THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM
PART FOURTEEN – THE WISE & THE FOOLISH VIRGINS
So, for the past several months we have been covering the various kingdom parables that Jesus taught throughout His ministry. These are those mysteries of the kingdom of God which illustrate to us what His kingdom is like and how it operates.
We have talked about how important it is that we understand how His kingdom works because it is possible for a born again, Spirit-filled Christian to go their entire life without understanding how God does things and, thereby, not experience all of the benefits of living in the kingdom.
A good analogy of this is that kingdom that we have in Orlando (I’m obviously referring to Disney World): Well, one could purchase their tickets to into that magical kingdom but if they do not know how things work at Disney, they might just use their ticket to enter the gates, but never go into all of it and experience all of the sites, rides, etc. As I was talking about this very thing with another minister, prophetically I saw that’s exactly what has happened in many Christians’ lives: they have entered the gates of God’s kingdom but immediately sat down on a bench just inside and never have experienced all that His magical kingdom has to offer.
Let it not be so with us, church! Let’s enter into the Promised Land that God has for us and partake of all of its fruit! No more being satisfied with just being delivered from Egypt and wandering around in the wilderness. It’s time we move into all that God has for us in Canaan Land where His kingdom principle of sowing & reaping brings us into the fullness of His blessing. Amen?
So, most recently, we have been looking at certain parables that show us what are some of the primary characteristics and attributes of His kingdom:
Which is a point I want us to continue looking at today—our marriage to the Lord and relationship with our bridegroom …
So, let’s move on to another parable Jesus taught us about our marriage to the Lord—the Parable of the Wise & Foolish Virgins found in Matthew chapter 25.
This chapter begins with Jesus saying, “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom” (Verse 1).
So, as we have been doing during our study of these parables, we have been asking questions that we might understand what Jesus was teaching in them. And oftentimes we have seen that there were things mentioned in the prior chapters that helped us to see what Jesus was teaching in context.
So, when we see that Jesus began here by saying, “Then the kingdom of heaven …” we would do good to ask the question— “Then when?” Well, in order to answer that question, we need to back up to chapter 24 and see what Jesus had been saying.
Well, chapter 24 begins with Jesus telling His disciples how the temple and all of the buildings around it would not have one stone standing upon another. So later, as they were alone on the Mount of Olives, Jesus’ disciples came to Him and asked Him when all of these things would occur and what would be the sign of His coming. This propelled Jesus to spend the rest of chapter 24 giving them events that would surround the end times before His Second Coming. But towards the end of the chapter, Jesus then turns His attention to how no one will know the day nor the hour when He will return but encourages them to watch and be prepared by being good stewards of what He will entrust to them.
So, this is what prefaced His Parable of the Wise & Foolish Virgins, and it will make sense why as we look at the details of this parable. So, let’s begin doing just that right now …
Now the first thing that is noteworthy to me about this parable is that Jesus described that “… the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.”
Now we know that this parable will reveal to us the difference between the five wise and the five foolish ones, but the fact that all ten are considered virgins and had lamps is noteworthy to me. And by the fact that Jesus was encouraging His disciples to be ready for His return at the end of chapter 24 clearly shows us that these ten virgins were meant to illustrate His followers, those who had committed themselves to marriage with Him. So, this was them, and this is us. And what does He call His disciples? Virgins!
Do you see yourself that way or do you still identify with your uncleanness and impurities? Most do not see themselves as pure and spotless like a virgin because they still identify with their sins. But the fact is, this is apparently how the Lord sees us! He doesn’t see our sin. He doesn’t see our uncleanness. Rather, He sees us as holy, pure, spotless, and without blemish. This is how the Lord sees you and this is how you are!
Now whether we are prepared for His coming or not, or whether we are being good stewards or not, that’s a different story. But that never changed the fact that the Lord viewed all ten of these brides the same—as virgins. So always remember this one thing—our “do” does not affect our “who.” You are spotless and pure. You are sinless and holy. That’s who you are and that’s how He sees you.
Not only that, but these virgins are described as each possessing a lamp: Did you know that we all have this light? In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said to His disciples, “You are the light of the world” (See Matthew 5:14). He then described this light that we are by saying that no one puts that lamp under a basket but puts it in a place where it can light up the entire house (See verse 15). So here, we see that this lamp that Jesus described each of the ten virgins possessing is that light that He said we all have been given.
Yes, we are all the light of the world, and the awesome part of that is that this is the same thing that Jesus said concerning Himself in John 8:12 when He spoke boldly, declaring that He was the light of the world. And did you know that this was the same exact terminology that He used in Matthew 5:14 when He told His disciples that they were the light of the world? How can this be? It’s because, as First John 4:17 says, “as He is, so are we in this world.” Amen! Let me say it this way— “As He is the light of the world, so are we the same light in this world.” Amen!
Therefore, this is the way the Lord sees us, His children: We are His pure & spotless virgins, and we are His lamps meant to shine in the midst of this dark and perverse generation. This is who we are, not who we are trying to become.
THE HEART OF WISDOM
Now that we have that settled, let’s look at the point of Jesus’ parable—how we, as His virgins, are expected to be prepared for His coming.
Jesus goes on to say in Matthew 25:2— “Now five of them were wise and five were foolish.” Then Jesus goes on to describe the foolish as those who, while they took their lamps, they took no oil with them in verse 3. On the other hand, the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps (Verse 4). So, basically what made the five virgins wise was the fact that they took extra oil along with their lamps that probably already contained its oil. In other words, they thought ahead and brought extra oil, which wound up being necessary because the bridegroom was delayed in his coming and they would need it.
Did you know that this is one of the primary characteristics of wisdom? It thinks ahead and is always prepared. It is not caught by surprise when things happen that were unforeseen and unexpected. You know why? It is because wisdom foresees and expects.
Isn’t this just a common characteristic of a wise person? Through the knowledge and experiences of life, a wise person who chose to learn from their life-lessons, will make adjustments the next go around. In other words, because of what they learned will happen when they do certain things, they consider the outcome of their current decisions. This is wisdom, and this is exactly the opposite of what a fool does …
You know, as you read through Proverbs—the Book of Wisdom—you find that Solomon spent a lot of time differentiating between the wise person and the fool. And we also see that in describing the foolish person, he used the exact opposite characteristics for those who possess wisdom: They will speak without thinking. They will act without contemplating. Simply put—a fool does not think ahead and acts impulsively.
On the other hand, the wise will also consider where what they are about to do will take them before they move forward—thinking ahead as to whether or not their current decision will lead them away from God’s perfect plan for their life. To put it simply—the heart of wisdom is that it looks ahead and considers where it is going.
I like to call this characteristic of wisdom, “the heart of wisdom.” I get this phrase from the 90th Psalm, which was actually a prayer that Moses prayed during the time Israel was wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. And in this Psalm, Moses prayed for something that I believe we should all pray for consistently in our own lives and the lives of others. In this awesome prayer, Moses shows us how the heart of wisdom applies to our life on this earth versus our life in eternity.
So, what was it that Moses specifically prayed for that will enable us to gain a heart of wisdom? In verse 12, he asked the Lord to “teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” What a powerful verse this is!
What Moses was asking Yahweh was to teach them to count the number of days that they had. What does this mean? Just think about it: The carnal human tendency is to suppose that we will live on this earth forever. Most people (particularly young people) just float through life never considering that their life may end soon. Since this life is all that we have ever known, we just live life never really considering what happens after we die. But life after death is a reality that we must consider! As a matter of fact, eternity is something that we better consider because how we live our life now will determine where and how we will spend eternity.
Do you see how foreign this is to most people, even Christians? But this is exactly why Moses prayed this for Israel: He prayed that God would teach them to calculate and evaluate their days on this earth so that they would be ready for the next life.
You see, our life on this earth is so short in comparison to eternity. And I believe the church has allowed the same mentality of the world to creep into it. We have adopted the same carnal and foolish thinking that is only concerned with this earth-life. This is indeed a grave mistake because a day is coming—soon and very soon—when we will stand in front of our Master and have to give an account for the stewardship of our life on this earth. I personally want the Lord to look at me and say, “Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful in little (i.e., in this short life) and now you will become ruler over much (i.e., in the eternal kingdom of God)!”
So, we could say that making current decisions that will positively affect our future is the heart of wisdom! And wasn’t this what the five wise virgins did? Yes, this heart of wisdom is apparently what five of these virgins possessed. They considered tomorrow. They were mindful of eternity. While they were certainly guilty of slumbering and sleeping like the other foolish five, they were prepared when they heard the cry at midnight. No, they were awake and alert to spiritual realities. Their eyes were open. Their ears were attentive. There was true wisdom in their heart—the heart of wisdom. Amen.
So, going back to our prior point: All ten of these brides were virgins, but only half of them were wise virgins—showing us that one can be spotless, pure, and without blemish and still be stupid. But in no way does our foolishness change who we are.
You see, the reason I harp on this is because the tendency in most people is to identify themselves with their actions. In other words, they see themselves through the filter of what they do instead of what Christ has done for them. The fact is, we’ve been washed. We’ve been cleansed. Our filthiness and immorality have been washed away by the blood. Now we are just as pure as if sin never existed. That’s who we are.
But the fact is you can be holy and righteous and still make foolish decisions just like half of these virgins did. And that’s the differentiator between born again believers. It’s not in what God has made us through grace; it is in the measure of wisdom that you and I choose to walk in. Amen?
PAYING THE PRICE OURSELVES
Well, we know what happens in this parable, don’t we (See verses 5-9)? The bridegroom was indeed delayed in his coming. All ten of the virgins slumbered and slept. But when all ten of them heard the cry that He was coming, they arose and began trimming their lamps. However, the five that were foolish were not prepared and asked the wise ones to share some of their oil with them. But the wise virgins essentially told them— “No way, Jose, because we might not have enough for both of us!”
Now on the surface, this might seem to be insensitive and cold on the five wise virgin’s parts to turn away the other’s request because they didn’t want to risk running out themselves, but we need to understand that this parable is meant to illustrate spiritual things, not necessarily how one is to behave in this world.
And the fact is, when it comes to the wise decisions we make in the kingdom of God and the spiritual things we’ve accumulated as a result, we cannot just generously give those things to other people. I wish that I could just lay hands on people and transfer the good things that the Lord has sown into me into them, but it doesn’t work that way with most things. Now there are spiritual giftings that can be transferred through the laying on of hands etc. but most things we’ve acquired in the Spirit are not able to be transmitted. They will come through one’s diligent pursuit of them themselves and through their own personal relationship with God. Yes, everyone must pay the price themselves. This is what I believe was meant by “but go rather to those who sell and buy for yourselves” (See verse 9).
Church, there is only one place to get the things we need to be spiritually prepared for His coming, and that’s straight from Him. We cannot depend on someone else to give it to us—not our parents, our pastors, or anyone else for that matter. We must pay the price ourselves in order to be as prepared spiritually as we need to be.
EXTRA OIL IN OUR VESSELS
So, as we’ve seen, the main issue in this analogy is that the five foolish virgins did not think to bring extra oil outside of what they had in their lamps while the five wise virgins brought extra in vessels along with their lamps.
Now I see this oil as representing something—namely, Someone: Now what does oil symbolize throughout the Scriptures? It represents the Holy Spirit, the Anointing Himself. Yes, throughout the Bible, oil is used as what anoints someone or something for the service unto the Lord, and it is clear that this anointing oil typifies the Holy Ghost and the enablement He gives us to minister to and for the Lord.
It is for this reason that I see the oil that these ten virgins used to light their lamps as a type of the Holy Spirit who now causes our lights to shine for the glory of God. Amen!
You see, without the indwelling Holy Spirit in our vessels, there would be no light in our lives. He is the One who supplies us with the joy, peace, love, and the abilities to do anything good for the Lord. Without the Christ—the Anointed One—we can truly do nothing! Yes, He is the oil who keeps our light shining bright for the kingdom of God.
But how many of you know that just as five of these virgins in their wisdom carried extra oil in their vessels, there is extra oil to be had?
You see, all ten of these virgins evidently had the oil in the lamps, right? The problem was the foolish ones just didn’t take extra in their vessels. I see this as how all born again believers who are a part of the bride of Christ have received the Holy Spirit in salvation. Yes, we all have been anointed by the Spirit of God, being washed and regenerated by Him. Therefore, the Holy Spirit lives in all who have received their Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. But that doesn’t mean they have received all the oil that they needed to keep their lamps burning. The extra oil that the five wise virgins carried in their vessels is what I see as what is called the baptism of the Holy Spirit, being filled with the Spirit, or having the Spirit upon us.
Now this is something that you don’t hear a lot about in the modern-day church, but that should not be so. While many of our churches today are attempting to be less offensive and more seeker sensitive in their approach, there are certain topics that we should not be shying away from. Yes, subjects such as sin & repentance, the blood of Jesus, and, yes, the baptism of the Holy Spirit are eternal truths that we don’t need to hear less of, but that we need to hear more of! Amen?
You see, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is essential to us walking in the kind of life that Jesus died to provide us with. Sure, being born again is the first step into eternal life but being filled with the Holy Spirit is the next step into resurrection life. Amen!
Now because I don’t want to assume that everyone hearing this knows what I’m talking about when I refer to this second work of grace available to us called the baptism in the Holy Spirit, let me give you a brief explanation …
THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY GHOST
Let’s first look at this phrase—the baptism in the Holy Ghost:
In Acts 1:5, Jesus told His disciples, “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So, what does it mean to be “baptized” with the Holy Spirit? Well, notice here that Jesus made the comparison to John baptizing with water to us being baptized with the Holy Spirit.
You see, just as when one is baptized in water, he or she is totally immersed in the water, when someone is baptized in the Holy Spirit they are immersed in the Spirit—meaning, they are not sprinkled with a little bit of Him to where He only affects a relatively small portion of them. Like when one truly is “baptized” in water, they get soaking wet. Likewise, when one receives the “baptism” of the Holy Spirit, they get soaked in Him—meaning, it’s not just their spirit that gets sprinkled; their whole man gets wet. That means our heart, soul, and body get affected. We get soaking wet in the Holy Ghost! Amen!
You know, even the baptism of John has been misunderstood: People today baptize incorrectly because when you look up the word “baptize,” it literally means to be “immersed or dunked” in water, not “sprinkled.” In other words, to be baptized in something means to be completely dipped or plunged into it.
So, if being baptized with water means to be immersed, dipped, dunked or plunged into the water itself, then it is to be understood that being baptized with the Holy Spirit also means to be immersed, dipped, dunked or plunged into the Holy Spirit Himself. Amen!
Saints, this is the difference between having the Holy Spirit “within” us and having the Holy Spirit “upon” us: Sure, as I have stated already, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us when we are born again and He regenerates our spirit, but there is a subsequent Promise which is what Jesus was talking about here where the Holy Spirit doesn’t just dwell in us, but He comes upon us. Amen!
I remember a time when I was attending Charis Bible College in Colorado Springs and a discussion came up in the breakroom about what is the difference between receiving the Holy Spirit at salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This question was being debated and then, by what I believe to be a word of wisdom, the Lord gave me the answer right then and there: You see, when one is born again, they receive the Holy Spirit to where He comes and regenerates, renews and then seals their spirits (Titus 3:5 & Ephesians 1:13). Yes, He dwells in that born-again believer’s spirit, but the hidden man of the heart is the only part of us that He affects. Amen!
This is where the baptism of the Holy Spirit (or, the Holy Spirit coming upon us) comes in: You see, while it is certainly important for the Holy Spirit to affect the spirit of man and perform that first work of grace in our lives, what about the other parts of man? What about the body and the soul?
You see, the question that was getting raised in that CBC breakroom that day was— “Did we not get all of the Holy Ghost when He came to live in our hearts at our salvation experience?” Well, sure, we didn’t just receive a part of the Holy Spirit when we were born again and another part of Him when we were baptized in Him. No, we received all of Him when we were born again but He did not receive all of us.
Let me substantiate this statement, further by us considering the different terminologies that are used to describe this second work of grace:
Therefore, from these terms we see how the Holy Spirit is supposed to be poured out “upon” us to where we are completely “immersed” with Him and totally “filled” by Him. Amen! But my point is that just the phrase “baptism in the Holy Spirit” shows us that the Holy Spirit is certainly likened to water, this is similar to how they anointed men for their ministry positions. They didn’t just dab a little oil on their foreheads, they poured it out on their heads.
Likewise, the Lord doesn’t just want us to be sprinkled with a little oil of the Holy Spirit to light our lamps; He wants to pour out an abundance of oil in these here vessels! He wants us baptized in the oil of the Holy Ghost!
And I can assure you, church, having the Holy Spirit in fullness and abundance is an essential part of kingdom living. Just as it is what the wise virgins did that kept their lamps burning bright.
So, it’s evidently wisdom to keep our vessels filled with the Spirit of God. It is what will keep us prepared and ready to meet our Groom when He appears.
No, you don’t have to be filled with the Holy Spirit to get to heaven. You can receive an anointing from the Holy One by being born again and have your ticket reserved for those pearly gates. But without the help of the Holy Spirit in your life, you might just get there a little quicker, that’s all.
Church, I don’t know where I would be today if it wasn’t for me being filled with the Holy Spirit. He has kept me from harm countless times by leading and guiding me in various ways—through the inward witness, by my prayer language, and by speaking to me in other ways. It is foolish to try and live the Christian life apart from the Holy Spirit—for He is the Spirit of wisdom!
So, don’t be a foolish bride and try to live this life without being baptized in the Holy Spirit. Be filled with Him and stay full of Him so that you can always be ready to meet the Lord Jesus. Amen.