Sermons

Four Aspects Of the Wise & Foolish Virgins

by Reagan McClenny

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Scripture: Mt 25:1-13 Dec 3, 2023

Through the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, Jesus teaches that we must be spiritually prepared now for his return, since we do not know the day or hour and will have no chance to prepare when that reckoning moment comes. Reagan urges us not to procrastinate or be overly self-satisfied in our faith, but stay diligent in having our lamps fueled and ready for meeting Christ.

Transcript

If you have your Bible, or perhaps the New Testament with you, would you take it out, please, and turn to Matthew, chapter 25. Matthew, chapter 25, and verses 1 through 13 will be the text for our lesson this evening. Thank you for being here. Thank you for being here in person or online. And thank you for making the time that we've had together worthwhile already.

With the scripture that was read, with the prayer that was said. With the good songs of worship that Dave so ably led us in, it has been good to be together. And I hope only to continue that with the things that we think about and talk about for a few minutes from God's Word in Matthew chapter 25.

Now both biblically and just practically in day to day common sense, there, there seems to be a direct correlation between wisdom and preparedness. Think about it. A wise person will be prepared, right? And a prepared person is is usually a wise person. Think about the most prepared people that you know in your life.

Those people, generally, are very wise. And certainly we see that in our biblical text as well. That there is this correlation I would go so far as to say perhaps some causation between wisdom and preparedness. 25, we find a parable that is one of four parables that are about this concept, this idea, of being ready, of being prepared.

And I want us to consider tonight one of those parables, the one that's found in verses 1 through 13 of Matthew 25, and four aspects of the wise and foolish virgins that are found there in that text. Now these four aspects are not unique to just this parable. I would suggest that all of the parables that are found in Matthew chapters 24 and 25 contain these.

Same four aspects, with one of those aspects being emphasized with each one. So, four parables, four aspects, with one particular aspect being emphasized. So, consider that, that we have these four concepts, these four aspects, in these four parables. There is responsibility, there is time, there is a reckoning, and then there is judgment that goes with that.

So, there is responsibility, a command is given or a job is assigned. There is something for the people in these parables to do. There is time, a period where this command can be obeyed or disobeyed. You, you have the opportunity over the course of this time to, to do what has been assigned to you or not do what's been assigned to you.

But there is a, a, a moment where that time runs out and there's a reckoning, a definite moment when this time runs out and you have to give an account. For the things that you've done and in each of these parables, there is judgment, a dividing where all are held accountable. And they're either reward or punished.

Now, I would suggest that we can assign to each one of these one of the parables that are probably pretty familiar to us in these chapters. Responsibility is emphasized in the parable of the talents. We all have opportunities. We've all been, been granted certain things from the Lord and we're supposed to use those things.

We have responsibility based on our ability. I would suggest that time is emphasized in chapter 24 with the fateful and evil servants. And the Lord comes at a time when they do not expect. This reckoning, this definite moment when time runs out, well, that's the parable that we'll study tonight with the parable of the wise and foolish virgins.

And then we see finally a theme that we might call a parable. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. There's certainly some language there that is symbolic in nature. But with judgment we see this dividing of the lambs and goats when the Lord comes and gives to each one according to their deeds, according to what they've done.

But I want us to consider specifically this second parable of the wise and foolish virgins. And Jesus main point in this parable is that to the unprepared, there is no further opportunity for repentance after time runs out. Time runs out. Well, that's that concept of a reckoning, right? Time is going to run out.

And the question is, are we going to be prepared? Are you going to be prepared when that time runs out? You might say, well, Reagan, that's kind of putting it in the negatives. Isn't it also true that to the prepared? You're gonna have a reward when time runs out, of course, of course that's true. But I find it interesting that Jesus really presents this parable in the negative.

He presents it in such a way as a warning to us that we need to be ready, and that we need to be watchful. Of course, that's exactly what we see leading up to these parables. In Matthew chapter 24 and verse 42, Jesus says, Watch, therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. In verse 44 of chapter 24.

Therefore you also be ready. For the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. And he has just made the point that there will be no preliminary warning to this reckoning, to this judgment in that first parable. In verse 50 it says, The master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour he is not aware of, and he will cut him in two and appoint his portion with the hypocrites.

And there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. That's a warning. Watch. Be ready. Because the Lord is coming. That's a surety. But we do not know the time that He will. So now what Jesus does, He just expands on this idea that He's introduced. Because the reality is, the Second Coming is coming. And there will be some who will be unprepared because it is unexpected.

So read with me in this text, if you would, beginning in verse 1. And we're going to go through those same four aspects and show what we find here in our text and then make some applications at the end of the lesson. Matthew chapter 25 and verse 1, Jesus says, Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to two, to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

Now five of them were wise and five were foolish. So these ten virgins are what we would just call the disciples of Jesus Christ. Those who are striving to meet the bridegroom who is Christ at His coming. These are people who are seeking to have a relationship with Him. Think about the people you invited to your wedding.

There were probably some on the list that you kind of had to invite, but generally you're inviting those with whom you have a relationship. Those that you love, those that you care about. And certainly that's what we see here with these young people, these virgins who were invited to this wedding.

And we're supposed to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish. Five of them were wise. And Matthew loves those two words. He loves the word foolish, he loves the word wise, and he loves using them together. In fact of all of the times that these two words are used in the New Testament, half of those uses are found right here in the Gospel of Matthew.

Perhaps most famously, it is those two words that are used by Jesus at the end of the Sermon on the Mount. If you keep your place there in Matthew 25, go to Matthew chapter 7, if you would please, that's an invitation, right? Please turn to Matthew chapter 7.

Jesus says on this occasion, Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, and it did not fall. For it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of mine, and does not do them, I will liken him to a foolish man, there's the other word, who built his house on the sand.

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, and it fell, and great was its fall. Again, we see this connection in Wise and Foolish to what? Prepared and unprepared. Before the storm came, both of the houses stood just fine. Harold preached a couple of weeks ago and talked about the Leaning Tower of Pisa whenever it was.

I thought that was really interesting. There's another tower that they're worried about falling over in Italy. Apparently, that's a thing over there. And, of course, that's in the Roman world that we think about those things. So building on the sand, not unusual. And nothing's wrong as long as the sand's okay and there's no storms, but as soon as the storm comes, you've got one who's wise and prepared, you've got one who's foolish and unprepared.

And for us, that's based on hearing, And doing the words of Jesus that we see not just in this sermon, but in everywhere else that he speaks to us. So how were these wise and foolish with these virgins waiting on the bridegroom? Go back to Matthew 25. In verse 3, read with me. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them.

So they had their lamps. There was oil in the lamps. We see that they're burning. But they took no, what we would call, extra oil with them. And maybe you aren't able to see it here on the picture. It's a little small right here, but you see how these wise, smiling virgins on this side have these little containers where they would carry extra oil.

These over here have their lamps, but they have no extra oil with them. So that's not something that would have been unusual. But we see the bridegroom was delayed. The wives took oil in their vessels with their lamps, verse 5, but while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. The foolish made no preparations for this unexpected delay.

And their oil would burn for a long time. It would burn until almost or about midnight. A time judged to be significantly late in normal circumstances. Now we don't know a ton about weddings in this part of the world during this time. We have a few things that are written in Jewish literature about it.

But we do know that it would be certainly unusual for this party not to start until midnight. That's an unusual thing. And so it would have been reasonable for these foolish virgins to just bring enough oil to last until midnight. But, apparently the wise virgins brought much more. And had the bridegroom come when they expected him, there would have been no problem for anybody.

But isn't that the thing about being prepared? There is always the unexpected that we have to deal with. And being prepared is not just being prepared for what we know is going to happen, or what we think is going to happen. It's being prepared for what could happen. They were to meet and escort the bridegroom to the house of this joyous feast.

And it's interesting, the places where we do see this described in extra biblical literature, it's kind of a really cool concept, that people would have their lamps, they would be prepared along the way from wherever the wedding was taking place to where the party, the reception we might call it, was taking place, and they would kind of join in along the way, and so you would see In the darkness of the evening, you would see this line of lamps with joy, and singing, and laughter, and all these things headed toward this place where they were all going to be together for the bridegroom's feast.

And so this would have been a fairly common scene, as most of Jesus's parables were. And so the wise virgins, as opposed to the foolish ones, they did not know the hour the bridegroom was supposed to come. And so they took extra oil with them, likely twice as much. And if it was twice as much, then that meant that they would have been prepared for the last possible hour.

How late do you need lamps? Well, just until morning breaks, right? And they would have had oil sufficient for that. And so it shows preparation and readiness and sober mindedness. And so the first aspect is responsibility. You're supposed to have your lamps trimmed and ready when the bridegroom comes.

That's your job. That's the job of the bride of the virgins in this parable. And it's interesting, all ten of them slumbered and slept at their stations, ready at the moment when the servants who watched would suddenly announce that the bridegroom is coming. And then they could trim their lamps and they could go into the house, again according to the custom.

But they waited a long time, sleeping. In verse 6, And at midnight a cry was heard. Behold, the bridegroom is coming. Go out to meet him. There's that aspect of time. The bridegroom is delayed. He's delayed until midnight. This would have been at least an hour later than expected. And it was time to arise, trim the lamps, and go out to the bridegroom.

There is no preliminary warning. There's no saying, hey, the bridegroom is on his way. You know, that's what we do in marriages. In weddings today, right? The reception's going on, and you got somebody who's running this stuff and they go out and say, okay, in about ten minutes we're gonna cut the cake, and okay, in about fifteen minutes they're gonna go on their way, these sorts of things.

Well, not here, it's just like, hey, the bridegroom's here, he's coming. Are you ready for him to get here? And so there is that aspect of reckoning. Behold, the bridegroom is coming. As we would say in hide and seek growing up, ready or not, right? Ready or not, here he comes. And so, in verse 7, 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. It is at this point that the difference between the two kinds of disciples, prepared and unprepared ones, really becomes evident. The dying lamps make the foolish virgins realize for the first time They're not ready.

All the disciples will go forth to meet the coming Christ, but not all will have made the proper and necessary preparations. But the wise answered, verse 9, saying,

Now maybe that's not the response we expect. That's not the Christian response, right? We're supposed to treat our neighbor as we wish to be treated and all those sorts of things. I would just tell you, that's not what this parable is about. This parable is about being prepared, not about how you treat your neighbor.

And the reality is, in the world in which we live, a lot of people don't treat their neighbor as they wish to be treated. And certainly this is something that could have happened and would have happened with these virgins who were wise, but maybe not as kind as they should have been. That's not the point.

The point is that they refuse. And they say, no, lest there should be, there should not be enough for us and you, but go rather to those who sell. Anything weird about that? It's midnight. I mean, Walmart isn't even open anymore since COVID at midnight, right? Where are you gonna go to get oil for your lamps in the ancient world at midnight?

And so the stark reality no doubt would have hit them in this moment of we aren't prepared and there's really no way to fix it. Isn't that kind of the worst feeling in the world? I mean, it's bad when you're not prepared. It's bad when bad things happen. But for my money, I think the worst feeling in the world is it's bad and I can't fix it.

And that's exactly where they find themselves here in verse 9. Watchfulness, readiness, and righteousness in doing, this cannot be transferred from person to person. That's Jesus point. Just as guilt of sin or innocence from sin cannot be transferred from person to person. The oil of God's grace. Well, it's available right now to all, but none will be available at the second coming for those who are unprepared.

It will then be too late to make the neglected preparations for that judgment day. And so, what do we see? Verse 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

The marriage feast, the occasion that they had been waiting for, which equates, I think, almost without doubt, to the joys of heaven with Christ for all eternity. This was a grand occasion for which the virgins had been waiting, but only half of them were ready. Verse 11, Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us, But he answered and said, Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.

Watch therefore, Jesus makes application, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. Some commentators suggest that this was a safety issue. You know, you're pretty safe when you've got the whole wedding party and everybody's going to the place where they're going to have the banquet.

But then they would shut the door and lock it. And then not let anybody else in, so perhaps thieves or robbers couldn't come in and steal all of the presents for the new couple. But it's interesting to me in the Gospel of Matthew, the way this phrase, I do not know you, is used. In the Gospel of Matthew, to not know someone is the same thing as to not approve of someone, to deny a relationship with someone even though you know them in some way.

And again, we see a connection back to Matthew chapter 7. If you want to turn back there again, this time to Matthew chapter 7 and verse 23.

Matthew 7, 23.

And then I will declare to them, I never knew you, Jesus says. Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness. Well, Jesus knows everybody. He knows the very hairs on our head. But He doesn't know them in the sense that He doesn't have this relationship with them that they are claiming. And isn't that exactly what we see in the parable in Matthew 25?

Lord, Lord, open to us. You know us. You know who we are. But I say to you, I do not know you. I don't have this relationship with you that you And so they missed their chance to enter. Judgment had come upon them. The door was shut. And those who were ready went in. Those who were not ready remained outside.

That's the parable. anD certainly you're good Bible students. There are lots and lots of applications that you could make. Perhaps you've already made in your head as we've gone through this parable together. But just as we thought about four aspects of the wise and foolish virgins, at the end of the lesson tonight what I'd like to do is make four applications of the wise and foolish virgins.

I believe that this parable is powerful. And important for everyone who wears the name of Christ to know. and apply to our own lives. Four applications. Number one. Some things cannot be borrowed. Character. We can't borrow that from someone else. Bible knowledge. Relationship with God. Salvation. As much as perhaps we would like to let someone borrow that, give that to someone else, none of those things can be borrowed.

And preparedness would be included in this list of things that we cannot borrow from someone else.

It is a stark and difficult reality to know that I am not going to go to heaven because of the faithfulness of my spouse, or my children, or my parents, or the local church of which I'm a part, or our elders, or Harold, our preacher. And so too, others will not go to heaven because of my faithfulness, at least just because I am faithful.

The old saying goes that God has no grandchildren, and certainly that is the case. All of us, all of us must choose to work, to develop, and cultivate our own faith. And so too with our children. We should be working to try and cultivate their faith. Their own faith because they cannot borrow ours. Uh, well sometimes we do borrow the, the wisdom and preparedness of others in this physical realm, right?

We see the example of others and we say, I want to be prepared like they are. My father in law is a very prepared man. If you know him at all, you know that that is the case. And I learned this very early on in my relationship with Stephanie, but I think it really came to a head right after we were married.

I'm talking about right after we were married. After our wedding. We borrowed his car to go to the hotel where we were staying and then we borrowed it to take it to the airport the next day to fly out to go on our honeymoon. And we locked the keys in our car that night. Oh, that's a, that's a bad thing, right, for newlyweds?

And, oh, great, here we go. And my father in law, Steve Reeves I won't tell you where to live. This goes on the live stream. Who knows who's listening? So nobody go and steal his car now. But he, I'm really curious to see if anybody else does this. He takes a spare key, he puts it on a wire, and somewhere around the edge of that car, up underneath where nobody can see it, he wires it in where there's a spare key to get in if you happen to lock your keys in the car.

Now maybe that's not necessary with some newer vehicles. This was a 1994 Buick something another, Buick Regal, I think it was. So it was necessary with this vehicle. So I climbed up underneath, knew where the key was, and we were able to get back in the car. Anybody else do that? I'm just curious. Look at these hands.

These are the wise people, right? The wise people in our congregation. Well, the next morning, uh, we're supposed to go to the airport. We're, you know, in good shape to get there in plenty of time because we're prepared. But we go out to the parking lot and the car has a flat tire. Oh, no. What are we going to do?

Well, my father in law is prepared. I knew how, I had the knowledge of how to change a tire, thankfully, and I got to prove that to my wife on our first day of marriage, so that was all well and good. It was also 106 degrees that day, and so I was extremely sweaty, maybe a little bit smelly the whole way on the flight to California.

But, you know, you get back there and I'm worried, is this tire gonna be aired up? Well, not only is the tire aired up, but my father in law has, has this case beside it. It's called a Justin case. Did you hear that? Just in case. If that's the most Steve Reeve things ever, I, I think it, I think it is.

It's a pun and prepared all at the same time. And in it, there's all these things, there's a, a pump in case the, the tire wasn't right and so forth, and so, finally we get it on, we make it to the airport, all of that because of the preparedness and wisdom of somebody else. And that was a great example to me.

And so I resolved that I would be just as prepared for those sorts of situations, and so now there's a jack in my car so I don't have to use the dumb one that comes with it, I've got a four way so I can get the lug nuts off, all those sorts of things. Because I, too, want to be prepared. We were borrowing his car, but the day comes when it's your own car.

And it's up to yourself whether you are prepared or not. And so, too, for us. We cannot borrow the preparedness of somebody else. We can learn from their example. We can be taught by them or not taught by them. But ultimately, we have to make the determination for ourselves, I will be prepared when the Lord comes again.

The second application I would make tonight is this. Preparations must be made before the unexpected hour. If we wait until the time when we need it, well, it's not really preparation. And we all must, especially I think those of us who naturally procrastinate a little bit, we must fight against spiritual What gains in character and service are not realized in daily living will not be imparted on one somehow in the last hour of desperation.

Now don't misunderstand me. It's not as though that God cannot save us even at the last hour. There's another very powerful parable that we've looked at where people can be saved at the eleventh hour. But not at the twelfth. Not at that time of reckoning. At that time of reckoning, time has run out. And it's never too late until it is.

And there are some things that are too big, require too much, are too important for us to procrastinate. When I was in college I had a good friend, and we were taking, ironically, a Bible course together. It was Introduction to the Epistles, a freshman level Bible class at Florida College, where we were at the time.

And our professor said anyone who memorized the book of Ephesians got an automatic A in the course. You didn't have to take another test, didn't have to take another quiz, didn't even have to show up to class. If you memorized the book of Ephesians, you got an automatic A in the course. And here's the way it worked.

You had to memorize it and then recite it to him. And every time you messed up, that was one That was one point off, and so if you messed up 10 times, you got a 90. If you messed up 20 times, you got an 80, so on and so forth. Now, messed up means you just get one word out of order. That's a mess up. That's one, right?

And so, there was a good friend of mine and I, and we said, Hey, do you want to do that? And always had a pretty good memory. I said, sure, yeah, let's do it. But there was a difference between our preparation in this. Primarily that she did some preparation along the way. But, uh, there was another difference in our preparation, and it was, I still went to class, and though I didn't study for any of the tests, I still showed up and took the tests, and so when the time came that that we were almost to the end of the course, I, I had a pretty solid A anyways, and so I didn't have to memorize it.

For her, things got pretty dicey, because here it was I think it was about four days before the course was over, and she was somewhere at the beginning of chapter two in her memorization. That's big, right? And this is important because she's not gone and taken the test. She hadn't showed up at class.

And thankfully, there's a happy ending to the story. I think she messed up like 18 times. She crammed over the course of those four days and ended up getting a B in the course. But when we think about being prepared for the judgment day, it's not something that we need to put off. It's not something that we need to wait to the last minute.

Because there's too much required. And it is too important for us to put off with that kind of procrastination. I think certainly that applies to the way we raise our children as well. It is the consistency that we are putting in now, the work we are putting in now, and speaking especially to the very young parents, the work you are putting in now is going to pay dividends in the future.

But we cannot wait until they're 18 years old and we have a few months left before they leave the house to decide now it's time for us to emphasize spiritual things. By the grace of God, every once in a while that works, because of the hearts of the individuals and the power of God's Word. But far too often it doesn't.

And so we need to be making preparations now, because we never know when we might be called to account for the things that we have done. Number three, and it certainly flows from the first two, each lost opportunity is gone forever. And certainly we know that There could be other opportunities that come along.

But each individual opportunity, when it's gone, that opportunity is lost forever. We know this with life, that life is frail. It doesn't take much to end it, to cut it short, to be robbed of health. And maybe we have all of these plans of things that we're going to do in the future where we're neglecting the things that we ought to be doing now.

And maybe we'll have those opportunities in the future. Maybe there'll be an occasion for us to go and buy more oil. But maybe there won't be. And if we lose the opportunity now, there is no promise that we will have another one in the future. And too many are wracked with all of this regret and guilt, if I could only go back, if I could only change things.

And so often that sort of attitude was premeditated by the idea of, well, I can do that tomorrow, there's an opportunity to do that. And so, coming and going, they're missing, regretting the things. that could be done and the things that haven't been done. And so for us, as Christians, our attitude should be that I am going to live each day to the fullest for the Lord.

And I'm going to make the most of the days I have left, however many or few they might be. And then finally, number four, I think perhaps the saddest aspect of this parable is this, that one can get so seemingly near to the goal and miss it all. There was anticipation by these foolish virgins that they were going to go to the feast.

There was some preparation that was made to a careless degree, perhaps. But ultimately, they missed it entirely. They had some oil. They had lamps that they could trim. They had made some preparations, but they did not carry those preparations through to completion, through to perfection. And if we look back again to Matthew chapter 7, I think we see this concept in those verses that we skipped in verses 21 through, and 22, before what we read in verse 23.

In Matthew chapter 21, Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven. But he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me in that day. That's the day of reckoning. That's the day of judgment. Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name?

And then I will declare to them, I never knew you. Depart from me, you who practice. They did some things. They made some preparations. They performed some works for the Lord. And the Lord doesn't deny that they did some of those things, even in His name. But ultimately, it was not what was expected. It was not what was required.

As Christians and as a local church, we should never reach the point where we feel we've arrived. Look at the things I've already done. And two of the devil's most effective weapons against us are self satisfaction and apathy. I don't need to improve, and I don't really care to improve. I'm satisfied. And if ever there was anyone in the history of Christianity who had seemingly done enough when coming toward the end of his life, it was the Apostle Paul.

And yet, what is his attitude? If you turn to Philippians chapter 3, if you turn to Philippians chapter 3, this final passage in the lesson will be yours.

Notice what he says in verse 12, Philippians 3 and verse 12. Paul says,

That I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended, but one thing I do Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. Now we make right application often that he's forgetting, we could say, those sins that he's committed, that he was the chiefest of sinners, and certainly that's true, but in the context it's not.

He is forgetting the things that he has done, the things that he has given up, the works that he's performed for Christianity, or for Christ as a Christian, so that he could reach forward. to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal, he says, for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Therefore, let us, as many as are mature, we could just as well say as many of us as are wise, have this mind, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal you. to you. Press on. That's what Paul says. We haven't arrived. We aren't there yet. There's still much to do, so let's get about doing it. And I may, I may retire.

Eh, I kind of hope not. You may retire. Maybe you hope so. And we may change the roles that we have in our lives. I may become a grandparent instead of a parent. I pray that I'm given that opportunity someday. But even if those roles change, even if I were to retire, I don't retire from being me. I don't retire from being Reagan.

And I don't retire as a Christian either, because that's who I am. Christianity isn't a part of who we are, it must be who we are. It must be everything. To where we press on, and we lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of us. And how sad is it, what a warning it is, when we see Christians who have gone down this very path.

The main concern, Jesus concern and ours, should be this. Are our lamps ready? Are they trimmed and bright, as we sometimes sing? are the provisions made so that when the bridegroom does come, I can enjoy all of the benefits and pleasures and joy that come from being a part of His banquet and a part of eternal life in Heaven.

If you're here this evening and you realize that you are not as prepared as you ought to be, whether a Christian or not yet a Christian, or unsure about your standing before God, God has granted you this opportunity. Don't allow this opportunity to be lost. We cannot, we cannot somehow give you our faith, but you can develop your own in the same way we all did.

As faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. And because of what God has done through His Son in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, as we talked about this morning, all of us in many ways are so seemingly near the goal. God has done the hard part for us. Won't you take the step toward Him in humble submission to put Christ on in baptism to rise to walk in newness of life, being prepared for Him whenever He comes.

And if we can help you with that even this evening, come now, while together we stand and while we sing. What we

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