Anyone who has ever visited someone in a prison and heard those steel doors close behind them knows the feeling they had when it occurred. Even though they knew that the doors would be opened for them to leave when the time came, the sound is intimidating to say the least. Many who have been incarcerated have later told of the eerie feeling they had the first time they heard the sound, knowing that they could not leave when ever they chose. In His parable of the ten virgins, Jesus speaks of the five foolish virgins that had gone to purchase oil and of the fact that while they were gone, “the door was shut” (Matt. 25:10). This door was not one to keep anyone in, but was instead a door that would keep anyone from coming in. The great lesson for us to learn from the sound of this closing door is that the time will come when it is too late to enter into the kingdom of God. There are many reasons why many will wait until it is too late and then find that the door has been shut prior to their arrival. Let us note just a few.
First, many fail to make it through the door before it is shut because of ignorance. One does not get through the door just any way they deem appropriate. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). He goes on to speak of many which will “say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:22-23). This “many” that Jesus speaks of, seemed to believe they should be allowed to enter. They had openly averred a belief in and association with Jesus. Obviously, they suffered from ignorance of what was actually required of them in order to enter. There is only one way that one can know how to enter in through the door into the kingdom of the Lord. It requires a diligent study of God’s word. Paul told Timothy to, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15). By study one can be approved of God. By study one can learn that which is required, thereby becoming a knowing workman rather than an ignorant one and be able to properly handle the word of truth. Don’t sit ignorantly by and hear the door slam in front of you rather than behind you.
A second cause of many who fail to get through the door is indifference. They simply do not care enough about getting through the door to put forth the effort. In the case of the five foolish virgins, it would be hard to believe they were so ignorant they would not know they didn’t have enough oil to keep their lamps burning. They apparently didn’t have enough commitment to the cause to put forth the effort involved to see it through. It could be said “they dibbled in it”, for they made the least preparation they felt they could get by with. Many do the same in the realm of Christianity today. They bring their lamps, so to speak, but they do not put themselves fully into the endeavor. Christianity is not a sideline, hobby or part time job. Serving the Lord has to be the number one priority in one’s life. Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God…” (Matt. 6:33). Paul spoke of those of Macedonia who seemed to have no problem with the difficulties of poverty when asked to contribute to the needs of others and provides the key to why this was true. He said of them, they “first gave their own selves to the Lord” (II Cor. 8:5). One who desires to find entrance through the door must abide by all the will of the Lord, not just that part they like or that seems good to them or that is not difficult to do.
A third group would be those who simply refuse to obey the will of the Lord. It may be that some are not even trying to go through the door because they think they are already through the door. However, not all “doors” lead to the kingdom. Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13-14). One must be obedient to the gospel of Christ in order to enter into the kingdom of the Lord (Rom. 1:16-17; 2:16; II Thess. 1:7-9). Reject just part of the commands of the Lord and the door will be shut when you arrive, as it was for the “many” that Jesus spoke of (Matt. 7:22-23).
Another important aspect of this shutting door is that we do not know when the door will be shut. The conclusion to the parable of the ten virgins is; “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 25:13). There are really three possible times for the shutting of the door for each individual. First, the door will be shut at one’s death, for their fate is sealed at that point. Secondly, the door can be shut by hard heartedness (Heb. 3:13) which can bring one to being past feelings (Eph. 4:19). And finally, when the Lord returns the door will be shut for all who are alive on earth at that time (II Tim. 4:1). Don’t mess around and let the door be shut with you on the outside.
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