As a ministry, our mandate over the years has been that of evangelistic, as is clearly seen in our name – SCRIBES. We have been called to preach the gospel, win souls and disciple believers. Since the inception of the ministry, our yearly theme has always been geared towards this goal.
In 2017, we were led to preach on the message of the cross – REDEMPTION. We made known to our audience that Christ died to redeem us from the power of sin. The following year, 2018, we preached on the theme NEW BEGINNINGS. This was to admonish our audience not to look back to the past but live in the newness that Christ has given unto us through His death and resurrection. In living our new life in Christ, we challenged our audience to bear fruit (BE FRUITFUL) in 2019. To be fruitful means to have the character of Christ, so in essence, after being redeemed and given a new life for a new beginning, it is necessary to have the character of Christ, to be like Him while you live in this world. Aside being like Christ, it was our aim in 2020 to let others also become like Christ and that was our year to MULTIPLY. To let others also become like Christ, to let them become a light to this world. Now, continuing on the journey, this year we want to tell believers all over the world to ARISE!!!
ARISE, THE BRIDEGROOM IS COMING!!!
Paul refers to the church as the bride of Christ in the book of Ephesians. In that text, he speaks of a union to come where the bride (the church) will be joined together to the bridegroom (Christ) in His second coming.
The Bible speaks of a wedding ceremony when you look at Matthew 25:1-13. The characters involved are 10 virgins and a bridegroom. The 10 virgins were waiting for the bridegroom so they could enter into the temple for the ceremony. While waiting, all 10 of them fell asleep. When the bridegroom finally arrived, 5 of them had run out of oil in their lamps. These 5 were called the foolish virgins. They asked the wise ones, who had extra oil, to share with them but the wise ones refused. In their search for oil, the foolish virgins got left behind and the doors to the temple were closed to them.
First of all, there was no mention of bride in this chapter as the focus was more on the bridegroom. Also, the wedding ceremony in this chapter does not necessarily follow the blueprint of present day weddings hence interpreting it literally will not be theologically right.
Now, the 5th verse of that scripture tells us the bridegroom was late to his wedding. What kept the bridegroom late and why, we are not told. But what was interesting was that while he was delayed, all the virgins, wise and foolish, fell asleep while waiting for him. There is something about waiting that Jesus has been teaching us in the Bible.
“But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.”
Matthew 25:5 NKJV
A chapter after this was when He was about to be arrested in Gethsemane. Jesus, knowing He was about to be arrested, had gone to pray with His disciples. Even though He wanted to be alone while praying, He still wanted His disciples (Peter and two sons of Zebedee) to also pray with Him. Unfortunately, on three occasions when He came back, He found them sleeping then He said to Peter, “Watch and pray lest you fall into temptations.”
To watch in this context means to be alert. Jesus admonishes us to be alert. He told Peter, the rock upon which He built His church, to be alert. He said this just before He was about to be arrested and crucified. Again, Jesus is teaching us from Matthew 25 to also be alert, to prepare for His coming.
Now, the parable in Matthew 25 was a practical answer to the disciples, who had wanted to know the sign of His coming and when some of the things Jesus mentioned would happen. To answer them, He used 10 virgins as the church and Himself as the bridegroom as characters in a parable. The purpose of the parable was to help us prepare for the coming of Christ, to help us prepare to wait with extra oil due to the uncertainty of His coming.
Christ is coming. The bridegroom is coming. He is coming for an army, a prepared and a holy church. The 10 virgins in Mathew 25 stand to signify the church, and according to scripture, they were sleeping. Today, we (the church) are sleeping. Even though there was nothing sinful about them sleeping, it affected their preparedness for His coming. Even more importantly was their “oil situation”.
It is important for us to have extra oil. Oil in the Bible usually signifies the Holy Spirit. If we are to interpret the scripture with this, we will then realize that everyone indeed has oil. All 10 virgins had the Holy Spirit but why did some have extra oil? The extra oil represents what we bring to the table. It is our consecration unto the Lord. It is our holiness unto Him. Virgins were used in this text for us to see the need for holiness. In that, it is not enough to just say you are a virgin (Holy), but to actually consecrate yourself unto Jesus, giving thyself wholly unto Him. In other words, it is not enough to say you are a Christian, but surrender your life and entirety unto Him. “Do as the master says”.
In Matthew 7:21, Jesus says ‘not all who say to me ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter into the kingdom’, this shows that there will be some who will profess the Lord as their Savior, but will not be allowed to enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 25 calls for readiness in the face of the uncertain timing of the second coming of Christ. To be ready, one must have extra oil. One must consecrate himself unto the Lord. One must give himself wholly unto Him. One must be pure and prayerful (alert). One must be able to hear his voice, and this is done by reading His word.
We are the bride of Christ. Soon, there will be a glorious union between the bride and the bridegroom. According to Matthew 25:5, He didn’t delay but was delayed. Perhaps, He is being delayed by us. He loves everyone and would want everyone to give their lives to Him before He comes.
“And this gospel must be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, AND THEN THE END WILL COME.”
Matthew 24:14 NKJV
Unlike the present church weddings where the bridegroom waits for the bride, in this case the church (the bride) is waiting for the bridegroom (Jesus). He has already paid the price in full. The price wasn’t cash or kind, but His blood. He is gone back to His father’s house to prepare a place for us; we also need to prepare ourselves for Him.
“That He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
Ephesians 5:27 NKJV
He is coming for a spotless bride. He is coming for a faithful bride. He is coming for a virgin with extra oil. The trumpet shall soon sound and we will see the disparity between the wise and the foolish virgins. You can only become a wise virgin by having extra oil, by consecrating yourself unto Jesus. There you will also enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
This is our year to tell believers to ARISE.
The bridegroom is coming at a time we do not know but He will be here soon.
Wake them up from their sleep.
Tell them to get extra oil.
Tell them to be alert.
THE GREAT AWAKENING IS NOW!
Prepare the church for His coming.
Stir up God consciousness.
Ignite intimacy with the Holy Spirit.