Time for Filling
Posted on 01/13/2013 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)
*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***
Public Prayer Requests:
*** there are no public prayer requests this week ***
MAKES ME WANT TO SHOUT
When I think about the Lord
how he saved me, how he raised me
How he filled me with the Holy Ghost
He healed me to the uttermost
When I think about the Lord
how he picked me up, turned me around
How he set my feet on solid ground
Makes me want to shout
Hallelujah, thank you Jesus!
Lord you're worthy
of all the glory
and all the honor
and all the praise!
REJOICE FOR THE STEPS
Rejoice for the steps of a righteous man
they are ordered of God, they are ordered of God
Rejoice for the steps of a righteous man
they are ordered of God
In the time of trouble, God will sustain him.
God will preserve him, God will uphold him
In the time of trouble, God will lift him up
so rejoice for your steps are ordered of God
DOWN AT YOUR FEET
Down at your feet O Lord
is the most high place
In your presence Lord
I seek your face, I seek your face
There is no higher calling
no greater honor
Than to bow
and kneel before your throne
I'm amazed at your glory
embraced by your mercy
O Lord, I live to worship you
Here I am, take me
as an offering
Here am I, giving
every heart beat for your glory
Like you spilled Your blood
I spill my heart as an offering
To my King
Worthy, worthy, You are worthy
Worthy is the Lord
Worthy, worthy, You are worthy
Worthy is the Lord
Holy, holy, You are holy
Holy is the Lord
Holy, holy, You are holy
Holy is the Lord
*** listen to the audio for transition ***
Well, we're three weeks into the new year, 2013. And a lot of people have made a lot of predictions about this coming year, from what they believe will happen politically, to what they foresee God doing spiritually.
Before preparing for today's service, I asked God if there was anything he would like for me to share specifically with the body in second life; and what I heard was summed up in one word: filling.
Let's read from Matthew chapter 25, beginning with verse one.
Matthew 25:1-13 (NKJV)
1 "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.
6 "And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!'
7 Then all those virgins arose 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, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.'
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
11 "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!'
12 But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'
13 "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming."
Now I'm sure most of you are familiar with this passage, but since this is speaking of the last days, and since the time is getting shorter, I believe it's worth reminding ourselves of this on a regular basis, that the time is short, and we need to make sure we're prepared.
Throughout scripture, oil represents both the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit's anointing. And what I would like for us to look at today is the first of those, specifically, the FILLING with the holy spirit. And the title of today's message is, "Time for Filling."
First, in verse one, it says, "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom." This doesn't say that five of them went out to meet the bridegroom and the other five went to the local bar to get drunk. No, it says that all ten of them went out to meet the bridegroom.
They were all waiting. But five of them were wise, while five of them were foolish. And this doesn't mean five were intelligent and well-educated while five of them were mentally challenged highschool dropouts. We could also say that five of them walked in godly wisdom, while the other five did not.
And starting in verse three, we read: "Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept."
This doesn't say five of them were awake and watching while five of them slept. Instead, it says they ALL slumbered and slept. So the point of this passage isn't even that we should stay awake. Instead, the point here is wisdom -- and oil.
Verse six: "And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut."
"Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out." What would that represent? Well, fire can represent many things.
In Matthew chapter five, verses 14 through 16, Jesus says this:
14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
So perhaps the fire in the virgins' lamps could represent that light that shines for the world to see.
Is it just me, or have you noticed that the Church as a whole is losing its light? We throw our doctrinal statements out the door because we think sound doctrine isn't important anymore; we appoint leaders in the Church who are openly living in sin, as we call that sin "normal" and "okay"; we keep the Holy Spirit at a safe distance and allow Him to do only the things we're comfortable with Him doing; we form complete denominations around a set of beliefs that we believe everyone else has wrong, instead of humbling ourselves and realizing we need to learn from others; we rely on religious rituals to save us -- going to church, praying before meals, and whatever else we do to make us feel spiritual -- instead of seeking with our whole hearts after a passionate relationship with God, a relationship of obedience, trust, and love.
And just like the five foolish virgins, our lights start to grow dim, they start to go out. And the sad thing is, many of us don't even know it. We think we're fine. We think everything is good between us and God. Just because we "show up." Just because we think we're pretty good people. Just because we said a sinner's prayer. Or maybe even just because God is so loving that He couldn't POSSIBLY let us spend eternity in hell. Or any other "good" person, for that matter.
But our lamps are not filled with oil.
Ephesians 8:14-21 (NKJV)
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),
10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.
13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.
14 Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep,arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light."
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.
Do you see the parallel here? Walk in the light, and be filled with the Spirit; be wise. The five wise virgins took oil in their lamps. They were filled.
"Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord."
When we talk with others, are our words words that praise and glorify God? Or are they words that tear others down, or glorify the flesh, or complain about this or that?
Are our hearts full in harmony with the godly words we speak, making melody in our hearts to the Lord? Or are we only giving lip service? In the Old Testament, God says of His people that they praise Him with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him.
"Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Did you realize that it's impossible to be truly thankful and to complain at the same time? The Israelites were quite fond of complaining, and they won the wrath of God against them because of it. If you have a complaining attitude, you can not be filled with oil. And if you keep in mind that God works ALL things together for the good of those who love Him, then you will be able to give thanks for even the seemingly bad things, for those things too are GOOD things in the making.
"Submitting to one another in the fear of God."
Submitting to one another? No way! They're just not as spiritual as I am. I'm right, and everyone else is wrong. It's just me and God, I don't need anyone else, and I certainly am not going to submit to some mortal man.
But submission is a vital part of being filled with the Spirit. We must have attitudes of submission. We must recognize that we are not above anyone else. And we must have the mindset of a servant, who seeks the good of others without expecting anything in return.
And how should we submit? "In the fear of God."
The fear of God. That's something we don't hear much about anymore. "Oh, God won't judge me for my sin, He knows I'm not perfect." Where is the fear of the Lord that causes us to turn away from that which displeases Him? "God's my buddy, He understands." Yes, He does, but should we presume that we can excuse our sins and keep living in them, and He is going to overlook our unrepentant, and therefore rebellious hearts? The Bible certainly doesn't support that idea. God has the power and the right to judge all of our sins that aren't under the blood, the ones we continue to hold on to, and we'd better get right, 'cause our God is holy.
So do we glorify God with our words? Are our hearts full of praises to God? Do we always give thanks for all things? Do we submit to one another? And do we live lives of repentance?
To be wise, to be ready, to have your lamp filled with the Holy Spirit, and to not have your lamp's fire go out, you have to change your lifestyle. You have to examine your heart. And you need to seek after God and beseech Him to change your heart and to mold you into what you need to be.
In John chapter 9, verses 4 and 5, Jesus says this:
4 "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.
5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
The night is coming when no one can work. What is He talking about here? Well, if we are the light of the world as Jesus said in Matthew 5:14, and if being filled with oil is required for our lights to not go out, then what would cause the night to come?
The absense of the Holy Spirit.
I'm sure you've noticed that the societies of the world have been pushing God farther and farther away.
Consider the picture painted in Romans chapter one, verses 28 - 32:
Romans 1:28-32 (NKJV)
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,
30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;
32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
While few people exemplify ALL of these traits, doesn't this touch on all the growing parts of the peoples of the earth today?
"Sexual immorality." That one's hard to miss. It's really hard to find a movie today that doesn't make sexual immorality look like something good. And even in the Church, we debate whether homosexuality is okay, while the Bible clearly says it is a form of sexual immorality.
"Envy, murder, strife." That's pretty easy to see. Now the U.S. president is talking about banning guns, even though doing so in other places just results in violent crime rates, including murder by other means, skyrocketing. But the problem isn't weapons, it's the removal of God from their knowledge.
"Deceit." It's a popular idea that all politicians lie. So the people we put in power over us are all full of deceit? While I don't believe that's true, certainly more and more of the people we see fit to put into office ARE full of deceit. And deceit in society as a whole is the norm.
"Haters of God." Why do you think God has been removed from the public schools? Why do you think He's being removed from the courthouses and the public squares? Why do you think the TRUE God and His word are un-invited from the presidential inaguration? Sure, political correctness might be presented as the reason. But in the end, it boils down to a hatred of God.
"Violent, proud, boasters." I don't mean to be political here, but have you ever seen a group of liberals protesting something? Pretty scary. Try discussing God and creation with an Atheist; they're usually really quick to violently throw the nastiest insults they can come up with at you; they directly or indirectly boast about their own scientific knowledge; they are totally puffed up with pride, and because of that, they cannot hear the truth.
"Undiscerning." I've seen even some Christians give strong "amen"s and be practically entranced by people who turn out to be promoting an anti-biblical world view. And the general public? Just look at the people they've put into office; and if you can't see anything wrong with their overall choices, perhaps you're lacking in discernment too. No insult intended.
"Untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful, who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them."
They know, deep down, where they supress the knowledge, that God judges these things (thus their hatred of God) and that those who live unrighteous lives deserve death.
But at the end draws near, this describes our societies more and more clearly, wouldn't you agree? And it's because the night is coming, the night in which no one can work.
When did the bridegroom come? He came in the night. And the wise virgins had their lamps filled with oil, and thus they had light, while the foolish virgins had no oil, and they could not, no matter how hard they tried, keep their fire burning.
Things in the world are coming to a head. They're not getting better, only worse. Am I being pessimistic? No, I believe I'm being realistic. And this isn't doom and gloom, because even THESE things will work together for the good of those who love God and are the called according to His purpose. But the night is coming. And I believe that this year, 2013, is a year of filling.
It's time to stop being foolish; instead, it's time to start living praise-filled, thankful, humble, submissive, righteous, and God-fearing lives.
And the invitation today is simple: just cry out to God today. Ask Him to forgive you for your compromise, and to create in you a clean heart today.
One last thing I would like for us to consider today, and then we'll close with a time of prayer and ministry. And that one thing is this:
In Matthew 5:16, we read this: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
Jesus didn't just say that people should see our good works. And that's a significant difference between doing good works as a religious act, and doing them because you love God and want to serve and please Him. You see, Jesus said that our light should shine why? So that others may see your good works. Why? So they will glorify our Father in heaven.
Most religions promote good works. But good works, in themselves, just don't cut it. Your good works have lasting value only if they point others to Yahweh God and bring Him glory.
So this year, in 2013, let's dedicate this year as a year of living praise-filled, thankful, humble, submissive, righteous, and God-fearing lives that point not to ourselves but to Jesus, and that cause other to bow at the foot of the cross and, with repentance and surrender, glorify our Father who is in heaven.
This altar is open, and you're all invited to get out of your seats right now and make your way to the front.
And If you haven't yet surrendered your life to Jesus, then do so today. God is not a magic genie, so you don't have to follow some sort of magical ritual. Just talk with Him right now. Just surrender your life to Him, ask Him to forgive you for your sins, and agree to obey and walk with Him for the rest of your life. And He will give you a fresh start today.
If you'd like someone to talk or pray with you, feel free to instant message one of us. Whenever you need to leave, you're dismissed, and if you can stay until after this time at the altar, you're invited to make your way to the room to your left where we'll meet in a few minutes for some fellowship.
Come, and let's answer God's call for this Time of Filling.
*** listen to the recording for closing prayer ***