“Then the Kingdom of Heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. ‘And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming, go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 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.’ 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. ‘Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’’”
Hello everyone. How are you today? Today’s Scripture passage records that there were five wise virgins and five foolish virgins who went out to meet the bridegroom. Foolish virgins asked the wise virgins to share the oil with them because their lamps were going out. The wise virgins replied, “No, lest there should not be enough for us and you, but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.” The bridegroom came while the foolish virgins went out to buy the oil, and the wise virgins that prepared the oil in their vessels were allowed to go with him into the wedding, and the door was then firmly shut. The foolish virgins then returned back and said, “Lord, Lord, open the door for us!” But the Lord answered, “Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.” This is the main content of this passage.
In Christianity today there are two kinds of faith: A foolish faith and a wise faith. There are the foolish religious people in Christianity, and they are people who believe in Christianity as a religion. Whether Jesus has wiped away all the sins of the world or not is not of much interest to them. Rather, they just diligently do whatever their passion leads them to do. It is hard to deal with these people who just sit there and patronize us. Here in this story the foolish virgins are diligently doing their best, but the Lord who is really the bridegroom, had already arrived. But even then, those foolish virgins were still making a fuss to purchase the oil.
Amongst many Christians today, there are those who bounce around like a spiritual butterflies going to this prayer center and that one, this Bible conference and that one, and each and every revival meeting because they desire to be filled with religious passion. When they attend a revival meeting, they pound on the floor, clap their hands, create all kinds of commotion, sticking out their heads so that anyone in the meeting can pray with them, by laying on of hands. These people even go to the extreme measures by going deep into dark caves, kneeling on hard rocks, and praying out aloud from the top of their voices before God.
Ten virgins in today’s Scripture passage illustrate people within Christianity who believe in Jesus just on the surface. Who were these virgins waiting for? They were all waiting for Jesus, their bridegroom. They had to prepare something while they were waiting for their bridegroom. They had to prepare oil along with the lamps. If you pour oil into a lamp, without spilling and light a flame, the wick along with the oil would burn causing a light. As the wick sucks up the oil, the flame on the wick will burn the oil. Like this we ensure the flame will not go out, and the lamp illuminates brightly. But if you should light the wick in a lamp that does not have oil, the flame just lights up once and then goes out again immediately. People within Christianity who believe in Jesus and follow Him as a tradition and or a religion are just like this. It is because they do not have the Holy Spirit residing in their hearts, as a result they need to change the wick often times.
This is especially true for those religious fanatics who believe in Christianity ‘as a religion’ burn up plenty of wicks everyday. When the wick is all burned up and charred, they turn up the wick and burn them once, twice, three times, four times, five times, and so on, continuously. For example, if the wick is 20cm long and we burn 1cm of it each day, we would burn up the wick in just 20 days. Thus we will need to get a new wick and replace it after the 20cm long wick has burned up. And then you will be able to burn it up for another 20 days with the new wick and so on. They will have to change the wick at regular intervals because by doing this they will be burning it up at least seven times a week, this would include early morning prayer meetings, overnight prayer meetings, mid week worship services, Friday night worship services, Sunday morning worship services, and Sunday evening worship services. They will have to labor and change the wick so many times.
People who believe in Christianity as ‘a religionist’ go to church regularly; they also go to prayer centers whenever they are bored and to prayer meetings about once a month or once every three months. If they do not go to these meetings, they insist that they must go to revival meetings or to some other religious meeting. They become rather irritated and cannot bear the frustration any longer when they are unable do these things, this is because their wicks have burned up and the flame which cannot give light has gone out. They have to burn it up again and again because their passion has gone cold, the emotion has disappeared, and the stimulating feelings have also died. They have to continually find new wicks for their lamps to burn up again.
That is the reason why they go to these emotionally filled meetings, get filled with new wicks for their emotions, return back to their respective churches, and burn them up again during worship services and prayer meetings, saying “Lord, I believe in You.” These types of Christians are like those who live only for the joy of the moment ‘by burning these wicks’. These are they who only seek the fulfillment of their emotions rather than that of God’s Word, and because of this tragic situation they will soon meet a religious impostor. This impostor will likely be a thief, or a robber, or a swindler and in the process lose everything they have.
Those Who Are Filled with Religious Passion Will Be Forbidden to Enter the Lord’s Kingdom
Those foolish virgins in today’s Scripture passage are like that. In this passage of scripture we see ‘Jesus the bridegroom’ has finally arrived, but they asked the wise virgins to share the oil because their lamps were going out. Is it possible to cut up the Holy Spirit within us ‘the truly born-again’ and share Him with other people like cookies? This is not possible. That is why the foolish virgins went out to purchase oil even on the day that their bridegroom was about to return. People who believe in Jesus today are chasing up their emotions even until up to the day of the Lord’s return. This is what the Lord is telling everybody.
If we should go to church, our first priority is to receive the remission of sin and receive the blessing of being born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Then as the result of receiving this awesome salvation, would there be oil inside our hearts or not? Yes there would be. In Scripture, the word ‘oil’ represents the Holy Spirit. Oil is the Holy Spirit that dwells inside a person who has received the remission of sin. The Holy Spirit dwells naturally inside those who have received the remission of sin, but the foolish people just go on changing the wick everyday because they do not have the oil even though they have been going to church for years.
In today’s Scripture passage it shows that people who have ‘just religious passion’ will be forbidden to enter the Kingdom of God when the Lord returns. Those who believe in Jesus should realize their status and become a wise virgin before God. Foolish virgins do not receive the remission of sins, and they do not have a firm conviction of their salvation. The Holy Spirit cannot come into their hearts due to sin that is embedded there, and the Lord will cast them away on the final day declaring, “I do not know you.” That is why these people need to prepare the oil as a matter of urgency before that day arrives. They need to prepare for it as soon as possible or immediately when they hear this gospel preached. Who knows when the Lord will arrive, and what shame it will be if they are not prepared for His coming.
I must be honest and say that at times, living in this world is really not that enjoyable whether you have received the remission of sin or not. There are times when this life can become very wearisome, difficult, boring, and irritating. But despite these feelings, in verse 10 we read that the wise people have already prepared the oil. This means that they have prepared the oil beforehand. That is why they were eventually allowed to go inside into the wedding, that being, the Kingdom of Heaven. Then if is so, let us look through the Scriptures now and see how we should prepare the oil, that being the Holy Spirit.
Wise Faith Is the Faith That Has the Oil
You need to prepare the oil like the wise virgins who were waiting for the bridegroom. The Holy Spirit is God; it is He who dwells inside a person after one receives the remission of sin. Then how are the sins inside a person’s heart removed? How can a person be born-again through the water and the Spirit? I will speak to you about this today. Today, I wish to speak about the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
In Matthew 3:13-17, we can see John the Baptist baptizing Jesus: “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and are you coming to me?’ But Jesus answered and said to him, and then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”
We can see here, that when Jesus came to be baptized by John the Baptist, a descendant of the High Priest Aaron, born 6 months before Jesus. John the Baptist recognized Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, and at first, refused to baptize Him. So, Jesus commanded John the Baptist, saying, “Permit it to be so now. You John shall baptize me, and there is one reason why you shall baptize me. It is for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Here, “righteousness” means “justness, Godly justice,” and “all” means “every, whole.” And “for thus” speaks about Jesus taking upon Himself the sins of the entire humanity by being baptized by John the Baptist. John the Baptist baptized Jesus to wipe away all the sins of humanity. Jesus received the baptism to bear all the sins of the world.
The baptism here is also called the baptism by immersion. It means the same thing. Baptism by immersion implies transferring of sin by the laying on of hands and dying in the water, and the baptism of Jesus means Jesus receiving all the sins of humanity and washing away our sins by the laying on of hands. So we see the baptism and the laying on of hands are used to mean almost the same thing. So like this Jesus received the baptism, which is the most proper method of fulfilling all the righteousness, to save every human being, from Adam to all the people until the end of the earth, from all the sins of their hearts and from all the sins that they actually commit in their lifetime.
Concerning John the Baptist
Then who is this John the Baptist who baptized Jesus? To recognize Jesus as the Savior and believe in Him, we need to understand the witness of John the Baptist. Through the witnesses in the Scriptures we are now going to share, we will see that John the Baptist is an important person who cannot be dealt with lightly in our discussion of this important matter of our salvation. We need to fully recognize that John the Baptist was the greatest of those born to women (Matthew 11:11). He is the representative of this entire human creation. God by His great plan to save mankind sent John the Baptist to this world 6 months prior to Jesus. Scriptures tell us that John the Baptist was the servant of God who was spoken about and prophesied about by the High Priest Zechariah, and he was also a descendant of Aaron (Luke 1:5). Let us now verify this through the Word that John the Baptist was actually the servant of God and not something that I have just pulled out of my mind, lets us read it together.
Matthew 11:11 says, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he,” and verse 14 says, “And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.” Also, Malachi 4:5-6 in the Old Testament says, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”
We can also see in the Book of Malachi, that there was a prior promise from God that He made to mankind through this prophet Malachi at the end of the Old Testament, and it was that of Him sending Elijah. However the words in the bible tell us that the prophet Elijah was already caught away. It was long after he had gone up to meet the Lord, riding in the chariot of fire. In fact Elijah had already been raptured whilst still alive. God said that He would again send this very Elijah. It would be easy for some people to think, “God is sending him back to the earth again because Elijah had not died a natural death in this world.”
Matthew 11:14 clearly tells us, “And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.” God clearly testifies that John the Baptist is in fact the prophet Elijah. Also in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 11 verse 11 states, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.” Furthermore in verses 12 through to 13 we read, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” This means that the Old Testament really ends with John the Baptist. Then where does the New Testament begin and end? The New Testament begins with the first coming of Jesus, and it ends with Jesus returning back to this earth again.
The Matthew 11:12 states, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force,” and “take it by force” implies “destruction by a violent force” and “robbery by a violent force” in the original text. It is easy for people to think that a humble and upright person shall enter the Kingdom of God, and not someone who is of a violent nature. But we need to always keep in mind that the Scriptures differ from our thinking. Here for example the meaning of the Scripture is very clear, and there is nothing wrong with it.
If this be the case then, we cannot help but ask the following question: “What did John the Baptist do that was so important that would allow us enter the Kingdom of God through faith from that point onwards?” This is very important for you to understand fully, it means that anyone who firmly believes in what ‘John the Baptist did on this earth’ and what ‘Jesus has done’ shall receive the remission of sin by faith and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
However we should know that those who believe ‘in Jesus as a religion’ would be forbidden to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Those who are ‘drunk with religion’ will not be allowed to enter to the Kingdom of Heaven. All what they are really about is to constantly feed their emotions, and they try by doing these things to satisfy their thoughts and feelings. They believe in Jesus simply as a religion, like Confucianism or Buddhism.
Therefore they are just pretending to be humble and upright, and on top of this continue with their usual prayers of repentance, mountain retreat prayers, tithing, and volunteer services. They refuse to accept what John the Baptist had done in accordance with scripture, by coming as he did by ‘the way of righteousness’ and including the work that Jesus had accomplished. By these stubborn and disobedient acts, they throw away God’s will for their very lives all by themselves (Matthew 21:32, Luke 7:30). They are smug and satisfied with the fullness of themselves like drinking from a glass of drink called emotion, just like people who are intoxicated with alcohol. I could talk much about this in detail. But time is short, what I am saying is that a religious person does not accept what John the Baptist had done by his coming, which is ‘the way of righteousness’.
John the Baptist participated in the salvation work of Jesus that has fulfilled all righteousness by baptizing of Jesus, and by doing this he transferred all the sins of humanity onto Jesus. The word “righteous” mentioned here, means God’s righteousness. There are two kinds of “righteousness.” One of them is human righteousness, and it means upright living and human goodness of protecting and caring for others. The other is God’s righteousness. When all the people of this world had fallen into sin by disobeying His commands, it was through God’s goodness and kindness towards us that has saved all humanity, by making them sinless through having His own Son take on all the sins of the world. God’s righteousness is the true righteousness.
If John the Baptist had not accomplished this work of transferring all the sins of humanity onto Jesus by baptizing Him, we would never have now become sinless people. If this were the case it would mean that we would still have sins embedded within our hearts, no matter how much we strive to believe in Jesus. That is why it is so important for us to know, that Jesus received the baptism to wash away all our sins. When we still have sins from God’s point of view, He does not just overlook this situation and say, “All your sins are washed away” or “You are the righteous.” This is because God is a just God, and it is impossible for Him to lie.
God transferred all the sins of humanity onto Jesus through this just method of baptizing Jesus through John the Baptist whom He had chosen beforehand as the representative of all humanity. All the worlds’ sins have been perfectly washed away by His baptism, and the result is that we no longer have sin in our hearts. The Lord by this righteous Act has perfectly washed away all the sins of the world. After being baptized, Jesus became the sacrificial Lamb of God who carried the sins of all humanity to the Cross-as the result of one mans disobedience, (Rom 5:19).
We should fully understand these important words in John 1:29, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” This is the testimony that John the Baptist shared with his disciples and with everyone in the world two days after he had baptized Jesus in the Jordan River.
Twelve Kinds of Sin
At this time I would like to pause and ask all of you whether or not you admit before God’s Word that all people, including yourselves were born with sin and are creatures that are unable to help but live committing sins. Mark 7 states, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:21-23).
Then if we were reading correctly, would you agree that these kinds of sins are your hearts? Oh Yes indeed. Do you have lust in your heart? Yes. Do you have a heart of thievery? Yes. Is there anyone who has looked at another person’s possession and not coveted after it? No. Is there anyone who has never deceived anybody? No. Is there anyone who has had thoughts of hatred toward another person and maybe killing that person? Yes. Have you ever had thoughts of disobeying your parents and interfering with their lives? Yes. In your heart, and this is a big one, has there been any wickedness that desires to kill your parents and children in order to be the benefactors of their insurance payout? Yes, I am sure there is. Please understand and believe in the biblical truth that we are all people who have been born with these twelve kinds of sin before God.
God says in Isaiah 1:4 that we all are “a brood of evildoers,” and we live our whole life spilling out the twelve kinds of sin as stated in this verse. We must therefore be truthful about ourselves before God’s Word. Have you sinned while living in this life from the time you were born until the age of 10? Yes. Are those sins included in the sins of the world that were transferred over to Jesus when He was baptized? Yes. Then, have you sinned from age 10 to 30? Yes. Those are the sins of the world too. Have they been transferred over to Jesus too? Yes. The sins you have committed in this world from the age 10 to 30 have been transferred over to Jesus also. Sins you have committed from the age 40 to 70 are also the sins of the world. All those sins have been transferred over as well.
Because Jesus has taken upon Himself all the sins of humanity at once through the most appropriate method of receiving His baptism, God now gives salvation to those who believe in Jesus as their Savior. All our sins have been transferred to Jesus through the baptism received by John the Baptist in the form of ‘the laying on of hands’, and Jesus has given us new life by receiving the judgment of death, being nailed to the Cross, shedding His blood, dying on the Cross, defeating death, and being resurrected from the dead.
Many religious Christians today believe very strongly that they receive the remission of their sins whenever they offer ‘those miserable’ prayers of repentance. We need to stop here for a while and think about this, if Jesus is forgiving us each and every time we offer those prayers of repentances, then He has not completely forgiven all the sins of the world as yet. In fact there are still so many sins people have yet to commit. People are creatures that cannot help themselves but commit sins until the day they pass away.
Therefore by having this false belief, all the righteousness has as yet not been fulfilled for those who try to get rid of their sins through this method. They do not believe in the fact that Jesus has taken upon Himself all the sins of the world. The Apostle Paul speaks about these very people in the Book of Romans; these people were ignorant of the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own righteousness (Romans 10:3).
God’s Will Aims at the Remission of Our Sins
What do these last words uttered by the Lord “It is finished” mean before dying on the Cross? These words are very powerful and have the meaning that Jesus had fulfilled all righteousness by receiving the full judgment and the punishment for all the sins of the world, when He took upon Himself through the baptism He received from John the Baptist. Jesus received the most appropriate method of baptism that God the Father had planned and He went down under the waters of the Jordan River. Jesus’ by submerging Himself into these waters represents His death and when He came out of the water, this represents His resurrection and thereby bringing us believers back to life. What did God the Father say when Jesus was baptized? “Then a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” This is the witness of God the Father, and it has the meaning, “The One who has in the most appropriately way had the sins of the world transferred over to Him, He is My Son in whom I am well pleased, and the One who obeys the Father.”
We shall now ponder on the Word taking our reading from the Gospel of Matthew chapter 7, which states, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Is there any Christian in this world who follows the Father’s will perfectly? There will not be anyone who would be able to follow the will of God if it means obeying the Law through works. All human beings are frail and weak just like Peter, and we cannot do all these things according to God’s will through works. Everyone including Peter, having the weak flesh, would in their hearts betray Jesus countless times, and would also live a life of continuously turning back from their sin.
But what is important is that the Lord has taken upon Himself all these sins and weaknesses. Through His baptism, Jesus has taken upon Himself all our sins, as well as all of humanity, which have, and still to commit in this world. That is why not one of Jesus’ twelve disciples and including Apostle Paul had ever offered these prayers of repentance because of their sins. They had sometimes turned back from their wrongdoings after having realized “This is not the right thing to do.” But there is no evidence that they had cried out and said, “Lord, please forgive my sin,” like those religious fanatics who do this whenever they get together, because they still have sins embedded in their hearts and are very afraid of going to hell.
Jesus has received the most appropriate baptism for all humanity. It was God’s will that Jesus came to this earth as a lowly person according to the command of God the Father, He had received all the sins of humanity at once through His baptism, by ‘the laying on of hands’ which John the Baptist performed in the Jordan River, and He then died on the Cross to terminate the judgment of sin. Jesus has saved us perfectly by obeying the will of God the Father, and now we are able to go to the Kingdom of Heaven by believing in Jesus the Savior with all our hearts according to the will of God the Father. We are now able to go to the Kingdom of Heaven by faith. This is what it means in Matthew 7, that we do God’s will and enter into God’s grace by faith, and not by works.
The gospel of John Chapter 1, verses 6-7 states, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came as a witness, to bear witness of that Light, that through him all men might believe.” John the Baptist was the one who came to witness about Jesus. John the Baptist was the High Priest who had transferred all the sins of humanity over to Jesus. John the Baptist is still continuing to witness to the entire humanity these powerful words, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) Those of us who believe in this can meet Jesus Christ through the witness of John the Baptist. In other words, we realize that “All our sins have been transferred over to Jesus” this is because John the Baptist has witnessed to us about Him.
We would not have been able to believe in Jesus as our Savior perfectly, if we had not had the testimony of John the Baptist who witnessed about Jesus Christ, the true Light. As the result of John the Baptist, we are now able to get to know Jesus perfectly because of His baptism and also the Word of witness from John the Baptist. Jesus and John the Baptist have perfectly completed the work of the salvation for us so that we may never be considered as a sinner before God, even if we do commit sins in the future.
Preach the Gospel
The baptism that Jesus had received at the beginning of His public life was the beginning of the work of our salvation. Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you” (John 8:11), and this means “You do not have sin because I have even taken this sin of yours upon myself.” Jesus shared the gospel of the remission of sins for three years, like this example recorded in the bible; He shed His blood, died on the Cross for the judgment of sin and was resurrected on the third day, was lifted up to Heaven, thereby perfectly accomplishing our salvation. Those who believe in this gospel get to receive the remission of sins and become wise people of faith who have prepared the oil, that being the Holy Spirit, inside their hearts. We have come to meet Jesus through the witness of John the Baptist, and we have come to put on all righteousness by believing in all that He has done for our salvation.
Now as His righteous people, like the parable of the wise virgins awaiting the bridegroom, we shall likewise spread the blessed Word of being born again through the water and the Spirit to all people in this world for the rest of our lives with faith, and doing the will of God the Father. The Lord commands us, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2).