Matthew 25:1-12 - (Jesus said) "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, 'Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those virgins rose 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, 'Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But he answered, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Staying spiritually awake is crucial for believers. In His parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25, Jesus told His disciples to be ready. He capped it off with an urgent statement: "Watch." Jesus' words could not be more appropriate than for our generation. God is calling us to be spiritually alive and awake. Perhaps your faith was once vibrant and vigorous in its defense of the Gospel and in its eagerness to share the Good News with others. But now, your faith is lax, spiritually inactive. Be careful, friends.
If this is true for you, let the words of the apostle Paul speak to your heart. "Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires" (Romans 13:11-14).
You see, the living Word of God—Jesus Christ—is your one and only hope! God the Father sent His Son to die on the cross for you. And, when the Savior died, God the Father accepted His sacrifice as full and complete payment: a total pardon for all your sins. And today, God's Holy Spirit consoles your heart, assuring you that Jesus is at the throne of God, interceding on your behalf.
Be alert then, be watchful. Jesus will return like a thief in the night (see 1 Thessalonians 5:2).
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, keep us ever mindful of the grace we have received and the faith we now hold dear. Keep us alert and spiritually awake unto life everlasting. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
From "Don't Fall Asleep: Be on the Alert!" a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Wallace Schulz, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. We live in a fast-paced world. How do you stay in touch with current events—the internet, newspapers, television, radio? What is your favorite source of information? Why?
2. Do you ever get a foreboding sense that the end of the world is near? Does that make you more mindful of spiritual things?
3. Is there a way to convey to others the idea that the end could come at any time without standing on a soapbox and crying out, "The end is near!"? How would you do this?
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