Matthew 25:1 "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, 'Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' 9 But the wise answered, saying, 'Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' 12 But he answered, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
When Jesus comes people will be going about life as usual, marrying and giving in marriage as in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:38), unconcerned about the will of God. When people become unconcerned about the will of God, sin is practiced more and more and the cultural environment becomes more evil and people give no thought to the judgment that a just Judge must bring, only to the material preparation and enjoyment of the wedding. Jesus used an example from everyday life to illustrate the need of people to be ready when He returns to judge the world, the righteous being judged to have eternal life and the unrighteous judged to have eternal torment.
Jesus presents us with the wise and foolish. The wise were prepared for the bridegroom's return to take longer than they thought. The foolish were unprepared for a late return of the bridegroom and were not able to participate in the wedding. To the unprepared the bridegroom said, "I don't know you." In Matthew 7:21-23 On Judgment Day Jesus said to the people who didn't do His will but used His name for what they did, "Depart from me. I never knew you," when they sought to enter the eternal Kingdom of God. Those people were not prepared by having lived a life seeking to do His will.
The two key lessons of our text today are "be ready" and "be watching" when Jesus returns. How do we get ready like the wise virgins of our story from everyday life? We get ready by repenting of our sin and believing the gospel (Mark 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 10:9). A saving belief, one that is not mere lip service as in Matthew 7:21-23, is a belief that desires to do the will of God as given in the Bible. A prepared person is continually seeking to live according the will of God. Are you a prepared person? Do you seek to live according to God's will by learning the Bible and practicing what you learn by faith in the Son of God?
Are you watching for the return of Jesus? Watching is more than keeping an eye to the sky. Watching means we are actively living according to God's will, being alert to avoid the temptations of sin and Satan to do other than God's will. In verse 13 of our text today Jesus commands us to be actively engaged in His work when He returns and not be letting His work languish because He is taking to long to come back. The Apostle Paul's command to the Corinthian believers fits perfect for encouraging us "to be watching" when Christ returns. "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58