Is it possible to Buy a Little Oil Here

Is it Possible to Buy A Little Oil Here

 

Scripture Reading: Matthew 25:1-4; Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

Opening Song:

Closing Song:

Recently while preparing for the Revelation Speaks class here on Wednesday evening, I ran across this little sentence. “Christ longs to see his character reproduced in His earth children.”

I sat and thought on this for quite some time. “Christ longs to see his character reproduced in His earth children.” While pondering this statement three questions came to mind.

  • What is Christ’s Character?
  • What are the character traits Christ displayed while on earth?
  • How can I achieve, gain, acquire, purchase, steal, covet, Christ’s character? Or perhaps another way of putting it: What process has to take place for Christ’s Character to become my Character.

 

But the real question before us this morning is this: “Why would I want the Character of Christ reproduced in my life? After all, all of us there this morning call ourselves Christians! Isn’t that enough to just be called Christians?

The historian in me was interested to find out what the word Christian meant. Acts 11:27 states that it was in Antioch that the word Christian was first used. It is a word derived from two other words. The first word is Christos which is a Greek word meaning Christ while the second word is Latin iane which means followers.

Its original intent was to be a derogatory remark to signify people whether they were a Jew, Greek Jew, Gentile or Pagan that gave up their former beliefs and life style to follow this Christ person.

This was part of the reason Peter wrote these words in I Peter 4:16 ; 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.[1]

But this definition does not tell me what Christ’s character is. What are the characteristics that make up Christ’s character? For this we need to turn to Galatians 5:22-26. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self control. Against such there is no law. 24 and those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another envying one another.

Paul is telling us. These personality traits, these character traits are not inherent in any of us. You did not naturally inherit them. Instead he is stating that the natural self will become conceited, provoking one and other and envying one another. Galatians 5:19-21 gives us the result of our living in the flesh or without the character of Christ in us. These are our natural tendencies.

How did sin first start. By Lucifer envying Christ and wanting to become greater than The Most High God. How does he gain control of us. By tempting us to become like God ourselves. To place our own selves above God’s wants and desires for our lives.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is II Chronicles 7:14; “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”

This is the pre-incarnate Christ speaking through his prophet saying If my people who are called Christians (by My Name) will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways. What has God then promised to do? Then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”

Basically He is saying I will instill my character upon them. They will become like me.

When a young couple begin to date, they long to see each other’s face. To look into each other’s eyes and the express their hopes, their dreams and what they are longing for in the future.

God desires the same relationship with us. He desires a people that will humble themselves, a people that will take time to pray and study His Word. A people that want to abide in Him.

Our Christian experience should be like a young couple who upon finding joy in each other’s company gradually start leaving behind their former lives and friends. As their relationship grows their desire for their former life without the other decreases proportionally as their love for each other grows.

God desires a people that will put on hold their busy lives. A people that will stop to pray and that long to build a relationship with their creator. As their relationship, their love for their creator grows, then the pleasures of this earth should decrease proportionally.

Interesting thing about couples. Have you ever been around a couple that have been married for 50 years or more? Have you seen how they have taken on the personality of the other? How they can anticipate the needs and wants of the other before the words are even spoken.

Christ desires the same trait to be manifested in us. He desires us to establish a relationship so interwoven with Him that we begin to have the same character traits as Christ has. Christ of the Old Testament and Christ of the New Testament showed tender loving kindness toward His faithful followers. Even today he shows that same love and kindness toward all those that see their need of Christ and accept Him into their hearts. He shows such love over the fallen, Joy over those who are lost and repent.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God. Matthew 5:9. Christ endeavors for all his earth children to be at peace with one another as Christ is at peace with all who faithfully follow him.

Longsuffering: Oh, the injustice Christ endured upon this earth. Yet he never complained. Sure his faith was tested in the garden and who of us wouldn’t feint on the eve of such a trail that he endured. Christ suffers long for his fallen children. Christ patiently endures the wickedness of this earth, so that His righteousness can be vindicated before heaven and the universe.

If Christ can endure all this, can we also not endure the trails set before us each day? And hasn’t Jesus promised; “Lo I am with you always, even until the end of the age.”

Christ showed kindness every day and in every way even to those that persecuted Him, He asked that their sins not be held against them. If the king of the universe should show such kindness to those that hated Him can we not do the same for those that despise us?

Christ is the faithful witness. For Christ faithfully stood the test of temptation. For Him it was to pick up his divinity, for us it is to pick up our humanity. Christ faithfully showed us what a relationship with His Father and dare I say our heavenly Father can do for us. Christ daily went to a solitary place and prayed to His Father and to our Father. Without the faithfulness of Christ to fully trust in the Father and daily abide in Him, he would have failed. He faithfully shows us what a relationship with Him should be.

Turn with me to John 15:4-5. Abide in me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches, He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.

A young couple that no longer communicates, no longer talks freely among themselves will not continue to grow and mature as a couple. Their relationship is doomed to wither and die.

So it is the same with a branch that is not part of the vine that is Divine. A branch that is not part of the vine soon withers and dies. It is only when we are connected, grafted into the vine that the branch can receive the life giving nutrients from the vine.

So it will be when we fail to communicate with Christ on a daily bases. When we no longer tell Him out needs, our wants and our concerns. When we stop asking for His wisdom and seeking His guidance in our lives we cut ourselves off from Him and His life saving power.

As the sap that runs through the vine and into the branches brings life to the branches so a daily relationship with Christ and our heavenly father brings lifesaving water and nutrients into our lives.

Matthew 7:20 says, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” and Galatians 5:22-23 make it perfectly clear what those fruits should be if we are connected to grafted into the branch.

All true followers of Christ bear fruit to His glory. Their lives testify that a good work has been done in them by the Spirit of God, and their fruit is unto holiness. The person who has been grafted into the vine will live an elevated and pure life. Their actions are the unmistakable fruit of the true godliness and those who bear no fruit of this kind reveal that they have no experience in things of God. They are not in the vine. Jesus said, Abide in Me and I in you.

I have kind of rolled question 1 and 2 together here this morning. Just to review the first two questions.

  1. What is Christ’s Character? They are the Character traits that are outlined in Galatians 5:22-26
  2. What are the character traits Christ displayed while on earth? We have briefly talked about Christ love toward fallen humanity in the Old Testament and also in the New Testament. His love toward those who persecuted him and we could also add how he cared for the physically sick, emotionally sick and spiritually sick while he was on earth.

 

We have briefly talked about Christ’s great desire to have us grafted into himself. How He desires a relationship with Him as a groom longs to have a relationship with his bride. Christ seeks an intimate relationship with each of us. So then the only question that remains is this.

3.    How can I achieve, gain, acquire, purchase, steal, covet, Christ’s character? Or perhaps another way of putting it: What process has to take place for Christ’s Character to become my character. How is it that I can develop a relationship with Christ to the point that His Character becomes my character?

 

Turn with me to our scripture reading today. Matthew 25:1-5. While you are turning there, let me set the scene. Christ and a group of his disciples are sitting upon the Mount of Olives. It is evening time and the disciples are asking for further information as to what will happen at the end of time. So this message is for His end time people.

25 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

Have you ever gotten out of bed in the middle of the night to get a drink of water. You know what it is like. It is dark and if one is not very careful, it is easy to stumble and fall. Often times we will place a small light, a night light somewhere in the house to light the way for us so we won’t stumble and fall on our way to get a drink of water.

These ten virgins each have a lamp to light there way. And not only does it light their way, but it also lights the path for others to follow. But the Bible says that 5 of these women were foolish and 5 of them were wise. Each had brought a lamp to light their way, but only 5 had brought extra oil. My mother used to say. “Always good to be well prepared and bring more than you might need.” These 5 women had done just that. They were prepared. At first there seemed no difference between them and the other 5.

So it will be at the end of time. Both the wise and the foolish represented in this story profess to be waiting for their Lord. They are called virgins because they profess a pure faith.

It will be in a crises that their true character is revealed.

Those that have attended the Revelation Speaks class on Wednesday evening will recognize this following explanation. For in order for us to continue we must identify the oil and the lamp. Revelation 11:4 says, “These are the two olive trees and the two lampstand standing before the God of the earth.”

Zechariah 4:1-6 and 11-14. Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, ‘What do you see?’ So I said, ‘I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.’ So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me saying, ‘what are these my lord?’ Then the angel who talked with me and said to me, ‘Do you not know what these are?, And I said ‘no, my Lord.’ 6 So he answered and said to me: This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,”

11 Then I answered and said to him, “What are these two olive trees – at the right of the lampstand and at its left?’ 12 and I further answered and said to him, ‘What are these two olive branches that drip into the receptacle of the two gold pipes from which golden oil drains?’ 13 then he answered me and said, ‘Do you not know what these are?’ 14 so he said, These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth.’”

The two anointed ones are the Old and the New Testament and oil that drips into the bowl and is fed through the pipes to keep the lamp burning is the Holy Spirit.

Psalms 119:105 says, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” So the lamp that each of the virgins held in their hands is the word of God which lights their way to heaven. But 5 of these virgins had extra oil. What does this oil represent?

Verse 6 of Zechariah makes this perfectly clear. “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit.” The oil represent the Holy Spirit. Furthermore according to verse 6 There is nothing we can do of ourselves to attain the character of Christ. It is not for sale, it cannot be bought. Being envious of those that have it will do me no good and I cannot steal it. For It is not our might or our power but only through Holy Spirit that we can gain the character of Christ.

The Holy Spirit can prompt us, lead us, show us, and bring us to the truth and each of us here this morning is a testament to the fact that the Holy Spirit does work upon our lives. But if we are to truly become transformed into the character of Christ it is not enough to just pray about it. It is not enough to come to church on Sabbath. It is not enough to lead in a ministry in the church. It is not enough to talk theology with our friends.

It is only when we daily bow down asking for God’s spirit to come into our lives and follow it up with honest and earnest prayer and the study of God’s Word that we can ever expect to become Christ like.

Daily Christ sought time with His Father. His Father was the source of his strength and He will be the source of our strength when we daily spend time talking with God in prayer and the study of his word.

It is only when we do our part, yes our part in daily prayer and study of God’s word that the Spirit of God can fully bring forth Christ Character in our life.

The foolish virgins said to themselves. I have no need of extra oil. My Pastor or the Sabbath School Teacher or my friend down the street can instruct me. My father or mother can tell me what I need to know to be saved.

If this is what you are thinking, then listen closely to this statement. “Character is not transferable. No man can believe for another. No man can receive the Spirit for another. No man can impart to another the character which is the fruit of the Spirit’s working.” Don’t take my word for it. Ezekiel 14:20 “Even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it.”

In What? In a relationship with God in which God’s character was reproduced in them. In a relationship with Christ that caused them to daily contemplate about God and pray to him and God’s spirit was poured out to them.   “Even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it. As I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.” Eze. 14:20. [2]

It is clear from scripture that Christ is wanting to establish a relationship with us and the only way He can fully develop his character in us, is for us to follow the example Christ who daily established a relationship with his heavenly Father. Christ who daily fully grafted himself into the will of His Father.

Why is it so important to daily establish a relationship Psalms 119:11 says, Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against You.  And Galatians 5:22-26 make it clear what will happen in our lives when we develop a relationship with our creator. A relationship in which each day we are praying and studying his word. What will happen when we have become grafted into the vine and those life giving nutrients are transferred from the vine into the branch. The branch will then produce fruit.

So this morning, we each have this question before us. I cannot make the decision for you. You cannot make the decision for me. A husband cannot make the decision for his wife and a wife cannot make the decision for her husband. A Father or Mother cannot make the decision for their children. It is only a decision that you can make for yourself.

The question is this. Do you want the Christ’s character reproduced in your life? If you do are you committed to spending time each day in prayer and prayerful study of God’s word.?

If you do, I invite you to stand with me. If it is your desire to grow in Christ and daily ask that His character become your character then I ask you to stand.

Shall we pray.

[1] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), 1 Peter 4:16.

[2] Ellen Gould White, Christ’s Object Lessons (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1900), 412.

Journey Through the Book of Matthew

Matthew 2:3 

3 When Herod the king had heard these things,, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

Jerusalem, center for all things Jewish for the temple is located there. It was the center for Jewish learning and culture. The Jews and Jerusalem were steeped in history and tradition. Long have the people and their city waited for the coming Messiah. Yet centuries have past since there was the clear loud voice of God spoken to His people by the prophets. It was at this time that the wise men from the East entered Jerusalem. They were well dressed and deported themselves as men of learning and understanding and showed signs of having traveled a great distance.

How excited they must have been upon entering the city expecting to see the city a buzz over the birth of their New Born King. But, it was not so, it seemed that all around them it was business as it would have been on any other day.

They had to be in the right place for had not the star stopped above the city. Yet they seemed to be the only ones aware of this star that had led their way for 400 or more miles. They began to question the people, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews?”

Herod, the ever watchful and distrusting king soon heard of these wise men and the question they asked. Across the all of Jerusalem the people began to wonder and were troubled by the questions that these men from the East asked.

Although there had been no prophet prophesying for the past several years, God chose a people other than the Jews to proclaim His Son’s birth to His people.

If you were God’s chosen people and someone came and told you what you should have known, would you also not be troubled?

Journey Through the Book of Matthew

Matthew 2:1, 2 1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Bethlehem. Literally means, “house of bread.” Its earlier name meant, Ephrath (Gen. 48:7), or Ephratah (Micah 5:2), means “fertility” How fitting that the “Bread of Life” would come out of the House of Bread to make all people fertile for the teachings of God. And in the days of Herod the king, this would be Herod the Great, who was king of the Jews. In reality Herod was an Edomite. The Edomites were a people that had been forced to accept the Jewish religion and although the Edomites were related to the Jews through Esau the brother of Jacob, (Genesis 36:9) they were not rightful heirs to the throne of David. Yet it was upon Herod that Rome gave authority to rule over the Jews. Herod was call great because during the shifting political sand of his day, he managed to keep both Rome satisfied and the Jews somewhat satisfied. Herod’s greatest project was the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple of Zerubbabel, beautiful though it had been, was now almost 500 years old and badly in need of repair. Herod determined to satisfy his own artistic pride, and at the same time to win the friendship of the Jews, by giving them a magnificent place of worship. Eighteen months were devoted to rebuilding the sanctuary proper, and eight years were spent on the surrounding platforms, walls, courts, and porches. After the work had been brought to this point, and the buildings were in full use, much still remained to be done; in fact, the details of the Temple were not completed until after a.d. 62, only a few years before it was destroyed by the Romans. Herod was a very jealous man and guarded his throne with an iron fist. He was suspicious of all and why should he not be for he had no right to the throne. Wise men from the East came to Jerusalem. Wise men. Which in Greek is the word magoi, which designated men of the various educated classes. Our word “magicians” comes from this root. But these “wise men” were not magicians in the modern sense of sleight-of-hand performers. They were of noble birth, educated, wealthy, and influential. They were the philosophers, the counselors of the realm, learned in all the wisdom of the ancient East. The “wise men” who came seeking the Christ-child were not idolaters; they were upright, men of integrity who had studied the Hebrew Scriptures and in this way had an understanding of the time prophecies of Daniel, Isaiah and others. Matthew makes no mention of the actual night Jesus was born. Luke on the other hand gives us details of shepherds tending their flock by night who had suddenly been visited by an angel and the followed by a heavenly choir, proclaiming that Jesus is born. Oh, how that must have filled the heavens with a bright light and to the East these men. Unknown in number but immortalized as three for the gifts they brought of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. They having seen this bright light as the heavenly choir sang to the shepherd that from that point forward began to see a new star in the heaven. Being learned men they began their journey. Some have estimated it was greater than 400 miles they traveled. So it was not upon the night Jesus was born that these wise men visited this little family. For the inhabitants of Jerusalem, all was the same as it had been for what seemed like forever. Everywhere was evidence that they were ruled by a foreign country which was Rome. Upon David’s throne was Herod, who as we have seen set about rebuilding the temple to solidify his rule over the people. The religious leaders seemed to be indifferent to the fact that just a few miles away, a newborn baby had been proclaimed the messiah to a group of shepherds and suddenly these wise men show up in Jerusalem asking, “Where is he which is born, King of the Jews.” Wise men that had read the scriptures, seen his sign in the heavens and came to Jerusalem seeking to pay their respects to the Newborn King. Isn’t it interesting that the people who should have been proclaiming this news to the world, had to have the news brought to them. Once again scriptures were fulfilled (see Numbers 24:7; Isaiah 60:3). But there was trouble on the horizon.

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