by the Church of God
The preparations for Christmas are well in their advance stages. The ham has been procured. The curtains have been sourced. The house has been painted. The drinks bought. The windows cleaned…and the list of our preparations goes on.
I am encouraging us all, that as we make our preparations to spend Christmas, ensure that our preparations for the coming of the Lord is even more diligent.
In Matthew 25, we find ten virgins waiting as a part of the bridal party for the bridegroom to return.
According to Jewish customs, when a marriage is announced the bride chooses chaste girls to be her attendants. The groom takes his journey to prepare a place for them both. This can be for an undisclosed length of time. In the meanwhile the bride’s attendants wait with her for the groom’s return.
I want us to observe that in the story, 1- all were called virgins, 2- all slept while they were waiting for the groom, 3- all arose when the cry was made, 4- all trimmed their lamps.
1. Consider the fact that we are all in this place together with some things in common. We are celebrating Jesus’s coming into the world, John 3:17, not to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved. Each of us, our sins cost the same price, the blood of Jesus. Ephesians 2:8-9 – …by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Not one of our souls is worth more that the other. We are all redeemed, or bought by the blood of Jesus, through the grace of God. You know, I am always in awe of God’s love for mankind and such high esteem that he holds us in. Imagine, the devil sinned, and man sinned, yet God chose to forgive man. Not only did he forgive man, but he paid the price for man’s redemption. It is such an awesome thought. This says to us the first part of our preparation for the coming of the bridegroom must be that our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus. Psalm 103 declares Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all his benefits; who forgiveth all thine iniquities; …Who redeemeth thy life from destruction…. The first preparation must be to seek God’s forgiveness for my sins.
2. The story said they all slumbered and slept – we should not consider this as they literally did nothing but rather that they engaged in the same thing, because they were all waiting on the master to return.
Some of us believe that as long as we are in church every Sunday, we are prepared for the coming of Jesus. Some of us believe just being able to quote verses of the scripture means we are ready. How many of us know that the devil knows scripture. Just visit what happened in Matthew 4. Some of us can sing the songs of Zion. We know the right phrases and words to use. We may all be in this place together, but many of us are here, not so much to honour God, but to gratify our own selfish desires.
As we wait for the bridegroom, let us make sure that we make His name known, and His glory shown.
3.All arose – This means that as they heard the sound of the shofar they realized that the bridegroom had come. The sound of the Shofar was the signal of the bridegroom’s approach. The sound of the Shofar was the signal of the approach of the bridegroom. Interestingly when the sound was made they all had time to trim their lamps. The signs of the time are signalling to us that the bridegroom’s coming is near. Stop ignoring the signs of the time. COVID-19 came and shut down the world, something we never thought was possible, but it did. Observe the effect that global warming is having on the earth.
Wickedness and crime are escalating. Admittedly, even in church, the love of many is getting cold. I encourage us all, do not ignore the signs of the time because they signal the soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
4. All trimmed their lamps – 2 Corinthians 5: 10 – we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ that every one may receive the things done in his body…
This is what his first coming was geared towards. To get us ready for that great and notable day. Hebrews 9:27 – it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this, the judgement. On that day when the bridegroom comes, when he comes, or when we go, would we be fully prepared for that time. Man has one appointment with death, but if we did make ourselves prepared while we are still on this earth then we would face what the bible calls the second death, from which there is no return. Revelations 20:6 – Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection, on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God of Christ, and shall reign a thousand years. Chp 21:8 – the fearful, and unbelieving, the abominable, murders, whoremonger, socerers, idolaters, liars, shall have their part in the lake with burneth with fire and brimstone which is the second death.
We sing a song at Easter time – He died that we might be forgiven, He died to make us good, that we might go at last to heaven, saved by his precious blood. He came to redeem us from the effects of the second death. Ensure that your preparations this Christmas is to save you from the effects of the second death when He shall come again.
Merry Christmas everyone, and I pray that you allow God to accomplish His purpose for and in you in 2023!