Neon lights of Hollywood beckon us all to come into theaters, sit and watch the latest blockbuster movie and fill our minds with altered reality. Television calls us to spend countless hours as couch potatoes who glare unceasingly at the tube, eyes fixed on sitcoms and sports, travelogues and wildlife discoveries, comedies and old westerns; sci fi, news and documentaries. Magazines beg to be picked up and browsed for the latest fashions and gossip, information and advertising. Books sit on our shelves and await time to be read. Our lives are bombarded daily with messages that call for our time and attention. All the while, Jesus beckons, "Come unto me."
by Jerry Gentry
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Mat. 11:28-30).
Come unto me," Jesus invited. Who will hear that call? Who will respond to this invitation? Who will step forward and take Jesus' divine beckoning to heart? How must professing Christians still come unto Jesus? Will our response be by mere mental assent, or will we come to Jesus with all our heart and soul and mind and strength, in the fear of God?
"Come unto me," Jesus said. The call of "come unto me," goes out to all mankind. The Bible teaches that "many are called, but few are chosen" (Mat. 22:14). It is a terrible thing to contemplate that we might be called of God, but not chosen. How we respond to Jesus' call, will determine whether we will be found among the chosen few. This warning was originally spoken to the most religious people in the world, the Pharisees, who were also the most zealous foes of Jesus and his ministry. The call to "come unto me" goes forth both to the worldly unsaved, the Pharisaical religious, and to everyone else alike.
"Come unto me," Jesus beckons to all. Christians in name must still come unto Jesus in reality.
In the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Mat. 25), both the wise and the foolish virgins are called. Learn a lesson today about two different responses to Jesus' call of "come unto me." If we will be among the chosen few, the elect of God, we will learn how to come unto Jesus, from two great parables.
First, the Parable of the Ten Virgins, five wise and five foolish, teaches us a valuable lesson on just how we must "Come unto" Jesus, if we will find true salvation and the kingdom of God.
"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept" (Mat. 25:1-5).
Notice here that all ten virgins responded variously to the call of "come unto me" and all ten were guilty of weariness and/or worldliness to the point of slumbering and falling asleep just before the midnight cry at Christ's return.
"And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
"But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell [preachers and ministers], and buy for yourselves." No one will enter the marriage supper on someone else's coattails.
"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 came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
"But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh" (v. 6-13).
In this parable, we find the bridegroom, Jesus Christ, has returned to His church made up of 10 virgins&emdash;five wise and five foolish. Note that all ten virgins are together in the church, in full fellowship, trimming their lamps. This parable is written to the church, not to the world. All ten virgins have come to Christ, at least in outward appearance. They all have lamps. There is only one problem. A full half or fifty percent of the members of this church have no oil in their lamps. They are rejected because, even though they were nominal church going Christians, they had previously bought no oil when it was for sale.
They had listened to their preacher, but these five foolish vigins had been forgetful hears of the word (James 1:25). Instead of being led by the Spirit of God, they let their feelings and opinions rule their lives. Now at the midnight cry, when Jesus returns, they are faithless to stand alone and take full responsibility and accountability. They are the fence straddlers, the finger pointers, the critics of headship. You know some of these virgins. The foolish virgins take their Christianity seriously one day a week. Their lamps were "gone out" because they had failed to buy oil and store it in their lamps when it was for sale. Their wicks are trimmed, but they have no light to shine. They are not on fire for God and His Word. They are fringe Christians. They bury their talent in the faithless ground of self deception and criticism of others. They have not any oil, symbolic of the Spirit of God, because they are not yielded, not personally accountable to Jesus Christ and His Word.
Being anointed with oil, that is, having oil in your lamp, is symbolic of the indwelling of God's Holy Spirit that comes when you trust Jesus Christ for our salvation. Does the Spirit of God burn within you and guide you? Concerning the young shepherd boy David, the Bible says: "Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward" (1Sam. 16:13). Instead, are you filled with the spirit of the god of this world, through worldly pursuits and friendships? In the Bible, worldly friendships are labeled as committing adultery.
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses," the Bible says, "know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (James 4:4). Worldliness makes us enemies of God, if we believe the Bible. Worldliness makes us adulterers and adulteresses, just as certainly as going out and having a full blown affair.
In the Bible, we are admonished: ". . . be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18). How can we be filled with the Spirit? Jesus said: ". . . the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63). Being filled with the Spirit of God has a major effect on both our words and our actions. Being filled with the Spirit means we are filled with the words of God, making real application of even those scriptures in the Bible which we don't like. Example: The Bible says, "husbands obey your wives," correction (!), "Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them" (Col. 3:19). And, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord" (Eph. 5:22).
The Bible says, "Nevertheless let every one of you [husbands] in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband" (Eph. 5:33). Why would every husband be commanded to "love" and "be not bitter" against his wife? Could it be that after a while husbands tend to take their wives for granted, even to the point of bitterness? Why would the Bible tell wives to obey and even reverence their husbands? Could it be that wives will after a while tend to develop an independent, unresponsive, and irreverent spirit toward their husbands? Think about it.
If we never speak the words of the Bible, never confess to each other our personal faults, we have no oil, none of the Holy Spirit, therefore our lamps are gone out. We will be ultimately rejected as stony ground believers. When hardship comes, we will wither, dry up and fall away to the cares of this world, because we have no root in Jesus Christ. Though churched, we are unsaved. For this reason, we must now take our Christian life seriously. We must fully come unto Jesus on His terms, and buy oil for our lamps now. Later just may be too late. Otherwise, we may endure for a time, but later we will grow cold and fall away in pursuit of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.
In the Bible we are told: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Rom. 8:9).
This lesson of how we must "come unto" Jesus is further illustrated in the Parable of the Wedding Banquet, found in Matthew 22. First, the Parable of the Ten Virgins. Second, the Parable of the Wedding Banquet.
"And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come" (Mat 22:1-3). Most of Israel originally rejected Christ. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not" (John 1:11).
"Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise" (Mat. 22:4-5). As you can see, these folks let the cares of this world&emdash;their farms, businesses and other distractions&emdash;take priority above God's call on their lives.
"And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage." (Mat 22:6-9). Here we see that great city Babylon of Revelation 14, 16 and 18 is destroyed, and those left in the earth hear one final call to come to Jesus, most likely through the ministry of the two witnesses during Great Tribulation. Of that final invitation, the Bible says: "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17).
"So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless" (Mat 22:10-12).
We must not only come to Jesus and buy oil for our lamps, that our lamps may be burning. We must also adorn the proper wedding garment, white raiment, which is "the righteousness of saints" (Rev. 19:8).
"Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen" (Mat 22:13-14).
What is the ultimate answer, then, to Jesus invitation to "come unto me." The ultimate answer is that we must not only come to him, but we must come to Him on His terms, not ours. We must buy oil for our lamps. We must wear a wedding garment of white raiment, which is the "righteousness of saints." It is easy to go to church, listen to the sermon, pray, sing and feel righteous. It is easy to put on a sanctimonious spirit. It is easy to compare ourselves to others, and thank God we are not like other men whom we like to fault. That is the prayer of the self righteous Pharisees, the foolish virgins, the ones whose lamps are gone out. Because these have no wedding garment, have no oil for their lamps, they are ultimately rejected and cast into the fires of hell.
Will you today "come unto me," Jesus bids? Come now, and come, for real. Are you saved? Do you know for sure that if you died today you would go and be with the Lord? Get your heart right with God, then increase the working of His Spirit by speaking the very Words of Jesus Christ. Will you be found with oil in your lamp, adorned with your wedding garment of white raiment, the righteousness of the saints? Will you be among that chosen few? Will you make your calling and election sure?
Hollywood calls, "Come to the theater houses and watch the latest blockbuster movie." Television beckons, "Become a couch potato and watch TV for hours." Magazines and books beg, "Pick me up and read me and mold your life after the fashions of this world." Jesus invites, "come unto me, and I will give you rest."
Will you be among the little flock, the chosen few found worthy for the Master's use in the kingdom? Then you must come to Jesus. You must focus your heart, not on the just the cares of this world. You must trust Jesus Christ and buy oil for your lamp. You must speak the very words of Christ and store up the oil of His Spirit. You must adorn a wedding garment, "the righteousness of saints." You must say no to friendship with the world. You must say "yes" to Jesus' call of "come unto me." You must store up oil and adorn a wedding garment. Only then are you ready to hear the midnight cry, "Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him."