Go Ye Out to Meet Him

Matthew 25:1-13; Revelation 22:16-17; Revelation 22:20
1Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9But 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. 10And 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. 11Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 25:1‑13)L 16I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. 17And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:16‑17)20He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20)I have read these two passages; the one as the closing testimony of the Church on earth, the other as the state of the heart of the believer towards the Lord-the affections of the Bride. The public testimony in keeping with the state of heart in Rev. 22:1616I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (Revelation 22:16) is that of Matt. 25:1-131Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9But 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. 10And 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. 11Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 25:1‑13), when at a certain time the kingdom of heaven, which was being spoken of, became like ten virgins, etc.
Now for what brought about this state of things we must refer to the preceding chapter. There we read, " The evil servant said in his heart, My Lord delayed" His coming; "and as the consequence, "Then shall the kingdom Of heaven be likened to ten virgins, who went forth to meet the Bridegroom, and whilst the Bridegroom tarried they all, slumbered and slept." This is the sad state into which the Church has fallen; but to explain it I must refer to its normal state. And before doing so I will say that the expression, " the kingdom of heaven," means the character of God's rule at a certain time, whilst the other rule―that of the earth-is going on at the same time; just as we say " The British rule in India." The rule is of a heavenly character; it is the kingdom of heaven. If you look at the 13th of Matthew, you find What it was like at the beginning; this in the 25th is what it was to become like. The normal state of the saints is also pointed- out to us in the 12th of Luke. There we find that the saints were to express Christ whilst He is not here. Their 'lights were to be burning; they were to be His glory, set forth in the scene where He was not, without expecting anything from the earth; just as we see the moon soaring through the sky on a dark night, not receiving anything from the earth, but shedding forth to it the light of the sun that is not there. The true character for the kingdom was that of expecting nothing-quite a new state of things for the Jew. They were to sell that they had, and give alms; to provide themselves bags which waxed not old, a treasure in the heavens that would not fail. This is to the Jew; the Gentile had nothing to sell; he had no rights to claim; and the Jew who is entitled to the earth is to forego his rights as to it. He says to him, You are now to look for another thing And if the one who had title has to surrender his title, what about him who had none? This is how it touches the Gentile. Then, as you have nothing here, you do not fear them that kill the body; you have no care without, no fear within. And the effect is, as you do not fear anything, that you can bear Witness, you can confess Him before men; and as you take no thought for yourself, you can seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
Well, all this failed. “While the Bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept." And then there comes a change. How does the alteration occur? A cry goes forth. " Behold, the Bridegroom! " The Lord counts upon the affection in the hearts of His people to respond to it. The word " cometh " is not there. It is just the statement, " Behold the Bridegroom," and He counts that that announcement will awake them. If it were cometh," He might be still at a distance. It is not cometh. He is there-go to meet Him! How interesting it is that the Lord counts on the effect of this cry! Yet, though the cry is now preached, many have not been awakened by it. But the fact is the same, There is the Lord. And when He comes, in a moment all else passes away from you; it is not like death, when you leave those you love behind you; but all is absorbed by this One who calls you out to Himself. And we are called now to the meeting; we “wait for His Son from heaven;" we are “like unto men that wait for their lord." That is the testimony, the thing that has been made known.
But as to the kingdom all is a failure. We turn to Revelation, and find that the church, the candlesticks, have all failed. But before looking at it there, I turn to the 21st of John, to read two verses: " Peter, seeing him, saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this than do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? “Now, in connection with this, John gets, in. the book of Revelation, this coming of the Lord, that which closes the history, and therefore I turn to it, and read in the first chapter-" 1 saw seven golden candlesticks, and in the midst of the candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were White like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace and, His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars; and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and His countenance was as the stuff shineth in His strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead." Mark how changed everything is. Just look at the 20th of John for a moment; for if you do not see how things were at first, you will not see how changed they are now. At the 19th verse you read.: " The same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for Tear of the Jews, came Jesus, and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when He had so said, He showed unto them His hands and His side. Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus unto them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, 'and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost." That is as it was at the beginning. Here was the opening of everything; a Man risen from the dead, who for the first time takes His place in the midst of His own, speaks peace to them, and breathes on them. That was the normal state.
Now when I turn to the hook of Revelation, I find. a change. I see Him in the midst of the seven churches, His eyes like a flame of fire, His feet like fine brass, His voice as the sound of many waters, and a sharp two-edged sword going out of His mouth. There is the aspect, the terrific aspect, of the Lord. How can you account for the change? It is that ecclesiastical corruption has come in, and He is indignant. Nothing makes any one so indignant as slighted affection. In the 20th of John He was in all the delight of reciprocated affection. What is He now in the midst of the seven churches? He is there with such an aspect that John even cannot recognize Him. His eyes are like a flame of fire! I never talk to people about ecclesiastical corruption; I try to bring them near the Lord. You cannot keep mixed up with ecclesiastical corruption when you see the Lord's eyes;-all bright and beautiful at first, but what now? " His eyes like a flame of fire!" Who can look at them? And why this change? Because He is indignant; His affection has been slighted.
The first church brought before us is the church of Ephesus; the one of all others which had been before us as that to which the full favor of God was shown. And now it has given up the very thing that God first looks for; it has lost its first love. We cannot stay now to look at each of the churches; but when it comes to the very worst state of things (I suppose all here know that Thyatira brings before us Roman Catholicism), when the church had got to the lowest depths of darkness, then it is you get the precious promise of the morning star: " I will give him the morning star." The night is wearing on its dreary length; its long dark hours are passing slowly by. You know how in traveling by coach, as the tedious hours drag on, how eagerly the weary traveler looks out for the morning star, the promise of the coming day. And that is just what the Lord gives Us here when all is at the darkest; He gives us the morning star, His own coming.
Of course this is not all but I just pass on to mark how the Lord completes His dealings with the church. Though He finds no love of theirs to speak of, yet His own has never failed; at the very last it is, "As many as I love I rebuke and chasten." And what does He say to them? " Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." He says, I do not give up my love, though you give up yours; all the dreary night I stand at the door and knock.
All this I think plainly shows you that, looked at as an ecclesiastical testimony, the church is a failure. And when I turn to the last chapter of the book, I say, Is there then nothing for the Lord in the whole earth?
Well, here I find something new. The testimony was that of the wise virgins going forth to meet the Bridegroom; but now I find a little word of great importance-" the Bride." In the midst of all this ruin, then, there will be a Bride. When the Lord comes, He will find a Bride here. That "bright and morning star" will so gain the affections of the saints, that they, in company with the Holy Ghost, will invite Him to come. The cry has gone forth, “Behold, the Bridegroom." The Lord says, " Surely I come quickly;" and the saints, awakened up by the approach of Himself, answer, " Come, Lord Jesus."
I will explain now what the Bride is in character, and also show what is the effect upon the saint of being in that position.
The importance of the Bride's hope is, that practically, that affection is awakened in my heart which invites Him to come, and this makes me fit for Him to come. His coming is the only thing that answers to the affections of my heart. Now what would prepare a heart—what would make a heart fit to say these words, "Come, Lord Jesus?"
I turn again to the 20th of John, because there that which characterizes the Bride begins. Mary in heart is representative of the Bride. Now there are four different things that characterize the Bride. First, the heart must be won; second, it must be satisfied; third, it Must be made suitable; and lastly, comes service.
But first, you must be won. Mary's heart here is wholly won; I need not show that to you, for it is evident. She is inconsolable without Him. She, like the bride of Canticles, seeks Him whom her soul loves. That is the effect in the saint of the heart being won and not satisfied. A heart won and not satisfied is a miserable heart; it does not possess the object of its affections. And many are in that state; the affections His, but no sense of being united to Him; they are bright one day and cast down another, just like the bride in Canticles. There is no sense of union, for affection is not union. You may love the Lord in the deepest, fullest way, and yet it may only make you miserable because you are not with Him, because you do not know union. The very fact of my heart being won makes it dissatisfied; I am inconsolable without the One I love; nothing but His company satisfies me. A heart fully won knows the Lord in a two-fold way as a relief, like the widow of Sarepta when her son is dead; and as a resource, like Jonah, when the gourd is gone-when all that was a shelter and a delight is gone -there is but one to turn to, and that is the Lord.
The next thing to having the heart won is to have it satisfied; and that is what Mary also is in this 20th of John. He says to her: " Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." She goes, no longer inconsolable, but satisfied, to tell her message. She is satisfied through knowing Him where He is; it is " My Father, your Father; my God, your God." Association with Christ where Christ is alone satisfies my heart.
And as I know Him up there, I find that the One who has gone down into judgment for me, that same blessed One who is now set down on the Father's throne is the One who bears me company on my path down here; He has won my heart, and the affection increases as we go along. He is there as the Priest to sustain me, and the Advocate to restore me. I have an Advocate when I sin; and because of this I confess; and God is faithful and just to forgive me my sins, and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. The man who sins and does not confess loses the sense of divine favor. The one who confesses goes in and condemns himself, and God says, I come and forgive you all unrighteousness; and thus the heart is kept up fresh in the knowledge of His love. He will sustain me in all that bright scene. The Spirit carries me into it all-into the holiest-and He is the One who sustains me when I am in.
So the heart is satisfied, which it never will be but by knowing Christ in the glory. He wins my heart in humiliation, but He satisfies it in glory. And that is union. " He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit."
Let me ask you, beloved friends, do you think any person like the Lord? Can you-now that He has won your heart, and it is devoted to Him-can you be happy apart from Him? Well Paul says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." It is "in heavenly places in Christ." I see many a person longing to get the Lord here, to get Him in their place; but they do not care to get Him in His place. What could delight your heart more than to be in company with Him? That is what satisfies the heart. It is thus that it is made " suitable," and for this I turn to the forty-fifth Psalm.
I only use the word " suitable " so as better to Convey my meaning, because words get so hackneyed that they fail to convey anything to the mind; it is hard to get words to bring truth home to hearts. Sanctified is the word that is generally used. Of course, in this Psalm it is the earthly bride that needs adorning for Christ; how much more the heavenly Bride? " Kings daughters were among thy honorable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir. Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; so shall the King greatly desire thy beauty." Now that is suitable, or, if you prefer the word, that is sanctification; I do not object, if you only know what I mean. In the 17th of John you get the character of this sanctification. " For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." And if you ask Me, What is the measure of it? I reply,-to be as separate from the 1 kings of earth as He is in heaven. "Forget thine own people, and thy father's house." Not only is it that I do not go near them, but I have forgotten them. He absorbs me with His company.
You never can learn what suits a person, except in his own company. There was nothing wrong in Martha. She judged by her own feelings that a wearied traveler would like refreshment, and so set about preparing supper for the Lord; she studied her own feelings instead of His. People often think that because they like a thing themselves their friends will like it. Now Mary, on the other hand, studied the Lord's mind. She sat at His feet; and. that is the only place where you will ever learn His mind; you cannot possibly know it otherwise; it is preposterous to think that I can out of my own mind find out what He would like; He is so infinitely above me. Thus I must be with Him to be satisfied, and, being with Him, I grow suitable to Him; and that is what sanctification is.
" So shall He greatly desire thy beauty." When I read Canticles, the whole thing that I find is the Bride's feelings towards the Lord.. But in Revelation, as the Bride comes down from heaven, I do not find a word about affections: affection has done its work; now it is " adorned that she is.
I now turn to the 31st of Proverbs to show you what service is. There we find the wise woman taking care of her lord's house. Now the lower the state of things, the less work there should be done. In Laodicea there is no exhortation to work. Is there anything more marked in this present day than how much work there is done, and at the same time how little souls are in company with the Lord? I do not mean that there should be a great amount of reading got through, but how little there is of sitting before Him to wait for His counsel.
“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her." That is the place for a saint. Christ's heart can trust him. If lie is only coming down the street, Christ can say of him, That is a friend of mine.
The public side of service is giving one's life for the brethren; the private side is washing the saints' feet. The public thing is to die. You ought to be known as a man who would give his life for the saints. "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth; but have called you friends." Now how can a man be the friend of Christ, who does not know any of His ways or His likings? Why, Enoch walked with God! That was how he came to please Him.
I think people too often confound sympathy with communion. Do you understand communion? a common mind with the Lord? My child may be in the same room with me, but he may be thinking about the fire; I about the gas. There is no communion between us. But if he is thinking about the gas, though he may understand very little about it compared- with what I do, yet our thoughts are on the same object; we have communion with each other. I believe that the one thing we have to seek is to be in communion with the Lord; and when I have got to His side, when I have begun from above, I am able to face anything here. " The heart of her husband cloth safely trust in her." That is the principle of real service; but I think service has lost its solemn place.
Thus what really characterizes the Bride is, first, the heart won; then, being in company with Him where He is, the heart is satisfied; then, being satisfied with Him, I learn to be suitable to Him; and this suitability becomes my beauty; I am " adorned." Then comes service. The person whose heart is most set upon the coming of the Lord is the one who can go out in service to others. And notice that the coming of the Lord is not ecclesiastical; to the very last it is evangelical.
There is nothing here to delight me but that one thing that is expressed in that word "Come." The testimony now, when everything has failed, is that Of the wise virgin going forth with but one purpose-one object-and that to meet Him.,
Doctrine is a more serious point than practice; Paul is more afraid of the Galatians than of the Corinthians. Discipline is setting things right in the church; separation is setting myself right when I cannot set the assembly right. (W. K.)
People think that they will get rid of their besetment by being occupied with their besetment. Never was a greater mistake! Be occupied with Christ, and you will be surprised to See how attenuated your besetment is become. (R. B. S.)
The chief thing in a trial is submission; at the time of trial I may not understand it,. but when I become spiritual T rejoice. (J. N. D.)