Title: But Judas…
Text: John 12:1-8
Thesis/Premise: The fatal sin that is lurking at the door of our lives and which will destroy us and damn us forever is un-repentance.
Mission Statement: The mission of this message is to demonstrate that there is a huge difference between being remorseful for our sins and being repentant for our sins.
Vision Statement: I see people repenting and being truly saved from the destructive and damming influence of a lifestyle of sin and being retooled and refitted for a fresh new start in life in which they experience God’s best for their lives.
- I wish John had stopped with verse 3. If he had, then this account of Jesus enjoying a special meal with his close friends and confidants would have ended so well.
o EXAMPLE: Like a long happy day with your child, you’ve fed them, bathed them, prayed with them, read them a bed-time story and tucked them in. They have dozed off and you quietly slip out and close the door on a day full of pleasant and precious memories.
- But that is not how the Holy Spirit inspired John to record the event.
o EXAMPLE: Like a family gathering—maybe a special celebration of your parents’ 50th anniversary or your child’s 1st birthday, or maybe a Thanksgiving meal, etc. // everything is going well and then suddenly a conversation turns a corner and heads down a wrong alley. Everyone sees it happening but are powerless to stop it. Before long there are harsh words and one of the family members gets up and leaves the room in anger and like:
- Water on a cozy campfire
- A full glass knocked over on a new table-cloth
- A stink bomb in a crowded room
o The family meal ends up being a sad occasion.
- This is what happened at Lazarus and his sister’s special meal for Jesus—Judas dropped a stink bomb in the middle of everything and ruined this special chapter in the life of Jesus.
- But the Holy Spirit did inspire John to write it, and as Paul later wrote:
2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
- Therefore, God has a message for us in this passage today. There are still a few more lessons to learn at the table with Jesus.
- And let me remind you, we are systematically going through the Gospel of John. If this message hits a nerve in your life, remember, I don’t poll the church on what I am to preach. I don’t consult with the staff and church leadership on the issues they think I need to deal with. I get alone with God and simple hold myself accountable to be true to His word—what he wrote and in the order that He wrote it.
What We Need to Know:
- Moral failure—horrific moral failure does not have to disqualify us for salvation and significant Christian service
- Judas Iscariot is mentioned by name nine times in the Bible and every time he is mentioned he is referred to or shown as the disciple that betrayed Jesus. This traitorous deed forever leaves a legacy of ignominy and disgrace for Judas. Yet it did not have to…
Example: David vs. Saul and Peter vs. Judas Iscariot
o Both David and Peter did far worse things than their counterparts. Why do we forever remember David as a “man after God’s on heart” and Peter as a great apostle and “pillar of the church” but remember Saul and Judas Iscariot in such a negative light?
- VITAL KEY: The difference between David and Saul and Peter and Judas Iscariot was the latter were remorseful the former were repentant.
- Remorseful = regret but no change of the trajectory of your life.
- Saul felt remorse that he had disobeyed but when Samuel rebuked him he did not change but tried to cover things up with a “show” of religiosity (1 Samuel 15) but he continued in the downward trajectory of his life and reached the low point by consulting a witch in a séance because he could no longer hear from God. He died the next day in disgraceful defeat–losing his life, his children, and his kingdom.
- Matthew records that Judas was “remorseful” (27:3) and went and gave the money back and then went and hanged himself. IOW, there was no change in the trajectory of his life.
o VITAL KEY: In both cases (Saul and Judas) it is important to understand that their “big” sin was just the conclusion of many little sins.
o Their lives showed a general and gradual trajectory of rebelling against God and little by little drifting away from Him until one day they reached the point of no return.
- Remember how John mentions in passing that Judas was not really interested in the poor—he was interested in stealing from Jesus.
- Repentant = to feel and show that you are sorry by changing the trajectory of your life back toward God.
- We see this in the life of David—“thou art the man” (Nathan’s rebuke)
- We see this in the life of Peter // where do we next see him? With the disciples; at the tomb; in Galilee where Jesus instructed them to go.
Let’s go all the way back to the first murder…
Genesis 4:6-7 (NASB) Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
- Be warned: Sin, like a wild beast, is crouching at the door of your life seeking to destroy you.
- Do Christians sin? Yes
1 John 1:7-10 (NKJV) But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
- Do Christians continue in sin? No!
1 John 3:5-9 (NKJV) And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
- “Once saved–always saved” vs. you can lose your salvation – wherever you stand on this issue both sides agree: to continue to live in a willful lifestyle of sin demonstrates that you are not truly saved.
o Whether you were once saved and lost it or whether you’ve never been saved—I’ll leave that up to the theologians; but the real issue right now is: Are you saved or are you willfully and rebelliously living in sin?
What You Need to Do:
Don’t just be Remorseful for your sinful ways–Repent!
What Repentance looks like:
1) Repentance is making a permanent decision to change—now. (NOW is the time)
2) Repentance means you must stop something—now
o Love, mercy, and grace are God’s native tongue. But love, mercy and grace without change on our part is like giving money to a heroin addict because they’re hungry—you know what they’re going to do with that money. The most loving thing is to withhold the money (Paul’s instruction to the man at Corinth living in sin)
o Love, mercy and grace do not equal salvation.
o Love, mercy and grace plus your repentance = salvation
- Remember, the Cross was “planted” (tree of life) in the ground // when you begin to walk away from the Cross you are returning to your sin.
2 Peter 2:20-22 (NKJV)
20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.
21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.
22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
3) You must start something—now
- You must go to a new level of relationship with God
- You must make every effort for restitution where possible—the prodigal went back // Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him.
- It is amazing the number of people who chunk it all and go into a lifestyle of sin because of other people’s sin // don’t do that or stop doing that! Deal with their sin by truly forgiving them and keep walking with God.
- You can try to deal with this by yourself but like Judas (remorse) you are more likely to “hang” yourself, i.e. destroy your life.
- David found forgiveness and redemption when he went public with his sin // Jesus dealt with Peter’s three betrayals publicly.
- Come to the altar and fine mercy, redemption, and a new beginning.