Morris Cerullo, in a article appearing in DEEPER LIFE magazine, relates a speaking engagement he had at a meeting of the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship.When he arrived, he heard a man giving this testimony: “Last night I had a vision of the rapture. I saw the rapture take place and 70% of the ‘so-called church’ was left behind.”
Testifies Gerullo: “Now I couldn’t believe that. I was shook. He bothered me so much I could hardly talk that night. And, when I can’t talk, then I’m really bothered. I sputtered and stammered and couldn’t wait until I got home to my room. I went right down on my face before God and said, “Lord, did you hear what that man said? He’s a responsible man. He owns a million-dollar business. For a man to make a statement like that, he’s either got to be irresponsible or you have actually spoken to him.”
“Lord, I want to know,” prayed Cerullo. God spoke to his heart through the Word: “Is it not written that not everybody that cries ‘Lord, Lord’ will be received by Jesus when He comes?” He said: “Son, why do you err, not knowing my Scripture?”
One day the Lord spoke in a parable, saying: “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them; But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.”
We all know the story how all of the virgins slumbered and slept while waiting for the bridegroom. Finally, there came a lamp-trimming time as the hour of the returning bridegroom drew nearer.
“And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in to the marriage: and the door was shut.”
In our broadcast we seek to emphasize this scriptural aspect of readiness. Remember, “they that were ready” went into the marriage.
As A.A. Ronshausen, writing in the CONVENTION HERALD, observes: “Half were ready and went in, eligible for rapture. Half were not ready and faced a shut door.”
Dr. William F. Beirnes, writing in the MIDNIGHT CRY, says: “The parable of the wise and foolish virgins is a tragic illustration of the fact that many will not be ready when the Bridegroom comes in the air.’ Indeed, how sad.
Norman B. Jerome, writing in the GOSPEL HERALD, refers to this parable as “one of the most powerful passages of the New Testament to urge the readers to be ready for the return of the Bridegroom from glory for His bride, the church.”
Sarah Foulkes Moore of HERALD OF HIS COMING, writes: “Is it not solemn to contemplate that out of the ten expecting His coming, only five were ready…”
Mervin Chaplin, in a magazine article, notes that the question is not “Is Jesus coming back?” but “Will I be ready for His return?” ARE YOU READY?
Lehman Strauss says: “It is sad, but true, that all saints will not be ready to meet Christ when He comes for His Church.”
In Rev. 19:7 we read: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.”
Asks Strauss: “Why is it stated that she has made herself ready? Is not salvation entirely of grace apart from works?”
We proceed to read concerning the Lamb’s wife: “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (v.8)
Strauss again points out that the “fine linen” mentioned here represents the “righteous deeds” in contrast to the imputed righteousness received at conversion.
Beloved, may we see the importance of being ready when Jesus comes. How sad to miss the rapture! And yet, the evidence of Scripture is that at a point and time in the future there will be a mass exodus from this earth of Saints being raptured to Heaven. But the sad fact is, my friends, that half of those who expected to be included in the heavenly entourage of saints missed the event.
The late Dr. M. R. Dellaart warned: “The Bible speaks of those who will be ashamed at His appearing.” This warning, incidentally, is found in I John 2:28 where we read, “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”
What does it mean to “abide” in Christ? John goes on to explain, “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not.” (I John 3:6a) To be ashamed at Christ’s coming is to literally shrink back–unprepared for this all-glorious event. Stressed the late Dr. DeHaan, “Let me seriously warn you that God wants His people clean. The Lord Jesus will not tolerate a defiled bride …. God help us to examine ourselves and make ourselves ready now.”
Fred J. Meldau, in CHRISTIAN VICTORY magazine, says of the foolish virgins that they were “waiting” but not “watching.” He goes on to mention that “Too many today believe that the Lord is coming but they are not “watching;” that is, ‘watching for Him,’ seeking His will in their daily lives, and looking to Him for daily strength.”
Billy Graham has noted: “There is a shallowness, a surface-like quality to much of our Christianity today in America that cannot possibly delight the heart of God.” He notes concerning these ten virgins: “Outwardly they were identical. They were the same to the eye but not in the heart.” ….. “Five of them had an inward supply of oil and five of them did not.” He goes on to say, “There are thousands of professing Christians whose relationship to Christ is all external. They serve Christ with their lips but their hearts are far from him.”
May we heed this message today and make such necessary preparation as to be ready when our Lord appears.
In I Cor. 15:23, we read of those for whom our Lord is coming. The verse says: “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”
Let me ask this question, Are you Christ’s? Do you belong to Him? Do you give evidence that you belong to Him by the things you do, by the life you live?
In Galatians 5:24, we read: “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Did you hear it?
We say we are Christ’s–that we belong to Him. But have we evidenced this fact by dying to the lusts, the affections and appetites that defile the body and degrade the soul?
Again Billy Graham warns: “Unless you are emptied of self and filled with the Spirit, I fear for you when the coming world crisis begins.”
I must admit there is something I admire about today’s youth. Many place little value upon materialism. Whereas, we must have the latest of everything, many of these young people are satisfied to live apart from luxury. Yes, we may find fault with many of their crude ways of living, their blue denim clothing with shirttail hanging out, but as Pharisees who look on to criticize and point the finger of accusation, we are more guilty than they.
No wonder our Lord could say to the chief priests going through the ritual of the temple that “the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” “How can that be?” you might ask.
The fact is that when many have tried sex and suds (liquor) and sin and have found that it brings only heartache and headache, they are oftentimes ready for the only remedy that brings peace and comfort, and that is in knowing of the love of Jesus Christ Who was willing to die on the cross for our sins. So our Lord asks us to die to sin in order that we may live a full life for Him.
Have you crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts? Remember, the Apostle Paul says: “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
The word “affections” used here is a Greek word meaning one’s inner disposition. Our affections must needs be crucified. We cannot excuse our meanness, our selfishness, our carnality as traits of the old nature but must rather reckon it as dead and buried.
Then the word for “lust” here is the “outward expression of a desire or evil craving.”
How much lust there is in the world today. Many who say they are in love are really victims of lust with evil passions taking over in their minds. If the situation presented itself, they would commit acts they know to be wrong because they have allowed their mind to dwell upon their evil cravings.
This is why we need the Holy Spirit–to give victory over our lower nature and to give preeminence to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. No wonder we are commanded to “be filled with the Spirit” which simply means to be under the control of the Holy Spirit.
Concerning the five wise virgins, they had oil in their vessels with their lamps. Instead of only making a profession, calling themselves Christians, belonging to a church, being baptized and all the rest, they also knew of a time when they died to the affections and lusts of life and surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
No wonder the Scripture exhorts us to “follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14) Again we read: “For God hath not called us to uncleanness but unto holiness.” (I Thess. 4:7)
In a day of sensuality when every form of fleshly stimulation is seen–on billboards, on television, and even parading on our streets–how necessary to have the Holy Spirit abiding in His fullness.
Jude reminds us of those in the last times who are seen walking after their own ungodly lusts, sensual, having not the Spirit! (v. 18-19)
Did you hear it? This represents the foolish virgins without oil in their vessels, their lamps going out!
Hear me, my friend. Now is the time to have your need met. As in the world around us there is an oil crisis, so in the spiritual realm there is this lack of oil–symbol of God’s Holy Spirit.
Yet, these are the days of outpouring and God stands ready now to give you the best of Heaven’s wealth in the outpouring of His Spirit.
But don’t think for a moment that you can receive in your sinful, carnal state. God doesn’t cast pearls before swine. You must humble yourself, admit your sinfulness, acknowledge your wretchedness, and accept Christ as both Saviour and Lord to live for Him, come what may!
A wedding is in preparation! The table is prepared with the best of everything. The bridal party is being formed. By coming out from the crowd and identifying yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, you can be a part of that royal celebration.
The Bridegroom is coming. He is coming for a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing–a bride that is holy and pure.
With our hearts washed in the blood of Christ and our bodies temples of the indwelling Spirit of God, we can be in that wedding party.
Remember, concerning the wise virgins, it is said: “They that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.”
Be ye therefore ready also, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.