Matthew 25:1 "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. : Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.
This Lent I want to look at the Gospel of Matthew, the Kingdom of God, and the Parables of Jesus. As we begin, it is important that we remember a few things, for example, what is a parable? many of you learned that a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. And while that is true, what make a parable such a good story, is that it was something everyone could understand, things from everyday life, but unlike so much of life, this story stuck with you, and you kept thinking about it, it hooks you, and while your are hooked God works to change your heart.
And that brings us to the phrase, "the Kingdom of God". We donít know much about kings, and so it is sometimes hard for us to understand what the Kingdom of God is all about. Even in Jesus time, when everyone knew what a kingdom was, Jesus told parables to explain how God was at work re-establishing His rule over and among mankind. God at work re-establishing his rule over and among mankind - is exactly what the kingdom of God is all about.
At creation, God ruled over everything. Then there was a rebellion, a good angel rebelled against God and turned evil. That evil angel went to the man that God created, and tempted the man to rebel against God, this is how sin came into the world. Sin separated man from God. Man did not like being separated from God, man repented of his sin, and asked God to forgive him, and God promised to send a savior, to restore a right relationship between man and God, to forgive our sins, and to restore to us all that had been ours before sin came into the world.
So the Kingdom of God is a good thing, it is God at work working to undo all that we by sin have done. It is God at work, working to bring all things back to the place they were before there was sin. God at work, working to make all things perfect.
Jesus told a parable about 10 women waiting for something so important no one would want to miss it, a wedding feast. Everyone wanted to go, but not everyone would make it. Everyone could have made it, but half the women were foolish, they didnít prepare, they left something very important behind, and when they had gotten what they needed it was too late. The 5 foolish women had left their extra oil at home, in those days every home had oil, if it was not being used in the lamps, it was being used for many other things, like cooking. If you went out at night you always took some with you, even if you didnít need the lamp yet, you would latter.
Jesus told the parable, because he could see that some people were being careless about their salvation, they werenít acting responsibly. Jesus point is, that if salvation is something which is important, then you should be prepared, always. The way we are prepared, is to use all the things that God gives us wisely, .... for while we may laugh at people who pretend to be foolish, and while there may be a temptation to act foolishly, because it gives you attention; the important thing is that acting foolishly may endanger the things that are really most important.
10 people, 5 go to Heaven, 5 go to Hell. God wanted them all in heaven, but Satan tempted them and 5 acted foolishly and lost the salvation that comes to us in the blood of Jesus Christ, in which we have forgiveness.
What can we learn, well, the next time someone encourages you to act foolishly, look and see if it really isnít the devil, saying - put that salvation down for a while, have some fun, lets do something really bad, people will notice us then....
What can we say? We can ask whatís really important. If a little sin now, means an eternity of suffering..... If a little sin now, means we loose out on an irreplaceable treasure.... As Jesus said, what does it profit a man if he gain the whole world in exchange for his soul, for what can we give to get that soul back?
Jesus told this parable to call people to repentance, or perhaps we could say, to call them to get serious about their salvation, Satan is prowling, looking for souls to devour, donít become part of His meal, but rather join in the feast that Jesus has invited you to, with Him in heaven