Well, good evening all, it's a privilege for me to be here with you tonight. Thank you to Pastor McConnell for the invitation, and indeed the welcome, and to all the pastoral staff who have made me very at home tonight coming into the building. It's a joy to fellowship with you, as we see out the old year and see the new in, to be in the presence of God and fellowshipping with one another. Thank you for having me, and I do trust that what the Lord has laid upon my heart will be a help and a challenge to you tonight. He has given me a message, and I've had it for several weeks now, and it has been burning on my heart and in my bones. Now those of you who are preachers know what that means, and until it's discharged I can't get any rest - and I'll sleep tonight, I'll just let you know that! Would you pray with me before I read the Scriptures and before I preach the word? I believe God has something to say, and it's for you, but you need to be in a disposition to receive it. How many times did the Lord Jesus say: 'Let he, or she, who has ears to hear' - and we need ears to hear! The church needs to hear what the Spirit is saying to the body of Christ today. So let's attune ourselves to the Lord - I'm not suggesting you're not already attuned to His voice, but let's just come and still ourselves in His presence, and by faith realise that He's with us, and He wants to speak to us, and He wants to come very near, and He has something on His heart that He wants to share with us all - whether you're not converted, or you're a believer for many years; whatever your circumstances are, I believe God has something to say to you tonight. It mightn't be easy to hear, and it's not going to be easy for me to preach, because I have struggled and wrestled with this message - but I believe it's God's message. So let's come together and just seek His face briefly. Would you do something for me: would you pray for yourself now that God will speak to you, would you do that? Just now, say: 'Lord, speak to me'.
Abba Father, we come to You in the mighty name which is above every name: Lord Jesus Christ. We bless You for Your Son and our Saviour, and we bow and we proclaim Him Lord of all. We want to afresh proclaim Him Lord of our lives, Lord of this space, Lord of this moment. Lord, we pray that we will know what it is for You to dwell among us, and to rest upon us. Lord, we need You tonight, we can do nothing without You. So we ask that You will come, and that we will stand - as it were - that we will minister beneath an open heaven, that there will be a portal above us, a ladder - as it were - from glory, the angels ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. We want, Lord, heaven to come down, and glory to fill our souls. We want to hear Your voice, we want You to speak with the voice that wakes the dead. Lord, we believe You're here, but may we know a manifestation of Your Divine Presence tonight - may it be unmistakable that God is in this house, that the power of God is present to touch, to heal, to transform, to save, and to revive. Lord, all of us need You. There's not one person here tonight, including myself, that doesn't need a fresh touch, that doesn't need a fresh revelation and a new glimpse of the Lord Jesus. So we ask You to come, we ask You to bind the forces of darkness that would seek to snatch away the seed of the word. We pray that You will release the full power of the Gospel message of Christ, the message of the Kingdom of God, that Your will will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. So Lord, hear our prayer, for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.
I want to preach to you tonight on "The Midnight Message". We're turning in our Bibles to Matthew's Gospel chapter 25, beginning to read at verse 1. This, of course, is the parable of the ten virgins. Verse 1 of Matthew 25, Jesus is speaking, and He says: "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!'. 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'. But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves'. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. 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, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming".
I believe that parables in the word of God are generally neglected, and probably avoided when it comes to pulpit ministry. Now I'm not speaking of this fellowship of course, but in general - and, I have to say, I put my hands up and admit that they wouldn't the first passages of Scripture that I would gravitate towards when preaching the word - probably because often I find them quite awkward. Often they are difficult to fit into our previously hammered our theological systems. Now I'm just being honest with you tonight: parables have been problematic to me. Now, of course, the problem is not with the parable, the problem is with me - my head, and my theology! I have a bit of a hunch that if we were writing the Bible, the half of it wouldn't be there at all! Do you understand what I'm saying? So much of Scripture is so challenging, the word of God is a double-edged sword that cuts to the division of soul and spirit, bone and marrow.
You might disagree with me, but I believe today's church, generally, is obsessed with the 'feel good' factor. They want to be comfortable, and so passages like the one we have read together tonight - what we might name 'the hard sayings of Jesus' - they're not very palatable. They're difficult to swallow, and so we try to do theological gymnastics to get around them, and push them into a mould that they, frankly, won't easily be pushed into.
How far removed it is from how people heard the words of the Lord Jesus originally. Do you remember some of the reactions that people gave to the words of our Lord? After hearing Him they would say: 'Oh, this is a hard saying!' - do you remember reading that? 'This is a hard teaching, who can accept this?'. On occasion they would even say: 'Who then can be saved?'. When people do interpret the parables, often they do it in a very mysterious way, and even a contrived way. The ten virgins, this parable, is no exception. There are some weird and wonderful interpretations of this parable in particular.
Let me give you a couple of tips that might help you when you're reading the New Testament, particularly parables. Parables were meant to be heard. They were spoken by the Lord Jesus - and think of this also: they were spoken once. Now I'm not saying He didn't repeat them on occasion, but to the hearers that heard it at any given time, the parable was spoken once and they had only one opportunity hear it, they had only one opportunity to grasp the message. They didn't have the luxury that we have, of a shelf full of commentaries, and the internet to search everything, and look in intricate detail at the Greek. They had to hear it once and get the message - and it usually was the case (and this will help you also in parables) that there was one message, one main message that the Lord Jesus Christ was wanting to communicate.
Here it's found in verse 13, at the end the parable: 'Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming'. The one message of the parable of the ten virgins is very, very simple: you need to be ready, for Jesus is coming again! How we complicate it, but that's the message! If you get into all the intricate details of the lamps and the oil and all the rest - whilst there might be meaning there - and miss the main point, you've missed the parable! In fact, it follows on from Matthew 24, which is the great discourse of our Lord Jesus, the Olivet Discourse on the second coming - and of course He ended it in verse 44 with a similar statement: 'Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect'.
Now the custom in marriages in Jesus' day was that these virgins are the bridesmaids. They would accompany the bridegroom from his house to the bride's home, or escort both of them back to the bridegroom's home - it doesn't really matter. Initially these bridesmaids, these ten virgins, I want you to note now from the passage: they weren't waiting on the bridegroom, it doesn't say that. Originally they were actively pursuing him. It says that 'they went out to meet him' - they were seeking the bridegroom, they wanted to identify with him, they wanted to pursue him. So what was the problem? Well, the bridegroom delayed, and they had to then wait. As they waited they feel asleep - now we'll see the significance of that a little bit later on - but what I want you to do with me tonight is: spot the difference. You've played that game before, haven't you? Spot the difference between the virgins that got into the marriage, and those that didn't. Now it's not easy to spot the difference, we need to look at the similarities and the differences between these two groups of virgins. There is a lesson from that: sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between those who think they will enter the Kingdom of God, and those who Jesus says actually do enter.
Can I repeat that? It's sometimes difficult to tell the difference between those who think they have entered they Kingdom of God, and those who Jesus says do enter. There's a number of other parables that say exactly that. In Matthew 13 there's the parable of the wheat and the tares, and wheat and tares are very similar. Jesus just said in that story that a farmer went out and He sowed wheat in his field, and then an enemy came and he sowed tares among the wheat. The two grew up together and you could hardly tell the difference, but the whole message that Jesus was teaching was: 'Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the harvest time I will say to the reapers, 'First gather together the tares, and bind them bundles and burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn''. It's hard tell the difference now, but Jesus says: 'Then, on that last day, I'll sort out the difference' - but it can be hard to tell between those who think they are entering the Kingdom, and those who Jesus says do.
Another parable in the same chapter, Matthew 13, is the parable of the dragnet. The fishermen are out, and they're dragging that fish net, and Jesus says that they caught all kinds, all types of fish, and then they brought it onto the shore, and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels but they threw the bad away. Jesus said: 'So will it be at end. The angels will come forth and separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire; there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth'. It's hard to tell the difference now, but one day the differentiation is going to happen - and Jesus, the Judge whom God has ordained by raising Him from the dead, is going to judge!
Then there is the parable in this very chapter we're in tonight of the sheep and the goats. In Palestine, the sheep and goats - it's hard to tell the difference between either - but the Chief Shepherd, the Good Shepherd, one day is going tell the difference, and separate the sheep from the goats.
Now I want look at these virgins tonight, and though it might be hard to tell the difference, we're going to contrast and compare. You did that in an exam, didn't you? Compare and contrast - so let's do that. The first thing I want you to see is that both of these groups of virgins identify with the bridegroom, but he does not identify with both. They all identify with him, but he does not identify with both groups.
Now we've already said that originally all of them were actively pursuing the bridegroom. They were seeking to identify with him. Of course, the bridegroom is a picture of the Lord Jesus. You might be here tonight and, bless you, you want to identify with Jesus. You have been a seeker after Christ. You might think: 'Surely that's all that's involved? All I have to have is an identification with Christ'. You might even have an affection towards the Lord Jesus - but Jesus says, you see this is what's important, what's important is what Jesus says. Jesus says: 'That might not be enough, there's more, in fact there must be more than simply an identification or a desire'.
In verse 11, if you look at the end of the parable, the five virgins who had no light and no oil, they cried: 'Lord, Lord, open to us!'. So they identified with the Lord at the beginning of this whole escapade - they went out to meet the bridegroom - but at the very end they're still identifying with Him, but they are shut out: He does not identify Himself with them. Now, I know that's frightening, and it doesn't sit easy with me - but I have to preach what's here, this is what's in this parable. In fact, we have this on another occasion in John chapter 2. We read there of the Lord Jesus in His ministry, when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover during the feast, 'many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did, but Jesus did not commit Himself to them'. Can I read that to you again? 'Jesus did not commit Himself to them'. It says they believed in Him, whatever kind of belief it was - but He didn't commit Himself to them, 'because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man'.
Now I even preach that you need to commit your life to Jesus, and you need to commit yourself to Him, spirit, soul and body - everything that you are, and everything that you have, you need to commit in time and for eternity. But imagine people apparently committing themselves to the Lord Jesus, but He wasn't committing Himself to them! It's there in black and white, isn't it? You know, I thought, when I looked at verse 11 here, this group of five virgins crying 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' - I thought, aren't there other verses where people say 'Lord, Lord'? I got the concordance and the cross-references down, and I started looking - and you listen to some of them.
Every single one of them where there is 'Lord, Lord', the people are shut out! In Luke chapter 13, just listen: 'Strive to enter through the narrow gate', Jesus said, 'for many' - imagine that, many - 'I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open for us', and He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know you, where you are from''. 'Lord, Lord'. Of course, the famous one is in Matthew chapter 7, you might want to turn to that with me, verse 21. It's the Lord Jesus again, we're keeping close to the Lord Jesus and His teaching and His sayings. In verse 21 of Matthew 7 He says: 'Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord'', there it is again, 'shall enter the kingdom of heaven' - not everyone who says 'Lord, Lord' - 'but he who does the will of My Father in heaven'. Again this word, 'Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord'' - now wait for this - ''have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders'', that's the word for miracles, ''in Your name?''. Can I ask you, have you ever cast out a demon? Some of you maybe have, but few probably have. Have you ever prophesied? Maybe some. Have you ever performed a miracle? I'd say there'd be fewer hands up if we asked: who here has performed a genuine, actual miracle? This is what these people were claiming to have done - and they're crying 'Lord, Lord', and Jesus says: 'I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!''.
I've made a New Year's resolution - and it's not to stop eating sweet stuff, I gave up on that one years ago! It's to try and be less theological and be more Biblical - do you know what that means? If the Bible says it, I believe it - and I have to not try and twist Scripture to get it to say what I have previously believed, but I have to grapple with Scripture to say: what is the Lord actually saying? What does the truth say? Not how it sits with me, or how comfortable I am with it - what does this say? It says it's not people who have a profession and say 'Lord, Lord' who enter into the Kingdom of God, but Jesus says 'It's those who do the will of My Father in Heaven'. That's what He came to do: to do the Father's will.
You might be saying: 'Boy, who's this fella they've brought along here tonight? He's preaching a Gospel of works! Is that what he's preaching? I was always taught it's done - not do!'. Well, praise God, it is done, it is finished! I'm not preaching a works salvation here tonight - but I am preaching what Jesus taught. Jesus did not teach that we are saved by works, the Bible does not teach that. We are not saved by our doing - by grace you have been saved through faith, not of works, not of yourselves, lest any man should boast. But Paul in Ephesians 2 goes on to say: 'For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works' - we are not saved by good works, but we are saved for good works. Good works and good fruit are to be a witness of a change in our lives that the grace of God has wrought. So Jesus is saying it's by grace through faith, oh yes, praise God, it's through the blood of the Lamb and no other way - we cannot add to it. But when we have been converted and born again, there is a transformation: we become new creatures in Christ Jesus, and we are meant to do the will of the Father in Heaven.
There is another verse with 'Lord, Lord' in it, and it's in Luke 6:46. Jesus said: 'Why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?'. There's that word 'do' again, isn't it? I mean, it's basic stuff, isn't it, but we complicate it! I often say about a lot of doctrine, that if you got five new converts, and gave them a Bible and put them in a room, they would never come out with half of the stuff! You'd need to put five preachers, or five theologians! They complicate everything - Jesus just says: 'Why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord', and do not do what I say?'. He says: 'Many on that day will say, 'Lord, Lord, did we not do all these mighty things?', and He will say 'I didn't know you! Depart from Me, for you did not do the will of My Father in Heaven!'.
I love A.W. Tozer, and he once said: 'To escape the error of salvation by works, we have fallen into the opposite error of salvation without obedience' - and the Bible doesn't know any such thing. There is a staggering passage of Scripture in 1 Corinthians 6, and I'll be honest with you, this is one I used to twist to get round: 'Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived' - please listen to that tonight! 'Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God'. Do not be deceived! Hebrews says: 'Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord'. Do you know what the first word of the Gospel is? Some of you might be able to tell me - the first word of the Gospel, have a guess, the first word. What's the first word we hear John the Baptist say? What's the first word we hear Jesus Christ say? What's the first word we hear the apostles say in the Acts? What is the word that we hear five times, isn't it, to the seven churches in the book of Revelation? So it doesn't stop when you get saved! 'Repent! Repent!'. What do you repent of? Sin!
We, I think - you might disagree with me - have accepted an idea that salvation is to be saved from hell. Well, that's part of it, no doubt, and that's a great part - isn't it? To get to heaven! But salvation, primarily in the scriptures, is salvation from sin. Negatively it's a departing from sin. Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:19: 'The Lord knows those who are His, and let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity'. But it's not just leaving sins down, it's also a positive righteousness, a behaviour in our lives that manifests that the life of God has come to reside in us. Here in chapter 25 of Matthew, this parable of the sheep and the goats shows this. I know you might have some prophetic understanding of it, but basically what it's saying is that a changed heart will manifest itself in compassion. The sheep are those that, Jesus says, 'As you've done it unto the least of these, My brethren, you've clothed the naked, you've fed the hungry and the thirsty, you've done it unto Me'.
Both of these groups of virgins identified with the bridegroom, but he doesn't identify with both. What was missing with this crowd that didn't get into the wedding feast here? No obedience. No obedience. Now don't misunderstand me tonight, I'm not saying I don't struggle or fall, I do; or I don't have besetting sins, or don't wrestle with temptation, of course I do! But if there is no desire for holiness, no desire for obedience, no struggle against sin, no conviction, no longing to be like Jesus - you need to waken up tonight, and ask that if the Bridegroom, if the midnight cry was to happen, and the trumpet was to sound, and Christ was to come: what crowd would you be in? It doesn't matter if you identify with Him and will cry, 'Lord, Lord!' - but are you doing the will of the Father in Heaven, that manifests a change in your life, a holiness that is not works-based but has been wrought in you by God's grace and the power of the Holy Spirit?
Oh, I love to preach the grace of God. I love to preach that God's grace is greater than all our sin - hallelujah! And that list of sins in 1 Corinthians 6, don't you feel under condemnation tonight, because Paul goes on to say: 'Such were some of you, but you're washed, and you're sanctified'. This same Jesus said: 'All manner of sin and blasphemy may be forgiven of men'. The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin - thank God that wee word 'all' is there! There are some wonderful stories of grace in the Gospels, one of the best is the woman caught in adultery. You remember they were going to stone her, and whatever Jesus wrote on the ground, they all went out - from the eldest to the youngest - those Pharisees, condemned in their own spirits before the holy Son of God: 'Let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone'. Then He went to that woman, and He said: 'Neither do I condemn you' - but, listen, please don't leave this out; the grace of God is mighty, isn't it, but listen to the parting shot - 'Go and sin no more'. You can't leave that out, and I fear there is a message of grace today that is leaving that out.
I was reading, I think it was yesterday or the day before, in John chapter 5 - you remember the man at the pool of Bethesda, 38 years he was lying there. I often laugh when I think of what Jesus said to him: 'Do you want to be healed?' - I think He was diagnosing a complacency in that man's heart. There was resignation to his condition, but the Lord healed him - He said: 'Rise up and walk', and he got up and walked! Boy, the news travelled everywhere, and then later on after he had been questioned by some of the religious authorities Jesus met him again, it says, in the Temple, and He said to him: 'See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you'. I'll be honest with you, I would find it easier if that wasn't there - but it is there. Praise God for His grace, but let's understand what the grace of God is, what the true grace of God is. Titus tells us what it is: 'The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us' - why? Why did He give Himself for us? Listen: 'That He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works'.
Both identified with the bridegroom, but he didn't identify with both. One group had no obedience. Can I ask you where your obedience is tonight? Are you ready? Are you truly ready for the Bridegroom to come? Secondly, and these next three are much quicker, both of these groups had lamps, and they had some light - but one group was refused entrance. Now we often think of these wee clay lamps sometimes that we see in Bible books - that's not what these lamps were. They were more like torches - you know, you see them in the films going into the caves, and these big torches. It was just a bit of cloth wrapped around a stake, but they needed an extra flask of oil because they didn't know how long the bridegroom was going to be. They needed an extra flask of oil, but we see that one group had oil and another group didn't have oil - and it appears that they tried to light the lamps, and it may have flickered for a little while, but it went out completely.
One group had the equipment, but the crucial difference was: they didn't have what it takes. You see, they looked the same, they had form but they had no fuel. That reminds me of what Paul said to Timothy: 'A form of godliness, but denying the power'. Now, oil is an unmistakable symbol of the Holy Spirit in the Bible - and these five virgins that didn't get in, they had no Holy Spirit. They were not born again, they were not baptised in the Spirit, they were not walking in the Spirit and not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. They had the form, the appearance, it seemed that the equipment was there - but the fuel, the power and the life was not there! Is that you tonight, and you know it, because there is no obedience? Whilst you might talk about the Holy Spirit, sing about the Holy Spirit, and claim certain things - you know deep down that there is no reality of the Spirit in your life. You're not ready for the Bridegroom coming.
Note a third thing: both were sleeping, but one group awakened ready. It says: 'As he delayed'. You remember that they all originally were going out to pursue him, they weren't waiting at the very start, they went out to find the bridegroom - but 'as he delayed'. I'll tell you something: every parable in Matthew 24 and 25 has those words, every one of them, that he delayed his coming, or after a long time. So these virgins were waiting, and as they were waiting they fell asleep. I believe what Jesus is teaching in all these parables is that this will be characteristic of the time when He will return, and I believe it's characteristic of the hour tonight that we are in in our society and age. People are slumbering, they are sleeping spiritually, they are not awake, they are not alert. We are living in a materialistic age, where we are anaesthetised to the realities of eternity.
We should not be surprised, for our Lord taught us that it would be such when He would return. The previous chapter here, Matthew 24, He says in verses 37 to 39: 'As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be'. Do you know what that means? In colloquial terms, everybody is going about their business. They're getting up for work at the same time, they're making their lunch, they're going out, they're having their tea breaks, they're coming home, they're eating their dinner, they're sitting watching the news, they're going through the motions - tucking the kids into bed, walking the dog - life is going on as it always has done, and they feel it always will do. But one day Jesus will come!
Do we not live in such an age? People, even Christians, are not discerning the times. Jesus said in Matthew 16 to the Pharisees - we say, 'A red sky at night is a Shepherd's delight; a red sky in the morning is a Shepherd's warning' - that's what Jesus was saying: 'You're able to discern the weather from what the sky is like, but you cannot discern the signs of the times'. Many are sleeping, we have blended in with the spirit of the age. Listen to what Jesus says in Luke 21, listen: 'Take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man'.
There was no watchfulness with the five virgins that didn't enter. There was no obedience, there was no Holy Spirit, and there was no watchfulness. Are you watching and waiting for the Lord's return? I know there might be different views, and here I hardly know what my own is I'm that confused at times - but I know He's coming! I'll tell you, do you see 2014, I'm not making any predictions, but if we discern the skies and the weather, we need to discern that the end is drawing near. The midnight cry is coming, and we need to be ready, and the church needs to be ready! Paul said in Romans 13: 'Do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light'.
If you're going to make a resolution this year, and you're a believer, make it this: read the Bible and do it! Read the Bible and do what it says! Do the will of your Father in Heaven! Don't be hearers of the word only, but doers of the same! Jesus says: 'It's that one, who is like the man who built his house upon a rock, and when the storms come he stands firm' - what is the rock? 'It's building your life on My sayings', Jesus says, 'My word'.
But finally, not only was there no obedience, and no Holy Spirit, and no watchfulness - there was no preparedness. They both heard the cry, but only one group entered. Revelation chapter 1 and verse 7 says: 'Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him'. All heard the cry, but only one group was ready. I know this has been a message for both unbelievers and professing Christians, but I want to ask you all tonight - this is what on my heart, and I can only give you what God has given me - are you ready for the midnight cry? Are you ready if the Lord should come before we enter 2014? I know there are prophetic things that have to happen, but are you watching, and are you waiting, and are you ready?
It's hard to tell the difference between these two groups, and you might look like a Christian tonight, you might identify with Jesus Christ - sure, half the world does! You might even believe that He's coming again, you might even know a little bit about how He will return - but it's not what you know that matters, it's whether or not He knows you! Is there a changed life? Is there a holy obedience, a desire? Is there a watchful disposition, and expectancy? Remember what Jesus said: 'Watch, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming'. Will you get ready tonight? Will you repent? Change your mind, and turn your heart from your sin, do an about turn - and only God can give you the power to do that, but if the Holy Spirit is working on you tonight, He will give you the power to do that, and turn around to Him in faith, believe Him, believe the Gospel - that Jesus died for your sins, according to the scriptures, was buried and rose again the third day, according to the scriptures. Not just to save you from the penalty of sin, but from the very power of sin, to make you an overcomer! Church, you need to hear this message, because I believe that as the years pass, in God's will, there is going to be an increasing amount of persecution that is coming our way. Those who succumb to the spirit of the age will take the mark, but it is those who overcome - you read Revelation - I want to be an overcomer, do you? I want to be an overcomer.
Are you ready for the midnight cry? Will you bow the knee tonight, whatever your state is? Will you examine yourself to see if you be in the faith? Will you make your calling and election sure tonight, before one year exits and a new enters? May God bless this message to all your hearts.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle, N. Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the recording titled "The Midnight Message" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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