************ Sermon on Luke 22:1-6 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on March 5, 2000
"The Judas' Sin"
Let's suppose the Christian religion has been banned; it is now against the law to worship the Lord, to evangelize, to pray, to read the Bible, to go to Church School, to attend Bible Study or Young Peoples.
Would any boy or girl here go to the police and say, "My dad and mom break the law – they go to church and keep telling me about Jesus"? Would any boy or girl here betray their parents?
Let's suppose that you live in Nazi Germany. As you know, it is against the law to help Jews. Your parents, however, have a Jewish family hiding in the attic. Would any boy or girl here go to the police and betray their parents?
Betrayal. That is the Judas' sin. He betrayed not his parents but the Lord Jesus. How is this possible? He was one of the 12 disciples. To my mind, at least, it is as unthinkable to betray the Lord as it is to betray one's parents.
Would you ever betray the Lord? Would you ever commit the Judas' sin?
Let me share with you a moment some news that stunned me when I heard it two weeks ago. It was news about a friend who is a Christian Reformed preacher. He is married and has children. He is intelligent, articulate, and successful. Those who know him expected him to someday have a position in denominational headquarters. Then came the news that he was forced to resign from the ministry because of a three-year affair with his secretary.
The Judas' sin. He betrayed not only me and the many others who admired him; he also betrayed the Lord.
Or, consider the case of the 2 TV evangelists, Jimmy Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart. They proclaimed the Gospel. They spoke against the moral decline of America. They raised millions of dollars for what they said was the cause of Christ. No wonder many felt betrayed when adultery and financial fraud came to light.
The Judas' sin again. They betrayed not only their followers; they also betrayed the Lord.
We all can supply our own examples of the Judas' sin – of those in the church or even in our own families who apparently lived in the closest connection to the Lord yet were inwardly false.
Again we have to ask, how is this possible? How can anyone betray the Lord and His church in this fashion? How can those who have been raised in a Christian home, taught in a Christian school, and nurtured in a Christian church commit the Judas' sin?
I Its Timing
A Judas agreed to betray Jesus just before the Passover. The Passover, as you remember, was the feast celebrating the Lord's deliverance of His people Israel from Egypt. At that time the Angel of the Lord passed through Egypt and struck down the first-born of every Egyptian household but passed over every Israelite household that had the blood of the Passover sacrifice sprinkled on its doorframe.
In celebrating the Passover, every Jewish household had to kill and consume a year-old male lamb or kid. Its blood was to be sprinkled on the doorframes of their homes. The Passover meal, which includes unleavened bread, is to be eaten standing up, staff in hand, dressed and ready to go on a journey – signifying the haste with which Israel left Egypt.
Judas agreed to betray Jesus just before the Passover. Here is a message, a foreshadowing, that Jesus is the Passover Lamb. It is on account of His sacrificial blood sprinkled upon the cross, that God passes over us with His judgment. He is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world (cf 1 Cor 5:7; Jn 1:29,36; 1 Pt 1:19; Rev 5:6,9,12; Rev 12:11).
B After the reforms of King Josiah, the killing and eating of the Passover sacrifice took place in Jerusalem. The blood was now sprinkled, not on the entrance to the house, but on the altar of burnt offering (2 K 23:21-33; 2 Chron 35:1; cf Deut 16:5-7). For this reason, Jerusalem was filled with many Passover pilgrims.
This created a problem for the chief priests and the teachers of the law. For some time they had been looking for some way to get rid of Jesus. Finally He was in Jerusalem again and within their grasp. But "they were afraid of the people." An open arrest might well provoke a riot among the pilgrims, many of whom supported Jesus – especially those from Galilee and the Trans-Jordan.
The leaders of Israel were torn between their hatred of Jesus and their fear of the people. How could they possibly get rid of Jesus without incurring the wrath of the excitable masses?
The authorities had to find some way to quietly arrest Jesus so that the mobs could not intervene on His behalf. From Mark's Gospel we learn they had decided to get rid of Jesus after the Passover, by which time the masses would have left the city (Mk 14:2).
Judas, however, comes along and offers them an immediate opportunity to quietly arrest Jesus. This was too good to be turned down. "They were delighted," says Scripture, "and agreed to give him money."
II Its Satanic Inspiration
A Judas was one of the Twelve. He was one of those called and chosen by the Lord as an apostle. He was a trusted accomplice and even confidant of Christ. His was the privilege to walk and talk with the Lord almost everyday. He had witnessed most of Christ's astounding miracles. He had heard Jesus teaching with vigor, understanding, and authority. He knew Jesus to be the promised, long-awaited Messiah. He was even given a position of trust and leadership in the group of disciples – he was the treasurer.
How could such a one as he, one of the Twelve, commit such a treacherous act? How could he betray the Lord? How could he commit the Judas' sin?
King David too was betrayed by a close and trusted friend. Remember the time he had to flee Jerusalem because his son Absalom conspired against him? Prior to Absalom's rebellion, one of David's most trusted and valued advisors and friends was Ahithophel. David and Absalom and all of Israel recognized that the advice Ahithophel gave came directly from the Lord Himself. Ahithophel, however, decided to betray David by supporting Absalom's rebellion (2 Sam 15:31ff). Years later, David wrote about this:
(Ps 41:9) Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. You can still hear the hurt, the pain, the agony in David's voice. A trusted companion and friend had betrayed him; he had committed the Judas' sin. How is this possible?
B Luke offers us a theological explanation for the Judas' sin. He tells us that "Satan entered Judas" (cf Jn 13:2,27). Judas came under the influence and even the control of Satan. Like a drug addict hopelessly addicted to his drugs, or an alcoholic completely dependent upon his bottle, so Judas is helpless before Satan. Judas is totally incapable of any resistance; his spirit has been broken, his will has been sapped. Satan possesses him, compels him, controls him.
Think for a moment of the young boy brought to Jesus one day (Mt 17, Mk 9). He was possessed by an evil spirit that compelled the boy to acts of suicide by jumping into fire or water to either burn or drown. This boy, like Judas, was under Satanic influence. Like Judas, he was helpless before Satan.
Think also of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5). They too were under Satanic influence. On account of this influence they lied to the Holy Spirit. Satan possessed them; under his control they falsely claimed all the profits from a land sale were given to the church. The Lord's Spirit struck them both down in death.
It is a fearful thing to be under the control and influence of Satan. It is a fearful thing to lose control of mind, body, will, and spirit, so that one ends up doing the bidding of the forces of darkness. This past week we saw at least two instances of what happens when people end up under Satanic control. First, we heard the news of six-year-old boy who deliberately shot and killed a six year-old girl at school. The poor boy didn't have a chance: he grew up in a broken home, was surrounded by drugs, and had easy access to guns. Second, we heard the news of a white-hating black man who shot and killed two white men and left three others critically injured all because he was angry about a broken door. The most perverse forms of evil follow whenever one comes under the control of Satan.
Satan entered Judas. So Judas betrayed the Lord.
Let this be a warning, congregation. If Satan were to enter any one of us, we too are more than capable of the Judas' sin, we too would betray the Lord, we too would fall into every sort of perversion and evil.
III Its Sinful Toehold
A The theological explanation of the Judas' sin is Satanic influence. The human or anthropological explanation is greed.
Judas was a money man. Perhaps he was a book-keeper, an accountant, a banker, a businessman, before the Lord called him as one of His disciples. Whatever his previous occupation, he had a gift for handling money and finance. So he was appointed – either by Jesus or the whole group – as the treasurer, the keeper of the money bag. And, like most treasurers, he was appalled with waste and careless spending (cf Jn 12; Mk 14:3-11). All in all, he seemed like a good man to put in charge of the group's finances.
Judas, however, went a step too far. He loved money. He was greedy. More than that, he was a thief. More than once he dipped his hand into the till. He doctored the books and engaged in white-collar crime (cf Jn 12:6).
It was Judas' greed and love for money that proved his undoing. You know what the Bible says:
(1 Tim 6:10) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. Judas' greed and love for money provided the devil the toehold he needed to gain entrance into his heart; Judas' greed and love for money led to his possession by Satan; Judas' greed and love for money were the means by which Satan gained control of his life.
Subtopic: Dangers of
Title: It's the Devil's own money
When the McGugarts of New York won the Irish Sweepstakes, they were happy. Pop was a steam-fitter. Johnny, 26, loaded crates on docks. Tim was going to night school. Pop split the money with his sons. They all said the money wouldn't change their lives.
A year later, the million wasn't gone; but it sure had worked some changes. The boys weren't speaking to Pop, or each other. Johnny was chasing expensive girls. Mom accused Pop of not giving her a fair share. Both boys were studying hard to become alcoholics. Within 2 years, all of them were in court for nonpayment of income taxes. "It's the Devil's own money," Mom said.
More than once I have seen what the love of money has done to family relationships – brothers and sisters fighting with each other or taking each other to court because they want a greater share of the inheritance. More than once I have seen a business partnership dissolved because of money conflicts.
Satan loves this. For this gives him the toehold he wants in our hearts.
B Greed, or the love of money, is not the only toehold by which Satan can gain entrance into our hearts. Other toeholds are sloth, lust, anger or hatred, pride, envy, gluttony. These 6, together with greed, have been known throughout the centuries as the "7 deadly sins." They are deadly because any one of them in our life provides a toehold by which the devil comes in and rules our heart, soul, mind, body, and spirit. The existence of any one of the 7 deadly sins in our life gives Satan the opportunity he wants to enter our life and take control.
Take pride as an example. Ananias and Sapphira were proud. They wanted to be known as very generous donors. It was through pride that Satan entered their heart.
Take covetousness or envy as another example. Our first parents, Adam and Eve in the Garden, coveted God's position over them. Satan skillfully used this to lead them into sin.
Just one little toehold is all that Satan wants. If he can get it, then he can enter in and lead us astray.
So take care, congregation, that you do not give Satan the toehold he wants in your life. Beware of all sin lest Satan enter your heart and lead you to betray the Lord and commit the Judas' sin.
IV Its Divine Decree
A Thank God! that Satan is limited and bound. He, for instance, is not omnipresent, nor is he omnipotent, nor is he omniscient. He is not God's opposite and equal. He does not have the final say in our lives; God does. To God, and not to Satan, belongs all kingdom, power, and glory.
Nowhere is God's control more clearly seen than in the events culminating in the cross and the grave. Yes, Satan entered Judas and compelled him to betray the Lord. Yes, Judas did give Satan a toehold through his love for money. Yet, Jesus was handed over by God's set purpose and foreknowledge (Acts 2:23). Or, as Jesus Himself says a few verses later, "The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed" (Lk 22:22; cf 24:7). It was God's plan for salvation that Jesus be betrayed (cf Ps 41:9). Our God is so almighty and so wonderful, that He can and does use sin and Satan to achieve His own eternal purposes.
Even the timing of the betrayal was in accordance with God's plan. Remember, the Jewish authorities had decided to deal with Jesus after the Passover. But God's decree was different from what they had planned. It was His will that Jesus, "the Lamb of God," should die on the great festival day as the perfect passover sacrifice for sin.
B God, not Satan, was and is in control. Yet, we cannot minimize our life and death struggle with Satan. Satan never once stops attacking us. He tempts and lures, he dresses himself as an angel of light, he disguises himself as a wolf in sheep's clothing, he is a prowling lion forever searching for prey to attack and devour. He loves nothing better than to have us under his sway. He loves it when he can make Christ's followers commit the Judas' sin.
Our almighty God, however, equips us in our life-long struggle against Satan. He gives us His full armor so that we can stand our ground against the devil's schemes. What is this armor? It is the belt of truth; the breastplate of righteousness; the shoes of the gospel; the shield of faith; the helmet of salvation; the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; and prayer (Eph 6).
All that we have to do is put on this armor, and we will be safe from the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Would you ever betray the Lord? Would you ever commit the Judas' sin?
Don't answer too quickly, congregation. All too often we have seen even great saints take a fall. All that it takes is one unchecked sin, one little toehold for Satan, and we too can forsake the Lord. Paul knows this, so he has a word of inspired advice for us:
(Eph 6:10-11) Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. (11) Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
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