September 25, 2015
Last week we talked about the ten virgins in Matthew 25. We dealt mostly with the five wise, their passion for the Bridegroom, and the oil of anointing that fed the flame of their love. There's more, and we'll come back to the five wise in a bit, but let's talk about the five foolish and why they were rejected when they came back after trying to "buy" more oil for their lamps. Here again is the parable as Jesus shared it.
Matthew 25:1-12: Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them 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. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 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 with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Once again, here is how the word in the Greek text defines the foolish virgins:
The Greek word, moros, brings to mind the English term, "moron," (and that IS where our English word comes from) which if frequently used colloquially to refer to someone who lacks intelligence, (e.g., an idiot) or someone who offends our sensibilities with totally illogical behavior. In fact the true definition of moros is:thoughtless, imprudent, without forethought or wisdom; empty, useless. J. H. Thayer captures the real essence of how this word occurs in the Word like this: one who thinks he can operate outside of God's wisdom; one who neglects and/or despises the sozo offered.
It is important to recognize that the foolish virgins were among those chosen for consideration among the Bride. There was real potential in them. They were beautiful to look upon. They showed passion. Their appearance was chaste and their behavior to this point had been discreet and prudent. So what happened?
(1) Like so many believers today, they became entangled with the affairs of this life. The Bridegroom delayed His coming. They got their focus on their own care, their livelihood and the ongoing events of each day. I believe that (and this is strictly an opinion) the Fear of Death overtook them. Why do I say that? The oil necessary to keep their lamps lit, their passion alive and burning, comes with a huge cost.
(2) That cost comes in the form of what we know as crushing. The picture of the oil in the Word -- both Old Testament and New Testament -- is an oil derived by a crushing process. Great pressure is applied. The Greek word for pressure is thlipsis. This is a word which Paul uses often in his letters. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul rejoices in the sufferings he is enduring, stating that there was a necessity for him (and us, by analogy) to gain the anointing of the Lord Jesus Christ by "filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions." (Colossians 1:24)
That word, "afflictions," in the Greek text is, thlipsis. This is the same word that Jesus used when He said, "These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
In Acts 14:21-22, we are told: And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Here again is the same picture. Get it? We MUST through much thlipsis enter into the Kingdom of God! The ten virgins absolutely HAD TO keep their lamps lit with that oil of anointing that comes through thlipsis.
That kind of pressure costs! The five wise virgins paid dearly for the oil that kept their lamps burning. They paid with false accusations against them. They paid with their reputations being sullied by "the accuser of the brethren." They paid with their lives being put in danger from time to time. They paid with the betrayal of friends and would-be believers who turned their back on them as being fanatics. Their devotion to their betrothed Bridegroom was treated as "over the edge."
There is one other thing that comes with paying the kind of price necessary for that anointing oil: revelation! John opens up the book of Revelation by declaring that it was "the Revelation of Jesus Christ." We'll talk more about this momentarily, but with the price that the five wise virgins paid, there came an ongoing and continuing revelation of their coming Bridegroom.
(3) The five foolish virgins simply could not endure that kind of thlipsis. They succumbed to the Fear of Death and to the Fear of Man. When faced with that kind of cost, when faced with the loss of friends and reputation, when faced with their lives being endangered and being put under attack, the crushing ceased. They stopped producing the oil necessary to keep the flame of their passion alive.
Consider again the definition of moros: thoughtless, imprudent, without forethought or wisdom; empty, useless. The five foolish virgins did not consider the costs, and did not weigh the benefits of paying the cost. They were imprudent. They were without forethought or wisdom.
(4) We looked at this last week, and here it is again. When the cry sounded, "Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him," the Greek text uses the term, kosmeo, to describe the virgins "trimming" their lamps. In fact, this term, kosmeo, literally means: to put in proper order, to decorate (both literally and figuratively), to garnish, to adorn.
The five foolish virgins were in disarray and sudden panic. No oil. No flame burning. They were in relative spiritual darkness. They had no revelation of the coming Bridegroom. The only thing they were aware of was that He was going to come. What He was coming for in a prepared Bride-to-be was lost in their consciousness. They were literally without the means to put themselves in proper order or to adorn themselves as a ready Bride.
(5) Here's the tragedy of this picture. By having NOT paid the cost to have the oil that would keep their flame alive, their actions demonstrated that they were empty and useless. It defies any kind of reason or rational thinking that they would have gone to the five wise virgins and said, "Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out." Duhhh ..... Riiiggghhhttt!! "Let us piggy-back on your anointing. Allow us to skate by without having paid the price."
The answer of the five wise was careful and judicious: Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Why of course! The irony in this statement is inescapable!
Consider what it cost them to have their oil. That oil was not available in the marketplace! It wasn't something one could go and spend money for and get across the counter. It was tantamount to Simon the Sorcerer's request to Peter. Remember? Acts 8 gives us the following picture.
Acts 8:5-24: Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city. But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.
And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
You see the picture, don't you? Simon, whose first stage is that of one who is by nature, and by occupation a deceiver and manipulator, is faced for the first time in his life with the real. We are told that he "believes and is baptized." There's just one problem. Simon may have accepted Jesus Christ as the long-awaited Messiah, and goes through water baptism, but the transformation of his character has not yet been changed.
Simon sees what happens to people when they are baptized in the Holy Spirit. He sees that an instant transformation occurs when Peter lays hands on people. What Simon fails to understand because he is so caught up in the past ways of his sorcery is that the gift of the Holy Spirit comes by yielding to Holy Spirit. The gift of Holy Spirit is NOT a commodity one can buy or sell. You CAN buy it, but NOT with money. You buy it with your surrender to Holy Spirit -- no matter the cost.
But Simon pulls a "foolish virgin" stunt and thinks he can buy the Holy Spirit. Riiiggghhhttt!! What Simon failed to realize is that the presence of God in Peter's life had cost him everything! There was no amount of money that could take the place of what Peter had paid in terms of his reputation, his persecution, having his life under continual threat, having been jailed for being a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, having lost friends, his occupation, etc., etc., etc.
What is it with some folks that they think God is for sale to the highest bidder? How do people come to the conclusion that the "gifts" of Holy Spirit are for sale? The gift comes at the discretion of the giver -- NOT the receiver!
In this instance -- and we return to the picture of the five foolish virgins -- the response of the five wise virgins to "go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves," has multiple facets. One might say that their response was a bit tongue-in-cheek since there was no way that oil was going to be purchased in the marketplace. On the other hand, it also signified that a place was still available to them in the Kingdom. The Bridegroom's response to them was this, "I know you not."
There are two words in the Greek text that clearly delineate what the Lord was saying. The first -- and this is the word Jesus used -- is the word, eido. The second word is, optanomai. The word, eido, indicates that He didn't have intimate knowledge of them -- that there was no ongoing personal relationship between the five foolish and Himself. The second word -- and this is NOT the word that Jesus uses -- is the word, optanomai, and it denotes the ability to see visibly, to see with one's eyes, to perceive by the seeing with the eye. You get the difference, I'm sure. There's a huge difference between simply seeing someone, and recognizing someone you see because you know them personally and have a real relationship together.
I may have taken this discussion down a bit of a rabbit trail, but my objective has been to make clear that a person can "get saved." They can be baptized in water. They can have their "fire insurance" taken care of, but that in no way denotes having a real, personal relationship -- an intimate, love relationship -- with the Lord Jesus Christ. In the natural realm, relationships are tested. Folks stick with each other through the good and the bad. They become inseparably linked together.
What Jesus was making clear through the telling of this parable was that He has a people who are inseparably linked to Him in a love relationship. They are folks who have paid the price of relationship. Their walk with God has been tested. They have responded -- not reacted -- to every test and trial positively. Their love for the Lord has only grown throughout the years.
This is a people -- a bridal company -- who are continually being filled with Holy Spirit because they continually give out that which is given. Their flame of passion burns brightly. No one who sees or knows them has any doubt where they stand. These are a people ready for the Glory of the Lord to be revealed.
And there's more next week.
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call takes place on Mondays at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). As of Monday, September 14th, our call-in number has changed to (712) 775-7035. The new Access Code is: 323859#. Our previous conference line experienced drop-outs and periodic audio quality issues, so this was a needed upgrade!
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (605) 562-3140, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you miss the live call, you can dial (605) 562-3149, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Blessings on you!
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