The Wise and the Foolish :: By Sean Gooding

Matthew 25:1-13

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6 ‘And at midnight a cry was heard: “Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!”

7 “Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, “No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.”

10 “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.”13 ‘Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.'”

Two events made me think of this passage this week. I had a conversation with a good friend of mine, and she mentioned that she was close to God. Immediately, the Holy Spirit encouraged me to ask her where she would go if she died and why. She told me she was a good person who did good things and that she was sure she would go to heaven. Over the next few minutes, I took the time to walk her through a Gospel Tract and show her the need to be saved, that she was an evil person like me, and that neither of us could do enough good things to satisfy God’s perfection. Thus, we needed Jesus who died in our place, the good for the evil, the perfect for the imperfect.

She took the tract, and I will check with her in a bit to see if she has any other questions. Then, I was listening to a ‘pastor’ talk about this parable; he was making the point that the problem was that the wise virgins refused to share their extra oil, and maybe if they did, then all of them could have gone into the Bridegroom. He obviously did not understand the lesson here.

The Bridegroom is Jesus. You and I are the virgins. The virgins are divided into two categories: the wise and the foolish. The oil represents the Holy Spirit. The wise virgins had the Holy Spirit, and the foolish ones did not. Those who had the Holy Spirit went to be with Jesus when he arrived to wed His bride, and the foolish ones did not get in; that’s it. The wise one COULD not share their oil, as one cannot share the Holy Spirit. Each person has to come to a recognition that he/she needs to be saved and that he/she cannot save themselves.

It is astonishing to me to hear how often the Bible is misquoted, misused, and simply lied about. Not long ago, I heard a ‘woman pastor’ tell her congregation that Lydia, of whom Paul spoke, may have been a lesbian. I could go on, but I do not have the time. Like my dear friend mentioned above, many people, like the foolish virgins, think that they do not need the Holy Spirit to enter God’s kingdom.

Many – yes, many – even in churches, think they do not need the oil, the Holy Spirit; they do not need the new birth (John 3:3); they do not need to be transformed (Romans 12:1-2); they do not need Jesus’ righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:20-21) to be saved.

“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

They are good enough, they think. Too many churches have watered down the Gospel. Yes, Jesus loves you enough to die for you, but you have to see your sinfulness, your utter depravity, and come to understand that your own righteousness is NOTHING before a Holy God. Have you done that?

Once I saw these people, I realized that there are simply too many not hearing the truth about sin, death, hell, and judgment. The same God who is LOVE is also a God of wrath. The same God who saves you because He loves you poured out His wrath on Jesus because of my sin and yours.

We are told in verse 13 to ‘watch’ because we do not know when Jesus is coming to get His bride. Make sure you have the Holy Spirit in you, the extra oil. Make sure your kids, family, friends, acquaintances, and church people have the extra oil. Too many think they are going to Heaven because they grew up in church, taught Sunday School, and even preached and did all manner of works to earn God’s favor. But salvation is by grace and grace alone. You and I can do nothing to earn salvation; all we can do is the sin that makes it needed. In 2 Peter 1:10, we are encouraged to,

“Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.”

God bless you,

Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church

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