It's not hard to think of someone named after a disciple. Andrew, Peter, Philip, John, James...Judas? No, that name conjures up negative imagery in our minds. Betrayer - traitor - evil - liar - hypocrite - greedy - devil.
It was about 2,000 years ago a mother held an infant in her arms and named him Judas...a common name in those days.
Now, why did Jesus choose Judas to be one of His disciples? Was He such a bad judge of character? Was it a mistake? Of course, Jesus knew from the beginning what would happen.
v. 64 Why did Jesus with His eyes wide open choose Judas?
1. A lesson in hypocrisy.
Judas is our model of a religious hypocrite. Don't think of him as a backslider or someone who was saved and then lost it. He never had it to begin with.
v. 64a 'believe not'
a. Right Association.
As one of the 'twelve' he was in a privileged position. For over 3 years he attended the world's greatest seminary. He was taught, mentored, and 'discipled' by the best. He observed first hand the miracles of Christ, like walking on the water, or raising Lazarus from the dead, or feeding the 5,000.
b. Right Reputation.
At the last supper Jesus said 'One of you will betray me' and they all gasped and had to ask, "Is it I?" Nobody suspected Judas. He fit right in. He wasn't a shady character with shifty eyes. He was good at what he did. He was a hypocrite, meaning he looked and talked just like he should if he were a true believer. He was a successful pretender, and so trusted that he was elected treasurer, and carried the money for the whole group.
c. Right Participation.
When Jesus sent the disciples out two by two He told them to preach, heal the sick, and cast out demons. They all went, in even number, and no doubt Judas participated in preaching and ministering. And if you can do those things, surely you are saved, right? Not necessarily!
ill.--In Matthew 7 Jesus is specific that some will preach and cast out demons and will be cast into hell because, "I never knew you."
Many religious hypocrites in churches today have the right association, participation, and reputation. They have PROFESSION of salvation but sadly, have no POSSESSION of salvation.
Many church members today have the right association - they are part of a good gospel church. And the greatest evangelistic field in America today is the membership roll of churches.
ill.--Billy Graham once said, famously, that perhaps half or more of churchgoers in America have never truly been born again. I'd say it's more!
You may have walked an aisle, shook the preacher's hand, maybe tears flowed. Maybe you prayed a prayer you were told to pray...you have the right association, but was it a real decision of trusting Christ as your Savior, or something else?
Many church members today have the right reputation - they are respected for their service or faithfulness in attendance. Maybe they work in a ministry or sing in a choir. Sometimes they are a leader, a deacon, a teacher, a preacher! They have the right reputation as far as what others think of them...but the real question is what does God KNOW about them?
Many church members today have the right participation in all things Christian but not in Christ in a personal way. It's all outward, with no inward reality.
2 Corinthians 13:5
5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.
I'm not asking if you've been baptized, but if you've been born again.
[confirmed / church member / made a new start / turned over a new leaf]
Our text is a word of warning to religious hypocrites. I would hope that if the Lord returned this minute this room would be empty. But the Bible says it's not usually that way, there's gonna be some who have association without salvation [reputation / participation]
Our text is also a word of encouragement. How can Judas' betrayal be encouraging? Because the other 11 didn't betray. The others would all end up laying down their lives for Jesus!
Don't let some Judas keep you from following Christ. "I would get saved if it weren't for all those hypocrites."
Certainly there are hypocrites. Our passage teaches that there always have been, and we know there always will be. And it's not an entirely bad thing.
How so? A counterfeit actually proves the reality of the genuine! Why do people counterfeit money? Because there's such a thing as real money! And the devil places counterfeit Christians because there's such a thing as a real, genuine believer.
ill.--ever been outside and seen a shooting star? [meteor] We say, "Look at that!" Why do we call attention to it? Because stars do not normally fall. And for every falling star you see there a billion trillion which do not fall.
Even so, when a churchgoer acts irresponsibly everyone says, "Look!" But most real believers are as true as the stars of the heavens! We fix our eyes on the fallen, not the faithful ... and actually, we'd do best to fix our eyes on Jesus!
I have an announcement to the lost world trying to make excuses: God offers you CHRIST, not CHRISTIANS!
You think there are too many hypocrites at church? You're right...but there's always room for one more! For there's some hypocrisy in all of us. Right? [those who remain silent prove my point!] The best of men are still men, at best.
1. A lesson in hypocrisy.
2. A lesson in sovereignty.
v. 64b 'from the beginning'
I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.
This is about Judas, who dipped bread in gravy with Jesus at the last supper, the sign Jesus said that he is the betrayer. Jesus says, I chose Judas to betray me to Scripture will be fulfilled. Did you know there's OT prophecy of this from hundreds of years before Judas was born?
Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.
Big question comes up now: Did Judas have a choice in this matter, being chosen to be the betrayer? Yes, he had a choice, but God had foreknowledge of what Judas would do with his free will.
God is sovereign, guiding all the affairs of men, and yet man has a free will, and that's hard to reconcile in our finite minds how this can be. But we really don't have to...we just need to accept that God is not finite, He is infinite...one of many reasons we worship Him!
Judas was loved, and could have been forgiven and saved even after his betrayal, though he wasn't.
We see time as past, present, and future, but our God is timeless. He's the great I AM...He sees everything in the now.
Ephesians says He sees us as seated in heaven already, because we've been saved, in the mind of God, we're already at home with Him!
ill.--a little boy is trying to watch a parade thru a knothole in a fence. He can only see a small sliver of action that is right in front of him. A man comes by and asks him if he wants to really see the parade. He takes him up to the top of a high building from where he can see the beginning, the middle, and the end of the parade!
We look at time thru a little knothole, but we serve an eternal, timeless, infinite God who sees it all and has foreknowledge of how we will use our free will. And if by chance you try to trick him and double back on a decision you were going to make -- well, He knew you'd do that too! Judas made his own choice.
1. A lesson in hypocrisy.
2. A lesson in sovereignty.
3. A lesson in tragedy.
The tragedy of Judas' sin.
a. His sin deceived him.
He couldn't wait to get the money. He believed it would bring him happiness. But he was deceived.
ill.--R.G. Lee said, "Eat the devil's corn, he chokes you with the cob."
Judas found out the hard way that the devil only pays in counterfeit money. By the way, Judas' sin was not the betrayal...but the unbelief.
b. His sin destroyed him.
He committed suicide.
And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.
Oh, the awful consequences of sin. There's a high price for low living.
c. His sin damned him.
That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
'His own place' in hell! He's still there today!
4. A lesson in security.
He didn't lose salvation...he never had it. Peter denied Christ, and yet was saved earlier. V. 64 says Judas didn't believe and was a devil from the beginning. Even after the betrayal, when Judas died, he had guilt, but not repentance. Guilt and repentance are not at all the same thing. You can feel guilty and not repent...many do just that. They sin and feel guilt, but aren't willing to give it up.
Peter had sorrow unto repentance, he went out and wept bitterly, and sought forgiveness. When Peter sinned, his faith was weakened...but Judas had no faith to weaken in the first place.
Our intent is not to cause any believer to doubt, but for God to convict those who need to be genuinely saved.
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