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The Twelve - Part 6



"Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him."
Good Morning my beloved,
We welcome you to worship in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is my honor and great privilege to have you here with us today and share God's Word. We are especially grateful for those of you who have been sharing the ministry website, and social media platforms with all of your family and friends. Your faithfulness and commitment to share God's Word with others. We have seen a dramatic increase of people from all around the world, who are responding to God's Word, with more and more coming to Christ. May God richly bless you for your efforts. I want to let each of you know how grateful I am for you.
If you have recently received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please write or text to let us know so that we can pray for you. Also, let us know if you would allow us to share your story. Each one of us have been blessed with a unique testimony. We'd love to hear from you.
Once again, we find ourselves in tenth chapter of Matthew, Matthew 10 verses 2 through 4. I imagine you never anticipated this few verses taking so long to get through. But that's what happens when you thoroughly examine the text in expository teaching. You can literally spend a year or more, teaching in the same book. I believe however, you walk away with a much deeper understanding of the Scripture. And isn't that what preaching the Word is all about, people hearing and understanding the Truth?

As we return to the Gospel of Matthew, having studied the other eleven names in the list of the twelve apostles, who were called and sent to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In an attempt to learn everything that we can learn about them, their backgrounds, their personalities, and their character, so we've been looking at them individually. I believe we can conclude that all of these imperfect men, were unqualified, whom Christ had to transform in order make them useful for the purposes and plans of God. Today, we finally come to the long awaited last name in the list, Judas Iscariot.

Let's us pray
Heavenly Father,

Father, as always we thank You for Your Word. As we consider the message and the Apostle before us, cause to examine ourselves and see if there's anything that we've that we have sold our souls for that keeps us from obeying His word. Some stubborn self-will, or hidden pride or an immoral relationship. Lord, help us to confront whatever the sin is and turn from it. Forgive us if we have valued anything more than a right relationship with Your Son, Jesus Christ.

Help us to bring more people into Your eternal Kingdom. Lead us today, to someone whose heart You have prepared, who today remains unsaved, open their heart that they would receive Christ and their Lord and Savior. Make this a day of rejoicing, a day for glory to Your name.
In Christ's name we ask and pray

Today's Message: The Twelve - Part 6

Open your Bibles with me if you would to the tenth chapter in the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew 10:2-4. I invite you to follow along with me as I read verses two through four, while we open our hearts for what the Spirit of God is saying to us. Matthew chapter 10, verses 2 through 4. 
"Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him."
Let's look at Judas Iscariot. Iscariot, surname of Judas and his father.
If I were to say, the most frequently asked question in studying the apostles, it would have to be "Why did Jesus choose Judas to be one of His Apostles knowing that Judas was going to betray Him?" It does seem odd that Jesus would select Judas, the one who would later betray Him. The short answer is that Judas Iscariot fit into God's plan, for His intended purpose. We must keep in mind that Jesus came to earth to die for the redemption of sinners. Prophecy had to be fulfilled. God's plan required someone to betray the innocent Son of Man. We can rest assured, Jesus was in no way fooled by Judas! 
From the beginning, Jesus knew exactly which of them did not believe and who would ultimately betray Him. He chose him because He knew the Scripture had to be fulfilled. In fact, in John 6, Jesus said to the twelve, "Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?" One thing for certain, is that Judas Iscariot made a conscious choice to betray Jesus. And at the Last Supper, Jesus not only predicted His betrayal in John 13, when He said "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, "Not all of you are clean."
Later that evening, He identified His betrayer; "That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him. So when He had dipped the morsel, He *took and *gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot."
Judas remains a controversial figure in Christian history, due to his notorious role in all the gospel narratives. I know many people have wondered, if God predetermined this, will He really hold Judas responsible and condemn him to Hell? I understand their concern and desire to resolve the problem it a way that let's Judas off the hook. I very clearly what the Bible says, I've studied faithfully and thoroughly for years, if you're lost, you are responsible. Judas had not been born again and was his sins were not forgiven. Jesus affirmed that when He said  "Not all of you are clean." Remorse does not equal repentance.
Let me say it another way, if you’re truly saved; your sins are forgiven. If you're not saved; you are damned.
How do I know Judas wasn't saved? Satan entered into him. Judas didn’t outwardly appear to have defective character. Not one of the others suspected Judas, when Jesus said one of them would betray Him. Not only was Judas was hypocrite and he was good at hiding it. They trusted him enough to elect him treasurer of the group. It's interesting to me, throughout the entire biblical record, he said nothing for three years. That is until he complained about the waste of money in Bethany. He was no more unqualified to be transformed than the others, the difference was a willing heart. The same sun that melts the wax, hardens the clay. Jesus chose Judas to fulfill prophecy. Judas heard the same teachings, he was told the same parables, he sees a miracle, and another miracle. Jesus even warned him when He said "yet one of you is a devil." In other words, he had every opportunity not to fulfill it. Judas was responsible for his actions.
In Matthew 26, Jesus said "The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born." And Judas, who was betraying Him, said, "Surely it is not I, Rabbi?" Jesus *said to him, "You have said it yourself."

Jesus told them that before He was the lion of the tribe of Judah, He would be the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Sill they all believed the Messiah would bring an earthly Kingdom. Judas was hanging in there, he was no different than than eleven, they believed Jesus was the lion of the tribe of Judah. It's hard to say what finally devastated Judas into betraying Jesus, I tend to believe that it was His triumphal entry into the city that finally it all clear to him. Jesus talked about dying and being lifted up.

Let's look at John 12 as the events of the day, moving toward the cross unfold; "On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel." Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt." These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him."

The eleven began to see things in a divine dimension, the spiritual kingdom. Judas never got there. I believe he began to realize that the hopes of the Messiah overthrowing Rome wasn't going to happen, the anticipation of that was quickly vanishing. Jesus obviously wasn't going to fulfill his expectations. If Jesus is going to die, there was nothing good left, so he wanted to get something out of all this. I believe hate and greed over took him. So he literally sold his soul to hell for thirty pieces of silver. All throughout Scripture, we see that God can use even the most wicked of mankind’s actions for good. I do not believe there's anything more evil and wicked than betraying and murdering the Son of God. Let me just explain something as clearly as I can; God does not create evil, but He does control it! Judas was chosen with the foreknowledge of God that he would betray Jesus, but his betrayal, rather than inhibit God’s plan for salvation, in fact, he actually advanced it.

It was the night that Judas left Bethany that he began to negotiate with the chief priests for 30 pieces of silver. If Jesus was going to die and he wasn’t going to get the Kingdom, he was determined to get something for his time. Judas worked the whole thing out. After having initiated the betrayal of our Lord, he joins Jesus and His disciples in the upper room. Further play the role of the hypocrite as Jesus washes his feet. 

In John 13, while they were fellowshiping sitting down for the Feast of the Passover after Jesus said "He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.’" Verse 21, "He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me." Can you imagine just anxious He was, burdened with the anticipation of the sin-bearing on the cross, sitting there with the enemy who betrayed Him? After He gave Judas the morsel, "Jesus *said to him, "What you do, do quickly. Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him." No one suspected anything. They had no clue why Jesus sent him away. Jesus knew! I believe John knew and along with the plan.   

Matthew chapter 26 says he sought an opportunity to betray Him. Mark 14, he says he sought how he might conveniently betray Him.  And in Luke 22, Luke wrote that he sought how to betray Him in the absence of the multitude. He found it. In a way that he thought Jesus wouldn’t suspect, he would point Jesus out to them in a secret place and identify Him with a kiss. "Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him." A kiss that was a supreme act of hypocrisy. And all for 30 pieces of silver, exactly what the Old Testament said it would be. However, Jesus knowing they were coming for Him, He eliminated the need for a kiss, when they said, "Jesus of Nazareth," He said "I am He." The funny thing is, He kissed Him anyway, it says in the Greek repeatedly. In Matthew 26 it says that Judas kept on kissing Him! Greed and hypocrisy, "betraying the Son of Man with a kiss."

I find it deeply disturbing, that even today, many of those standing in pulpits are willing to sell Christ for whatever they think they can get. It may not be for silver, but for selfish ambition, fame, fortune and a name for themselves, even a seat of power. May I suggest to you that no man is more like Satan than a corrupt preacher, selling Christ for personal gain.

In Acts 1, it says "Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was counted among us and received his share in this ministry." (Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out." What a way to go, falling from a tree onto the rocks below. Even by taking his own life, he could not end his misery, now in hell for all eternity. "Judas turned aside to go to his own place."

Luke records that "With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood."You know, I believe Judas is the world greatest example of  just how far greed can take a man. What a wasted life.

In Matthew 7, Jesus said "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’"

In Closing..

Judas Iscariot's story is a stark reminder to all of us that outward appearances can be deceiving. Hypocrisy hides the filthy, wretched soul that lies within. Only God could have such forbearing patient love for someone He knew would betray Him. Even calling him "friend" after he brayed Him with a kiss. What an illustration to all of us of the love and patience of God. Jesus said "It would’ve been better for that man if he had never been born."  And so it will be for those who reject Christ today.

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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