INTRO: What were the motivations of the wise and the foolish virgins? Both groups were following Jesus. Yet, when the bridegroom came, some were not ready. It is easy to say that we follow Jesus, but will we be ready when our day and hour comes?
I. BRIAN’S TESTIMONY
> Brian was lost and hopeless.
- He had left Christ at sixteen and went into darkness for thirteen years.
- He thought he could not be saved again and be a member of Jesus’ family.
- He believed he couldn’t be accepted.
- He was baptized with water and the Holy Spirit as a teen.
- Then he chose to live life for himself.
- He was the boss of his life.
- He was king.
- That was sin.
- Brian didn’t find Jesus, but Jesus found him.
- God forgave him.
II. PEACE DESPITE CIRCUMSTANCES
> John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
- We have lived under incredible blessing in this country.
- We have been blessed by God, but that day is over.
- There will be darkness, but we will have peace.
- Satan is trying to wipe out the preaching of the gospel, but the Lord's unshakeable foundation remains.
- Those who really follow Him will have peace.
- We follow Jesus’ model; we follow His disciples.
- We can have peace; we have Jesus the Prince of Peace living in us.
- We are the King’s kids.
> But it might not be in our circumstances.
- There are a few bad cops; there are a few bad preachers.
- We may be in the last days, but maybe not.
- The Russians suffered persecution and a revolution in their country, but it was not the end.
- But even in persecution and revolution, we can have peace.
- We need to be encouraged over and over again in what is happening in the world.
- There are other brothers and sisters who are in this with us who are also praying.
III. WE HAVE EVERYTHING WE NEED.
> Jesus told us everything we need to know to live a godly life (2 Peter 1:3).
- He will strengthen us and help us.
- We will still experience fear, but it will not control us.
- We can have bad days, even depression.
- But we don’t beat ourselves up; God is ready to help us.
- We are not without a future or hope.
- Take heart; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
- He is in us, and we are in Him.
> We must take up our cross and follow Jesus (Mark 8:34).
- That means we have to stop living for ourselves.
- Wherever self denies God, give it up.
- We want to please God and live for Him.
- We want to bring Him joy.
- We may have good intentions, but it is the walk that matters.
- If anyone is ashamed of God, God will be ashamed of him (Luke 9:26; Mark 8:38).
- Whoever loses his life for Jesus and the gospel will save it (Mark 8:35).
- We will make it to the end if we follow Him.
- We will overcome through His victory, just as we receive life through His death.
- He has promised to lead us, protect us, and give us everything we need – not want.
- According to our faith, we will receive what we need.
> The Bible teaches us to praise God.
- If we don’t praise Him, the rocks will praise Him (Luke 19:38-40).
- The Word is offensive.
- We need to learn how to be like Jesus.
- We may suffer for His Name; but don’t be fearful.
- Believe God at His Word.
- Satan is trying to undermine the Word.
IV. WE FOLLOW HIM.
> When we are born from above and forgiven of our sin, He tells us that we are forgiven, and we follow Him.
- Something begins to change; our life and our values begin to change.
- It is continuous.
- The Holy Spirit comes into us, and we hate the things we loved in the past and love the things we used to hate.
- The Holy Spirit lives in us; He confirms it.
- We are not who we were.
- He convicts us of our sin and gives us the power to change; we will never stop changing.
- God omnipotence dwells in us; that is incredible and incomprehensible.
- We have God Almighty directing us.
- He helps us to be like Christ.
- He knows us, and we know Him.
- We have already overcome the wicked one (1 John 4:4).
- Who is it that overcomes the world? The one who believes in Jesus (1 John 5:5).
- They triumphed over Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11).
- These verses encourage us.
- What if these are the last days?
- It is still the same testimony.
- There is victory and overcoming by following Him.
> We must turn away from wickedness.
- We are now the righteousness of Jesus; we live lives of holiness.
- We didn’t want to live for God before, but now we want to do so.
- If we begin doubting the Word of God, start living contrary to the Word and holiness, and if we are not loving Him and following Him, we are in trouble.
- There is a real enemy; we have been forewarned.
- We are not defenseless.
- We are told how to resist the devil.
- Our weapons demolish strongholds and every pretension that sets itself against Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4, 5).
V. WE ARE UNDER ATTACK.
> Our faith is being attacked.
- If we try to live life too boldly, we will feel the enemy come against us.
- Be bold anyway; share when you can.
- Peter was told not go out and preach, but he did not obey what he was told; he went out and preached the gospel (Acts 4).
- Be strong in the Lord (Ephesians 6:10).
- Put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11).
- Our struggles are against rulers, powers, and principalities, not flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12).
- It is our responsibility to protect ourselves by putting on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:13).
- Then we stand (Ephesians 6:13).
- God has given us weapons of warfare.
- We need to learn how to be like Jesus.
- We suffer for His Name.
> The Word is offensive.
- Don’t be fearful.
- Believe God at His Word.
- There will be things that cause fear; but we reject those and stand with Jesus.
- He has promised to bring us through these situations.
- Remain in My love; keep My commandments (John 15:9, 10).
- If we are born again and have the Holy Spirit, we want to obey His commandments.
- By the power of His love within us, we are able to obey.
- We need to have a changed nature.
- But sometimes we slip and fall.
- His joy may be in us even when we are going through painful circumstances.
- The world does not have this joy; their joy is dependent upon their happiness (Romans 14:17).
- His joy is a gift and part of the salvation package.
- It is imputed to us; even our good works come from Christ.
VI. THE DAY OF THE LORD
> We will see Him as He is, and we will be like Him.
- The “day of the Lord” is a day, the day when the Lord returns.
- What have we done with the opportunities and gifts we were given?
- We should live for heavenly rewards.
- We choose not to live for ourselves.
- We do it for God’s glory.
- In the process, we are laying up treasure in heaven.
- “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:12).
- The one who plants and the one who waters will each be rewarded (1 Corinthians 3:8).
- I am coming soon and bring My rewards with Me (Revelation 22:12).
- We don’t let anyone steal our crown.
- Satan tries to destroy our faith and our witness.
- The most important person in the world is the Holy Spirit.
- We need Him to direct our lives.
- If we follow Jesus, we will be ready.
- We long for His return.
- We have friends and family who do not belong to Christ.
- But it doesn’t take away our longing to be with Jesus.
- We can’t hang onto other people; we are only responsible for ourselves.
- We cannot save others.
> Who are the foolish?
- They are the casual “sometimes” followers.
- They are not true disciples.
- An example is Judas; he lived with Jesus for three years but betrayed Him.
- He had wrong motives.
- Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will come into the kingdom of God (Matthew 7:21).
- “I knew you not” (Matthew 7:23).
- Only the one who does the will of the Father will go to heaven (Matthew 7:22).
- The foolish were doing things with wrong motives.
- What motivates us to follow Jesus?
- He has forgiven us.
- Jesus did it all.
> We need to be cautious.
- There are false teachers and pastors.
- Many will turn from the faith and hate each other.
- We need discernment.
- It is not a feeling; but we may feel something is wrong; then we go to His Word to confirm or deny it.
- We need to know God’s Word.
- There are people who are writing Bible translations that are false.
- Many will be deceived.
- The love of most will grow cold (Matthew 24:12).
- The one who stands until the end will overcome.
- We can’t quit or give up, but we may struggle.
- We know the truth and the way – Jesus is His Name (John 14:6).
- Jesus is the Anointed One.
CONCLUSION: Are we a true disciple of Jesus? We remain faithful by staying strong in our faith. Satan’s minions may try to deceive us. Don’t be surprised by attacks. There are also many distractions in our society to take our eyes off of Jesus. We may slip and fall, but we don’t walk in sin. The Holy Spirit is changing us into a beautiful bride. Be strong; be of good courage. Jesus has overcome this wicked, dark world.