22 June 2014

SHOWING GOD'S LOVE TO OTHERS


John 13:31-35

The greatest outward expression we can do as Christian’s is to display the inward change of the heart. The heart will always be the visible mark for others to see, who we truly belong too. See, what comes from the heart will always express the true intent of a person's motives, whether by their words or their actions! It has been said by many “At no other time in the history of Christianity did love so characterize the entire church as it did in the first three centuries. And Roman society took note. Tertullian reported that the Romans would exclaim, “See how they love one another!” Justin Martyr sketched Christian love this way: “We who used to value the acquisition of wealth and possessions more than anything else now bring what we have into a common fund and share it with anyone who needs it. We used to hate and destroy one another and refused to associate with people of another race or country. Now, because of Christ, we live together with such people and pray for our enemies.” Clement, describing the person who has come to know God, wrote, “He impoverishes himself out of love, so that he is certain he may never overlook a brother in need, especially if he knows he can bear poverty better than his brother. He likewise considers the pain of another as his own pain. And if he suffers any hardship because of having given out of his own poverty, he does not complain.”

How are we doing as a body for the Lord Jesus Christ when it comes to loving one another? I think sometimes as Christians we spend more time studying, memorizing, talking at round tables among one another about what we are to be like in a fallen world …but we never end up doing what the word says.

Don’t get me wrong! Studying, talking and learning more about the bible and how we are to grow in the Christian life.
But if these life changing principles are not put into daily practice, then all were doing is filling our selfish hearts with biblical truth to make ourselves feel better about our Christian life. God’s word and truth is to be exemplified in our lives. By doing this it brings glory to God for His beauty and grace found in Christ. As Jesus continues his teaching in the upper room…something is much different now! Judas is gone and now Jesus begins to fill his disciples with more practical biblical truth that they will be able to pass on to others.

But first Jesus says something that would seem strange to the common man, but it helps us to understand this love. The Father and the Son will be glorified…….but you said you are going to die on a cross though Jesus? How can that bring glory to you Jesus? His death purchased salvation by satisfying the demands of God’s justice for those who put their faith and trust in Him. His death demonstrates His compassion, His patience and His power. His death destroyed the power of sin and death. How can God the Father get glory in your death Jesus? Christ’s death displayed God’s power by raising Jesus from the dead. Christ’s death declared God’s justice because sin is a violation against His holy Law. Christ’s death revealed God’s holiness and His hatred for sin. Christ’s death expressed God’s faithfulness to provide a redeemer since the garden. Christ’s death demonstrates God’s love towards sinners. The cross demonstrates the glory of God is the highest expression of self-sacrifice and by doing this Jesus and the Father are glorified through the cross.

What does God want of us to do? Jesus, answers this question by telling His disciples a truth that we should all exemplify in….DAILY! He says this simple truth!............... “Love one another”. But there is a problem in the Christian church! There seems to be a NEW THEOLOGY or a NEW VERSION of the bible that is saying it’s ok to love Jesus but hate His church. That’s what we call an “oxymoron” think about it for a minute! If you profess to love Jesus and hate the church, then you truly don’t understand what it means to love Christ and the gospel. See, Christ died for His church and to hate His church is to say “Jesus you are crazy for dying for those losers.” It’s an insult to His divine plan and providence by preserving His bride for future glory with Him. It insults His redemptive plan to save lost sinners….losers like you me! This is why we such a problem in the church! It is a sad fact that one does not have to look at the Christian church very long before discovering that believers often do not love each other as they ought.

Where do we see this in the Christian community? R C Sproul said “the proliferation of denominations is one example of this. While it is true that many were formed out of a legitimate need to maintain the purity of the Gospel, it is also true that others started because individuals could not lovingly tolerate disagreement on matters not essential to the faith. Even now, what should be minor issues become major ones and insults are hurled across denominational lines at those who share the true faith. Perhaps more troubling is the fact that even believers within the same church have trouble loving one another. How many of us dislike others in our own church simply because they have certain quirks or have not progressed as far in their sanctification as we might like?” Jesus is telling us that there is no room for this kind of behaviour in the church!

You will find nowhere in the scripture that we have the right to hate, dislike or not able or equipped to get along with others. The bible says for us to "Love your brother and sister in Christ, love your enemy, love those who hate you."Jesus said in Matt 5:43-44 "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,. This is a vital truth that will sustain the church and hold it together for many generations to come. I know this is hard, but it’s a command that our Lord gives. Jesus, exemplified this for us to live by and He ultimately demonstrated that through His death on the cross for sinners. In fact his sacrificial death both provides the example of love as well as creates the community in which we are to love one another. That’s of the charts love church family! And by demonstrating that love Jesus leaves us with a New Command!

Command by definition is……to give (someone) an order;  to tell (someone) to do something in a forceful and often official way; to have authority and control over (a group of people, such as soldiers). Was this a really a New Command? No, it was a deeper expression or a higher standard than the old commandment that God gave to His people “…but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” Lev 19:18. This command didn’t wipe the old command away, all it did was help the listener or the reader understand the vital importance of this command. This command Jesus gave them as he was about to leave them, was to be a badge of discipleship, by which they might be known as his friends and followers, and by which they might be distinguished from all others. See this command extends beyond the church to embrace all people. We read for example in 1 Thess 3:12 Paul wrote “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you,”So that we might increase not decreases the love that was displayed for us in the gospel of Jesus Christ. This command is very important not just to memorize, put on a T-shirt, but to put into action daily as God’s children saved by grace and mercy!

My question for us is….can we do this? WHY?...........
  • Loving one another demonstrates we are born of God.
  • Loving one another demonstrates we know God's love.
  • Loving one another demonstrates we obey God.
  • Loving one another demonstrates we are indwelt by God.
  • Loving one another demonstrates we have confidence before God.
  • Loving one another demonstrates we are truthful.

Again we must ponder the cross…the spotlight of God’s kindness, compassion, forgiveness and love towards sinners like us. This is the only way we are going to be able to truly love others, the unlovable, the ones who annoy you because your [were] selfish and want people to be more like you or me! Looking to the cross and His finished work through the continual daily work of the Spirit in our lives. Augustine said "You brag of your faith in Christ, but show me your faith by your love to Christ; for faith and love cannot be separated."

The Bible says “Love is patient [a person is slow to anger when abused, not quick of resentment, nor hasty to revenge when affronted; but exercises forbearance, suffers long, and bears much, and is ready to forgive] and kind [does good to all men, even to enemies]. Love is not jealous [does not envy the temporal happiness of others]not boastful, [is not flashy of what he has, a proud boaster to promote his own honour and interest, without considering what will be the consequence of things] not proud [to inflate with pride] and not rude [will be careful that no filthy and corrupt communication proceed out of his mouth, which may offend]. It does not demand its own way. [This person will make most for his honour and glory; and the things of Christ, and what relate to the spread of his Gospel and the enlargement of his kingdom, seeking the interest of others well-being before their own] It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. [It means that love, or that a person under the influence of love, is not malicious, critical, inclined to find fault, or to attribute improper motives to others]. It does not rejoice about injustice [Does not rejoice over the “depravities” of other people; does not take delight when they are guilty of crime, or when, in any manner, they fall into sin. It does not find pleasure in hearing others accused of sin, and in having it proved that they committed it.] but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. [This person loves to rejoice that good is done, and the truth is defended and advanced whether by them or others.] This should be the theme song of our Christian lives……………Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Can you do that? Can you do what Paul says to the church here?

Serious can you do this? 

If you struggle in this area of your Christian life then my suggestion is seek His face until you can. God has and is calling sinners to Himself….possibly someone who has harmed you in the past or someone you’ve always had a hard time getting along with. Remember were all sinners who desire love and acceptance and that has been fulfilled in the finishing work of the cross. The very act of love which glorifies the So, which ultimately glorifies the Godhead, three in one. It begins in the house of God, the church is to be a loving church in a dying culture. And when it’s being done in the house of God, it will be much easier to love our neighbor, our enemies, our fellow man who walk in darkness. Are you doing what you can to love earnestly and overlook a number of minor offenses from other people? Or do you tend to hold grudges? Are you expressing your love for others in your church through hospitality, or do you routinely avoid fellowship with others? Ask the Lord In prayer to help you love other Christians. Then demonstrate that to someone whom you have trouble loving, perhaps by inviting them over for a meal or coffee. We will never be able to impact this generation with the gospel, if we are not visibly demonstrating this command to love one another. This is important and should never be overlooked in the church! Why? Jesus gives the answer….by this they the world will know you are my true disciples. The love they practiced drew the attention of the world, just as Jesus said it would. Let’s follow the example of Jesus and the disciples as we love one another.


15 June 2014

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DADDY MAKES


Eph 6:4

I came across yet another sad story of many this past week, that say about the same thing when it came to the question…….What do you remember about your father? Here’s one answer that really grieved my heart as I was preparing for this Sunday…a time when we reflect on the dads. "A young man was to be sentenced to the prison. The judge had known him from childhood, for he was well acquainted with his father--a famous legal scholar and the author of an exhaustive study entitled, "The Law of Trusts." "Do you remember your father?" asked the judge. "I remember him well, your honor," came the reply. Then trying to probe the offender's conscience, the judge said, "As you are about to be sentenced and as you think of your wonderful dad, what do you remember most clearly about him?" There was a pause. Then the judge received an answer he had not expected. "I remember when I went to him for advice. He looked up at me from the book he was writing and said, 'Run along, boy; I'm busy!' When I went to him for companionship, he turned me away, saying "Run along, son; this book must be finished!' Your honor, you remember him as a great lawyer. I remember him as a lost friend." The judge than muttered to himself, "Alas! Finished the book, but lost the boy!"

This is a sad case, but there are so many like this story around the globe. Did you know! The greatest tragedy of our society to the failure of fathers to take their responsibility as parents. Our society celebrates Father's Day, but in 40 % of the families in America, there is no father. The single parent family is the most numerous with a mother and her children. One out of three children born today are born in fatherless homes. In many homes in our country the father is not a visible part of the family. Secular and Christian writers all agree that “Children who grow up without a father grow up in an unstable home. With the mother working to provide for herself and here children, and she has little time to teach or raise the children. The Day Care center or baby sitter becomes the greater influence in their child's life." As one writer said “God's plan for the training of children is in the two parent, husband and wife, family, both present, both taking the role of an example to the child. Now we live in the new enlightened age where the role of the family is being redefined. Today it is a single parent family, or same sex parents, or children raised by their grandparents while mom and dad go their separate selfish ways.”

Why has this happened? Society at large has made the father’s role a joke, not important in our society or to the family…….Turn on the TV and watch the commercials about parenting and dad’s. The movies and sitcoms that makes the dads out to be the idiot and uneducated. The culture as turned the Homer Simpson, the Peter Griffin or the Al Bundy as the role model for today’s dads. Were considered incompetent and unsure of our duties, even when it comes to changing a diaper, or the immediate care for the needs of our children. How important is a father to the family? God has called us men to raise our children according to Paul “In the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” And if we listen to the counsel by Solomon [the wisest fallible man to walk the earth] and hold to God’s standard of nurture and discipline than according to the scriptures our children will “give us peace” and “bring delight to our souls.” Prov 29:17 says “Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.” See God has given us a huge responsibility MEN…….to……
  • Fostering a positive relationship with our children.
  • Spending time with our children and to laugh with them.
  • Nurturing our children under the wisdom of God’s word.
  • Disciplining our children appropriately according to God’s word.
  • Serving as a guide to the outside world for our children.
  • Protecting and providing a safe environment for our children.
  • Serving as a positive role model for our children.

And most of all dads……. we have been given the joy and ability, to reflect the love that the Father has for us……. found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now! Fathers may not excel in all of these dimensions, but fathers who do well in most of them will serve their children and families well, not just for today but for the future to come. As one secular writer said the “Nurturing by a father serves several important purposes: Helps fathers build close relationships with their children. Provides children with a healthy model of masculinity. Helps protect girls from prematurely seeking the romantic and sexual attention of men.”Our roles as fathers are just as vital as a mother’s role is for the family. This is the way God ordained and intended it for the family right from the beginning of Adam and Eve. The direct relationship a father has with his child is of supreme worth. Fathers also exercise a strong influence on their children through the type of life they live in and outside the home. Now I know that isn’t always the case in every home!
  • We have dead beat dads
  • We have divorce
  • We have unwanted children
  • We have sin that has shattered the family unit.
  • May this never be said of us “Christian men”
  • God has given us the greatest responsibility when it comes to the family.

Throughout the scriptures we see multiple warnings and an example of the importance of a father is to the family. What do I mean by that? In Deut 6:5-7 we read this command by a holy God to fathers! “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deut 6:5-7. We read in Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. The training is designed to make clear to children the manner of life they are intended for….for the glory of God and the gospel. 

And then we read what Paul wrote in our text this morning “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Eph 6:4. The negative part of this verse indicates that a father is not to foster negativity in his children…..by severity, injustice, partiality, or unreasonable exercise of authority. 

For example: Do you give your children more positive comments than negative ones? Are there many times in a week you praise them for their actions or attitude without mentioning anything negative? Is your tone with your children usually kind or enraging? Do you us sarcasm to correct and discipline your children? Do you us the grace and love that Christ has shown you, when you correct or discipline your children?

I really want you to think about this verse in Eph 6…….MEN! Because! Harsh and unreasonable conduct towards a child will only serve to nurture resentment, an evil heart and bitterness towards you and the God you’re teaching them to love. The word “provoke” means “to irritate, exasperate, rub the wrong way, or enflame.” This is done by a wrong spirit and wrong methods, unreasonableness, harshness, cruel demands, needless restrictions, and selfish persistence upon domineering authority. Such aggravation will produce opposing reactions, deadening children’s affection, reducing their desire for holiness, and making them feel that they cannot possibly please their parents. A wise parent, a wise dad will seek to make obedience desirable and attainable by love and gentleness….again this found in the gospel of Christ. As we read also in this instruction by Paul!

“admonition” carries the idea of reminding the child of faults (constructively) and duties (responsibilities). This is to be done is godly manner for the glory of God and for the child to grow in His grace. This is where I think we are failing as dads…….as men! Not taking our responsibility seriously.Why? Sadly, men, part of me thinks we have handed in our man card and our responsibility……… and replaced it with compliancy! And what happens when we do that?The ripple effect it has on future generations according the scriptures is devastating. Scripture says…… “you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,” Exo 20:5 Feeling the wrath and punishment because of the father’s lack of love for God and the lack of importance to train their children in the admonition of the Lord.

Take Eli and his sons, as a father who handed in his man card to turn a blind eye to sin……..the blasphemous sins of his sons. Did Eli do everything possible to reason with his adult sons? They’re old enough to make their own decisions right? The sons sin were their own doing and not of their father. But, is there a place where Eli is responsible for his sons, despite their ages. We read that He said to his sons “Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. So he said to them, "Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the LORD's people transgress.” 1 Sam 2:22-24

Now, the sons may not have listened to their father Eli, but did Eli do his very best as a father who knew the God of glory……to plead, correct, and discipline his sons in what they were doing. According to the scriptures….NO HE DIDN’T…… because scripture says He faced judgement as well for the contempt and blasphemous acts his sons were doing in the temple. God spoke to Eli with these words “Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?' Therefore the LORD God of Israel says: 'I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.' But now the LORD says: 'Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father's house, so that there will not be an old man in your house.” 1 Sam 2:29-31

Judgement not only came to Eli’s sons, but to him as well as Samuel prophesied “Now the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel answered, "Speak, for Your servant hears." Then the LORD said to Samuel: "Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them.” 1 Sam 3:10-13

So let me ask you men! Are you spending time, interacting, and getting involved in your children’s lives dads? Or are you ignoring the warning signs as Eli and biblical foundation we have been called to teach and live out in our homes……in our lives according to the scriptures. I want to ask you some hard questions this morning men! And I’m asking myself these questions as well…..

Are we [are YOU, dad] properly training and admonishing your children……..
  • To be sure of his or her salvation.
  • To love and understand God’s word as precious, and not as duty or some form of legalism.
  • To obey their God given roles as children with joy and willingness as it is fitting to the Lord.
  • To be a proper and effective witness for the Lord Jesus Christ to their generation.
  • To desire those times of alone with the Lord daily.
  • To exercise self-control when it comes disappointments and frustrations.
  • To have fellowship, to respect and honor the church family and its leaders, because they are those whom God has appointed over you in the local church.
  • To understand the power of prayer and the reason why we pray to a holy God.


DADS……….Are you exemplifying in any of these areas in your life as a guide, example for your children to follow after? Men it’s time we claim our man cards and do what God called us to do…if not, we could face judgement like Eli did some 4 thousand years ago. If you feel you’ve failed at many of these questions, then my suggestion for you is this! Go to your children and humbly apologize and repent of your complacency as a dad and be restored to your God given role….it doesn’t matter how old they are. The Lord can use those situations to bring you closer together or closer to Him and His saving grace. Men reclaim what God has ordained for you and your family! As we read in 1 Cor 11:3 “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” God has given us men a responsibility to lead and guide our families to Him and blessed gospel. It wasn't Eve sin that brought destruction…though she sinned and God dealt with her accordingly. Why? Paul wrote “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” Rom 5:12. The issue fell upon the man…..and the same principle and responsibility still lies with the head of the home! 

I’m not saying he is responsible for every sin each family member commits on their own wilfully. What I am saying is that he is ultimately responsible and will be judged for his leadership role in the home that God has ordained for the family! Though each and every one of us male and female will stand and give an account, to God for our timer and lives……….but the husband is still responsible for his family. That’s why its vital men we hold and guards our responsibility as dads…as husbands, and stop listening to the culture around us that tells us that we’re incompetent and irresponsible to lead our wives and children. Christ left us men to an example for the marriage and for our children. Don’t throw in your man-card for complacency and disinterest because your ill-equipped. God knows your weaknesses and your inabilities to lead…..that’s why Christ came to be an example for us to follow. That’s why Paul wrote these truths for us! “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Eph 5:25-27. And we read his role for his children…….. “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Eph 6:4. And to top it off He sealed us with the Holy Spirit so that we can do and teach, direct these truths to our families into His beautiful sovereign arms.

Remember men of God your role is vital and just as important…..it is so important you will leave a legacy for many years to come in your children. And as this writer wrote to dads in his blog “From God’s perspective, you are His blessing to your children. God wants your children to know about Him and He picked you out of all the dads on earth to make it happen. Read Deuteronomy 6. So, the next time your tempted to think you’re not that important – that you’re not getting anywhere, the next time you see an advertisement with a mocking reference to the buffoon dad, the next time you wonder if what you’re doing matters over the long haul, remember, God doesn’t make mistakes. He chose you, Dad. He chose you for His purposes and His plan. That’s one of the great comforts we Dads can take in knowing God. He always has a plan. It may not be apparent in those everyday moments that often seem unimportant but faithful fatherhood is a marathon, not a sprint.” So dads hang in there and fight the good fight for the glory of God and the family. Love your wife as Christ loved the church. Love and teach your children about the glory of God and the gospel. Take the unpopular road as Joshua was willing to take an unpopular stand "choose you this day whom you will serve?

What was his response?

"Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:14-15

We fathers will serve the Lord..... because that’s what will make a difference for the family.

08 June 2014

AND IT WAS NIGHT


John 13:18-35

Night time usually brings out the worst kinds of people……I remember as a kid growing up, watching my dad as he strap his police gun belt around his waist to go out for another long night to serve and protect! I remember he used to say to me before heading out in his police car “it’s a dark and hot out there which means, all the wacko’s will be out tonight, so stay indoors for mother”. Now my dad knew, and we know, that isn't always true or the case when its hot and dark out…...but we can all agree, their usually a greater evil that presents itself more freely in the darkness. But think about this for a moment as it pertains to the scriptures. DARKNESS in its proper context usually represents unbelief, sin, and evil according to the bible. Which usually is associated with death, ignorance, and those things which are sinful and bad; it describes hard or stiff-necked hearts which is an accusing, justifying, unchildlike attitude when being corrected from God’s Word. Darkness represents all that is contrary to light and God’s truth. As Prov 4:19 says “The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble.” Jesus even said in Matthew 6:23 “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” Remember Jesus is the ONLY Light which drives out darkness…drives out sin and death. Jesus said "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." John 8:12.

If a person does not have Jesus, who is Life and light to humanity, then he or she is in darkness. John describes this passage of the Upper Room Discourse with such detail. What do I mean? John writes and reminds us “and it was night” Why does the time of day matter to the reader? Not only was it physically night time helping us to understand it was in the evening when all this took place in the upper room…..but the description of the time of day also helps us to understand the spiritual state of one man in the upper room. This man Judas Iscariot would betray the One who loved Him to death on a cross. It’s sad to think that this man would be in complete darkness for all eternity. It’s sad to think that this man would never again wake up to the sunshine. It’s sad to think that this man would be forever be in torment for the foolish choices he made. It’s sad to think that this man would never have the opportunity to repent and be restored to God. We really need to stop and think!  What drew a man to such a humiliating end? I want you to think of not just Judas here…… but maybe someone you know or knew who felt like Judas and lost everything in the end. Because as John wrote earlier in his gospel “They love darkness rather than light” What hatred drew this man away from God’s mercy and grace? What hatred drew this man to take his own life over the forgiveness found in Christ?

I think before we can answer those questions we need to understand who Judas was! Who was Judas and what was he like? His name is a form of Judah, his name means “Jehovah leads” that’s sad! Maybe his parents had great hopes for his future. It’s interesting that he was the only disciple that didn’t come from Galilee. Historically he was probably a young, zealous and patriotic Jew, who didn’t want the Romans to rule over them. He obviously was intelligent enough to recognize that Jesus had powers like no other man. He was a man who had no real or genuine attraction to Christ or spiritual things. He was selfish man who desired wealth and power…..maybe that’s what keep him following Jesus. He wanted what Jesus had when it came to power and popularity. We know according to the scriptures Judas was ordained before the foundation of the world to betray Christ. Psalm 55:12-13 says “For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; Then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; Then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, My companion and my acquaintance.”

Zechariah 11:12-13 we read “Then I said to them, "If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain." So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said to me, "Throw it to the potter"—that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter.” King David was the first to predict that someone would betray the Messiah. David said “Even My own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate My bread, Has lifted up his heel against Me.” Psalm 41:9.

Was it because……..
  • He was abused as a child and never knew what love truly was?
  • He failed as a business man?
  • He was in an unsalvageable relationship or marriage?
  • He suffered great disappointment in life?
  • He couldn’t handle the pressures of life?

Whatever it was………we can conclude it steamed from a heart filled with hatred and a rejection to the truth of the gospel. As the Apostle Paul said “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” Rom 1:18. Paul even went on to say “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools,” Romans 1:21-22. Judas was a prime example of this verse that Paul penned; claiming to have it all together by his own ignorant heart they [he] becomes a fools

“fools” unlike our English term is not a fun-loving clown but an ungodly man or woman. This behaviour doesn’t invite laughs, but pity and punishment. Again like I’ve said many times…there are to two phrases I never want to hear from our Lord Jesus “depart from me I never knew you” in Matthew’s gospel, and “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you;….” Luke 12:20. Judas stands as a in your face warning about the evil potential of spiritual carelessness.The unceasing love and patience of God and the squandered opportunities to be receptive to His mercy and grace. The prime example of what wrong choices, sinful lusts and hardness of heart leads too. There are some things we can learn from this scene in the upperoom with His disciples.

HOW NEAR A PERSON CAN BE TO CHRIST AND ASSOCIATE WITH HIM THROUGH HIS CHILDREN SUPERFICIALLY.

Think about…….Judas was present in many occasions of Jesus performing the miracles that only we can read about. Sadly most of the time when Jesus did something amazing and mind blowing or showed and demonstrated His love for fallen sinners……Judas would say something like this “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for 300 denarii and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it” John 12:4-6. As one writer said “He did not care about the poor. He was a hard-hearted man, too concerned with feathering his own nest while others, less fortunate, suffered around him.”

See we need to understand………Judas wasn’t a man who was coerced into doing what he did. There was no invisible hand forcing him to betray Christ, he acted freely without any external compulsion, which makes him responsible for his own actions and sin. See, Judas’s heart was evil; which is a reminder to all of us about the natural man and woman of any generation who are dead in their trespasses and sin. What a reminder for us as God’s children! It’s the power and prompting of God to remove the deaf ears, give sight to the blind and resurrect the dead. Judas demonstrates to us the natural man who wants nothing to do Christ! Why? He hates the gospel and most of all the God of the gospel. We can go through the motions, attend church and bible studies and never truly be converted by the power of God. We can easily play the game in fooling our parents or friends, to make them feel you’re saved, so they get off your back about the issue. We can even deceive ourselves to thinking I’ve accepted Jesus, but it’s like I’ve said before! “You may know Jesus, but does Jesus know you?” Do we have Judas’ in our churches today? Yes. My question for some of you is……..Does your life exemplify Judas or Christ? Is it genuine or superficial?

NO MATTER HOW SELFISH AND SINFUL YOUR PLANS ARE TO OPPOSE GOD, THEY WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO STOP THE PURPOSES OF GOD.

Even His own disciples were blinded to Judas’s betrayal, reason God allowed this happen. (v21-v29). If you go back a few chapters you would see Jesus already warned them about the betrayer! In John 6:70-71 we read “Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?" He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.” No matter what scheme Judas was trying to achieve it would never stop the sovereign God of the universe to fulfill His plan and purposes for His glory. As Isaiah wrote "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isa 55:8-9. According to the scriptures this was God’s plan all along when it came to betrayer…………Judas fulfilled his part. Sadly what Judas didn’t see through His scheming, is that Jesus had to be handed over to the officials and die. This had to happen for redemption to even become an eternal promise for sinners like you and me….and even Judas. Christ had to be handed over for the fulfillment of God’s perfect plan to save us from the life choices like Judas. In all honesty Judas was doing his part to fulfill a greater purpose….SALVATION FOR LOST SINNERS. That’s why we read that Jesus had to be handed over numerous times throughout the gospels that lead to His arrest and betrayal by Judas. In Mark 8:31 we read “And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” Someone had to betray the Lord, and that betrayer just so happened to be Judas Iscariot.

NO MATTER HOW WICKED AND SINFUL WE ARE OR BECOME, CHRIST HAS UNCEASING LOVE AND DESIRES THAT WE REPENT AND FOLLOW HIM.

Judas had ever opportunity from the foot washing, to Jesus giving him the piece of bread to stop and say “Lord forgive me a sinful man.” That’s grace isn't it? The lowest of low having an opportunity to turn from their wicked ways and genuinely repenting to a holy God whose cup overflows with love for fallen sinners. There are many Judas’s around the globe today…even possibly in this church or someone you know personally whether they are close to you or distant to you. In order to be truly saved by this unceasing grace……….The Holy Spirit has to be the one to call you out of darkness though the finishing works of the cross. That’s why I find it very interesting that after Jesus washed the disciple’s feet [including Judas] but waited until after Judas left the Upper Room to go get ready to betray Christ. That Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper….another prime example that this privilege is only for true believers in Christ……not the Judas’ of the world. He is calling out to sinners to repent and be restored to an eternal relationship with a holy God. A God who gave Judas every opportunity to repent and stop what his natural heart desired to do. Do you know that Jesus even loved Judas when he betrayed Him with a kiss. In Matt 26:48-50 we read “Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him." Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed Him. But Jesus said to him, "Friend, why have you come?" Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.” He called Judas “friend” giving him yet another opportunity to repent of his wickedness. Jesus had always used him as his friend, his familiar friend, who had been of his councils, and had eaten, at his table. This simple act carried in it something that would be very cutting to a child of God. Sadly though Judas had no conscience, or sense of gratitude, because he sold his soul to the devil for 30 pieces of silver.

Judas had the privilege to be one of the twelve closet followers. The dark and tragic story of Judas reveals to us the depths of evil the human heart is capable of.

Again!
  • You can attend church all your life.
  • You can say all the right things or words.
  • You can even fool your family and friends but you will never be able to fool a sovereign God who knows everything! Yes, everything.
  • A person can go through his whole life professing Jesus as Lord and still end up having a tragic story like Judas.

Only because they love darkness rather than light! If this is you! I plead with you to examine your life in light of God’s word and heed the warning signs of this tragic story of a man named Judas who sold his soul to devil because he loved his life and sin more than Christ. Remember! Judas gave his life to follow Jesus, but he never gave Jesus his heart. Please don’t let this describe your life…..it has devastating results in the end. Think about it…..We have Judas’s in the church today around the globe. We have Judas’s in our homes........But remember this, we also have a loving Saviour who will save even the vilest of sinners by His grace. So heed the warning signs and  let us as J C Ryle said about this passage “let us watch jealously over our hearts” Let us walk with awareness of the dangers of sin and darkness. Let us jealously cling, hang on to Christ the glory and promise of our salvation. He is calling you to run to light because he wants you see sin as He sees sin….wicked and defiled. SO CRY OUT TO HIM! Seek His face in genuine repentance and be transformed by the power of God and His salvation…..….genuinely, not superficially!