Title: What Judas has left us
in a fine book, entitled, One minute after you die, Erwin Lutzer presents in painful detail the reality of an individual’s life’s decision to reject Christ.
"One minute after you slip behind the parted curtain, you will either be enjoying a personal welcome from Christ or catching the first glimpse of gloom as you have never known it. Either way, your future will be irrevocably fixed and eternally unchangeable…. And so, while relatives and friends plan your funeral– deciding on a casket, a burial plot, and who the pall bearers shall be– you will be more alive than you have ever been. You will either see God on his throne surrounded by angels and redeemed humanity, or you will feel the weight of guilt and abandonment. There is no destination midway between those two extremes, just gladness or gloom… In a cemetery, somewhere in Indiana, is an old tombstone with this epitaph to ponder:
"Pause stranger, when you pass me by– as you are now, so once was I. As I am now, so you will be… So prepare for death and follow me. An unknown passer by read those words and according to Lutzer, scratched this reply, to follow you, I am not content, until I know which way you went."
Text: Selected: John 12
Seldom have I heard of a message about Judas… But if just one minute after he died at the foot of that cliff– he now knew what to tell us… "if just 60 seconds before I ended my life with a decision of self death, I might have repented and then what a story I could have told you.
His s in factin fact is a story of potential and productivity as much as any one else in the group of chosen disciples.
Judas likely had the support and leadership of a godly family, who named him a form of Judah ( Jehovah Leads) with the intent that he would find his way in the faith.
His town of origin was distant from his colleagues- they were all from Galilee; he, as his surname would indicate: Iscariot, probably hailed from a small town in southern Judea, known as Hezron.
He was in many ways a stranger to the group, which allowed him the luxury of an attitude that his actions were in some way justified.
So successful was his work as gaining their trust and blending in, that even when Jesus predicted his betrayal, no one put it all together( Matt. 26:22-23).
Judas followed Jesus because he wanted to and more importantly, Jesus called him, but he never manifested a spiritual relationship with his master. He was young, zealous, and patriotic and saw Jesus as the best answer for popular relief from the Roman boot. At his core, he was selfish, greedy, wanted to coerce for himself, the power he believed Jesus had and would use to achieve His ends. He remained when many other disciple deserted (John 6:66-71).
He is called a devil: John 6:64
He is prophesied as a traitor(Ps.41:9), and declared opening to be the key player in the final solution to arrest the Lord Jesus.
He is a thief, and impostor (John 12?, and even…
With all the opportunities to repair his relationship, surrendered to his own devilish desires. He heard all the parables, listened to all the teaching, was present for all of the many sermons Jesus delivered during the 3 yard of public ministry.
Transition: so what can this life teach us?
1. Life is eternal, riches are not
2. Power is corruptible, and most often uncontrollable.
3. An unexamined life is a wasted life!
4. Following is not fruitful unless it’s founded first in objective truth.
You may have been part of this church since its inception or another all your life and yet still in unbelief.
5. A name is no guarantee of nobility.
6. Group membership is not the same as group ownership:
7. Decisions becomes legacies
8. Grace holds even the worst sinners redeemable.
9. Life has limits– God does not.
10. Guilt’s best work lies in repentance, it worst effect in denial!
John 20: The Good news: He is not here– not in the ground, not in the tomb, not in our imagination, nor even in our dreams. He is alive, He lives, He reigns, and He is Lord, to the glory of the Father and to the joy of those who believe.
I love the way Lutzer ends his introduction, He writes,
" I pray God will help me make heaven so inviting that those who are ready to enter will scarcely be able to wait– I pray also that I shall make hell so fearsome that those who are not ready to die shall quickly come to trust the only One who can shield them from the wrath to come!"
May Lutzer’s tribe increase!
Mark J. CongrovePastor, Bethel Baptist church
facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/mjcongrove