Summary: Can you fall down so far you can't get up? Judas did. Are there people in the church today who are like Judas? Is it possible we could be like him? And if so, how would we avoid becoming like him in our lives?
OPEN: A tourist was visiting a famous landmark on the ocean and he’d walked out on a pier to see the ocean better. But as he looked over the edge of the pier he was disturbed by how deep the water seemed to be. As he was thinking about how deep the water must be at this point, he noticed an old man fishing off the pier, and he went over to him and asked:
"If I were to fall into this water, would I drown?"
The old man smiled and said "Nah. Falling into the water isn't what drowns people. It's staying UNDER the water that drowns them.”
The title for our sermon this morning is “Can You Fall So Far Down You Can’t Get Up?” In other words: “Can you mess up your life so badly that you can’t undo the damage?”
And the answer from Scripture is… YES. You can mess things up so badly you can’t undo the damage.
And the answer from Scripture is… NO. You can’t mess things up so badly you can’t undo the damage.
The Bible teaches us that you CAN drown in your sin. But it isn't the falling into sin that will drown you… it’s the staying under that will do that!
Let’s start with what II Thessalonians 2:10-12 tells us about this. It says that certain people perish “… because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
There are certain people who are going to perish because they've made a decision they've decided to REFUSE to love the truth. These people really don’t want God to tell them what to do. They don’t want God to have any real authority in their lives. THEY want to be the final authority in their lives.
This (holding up the Bible) is God’s written truth. If I disagree with God’s written Word, then I have rejected truth and I have embraced a lie. If I do that, God says He will send me “…a strong delusion, so that (I) may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” II Thessalonians 2:11-12
That’s scary. And that’s disturbing. And somehow it doesn't seem quite fair.
But it IS fair.
God is an equal opportunity employer. If people WANT the truth God will give them the truth. But if they DON’T want the truth - if they refuse to love the Truth - God will give them what they want. They want falsehood? – God will give them falsehood. God will give them a LIE to deceive them so that in the final day – when we stand before His throne - there will be no gray area. You’ll either belong to God or you won’t. And the decision will already have been made, by YOU AND I, as to our final destination.
We actually have an illustration out of Scripture of a man who made that choice in his life. He was a man who made the choice to embrace falsehood and lies in his life.
His name was Judas Iscariot.
His name has been a byword for betrayal. His name was immortalized by the kiss he used to betray Christ. We call it the “Judas Kiss” – it speaks of treachery and deceit.
Now, there are theologians who try to cut Judas a break. They try to paint Judas as a nice guy who was just “misunderstood”.
ILLUS: Years ago, there was a popular musical entitled “Jesus Christ Superstar” and it depicted Judas as actually a hero who was trying to save Jesus from His self-destructive ways. According to their story Judas meant well, but he ended up getting Jesus killed anyway. In their story - Judas was a hero, he was a nice man who just didn't understand what God had in mind.
But Judas was NOT a hero. And he was NOT a nice man.
Judas was not a man you could trust.
And John 12:3-6 tells us why.
“Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, JUDAS ISCARIOT, who was later to betray him, objected, ’Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.’
He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because HE WAS A THIEF; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.”