Here’s this month’s Gone Fishin’ Newsletter.
Every month a team from our fellowship at Calvary Wellington heads out to our regular fishing hole, the Naenae Market and Hillary Court shops. There we share the Gospel to those in our immediate community.
Once a month I publish a simple newsletter that is distributed to the fellowship (or for anyone else who stumbles across this website), as a way of encouragement, and as a tool to equip us to be better evangelists.
Gone Fishin’ Monthly Newsletter – October 2021
”And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage; and
the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said,
‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you’ ” (Matt 25:10-12)
Well, these are crazy times indeed, being in and out of lockdown levels, not knowing what will happen from one day
to the next. Yet how comforting it is to know that God is still in control in the background, orchestrating everything
for our good – regardless of any personal, societal, or political issues going on!
One thing we always like to stress in evangelism is the need for urgency. This is because nobody except God alone knows when we are going to take our final breath. Nothing is sadder when we hear of an unbeliever who was thinking about getting their life right with God, only for tragedy to befall them expectantly. I can’t count the number of people who have told me “It’s OK, I’ve got plenty of years to get right with God. I’ll do it on my deathbed.” Unfortunately, the deathbed scene is never guaranteed.
Our verses today are taken from the familiar Parable of the Ten Virgins, in Matthew 25. Five virgins made it to the wedding supper, but five were left behind. Through the story we can learn of how each party planned and prepared, and how it applies to Christ’s return.
We’ll look into the foresight of the virgins, the faith of the virgins, and the fate of the virgins.
The foresight of the virgins
One thing we can be sure of in the story: all ten virgins knew the bridegroom would be coming. We can see this in the setup for the story in the beginning of Matt 25: “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.”.
In biblical Israel it was custom for the bridegroom to prepare a room for his future family at his fathers’ house – we would probably call it an annex today. When the annex was built, the bridal party would hold a procession to meet the bridegroom as he came to fetch his bride. They would walk to his new home to marry, and live and raise his family there.
So, the virgins had no excuse not to be prepared; the bridegroom could turn up any moment. But five decided not to prepare themselves. They left it to the last minute to do anything about getting ready. It was only when they heard him coming they decided to do anything about it, but by then it was too late to prepare themselves.
The same applies to us. When we are told the Gospel, but do nothing about preparing for it, we will have no excuse when Jesus says to us “Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you”.
The faith of the virgins
One thing we can be sure of in the story: access to the wedding supper revolved around the oil: “And the foolish said
to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’” (Matt 25:8).
So, five of the virgins didn’t bother to have any reserves of oil. Instead of preparing in advance, they thought it would be best to wait to get the oil. But the bridegroom came back at midnight, when there is no merchant open to sell oil to them. Realising they were caught short, they tried to bribe some off the wise five, but they said “No way!”. The foolish would have had to wait until the morning when the merchant opens again. But by then it was way too late – the wedding procession had begun.
The same applies to us. When we are told that Christ will return, we cannot expect to borrow on the faith of others.
We are responsible for our own relationship to the bridegroom. If this is not done, no one else can help us.
The fate of the virgins
One thing we can be sure of in the story: when the door is closed, there is no going back: “…and they that were ready
went in with him to the marriage; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord,
open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you” (Matt 25:10b-12)
The five wise virgins took their lamps, and joined in the wedding procession. And when it reached the bridegroom’s house, they entered, and the doors were closed. This is commonality in Jewish tradition, in order to keep the undesirables and gate-crashers out. All this happened while the foolish five were off trying to get their oil sorted. They could no longer get in to the wedding feast. Those that do not honour the bridegroom in the procession were not welcome to the wedding feast.
The same applies to us. Once the wedding supper has started, the doors are closed. It is too late to prove your honour to Christ. No amount of pleading and begging with God, or pounding on heaven’s door, will change anything.
This parable is a beautiful picture of the Gospel:
Foresight: You must prepare for death (or Christ’s return) now, before it is too late.
Faith: You must repent and place your trust in Christ, and not rely on others’.
Fate: You will either enter the wedding supper of The Lamb, or suffer the eternal consequences.
So, let’s get to it, and tell everyone we know!
I’ll see you at my place on Saturday at 10am for prayer, before heading down to the shops!
Witnessing Tip: It’s OK If They Walk Away
Not everyone you witness to will fall at your feet in repentance.
In fact, a majority will just walk away.
It’s OK – you are not responsible for their salvation.
Pray that the words you spoke, or the tract you gave, will continue nagging at their heart.