The Sad State Of Judas

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Matthew 10:1-4

If you review your life over the past year and probably over your entire existence– your decisions, your choices, your associations– how have you lived your life? What will you be remembered for? What legacy are you leaving behind? If you leave the scene— you die, you relocate from your community or change jobs or change church, what really will you be remembered for? And in this New Year, it is good for all of us to take stock of our lives. Examine our lives critically to be sure we are on the right path. Socrates, the Greek Philosopher is quoted to have said “An unexamined life is not worth living.” What does he mean by that? Simply, a person who doesn’t review their lives to make adjustments and improvements will live a worthless life. It is precisely for this that we make New Year resolutions.

Now in speaking about leaving a legacy or being remembered, I am not here referring to fame or popularity. But I am referring to a life lived for God and not for self. A life that is a good testimony or witness for Christ. And the BIble in many places gives us stern warnings using the lives of people who lived to gratify themselves. These people lived for themselves and not for God.  We are told of Esau that he was immoral and godless who sold his birth right. And the Scriptures warns believers they shouldn’t be like Esau: “that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears (Hebrews 12:16-17).

Imagine that. He sold his birthright. He gave away a  blessing out of a moment of self gratification. And the way the Bible records that incident is telling: “Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.” (Genesis 25:34). Jesus warns against self-preservation and love of the world by referring to Lot’s wife: “Remember lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). Before us in the verse we read is a life that teaches and warns us of the dangers of living for self. 

This is the Sad state of a man who walked with Christ. A man who ate with Christ. A man who heard Jesus’s sermons and testimonies about himself. Yet he betrayed Christ. That is what he is remembered for. That is the Legacy he left behind: “and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.” How sad a life that is. Judas’ life was truly sad. He walked with Christ and yet never got saved. The love of money and greed will make him not to have a part in Christ. But rather, he betrayed Christ. Do you have a part in Christ? Are you in Christ or you are outside Christ? None else, but you can answer those questions.

Now as a church, we believe that when a person is saved, they can’t lose their salvation. And this is not only our belief as a church, but the Bible teaches this in many places “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand (John 10:28).

These and many more Scriptures are a great source of encouragement to us who have believed and those who will believe. But a natural question that often arises is the question can I therefore as a Christian live my life anyhow? And I think we got this question at our conference. The answer is an absolute no. The Bible calls us to Holy Living which is a proof that we have indeed come to know Christ.

You and I must be growing and bearing fruit to evidence that we have indeed known Christ. Paul asked in Romans 6:1 “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” He answers himself in verse 2: “By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” I don’t like the ESV. It doesn’t sound strong. I think the King James does a good job with this verse: “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” The believer is justified. We are right with God. We stand before God as though we have never sinned. This is not only to be believed. But it is to be lived. So the apostle Peter, quoting Leviticus says in 1Peter 1:15 “but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” Justification is not just theoretical. Justification is practical.

Now, having said all these, it is possible for someone to claim they are a Christian and still be lost. We may even see people who confess Christ one time in their life and then fall off apostate. The case of Judas as we read in the text is a perfect picture of that. 

  1. He was a disciple of Jesus. He exercised power and authority over unclean spirits: “And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction (v.1).
  2. Judas  was involved in ministry. He was part of the 12 disciples Jesus sent out: “These twelve Jesus sent out…” (5a).
  3. Judas heard Jesus’ instructions and preaching. From the verses 5 down to verse 42 is Jesus issuing one instruction after the other. So the Chapter 11:1 opens with the words “When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.” Judas was with Christ and heard all that Jesus preached. And yet he is described as a betrayer.

Today, Judas can be counted as someone who identifies with a company of believers. They attend church. They engage in Christian work and ministry. Maybe they work miracles and yet they don’t belong to Jesus. That was Judas. He was counted among the 12. Jesus himself called him. But by the time we get to the end of Matthew, Judas was not part of the twelve. Turn with me quickly to Matthew 28:16 “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.” In Matthew 10:1, we started with 12 disciples, but now we have 11. Because one fell off along the way because of Greed and the love of money and the world which are all sin (Luke 22:1-3; 47-48).

Judas walked with Jesus. He was among the disciples. He ate with Jesus. He worked miracles. Yet he betrayed Jesus. You may be among a company of believers, but not saved. You may engage in Christian ministry but yet lost in sin. Don’t be like Judas. Believe in Jesus for the salvation of your soul. Don’t reject Christ. You may be attending week after week and yet you don’t have assurance of he forgiveness of sin. And the danger is that you may hear sound preaching over and over and still continue in sin and unbelief. And the children, you wont be saved because your parents are Christians. You will not be saved because you attend Church. But you will be saved from your sins because you have believed in Jesus. And let no one ever be mistaken, that they are saved because they are good people. Christ only saves through faith. His death for the payment of sin is to be received only true faith. 

I opened with a call to self-examination and I want to leave you with a true story about a man who was preaching many years but was not saved. But one day he encountered a transformation and was saved. His name is John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church

Brethren, let none of us be like Judas. Let us all examine our hearts and have a conviction that we are truly saved: Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2Corinthians 13:5)

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