July 2017  
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Praise and Worship Practice
5:30 PM to 7:00 PM
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Pastor's Message

Most of us, who are familiar with the Gospel story, know about Judas Iscariot.  When he is compared to the rest of Jesus’ disciples, it is Judas who might perplex us the most.  Who hasn’t asked themselves, “Why did Judas do it?”  Or wondered, “Why did he feel so guilty afterward?  On the one hand, Judas became so evil that he sold Jesus to His enemies for a mere thirty pieces of silver, the mere price of a slave.  Yet, on the other hand, after he betrayed Jesus with a kiss, he felt so much remorse afterwards that he gave back the silver and then took his own life.  If we go back to the beginning of Judas’ ministry with Jesus, we find a remarkable series of facts about Judas, which (upon reading) might perplex us even more.  

Consider this:  He was personally chosen to be a disciple by Jesus Christ; he forsook all to follow the Lord; he spent 3 1/2 years traveling throughout Israel with Jesus; he saw all the miracles of Christ in person; he heard Jesus deliver His famous sermons and parables; he watched as Christ healed the sick, raised the dead and cast out demons; he was sent out to preach the gospel just like the other disciples; as treasurer he was one of the leaders of the twelve disciples.  When you think about it, no one ever suspected him of treason.

In terms of experience, whatever you can say about James, Peter and John as disciples, you can probably say about Judas.  Most everywhere they went, Judas also went.  He was right there, always (it seems) serving beside Jesus.  To a certain degree, Judas heard it all, saw it all, experienced it all.  However, as we try to explain his turning on Jesus (his betrayal), we cannot say he was less experienced than the other disciples.

Let me ask you this!  Is Judas still alive today?  No, but his spirit still lives.  It lives in all those who play the religious game (as Judas did).  It lives in those who come to church and use it for what they can get out of it.  It lives in all those who are pretending to be committed to Jesus Christ even though they really aren’t.  It lives in all those who just go through the Christian motions.  It lives in those who come to church, give their money, follow the rules and yet don’t really love the Lord Jesus.  And here’s the amazing part.  Do you know who is most likely to be a Judas in this church?  As the Pastor, I guess some would say that I stand closest to the place where Judas stood.  Someone might say, “Surely not you, Pastor.”  But remember, that’s what they said about Judas.  You might recall, the very shock of Judas’ betrayal was that he looked good on the outside.  And because pastors live in a glass bowl, we strive to look good outwardly.  As your pastor, if I do not look at myself and see the potential Judas in me, then it would be hypocritical of me; because truthfully, there is potentially a Judas not just in me, but in all of us.  Can you see that?

Ask yourself this: What would it take for you to sell out the Son of God?  Would you betray him for money?  Would you betray him for a better job?  Would you betray him to keep the job you have?  Would you betray him to save your own skin?  Would you betray him because he didn’t live up to your expectations?  Would you betray him because you thought he let you down?  Would you betray him if you thought you could win the favor of important people?  The question isn’t whether anyone else around us is betraying Jesus.  The question is, “Are you!”

Judas does us a favor if his story causes us to rethink our basic commitment to Jesus Christ.  You call yourself a Christian, but are you a true follower or are you just going through the motions?  Are you a pretender or a true believer?  Have you truly turned from your sins and trusted Jesus Christ as Savior?  Are you a fair-weather friend of the Savior?  These are searching questions that may be easier to ask than to answer, but please do not take them lightly.  The main lesson for you to learn from Judas’ life is lost unless you ask yourselves, “Is there a Judas in me?”  After all, if one can be a disciple of Christ and still be lost, what about you and what about me? 

                                                                                                            God Bless, David