Are you really born again? I am convinced that there are many pastors who are not born again. One of the great sermons in America, perhaps second only to Jonathan Edwards’ sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” was preached here in Philadelphia by the Presbyterian minister named Gilbert Tennent. It was preached under the title, “The Dangers of an Unconverted Ministry.” Tennent attacked the ministers of his day claiming that they occupied the pulpits and they preached spiritual things, but they were not born again. And it was in part as a result of that sermon that we had aspects of the Great Awakening in this city and elsewhere on the Eastern seaboard.
Now it strikes me that there are a number of very important lessons in Judas’ situation and condition. Let me suggest them to you for your meditation. The first lesson, the obvious one, is this: It takes more than an example to be saved. Judas was not a saved man, and yet he had spent three years with the greatest example of godliness and purity and truth and holiness that any human being could possibly have. He had spent three years with the Son of God.
In terms of Judas’ credible profession I think that it means that Judas was guilty of no outwardly immoral acts. Now there is an interesting little detail that John gives us in the twelfth chapter of John, verse six. John points out that Judas was treasurer of the company. John’s way of putting it is to say he kept the bag. That is, he carried the purse along with him. When people would contribute something to this missionary band, as they apparently did, Judas was the one who would carry it. And John says almost in passing, as it were, he was a thief and he used to steal from it.
Today we look at some of the spiritual advantages Judas had as one of Jesus’ disciples. Judas had a great advantage in that he actually knew Jesus personally. It’s true today we have the Scriptures, and I wouldn’t minimize that in any respect. It is through the written Word of God that the Holy Spirit operates to convert men and women. That is God’s method, and therefore where the Word of God is preached and Jesus as he is presented in the Scriptures is unfolded before the minds and hearts of men, there the Holy Spirit works and draws men and women to him. Yet it is still a very striking thing that Judas, unlike ourselves, actually knew the Lord Jesus Christ personally in the flesh.
I’d like you to turn to the twenty-sixth chapter of Matthew and give attention as we study Judas. In this Gospel he is mentioned early on where there’s a listing of the disciples, and then again later on when we’re told of his death in chapter 27. But there is no doubt that here in chapter 26 we are told the most about him. He’s one of three characters in this chapter which provide the cast of those who are clustered around Jesus Christ, who of course is the central character.
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