Seeking End Times Trends is Fruitless PIII

A look at Mathew 28 as it relates to end Times 

Jesus is risen—He is risen indeed—Hallelujah!  

           Jesus has all authority! He proved this by not only being God, but by being willing to come as a man to this earth and live the life we could not, nor would not do. He overcame our sins and our enemies (John 12:31; 16:33; Rom. 6:1-7; Rev. 1:17-18)! He kept His promise that He made to Adam to redeem us, and then He sent the Comforter to lead us on (Acts. 1:3; 2:24-35; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30-32; 13:33-37)! Jesus is risen. This means He conquered death (Acts 2:24; Rom. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:50-58). We too, in Him, will undergo a similar transformation, as we live for Him, forgive in His name, are justified (Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:17), and will arise in eternity (John 11:25-26; Rom. 6; Eph. 1:18-2:10; Col. 2:9-15; 3:1-4; 1 Thess. 4:14-18; 1 Pet. 1:3).  

          Without the resurrection, we do not have Christianity—as in saving faith.

We just have some great rules and precepts to live by. Well, so do the Buddhists (1 Cor. 15:1-19)! A dead man, no matter how good and great, cannot save anybody. Buddha has saved no one! The difference is we are transformed, and saved for eternity—not just for here and now (John 10:4; 16:10; 2 Cor. 5:20). We are not called to save souls. That is the role of the Holy Spirit. Rather, we are called to help the “soul bearers” to learn and grow! 

          The people then, as well as now, were confused about the end times and wondered if this was the end of an age or a new beginning.

Jesus did not fit the expectations of the religious leaders or of His disciples. The religious leaders rejected Him. The remaining disciples had to surrender their will to His in order to know who He was and what He was doing in them (John 3:30). We cannot make disciples of others until first we, ourselves, become disciples of Jesus (2 Pet. 1:13)! The disciples bore witness to His call to make disciples of all nations; they were His witnesses and His messengers. What will you do about this today (Acts. 1: 22; 4:2, 10, 33; 2 Cor. 5:20)? The key to implement this is to realize who Jesus is—and His authority! When we have acknowledged His authority, then we can allow His work in us. Then, He can use us in the lives of others. The opportunities and potentials are limitless (Luke 10:17-20; John 15:7; Acts 20:24)!  

Questions to ponder that are more important… 

What can you do to help your church see the veracity of The Great Commission and do a better job of knowing Christ so they can then make Him known? What would your church look like doing this? What would your neighborhood look like? Verses just talking about your favorite end time’s scenario?  

What does Jesus’ statement, all authority, mean to you? How can this get deeper in you so you understand further that He is God, He is all powerful, He is all knowing, and, He is present everywhere? What would that mean to your spiritual walk with Him?  

Jesus tells us He will always be with you. How can this help give you motivation and comfort?  

What does make disciples mean to your church? What has your church done with Christ’s most important call? Why do so few churches and Christians do this? Why is this more important than a ‘correct’ and of course most if not all are not) view of End Times?  

What makes this passage the marching orders for our faith and practice? What have you done? Where are you lacking? What do you need to do?  

Do you believe that if you are committed to your beliefs (those that are not focused on Christ), and refuse to allow the Holy Spirit to convict you, you will remain in your sins and be unsaved? Why, or why not? If so, why?  

What are the barriers that keep you from knowing Christ? If your beliefs were untrue, would you want to know?

 

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Seeking End Times Trends is Fruitless PII

When or if someone asks you, “what is more important the Resurrection or the Second Coming,” what would you say? Would it be biblically correct? 

We tend to think that the prime Christian climax is yet to come, a rapture, which will not happen as many people think or the Second Coming which is yet to occur. Yes, the Second Coming will be marvelous beyond expectation or description. But, the prime climax for the Christian, and the Church has already occurred, it is all about Christ, Who He is and What He has done. Thus, the prime climax is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is Risen!  

The climax has already come! All of our Lord’s life and mission has reached the culmination.

The history of man, our fallen state, the move of our Lord through history and our lives have interwoven to the finishing point. He lived on our behalf. He has died in our place to absorb God’s wrath and pay our debt of sin; now, He rises back to life, conquering death, and giving us victory and grace for a life of fulfillment and fullness (Psalm 16:11; 107:09; Isa. 26:3; John 14:21; Gal. 5:16; 22-23; 1 John 1:7-9; 3 John 4)!  

The passage of Matthew 28: 1- 20, contains the ultimate wonder of the universe—the incredible impossible, and the incredible triumph. Jesus was crucified; He died, and was buried. 

The magnitude of Jesus’ resurrection was beyond mere comprehension; without seeing it for themselves, as Thomas asked for and received, many refused to believe. Others truly believed by faith and worshipped Him. For us, although we do not have Jesus physically showing us His hands and feet (John 20:26-28), we do have the Spirit that reveals the truth to us. Jesus said, blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20: 29). Jesus did not fit the expectations of the people, the religious leaders, or, the disciples. A total change in worldview had to occur before He could be accepted fully (Phil. 3:1-14). 

This passage has classically been called, “The Great Commission,” as these are the marching orders for our faith and practice! This is also the hallmark passage for evangelism and missions! Consider Jesus’ Statement here, All authority refers to Jesus being fully God, having all omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence; thus, He is the ruler over the entire earth. This is also a reference to Daniel 7:13-14. 

So what is our point, our climax? To ponder theories or move forward in our Christian life?

Our call here, our climax until He returns is simple, Make disciples, that is, take people under our wing and teach them the Scriptures and procedures of the Christian life (Matt. 4:17; Eph. 1:3‑14; 2:8-9; 1 Cor. 1:18‑2:16; 15:1‑8). (The difference is that rabbis made disciples like themselves, with their traditions and beliefs. We are called to make disciples like Christ, and teach His precepts and ways!) 

We are called to Baptize, this meant conversion and identification; the person was to become identified as a person of faith and as a follower of Christ. It does not presuppose a ritual, but rather a mindset. The physical act of baptism is essential (not for salvation), as it is a public showing of our faith and commitment. The specifics of how and when are not as important as the faith and obedience to follow Christ (Matt. 4:18-19). 

We are called to Teaching, this means to show what is in the Scriptures, how to understand God’s Word, what is God saying to us, and how to live by God’s Word. Personal instruction helps us understand and then apply His precepts into our lives. We are to live for Him and to serve Him. For the rabbi, this meant the Law, Commandments, and the Prophets. Now, it also means the teachings of our Lord. 

All nations refers to Gentiles, as in people who are pagan and not Jewish. Jesus’ dominion is all people in all places. He is not limited to time and space! This means Christianity is to all people, Jew as well as Gentile, beyond traditions and religions, and regardless of ethnicity or birthright. Isaiah also predicted this event (Isa. 42:6; 43:10; 44:8). Christ is cross-cultural; He is for all peoples in all times. Only pride can keep a person from Him! 

Observe. We are called to learn what to believe and to obey. We do this by observing; it is cemented in us by doing! This passage is called “practical holiness.” Jesus calls us to observe (to learn and grow) and then to do it! 

What is Jesus doing? Wilting to come a second time? NO! He tells us in this Matt 28 passage, He tells us that He is….Always be with you. This is the great comfort and hope we have, we have is that the God of the universe, our Creator and Lord, knows us, loves us, and will be with us! This also refers to Jesus being fully God. One of Jesus’ names is Immanuel, which means “God is with us (Matt. 1:23).”

The Parable of the Ten Virgins PII

Matthew 25: 1- 13

How does laziness insult God? How does it keep you from succeeding in life and in your faith? 

The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’  Matthew 25: 5- 6 

Behold the bridegroom.” The groom’s whereabouts were often heralded to the waiting guests by announcers. As “grooms” were often late in that culture, something they should have known and been prepared for. When was the last time you went to a Wedding that started on time?  

Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. Matthew 25: 7

They should have known as we should know. “Grooms” were often late in that culture, something they should have known and been prepared for. When was the last time you went to a Wedding that started on time?  

Behold the bridegroom.” The groom’s whereabouts were often heralded to the waiting guests by announcers. 

The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.Matthew 25: 8 

Give us. They probably kept the torches burning slightly to be ready; it was difficult to relight them in an era before matches. Extra oil was necessary!  

For the Church, the oil can represent the Holy Spirit. As the virgins received their conviction, what their duty and responsibilities were, only half of them responded wisely.  

“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Matthew 25: 9-10

There was no place to buy oil at night; they would have had to wake someone up or borrow. As, the door was shut. Most homes were in a courtyard where a main door closed it off to the rest of the community for safety; it also served to corral the animals, thus shutting out visitors and those who were late.  

Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ Matthew 25: 11 

Lord, Lord, as in master, master (not God). To us, it refers to the analogy of God shutting Himself off to converts after it is too late for them—after they die, or after Christ comes back!

But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ Matthew 25: 12

Then the frightful response, I do not know you. Their neglect cost them the wedding and precious opportunities. They were responsible for the most crucial aspect of the Jewish wedding ceremony, escorting the bride into the groom’s home to consummate the marriage. They insulted the host, neglected the bride, offended the groom, dismantled their reputation in their community and forsook opportunity in favor of laziness. Therefore, they were not admitted to the feast, and they probably did not meet their future grooms. (Marriages were prearranged; going to a wedding was a way to get to know their potential groom and his family as a part of courtship.)They most definitely offended any potential in-laws!

The foolish succumbed to the fate that they set in motion. They will be judged and removed from the wise. The wasteful and fearful will be separated from those who love and trust in Christ (Matt. 25:31-46). 

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. Matthew 25: 13

Keep watch. This is the main point of the parable. To be ready is to be prepared for a long delay, as Christ may return tomorrow or in another two thousand years. His timing is to help our faith development and preparedness. The day or the hour—the parousia, meaning, the coming of Christ (Matt. 16:27; John 14:2-3)! 

The main point? Are you ready for His coming? What stops you from being prepared? For us, it means to obey by keeping our minds on Christ as Lord—always! When our minds are on Him, we are ready for anything, even His return! Professing your faith is only as real as you make it, because it can be faked!  

What is this not about? No. This was not about not sharing; if they did share, they probably would not have had enough oil for any of the touches later on for the groom; thus, no procession or illumination would have taken place! The wedding ceremony would have been a disaster.  

In order to obey Christ, we must keep our minds on Him, because the only real cure for laziness is to be filled with Him. Obeying is faithfulness; it is not about education, intelligence, or skill. Rather, it is accepting the task He gives us and doing it. It is taking what He has given, then replicating, increasing, and using it for the benefit of others—as well as for our own growth—for His glory (1 Cor. 4:2). Those five wise virgins knew this; the other five neglected it. Thus, the foolish ones were not just judged by the wise, but, rather, by what they were capable of. God judges us against ourselves! So, never worry what others are doing; only seek what you can do better! To be ready is to be prepared for a long delay, as Christ may return tomorrow or in another two thousand years. His timing is to help our faith development and preparedness. Seek Him, and let your confidence be in who you are in Him—not how others respond to you! May God’s oil of His grace keep you lit! 

Questions to Ponder

Have you ever wasted what Jesus gives? How can you, why should you, and what actions can you take to avoid being lazy? 

How does not being prepared cause one to pass up vital opportunities? Have you done this? Have you seen others do this? Has this been done to you? If so, how did you feel?  

What is the oil that keeps your lamp of faith lit? What does it need to be? 

What does Jesus want you to understand from this parable? 

 

© 2004, 2011, R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

 

The Parable of the Ten Virgins PI

Matthew 25: 1- 13 

What can you do to be more obedient and faithful in your walk with Christ?  

With His impending crucifixion just three days away, Jesus used one of His last parables, to illustrate and help us understand the events of His coming judgment and the importance of our being ready. This parable is not about sharing or demonstrating benevolence; rather, it is meant to encourage us to be watchful and productive. This is not about having the correct esoteric theory; rather to be focused on what is most important, to be loyal to our Lord and be on the ready for His call, opportunities and when He comes to call and collect. This end times Parable calls us to be willing to take a look around us, to determine what our loyalties and responsibilities are, and how we can become better in the responsibility to Christ as Lord, being of benefiting to others, preparing ourselves, and most of all, glorifying our Lord.

The general theme is to be prepared and take your responsibility seriously.  

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Matthew 25: 1

The ten virgins had the magnificent opportunity to help in an important ceremony, the most important ceremony in Jesus time—a wedding. It was a seven-day long feast, and they were the principle structure of the wedding. As they are like today’s “Bridesmaids, then called Virgins. Basically, they had the honor and duty of preparing and arranging the wedding celebrations and for this part of the parable, escorting the bride and groom around. They were responsible for preparing the bride for her marriage ceremony, called then, “to meet the bridegroom,” just as today, and carry the ceremony under a canopy. Then, it was a much greater honor.

Lamps” refers not to the classic small oil lamp, but, rather a torch on top of a staff with a wick soaked in olive oil, or a staff wrapped with a rag soaked in oil. The burnt ends of the rags were cut off (trimmed) and then the oil was added. Olive oil burns very slowly and is not as hot as petroleum.  

Why the need for lamps? “Weddings” were held in the evening, after a day of dancing and celebration, and torches were used to light the occasion and in a procession, leading the bride to the groom’s house. The celebration lasted up to seven days; thus, the oil supply was one of the big responsibilities for the bridesmaids. Not to have enough oil for one night was very irresponsible, as it might be needed for a week or more! 

Five of them were foolish and five were wise. Matthew 25: 2 

Foolish” refers to relying on zeal only, and not thinking through what needed to be done or being prepared. It was laziness! It was like going on a trip without either a destination or the resources to complete the trip, relying only on the excitement of the trip, which would get people nowhere except for being literally broken down without gasoline. In matters of eternal security, this is devastating. The person who is not in Christ will be cut off forever, because he or she chooses to neglect preparation (Matt. 25:31-46); he or she fails to see what Christ has done, relying on emotions and passion for life, and not considering the death and judgment to come.  

Five of them decided to plan ahead and fulfill their duty; the other five decided to let only the excitement be their guide, neglecting to plan out what they needed. They thought, why should we plan? We can just borrow it from the others. But, the others could not share or it would have ruined the wedding. “Not to be prepared,” to miss their opportunity was unthinkable—a nightmare for most young women, then as it is today.  

The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. Matthew 25:3 

The torches had a very finite amount of fuel and needed to be refueled; they would have known this. They required large amounts of oil in order to keep lit, and the oil had to refill the wick or rag several times an hour. The virgins showed a blatant disregard of responsibility and duty. They also threw away their chance to meet their potential groom and become known in the community. They threw away a prized opportunity to better themselves because they did not feel like preparing!  

Now, it comes down to us; where do we invest our lives—in Him or in what is foolish? When we are in Him, do we waste what He gives? We, as Christians, are His servants and we need to be productive and faithful as we wait for His return. If we wait in a foolish manner, we will miss our opportunities, attesting our foolishness (2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 22:20). This parable is about the importance of being prudent and being prepared. The five virgins were not prepared to meet the bridegroom, as someone who does not know Christ as Lord and Savior will not be able to meet Him when He returns! 

The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. Matthew 25: 4

Wise.” These were ones who upheld their duty, honored the groom and the host, and who remained faithful and watchful. They were those who saw opportunities that would be of benefit to them, and took advantage of them by being industrious, but, with dignity and respect.

For us it is a call to be prepared to be the escort of our faith to those around us, as Christ is the Bridegroom, is Who we honor and prepare for. Perhaps for the disciples, they were in denial, or maybe they were stunned that Jesus was talking about His second coming because they did not realize His first was almost over! He wanted them to understand that when He leaves they should not waste their time in doing nothing, in being depressed, or to give up while waiting. He wanted them to know it was still a “go” for doing life! He wanted them to get on with life, to be busy preparing themselves and others for the Kingdom, and yet, to remain watchful. 

Questions to Ponder

How does being on time and respecting the time of others honor God and portray good character? 

How are some churches irresponsible with the opportunities God gives them? 

Are you ready for His coming? What stops you from being prepared? 

What can you do to guard against becoming lazy? How do we make our actions count for His glory?

How does keeping our minds upon Christ as Lord help us be ready for anything, even His return? 

© 2004, 2011, R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org