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JUDAS!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, August 8, 2004
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"And Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him" (Matthew 10:4).


Judas was the man who betrayed Jesus. We don't know anything about him before he became a Disciple, except that he was called "Judas Iscariot." Iscariot refers to his home town of Kerioth in southern Judah. Judas was the only one of the twelve Disciples who came from the south, in Judah. The rest were from Galilee in the north.

As the twelve Disciples travelled and preached, they received offerings. It became necessary for someone to be the treasurer, and Judas was chosen. The strongest personal characteristic of Judas was his love for money. He became obsessed with greed, and stole from the treasury. John tells us, "He was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein" (John 12:6).

Toward the end of Jesus' earthly ministry, Mary of Bethany anointed Jesus' feet with a costly ointment.

"Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein" (John 12:4-6).

This shows the greed of this man. It points to the avarice that would lead him to betray Christ for thirty pieces of silver.

Before the final Passover, Judas went to the chief priests and officers of the Temple, and agreed to betray Jesus for that sum of money. The other Disciples did not know about this. They all went with Jesus to an upper room where they ate the Passover meal. After the meal Jesus washed the Disciples' feet. Judas was sitting near Jesus, and heard Him say, "One of you shall betray me" (John 13:21). The Disciples looked at each other, wondering who He meant. Then "Satan entered into" Judas (John 13:27). He rose from the feast and went out into the night. The first observance of the Lord's Supper probably came right after he left. Judas went to the Temple to tell the priests where Jesus was.

After the Passover and the Lord's Supper, Jesus took the Disciples out into the night, to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus prayed there in the darkness, while the eleven Disciples drifted off to sleep.

Then, through the darkness, the sound of an approaching crowd could be heard.

"Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him [Judas] gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him...Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him" (Matthew 26:47-50).

When Judas realized what he had done, he tried to return the thirty pieces of silver to the priests. They refused to take it, and Judas threw the money on the floor of the Temple. He went out and committed suicide by hanging himself, probably with his own girdle or belt. This broke and his body was thrown forward upon some jagged rocks below, "And falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out" (Acts 1:18).

That was the end of the life of Judas. Jesus called him "the son of perdition," or damnation (John 17:12). The Book of Acts says that he went "to his own place," to Hell (Acts 1:25).

It is a tragic story, but we can learn many lessons from it.

I. First, Judas was lost before he betrayed Jesus.

Jesus Himself said so.

"Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon" (John 6:70-71).

"One of you is a devil." Again, Jesus said,

"It had been good for that man if he had not been born"
      (Matthew 26:24).

You see, Judas was lost before He betrayed Jesus. That's an important thing to realize. Many people think you are lost when you die, but the Bible teaches that you are lost right now, while you are alive. The Bible says,

"He that believeth not is condemned already" (John 3:18).

You are condemned already.

You may have the idea that Judas was all right until he betrayed Jesus. But that isn't the point at all. You see, Judas was never all right. He was always wrong. That's the human condition. You are born with a sin nature. You inherited it from our first parent. A man is born wrong. That's why Jesus said,

"Ye must be born again" (John 3:7).

Judas was lost before he became a Disciple. He continued to be lost after he became a Disciple. He was lost his whole life through. Jesus said,

"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

You, like Judas, will remain lost unless you are born again.

II. Second, Judas remained lost in spite of all his efforts and experiences.

Some of you have the idea that you will be saved if you do the right thing. You think that you will be right in the sight of God if you keep the Ten Commandments, or if you try to do the best you can. But Judas did all of those things and still remained lost. He lived quite a selfless life for some time, but it did him no good. He prayed to God. He worked for God. He lived for God - for some time. Judas tried his best to live right and do right. But it did him no good whatever. He remained a lost person.

Now, I ask you, what good will it do you to try to live the right way and do the right thing? It won't do you any good at all, if that's as far as your religion goes. You could clean up your life, go to church every Sunday, say your prayers at night, and live like a monk in a monastery - and you will still be lost - just as Judas was. The Bible says,

"By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Salvation is a gift, that comes by the grace of God. It is not something you earn by being good.

If you could earn salvation by being good, why did Christ have to die on the Cross? Why did He have to shed His Blood to wash your sins away if you could get salvation by being good? You can't be good enough. The life of Judas shows us that. All his efforts to serve God didn't help him one bit. He was still as lost as ever.

Some of you are trying to think right. You have the idea that you can figure it all out - and all the pieces will come together - and a light will go on in your mind - and you'll be saved! I imagine that Judas had many thoughts like that. There's a certain amount of mystery connected with Judas. Why, exactly, did he betray Christ? It seems unlikely that he did it for the money alone. After all, he could take whatever he wanted from the Disciples' treasury. Was he trying to force Jesus to exert his power against the Romans? Was he upset over Jesus breaking the Sabbath and the ceremonial laws? You see, there's a certain amount of mystery about his motives. But this much is certain - he thought too much! While the other Disciples slept, the wheels were turning in his brain. I don't mean that he was smarter than the others. Not at all. I simply mean that he analyzed things too much. There's a danger in that. The person who examines and analyzes too much isn't going to get saved. This is especially true of self-analysis. If you continually examine your own thoughts and feelings, you'll never get around to examining Christ. You've been looking at yourself. No use in looking there! You've been examining yourself. No use in examining that! Look away - to Christ! I'm sorry to say that Judas never did that.

And then there is the matter of feeling right. Why, look at all the exciting and marvelously emotional religious experiences this man had! Look there in your Bible at Matthew 10:8. Let's stand and read that verse aloud. Jesus said to Judas (and the other Disciples),

"Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8).

You may be seated. And Judas did all those things, you know. It must have been thrilling to see the sick healed and the dead raised. It must have been heart warming to see lepers cleansed. He experienced great feelings, I am sure, but his feelings did not save him. And if you are trying to get the right feeling, you too are on the wrong track. "Oh, if only I felt worse! If only I felt more convicted," you say. But you are as wrong as Judas. No feeling, bad or good, will bring you salvation. The only conviction you need is the conviction that you  need  Christ!   Do  you  need  Him?   Then,  for  God's  sake,  take  Him,  and  have  done  with  it!

All the fitness He requireth
     Is to see your need of Him.
("Come, Ye Sinners" by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).

III. Third, Judas was lost because he did not trust Christ.

Whatever else we may say about him, it is absolutely certain that he did not trust Christ. As I said, he may have felt that Jesus should exert more power. Or he may have felt that Jesus was wrong to break the Sabbath. Some have even suggested that he may have come to feel that Jesus was a false Messiah. But all of that is mere speculation. There is no way you can verify it one way or the other. The Scriptures are silent on these things. But we did know this for sure - he did not trust Jesus. He trusted money. He trusted himself. He even trusted the priests. But he did not trust Jesus Christ. The Bible says,

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5).

Judas did not do that. He leaned on, and trusted in, his own understanding. He did not trust Jesus Christ. That's why the Devil got him.

He even followed Christ. That's what the word "disciple" means. The Greek word is "mathētēs." It means a person who follows his teacher, who follows the teacher's example and teaching. Look at Matthew 10:1.

"And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples…" (Matthew 10:1).

Judas was one of those twelve Disciples. He followed Christ for three years. But what good did it do him? In the end the Devil got him. And that is exactly what will happen to you, if you try to be saved by following Christ. Sooner or later the Devil will get you as well. You cannot get saved by following Christ. You must trust Christ to get saved.

Trusting Christ is the same as believing on Him. Believing on Him is the same as coming to Him. Judas did not do that. He did not trust Christ. He trusted his own heart and mind. He did not believe in Christ. He followed Christ and learned from Christ, but he did not believe in Him. He did not come to Christ. He remained inwardly aloof from the Son of God. He seemed outwardly to have come to Him - but in his heart he held back.

This morning I call on you to come to Christ. Trust Christ. Believe in Christ.

None but Jesus, none but Jesus,
     Can do helpless sinners good.
("Come, Ye Sinners" by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).

(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Kyu Dong Lee: Matthew 10:2-4.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

                "I'd Rather Have Jesus" (words by Rhea F. Miller, 1922;
                                            composed by George Beverly Shea, 1909 - ).

THE OUTLINE OF

JUDAS!

(John 12:4-6; 13:21, 27; Matthew 26:47-50;
Acts 1:18; John 17:12; Acts 1:25)

 

"And Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him" (Matthew 10:4).

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

I.   Judas was lost before he betrayed Jesus, John 6:70-71;
Matthew 26:24; John 3:18, 7, 3.

II.  Judas remained lost in spite of all his efforts and experiences,
Ephesians 2:8-9; Matthew 10:8.

III. Judas was lost because he did not trust Christ, Proverbs 3:5;
Matthew 10:1.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."