Beware Of Strange Winds
A strange wind of teaching is blowing across the land that lulls people into believing that the coming of Christ is not in the horizon and people should go about their business of living as usual. This deceitful wind can only be checked by a discerning heart that understands that we live in the days that Christ said: “Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:11-12). Such heart is the one that is not preoccupied by the pleasures and distractions of the earth but understands that his/her “…citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20b). A particular strange teaching that the Lord will want us to consider seriously and is a threat to our souls is the teaching that the soon return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ should be handled with levity. There are two particular schools of thought that we must consider and respond to appropriately: one professes that the message of His return should be minimized and we should concentrate more on the great commission. According to this school, the teachings about His return are disillusioning, distracting and depressing! The second school of thought does believe in His return and have taken the teachings to an extreme by locking themselves in spiritual silos through doctrines of segregation and hate. The two schools of thought have done injustice to the true teaching and preparedness of the people for the return of the Master. Let us draw some lessons about Christ’s return from one of His teachings to His Disciples when they approached Him privately to tell them about the sign of His coming and the end of the age.
In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus gave the parable of the 10 virgins with certain pointers for us to see and learn so as not to fall into the two extremes above:
1. The 10 mentioned were virgins; this signifies purity, righteousness and holiness. They were true children of God waiting expectantly for the Master’s return and they knew what was expected of them at this point in time.
2. In understanding the time they were in, they were armed with their lamps and they “went out to meet the groom” (Matthew 25:1b). They left their comfort zones, knowing that the Lord will not be found in the midst of the happenings of the world system: “Let us then go to Him outside the camp, bearing His disgrace. For we do not have an enduring city; instead, we seek the one to come” (Hebrews 13:13-14).
3. They carried their lamps that had light in them. Please understand these virgins have the word of God in them: “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105).
4. The group was divided into two by how discerning and sensible they were in regards to their preparation. The Bible says five were wise because they carried a flask of extra oil. The extra oil signifies going the extra mile to study, pray and serve God, it equally signifies anointing: An anointing that can be gotten as one grows in intimacy with the Master.
5. All the virgins became drowsy and slept because the Groom’s coming was delayed. Friend, this is the current state of the Body of Christ. The sons of God are drowsy and sleepy because there is a ‘seemingly’ delay in the return of the Master. What makes a person drowsy? Tiredness, satiated, sick, cold and many other factors. A person that is drowsy is incoherent in his/her thoughts and speech, and may sound drunk. Friends, no wonder so many in their drowsiness are telling their congregations that Christ’s return is distracting and depressing; while others are equally telling their congregations to unpack their ‘suitcases’ as Christ’s return is not in the horizon for a long time! These forget the injunction of the Lord that warned us to be dressed ready with all preparations in place like people waiting for their Master to return (Luke 12:35) so that the day does not close in on them like a trap (Luke 21:34-36). Friend, do you have extra oil for the wait? Do you know if you have the extra oil in you, you wouldn’t need anyone to teach you to know Him? “Instead, His anointing teaches you about all things and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in Him” (1John 2:27b). This knowledge of Him comes through a daily experience with Him. Your pastors and teachers cannot give you their oil; you need to buy yours: “Come everyone who is thirsty, come to the waters and you without money, come buy and eat. Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost” (Isaiah 55:1). Friend, you can only be taught the what and how of the Gospel of life, but to make it real, you need to go the extra mile and have a relationship with Life Himself, then the how and what will become a reality in your life.
6. The Bible says in the middle of the night, there was a shout heralding the coming of the Master. Friends, note that all the virgins got up and trimmed their lamps but the foolish ones realized that their light was going dim and they needed oil to keep it burning. At this point, it was impossible for the wise ones to share the extra oil they had. Friends, don’t be deceived, the obedience of your parents, spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, pastor or teacher to Jesus Christ will not help you on that day, because each of us will be presented before Christ to give account of him/herself.
In closing, a pastor said recently we should live our lives each day as if it is our last and do the service of God as if we have a hundred years. The statement is a half truth in the sense that we must certainly live our lives each day in expectation of the Master’s return but we do not have a hundred years to do His work! Such an idea will only make us drowsy and lazy towards the things of God because we will believe we have a lot of time. Rather, just as we live our lives each day as if it’s our last, same passion must be brought to bear upon the duties we have been given to do by the Lord bearing in mind that the King’s business demands haste! May the Lord give us great grace to live our lives in true service to Him such that when the time comes, we would not be found lacking in any area in regards to our services in Jesus Christ name. God bless you.