A couple of weeks ago, God really impressed on my heart that His bride (the church) is simply not ready. At the same time, I was going through Jesus parables, and I felt God illuminate some important things we all need to be aware of.
The first parable is that of the great feast in Matt 22, specifically in verses 12-14 where it really struck me that some will not be ready for the coming of Christ and will not be let in to heaven. To paraphrase, the King had sent his servants out to invite people to the wedding – but none would come, for all sorts of reasons. Then he told his servants to bring in anyone they could find – rich and poor, good and bad. So the place was filled with guests of all types. But it seems that if you are invited to a kings wedding, no matter who you are (good or bad, rich or poor) you need to dress appropriately.
Reading from The Message version in verse 12: “He said to him, ‘Friend, how dare you come in here looking like that!’ The man was speechless. Then the king told his servants, ‘Get him out of here—fast. Tie him up and ship him to hell. And make sure he doesn’t get back in.’ “That’s what I mean when I say, ‘Many get invited only a few make it.’”
Wow – hard words.
So it would seem that there was a responsibility of the wedding guests to enquire as to what attire would be required, and to obtain a suitable garment.
In Luke 12:35-48 NLT the theme of “being dressed” continues: “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be READY to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. The servants who are READY and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are READY.”
We learn a bit more about what it means to not “be ready” by skipping down to verse 47: “That servant who knew his master’s will but DID NOT GET READY or do what his master asked will receive a severe beating.”
Ouch. Again, hard words. Clearly Jesus is warning us to be ready and follow His spirit and teachings.
So what exactly does it mean to “get ready”? Lets finish up by looking at the parable of the 10 virgins in Matt 25. 5 took extra oil to ensure their lamps burnt, and the others didn’t take anything extra. The bridegroom came but the silly 5 didn’t have enough oil to be able to go out and meet Him. When they were out buying the oil the feast started and they got locked out. In short, they weren’t ready. They had failed to prepare themselves and establish what would be required.
Could it be that:
1) The Virgins represent us believers
2) The oil represents the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps those 5 loved Jesus, but all the busyness of the world and other concerns of life stopped them from listening to the voice of the spirit and radically pursuing Jesus. Maybe the things of this world began to creep back in their lives and they had their paths darkened with sin and other things that took them off track? Or perhaps they never thought it possible to be free of that besetting sin that ensnared them, never thought it possible to be sanctified.
There is a lie in the church today is that says “this is as good as it gets”. That we can not be changed, transformed into His likeness (sanctified!). I believe that these are lies Satan may be using to try and get believers locked out of the wedding supper, by fooling them into thinking that sanctification is not possible.
We can see through these parables that in an instant when Christ returns everyone will know what was required, but there will be no time to buy oil – to appropriate Jesus work. We need to know Jesus intimately and follow His spirit, and He will guide us and sanctify us.
Eph 5:27 says that Jesus will “present the church to himself as glorious – not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless.”
Are you ready?
From a contribution online: “We may settle it in our minds, that there will be an entire change of opinion one day as to the necessity of decided Christianity. At present, we must all be aware, the vast majority of professing Christians care nothing at all about it. They have no sense of sin. They have no love towards Christ. They know nothing of being born again. Repentance, and faith, and grace, and holiness, are mere words and names to them. They are subjects which they either dislike, or about which they feel no concern. But all this state of things shall one day come to an end. Knowledge, conviction, the value of the soul, the need of a Savior, shall all burst on men’s minds one day like a flash of lightning. But alas! it will be too late. It will be too late to be buying oil, when the Lord returns. The mistakes that are not found out until that day are irretrievable.”