Wake Up & Be Ready
Topic: Alertness Scripture: Matthew 24:36– :51, Genesis 25:1– :13
Eyes Wide Open
Wake Up and Be Ready
The biggest misconception of the written word is the way that it was written.
All of it really but today we will focus on the gospels.
Letters (Q (quell) (source) (letters) were passing on from one place to another and from there Mark writes his gospel, then Matthew (85 AD) and then Luke.
Matthew’s gospel reads like a handbook for a mixed and universal church under persecution.
Matthew’s gospel was almost written like 5 sermons if you would and each discourse ends with “And when it came to pass when Jesus had finished.” “From then on Jesus began to…”
The number of discourses matches the first five books of the bible.
(Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers Deuteronomy)
Matthew is presenting Jesus as a greater Moses who wrote those first five books (and 10 commandments)
The last of those being the Olivet Discourse (chapters 24-25)
Chapters and verses were not inserted into the Greek manuscripts until the 16th century (though they had paragraph sections as early as the 4th century) and so these chapters would have been together.
Matthew 24:36 – Matthew 25:13
Here is what is going to happen…
36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son,[b] but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left.
Here is what you should do about it…
42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
Here is what happens… 45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant,[c] whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants[d] and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Biblically these verses always make me nervous.
You had it but you don’t have it anymore.
You followed but you don’t follow anymore.
You were awake and ready, but you aren’t anymore.
And so you are left with this feeling, there is a rapture, what you should do about it, and the realization that some will be ready, and some will not.
This is where it’s important to know that Jesus doesn’t stop because there is a new chapter in fact, he further elaborates in light of everything that was said in Matthew 24.
Basically, Jesus is like you might not have gotten it, so let me tell you a story…actually there will be a couple of stories but we will just be focusing on the one today. 25 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps[a] and went to meet the bridegroom.[b]
Notice that the virgins represent the visible church, that is, they represent those who profess to be Christians. They are going out to meet the Bridegroom. They are not those people who want nothing to do with the Bridegroom. But whether they represent those who are truly Christian we will see shortly.
2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept (He had just said to Stay Awake)
We fall asleep out of tiredness or out of distrust.
We fall asleep because we are disappointed or because we don’t want to see the truth of things.
We fall asleep because we are superficial.
We fall asleep because we have lost the courage to hold out a little longer.
We fall asleep because we are frustrated and see no breakthrough.
We have all slept at one time or another.
According to the parable, everyone falls asleep: both the wise virgins and the foolish ones. It is as if to say that falling asleep is inevitable, a fact of life. It is not avoiding sleep that differentiates the wise from the foolish.
There was grace for those who were sleeping, they was no grace for those who were not ready!
But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 1 Thessalonians 4:16 says, “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.”
The cry goes out: “He’s here! Go meet him! Let your lamps burn brightly as you go!” This is going to happen some day! And what we are about to see in the rest of this parable is a very sober warning to be ready.
7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 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.’ 10 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. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, (a sign of intimacy in Jewish literature) open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Make Yourself Ready
1. Have Oil
2. Trim Your Lamps
All ten had a job appointed for them to do. They were to be ready to welcome the Bridegroom with shining lights when he comes. That was their job, their calling—to be ready (v. 10). The means appointed for that calling were oil and lamps and wicks.
The way to be ready was to Wake Up and trim your lamps.
You have been appointed to shine when he comes.
You have been appointed to Give light when he comes.
But five of them did not take seriously their calling to give light, and they neglected the only means by which they could do what they were called to do.
They took no oil. They only had lamps.
Their job was to provide light, and they had lamps without oil.
Candles without wicks. Torches without fire. Light bulbs without electricity.
And Lamps without trimming.
It is important that we trim the wick. Do you know as a wick burns it collects gunk along the top. The charred, dead edge and oil (even if you have it or had it) can not reach there.
So what do you do? Trim your wick.
The secret is to Fill the oil and trim the wick.
Be filled with the Spirit and constantly in the Word so that your light shines bright.
There’s no new growth. It’s a slow slide.
Before we know it our brightness has faded and is compromised to a point where we are no longer ready. These are terrifying words at the end of the age when Jesus comes back. “I never knew you.” You were part of the church—one of the ten virgins—not part of the world.
You had lamps. Be Ready.
You carried the lamp. You kept it shiny.
Others looked at you and assumed you had life, faith, inner reality. And all you had was an empty lamp. And now, you are about to face one who sees right through your lamp, and says, “Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.” You don’t want to hear those words. Many will. But you don’t have to.
Verse 13 says, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
Watch means: Be spiritually awake!
Wake Up and Be Ready
Be alive and alert to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that he gives now.
Use all the means God has given you to know him and love him and trust him.