took no oil with them." They might just as well have had no lamps at all.
They might as well have had no lamps at all! That is how useless dead religion is! That is how useless the show that masquerades as Pop-Christianity is today! They thought they had done enough. They held the lamp. They attended a church. So what if the doctrine wasn't quite right? So what if the whole Gospel wasn't preached? So what if they merely swept their sins under the rug instead of allowing the blood of Christ to wash them clean? What's the big deal? The big deal is they never gave themselves up thoroughly to the work. The big deal is that while they have all the trappings of religion, they have no relationship. Without the oil...they may as well have not bothered to bring the lamp at all.