Pastor Linsey Dettmer’s Midweek Message 11/8/2017

If you're looking for peace for the world or for yourself, please look at our home page before leaving us. The Web certainly is full with help regarding any kind of subject. Here is an article we hope will be interesting for peace enthusiasts and those who are interested in peace stories.


 

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 9 “‘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.’ 10 “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. 11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ 13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Our text this evening is about a delayed wedding. I believe we have all seen movies about delayed weddings. The church is packed with guests. They are all talking under their breath as to why either the groom or the bride isn’t there or why the wedding hasn’t started. Usually, it is a priest standing there with the groomsmen. Then a taxi comes and outruns the groom. Other scenarios might show the bride locked up in a room in the church refusing to come out. Any number of possibilities as to why the wedding doesn’t start on time.

You and I have seen many weddings and most of us here have been in at least one of them, namely our own. Maybe we saw some peculiar things happened, either by accident or something was actually planned.

One wedding at which I officiated the little flower girl thought the bride’s train looked like a hammock and so she used it and fell asleep. Another time the maid of honor fainted. Her dad came up and was trying to revive her at the same time insisting that the wedding go on.

In our text, we read, “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!’”

Now midnight is a strange time to start a wedding. However, we learn from other parables that “times” for festivals and weddings were rather vague. First, a general invitation would go out basically like: “My son is getting married sometime in November and you are invited.” Then later another invitation was sent out, “Get ready to come to the wedding.” And then even a third invitation. “My fatted calves and oxen have been slaughtered and are prepared. Now come with all due haste.” And it took time for each recipient to travel. So like in our day while a wedding invitation might read, “Joe Smith and Mary White will be united in holy matrimony at St Aloysius Church at 2 PM om on Saturday, November 12,” that was not the way it was back then.

In our text, Jesus says, “Five of them were foolish and five were wise.” Now Jesus wasn’t giving us percentages! He didn’t mean that half of Christianity is foolish, any more than in the healing of the 10 lepers 90% of people are thankless. It simply means some were wise and some were foolish, just like in any congregation there are wise members and some who are not so wise.

Now this evening, let’s try to identify those of you who are foolish and those of you who are wise. Let’s see… as I call out your name, please stand up… Not really! I think we have all made some wise decisions and we have likewise made some foolish decisions.

In our text, we read, “The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.” Some were prepared and some were not. Since this is talking about Jesus’ Second Coming; some will be ready, but not all!

There was a time when most denominations took the Bible seriously and believed what it said. The early Church gave us creeds like the Apostles and the Nicene. In those Creeds it says, “And He shall come again…” Today some denominations believe that and some do not. There are those who live like He is coming again “to judge the living and the dead” (to quote the Creeds further) and there are those who couldn’t care less.

God, however, is not interested in denominations, but rather in the individual! And that gets down to you and me. Do we have enough oil for our lamps? That is, is our faith strong enough to endure the testing of our faith?

When would you use a lamp? Not in broad daylight. Likewise, you don’t need a strong faith when everything is going your way! But let’s consider Las Vegas or Spring, Texas, where crazy people killed innocent bystanders. (Of all things, in a church, while the people were at worship!) The question becomes, “How could a loving God allow such a thing to happen?” Those with a strong faith hold onto that faith and allow God to be God. I don’t have an answer. Neither do you. But God does!

Then there is war. Millions killed! WW2 was a bloodbath including millions of good Christians. How could a just God allow such carnage? I don’t know. But this I know, those Christians are not complaining! They are rejoicing along with all the saints who have gone before them.

You and I do not have the answers to the world’s problems; it is enough that we seek answers for our own problems. A friend of mine from my army days had been married about 50 years when he lost his wife. She was in her 70’s and had cancer. He said to me, “Ludwig, I have lost my faith.” Why? Didn’t he realize that sooner or later every one of us is going to die? It is going to happen to me and it is going to happen to you and it is going to happen to your loved one!

When that happens we can either blame God or we can ask Him to help us accept His will. For this moment we need a firm personal faith! We need that OIL!

“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘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.’”

Here Jesus is teaching us we cannot borrow from someone else’s faith. I can’t believe for you and you can’t believe for me. In the creeds we say, “I believe…” not “We believe…” Now I can help you in your weak moments and likewise, you can help me. That is what the Church is for- among other things. But it is up to you and to me to hold fast to what is true, the things that will build up our faith.

How? How about this? “ Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Public worship, Bible study (Both corporate and private!)

“The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.” Now Jesus isn’t teaching here that these virgins earned the right to enter with Him. Rather it was their faith that allowed them to enter. We go to the parable of the Prodigal Son and see that this terrible son had in no way earned the right to enter into that party that was being hosted, of all things, in his honor! Rather it was all the Father’s love and forgiveness. How does St Paul put it? “For by grace are you save through faith and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone would boast.”

The main point of this parable is that Jesus is coming again- and at a time we do not know, so we need to be ready for Him at all times and in all places. A second meaning we need to derive for ourselves is that we do not know when we will be leaving this life. We need to be ready for our own individual departure. We cannot take a respite from our Faith and pick it up again at a more convenient time. We may not get another chance with a deathbed confession. An American expression: “Here today and gone tomorrow!” Let that tomorrow be prefaced with Jesus saying to you, “Come, blessed of My Father.” Not- “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.” Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. Amen!


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