Saturday, March 29, 2014

Prosperity In God's Invisible Kingdom

This is a sequel to my last article entitled: “The Blessing of Paying Tithes and Giving of Offerings” published last Saturday, March 22, 2014.

After I have taken my oath as a new lawyer in January 1963, my former professor Atty. Jose R. Ebro, Jr., came to buy an electric set from the company where I was working as stenographer typist and where I was groomed to be promoted shortly as Asst. Credit & Collection Manager. I was enjoying a good income and perks, so I felt I was in a comfort zone, especially because of my forthcoming promotion. He asked me, with great wonder, “What are you doing here?” Of course, I told him the truth. I remember, in my college days, I was his favorite student, and the feeling was mutual. He encouraged me further by saying: “You are a probable bar topnotcher”. To cut a long story short, I graduated at the top of my class. When he saw me about three months from my passing the bar exam, he said, “This is not your place, you ought to go into private practice. Join me in my law office, I’ll give you PCIBank as your retainer, and give you an allowance of P300.00 a month for managing my law office at Philamlife Bldg.” Philamlife Bldg. was then a very nice and attractive only concrete building in Davao City, besides the old ANTWEL Bldg. at Sta. Ana, Davao City.

Due to my previous experience in the prestigious Abellera Law Office where I was the steno-typist for 3 ½ years, and knowing that out of my notarial and retainer’s fee at the Rural Bank of Tagum (now a City), there is a lot of money in law practice and in banking, especially because PCIBank is a commercial bank with branches all over the Philippines. I grabbed the opportunity. Indeed, I found it a lot better and was in my “proper place” to put it bluntly. This, to me, was a manna from heaven.

Since out of my income from the Rural Bank of Tagum I was able to build a house adjacent to our church (Foursquare Gospel Church), upon my invitation to my uncle, then Capt. in the Davao City Police but was a Colonel upon his retirement, he accompanied me to hear personally the Pastor of the Church (Rev. Thelmo C. Bringas) who is now a pastor in California, U.S.A., deliver his sermon because his voice was like that of Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos, my “idol” in law and in politics.

Upon the invitation of the Director of the Halls of Life Bible College (HLBC, henceforth), the Bible College of Foursquare Gospel Church, and Rev. Elvie Carbajosa, both of whom were my Sunday School teachers, I attended the Sunday School class for professionals. I enjoyed the class such that I was always present and actively participating in the discussions. I was just like Nicodemus of the Bible who was asking questions, but my teachers were not offended at all. In fact, my teacher Ma’am Elvie encouraged me to enroll at HLBC. She told me “if the Sunday School class is interesting to you, you will find more interesting the subjects at the HLBC”. Being then a relatively new struggling lawyer with not much cases and retainer clients to attend to, I accepted the invitation. Indeed, I found the study of the Bible very very interesting - - more interesting, very much more than the study of law. Because it involves the study of God’s law which I found to be the very basis of our human law, and more importantly, the salvation of the soul of man, not only how to make money!

In my Sunday school class, I learned the meaning of “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all the things you have need of shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33 KJV).

Since the time I came to know the Scriptures on how to receive blessing from God, and having put into practice the principles, from a struggling lawyer on my own efforts, my practice of law prospered gradually like what the prophet Isaiah said, “little by little” or “slow by slow” until like a mustard seed which is the smallest seed on earth when it becomes big enough, the birds will find shade in them.

The next principle I came to know is that to prosper, the Bible says, one must sow bountifully so the reaping will also be bountiful.

Thus, the Bible specifically says:

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. (2 Cor. 9:6 KJV)

When we give, to be a blessing, the Bible says:

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (vs. 7)

The promise of God is that the result will be:

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (vs. 8)

Grace will abound in the giver (Grace is unmerited favor). Meaning, one does not deserve it, but by the grace of God, nevertheless it is given to him (by grace) by God himself. Imagine, the promise is ALWAYS having ALL SUFFICIENCY in ALL THINGS, and ABOUND (sobra, sobra) to every good work. Meaning God will give the giver abounding good works to do. This means money! This is what everybody is looking for everyday. For some people, every night! Who wants plenty of money?

Applying the aforementioned scriptural principles, I gave unstinted, honest, and to the best I am capable, services to all my clients regardless of whether they can pay me or not, once I accept their case.

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (or Jesus Christ) and give voluntarily not grudgingly or out of necessity (not just because everybody is giving you will also give), and give cheerfully (walang sakit ng loob or puso). When God makes a promise, it will be fulfilled up to the last dot!

In summary, first, seek the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ first before anything else. In other words, the priority in all things is always, God and His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, all others are secondary. Secondly, give voluntarily and cheerfully. The Bible says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38 KJV).

The greatest giver of all is God himself. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16 KJV). Nobody can outgive God! Imagine, the gift He gave is ETERNAL LIFE to all who will receive His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Who else can give such a gift? Of course, no one but God only and He alone.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Blessing Of Paying Tithes And Giving Of Offerings

Engr. Eder M. Bacus, one of our FGBMFI old time very faithful member, also a well-known and successful (income-wise) Electrical Engineer of Davao City, Philippines, and whom I know believes in paying tithes and giving of offerings as eloquently proved in his life and earthly possessions and the various big construction projects that were awarded to him, personally requested me to write on this very sensitive topic.

Last Saturday (March 8, 2014) after our fellowship meeting, he was in conference with certain of our members. To my surprise, as I passed by them, he verbally requested me to write about this topic.

I recall that many years back, in the church where both Engr. Bacus and I are members up to this day, being then a council member for many years, and he a deacon also for many years, I used to be assigned by our pastors (plural because our pastors are re-assigned or retired from time to time) to exhort in the pulpit our congregation to pay their tithes and give their offerings as an essential part of our worship service. This must be his reason for his request to me. Though I am aware that this topic is highly controversial, sensitive and difficult to follow, I gladly obliged for the glory of God.

The Bible tells us, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, sayeth the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 3:10-11 KJV).

Due to the frequency of my assignment, I have memorized the verses that even without opening my Bible as I stand before the podium, I could rattle the verses from memory. Of course, to be credible, I bring with me to the pulpit my favorite King James Version [KJV] Bible (a gift to me by my first Pastor Thelmo C. Bringas who baptized me in water), open it to the book of Malachi, but actually from memory, I would recite the verses. I have preserved this Bible up to this day. If I forget any verse, I go back to this Bible and will easily find it. It serves as a concordance to me. I must have done my assigned task well because I was often assigned to exhort the congregation and receive the tithes and offerings.

Tithes is the tenth part of our income. This is what I call controversial because some say that it should be 10th of the gross income while others say “of the net income”. Since the Bible is silent on this matter, God will understand if the believer is mistaken in his application. Beyond this amount is the offering.

The more we give, the more we receive. The Bible tells us, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give unto your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38 KJV) “… He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully” (2 Cor. 9:6 KJV). And the Lord God additionally promised:
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” (vss. 7-8 KJV)
Because of this ministry I used to perform in our church for many years back, aside from being a Sunday school teacher in the professional class (being already a lawyer then and a ministerial graduate of our Bible College), I had to “walk my talk” or to do what I used to “preach” in the pulpit. And I have proved the truth of it myself.

The eloquent proof of the truth of God’s word is that I was able to buy a lot and build our residential house literally beside, in fact, adjacent to our church, a lot which I purchased on installment basis in 1971 at P10,000 downpayment and P5,000 yearly for four years. I was then the legal counsel and Corporate Secretary of the Rural Bank of Tagum (Davao del Norte, Philippines) when it was not yet a City. I used to draw my notarial fee in that bank every December only which amounted to much more than this amount; God provided, and truly provides! In those days the amount was quite a large amount, especially for me who am a struggling practitioner of the law profession, but something in me (now I know it is the Holy Spirit) persuaded me to “close my eyes” to the staggering price, so to speak, to grab the opportunity of acquiring the lot with a DBP (Development Bank of the Philippines) financed bungalow wooden house built by the former owner which I completely renovated by converting it into a semi-concrete, and adding a second storey with first class wooden building materials like Molave for window jambs, alternate Tindalo, Molave and Manggachapoy, for flooring, Narra and Dao for wall paneling and Romblon marble and Narra tilewood for flooring, that even the previous owner could no longer recognize it as his former home. By the grace of God, after the renovation it costs multi-million which took me seven years because I did not borrow from the bank or from anyone else any single cent. Everything literally came from, or was supplied by, our Lord God.

Some years thereafter in 1988, by faith, (as the amount was staggering for me), my wife and I bought on installment basis again, a 700 Sq. Meter lot located one block away from our residence in front of a “rotunda” and the Barangay Hall at Mt. Apo Street, this City, about 100 meters away from the largest and most prestigious hospital in Davao City (perhaps in the whole of Mindanao Island) at P50,000.00 downpayment and “P5,000.00 monthly for a period of five years, again without borrowing a single cent from the bank or from anyone else. God just supplied the amount as they fell due.

During that time, the Personnel Officer of the Department of Health (DOH) where my wife then worked as an Accounting Clerk, Mr. Moises Peralta, who was accommodated in our modest home for two months when he was transferred from DOH Cagayan de Oro City (Region 10) to Davao Region (Region XI), offered to me the position of part-time Legal Officer of the DOH without actually holding office with a monthly compensation of P9,000.00. This is a fulfillment of the aforequoted verse in Luke 6:38 which says, “give and it shall be given unto you…”. Obviously, it was our “giving” Mr. Peralta the accommodation in our home that he must have thought of reciprocating our kindness to him. This became the source of our monthly installments on the lot for five years. In this lot God led me to build the 2-storey fully concrete law office and commercial building which I finished in four years. The ground floor is being leased for business purposes. Again, I used practically the same building materials as in our modest residential house, with granite flooring both on the first and second floors with Narra door jambs and door shutters and tempered window glasses. God blessed me to construct and make my law office to approximate the materials used (cedar wood which is equivalent to our molave tree) by King Solomon in building the famous Solomon’s Temple. Jokingly, I told my uncle Panfilo G. Dumayas who was an Elder in their Church and my “Maestro Carpentero” to make the building like the Temple of Solomon. Engr. Eder Bacus was my electrical engineer!

Why did it take me several years, like King Solomon of old, to finish my building projects? Because this is God’s way for me: “slow by slow” as the funds came in and as my clients pay me in kind like sands and gravel, the steel bars from my hardware client, the alternate molave, and tindalo for flooring, narra and dao for paneling all from my clients, and all charged to my attorney’s fees. My philosophy in building was simple. Don’t hurry; follow God’s time table, so I don’t have to borrow money, but always trusting God to supply the materials and funds. Consequently, the building construction was very slow such that some of my well-meaning friends and clients who sympathized with my “pitiful” situation, we may say it, suggested for me to borrow from the bank, but I just smiled at them, because my source is our God, not any bank or any lending institution. My answer to them, somewhat jokingly, was: “Rome was built in seven years”. Amazingly, God supplied my needs! The Word of God is indeed true that, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19 KJV).

Early this year, God provided funds for a construction of another semi-commercial building beside the law office. By God’s provision and grace, this time, it shall be finished in four months, no longer by several years as in the past, and as usual without my borrowing money from the bank. Praise God!

Why did God provide? Because “I walk my talk”. I followed what I preached in the pulpit of our church.

I myself am amazed and wondering how I was able to attain such a considerable “success” (for lack of an appropriate term) in building our modest residential house and the law office building and the newest semi-commercial building beside, so to speak. I believe it is God’s provision and response to my faithfulness to Him, not by my own effort or work. Of course, I tried to be faithful to my ministry and at the same time worked very hard serving the kingdom of God first and my clientele. It is God’s fulfillment of His promise to one who seeks the kingdom of God first and the believer who pays his tithes and give offerings. Our Bible says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all the things you have need of shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). If God makes a promise, He will fulfill it up to the last dot.

Success begets success”. When people see you successful, they “ride” with, and on your, success. From then on my clients added, in fact, multiplied. Praise God!

The summit of my practice of law came when I became a member of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII) upon the sponsorship of my bosom friend, the late Rey de Leon, one of my co-founders of the FGBMFI, Davao City Chapter, the first, oldest and with the largest membership in the Philippines, then and up to this day. Praise God for it! In this Chamber of Commerce with a membership back then of 400 businessmen and professionals, I became first an Assistant Corporate Secretary, then Corporate Secretary, Vice-President on Professional & Business Ventures, President for two years in 2005 and 2006 and finally a Chairman of the Board for one year in 2008, when through my initiative as President, the by-laws of the DCCCII was amended by creating a position of Chairman of the Board, following the traditional position of officers in the Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PCCCI). Businessman John Gaisano of the famous Gaisano Mall was the first elected Chairman of the Board, followed by myself.

My bonus as a Chamber member was its recommendation endorsed by the PCCCI to then President Fidel V. Ramos of the Republic of the Philippines for appointment as an Employers’ Representative of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board of Region XI (RTWPB-XI), which position of honor and prestige among businessmen, by the grace of God, I hold up to this day. Once in a while when there is controversy on wages in the region, the RTWPB-XI members appear on TV. I have been re-appointed every five (5) years by all succeeding presidents since then. My latest re-appointment is yet pending with incumbent President Noynoy C. Aquino.

Why do I relate these personal amazing achievements and successes, so I may call it, although my topic is “tithes and offering”? It is not to boast, but to demonstrate the truth of the verses in the Bible I have quoted above, because I personally believe that my personal successes, if I may call it aptly, from being a self-supporting student from college, and thereafter supporting all my seven younger siblings in attaining their college degrees, or eight to include my eldest brother who was on his fourth year college at the Central Luzon Agricultural University at Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, is so amazing to me, that I find no other cause than my faithfulness in my ministry in the kingdom of God, here on earth, particularly in the matter of tithes and offerings, and, of course, offerings in the FGBMFI since my joining the chapter in Davao City. Praise be to our God Almighty and His only begotten Son, our LORD Jesus Christ! By the way, I give offering in FGBMFI because the tithe is paid and also offering to the house of God [Church] (Malachi 3:10).

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Are We A Prodigal Son Of God?

The Lord Jesus Christ related a parable (a brief narrative story with earthly analogies to illustrate a spiritual truth) of a certain man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.” Without any hesitation, the father divided between his two sons their inheritance in advance (Luke 15:11-32).

Notice that before this parable, the Lord Jesus talked of the lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7) and the lost coin (15:8-10).

This parable of the lost son and the two previous parables was to answer the accusation of the Scribes and Pharisees who were then the religious leaders, to the effect that Jesus chose or even enjoy the companionship of sinners. In these parables, He showed that His mission to the world was not to make miserable, or to condemn and destroy, but to recover that which, or redeem, who was lost (John 3:17-18). These are the very ones that needed a Savior. The Lord Jesus himself said, “For the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10 KJV).

Who is a prodigal son? The prodigal son by his actuation was not a dutiful or “good” son, not one who would please his father, but one who desired his own way, like many of us. I said “us” because I include myself. The tender care, sympathy and love of his father was not enough, and the patient, kind, and benevolent acts of his father was not appreciated at all by the first son. To him something was yet lacking - - full liberty. He thought his life would be much better if his liberty was not restricted, for his idea of liberty was wild license, and as he craved to be independent of all authority, he wanted to break loose from all the restraint of his father’s house. Soon he spent his fortune in riotous [spendthrift] (in Pilipino-Visayan dialect, patakang pag-gastos) until he spent all his fortune. He never invested his good fortune. There was no FGBMFI yet!

In his liberty and independence, no one now would say to him: “Do not do that, for you will destroy yourself. Rather, do this, because it is the right thing to do.”

What was worse was that a great famine arose in the country in which he sojourned, and in his hunger he feed himself with what the swine (pigs) did eat. Notably, Jews abhor and do not eat swine (Leviticus 11:7).

Consequently, starvation stared him in the face, thus compelling him to apply for work in the place of his choice believing that he would enjoy life once again. He was assigned by his employer to do the most menial of work – to feed swines (or pigs) and ate what the swines did eat. Although this work to a Jew like him (he being an Israelite, a chosen race/people by God) was the most disreputable of all callings or work, yet he was willing even compelled, so to speak, to do anything, just so he can feed himself and survive. He was suffering from extreme hunger, and cannot fill his want, and, under these circumstances he remembers that his father at home has bread enough and to spare even for his servants. Having come to his senses, he resolves to go back to his father.

The story says, “when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion on him, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (vs. 20). How loving and kind was his father! This is a picture of our God receiving unto Himself a penitent sinner. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world (the sinners) that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes (and repents of his sins and receives Jesus as his only savior) in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 KJV).

Normally, a human father is different in attitude. To an erring child, he would show anger, utter words like, “it is your fault; you deserve to suffer so you will learn a lesson” or any phrases of similar import. In Pilipino (kasalanan mo yan. Magdusa ka para matuto ka). In extreme cases, a disobedient prodigal child is disinherited.

We may have committed mistakes and made foolish decisions, or sins that are grievous that makes us deserving to be in hell, but as in the parable of the prodigal son, as soon as we repent and ask for forgiveness, and receive/accept Jesus Christ (God in the flesh) as our only savior, God readily accepts us with open arms. Thus, the canonized Bible says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 KJV). We are instantly forgiven and accepted without any harsh words, like how the father in the parable responded with compassion upon seeing his prodigal son even afar off - - he ran to meet him and kissed him. Compassion is kindness with action.

There is every reason for us to return to our God. There is no reason to fear. God is not like any normal human father. We are God’s son and He will never leave us nor forsake us, for as long as we repent, ask for forgiveness and return to Him. This was the promise of God to Joshua of Old Testament times (Joshua 1:5). In New Testament times, God repeated or reiterated the same assurance and promise to all believers; “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). A prodigal son? Repent and return to our God like the prodigal son. We shall be received by Him with open arms and be instantly forgiven. Heaven will be our home for eternity.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

We Are The Temple Of God

We are endowed with only one life to live. Some live a short span of life while others live to the scriptural age of three score and ten (70 years), and to some who are very careful in their manner of living, live up to fourscore (80 years), and beyond this age, the Word of God says, “It shall be filled with pain and trouble [suffering]” (Psalm 90:10 NLT). The Psalmist further said, “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing” (Psalm 92:12-14 KJV). 

What is the Psalmist saying? The believer (righteous) shall make a right standing or right living before our God. The palm tree always stands straight and never crooked. On the other hand, the cedar tree in Lebanon is sturdy, and the best and long lasting building material, before the discovery of cement and steel. It is like our molave tree in the Philippines which does not rot even if exposed continuously to rain and sunshine. No wonder the wise King Solomon used cedar trees of Lebanon in building the world famous Temple of Solomon.

The promise of the LORD God to man - - His very special creation - - is: “He that dwelth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty… (Psalm 91:1); … because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation” (Psalm 91:14-16 KJV). If God makes a promise 100% he will comply. . .up to the last dot.

The pertinent inquiry of everyone to himself should be: How can I invest my life that it may yield the greatest profit? Life is valuable only as we improve it for our own personal benefit and that of our fellow beings. Careful cultivation of the abilities and talents with which the Creator has endowed to us will qualify us for elevated usefulness here on earth and a higher life in the next world to come (heaven).

It is our duty then to preserve our physical, mental and spiritual health for the glory of our God, our Creator. We should not dwarf or cripple a single function of mind or body by smoking that destroys our inward parts like the lungs, kidneys, etc. or overwork or abuse of any part of our body. As surely as we violate these injunctions to ourselves, we shall suffer the consequences.

Our first duty to God and our fellow beings is that of self-development. Every faculty with which the Creator has endowed to us should be cultivated to the highest degree of perfection, that we may be able to do the greatest amount of good of which we are capable. In order to purify and refine our characters, we need the grace given to us by Jesus Christ/God that will enable us to see and correct our deficiencies and improve that which is already good or very good to excellent.

Should we be able to do the above personal care to ourselves in the strength and name of Jesus our Lord, our work or ministry will be of more benefit to us personally, and to our fellowmen than any lecture we deliver or sermon we might preach to them. That is to say, the example of a well-balanced, well-ordered life is of inestimable value. We are then useful in the invisible kingdom of God here on earth, and in the next world to come.

Believers (righteous ones) are the living preachers of the Word of God. The great Apostle Paul said, “Do you know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:15 KJV). Let us take good care of our own body for truly it is the Spiritual Temple of God.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Wise And Foolish Believers

Jesus Christ was and is the greatest teacher of all times. He presented His lessons of truth in clear and forceful statements that strike the hearts of the hearers. He always used the most simple language. The simplest language is the most eloquent. We speak, write or communicate to be clearly understood, not to confuse the heart and mind of the hearer or reader.

Jesus the LORD, makes further explanation by practical illustrations, parables (or stories of earthly things that have heavenly meaning). His illustrations were taken from familiar things of daily life, like the “fowls of the air, the lilies of the field, the seed, the shepherd and his sheep, the door, salt, etc.” With these objects, he illustrated immortal truths which the unlearned and unschooled and most ordinary human being will easily understand. The foregoing instances demonstrate the characteristics of a good - - the best - - teachers or writers. They strive to teach and write to be understood.

Thus, by way of illustration or example, in simple language the Lord Jesus related this parable.

25 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
But 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.
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Matt. 25: 1-13 KJV).

Have You Oil in Your Lamps?

Notice that five of these virgins are represented as wise and five as foolish, and all had lamps. They all knew the truth that they must prepare for the coming of the bridegroom (or Jesus Christ/God in person). There was no apparent difference between the wise and the foolish until the cry was made, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him”.

The only difference was that the wise had taken precautions to put oil on their lamps. In other words, the wise were all the time ready. But the foolish had not provided for this emergency. It was only when the expected event was at the doorstep that they made an earnest and distressed petition to those who were wise to share them some of their oils. The foolish had neglected to prepare themselves to meet the bridegroom, and now at the last moment, turned to those wise who had provided themselves with oil - enough oil. Both have everything they needed, except the most important of all - the oil, as far as the foolish virgins were concerned.

The pertinent question to ask is: Why is it that the wise did not share their supply of oil to the foolish ones? As we make the spiritual application of the parable, we can perceive the reason. The Lord Jesus himself said, “And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, NOT so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves” (Matt. 25:8-9 KJV). When the foolish returned after buying oil, the door of heaven was already closed.

Thus, it is not possible for those who have faith and are wise to divide their supply of oil with those who have not. In other words, the LORD Jesus is saying that it is not possible for those who have made a thorough heart work, to impart the benefit of this to those who have done but surface work. “Salvation is personal”.

All the ten virgins appeared to be waiting or expecting for the coming of the bridegroom, like all of us believers, and yet the test brought out the fact that five were not really ready spiritually. This is like the case of many of us. I said, “us”, because I include myself. Meaning, we know from the Bible that Jesus Christ will soon come to redeem all true and faithful believers, and we appear to others as His true disciples but in truth and in fact, we are not. To which class do we belong? Do we belong to the foolish or wise virgins (or believers)? Now is the time to prepare for heaven, not when the Lord Jesus comes, the day and hour of which we do not know, only God the Father knows (Matt. 24:36; Luke 12:40; 1 Thess. 5:2).

The foolish virgins represent those who are hypocritical. In Tagalog (Pilipino) “mapagkunwari”. In other words, they had a regard for truth; they advocated the truth, they were intending to go forth to meet the bridegroom; they are attached to those who believe the truth, and go with them, having lamps, which represent a knowledge of the truth. They are active members and officers of religious sects, denominations and organizations like Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International, etc.

Many receive the truth readily, but they fail to assimilate truth, and its influence is not abiding. They are like the foolish virgins, who had no oil in their lamps. Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, which is brought into the soul through faith in Jesus Christ. Those who earnestly search the Scriptures with much prayer, who rely upon God with firm faith, who obey His commandments, will be among those who are represented as wise virgins. These are not perfect people, for only one is perfect - the Lord Jesus Christ who alone is 100% human and 100% divine. But these men/women are sinners saved by the grace of God. “For by grace are ye saved through faith (in Jesus Christ); and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV). Be believing and wise.