Sunday, June 15, 2014

What Can We Learn From Judas Iscariot?

SERMON            GMT14-020

SERIES:              Topical – Special Days:  Father’s Day

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM

SUBTITLE:        What Can We Learn From Judas Iscariot?

SCRIPTURE:     Selected Scriptures (Matthew 26:20-25)

SUBJ:                  Lessons from a traitor

SUMMARY:       I propose to you that there are lessons taught by the treasonous actions of Judas Iscariot

SCHEME:           The aim of this message is that the members of NKBC examine their profession of faith in order to avoid the mistakes of Judas

What lessons or truths can we learn from Judas Iscariot?

1A     Having a privileged position does not secure genuine faith

2A     Performing religious activity does not indicate genuine faith

3A     Loving money is destructive to gaining genuine faith

4A     Living is useless without genuine faith

5A     Sinning has destructive consequences on non-genuine faith 

What Can We Learn from Judas Iscariot?
Selected Scriptures
(Matthew 26:20-25)


1.     At age 14 he ran away from home and fought in the French and Indian War. At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, he joined the American army as a colonel and in 1775 shared a command with Ethan Allen in the capture of Ticonderoga. Later he led 1000 men into Canada where he fought in the battle of Quebec. His courage in battle won him a promotion to brigadier general.

But something went wrong. Thoughts of compromise ate away at his patriotic zeal. Soon the unthinkable happened. He offered his services to the British, and in 1780 devised a plan to surrender West Point to British control. Today, instead of being remembered as a national hero, Benedict Arnold is synonymous with "traitor."

2.     Both world history and US history is littered with notorious traitors. You can google the word “traitor” and find lists after lists. The worst traitor in US history was probably Benedict Arnold. Today, instead of being remembered as a national hero, his name is synonymous with the word “traitor.”

The church throughout history has known of men and women who have seemingly submitted to Christ, served admirably, sacrificed much only to turn away from Christ and their faith. Some have been come atheists, some have joined non-Christian cults, and some have even left their families and turned to homosexuality.

The worst traitor of all times is probably Judas Iscariot. He was a disciple and later selected as an apostle and was a close companion of Jesus Christ.

3.     We don’t know why men and women choose to betray their country, their friends, or their families. Sometimes money plays a vital part. Often extortion or blackmail of some sort forces some to turn traitor. I am sure that most instances of treason are prompted by more than one reason.

4.     As horrific and mind-bobbling as the actions of Judas seem, they are not as severe as the number of lessons that can be learned from his actions. We as Christians need to learn from this episode in order to ensure that we are not deceived causing us to miss out on salvation. We need to learn from these mistakes to help others from being deceived which would result in their eternal damnation.

5.     What do we really know about Judas?  We know very little about Judas

·        – he is mentioned 20x’s in bible
·        He is mentioned twice in Acts
·        He speaks or his words are recorded on two occasions
·        His name appears last in every biblical list of the apostles
·        His name doesn’t appear at all in the list of apostles in Acts
·        Each time his name is mentioned he is mentioned as a ‘traitor”
·        His name “Judas” is a Greek form of Judah, meaning “Jehovah leads”
·        He is named for Judah the son of Jacob, father of the largest tribe
·        His father’s name was Simon
·        Judas was the only one of the 12 not from Galilee
·        Judas was the treasurer of the little band of disciples (John 12:6)
·        Iscariot is debated –

o   Some think it comes from ‘ish scarii’ – a group of dagger carrying assassins who were also known as Zealots

o   Some think is comes from a Hebrew name for the family name

o   Some think it was given to him after by Christian tradition

o   Some think that is refers the city of Keriot in Judea (‘ish’ (man, Kerioth, the town –Judas, man of Keriot. Keriot was a small farming town 23 miles south of Jerusalem

o   What we can know for sure is he was Jewish man who betrayed the Christ

o   His call to discipleship is not recorded in Scripture. It seems that he was a willing follower of Christ. He probably looked for a Messiah like the rest of his countrymen. He left whatever job or enterprise he had and followed Jesus full time. And in John 6, when many disciples abandoned Jesus, Judas stayed with him. (It seems he never surrendered his heart to Jesus)

o   He probably followed Jesus for political and possibly monetary reasons. He looked for Jesus to overthrow the Roman authority and to restore the kingdom to Israel. He saw that Jesus had “powers’ or abilities that no other man had. Judas was attracted to Jesus.

o   He was not attracted to Jesus for spiritual reasons. He didn’t want the kingdom for salvation or for spiritual reasons. He wanted the kingdom for all of its blessings, promises, benefits, and the abundance promised as part of the kingdom.

o   Judas at some point became disappointed and disillusioned. Jesus did not fulfill the individual expectations of the disciples. He continually pointed things to God and to spiritual things rather than physical things. So Judas became disappointed and as a result, lived as a hypocrite. He never conquered the worldliness in his heart. He never submitted to spiritual things.

Our theme is: lessons from a traitor

This is a good reminder for us all to examine ourselves making sure that we are in the faith so that we never stand before the Lord and hear him say, ‘depart from me…I never knew you.

Interrogative Sentence:  And so, we have to ask ourselves, what valuable lessons can we learn from this traitor, Judas Iscariot?

Transitional SentenceToday’s topic suggests five (5) valuable lessons that we need to learn from the actions of Judas Iscariot.

 [So, without further delay, let’s look at the first lesson that we can learn from Judas, and that is...]

1A     Having a privileged position does not secure genuine faith

Judas stand as living proof that having a godly heritage is not enough to save a soul. We can never take for granted nor can we really know the true condition of the hearts of those around us who say they are Christians.

Many people take for granted that they are actually believers. They depend on or rest on a number of privileges. Such as:

·        Religious background or upbringing
·        Baptism or confirmation
·        Church membership

So, they live for themselves according to the principles and philosophies of this world, believing that they will be OK when they do finally die. They think that these privileges will be sufficient grounds to God to look favorably on them on the day of judgment.

The trouble is that they have never experienced genuine faith for themselves. Outwardly they have accepted some or all of these so called privileges but inwardly they are still lost, living in darkness and deception, bound by sin, and under the wrath of God.

What is sad is that many of these people are in good solid churches. They often are leaders, Elders, Deacons, Sunday School Superintendents, Sunday School Teachers, and etc.

          Turn to Matthew 7:21-23

First of all – the “faith” that “says” and does not do anything is really empty and useless faith.        

Second – Jesus not suggesting that works or actions or even activities can or will save anyone. What he is saying is that true faith, real salvation will not fail to produce good works through the life of a genuine believers.

Thirdly – remarkable works or miracles, activity, and privilege does not secure nor guarantee salvation. Look at where these people placed their confidence. They placed their confidence in their good works.
So, not everyone who has great privilege or privileges will be saved.

Some polls taken in our country show that as many as 50% of Americans consider themselves Christians. Can you imagine what this country would be like if that were true. What kind of influence do you think that we could have if half of Americans were really Christians?

The bible gives very strict and high standards for judging what true Christianity is.

You would think it would be impossible to have or hold high privileges and still be lost wouldn’t you? Why do some people think that they are Christians when in fact they are not?

·        False assurance based on bad theology of real salvation.
·        Failure to examine their lives/actions against sin revealed in Scripture
·        Focusing inordinately on religious activities

Look again at Matthew and see what is in store for those who are hypocrites, who have made false professions, and who are trusting in privileges”

I new knew you. “To know” is Hebrew word that represents intimate relations or relationships. It is used in the bible to describe marital intimacy. It is also used of God’s intimate relationship with His people, Israel and the church.

What Jesus is saying, leave here, get out, you don’t belong here because I never had an intimate relationship with you. I have never been your Lord and you have never been my subject. I have never known you as my disciple.

It is possible to be near Jesus and to associate with Him even closely and still be hardened in sin.

So, have a privileged position does not guarantee that one has true or genuine saving faith. Or that one is immune or exempt from sin. 

Our theme is: lessons from a traitor

This is a good reminder for us all to examine ourselves making sure that we are in the faith so that we never stand before the Lord and hear him say, ‘depart from me…I never knew you.

 [There is a second valuable lesson that we can learn from Judas, and that is...]

2A     Performing religious activity does not indicate genuine faith

          Matthew 13:24-30

Jesus taught us in this parable that we call the Parable of the wheat and tares is that sometimes it is very difficult to tell the wheat from the weeds.

First of all, this parable is not a viable defense for refusing to enact church discipline when a member is involved in unrepentant sin. The gospels and the parables do not concern the church age. They speak to the coming millennial kingdom of God.

Second, we cannot simply ignore these parables and the principles that they teach. We need to learn the valuable lessons that they teach.

So, what can we learn from this parable and does its truth relate to our point?

The tares were a weed called the bearded kernel. In the early stages of growth they were almost identical to the wheat that the farmers had planted.
Sometimes the most knowledable or experienced farmer could not tell the tares from the wheat.   

After the heads on the wheat developed the difference could be seen and you could tell the weed from the wheat. The problem with the weed was that it was toxic. It was poisonous to both man and animals.

A farmer could harvest his wheat around the tears if he was careful. Usually, if he tried pulling the tare out of the ground, he pulled up the wheat with it.

There were at three ways he could try to harvest his wheat:

·        Harvest his wheat that stood above the tares and then burn the tares up
·        Sometimes he could harvest the wheat next to and around the tares
·        Sometimes he could pull the tares out – but usually with the wheat

This practice of sowing tares in a neighbor’s field was considered so bad that even the Romans made a law against the practice.

The reason for the parable is that as Jesus preached and healed, and performed miracles a great number of people attached themselves to him. Some were dedicated and    obedient, some were not dedicated and were only there for what they could get.

The disciples at times got angry at the type and kinds of people that crowded around Jesus. We know the Pharisees really got hot under the collar. After all Jesus was eating with sinners – prostitutes, wine-drinkers, and etc.

The Pharisees and even the disciples could not tell real followers from the false in some cases. So they were not to try in their own judgment to get rid of the bad people because they might hurt the good people. God will “sort” them out.

The point that I want to make is that Judas did everything that the other 11 disciples did. He was involved in religious activity. He offered prayers, alms, sacrifices, and ministered just like the other disciples.

All of the religious activity that Judas saw and participated in did not change his heart. It did not save him.

We cannot trust in church attendance, teaching, serving, giving, leading, singing, praying worshipping and any other “religious activity to save us.’

Our theme is: lessons from a traitor

This is a good reminder for us all to examine ourselves making sure that we are in the faith so that we never stand before the Lord and hear him say, ‘depart from me…I never knew you.

 [There is a third valuable lesson that we can learn from Judas, and that is...]

3A     Loving money is destructive to gaining genuine faith

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”       (1 Timothy 6:10, ESV)

Did Judas really love money that much?

There are very few words of Judas actually recorded in the Bible, but the ones that are recorded, are bone chilling:

“What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?”

He betrayed the Lord Jesus for a payoff of 30 pieces of silver. We know that this was the price of a slave. It wasn’t very much.

It seems that Judas love of money was the open door that Satan used to influence his life.

“Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. And they were glad to, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought and opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.” (Luke 22:3, ESV)

“Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him.” (John 13:27, ESV)

It seems that Satan knew his love of money and that it was a weak area for Judas. It was an area in which he could be easily tempted.

You remember when the woman broke open her alabaster box of pure nard, some of the disciples became angry. But it was Judas who voiced their anger when he asked:

“…why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor? He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the money bag he used to help himself to what was put into it.” (John 12:4-6, ESV)

Loving money and loving what money can buy or do can be devastating.

The bible is filled with many stories of terrible things done for the love of money:

·        Joseph was sold for money as a slave by his brothers
·        Sampson was betrayed by Delilah to the Philistines
·        Ananias and Sapphira lose their lives over a few dollars
·        Achan and his family were killed for the love of silver & clothes
·        The Ephesians rioted, beat and jailed Paul when they lost their chief sales rep –the demon possessed girl and the income she produced
·        Felix hoped he would get a bribe from Paul and kept him imprisoned
·        Balaam preached or prophesied for hire, for money

Jesus asked a very good question with very sober warnings when he asked:

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36)

The bible is filled with examples of warnings and admonitions about loving money:

“He that is greedy of gain, troubles his own house…” (Prov 15:27)

“He that loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loves abundance with increase…” (Ecc 5:10)

“As the partridge sits on eggs, and hatches them not; so he that gets riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days and at his end shall be a fool.” (Jeremiah 17:13)

There is no good or benefit to a bird who sits on dead eggs or eggs that will not hatch. There is no good or benefit to the person who lies, cheats, schemes, manipulates, or obtains money in a morally wrong way. Many of those people who do will die in early or mid-life and then the money they go will be lost. When he stands before God he will be a fool because he exchanged his soul for money.

Judas loved money. He was a thief. He robbed money from the money bag of the disciples for his own use. He never understood that Jesus knew every time he dipped into the purse. Each time he added sin and judgment upon his soul.

Listen, what is the antidote to loving money? What should your attitude be?

We find it in a prayer that was prayed by Agur:

“Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die; remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:8, ESV)

Don’t love money. Don’t love what money can buy. Don’t love what money can do. Ask God to give you just what you need at the moment.

The love of money is destructive to genuine faith.

·        Some love money and never come to salvation because they love money more than their own soul.

·        Some make a “profession” of faith, a decision, but the love of money and things choke out any desire to follow thru

·        Some are absolutely shipwrecked their faith

“It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.” (1 Timothy 6:10, ESV)

This should serve as a warning to our hearts today! Be very careful who we follow. There are some people who love material things more than they love Jesus. There are some who live to get their own way more than they desire God’s ways. 

Our theme is: lessons from a traitor

This is a good reminder for us all to examine ourselves making sure that we are in the faith so that we never stand before the Lord and hear him say, ‘depart from me…I never knew you.

 [There is a fourth valuable lesson that we can learn from Judas, and that is...]

4A     Living is useless without genuine faith

I know that there are some who will take issue with this statement and will want to argue the opposite. I can’t see no reason to live if you were to died and spend all of eternity in hell.

There is no amount of pleasure, no amount of money, no amount of things that I can see trading for the pain of hell.

Even if you are a genius, Nobel-prizing winning doctor who discovers the absolute cure for cancer and wipes it out of existence. It is still is a worthless life if you just end up in hell. Listen to the words of Jesus:

“The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:24, ESV)

Even Jesus would agree with me – it would have been better if this man, Judas, had never even been born!

How dismal is a life that is lived without meaning and without the hope of an eternal future with God, through Christ.

We were created to glorify God and live life to the fullest by walking with Him as our faithful Lord, Master, and friend.

David knew how important it was to know God and how useless a life would be without God, listen:

“For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere, I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents with wickedness.” (Psalm 84:10, ESV)

Sadly, many people live their lives as if it is written this way:

For a thousand days doing what I want is better than one day with you God, and I would rather be in a mansion with everything my heart desires than to live in a tent with nothing but you.

We don’t have the time to look, but if you want to know what life apart from fellowship with God really is, read Ecclesiastes carefully.

See how work is useless. See how accumulating wealth is useless. See how possessions is useless.

We learn from Judas just how useless life really is apart from true saving faith. We see this lesson best from his death.

What did Judas do? He tried to return the money he loved and coveted and then he hung himself.

“Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver…saying, I have sinned…and throwing down the pieces of silver, he departed, and he went and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:3-5, ESV)

He was cut off from Christ forever. He knew it. He knew his life was useless and meaningless and so he hanged himself.

He wasn’t interested in repenting, he was not interested in salvation. He didn’t want to get right with God. He just wanted to end his life.

We learn from Judas just how useless life really is apart from true saving faith.

Our theme is: lessons from a traitor

This is a good reminder for us all to examine ourselves making sure that we are in the faith so that we never stand before the Lord and hear him say, ‘depart from me…I never knew you.

 [There is a fifth and final valuable lesson that we can learn from Judas, and that is...]

5A     Sinning has destructive consequences on non-genuine faith

·        1 Tim 6:10 tells us that many people have pierced themselves with great sorrow and pain as a result of sin

·        James 5:3 says, “Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as I were fire.” (James 5:3)

Sin causes Separation

“But your iniquities (sin) have made a separation between you and your God.” (Isaiah 59:2a)  This is by far the biggest consequence of sin.  Every sin is an offense to God, and God cannot be in the presence of sin.  That is why if you choose to keep committing the same sins without repentance, you will stop feeling His presence in your life.  The Holy Spirit will stop speaking to you if you refuse to repent.  “Do not quench the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19)  How do you quench the Spirit?  The next 3 verses indicate how to not quench the Spirit.  “Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast to what is good.  Abstain from every form of evil.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:20-22)  If you take to heart and apply these 3 verses to your life, you will hear God speaking through the Holy Spirit in your life.

Judas was separated from Christ – “What you are going to do, do quickly…after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out.”

Sin is a Catalyst for More Sin

As believers, it is the Holy Spirit that convicts us when we do wrong (John 16:7-8), so that we can repent and be clean again.  However, in the case of unbelievers or believers who refuse to repent, sin can catapult us into deeper sin.  How does betrayal begin? 
 It doesn’t just happen; it is a sin-by-sin process.  It starts with a coveting and loving money, “How much can I get to turn Jesus in.”  If you feed that thought then it escalates, “Talking to them isn’t going to hurt anything. Then Judas went to the Pharisees and made his deal.  

Sin begins with a small thought and grows and leads to other sins. Sin will overtake your without confessing and forsaking your sin. 

Satan knows how to reel anyone in.  He has mastered it.  If we don’t take sin seriously, we will end up committing a multitude of sins that started from only one thought.

Satan reeled in Judas and mastered him. His love of money, led to acts of thievery, led to betrayal

Sin is an Eternal Death Sentence to Unbelievers

“For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)  It is my prayer that this verse really speaks to you.  A true believer will repent of their sins, but those who are rebellious are in serious trouble!  Eternal death (separation from God forever) awaits all who choose to not accept Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Christ, Himself, says in Matthew 25:41-46 what will happen to those who do not show Christ’s love to humanity.  Those who do not feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and in prison, or give a drink to the thirsty will be left alone in utter torment for eternity.  The self-seeking, proud, pompous, self-righteous and greedy people will not be in heaven unless they repent. 

Judas love of money escalated to his suicide. He was eternally lost. A disciple and an apostle with privileges involved in religious activities is lost for all of eternity.

Sin is destructive. We could list several more examples of how destructive it is.

Our theme is: lessons from a traitor

This is a good reminder for us all to examine ourselves making sure that we are in the faith so that we never stand before the Lord and hear him say, ‘depart from me…I never knew you.

[What do you say we wrap this up?]


Although Judas Iscariot did not actually betray a head of state or his country, the term Judas has come to be synonymous with traitor. Judas was friend of Jesus, and one of his twelve disciples. As Jesus spread his message, he lost favor with the Jewish high priests, who considered his teachings blasphemous. When they finally decided to arrest him, it was nearly Passover, which the high priests decided would be incredibly unpopular, so they decided he should be arrested the night before Passover. The priests, knowing Judas’ love of money, approached him and offered 30 pieces of silver if he would deliver Jesus to them. Judas obliged, and led the arresting soldiers to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus and the rest of the disciples were camped out. After the arrest, Judas was so riddled with guilt that he returned the money and then hanged himself. Judas’ legacy would live forever, though, as the word traitor literally means “one who delivers,” as Judas delivered Jesus.

There are several lessons that we learned today from Judas Iscariot:

·        Having a privileged position does not secure genuine faith

·        Performing religious activity does not indicate genuine faith

·        Loving money is destructive to gaining genuine faith

·        Living is useless without genuine faith

·        Sinning has destructive consequences on non-genuine faith

Exhortation:  So, I exhort you to meditate on Judas’s life and actions in order to learn from the life of Judas Iscariot.

Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1:10, (ESV)

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

Let’s pray! J

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