Lesson 112 - Elementary
"Watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is" (Mark 13:33).
When Jesus left the earth and went to Heaven to be with God, the Heavenly Father, He told the disciples that He would come back someday and take them to Heaven.
One day before Jesus went to Heaven, He told a story about being ready for His coming to earth again. In this story Jesus said that a bridegroom was coming. Ten young women, called virgins, were waiting to see him. His coming might take place at night, and each girl was to carry a lighted lamp. Only those carrying lights would be ready to meet him.
It seems that the young man, the bridegroom, was rather late in coming. So, in the meantime, they all went to sleep. Suddenly at midnight a cry went out, "Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him". The young women awoke and began at once to trim, or adjust, their lamps.
What do you suppose happened? Five of the virgins discovered that their lamps were not burning. While they slept, the lamps had gone out! They suddenly realized that they had not enough oil with them to keep their lamps burning. The other five were wise " each had a vessel of extra oil with her. They were ready to go to meet the bridegroom as soon as they heard that he was coming.
But it was a sad time for the foolish virgins. What could they do now? Their first thought was to borrow from the other five. But the wise young women said, "Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves."
There was nothing else to do. Cannot you see them as they hurry off to the store for oil? Did they come back before the bridegroom returned? No. We read that "while they went to buy, the bridegroom came." The five wise virgins, each carrying a brightly-burning lamp, went with the bridegroom to the marriage. Then the door was shut, and no other person could enter.
Here come the five foolish virgins. Perhaps they knock on the fast-closed door. Listen! They are saying, "Lord, Lord, open to us." But the Lord answers from within, "I know you not." They are left standing outside in the dark! It is too late!
Oil in the Lamp
By this story Jesus wished to teach His disciples, and all of us, too, the importance of being ready when Jesus, the heavenly Bridegroom, will come. No one knows the time when Jesus will come back to earth and call for us. If we are not ready when the cry goes forth, "Behold, the bridegroom cometh," there will be no time then to get ready. Like the foolish virgins were shut out, we shall be shut out of Heaven.
The ten virgins had all been invited. They had time to get a lamp and a vessel of extra oil. We all know that a lamp will burn only so long as there is oil in it; and if extra oil is not added, sooner or later it will go out.
A Shining Light
Shall we try to picture our hearts as a little lamp? When we are saved Jesus lights that lamp. Every morning and every evening we pray. That helps to keep the lamp burning " it is like adding oil to our lamp. Very brightly it shines out. Other children know that we are Christians because our "light" is shining. We are working for Jesus; we are good and kind; we are obedient to our parents; we are living for Jesus. We pray and ask Jesus to sanctify us. That is a wonderful experience. Jesus answers our prayer and sanctifies us, which makes our lamp burn even brighter than it did. There is more "oil" in our lamp now. The more we pray and read the Bible, the closer to Jesus we live.
A greater and still more wonderful experience is the baptism of the Holy Ghost. When we receive this, it seems that our "vessel" is filled to overflowing. We cannot even begin to tell how happy we are when we are filled with the Spirit of God. This seems to be the "extra" supply of oil. But we must go on and on with Jesus. We still have to watch and pray. We must guard these things the Lord has given us. We have to keep close to Jesus. We cannot become careless and fail to read the Bible and pray. For if we do, we may lose the oil out of our lamp. Perhaps a little "leak" will develop in our lamp, and our light will grow dimmer and dimmer. Soon it will go out. When we commit sin, we lose the experiences God has given us. We cannot lose only part of our experiences, but we lose all we have. If Jesus should come at that moment, we could not go with Him to Heaven. We would be like the foolish virgins who let their lamps go out.
Once there was a man, Simon the sorcerer, who saw that the Apostles had the power and Spirit of God. He wanted what they had. He offered them money " probably reached down in his pocket and pulled out a coin. But Peter told him that the gift of God cannot be purchased with money. He said, "Thy heart is not right in the sight of God." We learn from this that we cannot receive the Spirit of God from others. We cannot buy it with money. We must go to God ourselves and receive it from Him.
This lesson is a warning to every one of us to make sure that our light is burning brightly. We need all the "oil," or Spirit of God, that we can get. We want to be sure that our supply is not so low that our lamp will go out just before the cry goes forth, "Behold, the bridegroom cometh." It would be terrible to be left behind!
1. What was the difference between the wise and foolish virgins? [MAT:25:3-4].
2. What did all the virgins do while they waited for the bridegroom? [MAT:25:5].
3. Did the foolish virgins get oil from the wise? [MAT:25:9].
4. What happened while they went to buy it? [MAT:25:10].
5. What lesson does this story teach us? [MAT:25:13].