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HOW JUDAS ISCARIOT
WAS DESTROYED BY SATAN

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, March 13, 2016

“And after the sop Satan entered into him” (John 13:27).


The “sop” was a piece of unleavened bread Jesus and the Disciples ate at the Last Supper. “And after the sop Satan entered into him.” This is one of the most terrible verses in the Bible. It tells us that Satan himself entered into Judas – and he became possessed by the Devil. This is very remarkable because Judas was one of Christ’s closest Disciples. There is a warning in the story of Judas for all of us – whether we are saved or lost.

Judas Iscariot was the son of Simon Iscariot. “Iscariot” refers to his hometown of Kerioth, in southern Judea. Thus Judas was the only one of the twelve Disciples who was not from Galilee in the north. His name is always given last in the lists of the Disciples. He must have been an important Disciple. He served as their treasurer.

The story of Judas Iscariot is dark and fearful. But since it is given in all four Gospels it is important, and it is necessary for a preacher to speak on it sometimes. I am going to tell you how Judas became demon possessed. Here is the story.

The third chapter of Mark says that Christ went up a mountain and called the Disciples to Him. These were the men who would establish the churches after Christ ascended back to Heaven. From now on Christ’s main work would be to teach and train these twelve Disciples. Jesus called them Apostles – which means they were “sent.” He called them to be with Him, to learn by His example and to share in His ministry. He would give them His authority to preach, to heal diseases and to cast out demons in His name. One of their responsibilities was to overcome the power of demons. Their names are all recorded in Mark 3:16-19. The name of the first one was Peter. The name of the twelfth one was Judas Iscariot.

In Matthew 10:1-4, we are told that Jesus sent these Disciples to cast out demons, heal the sick and preach. Again all twelve of their names are recorded. Again the first one named is Peter, and the last one named is Judas Iscariot. Matthew 10:1 says that Jesus gave all these Disciples “power against unclean spirits, to cast them out,” as well as to perform other miracles and preach. Judas was given this “power” – and he himself cast out demons, healed the sick, and preached. Judas was later the man who betrayed Christ. But Jesus gave this man the power and authority to preach (Matthew 10:7). He was also given power to “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons” (Matthew 10:8). This is an important point for us to remember today. It shows us that not all who claim to be Christians can be trusted – even if they are able to heal the sick, cast out demons – and, yes, raise the dead! Some wicked men have been able to do those things throughout Christian history. Take for instance Rasputin, a Russian monk who was brought into the Czar of Russia’s own castle to heal the Czar’s son. And today we must be very careful to watch out for men like Benny Hinn, and other “healing” evangelists. They may be as evil as Judas Iscariot – who later betrayed Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. But Judas did not become demon possessed right away. There were steps that he took on his way to destruction!

As I said, Judas was the Disciples’ treasurer. He carried what little money they had in a purse or “bag.” He gave some money from the bag to the other Disciples when they needed it. The Bible says that Judas Iscariot “was a thief, and had the [money] bag, and bare what was put therein” (John 12:6).

Judas “was a thief.” That means he had the heart of a thief. He stole some of the money that was in the bag (or purse) that he carried. Matthew Henry’s Commentary says, “He loved in his heart to be fingering money.” There is nothing wrong with earning money by honest work. But the Apostle Paul said,

“The love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Timothy 6:10).

J. C. Ryle spoke of “the immense danger of the love of money...It is a snare to the poor as well as the rich. Trusting in it ruins the soul. Let us be content with such things as we have” (J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Mark, Banner of Truth, 1994 paperback, pp. 210, 211; note on Mark 10:23).

I have seen many young people go astray because they want “security.” I have seen them gradually give up a strong Christian commitment to seek “security” in a high paying career. As I wrote these words the other night I thought of an old friend, who long ago was tempted by this world and turned away from Jesus. Another word for security is money. It is dangerous to trust in money. Jesus said, “How hard is it for them that trust in [money] to enter into the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:24).

One of my colleague Dr. Cagan’s life verses is Proverbs 11:4, “Riches profit not in the day of wrath” (Proverbs 11:4). Dr. Cagan recently told me that young people often think that “lust” refers only to sexual sin or drugs. He said, “They don’t realize that a lust for money and prestige is as dangerous as sexual sin and heroin – maybe even more so for young Christians.” Dr. Cagan himself was tempted by Satan to live for security and prestige. His big desire was to make a million dollars before he was thirty. He gave up that lust when he was converted. He is now the associate pastor of our church. Follow his example!

Judas Iscariot was destroyed and went to Hell because he lusted after the money in the purse he carried! Remember the Parable of the Sower!

“That which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches [or money] and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection” (Luke 8:14).

You can get so caught up in the pursuit of the “riches and pleasures of this life” that you are gradually “choked” and become a Christian in name only. That was what ruined a former leader who split our church years ago. Flee from it! Flee from it! Flee from the lust of Judas!

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

Most of you have heard me tell about something that happened to me when I was in college. I had it very tough. I had to work from 8:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the afternoon. Then I took classes at Cal State Los Angeles at night. It took me eight years to earn my bachelor’s degree at night. About half way through college I became so weary and discouraged that I was bitterly tempted by Satan. Right then one of my professors suggested to me that I become a teacher. He was a man I admired, who taught modern literature. He told me that I could have a good career as an English teacher. I very seriously thought of giving up the idea of going into the ministry, and becoming a teacher instead. I almost did it, but I went to see my pastor Dr. Lin first. He told me that I would never be satisfied with anything less than the ministry. I remember realizing that the thought of becoming an English teacher was a temptation from the Devil. Dr. John R. Rice was tempted exactly the same way before he went into the ministry. It wasn’t sinful to become a teacher for anyone else, but it would have been a sin for me. It wasn’t what God wanted me to do with my life.

If I had given in to that temptation none of you would be here tonight! Mr. Griffith would not have been saved. Dr. Chan would not have been saved. Neither would Mr. Lee, or any of the leaders of our church. You wouldn’t have been saved either. In fact many of you would never have been born! Many of your parents met here in our church. They would not have been married and you would never have been born. This church would not exist. I would never have known my wonderful wife. My son would not have been born, and his child Hannah would never have lived.

The church I started in Northern California would not exist. The forty churches that came out of it would not exist. Hundreds of people would not be saved – and the sermon manuscripts and videos on our website would never have been preached or published around the world. Literally thousands of lives would have been changed for the worse if I had given in to the temptation to become an English professor in some college or university.

Later, when I graduated from college and went to the seminary, I was greatly tempted to leave the ministry again. I actually quit the ministry for a few days. But God called me back one night. Through much loneliness and heartache I went on – and I am glad I did. This church is worth more to me than all the gold on earth. This world-wide ministry on the Internet is worth more to me than millions of dollars! It may seem like a small thing to you, but this church is the most important thing in the world to me!

My life, my love I give to Thee,
   Thou Lamb of God who died for me;
O may I ever faithful be,
   My Saviour and my God!
I’ll live for Him who died for me,
   How satisfied my life shall be!
I’ll live for Him who died for me,
   My Saviour and my God!
(“I’ll Live For Him” by Ralph E. Hudson, 1843-1901;
      altered by Dr. Hymers).

Not only do I see what a treasure this church is now – I also see what this church ought to be, what it can be, and by the grace of God, what it will be! In my mind I can see every corner of this auditorium filled with happy young people! I can see the Spirit of God coming down. I can see the shining faces of young people weeping and praying, and shouting for joy! I can see young people giving their lives to the ministry – and some going to foreign fields as missionaries. I can see a mighty church, bursting at the seams – with the love of God streaming forth from this place to the dark corners of our country and our world! I can see Christ Jesus lifted up and pouring down His love on hundreds and hundreds of souls throughout the earth! I can hear them singing,

I’ll live for Him who died for me,
   How satisfied my life shall be!
I’ll live for Him who died for me,
   My Saviour and my God!

Judas had once felt like that. But he was a star-crossed lover of Jesus. He was pulled in two ways. Part of him wanted Jesus. But another part of him wanted the things of this world. The Bible says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). And so, Judas dipped his hand into the little bag of money the Disciples had. It wasn’t much – just a few handfuls of coins that people had kindly given to Jesus when they were blest by Him. But Judas fingered the money again and again. Now and then he stole a few coins for himself.

Like all the Disciples he had thought that Jesus would set up His earthly kingdom right away. Even after He rose from the dead they said, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). They were plotting which of them would be greatest in the kingdom. They reasoned “among them, which of them should be greatest” (Luke 9:46).

“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed...” (Matthew 16:21). I believe that Judas began to think Jesus would die and not set up His kingdom – that he had nothing to gain by following Jesus any farther. The Devil moved closer and closer to Judas as he thought about these things.

Now the Passover feast was coming. The chief priests and scribes were looking for some way to kill Jesus. “Then entered Satan into Judas...And he went his way, and [spoke] with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and [agreed] to give him money” (Luke 22:3-5). “Then entered Satan into Judas.” He had wanted money all along. Now the Devil played on his weak point, and Judas gave in – “Then entered Satan into Judas” – and he went to the chief priests to betray the Saviour. Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ for money! Covetousness ruined his soul!

Dr. Cagan gave a powerful sermon this morning on “the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (I John 2:16). Dr. Cagan said, “What do I mean by ‘the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life’? I’m talking about money and the things money can buy – a house, a car, nice clothes, fancy trips, everything else...When money and what it buys catches your eye and becomes your main goal, and you go on for more and more, you have been captured and enslaved by the lust of the eyes. I’m [also] talking about the praises of lost people. I’m talking about honors and promotions and titles and certificates, and all the nice things people say about you. Yes, you should do well in school. Yes, you should get a job and work hard at it. But when the honors and promotions and titles and praises turn your head away from the things of God, you have been taken captive by the pride of life.”

Then Dr. Cagan spoke of people the Devil will use to tempt you. Dr. Cagan said, “He will use people you like and respect. He will use people...you learned from – what are called ‘mentors’ in the business world. He’ll use people at your college who you admire and respect – your professors and other ‘mentors’ in your life. You will listen to them and follow their advice. You won’t think of it this way, but they will become your real pastor – your shepherd, your guide... You won’t think it’s a temptation. It will look good to you. But it will pull your love away from Christ... When you were young, Christ and the church seemed very important, but now you will begin to put them on a shelf into a smaller part of your life... And so it goes – and goes – until you’re a captive – like Samson, with blinded eyes, grinding at the mill-wheel of the world!” (Christopher L. Cagan, Ph.D., “The Church World or the Wide World?”, Lord’s Day Morning, March 13, 2016).

When I read Dr. Cagan’s great sermon I thought, “Oh God! I should have preached that long ago!” Does this only apply to one or two of our young people? I thought about that for a while. Then I wrote on a piece of paper the names of twelve young people in our church who were led into Satanic blindness by similar temptations spoken of by Dr. Cagan. My heart was sick as I realized that my preaching had failed on this point, as those twelve young people were sucked into worldliness by the same evil spirit that led Judas Iscariot, step by step, to betray the Saviour!

Judas never imagined that it would end this way, as he gave in to temptation little by little. At last Satan entered into him and he betrayed Jesus. Do you know how much money he got for betraying Christ? He only got 30 pieces of silver. The Davis Dictionary of the Bible says it was “about $19.50, an ordinary price for a slave.” The Devil gets most people cheap! He seldom pays off big. He gets most people cheap! Strangely, I counted 12 young people in our church the Devil got this way. Then I went back thirty years ago in my mind, and I wrote down the names of exactly 12 people who were once salaried workers in our church – that Satan ruined exactly the same way! Oh my Lord, I must preach on this subject again and again! Yes God, I promise that I will give the temptation of worldliness a more prominent place in my preaching from this night on!

And so, Judas led Christ’s enemies to the Garden of Gethsemane on that awful night. And so, they dragged Jesus away to be flogged and crucified. And so, Judas got his 30 pieces of silver – worth about $19.50.

Later that night, “Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, [felt remorse] and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying

‘I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.’

And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:3-5). He put a rope around his neck and hanged himself! That was the first Bible verse I memorized, “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4). I memorized that verse and said it when I played the part of Judas Iscariot in a great passion play at the First Baptist Church of Huntington Park, California. I was eighteen years old. That verse haunted me until I was converted two years later. “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.”

I ask you tonight, Will you betray Jesus in your life? Or will you give Christ and the church first place in your heart and life? Will you trust Him and live for Him, and for Him alone? Thirty years from now will you still be able to sing that song from your heart?

My life, my love I give to Thee,
   Thou Lamb of God who died for me;
O may I ever faithful be,
   My Saviour and my God!
I’ll live for Him who died for me,
   How satisfied my life shall be!
I’ll live for Him who died for me,
   My Saviour and my God!

Oh, young person, give your heart and your life to Jesus Christ – and never turn away from Him to the temptations of this world! Sing that hymn with me. It’s number three on your song sheet.

My life, my love I give to Thee,
   Thou Lamb of God who died for me;
O may I ever faithful be,
   My Saviour and my God!
I’ll live for Him who died for me,
   How satisfied my life shall be!
I’ll live for Him who died for me,
   My Saviour and my God!

Amen.

If this sermon blessed you Dr. Hymers would like to hear from you. WHEN YOU WRITE TO DR. HYMERS YOU MUST TELL HIM WHAT COUNTRY YOU ARE WRITING FROM OR HE CANNOT ANSWER YOUR E-MAIL. If these sermons bless you send an e-mail to Dr. Hymers and tell him, but always include what country you are writing from. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net (click here). You can write to Dr. Hymers in any language, but write in English if you can. If you want to write to Dr. Hymers by postal mail, his address is P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. You may telephone him at (818)352-0452.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: John 13:21-30.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Yield Not to Temptation” (by Horatio R. Palmer, 1834-1907).