If you are reading all of the parables in this book, you will probably be happy with what has been done. If you are not, well this is just the parable for you.
We all know the Parable of the Ten Virgins. Jesus said in Matthew 25 that ten virgins went out to wait for a bridegroom. Five of them didn’t take spare oil while the others had filled their lamps plus had spare oil in case the groom was delayed. This second five were wise because they had prepared themselves for a long wait. The story says that because the bride groom was delayed, all the virgins ended up going to sleep.
When the bridegroom finally came, the five wise ones lit their lamps with the spare oil and the five foolish ones, whose lamps had gone out begged them to give them some oil, but they replied: “No, go and buy some oil from the people who are selling it” (v.9b).
Meanwhile, the bridegroom picked up the five wise virgins and they went to the party. When the foolish ones returned from buying the oil, they were too late and had missed out on the festivities.
I have often heard sermons on this parable but I have failed to see the practical application. You need to focus your mind on Scripture to personally receive God’s message for you. The fact that all ten virgins had oil in their lamps tells me that all ten of these ladies were Christians. In the Bible oil signifies the Holy Spirit. Therefore all ten virgins were saved. Salvation can be likened to being pregnant. No woman can be a little bit pregnant – she is, or she is not! In the same way no one can be a little bit saved – you are, or you are not!
The Holy Spirit is not a commodity that you can dissect. He is a Divine Person; He is the third member of the Holy Trinity of God. He is equal to the Father and to Jesus Christ in every way. I have read somewhere, the Father is the Divine Executive, the Son is the Divine Architect and the Holy Spirit is the Divine Contractor. The Holy Spirit is also the author of the Old and New Testament and has all the characteristics of a “person”. He is not just a force or power that the Jehovah Witnesses will tell you. If the Holy Spirit is living in your life, He comes as a complete Holy Member of the Godhead. He is the Father’s gift to every born-again believer and He is the seal that we belong to God. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22says: “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”
The difference between a traditional church and a Pentecostal church is that a traditional church says that once you have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit then you are fully equipped to live a victorious Christian life. However, a Pentecostal church teaches that whilst you receive the presence of the Holy Spirit at salvation, there is such a thing as a second anointing of the Holy Spirit, called the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. When this occurs, the Christian is filled with various gifts of the Holy Spirit. This gives them the potential of doing amazing things like Jesus did on earth. This infilling is usually evidenced by the ability of speaking in tongues, but the main evidence of the infilling is that you will have an increased fervor for the things of God.
There is much confusion about this particular type of tongues. It’s to be used as a prayer language, whereas the “gift” of tongues is given by the Holy Spirit to be used publicly to give a prophecy to the church. Some Christians have the erroneous belief that God gives us our own prayer language without our co-operation. Yes, He gives us the words to say but He uses our vocal chords, our tongue and mouth. We have to surrender these to Him.
Whilst it is impossible for us to have only part of the Holy Spirit living in us, our personal “commitment” to the Holy Spirit’s leading can be partial. We may only allow Him to rule at certain times: our allegiance to Him can be divided! This is because we may want our old nature to be boss! Therefore, our joy and our preparedness for the Lord’s return will vary. That, I believe is the difference between these two groups of virgins: the wise virgins are fully committed to wait as long as necessary, while the others are not.
The parable of the Alert Servant and this parable are alike. The universal church is the “Bride” of Christ: it encompasses all denominations worldwide. Every person, whatever color, whatever background can be part of the Bride of Christ. The common denominator is the Holy Spirit at work in their hearts. There are no first or second class Christians. You either have Christ in you or Christ is still waiting at the door hoping to be invited in to fellowship with you. (Revelation 3:20).
At times in the past, the preaching of this parable didn’t ring true to me. I not only like to hear Scripture taught, but I also need to find a practical application to God’s word.
The Scriptures should give us meaning, purpose and direction in our day to day life. Therefore, if it’s possible to be a foolish Christian virgin, I want to be constantly alert for the bridegroom. It has been two thousand years now since Jesus physically ascended up into the clouds. When He comes back for His bride, he will return in like manner. How do I know? Acts 1:9-11 says: “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Jesus had just told His disciples not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for His Holy Spirit. He said in Acts 1:8 “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Earlier, in John 20:21-22 we read: “Jesus said to them, ‘Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.” This event happened after the resurrection of Christ and before He ascended into the clouds. The disciples received the Holy Spirit at that stage and later in the Book of Acts Chapter Two: they received the power of the Holy Spirit in a new anointing which enabled them to be no longer cowards, but to proclaim the risen Christ boldly to the Jews. Three thousand souls were converted to Christianity in just one day.
Christians are first to be witnesses in their own home and family, then, they are to be witnesses in their everyday area of contact. Lastly they are to be a witnessing tool to the ends of the earth. This is our mandate from God.
Jesus has delayed His return. In Chapter One I explained how He was going to return in the clouds and snatch up to Himself every world-wide born-again believer. He will come like a thief in the night or at an hour we do not expect. We are to be on constant alert.
“Behold, I tell you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.
We say that when someone dies, they are dead! But God says when a Christian dies, they are asleep! Remember the twelve year old girl who had died and Jesus told the mourners that she was not dead, that she was asleep. He said the same thing about His close friend, Lazarus when He was told that he had died a few days earlier. That is why when a Christian departs from this life, we know that death has lost its sting! Physical death becomes a triumphant door that allows our loved one to enjoy a glorious new life in heaven.
Many of the parables share a common theme. Our responsibility until the Master returns is to be about God’s Kingdom business. So that when He finally comes back for us He will say “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter my Father’s kingdom which has been prepared for you since the foundation of the earth.”
Another common theme in the parables is that some people were given things they didn’t use. The man with the one talent did not invest it, the person who had opportunity to help the poor and the needy did not help them, although he had means to do so. Jesus would not judge you for being a goat if you did not have the means to help another person. So, could it be that the foolish virgins are people who are saved, but have no abundance to give to others.
Could it be that missing out in the wedding supper actually means missing out on the fullness of the anointing presence of Jesus Christ? Could it be that some Christians are happy and satisfied, walking around in the presence of the Lord, full of joy just like a true bride is with her groom, while other Christians are walking around depressed and sad, not living a life of joy and happiness that they were called for?
I read in a book about an atheist who said he did not want to become a Christian because most Christians seem to him like people who have a headache that they can’t shake off! They don’t have the Holy Spirit bubbling up with joy, peace and security within them. It didn’t look as though they have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Could it be that the foolish virgins are people who are not experiencing the fullness of Jesus Christ? Someone in that situation certainly is not an answer to a person who is unsaved. They certainly could not illuminate light, which is what we are called to be and do in this world.
The perfect Christian life is to have enough joy, security, peace and love overflowing us that we can share it with a brother who is not doing too well. It is good for the Holy Spirit to have access to all our life so that we can be a source of encouragement to others.
A wiser virgin would have been one that had enough oil to share, and so therefore, even if you are experiencing the joy and the fullness of the Lord in your relationship with Him and you are in love, the parable of the Sheep and the Goats and the parable of the Wise Virgins will encourage you to have enough oil to share with the brothers and sisters who are suffering.
Do I sound like a person who has experienced a lot of sadness and depression? Truly I have been one. I suffer from mental illness and depression and I have been wrongly judged by others. Still, it gives me tremendous joy to do what I am called to do, to walk in the gifts that God has given me, and it supplies me with enough joy to overflow into other people’s lives and encourage them.
Jesus came to this earth and was so filled with the Holy Spirit, that he to healed people; He encouraged them and taught them to share His ways with others. He went away but He has promised to return. If there is something you learn from this parable know this: we all need to be surrendered to the Holy Spirit so that His peace and power overflows onto others.
A question we must ask ourselves is this: as Christians we have the Holy Spirit but does He have all of us!
God bless you.