THREE PARABLES OF THE KINGDOM

THREE PARABLES OF THE KINGDOMCopyright © 2011 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

The Parable of the Sower

The Parable of the Talents

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

The Parable of the Sower

Have you ever noticed that Jesus spoke no parable about going to Heaven, only about the Kingdom? Going to the Paradise in the spirit world is not the objective of salvation. Unchanged people would soon destroy Paradise.

It is possible that the parable of the sower is the most important of the parables of the Kingdom. Notice what the Lord said:

Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?" (Mark 4:13)

I think the parable of the sower is so important because it emphasizes the main aspect of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is not a religion. Rather it is a seed that is planted in the human heart. Religion can assist in planting this seed and attempt to support the growth of it. But in the final sense, the Kingdom of God is a transformation of the human personality rather than an adherence to the activities of a religion.

The mystery of the Gospel is Christ in us. First, Christ must be planted in us as a Seed from God. Then the Seed must grow into the image of Christ. Make no mistake! The Seed is Divine in nature. It does not partake of flesh and blood humanity. Rather, the adamic creature is a host that supports the developing organism as it grows toward maturity. The adamic nature that supported it is supplanted gradually by the Divine Nature.

Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, because the Kingdom of God is Divine and not an overhaul of the adamic nature.

Every seed in nature grows until an organism in the image of the parent of the seed is brought forth. Since the Seed came from God it will bring forth a creature in the image of God–not an imitation of God, but a son of God in truth; in reality.

The above may sound sacrilegious, but it is what the Bible teaches. No one can see or enter the Kingdom of God until he or she is born again of the Spirit of God. This is because our original nature is not a part of the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God consists of God's sons who have been born of God, not of Adam and Eve.

They partake of the Divine Nature as they are given the body and blood of Christ in the spirit realm. As they turn away from sin and embrace Christ they are given to eat and drink of Christ. Thus they gradually learn to live by Christ precisely as Christ lives by the Father.

Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57)

The body and blood of Jesus Christ are our resurrection Life. I do not know why we do not hear more of this from the pulpit, unless it is because as we approach the appearing of Christ the Scriptures now are opening to us.

I do not want to make too much of the fact that we are partaking of the Divine Nature, because some may treat this fact as something to be exploited. It should be treated rather in an "of course" manner, not sensationalized in any manner. The supernatural should become natural to us Christians.

Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (II Peter 1:4)

We can understand from this that the parable of the sower, having to do with the birth and growth of Christ in us, is one of the most important, if not the most important, of the parables spoken by our Lord. In fact, we cannot understand any parable until the Divine Seed has begun to grow in our heart.

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: "A farmer went out to sow his seed." (Matthew 13:3)

When my niece was a little girl she belonged to a girls' club. One of their activities was that of planting a seed. Joan Marie came home and planted a seed.

The next morning she went out expecting to see a flower. Since there was no flower, she dug up the seed to see what the problem might be.

So it is with the Gospel of Christ. It is not a philosophy that we master. It is a seed. This is why the number of people who "accept Christ" is not a true index of a successful sermon.

Of the twenty people who came to the altar, none of them may become more than a church-attender—if that! However, there may be someone after the sermon who slipped out.

For five years there was no sign he ever had heard that message. Then he contracted an incurable disease. Knowing his end was near, he began to review his life. He remembered the sermon he had heard five years before.

He then prayed and asked Christ to receive him. After that, each day he prayed and read the Bible. Faith began to grow in his heart. Then he was brought to the intensive-care room of a hospital. He continued to pray and read the Bible.

One morning, while in the intensive-care ward he awoke feeling strong and healthy. He got out of bed and went to the closet to get his clothes. A nurse rushed over to him and asked him what he thought he was doing.

He said to the nurse, "I read in the Bible that Jesus heals people. So I asked Him to heal me. I think he did!"

Soon he was released from the hospital. He told his wife and two young children that the family was going to live on their savings while he went to Bible school.

After he graduated from Bible school he entered full-time ministry as an evangelist. It soon was revealed that he had a remarkable gift of healing, and was much sought after to hold evangelistic meetings.

This is the way it should be. We should not be counting the number of people who came to the altar and "accepted Christ" as being the measure of our success. The Word of the Kingdom is a seed. It does not always spring up overnight. Some who make a great show of "accepting Christ" soon fall away.

But there may be one, who heard us on a Sunday morning, or over the television, in whom the seed began to germinate and resulted in a fruitful life. And the preacher may never hear about it.

This is the way of the Gospel of the Kingdom.

We are to preach the Gospel to every creature. We are as a farmer sowing seed. God then will select those whom He wants for His Kingdom, and put faith in their hearts that God's will might be performed in them.

As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. (Matthew 13:4)

It never is our responsibility to "save people." Our task is to preach the Word as the Holy Spirit directs us. We must bear a true witness, and the rest is up to God.

Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. (Matthew 13:5,6)

I suppose that all of us Christians know of people who were demonstrative about having been saved and born again. But the seed did not go deep enough in them. Their "salvation" was all on the outside for people to see.

Then trouble of some kind came. They had never learned to keep plodding through the night, trusting the Lord. They began to doubt, complain, blame others for their troubles. They left the church, after causing some other people to become bitter. After a period of time had passed, one would never know they had once tasted eternal life.

Sometimes Bible teachers maintain we never can lose our salvation. After 65 years as a disciple, I can tell you that eternal Life is something you can "see" in a person. When they lose it, it is obvious. The Life has gone. The person has returned to living without any touch of Christ on his or her life.

Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. (Matthew 13:7)

Jesus explained the "thorns," as follows:

The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. (Matthew 13:22)

"The worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth." Here is the trap into which the American believer falls. Many of us are frantic because of this worry or that problem. The pursuit of more money than one actually needs accounts for a large portion of our time and energy.

What happens? We "accept Christ." But there is no time to get quiet before the Lord and listen to Him or to meditate in His Word. The Divine Seed simply cannot grow when it is competing against the cares of this world.

We have seen, then, that in one case the person hears the Word and does not understand it. Perhaps he or she has been involved in other religions or philosophies. Then Satan comes and snatches away the seed. The ground was hard and the seed never germinated.

In another case, the Word actually germinates, but it does not take root in the heart of the hearer. The plant is all on the outside.

In the third instance, The Word germinates but the plant is crowded out by additional concerns.

Now consider: in the second or third kinds of ground, the Life of Christ actually had begun to grow. But it was killed, because the person did not nourish it properly.

What did Jesus say? If we do not bear fruit, which is His image in our personality, we will be cut out of the Vine, out of Himself. I do not believe this means necessarily that the individual is sent to Hell. But it is certain he no longer will be a member of the Body of Christ; of the Bride of the Lamb; of the Royal Priesthood; of the Christian Church.

I realize Jesus said the dead branches would be burned in the fire. And so they shall. But it may prove to be a fire that burns away all of their inheritance, and they enter the new world of righteousness as a little child. They have been saved by fire.

However, they will not inherit the Kingdom of God as one of God's sons and heirs.

Who, then, are in the Lake of Fire? All those who will not obey the Lord Jesus Christ. These will go to be with Satan and his angels, and all truly wicked and rebellious people—"Christian" or not!

Now we come to those who bring forth Christ permanently in their personality.

Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:8)

Other passages refer to "an honest and good heart (KJV)," or a "noble" heart. So whether the Divine Seed bears lasting fruit depends on the kind of person who hears the Word.

I think typical Christian teaching does err when it states that there are no righteous people except those who "accept Christ." I know that the Apostle Paul, quoting from the Old Testament, said that there are no righteous people. However, the passage from the Old Testament is speaking of particular Israelites at a specific period of time.

In a universal sense, no human being truly is righteous by God's standard, except for the Lord Jesus. But there are numerous verses, particularly in the Book of Psalms, that refer to righteous people.

I say all this to point out that unless an individual has basic integrity, is fundamentally a truthful person, he or she will never make a success of the Christ life.

I realize that there are individuals who do wicked things, but then turn around and receive Christ. Sometimes such people are very fruitful. They always have had a good heart, but circumstances had made them behave sinfully.

I realize also that there are individuals who "accept Christ" and attend church all their life who are wicked and untrustworthy. When they die they will go to be with wicked and untrustworthy people, even though they profess belief in Christ.

Christian preaching is incorrect when it leaves the impression that a person, no matter how wicked, will go to Heaven and live in a mansion because at one time he or she "accepted Christ." I trust this error will be corrected in the future, because the result has been immoral, self-centered people who have borne a destructive testimony to the world.

It is no wonder the unsaved are cynical concerning Christianity!

We are told that the good ground, those who have truth and righteousness in their adamic nature, bear fruit to three different degrees. One bears thirty bushels to the acre, we might say. Another bears sixty bushels to the acre. Still another bears one hundred bushels to the acre.

Remember, we are speaking of the growth of Christ in the human personality.

How is it that there are three different levels of fruitbearing? I believe it is because of the diligence that the believer applies to nourishing his or her salvation.

I am a pastor of a church. On several occasions I have been concerned because some of the members are too casual about their salvation. If the weather is unusually fine on a Sunday they may go swimming rather than attend the service. And don't you know, it would be that Sunday that the Spirit had given me something that would have helped them.

Every time I went to the Lord about this, He would say, "He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly." When I hear this, I cease fretting. As the old proverb says, "You can bring a horse to water but you can't make it drink."

I know this is a very real situation. Those who sow diligently are going to reap a hundredfold. They are going to be filled with all the fullness of God and inherit all that God is making new in Christ. This is an extremely desirable destiny.

Then there will be those good Christians who are not quite as diligent. God loves them but they will not be among God's Firstfruits. I am not certain that they will be resurrected when Christ appears and ascend to meet Him in the air. This privilege may be restricted to the hundredfold. We may have to wait until the Lord comes to find out.

There also are those weak members who easily are distracted by Satan and the world. God loves them. I think, from the following passage, that such will be ministered to during the thousand-year Kingdom Age by the mature saints.

Such are doors, not walls that can hold off the enemy.

If she is a wall, we will build towers of silver on her. If she is a door, we will enclose her with panels of cedar. (Song of Solomon 8:9)

The "we" are the mature saints who strengthen the weak. It is interesting to observe that the walls of Solomon's Temple were "panels of cedar."

So within the Bride and her immature sisters there are three levels of fruitbearing. It is up to us to determine what level of Christ we attain to; or if we do not bear any permanent fruit and are saved by fire, all of our inheritance in Christ being burned away.

The Parable of the Talents

I don't believe we who are preachers pay nearly enough attention to the parable of the talents. The subject of the parable is the use of the Kingdom resources that have been given to us. The twelfth chapter of Romans and the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians give us some idea of the multitude of gifts and ministries that have been assigned to the members of the Body of Christ.

It may be true that the words Jesus spoke concerning those who buried their gifts are among the hardest the Lord applied to any group of sinners, calling them wicked, lazy servants. He took away their gifts, gave them to another who was more diligent, and sent them into the Land of Darkness.

One major problem seems to be that most Christians in America, and probably the rest of the world, do not understand that the Spirit of God has given them a gift. This is because we have assigned most spiritual enablements to the pastor, giving him our spiritual vote. His job is to do everything necessary for us to please Jesus.

The truth is, the pastor may have one or two gifts. But what about all the other gifts and ministries mentioned in Romans and First Corinthians? All of these are necessary if the Body of Christ is to be brought to the full measure of Christ.

The people of the congregation must be taught they have a gift. Then they need to be encouraged to pray until they discover what it is. After that they need help in learning how to use their gift.

After that they need to be solemnly impressed of the grim future they will face when they are brought before the Lord if they are not faithful in the use of their gift. No "grace" or "imputed righteousness" will shield them in that day.

I think numerous Christians believe that "grace" is shielding them from God's scrutiny, but when they die they suddenly, without any effort on their part, will become fervent, cross-carrying, self-denying, disciples of the Lord Jesus.

However, the parable of the talents puts the lie to that assumption. Rather than making us righteous when we stand before Him, He will charge us concerning our use of the gifts He has given Him. I honestly believe it is time that God's people are warned concerning what they are facing when they die, or when Jesus appears.

Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. (Matthew 25:14,15)

We can see from above that in the Kingdom of God there are varied ranks of responsibility. We will note later that the person who received the least responsibility was the one who did not use what he was given.

I think we often observe this in the operation of the churches. The person with several kinds of offices, gifts, and ministries is apt to be diligent in the use of what he has been given. However, the individual who has only one responsibility more often than not does not know what it is; and if he does know he doesn't use it, assuming that what he has been given is not that important.

For example, a believer may be given the gift of comforting people in trouble. Being part of a large congregation, he might not think of going to the elders, stating he has such a gift, and would they counsel him in the use of it.

It is probable that the person has only used this gift once or twice and hasn't prayed enough to realize he actually has such a gift. It is possible also that the elders may not attach importance to the request and forget about it.

Some people have been given the gift of giving money. They must be charged to recognize that this is a gift and they are not to throw money around on impulse, which they often do after listening to one of the ministers who are clever at extracting money from the believers. Rather they must regard their gifts as being as important as that of the pastor, and pray diligently about every nickel they give.

Sometimes there are people in the congregation who cannot raise enough money for their food or rent. It is the responsibility of those who have enough to share, to help the poorer members.

Some people have the ability to make enough money for themselves and others. But not all people have this ability and need help. I am not speaking, of course, of lazy people who will not work when they have the opportunity.

There is a great need today for all of the ministries and gifts to operate in the assemblies of Christian believers. I think it is up to us pastors to begin to ask God what we should do to bring about a more scriptural pattern of church activity.

It is true that Christ "has gone on His journey." But the Holy Spirit is very much present, and will guide us in the use of our varied gifts and ministries. Actually, the Spirit gives the gifts. Christ through the Spirit administrates the gifts. The Father empowers the gifts. Our task is to covet earnestly the "best gifts" (whatever are the most needed) and to pray until we know what our role is in building up the Body of Christ.

The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money. (Matthew 25:16-18)

As I said, the individuals with several talents are apt to use them. The person with the one talent may feel that what he or she has is not important, or may lose what he has, or whatever excuse is handy, and spend his time in the relatively worthless activities of the world.

I say "relatively worthless" because the person with the one talent may play a useful, significant role in society. But compared with the gifts and ministries given to the members of the Body of Christ, all other activities are of lesser importance. The recipient of the gift must place it as the highest priority in his or her life, and pray continually as to how to use it.

When the Master returned and settled accounts, He praised those who had used their talents diligently.

His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' (Matthew 25:23)

I would like to hear such praise, wouldn't you? It would "make the toils of the road seem nothing," as the old song says. (Charles D. Tillman)

But then we come to a dreadful rebuke.

Then the man who had received the one talent came. "Master," he said, "I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you." (Matthew 25:24,25)

What do you think of this excuse? How many Christian believers are going to say this when they come to the end of the road, as they stand trembling before the Master? I choose not to be placed in this position. How about you?

The Lord did not treat His servant gently. We have lost the fear of God in America, because of false teaching, and we cannot imagine Christ speaking like this to a Christian, even though the Christian had not been diligent in his Kingdom responsibilities.

His master replied, "You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 25:26-30)

The soft, unscriptural teaching of our day would say there is no need for us to worry because we are saved by "grace." What do you think of that reasoning? Can you see how today's ministers of the Gospel have made the Words of our Lord of no effect?

When the Gospel is preached accurately, the hearers will tremble if they have not been serving Christ with their whole heart.

But in our day, Christians may read the parable of the talents and shrug off the warning. Even though they are casual in their religion, not praying to find out what their gifts are, they would never apply such words to themselves.

"What, me! The Lord would call me a wicked, lazy servant, take away my gifts, and command his angels to throw me into the Land of Darkness! Oh, no! He loves me too much. I am saved by God's unconditional love. No matter what anyone says, I do not believe my Jesus would ever be that cruel to me."

"Anyway, I am saved by grace. Even though I am not a diligent disciple I still will be brought to Heaven to live in a beautiful mansion where the angels do all the housekeeping. All I have to do is to praise the Lord because He sees me through Christ."

This is the type of stalwart Christian today's preaching is bringing forth. They really wouldn't be happy and comfortable if they ever found themselves among the heroes of faith, of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews (which they won't be).

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

The parable of the ten virgins is so clear as to its intent that it is a marvel the "grace" message has been adopted so widely. It is apparent that we must live in the Spirit (the oil) if we are to be prepared to go in with the Lord Jesus to the wedding banquet.

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. (Matthew 25:1-5)

I believe the "lamps" can be likened to the Word of God. The oil represents the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus appeared, they all went out to meet Him. Five of the virgins had no oil, only the Word. Five had the Word plus the Spirit.

So it is today that there are numerous Christians who believe in Christ and the message of salvation, but they are not alive in the Spirit of God. They have not listened to the Spirit, so they have not put to death the actions of their sinful nature.

They do not realize that the sons of God are those who are led by the Spirit. In some instances they are skeptical of anyone who claims to hear from the Lord. Their stance is that God has told us all we need to know in the Bible. No additional contact with the Lord Jesus is needed. What a dry religion that is! In fact, it is dead.

The letter without the Spirit kills. They would agree that this is in the Bible, but somehow it doesn't make sense to them.

"When the Bible speaks, we speak. When the Bible is silent, we are silent," they proclaim vigorously.

We can think of the Bible as a map of the world. But a map of the world will not show us where to go to find a specific address. So it is true that the Bible gives us general directions; but we need specific directions for the problems we face each day. Isn't that the truth?

The Bible is an account of people who heard from God. In how many instances, especially in the Old Testament did God speak to individuals; and also in the New Testament? Think of the way the Apostles were led in the Book of Acts.

When we are not listening to Jesus we do not know what God is saying to us right now. On one occasion a minister applying for a position in a church was being questioned by the board of elders. He was asked, "What is God saying today?" His answer was, "Just what He always has said."

This candidate obviously was deaf to the voice of the Spirit. He did not have ears to hear.

God has been bringing His Church through the spiritual fulfillments of the seven Levitical convocations. We have come through the fulfillments of Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Pentecost. It appears the twentieth century was the century of Pentecost, in that the message of the baptism with the Spirit spread throughout the world at that time.

Each time God moves us forward in the plan of redemption He speaks to those who have ears to hear, just as He spoke to Anna and Simeon in the Temple at Jerusalem. All those elders of Israel going about their business in the Temple. Yet, only two old people were hearing from the Lord.

If the Scribes and Pharisees were listening to God, instead of worshiping the Torah, they would not have crucified the Lord's Christ.

The true Christian listens to Jesus; listens to Jesus; listens to Jesus day and night. He always is listening for that quiet voice of the Spirit. These are the sons of God. They are led by the Spirit.

What then about the Scriptures? The Scripture guide us so that we do not listen to false voices. But it is impossible to be led by the Bible in specific situations. "Should I get married to a certain person? Should I go to college? Should I move to a certain location? Should I follow a certain career?" While the Bible gives us general guidelines, it does not address the specifics.

When we acknowledge the Lord in all our ways, He directs our path.

We may have war in the near future. Our family lives near a nuclear power plant. In case of war, should we move inland? If we go by our own reasoning we might move right into the center of a catastrophe. So we have to wait and pray until we have some sort of indication of the Lord's will.

All Christians do not hear from Christ in the same way. Some hear a voice in their mind. Others have certain cues that they go by, such as watching the results of their behavior. Yet others look for peace in their decision. There are a number of ways Christ communicates with us, depending on our personality and calling.

No Christian is to live as though Christ is far away in Heaven and we have to try to make decisions according to the Bible as well as we can. Christ is near us today; and if we will look up to Him for every decision we make, we will find we are learning to live by His Life rather than our own.

Practicing the Presence of the living Christ is going to be extremely important during the period of chaos we are approaching. The nations are making immoral decisions, such as endorsing homosexual practices; and God always brings judgment on such behavior.

Also it is true that God is moving us past the Pentecostal experience. We have to have "oil in our lamp," so to speak, if we are to be able to move with God.

In the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, the Lord Jesus told us He will appear to us but not to the world. That is happening today. In at least one sense of the word, those who are hearing from the Lord are going with Him into the wedding banquet. You might want to ask Jesus if this is so.

The Levitical feast that is celebrated after Pentecost is the Blowing of Trumpets. This signals a new year of God's redemption. The King comes to us to declare war against the enemies in us. It is the beginning of the year of kings and contracts, and the emphasis is on the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

The observance after the Blowing of Trumpets is the great and solemn Day of Atonement. During this aspect of redemption, everything in our personality comes us for judgment. The purpose is to reconcile us completely to God in our thinking, in our speaking, and in our acting.

This particular celebration has begun and will endure throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age until every saved individual is reconciled to God to a greater or lesser extent, depending on his or her calling.

After the Day of Atonement will come the climactic work of the Spirit of God. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will dwell for eternity in those in whom Christ has been formed.

Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23)

It may be true that these last three of the seven Levitical celebrations are the "banquet" into which we are to enter with the Lord. Those who depend on the Bible but do not have the close contact with Christ that He desires will not even know that there has been a move forward in the Divine redemption. But those who are accustomed to listening to Jesus will obey Him and rejoice exceedingly.

There is no question but that the greatest opportunities of all are available today, right at the time when the world is sinking into a moral quagmire.

At midnight the cry rang out: "Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!" (Matthew 25:6)

The "cry" comes at midnight. It is obvious that we are approaching a moral "midnight," as England and America seek to protect homosexuals in other countries. The "cry" may be sounding today. But we have to have oil with our lamp if we are to hear and enter.

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." (Matthew 25:8,9)

On one occasion I told the Lord that I would be glad to share my oil with someone.

His response was, "You will have just enough for yourself." So I guess it is pretty strict, because I have been serving the Lord fervently for a number of years.

So we see, from the passage above, that the Lord will come suddenly to His temple. There will not be time then to try to renew our consecration.

What a warning this should be to the casual Christians who suppose that all things will continue and everything will be alright. This is a very unwise supposition, in light of this parable. Christ will act suddenly, and the casual believers in America will not be prepared to move with Christ.

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 25:10)

"The door was shut." The soft preaching in America today would deny there will come a time when the door is shut. Many pastors are babying their flocks, being afraid if they present the harsh passages of the Bible to them they will go to some other church. Such are false shepherds, and their day of reckoning will come sooner or later.

Later the others also came. "Sir! Sir!" they said. "Open the door for us!" But he replied, "I tell you the truth, I don't know you." Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. (Matthew 25:11-13)

Notice how fervently they prayed. But the Lord said, "I don't know you." How would you like to hear those words? I know I wouldn't.

Notice Christ did not say, "You don't know me." He said, "I don't know you." That is the same thing He said to the workers of iniquity.

We see, therefore, that while we may think we know Christ, He may not know us. So we had best pray each day until we are certain we are in His complete and perfect will every moment of every night and day.

When the Bridegroom appears there will be no time to do what we should have been doing all along.