Ernest Robinson - Enduring

In Matthew 24 it says, "He that shall endure unto the end the same shall be saved," and I noticed the verse just before it, "Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."

That's a searching little verse and we need to remember it. I don't believe that it's speaking about iniquity abounding in the world because iniquity has always abounded in the world, there's never been a time that there hasn't. When we start seeing iniquity abounding in the way, this is a dangerous thing. It says to be careful because of this the love of many is going to grow cold. We have to be careful of that. VERY careful. It should make us feel that our hearts are pained to see the Kingdom suffer loss and at least I am going to TRY to uphold the standard even if others are not. Even if I see iniquity abounding. 
 
Thinking of "enduring," I was reminded of what Heidi Fehrman's father said long-long ago at a convention in Namibia. He spoke about the time when Jesus was on the cross and they were deriding Him and they said, "Others He saved but He cannot save Himself!" He said that for once these people told the truth! He just could not save Himself. He just put it this way and he said, "If it was only the nails that were holding Jesus on the cross He could EASILY have saved himself but it was not the nails that held Him there it was LOVE that held Him there. That was why He could not save Himself. I do believe that the greatest thing that will help us all to endure is LOVE. It's the love that makes us that, no matter how it hurts, we can't let go!"  It amazes me to see some women and what they will endure from their husbands for the sake of their children. 
 
Unbelievable! I don't know how they can do it. Some bear some unbelievable things and it is love that makes them able to endure. 
 
There was a brother that visited us from Central America, Willie Pollock, he died some years ago, an old man. Silver haired and a lovely old man. An Irishman. He, in his earlier years spent a lot of time in Cuba and then workers could not go to Cuba for a long, long time. Then because he was Irish he was able to go back one time. It was some years ago after the friends had not seen the workers for years and years. No workers and no meetings. No Gospel meetings. Yet wonderful to see the friends just faithfully continuing. He asked them, "Here you are, no workers, no meetings and most of the time no fellowship. Why do you keep on?" One said, "We keep on because we haven't come to the end yet!" 
 
Another one said, "I keep on because I don't want to miss out on what God has prepared for me." Another one said, "I keep going because it might just help someone else to keep going." Well these are some of the things that helped them to endure. 
 
Well if it's love that's going to help us to keep our lives on the altar, no matter how the fire burns, then the question is, "How can I get more love?" Well maybe it's a sobering fact but it's a very certain fact that if we don't love God then there's only one reason... that is because we don't know Him. It's impossible to know God and not love Him. It's impossible! If we don't have any love in our hearts for Him it simply means that we don't know Him and if we don't know Him we're in serious trouble. Jesus said, "Whom to know is life eternal. This is life eternal that they know Thee, the only true God and Jesus whom Thou hast sent." Knowing Him is salvation and this is life. 
 
So I thought I might take a little time to speak from this parable that is so well known, of the ten virgins. Barbara and Martha said that I don't have to actually keep to the study for tonight. Aren't I lucky?! 
 
Anyway I thought I might just mention this parable a little bit. Because it's so sobering. We use it in Gospel meetings a lot, but don't forget, the Lord Jesus wasn't speaking about 10 Buddhists and He wasn't speaking about 10 atheists. No. No. If you look at this, He was speaking about 10 people that were professing. If there is one thing that this parable is going to teach us, that is that our salvation is not going to depend on our profession but it is going to depend on what we posses, not what we profess. The key to this parable is what I have just quoted now. It is what Jesus said, "This is life eternal, that they know Thee, the only true God and Jesus whom Thou has sent." That they know Thee, this is life eternal. We can guess what this oil meant and we always hear that it is the Spirit and that is true enough, but you know Jesus said in very plain language. If you look at the end of this parable He made it as clear as black and white what the thing was that they were lacking. Do you remember when the foolish ones came and knocked at the door? They wanted to be let in. Do you remember what the bridegroom said to them? "I don't know you." We heard about that today and what a terrible thing to be outside and say, "I don't know Him." There was a sister worker in America that told us about her father. She said that she had never known her father. He had left her mother before she was born, so she'd never met him and never knew him. Yet, she happened to be in the area where he'd died and the mother asked if she wouldn't come to the funeral. Well she went to the funeral and she said, "You couldn't believe the strange feeling of being at the funeral of your own father and having to say, 'I NEVER knew him.'"  It made her just think, what an awful thing to come to the end and have to stand before God and to have to say, "I never knew Him." It's going to be terrible. So as I said, that's what the problem was. When He said, "I don't know you," He knew all right who they were but He was talking in this sense. Knowing Him in the sense of being in the right relationship with God and learning to have fellowship with Him in the secret place. That's what He was meaning. They never learnt that. 
 
As workers, we have a TERRIBLE responsibility and I am very conscious of that. It doesn't matter if we can get people to profess and live a perfect life as Christians. As these here they had the lamps and they were burning. Even showing the light to others, showing others what a Christian should be. If we can bring people to that place and yet we have never led them to the place where they themselves are having fellowship with God in secret and getting to know Him. Then we have failed COMPLETELY! A complete failure. We've just deceived those people. It's a terrible responsibility. We have to lead people to the place where they get to know God. That's what we have to do. I noticed that it says that the foolish took their lamps but they took no oil with them. Not that they had no oil, not that they didn't have enough oil. It simply says that they took no oil with them. This matter of knowing God, having fellowship with God. Either we do or we don't We either have fellowship with God or we don't. It says here, the very first word in this parable is, "Then." Then shall the Kingdom of heaven be likened to these virgins and if you read the previous chapter you'll see it speaking about the end of the world.

The end of time. So you'll find three parables in this 25th chapter of Matthew. These parables are telling us what it is going to be like "then."  They're telling us, like this one, what it's going to be like for those who knew God and those who didn't know Him. If you look at the three parables later it's going to tell you how it was that they were ready, what they did and what it's going to be like. What's going to happen to the ones that are not ready. That's what these three parables are telling you. 
 
Maybe I'll just mention this. Nobody could see any difference when they were going together, they would have looked exactly the same. Nobody could see in their vessels if there was oil or not. You can't see what's inside the vessel. It's a serious thing but when the bridegroom comes and we stand before God, it's going to be that part of our lives that only God and I know, the part that others could not see, that's the thing that's going to come onto the stage as the terrible problem. The part that others did not know. The part that they could not see, but God and I knew about it. That's the part of your life that's going to be a serious problem on that day. I think we all understand that. Even if we can get people to profess and living as model Christians. The reason I say that is because we all understand that a clean Christian life, good deeds is the RESULT of salvation but it is not the SOURCE of salvation. The source of salvation is getting to know God. If we know God then these things will follow. But just by doing all these things, that doesn't mean that's making us a child of God. It doesn't work the other way around. It's the result of salvation, it's not the source of salvation. 
 
I was wondering, it says that the bridegroom came at midnight. In the first place it's the most awkward time. A lot of people are going to lose their salvation simply because they are quite sure there is going to be another time later when it's going to be a little bit different from now. This is a very awkward time, this is not the time. The most dangerous thought you could ever have. Did you know that "tomorrow" is the most dangerous day of your life? Did you know that? There's an awful lot of people that are going to be in a lost eternity because they put too much faith in "tomorrow." Believing too much in what I'm going to do tomorrow. 
 
Can I tell you a little secret? There was something a long time ago when I had a most beautiful picture in my mind, I have a feeling that you have got that same picture in your mind this afternoon. Do you know what that picture was that I had? I had a very clear picture in my mind of what I'm going to be just before I die, before the Lord returns. I'm going to be so faithful, so sincere, I'm going to be putting in everything and the reason why is because I can't afford not to. It would be terrible if I'm not, and do you have that picture in your mind? Of what you're going to be like before you die? Before the Lord comes? One day I got an awful shock and I had to admit to myself that I was being totally dishonest. Do you know why? I suddenly realised that that was not genuine at all. It was not a genuine purpose at all because if it was a genuine purpose and if I really meant it I'd be doing it NOW. We deceive ourselves something terrible. This dangerous day of tomorrow. Do you really believe that you are going to be any different tomorrow? It may sound a bit funny but have you heard what the definition of tomorrow is? Of what a wonderful day it is? I think it was Uncle Jurgens that told us:
 
Tomorrow is the day when ignorant people will learn and tomorrow is the day when lazy people will work. Tomorrow is the day when dishonest people will pay their debts. Tomorrow is the day when fat people will start dieting and tomorrow is the day that fools will repent. Tomorrow is such a wonderful day a day that never, ever comes. A dangerous day.  
 
Well it says those that were ready, not those that are fully purposing to get ready. The ones that went in were those that WERE ready. That's what we learn from this chapter. If were not ready we had better get busy because do you know what it said in the previous chapter? We are seeing things these days. I am not a prophet and I'm not pretending to be a prophet but all the same we have two eyes and we can read the scriptures and we can see what is going on. We might just tell you that what Jesus said, if ever it has been true, then it is true now. He said, "So likewise when you shall see these things, know that it is near even at the doors." 
 
So we'd better be making SURE that we are ready. These days we don't have time to waste and time to put off. We really don't. This thing is pretty serious. 
 
Another little thing I was wondering about when I read this. I was just wondering whether when these foolish virgins were together with the others they must have seen when the wise went to buy more oil. They obviously had more oil to put into their vessels. I suppose, maybe, because of their human nature would have thought, "Do you really have to pay THAT much? So much sacrifice? Our lamps are burning all right they're bright enough aren't they? Do you have to do that much?" Well shall we tell you a little difference? If you'd like a test. You know there is a difference between the five wise and the five foolish virgins today still. There are the wise and the foolish virgins still today. It may not sound such a big difference but do you know what the difference is? It may not sound such a difference but it is a tremendous difference. They are still the same. The foolish ones are still feeling in their hearts like this. You know there are others that are putting in more than you are and looking more to the standard than you are, you know that but you're asking yourself, "Is it really necessary? Isn't this much alright? Do you have to go that far?"  That's the way they're thinking but you know the wise ones are thinking exactly the opposite. They're always feeling uneasy. "I know I'm not putting in enough. I know that I should be doing more." Do you see the difference? It's a very clear difference. So I don't know which side we're on.  

Talking about which side we're on, there is a frightening picture that Alwyn Blom put in front of us one day. He was talking about a farm, I don't know where it was, somewhere in Namibia or I don't know wherever where they kept sheep. He said they didn't like these sheep to be afraid of people so they never caught a sheep for slaughtering in front of the others but they had another way of doing it. They had a place when they send the sheep out to the field and they had another fence. Just a thin wire fence and the one that they want to slaughter they just made sure that it is on this side of the fence and the others on the other side. Well the sheep are not so clever, you know. Well there they go along and this one's so near the other sheep and as far as he's concerned he's going with them but then after a while on this side, the fence makes a turn and he can't get any further. Then the other sheep go on to their pasture and this sheep is going back and forth. Starting to panic and thinking, "Why can't I get any further?" Well then when the others are out of sight, that's when they catch this one. Wouldn't it be a terrible thing if we were like that? Foolish. Foolish enough that we're on the wrong side of the fence and feeling that we are with the others. Going to meeting with them and also taking part but on the wrong side of the fence. You know, someday we're going to get caught. It's going to catch up with us someday. So we have to get serious about it.  
 
One thing that I did notice here was when they'd seen the bridegroom, there was not one of them that was not prepared to pay the price. Not one of them, because it says, "THEY went to buy." I don't know why they were not prepared to pay the price beforehand, but when they'd seen the bridegroom and when they found out that the others were not going to share with them. I have a strong feeling that it doesn't matter if suddenly the price went up ten times, they'd have still been ready to go and buy when they'd seen the bridegroom. 
 
Here's another thing we can say:  there may be some these days who feel that the price is too high but we can say with confidence that when you've seen the bridegroom, when you've seen what God has prepared, that eternal love and what its really going to mean, when we've seen it there's not one of us that wouldn't be prepared for ANY sacrifice. Nor for any effort but what's the good of it if it's too late? 

I suppose you have heard that the saddest words in any language are the two words, "Too late." We were talking yesterday about that. There's some way that we can give just a little hint of what eternity's like. What heaven is like and what hell is like. We can't explain it but this is just a little hint. Put it this way. If you had the chance to get something and you missed your chance to get it. Well the more you wanted that thing that you missed, the nicer the thing that you missed, the greater is the disappointment. That's sensible isn't it? If it's some little fiddly thing you don't feel so bad but if it's something you desperately wanted and you could have had it but you've missed it. The greater the thing you missed then the greater the disappointment. Now maybe that will help us to understand when I say that heaven is so wonderful that to see it and to know you've missed it. That in itself will be hell! So it's only a little hint but when we've seen it there will be NOBODY that will not pay any price, be willing for any sacrifice then... but what's the good when it's too late? 
 
So I'll close by just saying this. Blessed is the person that sees the value of this oil while there is still the opportunity to get it.  
 
Remember, when the bridegroom comes it's not going to be the part of our lives that's seen, it's going to be the unseen part, the part that others cannot see, that's going to appear as that terrible problem.

So may God help us that we may endure to the end and give us a clear vision that we may see things now as we'll one-day see when our life ends and we go hence because we'll behave a lot differently if we do. 
 
We'll close with hymn 399 "In Vain Do The Wise ..."