Summary: This sermon compares the guilt of Judas Iscariot with that of Simon Peter and draws lessons on how God would deal with our guilt.
The Enemy Within: Guilt. Ps. 51:1-3
INTRO.: Illus.: Murder trial in Oklahoma. (Illustrations follow this sermon.) From SermonCentral.com contributed by Eric Snyder. The defendant knew he was guilty. His sin found him out.
King David also felt a deep sense of guilt when he took Bathsheba and killed her husband. He wrote Psalm 51. Read verses 1-3.
Unresolved Guilt is a serious hindrance to our spiritual life. Let’s look at two individuals who touched the life of Jesus and see how they dealt with their guilt.
I. The first is Judas Iscariot:
A. We get insight into his character in John 12:1-6
1. He was a thief who robbed the poor.
2. His main motivation was money.
B. The reason he betrayed Jesus: Matt. 26:14-16
1. Many try to rationalize his action by saying he didn’t think they would really kill Jesus.
2. Or, he wanted to force the hand of Jesus and bring on a revolution,
3. Or, he disagreed with the peaceful policies of Jesus.
4. The truth is he was a thief and opportunist who saw an opportunity to make some money.
C. He had every opportunity to change his mind.
1. Jesus confronted him at the Passover meal. John 13:21
2. Yet, he did betray the Lord. Jn. 18:1-3
3. His greed caused him to ignore every opportunity to repent.
D. The outcome of his sin: Acts 1:16
1. No doubt he had great remorse. Perhaps the sight of Jesus’ bleeding body reached his heart.
2. He tried to handle things himself: threw the money back to the priests.
3. Still seeking absolution, he hung himself.
II. The second is Simon Peter:
A. He is a courageous soul.
1. Said he would never betray Christ. Matt. 26:31-35
2. Struck off the ear of the High Priest’s servant. Jn. 18:10
3. Actually went into the High Priest’s courtyard.
B. Yet, under pressure, he betrayed his Lord. Matt 26:69-75
1. He was under tremendous pressure.
2. Like Judas, he had been warned by Jesus.
3. In him we see a human who was afraid and perhaps embarrassed.
C. The outcome of his betrayal was quite different than in the case of Judas:
1. He wept bitterly. Felt remorse like Judas.
2. We are not told any details of what Peter did.
3. Evidently, he repented and asked forgiveness because he was forgiven. Mark 16:7
III. The way we must deal with guilt:
A. ILLUS.: Preacher who killed himself. From Sermon Central.Com contributed by Rick Labate
1. He found the wrong way to deal with guilt.
B. We deal with guilt through the grace of God.
1. Claim the promise of Romans 8:1
2. We contact His grace through faith and obedience. Rom. 5:1, 2
3. Follow the example of those who first accepted Christ. Acts 2:38.
C. Even after accepting Christ, we may experience guilt because we are not automatically perfect.
1. We try to live the best lives we can, but sometimes fail.
2. At those times we must come to Jesus seeking forgiveness.
3. We may come confidently, knowing He understands. Heb. 4:14-16
CONC. As Corrie Ten Boom put it, “when we confess our sins, God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever. And then He places a sign out there that says, ‘No Fishing Allowed’.”
We all have some guilt in our lives. Some is appropriate and some is not. God specializes in dealing with guilt. He does it through grace and forgiveness. He does it through the cross of Christ.
A defendant was on trial for murder in Oklahoma. There was strong evidence indicating guilt, but there was no corpse. In the defense’s closing statement the lawyer, knowing that his client would probably be convicted, resorted to a trick. "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have a surprise for you all," the lawyer said as he looked at his watch. "Within one minute, the person presumed dead in this case will walk into this courtroom." He looked toward the courtroom door. The jurors, somewhat stunned, all looked on eagerly. A minute passed. Nothing happened. Finally the lawyer said, "Actually, I made up the previous statement. But you all looked on with anticipation. I, therefore, put it to you that there is reasonable doubt in this case as to whether anyone was killed and insist that you return a verdict of not guilty." The jury, clearly confused, retired to deliberate. A few minutes later, the jury returned and pronounced a verdict of guilty. "But how?" inquired the lawyer. "You must have had some doubt; I saw all of you stare at the door." Answered the jury foreman: "Oh, we did look. But your client didn’t."
In his book, My Tortured Conscience, Martin Weber writes, “He was a deeply committed Christian evangelist. Even in retirement he won many converts throughout the conference. Everyone spoke well of the gentle man.