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Sleeping At Midnight

Norman McNulty


Norman McNulty

Neurologist at Southern Tennessee Regional Health System, Lawrenceburg, TN


  • September 22, 2017
    8:00 PM
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The title for our message this evening is “Sleeping at Midnight,” which ordinarily would be a good thing to be doing. As a neurologist, I can tell you that your best sleep, and you don’t have to be a neurologist to know this, but the science behind it is that you get your deepest sleep in the hours before midnight. You have four stages of sleep and then REM sleep, which stands for “rapid eye movement,” and stages 3 and 4 of sleep happen the most before midnight, which is the most restorative form of sleep. So generally speaking, if you’re asleep at midnight, that’s a good thing.


But in relation to the church, with respect to the coming of Jesus, it’s not a good thing, and we’re going to see that in the message tonight. We’re going to be studying the Parable of the Ten Virgins this evening, and I’m going to read a couple of statements, and we’re going to get into this passage. This is Review and Herald, August 19, 1890, “When the third angel’s message is preached as it should be, power attends its proclamation, and it becomes an abiding influence.” I know we’ve talked about this all week, but, friends, we should be preaching the third angel’s message the way God designed for it to be preached.


“It must be attended with divine power, or it will accomplish nothing. I am often referred to the parable of the ten virgins, five of whom were wise, and five foolish.” Now, if the servant of the Lord was often referred to this parable, it must be important. Continuing, “This parable has been and will be fulfilled to the very letter, for it has a special application to this time, and, like the third angel’s message, has been fulfilled and will continue to be present truth till the close of time.” This parable is present truth; it was fulfilled to the very letter through the Millerite movement in the 1840s, and it’s been continued to be fulfilled through the second Advent movement since 1844, and it is present truth for our time until the close of time. It’s connected to the third angel’s message.


Now a brief statement on present truth, Early Writings, page 63, “There are many precious truths contained in the Word of God, but it is ‘present truth’ that the flock needs now. I have seen the danger of the messengers running off from the important points of present truth, to dwell upon subjects that are not calculated to unite the flock and sanctify the soul. Satan will here take every possible advantage to injure the cause.” Friends, in Seventh-day Adventist churches, we should be hearing Seventh-day Adventist messages! You can go to lots of other churches that have well-meaning people that are actually preaching Bible-based messages, and in some cases, some of our brothers and sisters in the other churches are taking clearer stands on some of the social issues of the day than some of our Adventist brothers and sisters are willing to take a stand on, but at the end of the day, we should be preaching Adventist messages in Adventist churches.


Now we’re told what “present truth” is, “But such subjects as the sanctuary, in connection with the 2300 days, the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, are perfectly calculated to explain the past Advent movement and show what our present position is, establish the faith of the doubting, and give certainty to the glorious future. These, I have frequently seen, were the principal subjects on which the messengers should dwell.” So I ask the question, what are we doing as Seventh-day Adventists? Do we think we can do better than the prescription that God has given to us?


Now, if the parable of the ten virgins is present truth, this is something that is worth our time and study. What is the setting of this Parable of the Ten Virgins? It immediately follows Matthew, chapter 24, where the disciples come to Jesus, and as they’re walking out of Jerusalem and they see the temple, they’re remarking on the glory and the beauty of the temple, and Jesus just happens to say, “I tell you, that there will not be one stone left upon another.” And in the minds of the disciples, that clearly meant the end of the world. So, Jesus, in His mercy, mixes the destruction of Jerusalem with the end of the world, and He goes through a variety of signs of wars and rumors of wars, and earthquakes, and famines and plagues in various places. He says, “These are the beginning of sorrows, but the end is not yet,” and He goes through a variety of signs, that the Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.”


All of these signs that He goes through, and then He gets to another parable, which leads into the Parable of the Ten Virgins, and this is the Parable of the Wise and the Evil Servants, which is the perfect segue into the Parable of the Ten Virgins. And in this parable, we discover that there are actually three classes in the church.


Turn to Matthew, chapter 24, Matthew, chapter 24, starting in verse 44. Jesus says, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” We don’t know the hour that Jesus is coming, so you better be ready; that’s on the authority of Jesus Himself. And then He gets into a description of what His church will be like before He comes back.


In verse 45, He says, “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?” So Scripture says here, Jesus says that, “While you’re waiting for Jesus to come, I will have faithful and wise servants whom I have made ruler in My house,” or in my church, “to give My people meat in due season,” which means spiritual food that is appropriate for the time that we are living in. It’s another way to describe present truth. Jesus says that, “My wise servants, whom I have appointed as rulers over my household, are to be given meat in due season.”


Now there are some in the church that say, “Christ is the only head of the church.” Well, if Christ is the only head of the church, why did He appoint rulers over His household? There is order in the church. And He says that, “My rulers, my wise servants, will be given meat,” or present truth, “in due season.” They will look at the times in which we are living in, and they will be giving the trumpet a certain sound to sound the alarm to the world and to point to the church the righteousness of Christ that we need to be ready for the coming of Jesus, messages that are designed to prepare God’s church and the world for the coming of Jesus. Meat in due season, that is what God’s servants should be doing.


Jesus says in verse 46, “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.” But this is not the only class in the church at the time of the coming of Jesus. You would think that all Seventh-day Adventists would be eagerly looking for the coming of Jesus and would be encouraging the preaching of the coming of Jesus and would be working toward the coming of Jesus. But there are other servants in the church who say, in verse 48, “But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming.” Now, these are Adventists because they acknowledge that Jesus is coming; they just say that His coming is delayed. So they’re not going to go so far as to say, “I don’t think Jesus is coming at all.” They’re just saying, “I don’t see Him coming any time soon.” Now, what would cause these evil servants to say that the coming of Jesus is delayed?


Verse 49, “And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken.” Notice what happens, when the evil servant says in his heart, “My Lord delays His coming,” he begins to smite his fellowservant, the wise servant, who is giving meat in due season saying, “Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as you think not, the Son of Man cometh,” and the evil servant says, “Put down the trumpet and don’t let it sound. I’m tired of hearing messages about the coming of Jesus in our church,” because they are under the influence of the wine of Babylon. They are eating and drinking with the drunken.


You better be careful if you are imbibing the theology of Babylonians because Babylonians aren’t interested in the end of the world. They are generally not interested in the coming of Jesus. When you drink the wine of Babylon, you start to develop a distaste for present truth, and you persecute the servants who give present truth. And you say in your heart, “My Lord delays His coming.”


The wise servant is looking for the coming of Jesus. The evil servant doesn’t want Jesus to come. And we see what happens, verses 50 and 51, “The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”


Now you may be saying, “Praise the Lord, I’m not an evil servant,” and that’s good. You may be saying, “I want Jesus to come. I appreciate good messages. I like to hear when the preacher talks about the soon-coming of Jesus. That’s my kind of message. That’s my kind of preaching. I must be a wise servant.” Well, notice there are wise servants in the church, but we’re going to move on to the Parable of the Wise and the Foolish Virgins. Not only are there wise servants and virgins, there are also the evil servants who are drunk with the wine of Babylon, but that’s not the only class left. There are also foolish virgins.


So, as I see it, there are actually three classes in Adventism before Jesus comes back. There are wise servants that are also wise virgins, but just because you believe in the coming of Jesus does not necessarily mean that you are wise. You might be a foolish virgin, and I’m going to show you that. And then there are the evil servants in the church. So, what we can see visibly are wise servants and evil servants, but you can’t necessarily tell the difference between the wise and the foolish.


So, what is obvious in the church today is that there are those who are preaching the message of the coming of Jesus, and that gives you the potential to be wise. There are others in the church who are writing on magazines and websites and other things, saying, “We need to stop preaching about the coming of Jesus. It’s lost its relevance. Our evangelism doesn’t work. We need to do cultural, friendly messages that will bring people into the church that don’t talk about the Spirit of prophecy and our End-Time prophetic message. Let’s just make it seeker sensitive.” And you can say, “Okay, these are those who don’t like the coming of Jesus. They could be evil servants.” But just because you believe in the coming of Jesus, just because you appreciate the preaching of truth, does not automatically mean that you are ready to meet Jesus when He comes. That’s why we have the Parable of the Ten Virgins.


And I might add, the reason why this parable carries so much weight is because this is Jesus giving this parable to describe the condition of His church at the time of His coming. If you have a Bible with red letter edition of the words of Jesus, these words are all in red. So this has great authority. All of Scripture has authority; it’s just very interesting, though, when it’s Jesus Himself saying it in Scripture.


Let’s move on now to the Parable of the Ten Virgins. Matthew, chapter 25, verse 1, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” You know, I like verse 1, and if all we had was verse 1, we would say, “This is a church that is ready. This is a church that is like ten virgins.” A virgin is a pure woman. This is a pure church. Not only that, it says they took their lamps, so it’s a pure church. Not only is it a pure church, they take their lamps (Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”), this is a pure church that is a Bible-believing church.


So, what Jesus is describing, the group that is going to be ready for His coming, they are pure, and they are Bible-believing. These are God’s people who believe in the truths of Scripture. They’re not confused about the account of creation in the first 11 chapters of Genesis. They’re not confused about the sanctuary message in Daniel 8:14. They’re not confused about a variety of other issues in the church. These are people who live by the Bible and the Bible only, who demand a, “Thus saith the Lord,” for every rule and practice of their faith. They are a pure church. They are a Bible-believing church.


And it says that they went forth to meet the bridegroom. They are studying their Bibles based on the time that they are living in. And based on their purity, based on their study of the truths of Scripture, they discover in their Bibles that they are living in the time when Jesus is coming again; therefore, they go forth to meet the bridegroom. This is a Bible-believing church that is a pure church that is expecting the Second Advent of Jesus. Friends, these are Seventh-day Adventists.


They are pure. They believe the Bible, and based on what the Bible says, they believe everything that the Bible says. They understand the prophetic message. They understand the prophetic time. They understand that this is the time of the coming of Jesus, and if you were to just stop at verse 1, you would say, “This is an on-fire church that is all going to go through to meet Jesus when He comes.” They must be the wise servants that Jesus was talking about in the previous parable. That’s just verse 1.


Verse 2 says, “Five of them were wise, and five were foolish.” Are you kidding me? You can be pure, you can believe the truths of Scripture, you can understand that Jesus is coming soon and still be foolish and left outside of the Kingdom of God? That’s what Jesus says. And that should be a startling wakeup call to anybody who says, “Well, I believe present truth; therefore, I’m ready for Jesus to come.” A mere assent to intellectual truth will not be enough to save you in God’s Kingdom.


What is the problem with the foolish virgins? Verse 3 says, “They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them.” Now, we understand from Zechariah, chapter 4, verse 6, as Zerubbabel sees these two olive trees, and he sees pipes coming out of the olive trees, and they’re taking this olive oil into a bowl, and he looks at this and he says to the angel, “What does this mean?” And the angel says, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” The oil represents the Holy Spirit, so what’s the problem with the foolish virgins? They understand all the truths of Scripture, but they don’t have the Holy Spirit in their lives. Ellen White says in the chapter on the seal of God in Testimonies, volume 5, “There will be some who understood every point of our faith, but will be lost.”


You know what a foolish virgin looks like? This is someone who has the knowledge of the truth, and they have the Word of God, but they don’t have the oil or the Holy Spirit in their lives. We’ve talked about the fruit of the Spirit this week, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, and so they have the truths of Scripture, and they know what the Bible says, and they take their lamps, and they use the lamp, and the lamp turns into a weapon because it’s not connected with the softening grace of the Holy Spirit.      So you take the Bible, and it turns into a weapon, and you’re beating people over the head saying, “Don’t you know the Bible says this?” “Don’t you know the Bible says that?” And you do it with a mean spirit, and people wonder, “What happened to this person?”


On the other hand, there are others who say, “I’m tired of the boundary of this lamp, and the people that I meet who live within the boundary of this lamp, and they don’t have the oil of the Holy Spirit. They’re so unkind and not nice, I don’t want that lamp. I just want the oil.” But, listen, if you have oil without the boundary of the lamp, that oil is going to get everywhere. You’re going to get messy, and that’s what we have with the charismatic movement and the drums in the church and all of that stuff. It’s not the Holy Spirit; it’s an evil spirit. So just because you run into foolish virgins does not give you license to throw the lamp away, because the Holy Spirit guides you into all truth, which that lamp, the Bible, defines.


The foolish virgins use the Bible and perhaps the Spirit of prophecy as a weapon because they lack the grace of the Holy Spirit in their lives. In fact, Ellen White says in Review and Herald, August 19, 1890, “The state of the Church represented by the foolish virgins is also spoken of as the Laodicean state.” The bad news is that we have foolish virgins who are Laodicean in our midst, but the good news is that not everybody in Adventism is foolish or lukewarm. There are wise virgins in Adventism today.


So the foolish virgins are the Laodiceans who are described as being, wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked, but they think they’re rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing. They think they’re on their way to Heaven and don’t need anything else. They think that a knowledge of the Bible will get them into the Kingdom. They’re going to be the ones saying, “Lord, Lord, have we not done many wonderful works in Your name? Have we not prophesied in Your name?” These could be preachers who have been preaching the Word. A knowledge of truth alone does not give evidence that you are a converted person. But if you are a converted person, you will follow the truth as it is in Jesus.  


Continuing, and by the way, if you want to do a good study on the Parable of the Ten Virgins, the last chapter in Christ’s Object Lessons goes through all of it, but also Review and Herald, August 19, 1890, has an entire article, and there are complementary sections that go very well together.


Continuing, speaking of the foolish virgins, “In the parable of the virgins, five are represented as wise and five as foolish. The name ‘foolish virgins’ represents the character of those who have not the genuine heart-work wrought by the Spirit of God. The coming of Christ does not change the foolish virgins into wise ones. When Christ comes, the balances of Heaven will weigh the character, and decide whether it is pure, sanctified, and holy, or whether it is unclean, and unfit for the kingdom of heaven. Those who have despised the divine grace that is at their command, that would have qualified them to be the inhabitants of heaven, will be the foolish virgins. They had all the light, all the knowledge, but they failed to obtain the oil of grace; they did not receive the truth in its sanctifying power.”


Now, this next statement that I’m going to read, this is the last statement I have on the “foolish virgins,” should be a startling statement to you because, notice, the evil servants were described as hypocrites. Notice what Ellen White says about the foolish virgins. This is Christ’s Object Lessons, page 411. (I’m sorry I left the reference off, but it’s Christ’s Object Lessons, page 411. “The class represented by the foolish virgins are not hypocrites.” Did you hear that? If you are a foolish virgin, you are not a hypocrite. “They have a regard for the truth, they have advocated the truth, they are attracted to those who believe the truth.” In other words, you could love the truth, the three angels’ messages, and all that it entails; you could advocate the truth, meaning you are a preacher of truth; you could be attracted to those who believe the truth, meaning you like to come to conventions like this at Uchee Pines where you can hear the truth preached, and still be foolish.


“But they have not yielded themselves to the Holy Spirit’s working. They have not fallen upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, and permitted their old nature to be broken up.” In other words, you are un-surrendered, un-submitted, unconverted. That old nature is still alive and well in your life, and so, you can show up on Sabbath morning and give the Sabbath School lesson, even preach the sermon, do a special music, and yet you’re a mean, grumpy, old grouch that nobody wants to be around. That’s a foolish virgin.


“But, Lord, I know the truth; I know I’m not very nice, but at least I’m defending the truth in my un-Christian spirit. Surely that counts for something?” No, it doesn’t. If you have not fallen upon the Rock, Christ Jesus and permitted the old nature to be broken up, you are a foolish virgin. What you need is the experience of being crucified with Christ, fully and totally surrendered.


Thankfully, there are wise virgins in the church. Matthew, chapter 25, verse 4, shows the difference. And we read, “But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” Notice this, the wise, they took oil in their vessels with their lamps. We understand that the oil represents the Holy Spirit. We understand that the lamp represents the Bible. So, these are people in the church who not only understand the truth as it is in Jesus, they’re clear on the creation account; they’re clear on the sanctuary message; they’re clear on righteousness by faith; they’re clear on the three angels’ messages, and they are converted. That’s the person I want to be.


But it says they took the oil in their vessels with their lamps. So, what are the vessels? The vessels are different than the lamp. Let’s go to 2 Corinthians, chapter 4, verses 6 through 10, familiar passage, but perhaps you’ll see it in connection to this parable in a way that you’ve never seen it before. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in,” (what?), “earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed,” now notice verse 10, “always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest,” (where?), “in our body.”


The earthen vessel is the life that God has given to us, the heart and the mind that we have. And in that heart and mind that we have, we are to be bearing about in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus. In other words, we are crucified with Christ, so that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in us. A wise virgin has the life of Jesus shining forth from within. A wise virgin has, in the earthen vessel, Jesus living in their heart. I want Jesus to be in my earthen vessel. I want God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, to shine in my heart so that the light and the knowledge of the glory of God, as seen in the face of Jesus Christ, will be seen in my life.


Now, don’t answer this question, but is that your experience? Now, listen, you may not feel it because the closer you come to Jesus, the more sinful you will appear in your own eyes. Yet, you can have that experience by the grace of God. You can bear about in your body the dying of the Lord Jesus, so when you are troubled on every side, you will not be distressed; when you are perplexed, you will not be in despair; when persecuted, you will not be forsaken; cast down, you will not be destroyed. There are too many Adventists who under trial demonstrate that rather than being fine gold, as gold tried in the fire, they are base metal, who, when they are troubled on every side, give up their hope in Christ. And we murmur and complain like the children of Israel. And we say, “Man, if we had been alive during their time, we would not have complained the way they did,” and yet God has given more light to our church than He did even to the children of Israel, and some of us complain just as badly as they did. The wise virgins will not be that way because when we have Jesus in our hearts, we won’t be complaining. We will have the joy of the Lord in our heart.


Now, you would think, if we stopped right there, and you were to tell me that there will be those in the church who are sleeping, I would say, “Yeah, the foolish virgins are sleeping, and the wise would be wide awake,” but let’s keep reading. Matthew, chapter 25, verse 5, “While the bridegroom tarried,” or was delayed, “they all slumbered and slept.” The wise and the foolish virgins are sleeping.


Here’s the interesting thing: The fact that the church is asleep does not necessarily mean that you are lost because the wise virgins will be ready when the time comes. It’s not commendable to be sleeping, but it doesn’t mean that you will be lost because the wise and the foolish are sleeping. Why is everybody asleep? Because it’s been a lot longer than anybody expected for Jesus to come. Jesus went into the Most Holy Place on October 22, 1844, and yet here we are on September 22, 2017, and I think I said this earlier today, I still remember coming here as a 12-year-old, before we moved to Uchee Pines, at the end of 1989, leading into the new year of 1990, and we were visiting here to see if we would come to move here. And there were things happening in the world then that struck us, like the first Gulf War was on the horizon, that Jesus was coming very soon. And I think I said this, this week as well, that every since I’ve been five years old, I’ve heard people say that it can’t be more than five years before Jesus comes, and yet every five years we’re still saying that. And Jesus still hasn’t come.


And so, everybody spiritually speaking has actually fallen asleep, the pure church, the Bible-believing church, who went forth to meet the bridegroom, the wise and the foolish, all that are pure, Bible-believing Seventh-day Adventists, are sleeping. Because here we are in 2017, I never would have dreamed when I was a 13-year-old kid that I would be back here when I’m 40 to give a week of prayer message to Uchee Pines. I would have thought for sure that Jesus would have been here by now. But here we are in 2017.


And so, everybody is sleeping. We may be looking for the coming of Jesus, but we’re doing so through a sleepy prophetic eye. You see, there are some key events that have to take place before Jesus comes back. We understand that there is going to be national Sunday law that will coincide with the outpouring of the latter rain and the giving of a loud cry, which will lead to the close of probation, which will then lead to Jacob’s time of trouble. None of those things have happened yet. And if you hear some stray commentary from people here or there that we’ve entered into the judgment of the living, don’t fall for that kind of thing. We are still waiting for the final events of Earth’s history to kick in. We are in the time when it could happen, because once Jesus went into the Most Holy Place in 1844, the potential for those things to happen is there, but they haven’t happened yet. And every year that goes by, the delay gets longer, and people are sleeping very well.


But the parable doesn’t stop there. The church does not stay asleep forever. A day is coming when the church is going to be wide awake. Look at Matthew, chapter 25, verse 6, “And at midnight,” midnight is, if you’re sound asleep at midnight, that is going to be the deepest part of your sleep, so when the church is at its deepest state of spiritual sleep…”And at midnight there was a cry made, ‘Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.’”


The midnight cry wakes up all ten virgins. Everybody was sleeping, but they’re not sleeping anymore. Now, the midnight cry, prophetically, that wakes up the church, coincides with Revelation 18:1, which is the loud cry, where an angel comes down from heaven, “having great power,” or authority, “and the earth is lightened,” or illuminated, “with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, ‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.’” And verse 3 says, “‘For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.’”


Now, notice verse 4, it says, “And I heard another voice out of heaven, saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.’” Verse 5, “‘For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.’” Now, notice this, the first five verses, that is the loud-cry message, and in that loud-cry message is the pronouncement that Babylon is fallen because her sins have reached unto heaven. When did her sins reach unto heaven?


Last Day Events, page 198, When did her sins reach unto heaven? “When the law of God is finally made void by legislation.” Guess what, friends? You want to know what triggers the midnight cry of this parable? It’s the national Sunday law, and let me tell you something. When the national Sunday law comes, there is not a Seventh-day Adventist alive who is going to stay sleeping at that moment. Every single Seventh-day Adventist will know, when the Sunday law comes, that Jesus is at the door, that the delay is over. Jesus is coming again. And so, those who are wise, those who have the oil in their vessels with their lamps, are now prepared to receive the outpouring of the latter rain so that they will give the loud-cry message, while the foolish virgins didn’t even have the early rain experience, and they’re not ready to do anything other than to realize that they’re not ready for Jesus to come.


And the way the parable describes this moment, it comes unexpectedly. Let me put it to you this way. I believe that Jesus is coming soon, and I’ve had a great blessing being here this week. Sunday morning I’m going to drive home. Monday morning I’m going to go to work. A week from tomorrow I’m preaching at another church, and I kind of forget my schedule, but I’m going to be going to a variety of places preaching a similar message in all the churches I go to with a message that I pray will lead people to have their hearts checked to make sure that we are right with God as a people so that we’re ready when He comes, but let me tell you something.


 If something happened on Tuesday of this coming week, and, by the way, just as a disclaimer, I’m not making a prediction. No man knows the day or the hour. But if something happened on Tuesday of this week or even next month that was of such a momentous magnitude that the people of this nation, as we are told in inspiration, it’s not going to be a behind-the-scenes conspiracy and then all of a sudden, voila! President Trump’s says, “I’ve got a Sunday law for you.” No, there’s something that happens that will cause the people of the nation to demand of the legislators, “We need to get back to God. We’ve strayed so far to the left, and we’ve gone for legislation that legislates immorality through gay marriage. Look at us as a nation. Look at the judgments that area being poured out upon us. It is time for us to come back to God. We need a law to get us right with God.”


Now, here’s the amazing thing about the Sunday law and what leads up to it. The Christian church, which is the fallen churches of Babylon, the evangelical churches, there are many good people, and we have a message to call them out, but the organized bodies of those churches have a false gospel that says “Jesus will save you in your sins.” And with that gospel, there are some who are intelligent enough to say, “Well, if I’m saved in my sin, why does it matter what I do?”


And so, what happens is, we as a nation have declined because of this false gospel, because our gospel doesn’t have power to keep us living a holy life, and so we get worse and worse and worse and worse, and we’ve reached a point of degeneracy that eventually it will be like, “Wow, we’re so bad,” and so the Christian churches, Protestant America, the second beast of Revelation 13, will come to the halls of legislation and say, “Hey, as a Christian church, we need your help, legislators because our gospel doesn’t work. So we need you to make a law to help people follow God because our gospel isn’t powerful enough to do that.” And as Adventists, we have been given the Everlasting Gospel that would actually keep this nation from getting into where it has been, that prophetically we see where things are going.


But the bottom line is this: When that Sunday law comes, if it were to happen in the next few weeks, humanly speaking, I would go from a state of being sleeping at midnight to wide awake. All of a sudden, everything has changed. And if you are honest with yourself, you’re doing God’s work, but you have a plan of what you’re going to be doing the next few months. And I almost can guarantee you that in your plan for life the next few months is not the close of probation and the Sunday law. But if that were to happen, it would change everything.


Now, again, I’m not saying it’s going to happen in the next few months, but the point of the parable is that it is going to happen in a startling and an unexpected way that it wakes up a church that has been sleeping at midnight. There’s going to be an overwhelming surprise. Prophets and Kings, 626, “Christians should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise, and this preparation they should make by diligently studying the word of God and striving to conform their lives to its precepts. The tremendous issues of eternity demand of us something besides an imaginary religion, a religion of words and forms, where truth is kept in the outer court. God calls for a revival and reformation.”


That imaginary religion is the religion of the foolish virgins where we know the words and the forms, and present truth and the terms and all of that, but we haven’t let Jesus come into our lives and change us. We should be preparing for this overwhelming surprise.


Testimonies, volume 8, 28, says the same thing, “Transgression has almost reached its limit. Confusion fills the world, and a great terror is soon to come upon human beings. The end is very near. We who know the truth should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise.” And this statement’s been read more than once this week. Volume 9 of the Testimonies, page 11, “The agencies of evil are combining their forces and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones.”


This overwhelming surprise, the midnight cry, which coincides with the Sunday law, reveals the character of the virgins. And at that point, who you are is who you will be. Notice Christ’s Object Lessons, page 412, “It is in a crisis that character is revealed.” Now, I’m going to read the rest of the statement, and I’m going to stop right there and say this. It’s not hard to be a good Christian when things are going well. You’re receiving blessings; people are being nice to you. You can be nice, too, hopefully.


And so, when everything’s going well, you may feel like you have a good character, but the question is, what is your character like when it is tested? Because it is in a crisis that character is revealed, and the crises that God allows you to go through now is preparation for the final crisis when the cry goes out, “Here’s the Sunday law; that means Jesus is coming. Go forth to meet the bridegroom,” and you know that you are standing face-to-face with eternity. That will be the greatest crisis of your life. And if you love Jesus, and you long for His appearing, it will also be the greatest moment.


“It is in a crisis that character is revealed. When the earnest voice proclaimed at midnight, ‘Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him,’ and the sleeping virgins were roused from their slumbers, it was seen who had made preparation for the event. Both parties were taken unawares,” so even the converted were taken by surprise, “but one was prepared for the emergency, and the other was found without preparation.” Now notice this next paragraph. “So now, a sudden and unlooked-for calamity, something that brings the soul face to face with death, will show whether there is any real faith in the promises of God.” You know, you can say you have faith in the promises of God now, but what’s it going to be like when that time comes? If you’re struggling to believe in the promises of God now, there’s no way you’re going to be sustained by grace then. “It will show whether the soul is sustained by grace. The great final test comes at the close of human probation, when it will be too late for the soul’s need to be supplied.”


So, obviously this creates a reaction among the virgins. You’re going to have this moment of reality when your character is revealed, and so, all the virgins wake up. Verse 7, “Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps,” including the foolish. Like, “Oh, Jesus is coming; we better move forward to meet Him. “And the foolish said unto the wise, ‘Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.’” So, what’s going to happen is, the wise is going to be a momentous time that they have Jesus in their lives, and so they have the strength that they need to go forth to meet this crisis. And the foolish virgins are going to see among the wise, “Oh, they’re ready for this. They’re not falling apart. They’re not scared to death. They’re actually happy for this, and they’re going out to give the message. Why is it that I’m so scared to death of this whole thing? Why am I falling apart? Why am I feeling like I’m going to collapse here? Hey, what are you doing? How do you have such an experience to be ready for this moment? What are you doing?”


You know what? You can’t get from the wise at that moment what they have. At that moment, you’re not going to be able to call up the president of Uchee Pines or Brother Lemon or Brother Fiedler or someone else that you have looked up to and connected with. Maybe they’ve even been a prayer partner for you. At that time, your character is your character, and their character is their character.


“The wise answered, saying, ‘Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.’” Character is not transferrable. Notice this, “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. ‘Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in the land, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.’”


And so, the foolish go out to try to find the Holy Spirit, “and while they went to buy, the bridegroom came,” this is the close of probation, “and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us.’ But he answered and said, ‘Verily I say unto you, I know you not.’”


First John, chapter 4, verse 8, says, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” He’s saying, “I don’t know you because you never loved Me. You didn’t have a relationship with Me. You didn’t spend time with Me. You knew about Me. You knew what the Bible said about Me. You knew the manner of My coming, but you didn’t take the time to get to know Me.” You are waking up late in the morning, not having devotions. You weren’t spending time with God throughout the day. You weren’t meditating on His Word at night. You were so busy with the cares of this world, and even doing good things, that you forgot to spend time with Jesus so that He didn’t even know you at the time of His coming.


“Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” It is a perilous state to be in to say, “Since Jesus hasn’t come for 173 years now, since 1844, I have more time to just keep doing the things that I’m doing, and I’ll come to church every Sabbath, and I’ll even do God’s work, but I know my heart’s unconverted, but it’s easier to just stay the way things are than to actually do a full surrender.” Friends, you better watch out because Sunday, possibly very soon, there’s going to be the cry that goes out, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh. Go ye out to meet him,” and at that moment, God will have His people that are ready, and if you haven’t surrendered your life to Him, you won’t be ready.


Now is the time to prepare. Now is the time to have our hearts right and ready to meet Jesus. “Those who wait,” this is Christ’s Object Lessons, page 415, “Those who wait for the Bridegroom’s coming are to say to the people, ‘Behold your God.’” This is the loud cry message. “The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love,” but you can’t be that revelation of His character of love if you don’t have it. “The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them.”


So, as I bring this to a close, I have a question for you tonight. Who are you? You know, you can put on a good front. Everybody can look wise, and I pray there aren’t any evil servants here. If you are one, you still have time to repent and join the Second Advent movement and its cause and its purpose. But I know that in a room this size, there are at least some foolish virgins. You know the truth, you believe the truth, you may be advocating the truth, you are attracted to those who believe the truth, but you have not fallen upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, and permitted the old nature to be broken up. When that line is crossed, once it goes that far, then that old nature rises right up, and you’re showing the fallenness of your humanity rather than the beauty of Jesus.


And the Lord is moving. The Holy Spirit is moving to do everything that He can to give each one of us an opportunity to be right with God before Jesus comes. It’s not too late to become a wise virgin. It’s not too late to give your life fully and completely to Jesus.


Now, this is not an appeal for everybody. This is my last message in this convocation. You may be feeling the Holy Spirit speaking to you right now, and again, this isn’t for everybody to come up because not everybody is a foolish virgin. But this message has touched your heart, and you’re saying, “The Holy Spirit is convicting me. I haven’t fallen upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, and permitted the old nature to be broken up. I’m still unconverted. I’m un-surrendered. My character shows that when I’m provoked, I still have elements that need to be purged from my life, and I want to be ready for Jesus to come. I want to love Him with all my heart. I want to be surrendered to Him completely.” And if that’s your case, and if that’s your conviction, I would invite you to come forward and kneel with me as I pray.


This isn’t for everyone. It might just be for one person, and that’s okay. And you may be thinking, “Oh, man, but if I come forward, they’re going to say, ‘You’re a worker at Uchee Pines. How could you be that way?’” Don’t worry what people think. You’re doing this for Jesus. You’re making a stand for Him and saying, “Lord, I love You, and I need You, and I’m tired of putting on a front that is a front of being foolish when I need to be wise. And I’m going to make a stand at the end of this convocation that, from this time forward, this is a turning point in my life. My heart has been touched.”


So, if you’re feeling that conviction, I would invite you to come down. Don’t worry about what others think. Allow this to be a time where God touches your heart to say, “From this moment forward, I’m going to be wise,” and it doesn’t have to be for everybody. This is for those who are saying, “I want Jesus to be in my life. I want the light of the knowledge of the glory of God and the face of Jesus Christ to be seen in me.”


And so, by God’s grace, we will be those who go forth to be a revelation of His character of love. God is good to us, is He not? And my heart was touched. My daughter came forward. There’s nothing like seeing your own child respond to the moving of the Holy Spirit. Amen?


Let’s kneel and pray as we close. Father in Heaven, we love You, and we thank You for Your mercy. Thank You that You are moving upon our hearts, that the Holy Spirit is touching our hearts and lives. You’ve been good to us. You’ve given us so much knowledge. You’ve given us so much information. And what we need now is to have a transformation of hearts, so not only do we have an experience of knowing what truth is, but that we have an experience in knowing Jesus. And that, when others see us, they will know that we have been with Jesus.


Forgive us, Lord, for how often we have been foolish, but thank You for Your amazing mercy, that You have given us time to be fully surrendered to You. We don’t know the hour of Your coming, but by Your grace, Lord, may we go forth from this meeting, from this day forward, as those who have that oil in our vessels with our lamps, so that when people see us, they are touched with the character of Jesus and of His love. And I pray, when that day comes, perhaps very soon, where the cry goes forth, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh. Go ye out to meet him,” that our hearts will swell with joy because we love Jesus so much that we are thrilled at the thought of our best Friend and Savior is coming to take us home, rather than being scared of the Time of Trouble.


May we learn to look to Jesus and to look for the joy of His coming, rather than being scared of things like the Time of Trouble, and may we have the love of Jesus in our hearts to share this with everyone around us. Thank You for Your goodness to us, and may we be saved in Your Kingdom. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


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