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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
December 9, 2018
The Necessity of Being Prepared
This past Thursday I taught through Ecclesiastes which presents the conclusion that life under the Sun apart from God is vanity – futile emptiness. Tragically, there is an increasing percentage of the population around the world and in our own nation that does live with a quest to find some sort of meaning to life apart from God. Their hope is to find a purpose in life in things such as materialism, hedonism (pursuit of pleasure), fame, power, position, or their false religion. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived (apart from Jesus), explored all of these areas by either personal experience or careful observation. In Ecclesiastes he succinctly removes the facade to expose the ultimate reality that each of these pursuits is chasing after the wind.
Materialism collapses because there is never enough and you can’t take it with you. Your treasury will be left to someone who will come after you, and they may be a fool. Hedonism does not satisfy because its pleasures are fleeting so there is a constant quest for the next experience. Fame fades and within a generation or two, you are not even remembered. Power and position are also transitory because there are always those seeking to replace you, and someone will eventually succeed even if it is at your death. Even worse for them, God will judge them for how they used their position and power in the treatment of others and fulfilling God’s commandments. That is a very sobering reminder to all the politicians that won their elections last month. Your ultimate accountability is to God, not the people that elected you.
False religions are the worst in the list because those pursuing one will often not recognize their error until they stand before God to be judged for worshiping false gods, for blasphemy against the true God, or for disobedience in the worship of the true God. That is why Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:23 are so sobering as He declares to those who called Him, Lord, Lord, and did all sorts of things in His name, “I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”
Those who figure these things out as Solomon did but still pursue life under the Sun apart from God become cynics or nihilistic. Without meaning and hope, they try to find ways to escape the pain of life. Some will do that in wild pursuits of what will at least fill the void for a moment or two. Others will turn to drugs or other means of “checking out” from reality, and some life itself through suicide. Solomon’s conclusion in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 is wisdom for all people and points the cynic and nihilist to the source of hope. 13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
I bring up Ecclesiastes this morning because it contrasts so well the difference between life under the SUN without God and life under the SON, the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:3 describes God’s “great mercy [which] has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Finding redemption and forgiveness by faith in Jesus gives the Christian meaning in life for both the present and the future. Salvation from sin adds transcendence to the purpose of life because it assures us of our eternal future. Because of that, as Titus 2:13 states, we are “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” We have confident assurance that Jesus, who is currently in heaven “preparing a dwelling place” for us (John 14:3) and making intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25), will one day return “coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him” (Revelation 1:7).
Review – Matthew 24
Over the last month we have been studying Matthew 24 and the various signs that Jesus states will indicate that His return to set up His kingdom on Earth is near. The Scripture passage describes the various signs that will be seen by the generation that is alive at the “beginning of birth pangs” of the Tribulation (Matthew 24:8). There will be wars and rumors of wars (6), famines and earthquakes in increasing number and severity (7), many who have professed Christ will become apostate in part because of the large number of false prophets (9-12), yet the gospel will be preached in the whole world (14). (See: The Beginnings of the Future Tribulation). This beginning period will be followed by the Abomination of Desolation (15) and a time of tribulation so great that nothing prior or after it will be equal to it (21). (See: The Great Tribulation). Immediately after those days of tribulation and prior to the Lord’s return, there will be various signs in the heavens described in verse 29, “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” (See: The Sign of His Coming). These events are also described in Revelation, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Zechariah and other prophecies.
The message of Matthew 24 is specifically for that generation which will see all those signs. That could occur in the current generation, or the Lord may tarry for generations to come, but either way, there is a strong message and warning here for us too. It is only after all these things occur that Jesus will return “with power and great glory.”
We believe that the Scriptures teach that true Christians will be removed from the earth prior to all these things. This event is often called “the rapture” after the Latin term used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 for dead in Christ and those that are alive and remain being “caught up together” to meet the Lord in the air, in the clouds, and so always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 5:9 states that God has not appointed His children to wrath, the Tribulation period, the 70th week of the prophecy in Daniel 9, is a time of God’s wrath being poured out on the earth. Based upon this verse and others we therefore conclude that the rapture occurs prior to or at the beginning of the Tribulation.
The Suddenness of His Coming
In the rest of Matthew 24, Jesus gives various parables and illustrations about His coming and the need to be prepared for it because “the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” Though there will be many signs pointing out that His coming is near and that Jesus is standing at the door ready to return as verse 33 describes, most people will pay no attention to the obvious. It will be just as in the days of Noah when the people continued to live their normal lives doing their normal activities even though the ark Noah was building was a constant reminder of the truth that Noah was proclaiming about God’s coming judgment. Most people alive during the Tribulation will ignore the signs, even though they will be so dramatic and obvious, and continue in their normal activities of life (vs. 37-39). So it will seem that Jesus’ coming is sudden.
It will be like when a friend of mine moved to North Carolina. He has been telling everyone for 17 years that he was planning to move. He had been out of work for several months and was actively pursuing several jobs in other states, yet when he announced that he got a job in North Carolina and had to be there in 10 days, everyone was shocked that it was “so sudden.” It was not sudden. The plans were announced many years before, and as the time got closer, the signs dramatically increased since he was actively looking for a job in another state, yet the declaration of intent and the signs were ignored. So it will be with Jesus’ return. The signs are ignored.
Matthew 24 and the parallel passages show that Jesus took great care to give ample warning concerning His return. Everyone should be able to discern that the season of His return has come upon them in the same manner that they can tell summer is coming by the fact that the trees have leafed out. That is the point of the parable of the fig tree in Matthew 24:32. Jesus warns over and over again to be prepared for His return stating specifically in Matthew 24:42, 44. “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.” And “For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” Ignoring the signs given will not be an excuse. The wicked will be taken away to judgment and cast into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew24: 40,41,50 cf. 22:13). (See: Are Your Ready for His Return?)
Judgment will come suddenly and catch the wicked off guard when Jesus returns. For whatever their reason, they either ignore the signs or think they will still have time to clean themselves up and be ready for Him. Many are living that way today. They think they can clean up their act and get right with God anytime they want, and they believe they have plenty of time. They put off the claims of Christ saying they will deal with them later after they have “sowed their wild oats” and enjoyed the pleasures of this world for a while. But as Paul states in Galatians 6:7-8, 7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Failure to heed God’s warnings is to risk certain destruction. No man knows the day that God will call him into account. Physical death is only one breath away for all of us. Matthew 24 gives general warnings to all, but Jesus changes the target of His warnings in chapter 25.
The Jewish Wedding Festival
Jesus gives two more parables before continuing His description of the judgment that will occur at His coming in 25:31. Both parables contain both a blessing and curse. Both parables are encouragements to those who are faithful and ready, and warnings to those who are not. This is not a new theme for Jesus. He has often given strong warnings to those that claim to be followers of God, but in reality are not. False professions of faith are serious, and even more so because of the self-deception so often a part of them. The first parable, our subject this morning, is set in the occasion of a Jewish wedding. Let me explain the normal events of such a wedding before we continue so that the parable will be more understandable.
A Jewish marriage of that time consisted of three parts. The first part being what we might call the marriage arrangement or the engagement. This was done between the fathers of the man and the woman who were to be married. Arranged marriages sound very strange and maybe even like a terrible thing to most Americans, yet actually they had a lot of positive aspects. As a pastor, I have seen so many disastrous marriages due to poor decisions by people caught up in the emotions of being “in love” – or more truthfully, “in lust,” that arranged marriages sound like a good idea to me! While there were some fathers that made arrangements for financial or social gain, most fathers were very considerate of the desires of their son or daughter too. In most cases, a son would ask his father to arrange to get a certain girl for him as a wife. That girl’s father would check out the young man to make sure he had the character qualities to be a good husband for his daughter, and he would also find out his daughter’s desires. The two fathers would then make an agreement as to what the dowry, obligations and arrangements would be.
The second event in the marriage process was the betrothal. This was a legal union brought about by the exchange of marriage vows between the bride and groom before family members and the dowry being given for the bride. The dowry was usually money, property, jewels or other valuable items that were to be a financial protection to the woman should her husband die. The couple that was betrothed was considered legally married, though they did not live together. The groom would then spend several months to a year preparing for his wife by establishing himself in his trade or farming and preparing a place for them to live. This could be quite an undertaking when you consider that most men married when they were 16 or 17 with 20 being the outside limit. For the betrothal to be broken, there had to be a legal divorce. If the groom died during the betrothal period, the bride was considered a widow. Unfaithfulness was adultery even though the marriage itself had not been consummated. That is the reason Matthew 1:19-20 records Joseph’s plan to divorce Mary when he found out she was with child and the angel appearing to Joseph to reveal the child was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
The third part of a marriage was the wedding feast. This is what Jesus is describing in this parable. The entire community could be involved in this celebration which could last even up to a week. The festivities began with a bridal procession. The groom and his friends would come to the bride’s house where she and her bridesmaids were waiting. The whole party would then parade through the streets proclaiming that the wedding feast was about to begin. They would eventually arrive at the groom’s home or other place prepared for them. These wedding processions were often at night with the wedding attendants carrying lamps or torches to light the way and to attract attention. At the end of the feast, the couple would be left alone for the first time to consummate the marriage and they would then live together from that point on.
The Parable – Matthew 25:1-13
“1 Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 And five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5 Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to met him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the prudent answered, saying, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. 11 And later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.
The Point of the Parable
The point of this parable, like many others, is often missed because so many people try to understand parables by making every little detail of it mean something. Allegorical interpreters give some mystical meaning to every facet which gives them much room for speculation and imagination as well as the appearance of being spiritually superior. Devotional writers tend to want to draw out some application from all the details. In this case, many details are left out: We are not told where the virgins fall asleep. We are not told who announces the grooms arrival. The bride is never mentioned. Such is the arrogance and foolishness of liberal commentators that they claim these details are left out because this is a clumsy and confused teaching effort of Jesus. Jesus does not include those details because they have no bearing on the point of His parable. He gives a succinct story that is as complete as it needs to be to clearly illustrate His point, which in this case, He states at the conclusion. Any interpretation of detail in this parable, or any other parable, must match the main point and not stretched to speculation and imagination.
The truth that Jesus uses this parable to illustrate is in keeping with the theme that He presented at the end of Matthew 24. In fact, notice that Jesus introduces it in verse 1 saying, “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps . . .” Jesus concludes the parable in verse 13 stating the same thing He said in 24:42 & 44. The parable illustrates the truth that Jesus is coming at a time when people do not expect Him. He will reward the righteous and judge sinners. People must be ready for Him when He comes, for if you are not ready, then you are too late.
The virgins, these young unmarried maidens, attend the bride according to Jewish custom. All seem to be alike at first. Each one had their lamp. In this case, it may have been a lamp attached to a pole to carry it. Some have suggested they had torches, but the word here is lampavdaV/ / lampadas, the word for lamp, not a torch. Each of the ten came for the same purpose of meeting the bridegroom in his procession. Jesus is using them as an illustration of the kingdom of heaven. They were waiting for the bridegroom the same way that the church awaits the return of Jesus, her espoused groom.
The outward appearance was the same, but inwardly they were different. Our text says five were foolish and five were prudent, frovnimoV / phronimos, having understanding resulting from insight and wisdom. In the same way, those professing to be the people of God have always been a mixture of foolish and prudent. In Israel, there were those who were circumcised demonstrating outward identity with God’s people, yet their hearts were far from God as stated in Isaiah 29:13, [They] honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote.” Those that truly belonged to God were “circumcised of heart” as described in Deuteronomy 10:16. That is what Paul refers to in Romans 9:6 when he states that “they are not all Israel who are from Israel.” There are physical descendants and there are spiritual descendants. In the church, there are tares among the wheat (Matthew13:25f), wolves among the shepherds (Acts 20:29), and false prophets among the true ones (2 Peter 2:1)
The significance of there being 10 virgins is simply that it was the customary number of bridesmaids. The foolish are mentioned first because the parable places the emphasis upon them and the consequences to them.
The foolishness of the first five is contrasted with the prudent from the beginning. They did not bring extra oil for their lamps while the wise do. No reason is indicated other than that they were foolish. Whether they were thinking oil would be provided for them or that they would have ample warning to go and purchase oil at the last minute if needed is unimportant to the story. The fact is in their foolishness they did not prepare properly. They were waiting to join the wedding procession without having enough oil for their lamps. The prudent, on the other hand, are properly prepared and ready with a flask of oil if needed.
Next, the story tells us that for some unknown reason the bridegroom was delaying. Speculation on why he was delaying adds nothing to the story. The ten bridesmaids knew that he would come that night, they just did not know at what hour.
From our perspective, Jesus has delayed a long time in returning, yet He knows exactly why. He does not have to explain it to us while we wait. He has given enough information to know that we are to be prepared and be ready for Him at whatever hour He does finally come.
The story continues that the ten maidens eventually grew drowsy and fell asleep. No condemnation is given to either the foolish or the wise for sleeping. What this detail does add to the text is that the foolish had more than ample time to prepare themselves. They found time to sleep during the delay, but they neglected to get the needed oil. Perhaps they had some false belief that when the time came they would get the needed oil from somewhere. Perhaps they were just procrastinators. Whatever the reason, they squandered time sleeping instead of making the necessary preparations. The five wise maids could rest quietly in confident assurance that when the bridegroom arrived, they were already ready.
Such is the case today for there are many that claim to be part of Christ’s church, part of Jesus’ body here on earth, but they are self deceived and quietly rest in the false assurance that they are prepared to meet Jesus. We would like to think that if they only knew their predicament they would prepare themselves quickly, but like the five foolish bridesmaids in the parable, it is obvious they are not ready, but they do not recognize it. Will not someone wake them up and point it out to them? I pray this message will do that for someone today.
As the ten are sleeping, suddenly the announcement comes – “Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” The moment has come at last. They grab their lamps and trim them ready to join the wedding procession and the festivities that will follow. Only then does the foolishness of the first five become apparent to all. They are low on oil and a wick without oil will not stay lit. Quickly they beg the wise to give them some of their oil, but they have only brought enough for their own needs. There is not enough to share. Hurry, the prudent say, go to the market quickly and buy some oil. Don’t delay any longer.
Is there any analogy here that we have to purchase our own salvation? No, Jesus has already purchased it for us. The call here is to come purchase in the manner described in Isaiah 55:1-7, “1 Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. 3 Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, according to the faithful mercies shown to David. 4 Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples, A leader and commander for the peoples. 5 Behold, you will call a nation you do not know, And a nation which knows you not will run to you, Because of the LORD your God, even the Holy One of Israel; for He has glorified you. 6 Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.
The five foolish maids left to purchase oil, but while they were gone the bridegroom arrived. The five wise virgins joined the wedding procession, arrived at the place of the wedding feast, and the doors were shut behind them.
The Tragedy of Self-Deception
Sometime later the five foolish virgins arrived. The text does not tell us whether they were able to purchase the oil or not, and in reality it would not matter at that point, for the wedding procession was over and neither the oil nor they were needed any longer. They called out and tried to get someone to open the door. They were respectful calling for the “lord” of the house, but their calling was ultimately in vain. The lord of the house came and answered their call, but it was too late. The door was shut, the wedding party had entered, and if they were supposed to have been part of it, why didn’t they arrive with it? “Truly I say to you, I do not know you.” There is nothing about you that indicates that you belong here.
That is the final tragedy of self-deception and why Jesus warns in verse 13, “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day or the hour.”
Are you on the alert? Are you prepared? True, the text is specific for the generation alive during the tribulation, but the principle still applies in the present. In terms of the events of Matthew 24, there is still time to make sure you are prepared for Jesus’ second coming, but in terms of when you will be called into account, all of us are just one heartbeat away from entering eternity. Sickness may be a sign that your time is near, but it only takes a simple accident or someone’s act of evil to kill you. Are you ready to stand before God the judge?
If you think you are ready, what is the basis for that belief? The five foolish virgins thought they were ready. The self-righteous Pharisees thought they were ready, but Jesus pronounced woes upon them. The preachers and miracle workers Jesus speaks of in Matthew 7:21-23 thought they were ready having prophesied, cast our demons and performed miracles in Jesus’ name, but Jesus said to them, “I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”
Are you trusting in your abilities or in Jesus? Is your faith in something you have done – prayed a prayer? walked an aisle? raised your hand? got baptized? took communion? Or is your faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ? Is your vessel empty like the lamps of the five foolish virgins or does the Holy Spirit dwell inside you? If you claim to have the Holy Spirit what evidence is there? Are you convicted of sin? Do you confess those sins? Are you living as a slave of sin or a slave of righteousness? Is your life changing to be conformed to the image of Christ? Can you rest in peace with the confidence of the five wise maidens, or is it the false assurance of the five who were foolish? Paul gives the challenge in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you – unless you fail the test? Are you ready? Can you past the test? Don’t be caught in the tragedy of unreadiness. If you are not ready or you do not know you are ready, talk with any of our church leaders and let us help you get ready – before it is too late.
Sermon Notes – 12/9/2018
The Necessity of Being Prepared – Matthew 25:1-13
Ecclesiastes: life under the Sun apart from God is ___________- futile emptiness
Solomon shows that materialism, hedonism, fame, power, position are all chasing the ___________
False religions are worse because the truth may not be recognized until ___________day
Without meaning to life, people seek to dull or escape the ___________of living
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 – Solomon’s conclusion points to the source of _________
Life under the Sun apart from God is a contrast to the hope and purpose to life under the ____________
Review – Matthew 24
Matthew 24:4-13 are the signs of the “beginning of birth pangs” – the ________part of the Tribulation
The ____________is marked by the Abomination of Desolation and the Great Tribulation (15-27)
The _______period is marked by signs in the heavens and Jesus’ physical return in the clouds (28-31)
The message of Matthew 24 is specifically to the generation alive at that time – but it warns ____________
Jesus returns for His church ___________to the Tribulation – 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 5:9
The Suddenness of His Coming
Like in the days of Noah, people will be ______________at Jesus’ return because they ignore the signs for it
Jesus took care to give ample _________about the future – the season will be known though the day will not
Most people live _____________for their eternal future thinking they have plenty of time to do it later
Galatians 6:7-8 – God is not mocked. You reap what you sow. __________God’s warnings risks destruction
The Jewish Wedding Festival
Jesus gives two __________in Matthew 25 to encourage the faithful and warn those who are not
False professions of faith are serious, and more so because _____________is so often a part of them
The _____________: the fathers arrange for a suitable bride or groom for their son or daughter
The _____________: a legal union in which the dowry is paid and the man prepares a home for his bride
The ________Feast: a celebration lasting up to a week in which the marriage is celebrated and consummated
The Parable – Matthew 25:1-13
The Point of the Parable
Allegorical, devotional and liberal methods ______________parables with speculation and imagination
Parables include all the details needed to make the point, and interpretation of them must _______that point
This parable _____________the same theme as Matthew 24:32-51 ending with the same warning (24:42,44)
The 10 virgins attend the bride according to Jewish ______, each with their lamp and waiting for the groom
Jesus is comparing them to the _______________of heaven (25:1) – the church waits for the return of Christ
5 were foolish & 5 were _________, frovnimoV / phronimos, having understanding from insight and wisdom
Five foolishly do not bring enough _______while the five prudent do so that they will be ready at any time
They know the groom will come that night, but they don’t know ______- and he delays for unknown reasons
Jesus’ return seems delayed, but He knows the ____________for waiting
Falling asleep is not condemned, but falling asleep while ________ being prepared is foolish
Resting quietly in self-deception and false assurance is __________
The bridegroom arrives, and the foolishness of the five now becomes apparent – they are _______________
Isaiah 53:1-7 – Salvation is purchased without money by repentance and ________in God and His promises
The five foolish maids __________the procession with the bridegroom because they are away getting oil
The Tragedy of Self-Deception
When the foolish virgins arrive at the wedding feast, they are ____________because they are not recognized
Jesus’ warning from the parable is to be on the ____, because you do not know the day or hour of His return
The text is specific to the Tribulation generation, but the warning applies now – __________comes suddenly
Many people think they are ready, but they are self-deceived for they are ________- Matthew 7:21-23
Trust in anything other than person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ will leave you ______________
Heed the challenge of Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:5 to ________yourself to see whether you are in the faith.
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times references are made to the maidens? 2) Discuss with your parents how to be prudent and not foolish while we anticipate Jesus’ return.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. If you have not read through the book of Ecclesiastes in a while, read it. What is life under the Sun apart from God? What have you seen in your own experience? By your own observations? How have you tried to apply the conclusion in 12:13-14 in your own life? How does the hope of Christians compare with the hope (or lack of it) among secularists? Summarize Matthew 24 in your own words? What will happen in the beginning of the period described? In what manner will Jesus return and what signs will occur just prior to that return? Why would Jesus’ return be sudden when many signs precede it? Why does Jesus say that it will be like the days of Noah at His coming? There were three periods in ancient Jewish weddings. What happened during the arrangement / engagement period? What was the significance of the betrothal? What was the marriage ceremony / feast like and how long could it last? Why are the common reasons for parables to be misinterpreted by theological liberals? Devotional writers? Those following allegorical methods? What is the proper way to interpret a parable? What is the main point of the parable about the 10 virgins? What characterized the foolishness of the five virgins and the prudence of the other five? How does that relate to foolishness or wisdom concerning anticipation of the kingdom of heaven? Explain salvation according to Isaiah 55:1-7. Why were the foolish virgins prevented from entering the wedding feast? What does that reveal about those who are unprepared for Jesus return? What are some of the ways a person can deceive themselves about whether they are a true Christian or not? What is the test(s) of faith (1 Cor. 13:5) that can assure you that you are saved and not self-deceived? Are your ready for death or Jesus’ return?
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