Concerning Judas                             (click here for audio)

Acts 1:15-26

The study in the Book of Acts has great advantages for churches.  It gives clear direction and focus as to what we are to be, and what we are to do.  What the ministry and mission of the church is all about is probably a no-brainer, but we would be surprise to know just how far churches have strayed away from the Gospel.   A return to our biblical roots is very much needed.  I believe our current study will serve like guard rails protecting us from falling into the ravines of doctrinal error. It will protect us from believing and accepting a “water-down” gospel that makes no demands for repentance; and no demands to withdraw from a godless, wicked world.

Praying to the Father, Jesus said this of his disciples,  “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:16)    Since we are not of the world, we are not to adopt worldly practices, and worldly values, and worldly philosophies that are contrary to the Scriptures.    When the church becomes like the world, it looses its effectiveness, and looses its distinctiveness as witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ.

The blueprint for the church of the Lord Jesus is seen here in the text of Acts.   Luke is the writer who not only writes the gospel that bears his name, but also Acts.  He addresses it to a Gentile man of great reputation whose name is Theophilus.  What did Luke write about?     The subject of the first book, which is The Gospel of Luke    is seen in Acts 1:1-2.

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.

The Gospel of Luke deals with all that Jesus began to do and teach.   The Book of Acts deals with all that Jesus “continues” to do and teach through His Apostles and His church by the power of the Holy Spirit.   It’s amazing how the four gospels funnel into the first chapter of Acts.  Take Matthew for example, it concludes by speaking of the Resurrection of Christ.  At the end of Mark’s gospel, there is the Ascension of Christ.  At the end of Luke’s gospel, there is the promise of the Holy Spirit.  At the end of John’s gospel, there is the promise of the Second Coming of Christ.   The Resurrection and Ascension of Christ;  the Promise of the Holy Spirit and the Second Coming are all spoken of in the first chapter of Acts.     Four great events that are worth preaching about!  The Resurrection;  the Ascension;  the Coming of the Holy Spirit; and the Second coming of Christ. There’s a  fifth event that comes in front of all these four.

Peter will bring up a fifth event when he preaches on the Day of Pentecost in the 2nd chapter.  Let me read of it in Acts 2:23

 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.  (Acts 2:23)    Crucifixion!

It’s interesting to see how Peter brings up all 5 events in his Pentecost sermon.

The Crucifixion, The Resurrection, The Ascension and Exaltation, The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the Second Coming of Christ.    It’s all there!  Plenty of preaching material!

In those days Peter Stood Up  (v.15)

Why is Peter standing up?    He’s the leading Apostle.  He’s doing what Jesus commanded him to do.  Jesus asked Peter,  “do you love me?”   Peter responds, “Yes, Lord.”  And the Jesus commanded him,  “Feed my sheep.”  (John 21:17)

Peter stands up because Christ had commanded him to teach and preach.  See Acts 1:2 “…..he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen..”  Jesus commanded his apostles to wait in Jerusalem until they receive the Holy Spirit.  From the time Jesus was resurrected until his ascension was a period of 40 days. (Acts 1:3)  During that time Jesus gave out much information regarding the kingdom of God.   After Jesus ascended back to Heaven, the apostles waited for another 10 days before the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost.

What were they doing?   They were assembled together in an Upper Room in Jerusalem. At this time there were 120 disciples.

They were devoting themselves to prayer.   Jesus had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.   They were doing what Jesus had commanded them to do.  They were waiting as Jesus commanded them, but I think Jesus gave other commands, such as devote yourself to prayer.  And Peter taking the lead to select an apostle to take the place of Judas Iscariot may have been something the Lord commanded Peter to do.   We don’t know for sure.  There’s nothing to indicate the choosing of another apostle to be something contrary to God’s will.

Why is the selecting of another apostle to replace Judas Iscariot brought up here?  In the first part of Acts 1 we have the promise of the Father which is the baptism with the Holy Spirit.   In chapter 2 we have the fulfillment of that promise.   In between the “promise” and the “fulfillment” of the Spirit, we have this matter “concerning Judas.”     It seems to be out of place.  Some even think the matter of selecting another apostle should not have taken place because the Holy Spirit had not yet come.

The Ascension of Jesus where He was taken up in a cloud that’s an exciting thing to see and to gaze upon.  The Coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 that’s really neat to hear people speak in different languages, and to witness the cloven tongues of fire, and hear the sound of a mighty rushing wind.

Why bring up something “Concerning Judas”?   It’s so depressing.  It’s very unpleasant to think of what he did, and how he ended his life.   Judas did a bad thing.   A traitor!   Betraying the innocent Lamb of God!

Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”    (Matthew 27:3-4)

Judas confessed his sin before the chief priests and the elders.   His confession was no good. He changed his mind, but it was not the change found in real conversion.   His repentance was not the repentance that leads to life.   (Acts 11:18)

WHY BRING UP THE GORY DETAILS…..vv.18-19  (compare with  Matthew 27)

     See V.18  he bought a field ….. Matthew 27  the chief priest took the money…did not put it back into the treasury because it was the “price of blood”.   They purchased a field……may have been where Judas was buried…  his money,  therefore,  “this man acquired a field…”

v.19  Akeldama—-field of blood

see  v.18     falling headlong            matthew 27  “hanged himself”     probably what happened

rope broke or a tree limb broke…. Over a cliff..fell on rocks below…

 

I would rather forget about all the details about Judas, but we have the Apostle Peter bring him up a few days before the sound of a rushing mighty wind.  I would rather see the sights and sounds of Pentecost.   Before we move on, there’s something important to think about  “concerning Judas.”

  1. Be Warned!
  2. Be Encouraged!
  3. Be Led!

 

Be Warned of False Conversions!

How should the story of Judas be a WARNING for us?

v.15  in those days Peter stood up…..

There’s  120 of them.  Their number will continue to grow.  As we will see there will be added some counterfeits along the way.

Judas was a counterfeit.  (see  v.17   For he was numbered…..)

None of the disciples knew that Judas was a false believer.  He had them all fooled, except for Jesus.

John 6:64    

But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)

When Jesus explicitly told his disciples that one of you will betray me.  No one pointed their fingers at Judas.  They had no clue.  In fact they asked “one by one, Is it I?”

18 And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.  19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I?    (Mark 14:18-19)

They had no idea who the betrayer would be.

v.16 “……who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.”      For 30 pieces of silver, Judas led soldiers to where Jesus was.     For Judas – his heart was not for Jesus, but for money.  I don’t know how Judas got promoted to being the one carrying the money bag, but he was.

He would often take money out of the money bag for his own use.  The Bible says “he was a thief.”

Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.  (John 12:3-6)

Judas was religious.  He fit right in with the other Apostles.   He would not listen to the words from Christ, but he would listen to the jingling of coins that came their way. He had no interest in seeing the lost come to Christ, he did, however, have interest in seeing how he could make money using the ministry of Christ.

Jesus said…

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.  (Matthew 6:24)

Judas is a WARNING for anyone who puts possessions, and the love of money before God.

Judas had no quarrels with the Lord.  You never saw him debating the Lord on some biblical issue. By outward appearances Judas was a model disciple.  There was nothing on the surface that gave indication he was a false believer.

Another false conversion is seen in Acts 8 –  Simon the Magician-  He practiced magic in Samaria where he lived amazing people and claiming to have the power of God. He drew a great crowd.  However, when people began to hear the gospel of Christ, many were saved and Simon lost his audience. When people were believing in Christ and getting baptized,  Simon joined in claiming to be a believer and he was also baptized.  Peter and John came to Samaria praying for the new converts that they might also receive the Holy Spirit.  Simon wanted this power and offered money to Peter and John that he might be able to lay hands on people so they could receive the Holy Spirit.

But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.  (Acts 8:20-21)

Simon was a false believer.  He was motivated by selfish greed.

This is a warning for all who follow Christ “outwardly”  but  “inwardly”  they do not know Christ.

Jesus said this..

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’    (Matthew 7:21-23)

The story of Judas reminds us to be WARNED of false conversion. He was so close to Jesus, yet his heart was far from the Lord.

 

Be Encouraged by the Scriptures!

The story of what happened to Judas is probably not what you should read, or  want to read to your young child, or grandchild.  It’s not one of those exciting sections in the Bible.   Yet, there is great encouragement found here.

So, how can it be a source of encouragement?    How can I say  “be encouraged” with this matter concerning Judas?  A man who betrayed the Son of God with a kiss;  sold out for 30 pieces of silver;  A man who committed suicide.   It’s an ugly story.

So is the Holocaust!  The torture and killing of millions of Jews  is an horrendous ugly piece of history. And when will our country wake up and see the ugliness and the wickedness of what we are doing to unborn babies?  The ugliness of sin is everywhere in our world.

Here’s the encouragement.   V.16

Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.

Pick it up in v.20

20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,  “‘May his camp become desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in it’; and  “‘Let another take his office

Psalms 69:25    Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents.

Psalms 109:8    Let his days be few; and let another take his office.

Let their habitation be desolate…Let their camp be a desolation. This is the end of Judas. He has no camp, no descendants, no heritiage. When he left this world he went to his place. His place was with the wicked,  the Christ-rejecters, the haters of God, the blasphemers.   His place was in Hell. His habitation is empty.  His  camp is no more.

His heart was for money.  For 30 pieces of silver and the evil deed was done. He lived for a few silver coins and he lived only for a few days.  “Let his days be few.”    When he died, he was replaced. He was not memorialized. They did not hang up his jersey in a showcase.  He was replaced.  Another person took his office.

This comes from the Holy Spirit as spoken through David in the Psalms.  And since the Holy Spirit spoke it, the Scriptures had to be fulfilled.

 

All the bad and tragic things that happen don’t encourage us,  but the Scriptures are our source of encouragement.   In spite of what Judas did, or what Hitler did, or what Saddam Hussein did, or what some murderer did;   or what some rapist did;  or what some child molester did, or what we have great encouragement that God works all things out for His own purpose.

 

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.       (Matthew 24:35)

That’s the great comfort and hope for the Christian.  God’s Word will not pass away.

The Lord will fulfill all His purposes.    And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.   (Romans 8:28)

 

All things work together for Good – but it’s only for those who are called according to his purpose.

That’s the great encouragement we have!

If you know Christ, then you are not in the camp of Judas.  Here’s what God has promised  “may his camp become desolate”    “let there be no one to dwell in it”

To the camp of the saints is promised eternal life.   Where does Judas and all who are in his camp go?

See Acts 1:25  “to his own place”    This is hell.  That’s where Judas belongs. That’s where all who reject Christ belong.

But there’s encouragement for all who will leave the CAMP of Judas;  and enter into the camp of the Saints.

We will see a great number of people coming to Christ in the Book of Acts.  Before they do, Peter makes it clear  “you crucified and killed this Jesus”    “it’s this Jesus whom you crucified that I speak about.”   In other words —You are all a bunch of Judas’s.   They repented and 3000 were converted.  The camp of Judas became smaller.   One of these days it will be totally desolate.

May his camp become desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in it’;

Here’s a question –  Where are you camping out?      There’s a place about 60 miles from Washington, DC where American Presidents go for retreats…for rest and relaxation …it’s called Camp David.

There’s Camp Jesus – In Christ you find GREATEST PEACE and COMFORT and True REST

Matthew 11:28

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

 

 

 

The 3rd lesson we learn “Concerning Judas” is the IMPORTANCE of being LED by the Right Spirit. The Holy Spirit,  not a Satanic spirit.

BE LED by the Holy Spirit!

What led Judas to do what he did?

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot,  (Luke 22:3)   Judas was not led by the Holy Spirit. He was led by an evil spirit. Satan himself.

Judas became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.    Judas was guided himself by Satan.

John 6:70

Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”

 

LOOK at the last few words of v.20   “Let another take his office”     That was prophesied by David in Psalm 109:8.

If we are going to be   Led the RIGHT Way…   someone must be REMOVED from office. The Judas’ spirit must be removed from office.   The devil must be removed from office and someone else must take over.

In vv.21-26  we have  THE REPLACEMENT OF JUDAS.

Another  Apostle  is  selected.    There are 3 requirements for one to be an Apostle.

 

  1. The man must have been a disciple who followed Jesus during the Lord’s public ministry here on earth. (Read vv.21-22b)
  2. The man must be a witness to the Lord’s resurrection. Seen the Risen Lord. (Read v.22c)
  3. The man must be chosen by the Lord. (Read  v.24)   “you (the Lord)  have chosen”

 

Based on that criteria,  there are no Apostles  today.   If someone claims to be an Apostle, I would ask them  “how have you stayed alive all these years because you have to be over 2000 years old”.

The Apostle Paul met the criteria and we’ll have to deal with that  when we come to his conversion later on in Acts.

Here we see the importance of being led by the Holy Spirit.   You want God’s man to be in that Apostolic office.  More specifically today,  you want God’s will to be done.  You want to know the leading of the Lord in your life.    As a church we want to know God’s will in matters that relate to the mission of the church.

Let’s see if we can pick out some principles in “how to know the leading of the Holy Spirit”.

 

The first one, we have already looked at.

  1. The Scripture. Peter stood up and said “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David…”  (Acts 1:16)

Peter quoted some verses from the Old Testament.  From the Psalms.

The Holy Spirit will lead you according to the Scriptures, the Bible, God’s Word.  That’s why Mormons are not following the leading of the Holy Spirit.   God’s Word says clearly not to add to the Scriptures.  The Book of Mormons are added scriptures.  Totally against what God says.

The Holy Spirit will not lead you to pray to Mary.  Why is that?   It’s totally against the Scriptures.  Jesus taught us  when you pray say  “Our Father Who art in Heaven”.   It’s not “Our Mother who art in Heaven..”

Be careful with what people are writing today.   One devotional book entitled “Jesus is Calling” by Sarah Young I would not recommend.  She writes as if Jesus was talking to her.  Jesus said this, or Jesus said that…Even though she claims her devotional writings are not inspired like the bible,   but there is a sense they are  “sort of inspired”    “kind of inspired”..

The Holy Spirit is not GIVING New Revelations today.   When Revelation the Book was written that ended revelation.  Nostradamus has nothing to offer the church.  If you don’t know who he was,  he gave predictions of things that happen in the future.

#1  Stay with the Scriptures…   the critieria they came up with for an apostle was not something they decided upon.  It was instructions given to them from the Lord.

  1. Pray v.24     “and they prayed…”     they have already been devoting themselves to prayer (see v.14)

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray,  He said  pray like this….

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name, thy kingdom come  thy will be done

 

We pray for your will to be done.  Show us your will in this particular issue before us.

 

In our praying….know that the Holy Spirit helps us to pray.

 

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.   (Romans 8:26-27)

 

  1. Get a Consensus from Other Christians

 

v.26   cast lots – The Holy Spirit comes in Acts 2  and this method will be laid aside.  We will see the early church praying and declaring that the Holy Spirit is leading them in a certain direction…

Proverbs 16:33   The lot is cast into the lap,
but its every decision is from the Lord

Today we don’t cast lots –  we may see a “show of hands”  or take a secret vote…

What we are doing is checking with other spiritually minded folks;  to see if the Holy Spirit is leading others in the same direction.

We did this in 1998 or 1999 about building this sanctuary?   Most people believed we needed the extra room.  I think it was a decision from prayer and from the leading of the Holy Spirit.

 

What do you think Peter, James, and John would have said to Judas?   Let’s say Judas came to them and ask…what do you think about me betraying the Lord for 30 pieces of silver?   I know they can’t convict him of anything, he is innocent, and they would have to let him go, but I can make some good money by doing this thing…..what’s your thoughts on this?

Checking things out with others who are in touch with the Lord is a good thing.

 

So, these are lessons we learn “concerning Judas”.

Beware of False conversions

Be encouraged in the Scriptures

Be led by the Holy Spirit