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Preparing For The Wedding: Acquiring Oil
AS times grow harder and harder with society and culture growing more evil we need to be reminded of our call as believers to prepare and be ready for Jesus’ return culminating in the Bride of Christ being ready. It seems that the level of demonic warfare and hatred of anything good and decent and moral continues to escalate. Many believers are challenged on every facet to fall into temptation and sin and ultimately apostasy. Jesus warned the early followers of such times, We are further from the day when Jesus first spoke about His return and likewise closer to the occurrence of the event.
In Matthew 25: 1-13 Jesus outlines what is known as the parable of the ‘Virgins’. This is a commonly preached and studied parable, but it’s deep meaning often overlooked. In this parable virgins are believers before the Lord who are waiting for the ‘Bridegroom’ to return. Jesus is the Bridegroom. 5 of the virgins add enough oil and were prepared, while 5 were foolish and not prepared. Most of the church teaches that we get saved and that is all that there is. There is no real emphasis on intimacy and living holy and as Jesus is really teaching here, to ‘watch and pray’.
Jesus repeatedly tells us we cannot know the exact day or hour of His return but He repeatedly gives us signs and things to watch for to let us know that ‘the season’ is here. Being prepared requires a lot of preparation. The enemy is pulling out all of the stops to pull as many as he can away from a love relationship with Jesus. As times grow harder and persecution increases we must be remain ‘burning and shining’ lamps for Jesus and His kingdom.
John 5:35 “John was a lamp that burned and gave light.” Here John is writing about John the Baptist. He referred to him as a lamp that burned, meaning he was a light, glowing, burning for the Lord. The people saw John and they saw the glow and shining light that he had when he spoke of Jesus and spoke of Jesus’ ministry. How did John burn? He spent a lot of time in prayer and fasting. He spent much time in the wilderness in preparation. He studied the scriptures and sought the Lord. He knew what his ministry was and what it would take to maintain it.
“WATCH AND PRAY”
Several years ago when I was at the Garden of Gethsemane as I studied the olive trees and the olive pressing process I was reminded of Jesus’ words to His disciples in the garden, “Watch and Pray that you enter not into temptation.” Matthew 26:41, Berean Study Bible. Jesus was praying and found his disciples asleep. He asked them if they couldn’t pray and watch for just one hour. I studied the scriptures, and I felt then that the Lord was saying this is the one thing I am calling you to do and really the whole Body of Christ in these last days. Yes. we need to evangelize, we need to serve, but above all else we need to ‘watch and pray’.
The oil is the oil of the Holy Spirit needed for ministry. Every born again believer has some sort of ministry. Moms, caregivers, business people, etc. as well as the small percent in full time ministry. To do whatever we are called to do we need all of the oil we can get. There are too many things pulling on us every day to lose our focus.
A Bride Made Ready
Revelation 19:7 “Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and the Bride has made herself ready.”
Here the Bride made herself ready, meaning she has to prepare, get clean, remain pure, get ‘clean linens’ and put on jewels, and all things a bride does in preparing for her Bridegroom. The Bride of Christ is no different. AS the hour grows late, and evil is more rampant, and persecution increases, we must go deeper in the word, in prayer, an in time we spend in His Presence, Acquiring our own oil requires sacrifice of time and sometimes money as we let go of some things the world see as important. The Kingdom of Heaven means that we live kingdom minded which includes watching for the King, watching for the Bridegroom, and burning and shining, like John, so that the world sees the Light of Jesus burning brightly and come, not so much to us, but the source of our light, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Before we can say “come” we need to have something for the lost to come to. We have to have water for the thirsty as Revelation 22:17 says, “ Let the one who is thirsty come; let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.”
Get some oil, get some water, and keep getting it, so that when the dark look for light they see us shining. They can also find drink. How can we expect there to be a great harvest if we do not spend time with the ‘Lord Of Harvest”? Lord we need your oil, give us each grace to spend time with you to get the oil, so that our lamps burn brightly. Amen!