Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

02/19/2017 A.M.

 

Examining Sin From The Life Of Judas

John 13. 18-30

 

His name is a popular Biblical name in both the Old and New Testament.

There are eight people with the name Judas mentioned in the NewTestament alone.

In fact... two of Jesus’ Apostles were named Judas... Judas the son of James... Also known as Thaddeus.

 

However...One man has ruined the name for everybody else by betraying Jesus.

This Judas has long been regarded as one of the most tragic figures in all of human history…His name is synonymous with sin and betrayal.

 

Here he is...

• One who was a part of the inner circle of Jesus Christ.

• He heard the greatest sermons ever preached...

• Observed daily the lifestyle of God in the flesh...

• Witnessed firsthand the miracles Jesus performed...

• He shared an intimate association with the original heroes of the Christian faith... The Apostles.

 

How could such a man betray Jesus?

 

Before we are too hard on Judas... Maybe we ought to bring this question closer to home.

• How could an Elder... Serving as a church treasurer... Cook the books...Embezzle funds from the family of God?

• How could a preacher of the Gospel throw away his reputation and bring reproach upon the church by having an affair with the secretary?... Yet it continues to happen.

• How can a trusted Bible Teacher turn alcoholic or drug addict?

• How does a teen raised in the church... Cheat and lie his way through college?

• How could Abraham give his beloved wife... As a sexual object... To a King to save his own skin?

• How could the King of Israel... A man after God’s own heart… Commit adultery and murder?

• How could Demas... Who once knew the Joys of Salvation... Decide to return to the world?

• How can a church lose its first love?

 

This morning… I want to start where Jeff left off last Sunday evening…

Examining the dangers of Sin using the Life of Judas...

 

First...Judas teaches us that sin is a choice we make.

James tells us that... Satan is a roaring lion going about seeking whom he may devour... Satan is always searching for a heart to enter.

 

But...But... Satan must find… a willing heart... An open mind... Before he can engage that individual in sin.

 

James goes on to tell us how this takes place... We are drawn away... Enticed to sin... By our own lust... By our own evil desires... Our own evil thinking.

 

Satan can only enter... And do his hideous work within a willing heart.

So...John 13.2 tells us that Satan entered Judas’ heart... Prompting him to betray Jesus.

Your and my association with Satan is a matter of choice... OURS!!

 

Scripture affirms this....

• In the case of Job... We find Satan coming to God... Asking permission to afflict Job. Satan is restrained by God from overpowering Job’s freewill... His free moral agency.

 

• In Luke eight... The demons in the demonic had to ask permission to go into the swine.

 

• Jesus said to Peter... Satan has ASKED to sift you as wheat... Satan is restrained by God.

 

Church...We gotta know that this world would be an ugly place to live... If God was not restraining Satan... Every moment of every day.

 

What would this church... What would this assembly... look like this morning... If God were not restraining Satan?

 

This is what Hell is... isn’t it?... A place... A quality of life... Where Satan rules... Where God is not restraining him?

 

• Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10.13... God is faithful... He Will restrain Satan… He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. But... When tempted... God will also provide a way of escape.

 

So...We must know this morning that Judas did what he did... Because he chose to.

 

Church...Other than sin done in ignorance... Sin is a determinate choice on our part to do what we want to do... Rather than what God wants us to do.

 

Satan cannot force us to do that which is against our will.

God created us free moral agents...He gave us a WILL...

• We control our lust... Our evil desires... Our evil thinking.

• We have the power to say NO to temptation.

• We choose our attitudes... Our dispositions... And our behavior.

• We become the people and person we want to be.

 

Now...What Satan can do is...

• Entice us... 

• Prompt us...

• Seduce us...

• Lure...

• And Encourage us.

Satan can and does bring about circumstances and situations in our lives to where it is easy for us to say yes to Sin... But the choice is ours.

 

This brings us to point number two... Sin is a progressive.

Sin doesn’t just happen all at once... Judas didn’t become a traitor overnight.  His sin... Our sin... Is the result of something that’s been going on for some time in our heart.

 

Think of David and Bathsheba.

All of a sudden sin is evident and we wonder... How did such a person... How could a man after God’s own heart do such a thing?

 

But you see... This was not all that sudden... It was a culmination of a process.

• I doubt it was David’s first time on the roof... The rooftop was his adult website!

• He sees Bathsheba bathing...

• He fanaticizes over the possibilities... Feeds and enlarges his lust...

• He sends word to find out who she is.

• He commands she be brought to him.

• They... Meet... Talk... And then the adultery occurs.

Adultery doesn’t just happen... It’s a result of a heart set on lustful thinking.

Uriah’s murder was not a spur-of-the-moment sin... But was the result of sin’s progressive nature.

 

If you had asked David a few months earlier if he would commit adultery and murder... He would have told you NO... ABSOLUTELY not... But sin is progressive...

• It leads us where we do not want to go…

• Prompts us to do things we do not want to do!

 

Like ours… David and Judas’ sin had its beginning in the heart... Long before the deed...

• Solomon wrote... As a man thinks in his heart... So is he.

• Jesus said... Out of the heart come the issues of life.

• Peter speaks of those that have eyes full of adultery.

What we think… We become!

 

So…Sin is an ongoing process that begins in our heart... Instigated by Satan... But kept alive by us.

• It may be mental adultery...

• Substance abuse...

• Materialism...

• Gossip...

• It may be sowing discord... Causing disunity in the family... At work... Here at church.

• It might be covetousness.

• Dishonesty... Whatever...

You see... We have a choice... We can either:  Give into the process... Or we can say no to Satan...Resist the process.

 

David & Judas teach us that... The place to stop sin is in the heart... In the thought... AMEN?

 

Thirdly...Judas lets us know that anyone is eligible.

Listen...If one who served as an Apostle could go down as the greatest traitor of all history... Then all of us are certainly susceptible... RIGHT??

 

The Hebrews’ writer affirms this possibility when he speaks of... Our crucifying Jesus again and again!

 

Truth is... If any one of us... Think we are beyond the possibility of ANY sin... Then we are in real danger.

• Paul warns... If any of you think he stands above sin... Take heed lest you fall.

• John says... If we say we have no sin... Are beyond sin... We are lying... Deceiving ourselves.

• The Book of Romans was written to explain that... We have all sinned...Fallen short of God’s Glory... That there is none righteous... No not one.

 

It never ceases to amaze me how many of us think we are uniquely qualified to handle Satan’s slippery slopes.

• I can mix freely with those of the world... Love the world... And not be tempted to worldliness.

• I can surf adult websites... And not fall into adultery, fornication, or homosexuality.

• I can drink a little... use drugs occasionally... and still not have to deal with addiction.

• I can miss worship services... and not let it become a habit like those of the Hebrew church.

• I can engage in a... little loose talk... gossip... and not allow it to hurt anybody.

Why is it that we think we can participate in pig-pen living... And escape the smell of pigs?

Why is it that we think we can live in the far country... And still be faithful to the Father?

Scripture speaks of ONLY two men as being meek... Moses and Jesus.

 

Yet PRIDE was the very slippery slope that caused Moses to strike the rock and take credit for providing water for the children of Israel.

 

David was a man after God’s own heart.... Could he ever be guilty of...

• Covetousness...

• Adultery...

• Lying...

• Deceit..

• Murder?

I imagine David thought he could stop this sinful progression any time he wanted to... And he could have...But he didn’t.... But he didn’t.

It is tough stopping sin after it starts... While it is in progress... RIGHT?

 

Peter said... Lord... I’ll go with you wherever you go... Do whatever you need me to do... I will never leave you... Never forsake you... Abandon you... I’ll die for you.

Yet a few hours later... We hear him deny he ever knew Jesus.

 

The progression was...

• He was too sure of his own ability.

• He was unaware of his vulnerability.

• He warmed by the wrong fire...Kept the wrong company.

• He was more interested in what people thought than in his relationship with God.

You see... Satan worked Peter into the circumstance... To just where he wanted him.

Then...Then... It was easy for Peter to say... I never knew him. 

 

Church...You and I know our slippery Slopes... We know our own sin weaknesses...Our susceptibilities…So...Be on guard... Protect yourselves from Satan’s slipping into Satan’s grip!

 

Judas teaches us that it’s easy for the holy to become ordinary.

Holy in the Greek literally means... Set apart... Extraordinary... Different.

• The Tabernacle and Temple were holy... Set apart for God’s use... God’s dwelling place.

• The priesthood of Aaron was holy... A particular group of men... Set apart for God’s use.

• Israel was an extraordinary nation... Set apart as God’s chosen people.

• The command was to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy... Set apart as a special day.

 

It is easy for some of us... Especially... those of us raised in the church... to simply take God for granted... To become so familiar with religion... That things HOLY become ordinary to us.... The holy becomes common!

 

• Judas walked and talked daily with the Son of God... God in the flesh.

• He heard the greatest sermons ever preached... He was there for the Sermon on the Mount...

• He heard Jesus pray...

• He witnessed the miracles firsthand...

• He watched as people were raised from the dead...

• He saw Jesus walk on water...

• Turn water into wine

• Calm a storm on the Sea of Galilee...

Yet he became a traitor.

 

Remember the story Philip Yancy tells about being in Yellowstone National Park at the Old Faithful Inn. Old Faithful was about to erupt. Everybody made their way over to the window. “There she goes”.... People are cheering... Clapping... Everybody is excited. Everybody that is... Except the folks who worked at the Inn. While the visitors were at the windows witnessing the spectacular... The waiters were... Filling coffee cups...Water glasses... Busing tables... Going about their normal routine. They didn’t even look toward the window. You see... They had witnessed this so many times that the spectacular had become common... Even ordinary.

 

Church...Is it possible that we have fallen into this trap of Satan?

 

• We get up and leave worship?... Go out in the foyer to talk... To the parking lot to smoke... Or do something else... Just because we want to.  We leave the sacred to do the common.

 

• Some of us have heard so many sermons... That... the HOLY... The SACRED... Doesn’t stir us anymore. Invitation songs are nothing more than a signal that all this is about over... Sometimes we even choose to leave the service at this point...

So… A Holy opportunity… Forus becomes Ordinary.

 

• We are not any longer moved by the body and the blood of the communion service.

 

• We become anxious if the prayer service is just a little bit longer than we think appropriate.

 

Church...We gotta ask ourselves... What is Holy... Spectacular... Set apart...to us?

 

Finally... we all have a price.

At the Last Supper... Judas sees Jesus take up a towel and wash feet in genuine servanthood. He hears Jesus say... This is what I want you to do... This is what Genuine Kingdom Living is about... This is what I’ve called you to.

And Judas wants no part of it.

 

Like the rest of the Apostles… Judas didn’t know what Christianity was all about… They thought the Kingdom of God was about...

• Thrones...

• Popularity...

• Power...

• Prestige...

• Privilege...

 

But Jesus comes to this Supper saying... NO...No... My kingdom is about...

Towels...

Serving...

Washing feet...

When we examine the life of Judas closely… It tells us Christianity is bound up in serving the Jesus in others.

 

It was Jesus who said… As often as you do it to the least of these… You do it to Me… For whoever wants to save his life will lose it… But whoever loses his life for me will save it.

 

Christianity is about the way of the cross... If anybody will be my disciple... Let him deny himself... Take up the cross and follow me.

• The cross is an un-get-overable incident.

• The cross is where we die to self.

• Regardless of how we may have seen it in the past… The cross is about serving others.

 

In Romans 6... Paul says... The old man of sin is crucified in the act of New Testament baptism... And we are raised to walk in a new life... become INSTRUMENTS of righteousness... living sacrifices.

 

Church...What happens when we... Like Judas... Realize that we have to...

• Turn in our crown for a cross?.

• We must trade our throne for a towel?

• When we realize that doctrinal orthodoxy is secondary to serving the Jesus in others?

• When we hear Jesus say… Woe to you, teachers of the law… You are neglecting the more important matters of the law… Justice… Mercy… Faithfulness… Don’t you know the Sabbath was made for man… Not man for the Sabbath.

 

Will we be like Judas?

• Will we bail out when we find out about the towel and the washbasin?

• About this idea of religiously serving others?

What is our price?... Yours and mine?

 

Have you ever given thought to... Selling out?... Giving up?... Just quitting the Christian walk?...

• Stop preaching?… Stop Eldering?

• Stop serving others?

• Stop teaching?

• Stop loving?... Stop forgiving?

• Stop washing feet?

• Stop encouraging the downtrodden?

• Stop trusting God with our Difficult Moments?...

Just so we could focus on our own personal issues and desires?

All of us have been there haven’t we?

 

But there is hope for us... We must never forget God’s Grace.

We will fail like... Moses... David... Peter... Judas... But there’s Grace…Mercy… Forgiveness…If we are willing to pick up the pieces and try again.

 

• The invitation this morning is for us to lose our life by becoming a child of God… Giving our life to Jesus in… Faith... Repentance... and New Testament Baptism.

 

• Perhaps some of us... As children of God... Have allowed sin to separate us from God.

The invitation is to come home... Acknowledge our sins... Confess our faults...

Enjoy God’s forgiveness... And the fellowship of the church family.

 

• Maybe we have some secret sin that is about to erupt into a serious event in our life and we need the prayers of the church to help us deal with this sin happening.

 

• Maybe we are looking for a church home... a church family... If you are a baptized believer... We welcome you to our membership.

 

If you need to respond to this lesson... Come now as we stand and sing together.