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What Is the Church Today Reaching For?

Good morning family!

I'm so grateful to see all my brothers and sisters here with me today!
We serve a GREAT GOD don't we?

Amen!

God is good always, all ways God is good! 
Can I get a witness?

This morning we are going to be talking about "Reaching for Two Worlds but Not Getting Either"

"Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?”
He said to him, “You have said it.”
Matthew 26:25

Surely Not I, Teacher?
Those are the words of Judas as he was about to betray Jesus!

What We Know About Judas 

Judas was one of “the twelve” whom the Bible tells us Jesus designated as His Apostles. Judas was present even when Jesus said, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!”
John 6:70

Judas was “from Kerioth” which is a small town in southern Judah - that’s what “Iscariot”apparently means. So Judas was from Judah, and not a Galilean as were the other Apostles.

But he was one of the twelve, and this means that Judas was present for all those amazing things Jesus did - all the signs and wonders He performed. He was present when Jesus fed the thousands.

In fact, must have done some amazing things himself, for we read in  Mark 10:4 that Jesus “called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.”

Judas was very familiar with Jesus’ teaching. He was present to hear “the sermon on the mount.” He was present for Jesus’ teaching in parables. Not just that, but he was also there when Jesus gave a private explanation of the parable of the sower in Mark chapter 4. I find this especially ironic. Was Judas like the hard path where the seed that is the word of God falls and then is taken away by Satan? Was he the rocky place where the seed grows a little but then dies out from lack of depth? Or was Judas that thorny ground where the seed tries to grow but is choked out by, as Jesus said, “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things.”?

That last one is more than a little intriguing, is it not? For there came a time near the end of Jesus’ life when Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, whom, by the way, we have to presume Judas saw Jesus raise from the dead! Opened a bottle of expensive perfume and poured it onto Jesus. While she did this to honor Jesus, John’s gospel tells us that Judas especially objected. “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor?” said Judas. “ It was worth a year’s wages.” John goes on to tell us in John 12:4-6 that Judas did not say this because he really cared about the poor. He said it because he was a thief who was the “keeper” of the treasury and John uses a play on words here, who would “keep” some of the money for himself. Did Judas cringe a little when Jesus spoke of “the deceitfulness of wealth”?

It is interesting, isn't it, how Judas is mentioned in the gospels without acrimony. When the lists of the Apostles are given in the gospels, all that is said of Judas is “the one who betrayed Him."

But the point is this: Judas did not lack knowledge of Who Jesus really was and what Jesus stood for. He was as acquainted with Jesus as it was then possible to be. And yet he betrayed Jesus.

We're told Judas, went to the chief priests. They didn’t come to him; he went to them. According to Matthew, Judas asked the chief priests “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” The Jewish leaders offered Judas thirty silver coins. Yes, Judas had a money problem, as we have seen. But he is with Jesus, who can make all the food you need. What motivated Judas? Was it just money, or something more?

Is it possible that Judas wanted both worlds.
Perhaps some of you may have heard of “The Jesus Seminar.” It's a group of New Testament scholars who have been periodically meeting since 1985. The initial two hundred has now dwindled to about seventy-five active members. The goal of the Jesus Seminar is to determine which things in the gospels were “really said” by Jesus. They actually take a vote on every “saying” of Jesus by dropping little colored beads into a box. Red: Jesus undoubtedly said this or something very like it. Pink: Jesus probably or might have said something like this. Gray: Jesus did not say this, but the ideas are close to His own. Black: Jesus did not say this; it represents a later tradition.

By this means, the Jesus Seminarians create their own Jesus. Their version of Jesus is simply a sage, a spinner of one- liners, a teller of parables, a clever preacher. That’s all very intriguing, except that this Jesus of the Seminar is a Judas Jesus.

" And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord."
Genesis 13:10-13

"Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt."
Genesis 19:24-26

"For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia."
2 Timothy 4:10

Scripture clearly instructs us as believers,
Do Not Love the World

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever."
1 John 2:15-17

Is the church today, worshiping and praising God with a LUKEWARM HEART?
Are we trying to reach for two worlds, but not getting either?

"Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a loyal heart."
2 Chronicles 25:1-2

Now this story quickly goes downhill from there...
"Therefore the anger of the Lord was aroused against Amaziah, and He sent him a prophet who said to him, “Why have you sought the gods of the people, which could not rescue their own people from your hand?”
So it was, as he talked with him, that the king said to him, “Have we made you the king’s counselor? Cease! Why should you be killed?”
Then the prophet ceased, and said, “I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not heeded my advice.”
2 Chronicles 25:15-16

This cold-hearted king leaps from one disaster to another. First he attacks the northern nation of Israel and gets trounced. The Israelite's capture him, then plunder the temple and the palace. After 10 years, Amaziah is released and returns to his ruined country of Judah. But, after a while, he is chased from his own palace and assassinated by his own people.
 

So I need to ask you church, what can we learn from this king's example?

If nothing else, king Amaziah teaches us that a lukewarm heart is a very very dangerous thing. 
And if it's left unattended, it will ultimately grow stone cold.

When we talk about the heart, we commonly think of our emotions, our feelings, usually in regards to someone we love, are hurt by, or upset with.
But when the Old Testament talks about the heart it includes not just our emotions and feelings, but our mind, our will, and our entire spiritual nature!

It embodies the whole life of a person...

This is why Jesus said this was the greatest commandment: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Matthew 22:37

And we are also told this in Deuteronomy 6:5

"So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth."
Revelation 3:16

Contrary to what many believers think, this is NOT a verse about someone losing their salvation!
This verse is about someone trying to straddle the fence!
This is a picture of a person who is trying to reaching for both the world and the Kingdom of God!

It reminds me of the story of the little who prayed each night before he went to bed...
"Dear God,
Make me good, but not too good, just good enough so I don't get a whippin'"

When we put together what we learn in Matthew 27 and Acts 1, we get this picture of the end of Judas. He cast the pieces of silver at the Jewish leaders from whom he had received them. Being piously hypocritical as they were, they would not put this money back into the treasury because it was “blood money.” So they used it to buy a field, perhaps in the very name of Judas Iscariot. There Judas hanged himself. His dead body - and a suicide at that - was unclean to the Jews, so no one touched it. Instead, that partially decayed body fell and burst open.

It was a messy end of a very messed-up life. That life was messed-up when Judas tried to reach for two worlds and in the end he
did not get either. There is no way to do that, then, or NOW, without making a horrible huge mess.
In closing....

You Cannot Serve God and Riches:

 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
Matthew 6:24

We all are given a choice, the freewill to decide for ourselves, whom we will serve..
Though He is a Mighty and Powerful God, He will not force Himself on any one of us
We MUST be choose for ourselves to serve Him

"And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” 
Joshua 24:15

When you leave here this morning, every one of has a choice to make...
Whom will you choose to serve Whole Heartedly?
GOD or the WORLD?

It is my prayer for each and every one of you, that you will serve the Lord..

“Now may the Lord bless you and keep you;
and may the Lord make His face to shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”

Amen

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Brian Monzon Ministries

The Brian Monzon Ministries

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