United with God’s children

Summary of sermon by Erlo Stegen, 22 Mar 2015

Mat 26:47 And as He was yet speaking, behold, Judas came, one of the Twelve. And with him came a great crowd with swords and clubs, being sent from the chief priests and elders of the people. Mat 26:48 And he who betrayed Him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, He is the one, lay hold on Him.

Mat 26:49 And coming up to Jesus immediately, he said, Hail, Master! And he kissed Him.

Mat 26:50 And Jesus said to him, Friend, why are you here?

There’s no sin so wicked and depraved as this of Judas. He knew the Lord Jesus well, saw His miracles and bore the money bag. He was trusted. He felt the love that Jesus showed to people. He saw the prophesies being fulfilled before his eyes, that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God.

Sadly though satan found entrance, little by little. We don’t know the exact cause, but maybe he was proud that he had a position that was higher than the others. He was trusted by the others and the Lord to be the treasurer. A person can be proud because of anything, their clothing, position, beauty, wealth etc.

One who is proud hates being corrected. Even the slightest gentle correction upsets such a person. In John 12, when Mary anointed Jesus with the expensive oil, Judas Iscariot criticised and rebuked her sharply, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it” (John 12:5-6). So too in our era we have people speaking so strongly for the poor, but they also don’t care for the poor, but are thieves themselves. However at this time Jesus rebuked Judas and said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always” (John 12:7-8).

A proud person hates to be corrected and is angered when corrected. Could it be that this incidence was what parted him from Jesus. A proud person sees himself as elevated and very intelligent. They see their position as more important than others, and the slightest rebuke angers such a person. How much more if such a one is rebuked by Jesus in front of all. Later when Jesus foretold who would betray Him and gave Judas the piece of bread, he knew exactly what Jesus meant although the other disciples didn’t fully understand what was going on.

If someone rebukes you, don’t get upset. Rejoice and be glad. For if you open that door of anger and being indignant, you open the door for satan to enter just like Judas Iscariot. Some will get so upset and angered that they will sell the Lord Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, the price of a slave. Judas was also hypocritical in that when he betrayed Jesus, he kissed Him as if he was still his friend.

Paul wrote to the disciples, that their love must be without hypocrisy, and that they must hate what is evil (Rom 12:9). It’s shocking that a person who was so close to Jesus, and with the very disciples of Jesus, allowed such a sin to enter. Be very careful. It is only grace if a disciple of Jesus, a believer, stands true right to the end, never turning aside on the way. We should fear the Lord when we read this about Judas Iscariot. That is why the Bible says, watch and pray (Matt 26:41). Even before you pray, you must watch, like a night watchman. It is dangerous, for sin can start in the smallest way.

Whitney Houston had a most beautiful voice. It was as if no one could sing as she could. She also sang in the church choir of her Baptist church. It was as if there was no other female voice that could go to the extremes she could, from the lowest to the highest notes. However, TV presenters heard her and offered her lucrative contracts and she accepted it. They flattered her because of her pure beautiful eyes and voice. She became world famous. The flattery poison entered her and so the love of the world entered into her. She was enticed by the fashions of the world, and what the world considered beautiful started to fascinate her too. Just like Judas Iscariot, this poison of the world entered into her little by little. She stopped going to church or singing in the church choir, loving the world and its fashions instead. But the Bible says that a person who loves the world is an enemy of God, and doesn’t have the love of God in him (James 4:4; 1John 2:15). In the beginning she would walk around with the Bible sharing with the people of the world about the Lord Jesus. But now she was far from the Lord. After some time, the love of the opposite sex came in, and even the suspicion of drug use. She went from bad to worse and was dead at 48.

The Bible says that we must not give place to the devil (Eph 4:27).

The story is told of the Trojan horse that the Greeks used to enter the city of Troy. After a fruitless 10-year siege, the Greeks constructed a huge wooden horse, and hid a select force of men inside. The Greeks pretended to sail away, and the Trojans pulled the horse into their city as a victory trophy. That night the Greek force crept out of the horse and opened the gates for the rest of the Greek army, which had sailed back under cover of night. The Greeks entered and destroyed the city of Troy, decisively ending the war.

Do you see how satan enters? Satan comes with his cunning plans, and it doesn’t matter how high your position is, he has his plans to enter and destroy. When lions want to catch buffalo, the buffalo make a circle and put the weakest and most vulnerable in the middle of the circle. As long as the buffalo stay united like that the lions cannot do anything. But if one of the young buffalo males should panic and run away in fear in its own direction, the lions will have him killed in no time and feast on him. So too, the Bible teaches believers to remain in the fold of the children of God. Blessed is that one who stays in the company of God’s saints and a child in the protection of its parents and wanting to be among them. If you forsake the saints of the Lord to go your own way, you won’t succeed and won’t stand. You will become the food of the roaring lion, satan.

If there’s an area which are known for lions, the people but their cattle in a kraal with a high fence and the lions cannot enter. The lions then go and stand in such a way that the wind blows from them towards the cattle. If the cattle should get mad with fear and run in all directions they would break the fence and the lions can then catch them.

If you smell satan’s smell, don’t be full of fear but remain close to the Shepherd and God’s children. Blessed is the one who has an ear to hear and keep it that you won’t be a play thing of the devil.