Summary: This sermon is going to focus on the life of Judas and in doing so encourage us to never take our spiritual blessings for granite but instead out of thankfulness examine our hearts and confess our sins so that we might keep our eyes fixed on the perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ!
Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567
Today we are going to finish the sermon series on the Twelve Apostles by examining the life of Judas Iscariot. Before I begin, I want to acknowledge that the book “Twelve Ordinary Men” by John MacArthur was used as the foundation for this sermon series. Judas is undoubtably one of the most universally known and scorned disciples of all time. Even though he was called and given the same teachings and opportunities to develop an in-depth personal relationship with his Lord as the other apostles, Judas chose to squander his spiritual blessings by loving the things of this world. In betraying the sinless, Lamb of God for a mere 30 pieces of silver Judas demonstrated how depraved humanity can become when we focus on the evil desires of our hearts (James 1:13-15). While finding out that the fruits of Judas’ labor was not wealth, but suicide and eternal damnation might tempt one to say “AMEN” one can’t help but think that his story was placed in the Bible as a plea for us to examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5-8)! Just because a person reads the Bible, prays and attends church does not mean that one has obtained salvation and knows their Master (Matthew 7:21-23) any more than Judas did! Without confession of sin, belief in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice (John 3:16) and making Him the Lord of one’s life (Romans 10:9) one simply has not become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), filled with the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13) and eternally adopted into God’s family (John 1:12-13)! This sermon is going to focus on the life of Judas and in doing so encourage us to never take our spiritual blessings for granite but instead out of thankfulness examine our hearts and confess our sins so that we might keep our eyes fixed on the perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:1-3)!
Background on Judas Iscariot
Like many of the other apostles there is little that is known about the life of Judas Iscariot. Even though Judas is mentioned in the Gospels twenty times and twice in the book of Acts his name appearing at the end of the list of apostles (Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:19; Luke 6:16) or not at all in the book of Acts signifies that except for Jesus’ betrayal Judas was “not a central figure in events portrayed.” Of his family members only his father’s name, Simon (John 6:31), is known. Judas’ given name is a form of Judah which meant “Jehovah leads.” While his surname “Iscariot” could have meant he belonged to the group of Sicarii, dagger-wielding assassins, most likely his name either meant “false one,” “the deliverer” or simply reflected that his home town might have been Kerioth (Joshua 15:25). Judas was the treasurer of the itinerant group whom often helped himself to the group’s money (John 12:6). While Jesus’ calling of Judas is not recorded in Scripture, his role amongst the twelve as “betrayer” is clearly outlined in prophesies such as Psalms 41:9, 55:12-14 and Zechariah 11:12-13. In the process of hanging himself (Matthew 27:5) Judas fell headfirst on jagged rocks, his intestines spilled out and he died (Acts 1:18). Unlike the other apostle whom are known for continuing to spread the Gospel message after Christ’s ascension, Judas will forever be known as the ultimate traitor.
His Calling – “Lost Opportunity”
Judas being one of the chosen disciples has “posed theological problems since antiquity.” Jesus specifically stated He chose all twelve apostles (John 6:70-71) and sent them out to the lost sheep of Israel to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the leapers and cast out demons (Matthew 10:5-8). The fact that Judas was chosen by Jesus and did miracles in His name does not pose a theological problem, for even evil people like Pharaoh and the Babylonians were called to do God’s will, but merely points to Jesus’ warning on the Sermon on the Mount that the outward manifestation of God’s glory is not sufficient proof of one’s salvation (Matthew 7:22-23). For salvation to be realized one must give one’s heart to Jesus and make Him the Lord of one’s life (Romans 10:9). Judas however joined the twelve not to give his heart to Jesus but to share in His power and influence so that he might in turn satisfy the evil desires of his heart for “selfish gain, worldly ambition, avarice and greed.” To those whom have been offered every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3), how are we going to respond to Jesus’ call for us to be His children and to serve Him? Are we going to be like Judas and squander that which we have received to obtain riches we cannot keep or are we going to surrender our hearts to obtain salvation that cannot be lost?