25 May 2014 - Be Prepared

Be Prepared

Last Sunday assistant pastor Tope Ezobi gave a teaching based on Matthew 25:1-13 which tells the parable Jesus told his disciples of the 10 wise and foolish virgins.

In life we may have a few regrets and some experiences that we wish did not happen. But we learn from those experiences and set things in place so that they do not happen again. Preparation is planning, time management and putting guidelines in place. When you are preparing for something there is usually a deadline or a set date that you are working towards. Here in the story we are talking about a preparation that has eternal consequences with no set deadline. This puts you in a place where you must be prepared at all times. There are two key things with this preparation:
1. the place of destiny and purpose, which has not time limit
2. and the place of our heaven bound journey that also has no time limit.

No one knows when he or she will die or when Jesus Christ will come again. You also don’t know when you will fulfill the destiny that God has placed in you life. However, there is an assurance and certainty that that day will come. We were taught a few weeks ago from 2 Kings 3 that it is time to get ready; its time to dig for the waters and rains are coming.

Jesus related this parable to His disciples in that premise of preparation. In the story Jesus made the distinction between the 10 Virgins in saying that 5 were foolish and 5 were wise. They also had many similarities which are; their virginity, they all had lamps, oil and light. This shows how we may all seem similar since we all have the same anatomy within the human body, but there are unique difference in every single human being from our fingerprint to our ideology and experiences.

The 3 key requirements for entering the Kingdom of Heaven are; holiness, which is represented by the 10’s virginity. The second requirement that all 10 virgins had was the lamp that contained oil, which is symbolism of the anointing, fellowship or worship. The oil could also symbolise them being on a high spiritual level. And thirdly, they all had light, so that in the darkness they were able to see. The Word says, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” -Matthew 5:16, here we see that on the surface they were all ready for the kingdom, but only 5 of them were truly prepared.

Every person is unique in running their own race towards their destiny therefore you cannot look at your neighbour to determine your own race. This is why the other virgins were unwise because they thought that they could compare themselves to the 5 wise virgins by asking them for oil. Ephesians 5:15-16 say’s “see then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”. These virgins found themselves in the same platform but not getting the same results. This is a warning to us that what you do with your time will determine how far you go.

After waking up and hearing the call, the 5 foolish virgins realised that they did not have enough oil after trimming their lamps and so tried to ask the wise virgin’s for some of theirs but they refused. What we notice in the story is a situation where relationships cannot go further is when it comes to your own salvations and fulfilling your purpose. On judgment day your relationships don’t count for anything because you take account for only yourself and cannot take responsibility for someone else. The wise virgins could not share the oil because you cannot share salvation, the Bible say’s “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” because it is on you to pray, to seek God and to dig trenches.

It is also fair to say that you cannot be jealous of another who is running their own race or to quarrel with them. It is better to focus on your own race because there is no time to make comparisons between each other like who has the biggest ministry or the biggest house. These are the things that waste precious time when you should be focused and filling your lamp with oil to its fullest capacity and getting ready for the call of the Bridegroom.

Another reason for arguments and squabble amongst some is that they want men to recognise them, but this does not add to fulfilment of purpose. Matthew 6:3 say’s “don’t let your right hand see what your left hand is doing” so how much more what other people see. Where is the point in working so hard for man’s applause but yet being far from God with no fire burning.

In Ephesians 6:6-8 it reads “not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.” When you do a service of any kind it is not for your brothers or even your boss, it is for God.

People will forget how fast you did your last job but they will remember how well you did it. Ultimately we work for God so we must be the best and do the best that we can. The problem with the foolish virgins is that they did not put in their best or go the extra mile to make it to heaven. You must be completely prepared with your barrel of oil and as many lamps as you can because you cannot afford to say it’s just ok and to take things easy. Put in your best as God has fashioned you for a specific purpose and built you up through your experiences and the things you went through in life so that you can endure the future things to come, but He is saying to put you feet on the ground, dig, and be ready for the rains. Increase you capacity so that when the rain comes you will have enough oil.

So be prepared, because you don’t know when the call will come. It is easy take things for granted and become slack because we are used to a daily routine and things may not look like the bridegroom is coming. This where the 10 virgins found themselves, they had waited and waited and just fell asleep. You can come to a place where you are sleeping or relaxed, whether it is physically or spiritually. The virgins presumed that the bridegroom would not come at that time and slept. But those 5 foolish virgins actually could have used that time to go and buy more oil instead of sleeping and they may have come back right on time for the call. Instead they decided to sleep and by the time they were ready with their oil, it was too late for them. Many people have missed their destiny because of sleep or procrastination.

One of the mistakes that we make is that we assume that we know God and that God knows us and that we are in good relationship with Him. The scripture says “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.’” See here they had their lamps, the fire, and they were virgins, but God did not know them. The problem could be in their assumption, in their slumbering, or in missing the right time. Assess your life and examine where are you procrastinating, where are you sleeping, where in your life is there not enough oil? Its also important to identify which phase you are in, Is it the sleeping phase or have you just woken up and looking for fresh oil.

The final verse from the Matthew 25 story reads “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” Always be ready for the kingdom and judgment after death.

I encourage you to be prepared and keep watch for the bridegroom Jesus Christ is coming at anytime.

View Previous Articles
18 May 2014 – The Church is a Place of Prayer
11 May 2014 – Values and Standards
27 April 2014 – It’s Time to Dig
20 April 2014 – Easter Sunday: The Facts About Resurrection
13 April 2014 – Our God is Holy
30 March 2014 – Mothers Day: The Great Mothers of the Bible
27 March 2014 – Beware Of Rebellion
18 March 2014 – God That Helps His People
12 March 2014 – The 5 Key Concepts of the Bible
13 February 2014 – The Power of Discipleship
19 January 2014 – Benefits of Fasting
12 January 2014 – Do Christians Have to Fast?
24 November 2013 – What Kind of A Christian Are You?
17 November 2013 – How Much Do We Trust God
10 November 2013 – Remembrance Sunday
03 November 2013 – Unity and Diversity One Body