Christians must be prepared for the End Times, John Piper says, pointing to the parable of 10 virgins as evidence for the need to be ready for Jesus Christ's second coming and the urgency to evangelize those who are not yet saved.
Piper, who serves as the founder and teacher at DesiringGod.org, says in a sermon posted to his website this week, that as outlined in this parable in Matthew 25:2-4, Christians need to be fully prepared for Christ's return, instead of just pretending to be prepared with a façade of superficial religious belief.
The parable reads, in part: "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."
The parable goes on to say that God tells believers to "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour" of His arrival, adding that the 10 women were tasked with preparing the way for the Lord, but five were unprepared.
This parable relates to Christians' preparedness for the End Times, Piper explains, as the oil represents true spirituality, while the lamp can prove empty if one is lacking an active faith.
"Are you ready? Do you have oil in the form of your religion?" Piper questions. "Life, faith, hope, love, reality, or are you just carrying your formal little lamp around? 'I go to church. I carry a Bible. I pray before meals. I try to keep the Ten Commandments.' Your little lamp," says Piper, who serves as chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minnesota.
Piper goes on to write that the job of these women was to carry oil in their lamps as they waited for the arrival of God, just as believers' job is to carry an active faith while waiting for Jesus' arrival.
"Oil in the lamps is part of the means by which they get their job done. If they don't have oil for their lamps, they are neglecting the means appointed for them to do their work. They are supposed to shine with light. And five of them are foolish. They are not taking seriously their calling to give light," Piper says.
"They are neglecting the only means by which their lamps can do any good. What good is a lamp in that culture? What good is a lamp which has no oil to burn so it can make light? Their job was to provide light when he comes. And they go off candles without wicks, as it were, light bulbs with no electricity, lamps with no sufficient oil, torches with no fire," he adds.
World renowned evangelical leader Billy Graham has also called on Christians to repent for their sins, warning that although he has no way of knowing when the End Times will occur, he has a suspicion that the world might be returning to the days of Noah outlined in Genesis 6:5.
"The days of Noah are returning to the Earth, and a catastrophe as great and terrible awaits those who refuse to enter into the ark of salvation, which is Jesus Christ," Graham explained in a recent message in his Decision magazine.
"In this day, when the clouds of judgment are beginning to gather, Christ is the refuge. You must cross the threshold and pass into the ark. Accept Christ now as your Savior before it is too late," Graham continues. "Are you in? You may be close, but are you inside? The universal and terrible storm is coming. The days of Noah may be soon upon us. Are you ready for the Day of Judgment?"