It Is Not Enough
Lethbridge, Alta., Canada
In Mt. 25:1-13 we read the parable of the ten virgins who went out to meet the bridegroom. Five were wise because they were prepared. They had plenty of oil to last until the bridegroom arrived. The other five were foolish because they were not sufficiently prepared. They did not bring enough oil. As a result, they missed the bridegroom. It was not enough that they took lamps, nor was it enough that they had oil. They should have anticipated the need of extra oil.
Perhaps you have made some preparation as did the foolish virgins, but have you made enough:7 Have you given enough thought to the fact that sometime (possibly very soon) you must die (Heb. 9:27)? Or have you considered enough the possibility that Christ may come soon and find you unprepared ? Notice the admonition given at the conclusion of the above parable: "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." Have you thought enough about the value of your soul and what its destiny will be (Mt. 16:26)? Are you sufficiently aware of the fact that you will stand before your Maker in the judgment and may "be weighed in the balances and found wanting?"
It Is Not Enough to Possess a Bible:
It is very likely that you possess a good Bible. Most people do. Perhaps you occasionally comfort yourself in the fact that you own one. But this is not enough. Do you use your Bible for the purpose God intended? How often do you read it and meditate upon it? How often do you go to it to find the answer to life's problems? How many times have you searched it to find out what God wants you to do? It is tragic indeed to see so many staggering in the darkness of sin and error, when they have in their very possession "a lamp" unto their feet and a "light" unto their path (Ps. 119:105). So very many have spent their lives in search ever, zeal is not enough. The Jews of Paul's day were zealous (Rom. 10:1-3), but their zeal was "not according to knowledge." Consequently, they were led by a misguided zeal to reject "God's righteousness." Perhaps you have done the same. You have a zeal to serve the Lord but you don't know what he requires of you. You may think that what we do in religion is not so important as the motive or the feeling in our heart. But what we do is important. We cannot be saved unless we believe and obey the truth (Jn. 8:32; Rom. 6:17, 18; II Thes. 1:7-9). You may say, "It doesn't really matter what church I'm in as long as I can serve the Lord." But it does matter what church you are in. The Bible teaches there is only one church (Eph. 4:4; Col. 1:18). This is the one Jesus built (Mt. 16:18) and the one to which every New Testament Christian was added (Acts 2:47). And you cannot serve the Lord, no matter how zealous you are, by being in a human institution (Mt. 15: 13,14 . In your zeal you may be led to do many things which you consider to be "wonderful," and yet be rejected by the Lord (Mt. 7:21-23) because these things are not authorized by God's will (Col. 3:17).
Even some who have been led by the truth to become Christians, members of the Lord's church, have allowed their zeal to lead them away from the authority of Christ. You have zeal to spread the gospel, but this zeal has led you to adopt unscriptural arrangements for so doing. You feel that the "end justifies the means." You might even admit in your heart that there is no Bible authority for "sponsoring churches" and church supported human institutions, but your zeal has led you to justify yourself by saying, "We don't need Bible authority for these things." You might say, "Look how much good is done by them." You acclaim them as "wonderful works" just as those in Mt. 7:22 did. The same has been said many times by others in an attempt to justify the Missionary Society, Ladies Aid Society, and dozens of other human schemes. But though they may seem to some to do much good, they exist without Bible authority, divide the body of Christ, and cannot be justified.
Zeal is fine. We need more of it. But make sure your zeal is properly guided by the word of God to do only that which he has authorized.
May we heed the admonition of Amos, "Prepare to meet thy God." Let us be certain that our preparation is sufficient enough to meet with divine approval.
Truth Magazine IX: 10, pp. 11-13