I want to talk to you tonight about border battles. The subject came to me as I thought of the Mexican situation—of how a few men down there could run across the border, commit such depredation and murder, and then ride back again. Now they haven’t been up here where we live, and won’t get up here; we are way back in our own country. But on the border line these things happen. So tonight I am going to talk to you about living on the border, when you could live where God is, in the very heart of His love and life. Why not get clear back into the country of God? In other words, why not have a real heaven-born life and experience?
There are some folks who are having border battles all the time; that murderer, the devil, is always after them. They live too close to the border. There are others who are on one side of the border and perhaps their citizenship is on the other side of the border. They profess to be Christians, but they live in the world. There is going to come a time when Jesus comes back again when we shall know who belongs to Him and who is just professing.
I want to read a very familiar passage to you, the 25th chapter of Matthew. Let me call your attention to the first word in this chapter: “THEN.”
The kingdom of heaven will not be as God describes it in this chapter, until that hour when the bridegroom comes. In the 13th chapter of Matthew He describes the NOW of the kingdom of heaven, from the time that Jesus died until He comes again. NOW many can profess and seem all right, and things look big; but in this 25th chapter He says, “Then”—when Jesus comes—folks will be showing up as they really are, for “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were wise and five were foolish.”
Many of you know this chapter, but probably there are some of you here who have never read it. Let us go over it together.
Five Wise and Five Foolish
“They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them. But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all the virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But 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. And 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. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore; for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
Profession vs. Possession
Now this is just the kind of a sermon out of God’s Word for the time in which we live, for in these days there is much profession of Christianity and very little possession. Talk as you please, my friends, if you were in my place, dealing and talking with people all the time about their experiences, you would find there is very much profession of Christianity and few people with the witness of the Spirit—the oil in their vessel—the assurance that they have been born from above.
It is so easy to profess these days. You do not lose the house over your head; few people ever laugh at you; many clap their hands when you come to Jesus; they pat you on the back, and say, “That’s the thing.” It is so easy to join churches that church members are numbered by the thousands; but the people born from above are not numbered by statistics of professors.
Looked the Same
God wants to show you in this Scripture I have read tonight that this is a picture of our time, and that Jesus is to come suddenly on the scene, and this appearance at once divides between professors and really saved souls. Think of it: these ten virgins go out, all dressed alike; they all have their lamps; they pass along the street and every one says, “They are the people, they are the ones”—you wouldn’t notice any difference between them. They all went to the meetings, sang the same songs; they all came to the Tabernacle, they all heard the same songs, they all heard the same sermons—they all looked alike, and the people couldn’t tell any difference.
I might say to them, “Those who are saved, please raise your hands”—and they would all raise their hands.
But when the bridegroom came, only five of them got in; and five were left out in great agony of spirit. Five were wise and five were foolish.
Say, friend: Don’t you think it would be the best thing in the world tonight for you to make sure you are saved? We have so much professional Christianity that it would be a splendid thing for you if you would say to yourself, “I am going to know, beyond the peradventure of a doubt, that I have passed from death unto life.” God can deliver to you the assurance in your soul, and you’ll know it. Then, thank God, you will have His life in your heart, and when the bridegroom comes you will get in.
Think of it, they called Him Lord, Lord, Lord—yes, as you have, some of you; and you have never been saved in your life. You have never had the witness from above; worldly pleasures still are your source of joy. “Lord, open unto us!” But He says: “I know you not. I knocked, and you would not open. You put me on, you slipped me on like a cloak. You knew the passwords, you knew the language, you got into the virgin crowd—the church, but you never let me in. You never gave up your heart to me and let me walk in you. I never knew you.”
Oh God, speak to us tonight! This may be the last time that some souls ever get a chance to buy oil this side of the appearing of Jesus Christ our Lord. The Spirit will speak to you, men and women, warning you, so that you may have a real experience in Jesus tonight. Thank God there is a genuine one, and you can have it. “Come buy, without money and without price”—it flows free. But you will have to get your heart open; then you would not be ashamed to come down that aisle with the tears running down your cheeks. Then you will admit your need of Him your utter lost condition outside of His life and virtue. Oh may God put a hunger upon this congregation tonight for old-fashioned genuine salvation from sin by the power of the blood of Jesus and the life that is in Him alone.
One of the Twelve
Yes, we have these multitudes of folks that look all right. When Jesus was standing in the streets with His disciples, I imagine men could say, “Who is that sagacious looking man there with Him? He must be very close to Jesus, because he is holding the bag; he must be the chiefest disciple. He is a fine looking fellow—see how he snaps his eyes. See how he stands there in bold defiance of the crowd. He doesn’t seem to be so meek as those other poor old fish-smelling fishermen. Pretty nifty, isn’t he? He looks like a banker.”
And he heard them talking about him and kind of smoothed down his clothing and straightened his beard a little bit.
Yes—he looked it—but his name was Judas, and he never got in. Judas, in the twelve, but not in the redeemed. But Mr. Rader, Judas took communion.” Sure; but Judas will be in Hell.
Listen to me, my friends. God help me tonight—and I have asked Him all day to help me to help you—to get you out of hypocrisy and the awful, terrible mist that is over the eyes of professing Christianity today; to get you into the place where your heart is changed and you are born from above and you know it. I tell you, there are some of you here from different churches in and out of this city who don’t know you are saved. You haven’t a testimony. You have no oil in your lamp.
I remember hearing a group of convention men speak once, when I had with me a young fellow who wasn’t a Christian; I brought him there to get help, but there was no help there. He said to me, “Paul, do you call those fellows saved?” I said, “I guess they are, son.”
“Well, now,” he says, “they talk fine.” And then he turned around to me and said something that has been a help to me from that day to this. He said, “Paul, I have been on street corners and listened to men preach, and as they spoke they had a testimony, but not one of those fellows who have talked today had a testimony.”
“My,” I thought, “if a sinner can shoot a bullet like that, what will God shoot when He opens us up?”
“They have not testimony.” They could talk about doctrine, they could talk about things, but not once came the flow of their own soul, with their own love for Jesus and what had happened to their own hearts. Not an underflow through their words that would indicate the oil of His presence.
Even Before Gabriel
And if you have a testimony, you could stand before Gabriel and the archangel and the people in Chicago, and say, “Thank God, I have passed from death unto life.” God help you to get an experience tonight; have a testimony; tell men and women you are saved. If you cannot truly witness to the fact that you are saved you will have a pretty hard time trying to get into the marriage supper of the Lamb. If there is no flowing oil in your soul tonight burning for Him, how do you expect to meet Him when He comes?
Are you the kind that is filled with fear of people instead of love for Christ? You care more for what the man or the woman sitting beside you thinks than what Jesus Christ thinks? When I ask you to walk down these aisles you look at people. Jesus isn’t your God. You are not cut loose from the devil and the world and people, unto Him. His love, thank God, will cast all that fear our of you. You may tremble in your knees, but your heart will move your lips with love.
Like one fellow who said to me, “The night after I was saved and you called on us to testify, first I trembled in my feet, then I trembled in my tongue, but my heart would get it out, or die.” And that fellow had a testimony, too. My Bible tells me if I am ashamed of Him before men, He will be ashamed of me before His Father which is in Heaven. And He doesn’t lie. May God take fear of men out of your heart tonight, save you and make you a witness for Jesus, with oil in your lamp.
Judas was with the Christian crowd, yes, with the crowd. Oh, the horror of that man’s end, the terror of his death, to walk in there and take the thirty pieces of silver, and sell Jesus out; and then go away and commit suicide, when he could have lived forever with the same Christ he sold.
“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.”
The devil is up and coming; at it constantly, and his gang are busy night and day, but oh how he loves to get God’s children to feel tired. The fellow that used to go to a dance every little while until the morning hours has been saved quite a while now, and if he had to spend a half night in prayer he would feel that at once a golden crown should drop on him.
The actors do matinees and every night shows and have to make the crowd laugh, no matter how they feel, and get new stuff and keep up the pace, but if a preacher tries to beat the devil on an eternally-at-it basis, the devil tries to make him think he’ll soon die from his puissant practices, with pulmonic poverty, and immediately begins to sing a lullaby.
Or he’ll get the folks so taken up with other things that they slumber to the fact that any moment their Lord may come from the glory. Or he may try to keep people from letting others know anything about what God teaches in His word of the return of Jesus to catch away His redeemed ones. Then the five wise, saved ones may slumber.
Calls of the World
But the foolish are eased to sleep, about Christ’s return, by the pleasures and calls of the world. They’re thinking about money, clothes, positions, pleasures, worldly profits and little earth thrones of destruction and thus they slumber.
“A Cry Made”
“At midnight there was a cry made.” There has come a great cry of late. “Behold the bridegroom cometh.” Those who raised their voices a quarter of a century ago were put into the class with the fanatics. It was foolish to say the Bible taught that Jesus was coming back to this Earth to reign. To believe it and teach it meant ecclesiastical ostracism.
Those who taught it then were made to feel the keen blade of separation. But of recent years the teaching, because of the stand of great Bible teachers and great evangelists and writers, has become almost popular. Bible conferences all over the country have spread the cry far and wide. And this in a day when the cold wing of biblical criticism, and a call for natural religion from the places of canned education was increasing the midnight darkness of unbelief and worldliness.
The cry is still going forth: “Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” It is the most destructive cry among the followers of Christ today. Millions of pages of literature in the form of papers, magazines and books, concerning the Lord’s return are being sent far and wide, edited by godly and scholarly men.
God intended that this cry should wake men up to their lack of life in Jesus and to the approach of the Lord. He says, “He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as He is pure.”
“Behold the bridegroom cometh.” Yes, He will soon be here. Jesus Himself coming back again—my Jesus. Shall I see Him; I, who was a sinner, who but a few years ago refused to speak His name or sing His praise? I, a sinner, shall I see Him? Yes, glory to God, a sinner saved by grace, and I shall behold His matchless face! I have been born again and I may see Him. Oh bless His name.
Brother, if there was hope for me, there is hope for you. I was a hypocrite—oh, how I hate to say it; I was a hypocrite, as hundreds of you are tonight, but praise God I went in for something and I got it. And you may have it. I was a product of the church-anity of our day. Oh, there are so many these days, born of the gasoline and machinery of the church and not of the blood of Jesus Christ. But thank God, the thing happened in my life, and tonight I am born from above. Oh, let the cry come to you tonight, and you come to Him while the cry rings out; there is oil now.
Give Us of Your Oil
And they cried: “Give us of your oil.” “No—I wish I could.” I wish I could go down every aisle and up and down the benches and just give you the oil that is in my heart; but I cannot. You will have to come to Christ and get it for yourself and there is a chance tonight to get it.
A young girl went down to one of the southern colleges. She had the prettiest of auburn hair, and she could sit down at a canvas with her paints and brushes and sketch anything—so easily. She would sit in school and draw pictures of the girls. They said to her, “How did you get it, that auburn hair of yours?”
And she would tell them one thing and another—what she washed it with to give it the color. Then they asked her how she did these sketches, these pictures—and she said she practiced for hours. She had been drawing since she had on little short dresses. She tried to tell them they could do it if they worked.
So one day the mother came to the school to visit her daughter. When she got off the train, here was the same auburn hair. They looked at Dora, and said, “Now we know where you got it.” The mother sat in the room with her pencil, while three of the girls were singing, a little extemporaneous trio, and when the next paper came out here was a little cartoon of these three, a perfect picture of them that Dora’s mother drew. And the girls said again, “Now we know where you got it; she passed it along to you.”
Oh, you cannot get this oil by works; it must come from Jesus. It is a personal matter between you and Him. You must be born of Him. Joining societies, [attending] churches, cannot do it. We ask you to join churches, when? When you have the oil, when you have been saved. Get saved first—and then afterwards [become a member], if you want to. And you ought to, if you have been saved; and if you have been saved you will want to. Why? Paul says, “I know I have passed from death unto life, because I love the brethren.” And the person who has been born again will “love the brethren” and you cannot keep him out of the church. He will say, “where can I stick closer to folks like those who have been saved?” He wants to join in with the new creatures in Christ Jesus, like himself.
The Door Was Shut
Now comes the awful statement of Jesus (for Jesus gave out this parable Himself to His disciples). He says, “And the door was shut.” Friends, I think that is a most awful statement: “And the door was shut”—was shut. There is another statement that is terrible to me, and something like it, in the Bible, and that is: “Judas went out and it was night.” Sitting at the table with Jesus, he dips in the sop, then he goes out to betray Him, and it was night”—night—night. “And the door was shut.” Five people on the outside, knocking, “Lord, Lord, Lord,” and it was shut.
Friend, there comes a time when all your efforts are as nothing. God has invited you to open your heart, and you laugh and shut it up and walk out of the Tabernacle. He says there will come a time when you will knock, and it will be too late. Judas had a chance to have Jesus, but the time came when he went and hanged himself, and down in hell he will walk around and say to men, “Say, did you see the thirty pieces of silver?” And he will sit there counting them—one, two, three, four, five, six. The men will look over his shoulder, and say, “What are you doing?”
“I am counting my money, that is what I am doing. Who are you?”
“I am the rich young ruler.”
“You down here, too?”
“Yes. You are only counting thirty. I had millions to count.”
“Well, go on and count them.”
Oh, forever counting money. “What is it worth, Judas?” “Nothing—but we will have to count it forever.” “Did you have a chance to get the life of Jesus?” “Yes.” “Did you take Him?” “No.” “What did you take?” “Money—money.”
Young girl, forever you will count off your dances, dances, dances, dances—hell and dances. Your card parties—your little movies—your little shows. You know you refuse Jesus because you love the world—these things are your world. Forever—oh they will get stale, but forever you will count them off—forever.
And Pilate will walk up through the crowd and say, “I want a little water—have you got a little water?”
“What do you want it for, Pilate?”
“I want to wash my hands—to wash my hands of the whole matter.”
And you will say, “Oh, I want a chance in one of those benches again. I had a chance in the Tabernacle one night to take the Son of God in my heart, but I said ‘I guess I will get along all right. I want to live with a bunch of live ones, full of pep and sin. I’m going out to live my own life.’”
My God, wake you up tonight. Jesus of Nazareth passeth by, and can save you if you will let Him. But remember: “The door was shut.” Don’t wait.
Little Davie, a young traveling man of the west, married little Kathreen the year I left a certain town. When I came back there they said to me, “Do you remember little Davie?”
“Sure,” I said.
They said, “Go up to the insane asylum and see him.”
“What, the insane asylum?” Where is Kathreen?”
“Oh, she is dead.”
“Tell me about her.”
Why, Davie went off one day on one of his regular trips, to be gone two weeks. He had never told Kathreen he drank. That was all on the side. He never told Kathreen he was a sport. That was all on the side. His mother never knew he was a sport. That was all on the side. They telegraphed him at his scheduled hotel and town, but they couldn’t find him. For many days they hunted for him. Finally he came back for a change of clothes at the hotel where he had first stopped, and read the telegrams that were waiting there for him: “She is dead. She is buried. We couldn’t find you.”
He went back to the city and ran up to the little house he had furnished for her, and he yelled outside the door—but nobody came. One of the neighbors jumped across the fence, and called, “Hello, Davie.”
He says, “What is the matter? Where is she?”
“We have had the funeral, and she is gone.”
“She is gone—I never saw her!”
“She is gone, Davie. We telegraphed to you, but you were drunk.”
“My God!” He ran down yelling at the top of his voice, to his mother’s place, and she looked at him and said, “Davie, she is gone.”
He started up and down the town, crying, “She can’t be gone, she can’t be gone.” Yes—but she is gone. “She can’t be dead.” Yes—but she is dead.
He was too late. She went while Davie was drunk.
Oh, some of you say, “I will get by.” Won’t you listen to me tonight, and come to Jesus now, while you may? The door is going to be shut, is going to be shut as it was for Davie. Too late! “THEN shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto the condition I am talking about. Then. But you know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of man cometh.”
A San Francisco Man
When Mr. McKee and I were at the Tabernacle in San Francisco, there was a man with a little black moustache who sat near to the front with his wife and daughter. I noticed him smile at them, every time we would talk about something real, of salvation; the joy would come in his face. One day I was walking along and met him, and he said, “I don’t know whether you noticed me or not; I sit there near you. Mr. Rader. I want to tell you about my case.”
He said, “Before the earthquake, my wife and my daughter used to go over to Oakland and visit some little meetings over there. They learned about real salvation,” he says, “and I tell you, they got it. They brought it into the home. I am a chef in one of the cafes down here, and was raised in the old country. Church was good enough for me. I said, ‘I’ll take my little show, my little smoke, my little drink when I want it, my own way.’ I had been confirmed, and could recite the catechism in three languages; my father had a parish in the old country, and I was proud of my church connection.”
“But oh,” he said, “my wife got something real. She had something real or she never could have stood all the stuff I threw at her. Then,” he says, “she came back and told me Jesus was coming again; how He was going to come down and catch up His own and the rest of them would be left, and there would be such great tribulation. I tried to throw it off, but I couldn’t get it off me. I would rattle the dishes while I was cooking, and try to sing some old songs and make all the noise I could, but I couldn’t get away from the fact that there was something that I didn’t have, that somehow I ought to have a connection with God I didn’t have. I knew my wife had it.
“One day—I had never done such a thing in my life before—I slapped her. The daughter made a sweet mild protest, and I slapped her. Then I went down town and it was worse still. I couldn’t cook, until I had called my wife up on the telephone and said, ‘You’ll have to forgive me.’ And she said, ‘It’s all right.’ She had something and I knew she had something.
“So the days went on. They had a great banquet on one day, and I was sleeping that night down in the hotel, as I often did. You know how the quake came on,” he says. “I was asleep in a folding bed, and the only thing I could remember was the head of that bed coming for me, and the next thing I knew it hit me. When I woke up I began to push my way out of that bed. I climbed on the floor, and part of the building was gone. If I had taken another step I would have dropped down many floors. I looked out over the city and the smoke was rolling over the whole affair.”
God’s Word a Sword
He says, “Rader, I can never tell you how the truth of God’s word came to me. My wife had read to me the story of the five wise and the five foolish virgins; how some were taken and the others didn’t get in, and,” he said, “I thought I was left behind. But I said, ‘Lord, as long as there is life in me, I will see You.’ And I started to seek Him. Men yelled for me to try to come down. I didn’t care whether I came down or not. I was going to settle the question of eternity with God. I pleaded with God. I hunted around to see if my wife by chance had left a testament in my pocket.
“Finally the men got hold of me. They thought I was crazy because I was praying and calling for God, and they locked me up. But days after they let my little wife come to me. And she led me to Jesus. In a few minutes,” he said, “I was as calm as a baby in a mother’s arms, and I said, ‘My God, I’m saved, I’m saved! Something is real.’” He said, “I went after oil, and I got it!”
“I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life”—Jesus
Friend, whenever you seek Jesus you will get Him. He says, “In the day that ye seek me with all your heart, ye shall surely find me.” The door will be shut some day—it is open now—will you step in while you can? Man, woman, in God’s name let me help you to Jesus now. Do not be satisfied with a profession, with lamps, robes and songs, but have a new life given by Jesus Christ: The oil; His spirit a burning witness within you.
Which shall it be: Wise or foolish? Profession or real possession? Come! Decide before the door is shut. Buy oil now, without money and without price. Cross over the border and have your citizenship in heaven and your life in Jesus.