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十足的预备

April 7, 2019, More from this speaker 更多关于此讲员: 廖乃慧传道 (Matthew 25:1-13) For more of this sermon series 更多关于此讲道系列: Matthew
Preached at a Bilingual (Mandarin-English, Sunday) service

Tags: Matthew 马太福音

Listen to sermon recording with the play button or download with the download link. 您可点播或下载讲道录音。
Bible passage (ESV) of the sermon can be found at the bottom of the page.

讲题:十足的预备
日期:2019年4月7日
讲员:廖乃慧传道

引言
今年是和合本圣经翻译出版100周年纪念--这是外国人为中国人翻译的中文圣经,他们在最后一次开会的时候说“这是我们为你们中国人翻译的最后一本圣经了,以后你们华人要自己翻译了。”
今年也是我拥有自己的和合本圣经50周年纪念。我记得小的时候很想认识字,可是没有人教我,后来上了小学一年级,学习注音符号,就等于今天的汉语拼音,就靠着注音符号,一个字一个字来认识华文字怎么发音,然后跟着字典,明白这个字的意思,上小学后的第二年,1969年,我获得生平第一本圣经。这是外婆给我的礼物,用报纸包起来,(那个年代还没有塑料产品出现)然后交给我。我打开一看,原来是一本全新的圣经,非常的珍贵!拿在手里,我第一个问题是,从哪里开始读起?
到了我中学二年级,在教会参加少年团契,团契辅导说,我们应该每年把圣经读完一次,所以我就每天读4章,1189章用一年读完。之后发现这样读完,对圣经还是不太懂,所以就买了一个本子,把圣经读第二次,每天读了4章就写下标题在本子上,这样做就能让我每天读经之后温习那本本子,复习昨天、前天、上个礼拜读了什么。
我再去买了一本本子,每个主日写下牧师讲道内容。到今天,听牧师讲道,我还是会写记录,然后温习。
读书要记得,听道要记得,不是靠老师或者牧师。有一个秘诀,就是上完课之后八小时,马上要温习第一次,然后24小时之内,重新再温习一次。如果怕自己忘掉了,要怎么办?讲八次给别人听,你一定不会忘记了。有些人聪明,3次就记得了。我需要8次。
你如果问少年的我,信耶稣的人需要注意什么?我会跟你说,要警醒,就好像今天的圣经,天国好像十个童女的这个比喻说的。如果你再问我为什么要警醒?我会跟你说,耶稣现在复活升天了,他一定会再回来,你不要因为不警醒,就忘记了这一件事。

讲解经文
耶稣对一般人经常讲比喻,他甚至讲了一个撒种的比喻来解释为什么他要用比喻。为什么讲天国要用比喻?因为关于天国的事情,很难用地上的语言来让我们十足明白。比喻意涵很丰富colourful, 一个名词带来的联想很多,包括颜色形状甚至气味,人会被吸引了,就开始听下去了。
说话可以创造出一个世界来,你知道吗?
但是比喻有它一定的限制,所以耶稣讲很多个比喻。但是比喻有一个非常厉害的地方,就是它是天国的语言,让你把天国的某一方面牢牢的记得了。就譬如马太福音的这几个比喻,(出现在投影片上),每一个比喻其实都很厉害,听得高兴的时候,突然有一个转折,好比手术刀狠狠的切下来,然后耶稣继续的讲下去,他还会问听众问题,看他们有没有跟着。
马太25章这个比喻出现在耶稣的听众面前的时候,他们一定很感兴趣,因为谁不喜欢婚礼啊?耶稣提到天国好像10个童女,他们有一个任务,就是在婚礼当中欢迎新郎。可能耶稣时代的习俗跟我们太不一样了,新郎没有设下一个时间表让大家预备迎接他。所以大家都要等他。
新郎来了,迎娶的时间就到了。
你会不会说这样给大家等他不是太好啊?但是你知道吗?天国的这一件事,就是来颠覆我们所有的人, 包括你的priority。你不是最重要的,天国的主人才是最重要的。
童女需要带着灯去迎接新郎,可是人家喊“新郎到”的时候,他们的灯里面的油快要用完了。一开始的故事告诉我们,5个童女愚拙,5个聪明。她们的分别不在于长相,说话能力,服装,IQ。这里的区别只是跟一件事有关系,就是有没有多预备油?有多预备的,就是聪明的,可以进去宴席,跟新郎一起坐席。没有多预备的,就是愚拙的,进不去了,等到买了油来,敲门,也敲不开了,里面说“我不认识你们”
为什么用愚拙和聪明的来区分她们呢?原来在耶稣时代,犹太人的信仰传统里有一个部分叫做智慧文学,这个部分最出名的经卷就是箴言书,传道书,我们从箴言书,就会看到有些人是有智慧的,他们懂得敬畏上帝。有些人是愚拙的,他们以为上帝在或者不在,没有很大的关系。诗篇14:1里说到,“愚顽人心里说没有上帝”,who cares?你认识这样的人吗?或者,让我问你,你偶尔也有这么想过吗?你每一天真的是出于敬畏上帝的心来做大大小小的决定和说话吗?你觉得你是聪明人,还是愚顽人?
耶稣就用了智慧文学的方式来开始故事,这好比诗篇第一篇给我们看到的两条路,一条是义人的路,一条是恶人的路。耶和华知道义人的路,恶人的道路却必灭亡(1:6)

耶稣这个比喻的关键
耶稣来到耶路撒冷,这是他人生的高峰时期,他需要让世人认识他的身份,以及对他的启示来做出决定。他用了许多天国的比喻,来带出他已经来到一个很关键的时间点上(deciding moment)。
在马太福音 24 章耶稣提到人子降临的时候,没有人知道,所以人要警醒,因为不知道主什么时候来。然后耶稣就讲了一个比喻,就是关于仆人在主人不在的时候,是否照着主人说的去行,派粮食给家里的大小呢?如果仆人忘记了自己的身份,动手打同伴,又好像挪亚日子的人一样,只顾着吃喝嫁娶,那么主人回来的时候,这个仆人就要被定为和假冒为善的人同罪,就要悲悲切切了。和合本圣经说哀哭切齿了,这是用来形容一种极度的悲切,完全的绝望了,因为已经没有改变任何事情的可能性了!!
25章说到天国好像童女的故事,其实就是来跟我们讲,如果你要改变那个结局,现在就是时候(now is the time), 那我们就会问,要做些什么?在比喻里聪明的童女,预备了油。这到底什么意思?其实就是她知道新郎可能会拖延,所以她预备好了,不管等多久,她都预备好了,这才是这个比喻最关键的地方了(the crust of this parable)!

反省
教会距离耶稣复活升天,已经过了2000年,2000年的等待,究竟长不长?可能对我们来说,等2年或者20年都太久了。对于第一代的门徒,他们强烈的认为耶稣会在他们有生之年就回来了。没有想到几百年过去了,教会因为内部的纷争,必须开大公会议Council meeting来决定究竟我们信的是什么。开完几个会议,耶稣还是没有回来。到现在,我们仍旧在等候耶稣回来。
如果教会忘记,或者没有把耶稣一定回来放在日程表(agenda)上,我们可能犯一个错误--就会像24章的仆人,欺负自己的同伴,以为自己就是主人了!下场是悲悲切切,咬牙切齿--这是何等可怕的事情。
我们也知道在漫长的教会历史里,的确曾经经过许多的黑暗。/可能有些人联想黑暗是指教皇腐败或者教廷专制的时候,但是西方教会的确经过几次很严重的黑死病plague,14世纪的40年代蔓延,死了2500万,欧洲人口少了30-60%。到17世纪,在意大利,伦敦,维也纳发生过几次大型的传染病,卷走许多人口。这样的事情发生,让当时的人以为“终末”end time就要到了,世界就要结束了!但是历史告诉我们,其实不是终末end time。而神学家也帮助我们理清楚( clarify)什么是终末end time,从耶稣的角度来说,是从他出生开始,就是终末:上帝就闯入人类历史,来做他要带来的翻转,上帝要把违背他的人类历史,也是他创造以来就很爱的人类,带来一个扭转。上帝的道成肉身God became flesh in the man Jesus,使得我们经历到一个完完全全的人,可以完全的依靠上帝,听从上帝,顺服上帝,然后为我们带出一条崭新的路。我们的大斋节就是纪念一次性的翻转,带来人类历史的扭转。
上帝为我们带来的拯救,正如耶稣用的许多比喻,极其丰富,超过我们一生能够完全明白的。但是教会需要继续的警醒,知道主人是耶稣,而有一天,上帝要让天上地下的一切权柄,都归于耶稣的脚下。那时万膝要跪拜耶稣,万口要称颂他为主。
在那一天来到之前,教会需要做的事情没有动摇(no wavering), 我们就是耶稣基督的见证人,见证上帝在这个顺从的人身上,为我们带来活路。人的生命可以有翻转,完全是因为信靠上帝已经为我们带来这个可能性。我们可以仰望十字架,我们可以靠着耶稣,因为他,我们与他联合,我们的生命可以重新来过,每一天可以重新来过。你相信吗?你一定要相信这一件事,要不然你坐在这里做什么?

结论
教会需要去完成的事情非常的多,但是第一件事,就是教会需要明白自己的身份,然后从明白自己的身份,重新来看教会需要做的是什么,每一件事的考量,都是从我们的身份来考量我们为什么要做,要怎么做。我们也必须知道自己与基督的关系,必须密切到好像枝子跟葡萄树完全不能脱离,撕裂一点点也不行。我们需要完全的让耶稣来做我们的主人,做教会的主人,当耶稣让我们在社会上做盐的时候,我们会很尽心的去做盐,当我们需要做光的时候,我们不会隐藏自己。
这十个童女的比喻,带来一个重要的信息,就是教会需要做好十足的准备,不会气馁,不会放弃,等耶稣回来,他也一定是我们的主。我们也一定要记得,不管谁进来教会,都可以因为耶稣而翻转我们生命,我们不能因为他跟我们不一样,所以用我们的眼神、肢体语言把他推出去!
对于已经信主的,上帝的灵会不断挑战我们的先后次序priority,使得我们一直都是顺从他,跟着他的旨意和原则。
我们的主是一定回来的,你预备好了吗?

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of the Chinese Union Version of the bible, this was the last Chinese bible translation by the foreigners for the Chinese, and the Chinese were told from then on they would have to do their own translation. Incidentally this year also marks the 50th anniversary of my owning my own Chinese Union Version bible. When I was young, I was yearning to learn how to read, but no one could teach me, and when I started primary 1, and began to learn phonetic notations, equivalent to today’s hanyu pinyin, and via these phonetic notations (Bopomofo), I learned how to pronounce the Chinese characters character by character, and subsequently with the help of the dictionary, to learn about the meaning of each word, and the following year, in 1969, I got my first ever bible. It was a gift from my grandmother, it was wrapped in newspapers, and then given to me. When it was unwrapped, it was a brand new bible. In my hands, the first question which came to mind was, where should I begin? When I was in secondary 2, I joined the junior youth fellowship in church, there was a counsellor in my fellowship who said, one should complete reading the entire bible cover to cover every year, so I read 4 chapters every day, and spent one year to complete reading 1,189 chapters in total, and subsequently realized that even though I finished reading the bible, I still could not grasp a lot of it, so I bought a notebook, reread the bible again, and jotted down the subtitles in the 4 chapters which I have read daily in the notebook. Why, you may ask? So that I would be able to go through the notebook daily, to review what I read the day before, the day before that, the week before and so forth. Thereafter, I bought an even larger notebook, took detailed notes of the sermons every Sunday. This habit persisted till today, and when I listen to sermons, I will still make it a point to take notes, and then review what the pastor had said thereafter. We do not depend on our teachers or pastors to help us to be able to recall what we have studied and learned, or to remember the sermons we have listened to. And there is a secret to success in this respect, 8 hours after your lesson, you have to immediately review the materials once, and within 24 hours of that lesson, you have to review and revise one more time. If you are afraid that you will not be able to recall what you have learned, what should you do? You should articulate that to others 8 times, and that way you will for certain not forget. Some of the brighter ones could recall with just 3 times, but for me, 8 times.
If you were to ask that teenage me, what should someone who believes in Jesus be mindful of? I would have told you, stay alert, as described in the passage this morning, the message underlying the parable of the ten virgins. And if you were to ask me why should I stay alert? I would have told you, Jesus has resurrected and ascended to heaven, and He will most certainly return, and you do not want to forget and miss this because of the lack of vigilance and alertness.
Jesus very often spoke to people in parables, and He even spoke the parable of the sower in order to explain why He had to speak in parables. And why were parables used when it came to speaking about the kingdom of heaven? Because it is very difficult to use earthly languages for us to fully comprehend matters related to the kingdom of heaven. Parables are rich, colorful and vivid, every noun spoken brings about many associations, including colors, shapes, even smells, man’s interest would be piqued, and would then begin to listen. Do you know that a world could be created by mere spoken words? But there are certainly limitations to parables, which was the reason why Jesus had to speak many parables. But there is something extremely powerful and mighty about parables, and that is, it is the language of the kingdom of heaven, and it allows you to very firmly remember certain aspects of the kingdom of heaven. As was the case with these parables in the gospel of Matthew, every parable is incisive, at the moment when you felt delight when listening, there was a sudden twist, almost like being cut ruthlessly by a surgical knife, and Jesus would continue, and He would ask the listeners questions, to ascertain if they were following Him and His train of thought.
When Jesus told this parable in Chapter 25 to the crowd in front of Him, they would have been very intrigued, because who would not like weddings? Jesus mentioned that the kingdom of heaven would be akin to 10 virgins, and they have a mission, and that is to receive and welcome the groom at a wedding. Perhaps the customs and traditions in Jesus’ era were not similar to ours, the groom did not set a timetable to give everyone a heads up to prepare for His arrival, so all simply had to wait. So the bridegroom arrived, it is time to get married. Would you say that it was not too pleasant to keep everyone waiting? But you know what? The thing about the kingdom of heaven, is to knock all of us over (disruptive technology?), including your priorities. You are not the most important, but rather the master of the kingdom of heaven is the most important.
The virgins needed to bring their lamps with them to receive and welcome the bridegroom, but when they proclaimed ‘the bridegroom has arrived’, their lamps had almost run out of oil. At the beginning of the story, we were told 5 of the 10 were foolish, and the remaining 5 wise. The distinctive difference did not lie with their looks, eloquence, how they were dressed or who had a higher IQ? There was only one thing which mattered here, which was, who had prepared additional/back-up oil? Those who did were wise, and were able to go to the banquet and be seated together with the bridegroom. For the ones who did not, they were foolish, were unable to attend, went to buy more oil, knocked on the door, but to no avail, and the reply was “I do not know you.”
Why were they differentiated by whether they were foolish or wise? Because in Jesus’ time, there was what was known in the traditional Jewish faith as ‘wisdom literature,’ which consisted of 7 books, the most well-known books included book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and from the book of Proverbs, we could see that some people were wise, they knew to fear God. Some were foolish, they reckoned it did not matter whether or not God exists. Actually, Psalms 14:1 reads ‘Fools say to themselves, “there is no God,” so who cares? Do you know of such people? Perhaps, let me ask you, do you occasionally have similar thoughts? Do you really have God at the center of every decision you have to make daily, regardless of how insignificant it may be? Do you think you are a wise person or a foolish one?
Jesus started this parable with the methodology utilized in the wisdom literature, and this allowed us a glimpse of the two paths described in Psalm Chapter 1, one being the way of the godly, and the other the way of the wicked. Certainly the Lord guards the way of the godly, but the way of the wicked ends in destruction (Psalm 1:6).
When Jesus got to Jerusalem, He was at the pinnacle of His life, at this point, He needed the people to know His identity, and also to make decisions in light of His revelations. He had utilized many parables about the kingdom of heaven, seeking to demonstrate that at that point in time for Him was a decisive moment, a critical juncture. In Matthew 24, Jesus alluded that when the Son of Man arrived, no one would know, so all have to stay alert, because the timing of God’s arrival would not be known. Thereafter, Jesus told a parable, about whether a slave would follow the master’s instructions in His absence, and distribute food to the others at the proper time? If the slave were to forget who he was, and began to beat his peers, just like people in Noah’s days, only cared about eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, and when the slave’s master returns, he would be assigned a place with the hypocrites, and there would be mourning/grieving. The Chinese Union Version described as weeping and gnashing of teeth, and these were used to describe a type of extreme grief, complete despair and despondence, because the possibility of altering or changing anything would no longer exist.
This story in Chapter 25 about kingdom of heaven being akin to the ten virgins, actually is attempting to tell us, if you want to change that ending, now is the time, then we would in turn ask, what do we need to do? In the parable, the wise virgins, were well prepared and had adequate oil. What does this mean? It simply means that she knew the groom might be delayed, so she was ready and prepared, regardless of how long the wait might have been, she was ready and prepared. This is the crux of this parable.
It has been 2000 years since Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, this 2000-year wait, would that be considered a long wait? Perhaps to us, indeed, it would be way too long whether it was a 2-year or 20-year wait. To the first generation disciples, they were adamant that Jesus would return in their lifetime. But after several centuries had come to pass, because of internal conflicts, the church had to start convening council meetings to resolve as to what we believe in, and after several of these meetings, Jesus had yet to return. Up till now, we are still awaiting Jesus’ return. If the church were to forget, or did not have on the agenda that Jesus would without a doubt return, we would be committing errors similar to those of the slaves in Chapter 24, bullying/mistreating our peers, thinking that we are the masters ourselves. The end results being grieving and gnashing of teeth and this indeed would be something very frightening.
We also know that in the church’s long history, there were certainly many periods of darkness. For some, they associated these periods of darkness with the times when the pope was corrupt or during the autocratic eras of papacy/the church government, but the western church did in fact experience a few episodes of severe black plague, in the 1440s, 25 million lives were lost, and EU population decreased by 30-60% over this period. In the 17th century, in Italy, London, Vienna, there were several episodes of large scale contagion/pandemics of infectious diseases, and led to the loss of countless lives. With events such as these, led people at that time to surmise that the end time has arrived, the world was about to end. But history has taught us, this was not exactly the end time, and theologians had also helped us to clarify what exactly is the end time, from Jesus’ perspective, began with His birth, and God thrusted into the history of man, and to act on what the turnaround/upturn which He had intended. God intended to bring about a turn-around in the history of the rebellious man, whom God had loved since creation. The word became flesh/God became flesh in the man Jesus, allowed us, to encounter, a complete man, who can whole-heartedly rely on God, listen to God, obey Him, and to bring about a brand new path for us. Lent helped us to commemorate this precious turn-about, which has brought about a turn-around in human history.
God’s bringing about the deliverance for us, just like the many parables which Jesus had spoken, vivid and bountiful, and beyond our understanding, but the church would need to continue to stay alert, and be aware that Jesus is the master, and one day, God would provide for all authority in heaven and on earth, to be given to Jesus. And at that time, all knees will bow down to Jesus, and all tongues will confess that He is Lord. And before the day comes, there would be no wavering in terms of the what the church would be required to do, we are Jesus Christ’s witnesses, to witness that God, through Jesus who obeys, had brought about a path of life for us. Turnaround in/Upturning peoples’ lives are possible, precisely because believing and trusting in God has already brought about this possibility. We can look to the cross, we can rely on Jesus, because of Him, we will be binded to Him, and our lives can be renewed, and every day can bring about fresh starts/renewals, do you believe that? You have to believe this, otherwise, why would you be sitting in this auditorium?
There is myriad of items which the church has to accomplish, but first and foremost, the church needs to understand her own identity, and from that understanding of her own identity, to take a fresh look at what the priorities for the church would be. The deliberation of every matter should be made from our identity, as to why we have to act, and how to go about it. And to fully comprehend our relationship with Christ, this relationship has to be so intimate, as would be the case with the branches always having to remain in the vine, and that even being split or apart slightly would be unacceptable. We have to wholly/fully allow Jesus to be our master, to be the master of the church, and when Jesus allows us to be the salt in this world, we will fulfil this duty and obligation to the utmost, and when it comes time for us to be the light, we will similarly not hide or conceal ourselves.
This parable of the ten virgins, has an important message, that is the church has to be fully prepared, do not lose heart and be discouraged, will persevere and not give up, till Jesus returns, He will be our God. Regardless of who comes into the church, our lives can be turned around/transformed because of Jesus, and for those who believe, God’s spirit will continually challenge our priorities, so that we will always obey Him, to follow His will, and to abide by His truth. Our God will certainly return. Are you ready for this?
Response: The church’s one foundation, is Jesus Christ Her Lord

Matthew 25:1–13 (Listen)

25:1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose 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, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

(ESV)