T H E K ING ’S BUS INESS
Higher Criticism, their own notions, New Theology, etc., etc. When the Lord comes He will not find them giving "food.” (2) He gives his food to- the Lord’s “house hold.” Many professed servants feed them selves ; others again desire to feed the rich and cultured; but it is “the household1’ that our Lord has given us to feed and that contains very many poor. (3) In the third place, the faithful servant gives this food “in due season." There are some giving food, but at long and too irregular intervals. A great blessing awaits these faithful servants. Now look at the evil servant’s picture: (1) This is his theol ogy, “My Lord delayeth His coming.” . (2) This is his practice, tyranny, “He shall be gin to smite his fellow servants” ; self-in dulgence, “He shall eat and drink with the drunken” ; neglect of duty, the household are not given their food. His destiny is appallingly dark. He is surprised by the Lord’s unexpected return: he is cut asun der ; he has his portion with th e ' hypo crites (vile associates) : there is “the weep ing and the gnashing of teeth” (i. e. in consolable grief and impotent rage). What a picture! May it possibly be the picture of you and your destiny? The parable, of which we study the first part today, has to do with the second com ing of Christ. Its imagery is taken from the Palestinian customs connected with marriage. The central lesson that it is in tended to teach is that we should always be watching and ready for the return of our. Lord. The Bridegroom, of course, repre sents Jesus Christ, (cf. John 3:28, 29; Eph. 5:25; 2 Cor. 11:2; Matt. 9:15; Rev. 21:9). The figure of the Bridegroom sets forth the wonderful love of Christ for the Church (Eph. 5:25-28, 30-32). In our present par able, the Church is not viewed so much in her position as the Bride of Christ, but as virgins waiting for His return (cf. Luke 12:36). Our attitude toward His return should be expectant and longing (cf. Titus Friday, April 16. Matt. 25:1-5.
2:13; 2 Tim. 4:8; 2 Peter 3:12, 13 R. V.). The lamps represent the religious profes sion or “form of godliness” (cf. ch. 5:16; Luke 12:35; 2 Tim. 3:5). The five foolish virgins who were shut out and heard the awful, “I know you not” (v. 12) had an out ward profession as much as the others and were looking for and apparently desiring the Lord’s return. The only point of dif ference was that the wise had constant supplies of oil, while the foolish had only enough to burn a short time (v. 8 R. V.). The difference was not outwardly manifest at all until the lamps of the foolish be gan to go out. The oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, that which gives the outward profession power to continue burning and to give light (cf. Acts 10:38; 1 John 2:20, 27; Ps. 45:7). Many a lamp today has a wick but no oil. The foolish seemed to have had some oil but not supplies to last; they had oil in their lamps but none “in their vessels” to replenish the lamps. It would seem then that one can know some measure of the Spirit’s power and yet be lost at last (cf. Heb. 6:4-6). What we need is continuous supplies of the Spirit’s power, His abiding presence. This the one who is truly born again will have (1 John 3:9). “The bridegroom tarried,” in these words, Jesus gave to His disciples a hint that His return might not be as immediate as they expected. He gives another hint of this in the parable that immediately fol lowed (vs. 14-30 in ch. 24:48). The wicked servant failed because the Lord came sooner than he expected; on the other hand, these virgins failed because He did not come as soon as they expected. The practical lesson is to be ready at any time when He may come, whether His coming be near at hand or far away. The Bride groom has already tarried more than 1800 years; He tarries because the Bride is not yet ready. While the Bridegroom tarried, all the virgins, wise as well as foolish, first nodded and then sank into deep slumber. This is a true, but humiliating, picture of the whole professing Church. It may be said that it was well enough for the wise
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