Luk 22:3 Then entered Satan into JUDAS surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.
Luk 22:4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.
Luk 22:5 And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.
There are two examples that especially stand out of men who committed suicide in the Bible, Samson and Judas. These two men illustrate something very, very important. Breaking the law WILL condemn us, but having FAITH in God’s mercy and grace WILL save us from the condemnation of the law. Lack of FAITH in God’s grace and mercy WILL surely condemn us.
Joh 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and BELIEVETH on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Our second example, Judas, was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples during His earthly ministry. Judas shows us the terrible consequences of being SELF-CENTERED instead of being CHRIST CENTERED!
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
This may be one of the most terrifying things that Jesus ever said! Hear what John Wesley, one of England’s greatest evangelists, said concerning this passage of Scripture:
We have prophesied - We have declared the mysteries of thy kingdom, wrote books; preached excellent sermons: In thy name done many wonderful works - So that even the working of miracles is no proof that a man has saving faith.
I never knew you - There never was a time that I approved of you: so that as many souls as they had saved, they were themselves never saved from their sins. LORD, IS IT MY CASE? John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes.
If John Wesley must ask himself this sobering question, then I think we all must spend serious time in reflection and self-examination. I am afraid too many people are entering into Christian ministry for selfish reasons: they seek fame, or worldly distinction, or employment, or sexual opportunities (think cult leaders or Catholic Priests), or… WEALTH. Apparently, “money” was the main motivating factor for Judas Iscariot.
Joh 12:4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him,
Joh 12:5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
Joh 12:6 This he said, NOT THAT HE CARED FOR THE POOR; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
Judas Iscariot was either the last, or near the last disciple chosen by Jesus. When we see paintings of Judas, he is usually depicted as a shifty eyed scam artist that nobody in their right mind would trust with money. However, I suspect that he most probably resembled one of the leading members of your local chamber of commerce: clean cut, well groomed, showing concern for the welfare of others (especially the poor), always glad to see you… perhaps greeting his friends with a kiss? I suspect that he cultivated all of the outward traits of a generous character, when his actual character was just the opposite. Judas was just putting on an act, an act that Jesus saw through.
The truly sobering fact is that Judas was intimately associated with Jesus Christ through his entire three-and-one-half year ministry. He saw Jesus performing astounding miracles; he saw the blind receive their sight, he saw the lame walk, he saw the lepers cleansed, he saw the dead raised from the dead! Judas was probably nearby when Jesus was preaching to thousands of followers. He was close at hand when Jesus was explaining the parables. He was actually there when Jesus walked on the water! Judas had an intimacy with Jesus that the rest of us can only dream about: he lived with Jesus; he broke bread with Jesus; he walked many miles with Jesus; he slept close to Jesus; he had many opportunities to ask Him any question, great or small. He could have broached any subject. He could have asked Jesus questions that we all wonder about: questions about heaven and hell, questions about life and death, questions about righteousness and sin, questions about faith, mercy, hope, and…LOVE. However, his main concern seemed to be enriching himself.
Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Mat 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
There is something really amazing that few people seem to consider. Jesus “graciously” gave Judas AUTHORITY to cast out devils, to heal the sick, and to preach the kingdom of God!
Luk 9:1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
Luk 9:2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
This should make us all pause and THINK! Maybe, just maybe, we do not have to be some special person, or some holier than thou saint, in order to heal the sick, or to cast out devils, or to perform miracles?
Jas 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Jas 5:17 Elias was a man subject to like PASSIONS as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
Jas 5:18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
PASSIONS: G3663, homoiopathēs, hom-oy-op-ath-ace'
From G3664 and the alternate of G3958; similarly affected: - of (subject to) like passions.
Maybe we should think twice about putting people on a pedestal, and maybe we should think twice, three times, four times, or seventy times seven times, before we put ourselves up on a pedestal. We could be casting out demons, healing the sick, and performing miracles…but we might still be on the path to hell!
We must, must, MUST examine what is motivating us. Are we motivated by selfishness or by LOVE? Are we motivated by our own personal desires and lusts, or are we truly motivated by concern for others? Are we motivated by our own carnal nature, or are we motivated by the Holy Spirit?
THE PATH OF JESUS CHRIST IS NOT A PATH OF SELF-INDULGENCE, BUT A PATH OF SELF DENIAL! Read what F.B. Meyer says about the true Christian walk:
Our Lord compares this to entrance by a strait gate and walking on a narrow path. It is the way of the Cross. We must say “No” to the “I” life which is seated in our soul and which must be ruthlessly denied. We must say of it as Peter did of Jesus, “I do not know the man.” The way of self-indulgence begins on a primrose path and ends in a wilderness. The path of self-denial is steep and difficult at the start, but leads to a paradise of joy. Through the Bible Day by Day (F.B. Meyer).
I like how F.B. Meyer describes the narrow path: THE “I” LIFE…MUST BE RUTHLESSLY DENIED!
So then…How exactly do we deny our “I” life?
It is purely a work of God’s WORD, producing the fruits that can only be produced by the Holy Spirit.
Jas 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to SAVE your SOULS.
SAVE: G4982, sōzō, sode'-zo
From a primary word σῶς sōs̄ (contraction for the obsolete σάος saos, “safe”); to save, that is, deliver or protect (literally or figuratively): - heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.
SOUL: G5590, psuchē, psoo-khay'
From G5594; breath, that is, (by implication) spirit, abstractly or concretely (the animal sentient principle only; thus distinguished on the one hand from G4151, which is the rational and immortal soul; and on the other from G2222, which is mere vitality, even of plants: these terms thus exactly correspond respectively to the Hebrew [H5315], [H7307] and [H2416]: - heart (+ -ily), life, MIND, soul, + us, + you.
Our mind, our thoughts, and our emotions, must be transformed, and conformed, to God’s mind, and God’s thoughts, and God’s emotions. That spiritual transformation can only be accomplished by meditating on God’s WORD, and by completely rejecting our own selfish desires. God’s Word will transform and renew us into His image.
Eph 4:20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
Eph 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
Eph 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
Eph 4:23 And be RENEWED in the spirit of your MIND;
Eph 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
RENEWED: be renewed. Gr. ananeoō (S# G365, only here). This word occurs frequently in the Apocrypha [1Ma_12:1, 1Ma_12:3 (see TDNT, IV. 900)]. Implies that the whole course of life now flows in a different direction. The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury.
"But with you it is not so: YOU LEARNED THE CHRIST!" In spite of its abruptness, this construction would be necessary, if it were only "the Gentiles" of Eph_4:17 with whose "walk" St. Paul means to contrast that of his readers. But, as we have seen, he has before his eye a third class of men, unprincipled Christian teachers (Eph_4:14), men who had in some sense learnt of Christ and yet walked in Gentile ways and were leading others back to them. Eph_4:20, after all, forms a coherent clause. It points an antithesis of solemn import. There are genuine, and there are supposed conversions; there are true and false ways of learning Christ. Strictly speaking, it is not Christ, but the Christ whom St. Paul presumes his readers to have duly learnt. The words imply a comprehending faith, that knows who and what Christ is and what believing in Him means, that has mastered His great lessons. Expositor’s Bible Commentary.
We see that Jesus warned His disciples about “False Prophets”. He declares: “BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM!”
Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Mat 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Mat 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
Mat 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Mat 7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Not only do false prophets produce evil fruit, but the people that they disciple, and who follow their teachings, will also produce evil fruit. There is a stark contrast between the wheat and the tares. Wheat produces seeds that are nourishing to the body, but tares produce fruit that is poisonous to the body. The difference between a true follower of Christ and a false follower is the difference between FAITH and UNBELIEF, the difference between LOVE and SELFISHNESS!
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt CONFESS with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt BELIEVE in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
CONFESSING with the mouth that Jesus is LORD is the easy part, but actually BELIEVING that God raised him from the dead, can be extremely difficult. I suspect that there are a lot of people today that confess that Jesus is LORD, but deep down inside they do not actually believe that the Bible is a true narrative, nor is it inspired by actual events, nor is it about actual people.
They may attend a Church because their family attends that Church, or they may attend because it is a good place to make business contacts, or it is a good place to meet a future husband or wife, or they may simply attend because it is a good source of entertainment when football season is over…Who knows the heart of man? However, in the end, their actions will eventually betray them.
Mat 20:18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,
Mat 20:19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
We see that Jesus tells His disciples, including Judas, exactly what is going to happen to Him just before He enters Jerusalem for the last time. He tells them that he will be persecuted, condemned, and crucified. He also tells them that: “THE THIRD DAY HE SHALL RISE AGAIN”.
Two of Jesus’ disciples fail miserably just before His crucifixion: Judas betrays Jesus for a fairly insignificant amount of money, and Peter fails utterly in his own self-assessed loyalty to the LORD.
Mat 26:14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
Mat 26:15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
Mat 26:16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
Judas reveals that if we continue to flirt with some besetting sin, even while we are confessed followers of Christ, selfishness and self-centeredness places us in serious jeopardy of eventually being overcome, and even losing our salvation. I suspect that Judas was not so far gone that he did not suffer pangs of conscience when he stole money from the bag that he was placed in his keeping for safekeeping. However, if we continue to ignore our conscience, and continuously willfully sin, then eventually that sin, and perhaps even the devil himself, will completely control us.
Joh 13:26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.
Joh 13:27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
Joh 13:28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.
However much we might conceal our sins and our ulterior motives from people, we can never hide our sins or our motives from Jesus Christ. We find out that although Judas seemingly assented to the fact that Jesus was the Christ, his hidden sin, and his betrayal of Jesus for money revealed his deep seated UNBELIEF.
Joh 6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
Joh 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
Joh 6:69 And WE BELIEVE and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
Joh 6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a DEVIL?
1) prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely
1a) a calumniator, false accuser, slanderer
2) metaphorically applied to a man who, by opposing the cause of God, may be said to act the part of the devil or to side with him
We see that after Judas betrayed Jesus, he felt genuine sorrow; however, it was a worldy sorrow, and not a sorrow that led him to true repentance.
Mat 27:4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
Mat 27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
There are some people who theorize that Judas fully understood that Jesus was God’s sacrifice that would atone for the sins of all mankind, but once again his actions deny this false theory. This is why I believe he is now in hell. Judas did not actually believe that Jesus was the Messiah, neither did he believe that Jesus would rise on the third day, or he would have patiently waited for three days for the return of the LORD.
Peter, on the other hand, also experienced an almost overwhelming sorrow when he recognized just how weak and pitiful his loyalty actually was to the LORD, even though I am sure he truly believed that Jesus was the Messiah. It appears that Peter’s belief in Jesus’ resurrection was also pitifully weak.
Mat 26:74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.
Mat 26:75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.
However, although Peter also betrayed Jesus by denying Him, he still retained some hope in the truth of the LORD’s words. Peter gathered back with the other ten disciples. Best of all, when the other disciples did not believe the report of Jesus’ resurrection, Peter immediately arose and RAN to see for himself!
Luk 24:4 And it came to pass, while they were perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel:
Luk 24:5 and as they were affrighted and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
Luk 24:6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
Luk 24:7 saying that the Son of man must be delivered up into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
Luk 24:8 And they remembered his words,
Luk 24:9 and returned from the tomb, and told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest.
Luk 24:10 Now they were Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James: and the other women with them told these things unto the apostles.
Luk 24:11 And these words appeared in their sight as idle talk; and they DISBELIEVED them.
Luk 24:12 But Peter arose, and RAN unto the tomb; and stooping and looking in, he seeth the linen cloths by themselves; and he departed to his home, wondering at that which was come to pass.
We know that after the resurrection of Jesus, He does not reprimand Peter for his disloyalty. He only asks Peter one question, but He asks it three times: DO YOU LOVE ME?
Joh 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; THOU KNOWEST THAT I LOVE THEE. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Despite Peter’s disloyalty, despite Peter’s rashness, despite Peter’s weak faith, HE DID LOVE JESUS! This in the end is what separates the wheat from the tares, the gold from the dross, and the BELIEVER from the UNBELIEVER.
2Co 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
In the end, no matter what sins we may commit, the BELIEVER will always turn back to Jesus, and the UNBELIEVER will always turn away from Jesus. Simply to be “sorry” is not enough, the believer’s LOVE for Jesus AND their love for the brethren will always identify whether they are true BELIEVERS IN JESUS.
1Jn 3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
1Jn 3:21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
1Jn 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
1Jn 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and LOVE ONE ANOTHER, as he gave us commandment.
1Jn 3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.