Across the Great Christian Divide
Last Sunday I was one of those “first time visitors” in a church in a nearby community. The sermon delivered by one of the associate pastors there did not really provide new information to me, but it was replete (that means full – just serving up a little vocabulary lesson with my spiritual message) with confirmations for my own views of the world and what is happening at such a dizzying pace. His theme centered around the parable of the ten virgins (which ironically I had just read the day before). The pastor pointed out forcefully that this parable deals with believers not unbelievers. Five of them (or fifty percent) were denied entry to the wedding feast because they had no oil in their lamps.
Here is that passage: Matthew 25:10-12 10And 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.11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
Does it perhaps concern you that you might be one of the foolish virgins who failed to fill her lamp? I think we must examine this situation and ask how one fills their lamp with oil. I’d very much like to attend that wedding ceremony. You can live your life the way you want to, but I’m here to warn you that you might want to do a bit of self examination (it is prescribed in the Bible). Your eternal future is at stake. I’d suggest preparing for forever warrants a bit of your time and energy.
Clearly we have five women here who anticipated being involved in the wedding feast. They had maintained their virginity, thus punching their ticket. Right? Wrong! They needed to do more. They needed to get oil and pour it into their lamps. The directions on how to perform this are conspicuous by their absence in the context stated. That opens up a can of worms as everyone tries to fill in the gap. I’m going to give you my take on this.
Matthew 7:21-23 uses similar verbiage. ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ OK. Here appears to be a clue. Practicing lawlessness appears to be a route to disqualification. Also it says in verse 21 that those who do the will of the Father are the ones who will enter Heaven, aka the wedding feast in the virgin parable.
We live in a world where moral relativism thrives. Clarion calls to encourage humans to channel their efforts into pleasing God rather than pleasing themselves are not considered politically correct. You might take exception to what I’m saying here. That is your right. You also have the right to drop an anvil on your foot. Be assured, I will not suffer the pain directly of your idiocy if you attempt that. I do suffer from the pain of rejection when people lash back at me because I speak something that I believe is beneficial to them in the long run. And I will suffer a bit from the pain of knowing you went to hell because you scoffed at my words and paid them no heed and they turned out to be guiding lights.
What I see in the current world is a division, a chasm that seems to grow wider every day. On one side of the chasm we have the world and its systems. On the other side are those who are embracing God and his word. Notice I didn’t say Jesus. There are people who don’t embrace Jesus who are rejecting the world. Hopefully it’s just a matter of time before they do. On the other hand we have those who profess Jesus who are siding with the world. And they are trying to make it look like they are actually the true followers of Christ and that everyone else should follow their example.
Not everything that glitters is gold. Not everyone who says “I’m a Christian” really is. Contrary to popular protestant doctrine, you don’t get to claim membership in the Jesus Club because you said a little prayer once upon a time. Jesus said you will know disciples by their fruit and by their love for one another. That opens up a new can of worms. I’m talking about the word “love.” How do we define true love? Find out in my next article, but until then, let me leave you with this thought: “Be wary; false love will lead many to damnation.”