How can great leaders and teachers in the faith seemingly fall away from the truth? We worship a sovereign God and He uses wicked men to fulfill His purposes. Jesus was not surprised by the wicked deed of Judas. On the contrary, He used it to accomplish the greatest act in history.
No Mean Love
The Sovereignty of God in the Sabotage of Judas
When Jesus Took Up the Towel and Loved us to the Uttermost
Israel and You: A Good Example or a Horrible Warning
For This Purpose He Came: Unveiling God's Glory in His Humiliation
John: Where We've Been and Our Intention Moving Forward
A Perfect Message if you "Wish to see Jesus"
King Jesus: Why the Leaders Missed Him, Why You Must Not
Albert: A Living Picture of Lazarus a Man Once Dead
Lazarus: A Dead Man Who Becomes a Picture of Life
The Pivot Point That Is Personal Belief and The Rightness of Radical Response
What Should and Shouldn't Matter To You
Jesus versus the Ultimate Predator
The Reason for Everything and How We are to Respond to It
The Identity of the Good Shepherd and the Attributes of His Sheep
The Good Shepherd: What He is Doing, Why He is Doing It, and How it's Going to Get Done
A Blind Man You'd Better See Yourself In
Sons, Slaves and Freedom Indeed
Good morning! My name is Todd. You might think of me as "Not JP." I love when y'all are exposed to that gifted young brother as you are all across our staff, which is an amazing group of folks, who I hear often… That's awesome. Hey, do you know what? Can I just tell you this?
I would love, and I do often say, I love when you're exposed to a member of Watermark and the world applauds and go, "I know the members of Watermark. I know Christ-followers. I know folks who are shepherded by one another and live in community and spur each other on to admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak,"and the world responds about you, our staff, every member, a minister, a kingdom of priests the way that I'm so glad that some of the folks who lead and encourage you made you want to do that.
I loved myself being encouraged by JP and hearing so many of you all talk to me about how great the message was, but here we go. I'm going to ask you a couple of questions. We ended in John 13, verse 17, the last time I taught through this book. Jesus says something in John 13:17. He says, "If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them."
I'm so glad that you are blessed by JP, but I want to ask y'all a question. What did you do with it? This isn't about just him coming up here and sharing great stories about how he engaged with lost people. I want to remind you. We made provision for us to reach this community. I look around. I see empty seats.
I see chances for us to still compel others to come in, to come and consider this Jesus that we were so encouraged to hear a young guy who is filled with zeal, boldly sharing his faith with others. I executed this week. I had a chance to talk to several people, many people about Christ who have no connection with Watermark. I'm always looking for that. Everywhere I go, that's what I do.
Let me just say this. If all we do is come and listen to guys who sing well and we like their song or speak well and they hold our attention, and we don't ever do anything with it, we are just like the guy we're going to focus on today: we are not blessed because we don't do that.
There are a lot of folks who are hurt. Let me just tell you, this city is filled with people who have no idea about the hope that we just sang about. We've made room for them. My prayer is that one day you'll sit here and you'll watch a video like I'm about to show, and you'll go, "That guy is talking about me that God used me to remind him of his goodness." Blessed are you if you do it. Watch this.
Luke Friesen: Since coming here about a year ago, I've been so impacted by the body of Christ. I can't come here without smiling and seeing 20 people that I love. You're making a difference in my life. Thanks for making room for me.
Jay Reed and Family: Thanks for making room for us!
Troy Patterson: Through this time here at Watermark, God has been teaching me how to be a better husband, a better father.
Ashley Marie Brandenburg: I came to truly know and understand and accept salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Allen Hankins: Man, I just have seen God do a work in my life and begin to heal not only myself but relationships with others.
Allyson Black: Having been through a divorce, I was left just not trusting God, and I came to Watermark. I remember Todd said something about college football from the day before, and it had me hooked. Once I continued coming here to Watermark, I heard about The Porch, and between Watermark and The Porch, I've done a 180 and am no longer walking away from Christ but just running toward him and trusting in his grace and love and mercy for all of us. So thank you, Watermark, for making room for me.
Allen: Thanks for making room for me.
Ashley Marie: Thanks for making room for me.
Troy: Thanks for making room for us.
Mike Jacobson: Coming here and to DivorceCare has given me a place to come out of that isolation.
Nancy Strasner: I've really seen just changes in myself that I've needed to make.
Robert Thongsavanh: Nine years ago, I converted to Christianity. I was a former atheist. The Lord had used a guy in the gym who I met there to share Christ with me.
Daniel Montenegro: Hitting middle school and high school was pretty tough. I started doing drugs and drinking, and I was always looking for something else.
Robert: After that, I had some pain and some hurts and hang-ups here at Watermark and chose to walk away from my faith.
Daniel: It went from smoking pot to taking pills to doing cocaine to snorting heroin.
Robert: The guy who led me to Christ nine years ago was walking by and just called out my name. I turned around and looked at him, and there he was. He said, "Hey, where have you been? I've been looking for you. What are you doing?"
Daniel: I just didn't want to do it anymore. I wanted something else.
Robert: About a month later, after doing what I was doing, I was so tired of it. I called him and said, "Hey, my life is a wreck, and I need to meet with you. I need some help."
Daniel: I found out about Watermark through iamsecond.com. I was driving down the street one day, and I saw an "I Am Second" sign.
Robert: As much as I said I hated his people and I hated church and I hated God, the one thing that I knew was so important was I missed Jesus Christ so much, because I knew what he did for me in my life.
Daniel: After meeting with a bunch of people, I've come to find that everybody has issues. Everybody has problems, and no matter how big they are or even how insignificant or small, there's somebody out there who wants to help, and God is always there.
Mike: I thank you for making room for me.
Nancy: Thanks for making room for me.
Robert: Thanks for making room for me…again.
Daniel: Six months ago, I was a drug addict. Fifteen days ago, I was an alcoholic. Two days ago, I accepted Christ into my life. So thanks for making room for me.
[End of video]
Well, I can remember the first time we showed that one, and I look at that. That is a cast of all-stars. One of those guys right there is a leader right now in a single parent ministry that is away this weekend as we minister to them. One of those guys we just brought on staff. Ally is leading in our Someone Cares abortion recovery ministry and was leading up a lot of what went on here last night.
Allen Hankins on there married a gal who is now on our staff. I could go on and on and on. These aren't just people who have passed through. Some of them have, but these are people who aren't just reading the Scripture but they are blessed because they're doing it. I want to tell you something. Those people have been getting after telling other people about the grace they found.
The day we lose the joy of our salvation is the day we need to figure out how to regain it. Amen? Because we're not just here because we like pretty songs or like to laugh or like to see friends. We're here because we want to be reminded of the greatness of our God, the amazing grace that affected us so that we might run to him, and in knowing him, declare him to others. Let me pray, because I don't want you just to know God's Word. I want God's Word to affect every area of your life.
Father, I thank you for my friends. We have a chance this morning just to stop and to think and reflect on the opportunity all around us. You'll tell us, "Hey, you're not blessed if you hang around me. You're not blessed if you listen to my teachers. You're not blessed if you listen to my teaching. You're not blessed if you are my disciple. You are blessed if you believe," specifically, a full understanding that moves from knowledge or assent to trust and obedience.
That's where the blessing is. I pray we would learn today from this horrible example how awful it is to be one of those who are around you and your teaching but we are not blessed because we don't do business with it.
Lord, we are thankful for grace, that we are saved completely by what you do. We thank you for what your Scripture teaches, that you're not some God who is looking for somebody to check a box, to give some weak lip expression of devotion. You are looking for folks who love you and respond to the love that you have given them. Those are the ones you said are blessed. Those are the ones who you said are part of your fellowship and your children forever.
Would you wake us up this morning? Would you send out from our work today 10,000 evangelists and disciple-makers out into this city who will reach the next level of Daniels and Roberts and Jays and Allens. Would we have great joy as we watch you work in them through us until that great day when we see you face to face? Come quickly, Lord Jesus, but until that time, may we abide with you. For your glory and our good I pray, amen.
Well, I'll tell you what. Sometimes I read a text when I'm going through a book like this and I go, "I have to tell the story. I really am not sure through my first reading how this is going to be applicable to the folks who you want me to really shepherd and love on this week." I looked at this.
This is the story of Judas' betrayal of Jesus. I kind of had that sense going in. Then I started hanging out with this text and looking at it more and more and praying and reading and listening. This might be a top five. All right? I'm just going to tell you. Get ready. I love… This is a great text. Let me tell you. Have you ever asked yourself this question?
How can somebody hang around Jesus, be around the church for a long time, and look like they're a church-going person only to find out later they were not a church-going person. They were a fraud, a devil even. I'll just ramp it up. How can sometimes guys who lead you to Christ, great preachers, great singers…
How can Willie Nelson, who smoked more dope than probably this entire room combined, put out such a great gospel album and it affect me deeply? I'm not a George Beverly Shea guy. I'm a Willie Nelson guy, but I think there's probably a difference in intimacy with Jesus between those two men. I'm not sure; I'm just speculating. What I want to share with you is that this is no conundrum to God.
If, God forbid, I go south, don't you dare believe for a second that the gospel isn't true. It has nothing to do with me. I am an earthen vessel and God is going to use me, I pray, today to pour out truth to you. I don't change anybody. I never have, and neither has Billy Graham, so don't you be concerned when you see God use wicked men who later leave him. That is not a surprise. It's not even unbiblical. I'm going to prove it to you today.
God will still be glorified. Now you're going to miss out on that. I was talking to the team up here today. We were praying. I just said, "Hey listen, gang. You're going to go sing. You're not fools. You're going to go shoot camera. You're going to put video and lights up there. God is going to glorify himself, but you're going to miss out on that blessing if you're just going through the motions. God knows exactly who is his and exactly who is not."
Let me just give you another deal. How can you trust a God when this world is filled with such betrayal and sabotage that God can get surprised? Well, I'm going to tell you something. Your God, if it's the God of Scripture, can not get sabotaged or surprised. There is nobody ever anywhere who jumps him. That's why this text is there: to teach you all that.
Have you ever had those questions? Come on. Watch this. Judas is not a lamb that has wandered away. Judas is an example of a pig that was washed and returned to the mud. He is a dog that has gone back to his vomit. Jesus knew it from the beginning. Now I'm going to shock you because you need to know something.
Judas was effective with the gospel and I think healed people in the name of Jesus. God had no problem with that. Watch this. He says right here at the end of this little section in John 13:1-16. He is talking about how he is the one who has washed you and cleansed you. He is the one who is going to make you right with God. In addition to that one-time cleansing, there's a continual cleansing. "He who has taken a bath," he said, "doesn't need to wash all over again. He just needs to keep his feet clean. "
In other words, you go through the world and you pick up junk and the mire that's in this wicked world as we walk through it. We need to confess and restore intimacy so we can have fellowship with him at the table. He says, "If you know these things [that I wash you, that confession is what keeps us close together, and you're close to me] you are blessed if you do them." Now he is going to say, "But not all of you are blessed."
This is not new information. He has already said it. In fact, in John 13:10, one of the things he said was, "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet…and you are clean, but not all of you." He has already said that. He is dropping hints all the way along. What is the purpose of this section? Let me remind you. John 1 through 12, public ministry. Jesus is rejected, he moves away from the public ministry, and he pulls away those who are going to be his disciples.
Those who are going to carry forth his message, and greater works than he has done will they do. He needs to teach them some things. He has already told them, "No one is going to take my life. I'm going to lay it down. I am sovereign. I'm in control. Nobody is going to take me before I want to be taken."
Do you know what's really interesting? Not only is nobody going to take Jesus before he wants to be taken, Jesus is going to make them take him when they don't want to take him. Let me say that again. There are numerous times already that we've seen that they were angry at him, they went to seize him, and it says, "So they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come."
Jesus is about to say, "It's time," and the religious leaders don't want to mess with him now during the feast because they don't want to cause a big ruckus and cause a disturbance that's going to make Rome clamp down on them, but Jesus says, "No, you'll take me now because this is about me laying my life down and not you working this out in a way that's comfortable for you. This is about me fulfilling the Scriptures. It's about me showing I'm the Passover Lamb."
You worship a sovereign God, and he uses wicked men at his pleasure. He says, "Not all of you are clean." He had already said that way back in John 6. He said, "One of you is a devil," so he was not surprised. He grabbed Judas for his own purposes. I'm going to show you why. It was to fulfill Scripture. It was to complete a type. Do you know what a type is? It's a picture of Jesus.
Just something really interesting. It's a prefiguring. It's a shadow. It's an allusion toward. Joseph…all right? Watch this. Joseph is a type of Christ…I mentioned this…a picture, a foretelling, the chosen brother, the loved one of the father who the brothers reject and sell him off into bondage into the hands of evil, godless men, the pagan Gentile. In Joseph's case, Egypt. In Joseph's case, 20 pieces of silver.
Do you know what brother, by the way, sold Joseph off into slavery? Do you know who led that? Judah. If Judah had been hanging around in the New Testament, his name would've been Judas. But they don't get away from him. He is not dead. In fact, God, in sovereignty, used that evil for good that he would ascend him to a place of great power.
When they are in need and ready to die, they would come to him and God would go before them and had put in place one who loves them, ready to forgive them, and offer them life if they would recognize their evil and seek forgiveness from him. There's their Joseph, just like Jesus is to us.
Samson. You go look at Samson. Samson, a great deliverer of the people of Israel, but the nation didn't like the way he went about it. A certain tribe went to Samson and said, "We have to get you and give you to the Gentile." In that case, it was the Philistines. Who was it? The tribe of Judah. They took Samson and they delivered him over to the Philistines.
They mocked him and they gouged his eyes out and they made sport of him. They strapped him to the pillars in their gathering assembly. Then out of that something bitter and the mocking of the deliverer of Israel, Samson cried out to God and he smote his enemy in his death. How about that? Out of something bitter comes something sweet. That's the riddle of Samson. It's the riddle of Christ.
Here's Jesus. Rejected brother, the Deliverer, who out of something bitter comes something sweet, betrayed by Judas. God has something working here, man. Your Bible comes together. This is what he says in verse 18. "I do not speak of all of you." Meaning not all of you are clean. "I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, 'HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.'"
I'll give you another type. Ahithophel. That's right. Ahithophel. Many people believe is the grandfather of Bathsheba. After David yoked up with Bathsheba, the grandfather of his new bride became one of his trusted counselors. It said in 2 Samuel that the words of Ahithophel during the time of David were as hearing from the Word of God. He was a trusted counselor.
When Absalom insurrected a rebellion against David, Ahithophel went to Absalom and told him what to do in order to really completely supplant and replace David. David wrote a psalm. Psalm 41, verse 9, says exactly basically what Jesus quotes right there. He said, "This happened for this reason. I am that David who is to come. I'm the one who is going to fulfill the Davidic covenant that my kingdom will reign forever."
Psalm 41:9 says, "Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me." Ahithophel came after David. Do you know what is so interesting? When his plan was thwarted by God because David prayed against him, Ahithophel went out and hung himself and committed suicide just like Judas is going to do.
Make a note. When you leave God's beloved, it does not work out well for you. Judas is a lesson in that. Such good stuff. The reason that this text is here? Again, Jesus is reminding his disciples, "Don't you freak out when you're about to see what's going to go down. I've known this all along." Shakespeare wasn't around yet, but he could've said this.
He could've said, "Look, I am not Julius Caesar who is going to be surprised by Brutus. I am Jesus Christ, and the Devil is my boy. I wrote him into this play. I'm not going to be surprised." This isn't a Benedict Arnold. This is a pawn in the hand of God to accomplish his purposes. Can I just encourage you with this?
I don't know what's going on in your life. I don't know where you are in that story, but if Judah has betrayed you and your brother has forsaken you, if you'll just do what Joseph did, if you'll trust God. If you'll do what Samson did and cry out to God. If you'll do what Jesus did and have a great sense of God's sovereignty, what others, even the Devil himself, has intended for evil, God will use for good.
I don't care if that's cancer. I don't care if that's adultery. I don't care if that's your own stupidity. My sweet little friend, Ally Black, who is up there in that little video we just watched. Ally would be the first to tell you, there was a lot of stupidity in her life. She didn't need a Judah to lead her down some long road. She was a Judah to herself. She said, "You know what? I'm going to stop being a Judah and I'm going to be blessed, because I'm going to do the things that God says."
What now she intended for evil even in her own life, God has used for good. That can be your story. I see you nodding. I know you know what I'm talking about. See, most of us don't need Judas to betray us. We just betray ourselves. I have good news. It isn't over. God will redeem it if you'll just let him.
What he is doing right here is he is telling you, "Disciples, don't you fret with sabotage or treachery because if you'll trust me, if you'll believe me, I am in it." He said, "This is just happening so you'll see that I am the fulfillment of every little blessing that came to Israel through David. I am the great fulfillment."
He says in verse 19, "From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He." Proverbs 15:11 says this, "Sheol and Abaddon…" Which are resting places of the dead. "…lie open before the LORD, how much more the hearts of men!"
What he is saying is, "Look, I know the words before they're on your tongue. I am the sovereign one of God. Everything you're about to see, I have firmly in my grasp." In Jesus' case, "My Father knows what he is doing. He has revealed to me some things that I'm revealing to you. We need to comfort one another with these words."
Jesus had a high view of sovereignty, and because of that, he lived in peace. Now you're going to see his soul was troubled about something. It's going to encourage you this morning if you're a Judas because you have a chance to turn it around. Watch this. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me."
This is great stuff. Why does he insert that right there? He is saying, "Look at me. Listen to me." Now this is an answer to a question that, I have to tell you, I have had for a long time. I don't rush out and tell folks that I'm a pastor. If you're with me somewhere, don't introduce me as your pastor, because I don't want all that baggage. Let me just develop a relationship.
I'm not ashamed of what I do, but let me ask you this. When you meet people, you go, "Hi, nice to meet you! I'm a Christian." You don't do that, do you? No, you just get there. You love them. You earn a right to be heard. Your life begins to create some thirst or some, hopefully, desire for them to know the source of the way you live and love the way that you do.
I'm happy to do the same. I'll come right there alongside of you. In fact, I'm happy to do this. If you introduce me as your pastor, I'll say, "Hey, I'm glad they did that because you know, we believe in 1 Peter 2 and we're a kingdom of pastors. So did you know your friend is a pastor or has he been too lame to tell you?"
That's what I'll say right there. All right? So anyway, I'm not ashamed of the gospel. I'm not ashamed of Jesus. We're going to get to the gospel. Let's not just lead with our chin. Let's lead with love and be very quick to get them to the source of that love. Amen? All right, now watch. In the midst of this, Jesus is going to say, "Look, I use whom I use when I want to use them. When I use them, it's me who is doing it and it's not them who are the source of the power."
What I was going to say is that sometimes I do look. I watch guys, whether they are on TV, and I watch people. I've had people tell me that some of the guys… I'm going to be shocked if I find out they're not charlatans when I get to heaven. I'm telling you, people have told me that they've come to Christ through some of these charlatans.
I just go, "Lord, what are you doing? Why aren't you exposing these men? Get rid of them!" There's a verse I've always gone to. It's in Philippians 1. I'm going to read it to you. Do you know where I've never gone that I'm going to go every time now I ask that question? I'm going to go right to John 13. Let me read you the verse, though, from Philippians 1 that I would always go to. People would ask me this.
This is the way that I would answer in the past. Philippians 1:15-18: "Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives…" They think that in doing that, they're mocking me and mocking God. It's just a money making business for them. ** **
"…thinking to cause me distress…" To show me what a joke it is. Because they know all this is a great way to bed women who are vulnerable and to ascend to power over weak men and to get all kinds of money while you're doing it. I mean, go back and read the history of the church. There have been some wicked men. Verse 18: "What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice…""All I want," Paul is saying, "is the gospel to be preached. I don't care who does it."
I wrote down right there in my Bible, "Don't worry that God uses the Devil to save his people. Just be glad he saves." Then, "Don't be a devil who he saves with. Be a disciple who is blessed." It says this, "And without faith it is impossible to please [God] …" That's why there are some guys who are preaching the Word out of envy and selfish gain that it will be no credit to them. God is going to use them.
Some of you in this room have trusted Christ by people who have abandoned the faith, who said all the right things. You go, "How could that guy not know Jesus?" Here's your answer. They are a pig who has just gone back to their mud. They've been around Jesus. The power is never in the vessel. The power is in the message, not the messenger.
I don't save anybody. I've never saved anybody. The Word that I've preached, the Word of God that I've shared, that's what saves. Paul said, "I'm just a cracked pot, but out of me flows living water." Let me just say it to you this way. Let's just say that somebody telegrams you, back in the day, that a rich uncle has died and left you a fortune, but the Western Union messenger that brings it to you is a thief and a liar.
He shows up and he says, "Guess what? You've inherited a great fortune." Then you find out the guy who told you that is a thief and a liar. That doesn't change anything about the message, does it? The question is, "Is the message true?" What I'm going to tell you is, "Don't be a thief and a liar because that will not work out well for you."
When somebody tells you about the wonders of heaven, the goodness of God, the power of his Word, and they are a thief and a liar? That doesn't change the fact that he is a wonderful God, full of grace and mercy. Are you with me? What he is doing right here is helping them understand the questions they're going to ask.
Let me just show you something in Luke 9. You need to see this. Luke 9. Are you ready? It says, "And He called the twelve together…" Guess who is part of the Twelve? Say, "Judas." Thank you. "And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing.
And He said to them, 'Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city. And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.'"
"I say this to all of you except Judas, because he is a devil." Right? No! It doesn't say that. Judas is part of the Twelve. Now watch this, verse 10. "When the apostles returned…" All of them! You're going to find out in a minute that they had no idea who the one who was going to betray them was.
Judas came back and he shared stories just like the rest of them. He didn't go out alone. He went with somebody else. "…they gave an account to Him of all that they had done. […] He withdrew by Himself to a city called Bethsaida." Where they went on and did other amazing things.
I want to tell you that God used Judas to heal people, to save people, to call them to repentance. Have you ever heard this little verse? That the Word of God won't return void? Now watch what the context of that is. See, when God's Word is preached, whether by a devil or a disciple, it's still going to accomplish what it's going to accomplish if God wants to accomplish that. Do you know where that verse is in your Bible? It is right next to another verse that we quote all the time, but we separate the two. Look at this. Isaiah 55:6-11. This is amazing.
"Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." Now watch this. "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' declares the LORD.
'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.'"
Have you ever said this? "God, how in the world can you use that guy who has done this to the people, who was sleeping with women all through the congregation all the time he was being powerfully used in my life? How can you do that?" What's the context of Isaiah 55:11? "My ways aren't your ways. I do things you can't even imagine. I'm going to show you my power.
I'm going to even use a devil to accomplish my purposes, because I am what is called sovereign. I love people and I want all people, not to be a devil, but a disciple. If they want to be a devil, they're still not going to CLEP out from being underneath my sovereignty. It is going my way." This is a great God.
Listen, if this is true to them, they can go, "Man, this just makes it really easy for me. I don't have to figure out who to trust. I have to figure out what to trust that ultimately is true." That is why when you hear anybody speak, what you really want to ask yourself is not, "Are they a pastor of a church with a good doctrinal statement?"
What you want to ask yourself is not, "Are they fun to listen to?" Every time I speak, you want to go, "Is Todd today preaching the Word of God? Because I don't care what Todd has going on in his personal life. If he is teaching the Word of God, it will be useful to me." Now it will only be useful to me in preaching to you if I'm truly walking with God and abiding in him and living by faith and am a righteous abider in Jesus, but it's going to still bless you.
There's your answer. Y'all with me? Here's what I'm going to tell you. Preach it and preach it as a faithful lover of Jesus, but if you are a devil, preach it still. Because God loves people. It won't do you any good, but you may as well at least while you're here do something good for others on your journey to great night of darkness.
Jesus is saying, "You need to know this." I'm going to read it to you again, but this is the context. "…I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me…""When they received Judas, who was saying what I told Judas to say, they didn't accept Judas. They accepted me." "…and he who receives Me receives [the Father] ."
It will go well with you. Don't be disturbed that Judas came to your town. You receive the word that your rich uncle has offered you a fortune. "When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit…" That is the word that means there was a riot inside him. I thought I just got through telling you that Jesus doesn't get all wrapped up, twisted around the axle, if you were.
Well he does, but look why his soul was troubled. This is beautiful. The reason that Jesus is troubled is not because he is about to figure out a traitor is in his midst. He says back in John 6:70 and 71: "You're a devil. You're going to betray me."He said back there earlier in John, "I know what's going on. This is not a surprise."
His soul is troubled because he loves men. If you're here this morning, Judas, let me just tell you something. He loves you. He doesn't want you to be a Judas. You can be one if you want, but my Bible says this in Ezekiel 18:23. My Bible says that God takes no delight in the death of the wicked.
In Ezekiel 33:11, my Bible says this. "Say to them, 'As I live!' declares the Lord GOD, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?'" I think his soul is troubled because he loves Judas. Jesus, friend of sinners.
Do you know what? I can take you to another gospel where it takes you to the garden of Gethsemane and Judas comes up and Jesus sees him. Do you know what Jesus says to him? "Friend, do what you have come for." That's after he already told him he is a devil. He is still reaching out. The fact that he was betrayed with a kiss didn't bother him.
Jesus was trying to kiss him with a washing that would make him clean, but he had already decided that God didn't fit in his little box, so he rejected the light. He went to darkness, and it did not go well for him. It says that his soul was troubled. Not because of betrayal but because he takes no delight in the death of the wicked.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me." Now, look, it says, "The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking." They all go, "Who could it be? Could it be me? Is it me?" In fact, if you go to Matthew… I'm not going to take you there, but in Matthew 26:20 and following, it goes around the table, and they go, "Surely not I! It isn't me, is it?" Because I think all of us know, every one of us knows how perilous our clinging to him is.
It's interesting too, by the way. You go to Matthew 26, they go, "Surely not I, Lord. Surely not I, Lord. Surely not I, Lord." Then it gets to Judas and he goes, "Surely it is not I, Rabbi?" Because no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. Now I'm going to tell you, "Many of you call me Master and Lord," it says in Matthew 7. "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons…'"
This is the answer to that confusing biblical Scripture in Matthew 7. "Of course you did. I used you for my glory, but you did not recognize my glory and humble yourself before me." Jesus, taking it all the way back with my man Judas, when he says, "If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them," says a little bit earlier, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life…"
Do you see that? Biblical belief is not just knowledge or assent. He said a little bit earlier in John 13, "You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.""If I'm your Teacher, you ought to believe me. If I'm your Lord, you ought to obey me. Some of you don't believe me; therefore, you're not obeying me."
"He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life." Let me just put a verse up there. Let me show you one thing real quick, because this is how you can know if you're a James or a John or if you're a Judas. John 3:36. Now watch. This is going to show you what, biblically, belief or faith is. Watch.
"He who believes in the Son has eternal life…" Now look, if all belief meant biblically was just knowledge then the next thing would say, "But he who does not believe will not see the life." But that's not what it says, is it? Look at that closely. It says, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey…"
Why? Because what John wants you to see is that belief is more than knowledge or assent. It is trust. Biblical faith has action with it. James 2:19: "You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder." Then it goes on to say, "You listen up, you foolish man. Do you not know that the faith which saves is not without works or obedience?"
We are saved by grace through faith alone, but the faith which saves is never alone. We have Jesus being sad because he knew that Judas was around him, but he had never really taken it all the way in. They're all saying, "Is it me? Is it me?" So Simon Peter, it says, gestured to him, the one who is referred to there in verse 23, the one who was the disciple who Jesus loved, who was reclining in the bosom of Jesus.
This is kind of hard for you to understand. Why? Because when you saw the team photo, we're victims of what we've seen. There's a famous… It's not a painting. It's actually a mural. It's found in a commissary of an old nunnery in Milan, Italy. I've been there. A guy named Leonardo da Vinci, in order to give the nuns something to meditate on during their eating times and maybe to remember the love of Christ whose body was broken and whose blood was shed that they might be set free, went into their little commissary and on a wall painted a mural.
Do you know that the Last Supper is not a painting? It's a mural. It's in Milan, Italy. We look at this little thing where they all lined up for the team photo right there, and that's not at all how it went. Now, da Vinci did some amazing things there that artists to this day study, but it's just bad in the sense that's not what they were. They were not seated at the table. They reclined.
They were all lying on their left elbow in a little semi circle right there. On his right, was John. You'll see John there, the young-looking one who is leaning over. You'll see Peter, who has scrambled from the back saying, "Hey, John." Because we love Peter, don't we? Peter says what we're all saying, right? Remember, Peter was packing heat.
We know later, Peter carried a sword with him. Two, in fact. We know later in the garden of Gethsemane when somebody came after him, he took out one of those swords, and he is like, "Let me at him. I'll kill him. Which one is it? John, ask him. I'm going to kill him right here, right now. Who is going after my Jesus?" So you see in that little painting right there, him saying, "John, ask him. I'll kill him." Dude. All right?
None of them do, right? So watch this. I love this. You want to see one of the great miracles of Scripture that God has changed the world with these bozos? Watch this. "Jesus then answered, '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." Verse 28: "Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said [to go get busy] to him." Are you kidding me?
"How do we know which one did it?" "The one, boys, I dip the bread in the wine and give it to him. Here's the wine. Here's the bread. There you go, Judas. Judas, what you're going to go do, go do now. Ha!" "Hey, why did he just send Judas to run out of the room right there? Where is he going? Is he going to buy more food? I think there's plenty of food here.
Oh, well Judas is the treasurer. I'm sure he is just going to maybe give some money at a Passover Feast. Folks can't afford the Passover Feast that we have. Yeah, that's a good idea. Now who is going to betray Jesus?" That's unbelievable! It just shows you, man, it just shows you. We don't know. We're clueless out of who is in and who is out, but Jesus isn't clueless. I want to tell you that I love this because he said, "Hey, Judas. Now, boy. Go."
If you go read your Bible, you go read the Synoptics, which are just the stories that John assumes you know because he is writing about 30 years later, what he is telling you right here is, "Look, the Pharisees did not want to take out Jesus there because the crowds loved him. They knew if they went after him, this one who had just raised Lazarus from the dead, who had just spoken powerfully about their deliverance and greatness, it may cause a riot. So we're not going to do it now."
He says, "You're going to do it now. Go, boy." You can go back and you look, even at the fulfillment of the day that is prophesied thousands of years before through Daniel, that at this exact time on this exact day, the Lamb of God will be offered up and will commence the rest of his prophetic program. To the day.
Let me just tell you something, it is God's devil, and he is never sabotaged and you can trust him. "Don't you worry about Judah selling you off, Joseph. Don't you worry about the tribe of Judah selling you off to the Philistines. Don't you worry. You trust God and you do good. You dwell in the land, and you cultivate faithfulness."
"So after receiving the morsel…" Watch this. You guys have been working through John with me. See if you think of this as something more than just a word. Verse 30: "So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night." Isn't it always? I could stop right here and ask you guys to go around and testify.
When you leave the light, you walk into the darkness. Some of you guys have never known the light. Your life is filled with darkness and despair. You might sing, "How Great Thou Art," but you're still smoking weed and drinking and chasing women and lying and stealing from the government and everything else. It's dark. Your face looks like it's dark.
John 3, verse 19, says, "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light…" Judas takes off, and he runs out. He is filled with despair. He takes that money he made by betraying the King and he throws it because it doesn't satisfy him. It doesn't, in any way, provide for him what he wanted: a god he can't make into who he wants. He will not submit to God so he just hangs himself.
That's where you're headed. That is the life of despair and darkness and desperation where no amount of money, no amount of the acclaim of the world, will ever bring you peace and joy. When you leave the light, you run into the darkness, and it will not go well with you. You learn from Judas.
Verse 31: "Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus said…""Now listen. Listen, you Eleven. Everything is going just like my Daddy wants it to go. I have come for this purpose. This is my hour. You're about to see me glorified." Watch. "Now is the Son of Man glorified…""You're going to see who I am." "…and God is glorified in Him…""You're going to see who the Father is, that he would take his only Son and offer him up for you men who, except for your belief in me and acknowledgment you're just like Judas, are just like Judas."
"…if God is glorified in [the Son] , God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately." He said, "You watch. Don't you fret when God glorifies himself, when his love is displayed, his justice is satisfied, his truthfulness is established that he fulfills his covenants, his grace is renowned, and his mercy is streamed forth. He will glorify me, and it won't be long. It's going to be immediate. You'll take me down off that cross on a Friday, and it won't be a night's sleep or two before I'm right where I belong. This is my hour."
I'll just close with this and we're going to sing. You know, one of my favorite hymns has a little line in it that says this. "And when I think of God, his Son not sparing, sent him to die, I scarce can take it in that on the cross, my burden gladly bearing, he bled and died to take away my sin."
That line was written by a guy named Stuart Hine. Do you know what's really interesting about, "How Great Thou Art"? Do you know when "How Great Thou Art" trickled over to America? We sometimes say, "Why are we singing a hymn? Why are we singing those old songs the church has always sung?"
Do you know that wasn't even translated into English until the beginning of the twentieth century? Do you know that the four verses that we sing weren't even written until about 1950? It was originally a poem written by some Swede. It had been translated first into Russian. A guy named Stuart Hine, who was a British missionary, learned Russian. He was in the Ukraine in the Carpathian Mountains.
He would go to a town and say, "Who are the believers here?" He would go to encourage them and build them and disciple them. One day, he walked up on a house of two believers. There was a woman there who was teaching from the gospel of John, talking about the moment when God was glorified by offering his Son. They were right where we are.
He was about to walk in, and he started to listen to people in that room in Russian marvel at the story. They started to say things like this. "Are you telling me that God sent his Son for me? I scarce can take it in." That guy sat out there, and he whipped out his little pen. This was about 1940-something.
He starts writing down these things, and he later combines it with a poem that was written about 60 years earlier and takes a little tune that brings it over here and Elvis wins a Grammy for it in 1967. That's right. "How Great Thou Art." That song came out of people listening to this message and Jesus, way back in this moment in history, said, "I'm going to be glorified."
"And when I think of God, his Son not sparing…he bled and died to take away my sin." This is a bunch of Ukrainians in Russian. That's why he first wrote this verse in Russian. It was translated to English later for us just a few years ago. "I scarce can take it in." I can't get over it. All I know is I love him and the wonderful cross.
Far be it from me that I just sing this song. I'd better know the man, and I'd better find my glory in him. I'd better not just be somebody who preaches that message. I need to be somebody who takes that message in. My prayer for you, Judas, is that you come out of the night and you come into the light.
You're his friend. Jesus is a friend of sinners, and he wants you to come in. If you're already in, he wants you to grow and abide with him and then to preach and be a blessing to those who hear and a blessing to you. We're going to sing it right here, and if you've never heard about the wonderful cross (different hymn now), we're going to sing about the wonderful cross. I pray that some of you would run to it and you trust in him.
Father, I pray that this morning that you would accomplish your work. We thank you for how your Word just answers our questions. We've always wondered, "God, what are you doing? How come you don't know about these hypocrites?" You know all about these hypocrites. You're never surprised. You're always in control. You're never sabotaged. We can trust you. We pray for Judas this morning.
We thank you, Father, that by the grace of God, though we sin, we confess it. We wash our feet. We have been bathed. We hate sin. We're not like Judas who has to be called out one day by you, the Master who knows all men's hearts. Father, I pray that women specifically in this church would be discerning. That just because they meet some guy here, if they lead them into the night and they act and treat them like somebody other than the King would want them to be treated, that they would know that they have met a Judas among our number.
So might we be discerning even here. If there are folks in our communities who speak anything other than the Word of God, I pray that we would not listen to them. I pray, Lord, that we would not be among that number, that we would know the Word of God, we'd preach the Word of God, and we would trust in the glorified Son of God. We thank you for that wonderful cross that bridges that infinite gap between our wretchedness and his glory. We magnify you now. May we magnify you as we walk out. In Christ's name, amen.