Jentezen Franklin - Priceless Lessons From The Life Of Judas
Today I wanna focus on "The priceless lessons from the life of Judas". When I look at the life of Judas, I see that he lost some things in his life that are almost indescribable. He lost the personal presence of Jesus. He lost powerful fellowship with the apostles and the body of Christ. He lost the privilege of participation in ministry. He lost his reward in Heaven. And so there must be some priceless lessons that we can learn from the life of Judas Iscariot.
First of all, the first lesson that Judas teaches us is Judas refused to change. When I think about Judas and how that he was there, he saw the eyes of the blind opened. He saw the lepers cleansed. He saw them go off shouting and leaping. The lame running the aisles in the synagogue after they took up their bed and walked. He was there. He was there when Lazarus was raised from the dead and the stone was rolled away. He was there. Yet, when he came down to it, he never really changed. The Bible said, the scripture says that when Jesus chose the disciples, He said "I choose you all, and one of you is a devil".
That was on the day that Jesus, these words were spoken on the day after He had made all of His selection of 12 disciples. And Jesus let 'em know, one of you is a devil. The sad story of Judas is this. He started out a devil, he lived with Jesus for three years, and he ended up a devil. He did not ever change. He refused to change. The challenge of Judas' life is that he started out the same way he ended.
It's not enough just to be where Jesus is. It's not enough just to hear the word of Jesus taught to you. It's not enough to associate with other believers. The greatest challenge is to let God change your life. Christianity is about a better you. A freer you. A more like Jesus you. And I don't ever wanna get so churchy that I can hang around Jesus, but He never changes me, and changes my attitude, and changes my morality, and changes my spirit to be more like His spirit. Judas rejected change.
The second, I think, powerful lesson and priceless lesson from the life of Judas is this. Judas wanted to give Jesus something, but not everything. You see, when he saw that woman, Mary, who broke open the alabaster box that cost one year's wages, and poured it out on the feet of Jesus, and she began to worship with tears, and dry His feet with her hair, it was such extravagant worship that Judas had a problem with it, and spoke up and said, for what purpose is this waste? He was upset not that the woman gave something. He was OK with the woman giving something. He just didn't think she should have given everything.
And one of the priceless lessons, if you don't wanna end up like Judas, is you, usually when people have the attitude that they're, you know, I'm just gonna give Jesus something, but not everything, they end up giving and losing it all. And that's what happened to Judas. Judas reached a point where he lost it all. He actually reached a place where he said, I'm OK with giving God something, but I'm not going to give Him completely everything. In other words, it's partial commitment. He refused to change. Secondly, he was willing to give Jesus something, but not everything.
Let me tell you where joy is in the Christian walk. It's when you surrender everything. When you say Lord, if I've got it, you can have it. You can have my relationships. You can have my future. You can have my mind. You can have my body. You can have everything that I am. I surrender everything to you.
Judas, thirdly, teaches us another priceless lesson. Notice that Judas called worship "waste". He called worship waste. He said, what is this waste? She was, and Mary called it worship. She said, I'm worshipping. And Jesus said, you leave her alone. She's doing something great. But Judas, in his eyes, worship was waste. And if you don't wanna fall away, you better not allow the attitude that worship time is wasting time. That you don't need all this praise and worship stuff in your life, and you don't ever need to lift your hands in worship, and you don't ever need to clap your hands.
I don't care what denomination you're in. I don't care what your religious background is. Praise is not a Pentecostal thing. A charismatic thing. It is a Bible thing. Read this book. It said "Praise Him with clapping of hands". Praise Him with the lifting of hands. Praise Him with a shout. Praise Him in the dance. Praise Him with musical instruments. And we're not wasting time when we're pouring our praise on Jesus. So why don't you go ahead and pour your praise on Jesus for a moment. You're not wasting it if you're pouring it on Jesus. It's the greatest thing you can clap your hands for. It's the greatest thing you can use your emotions for is to praise the Lamb that was slain. Hallelujah.
The fourth priceless lesson from Judas is Judas knew about Jesus. He knew about Him, but He didn't know Him. I wanna prove it to you. It's amazing to me that at the Last Supper, the Bible said that Jesus turned again and said, one of you will betray me. And they all began to ask: Lord, is it I? Lord, is it I? Every one of them. But when you get to Judas, he had a different response. He said, "Master, is it I"? All the others said "Lord", but he said Master. And master is a term in the Bible that is in reference to teacher. Did you ever watch Grasshopper? Teacher. Master. Y'all don't know what I'm talking about, just... Master is a teacher. It's Rabbi, not Lord. Lord is the sovereign God of the universe. So He's master, He's teacher, but He's not Lord and God of my life. He knew about Him because he was a teacher, but he did not receive Him and know Him for who He was and who He is. And that's what I want you to see.
The fact that Jesus knew for three years that Judas was the one who would betray Him. I want you to see something beautiful about Jesus. But Jesus refused to expose him to the others. He refused and gave no clue of which one would do it. That's why they all said Lord, is it I? 'Cause they had no idea which one. And He knew the whole time, but Jesus is so fair to Judas, refused to expose him and shame him in front of the others. You know, when you mess up, and you, had that been me, or had you, and we have a devil in our life? Everybody knows their name 'cause we tell everybody what they did to us. But Jesus knew what Judas was gonna do to Him and refused to allow him to be exposed to the other disciples for three years. Judas knew about Jesus, but didn't know Him. Let me give you another one.
Number five... There's just seven. Judas had incorrect timing. You see, many of the scholars believe that Judas really didn't believe or have any comprehension that Jesus would be crucified by his betrayal. Which this really makes logical sense when you think about it. He believed this. He believed that if he betrayed Him, and he brought the soldiers to arrest Him, that somehow that would speed up the coming kingdom. And that would cause a revolution. That Jesus would stop putting off this whole thing of a new kingdom coming to earth. He didn't understand. He thought it was gonna be an earthly kingdom. A political kingdom. They would take the nation of Israel back from the Roman Empire, and he thought he was starting, and he would push Jesus into doing it. He never expected this miracle worker could be arrested by these soldiers. He thought he would start a revolution.
In other words, one of the priceless lessons of Judas' life is he had incorrect timing. And what I'm saying to you is simply this: We can't make God hurry up to do what we want Him to do in our life. We can't press God to do things now when God says wait. You don't tell God, I give you one year to fix this. Or I give you six months, and if I'm not married, I'm just gonna go get me something outta the club. I'm gonna get married. You don't do that. That is a priceless lesson from Judas' life. That when you begin to take the timing, and say I'm tired of waiting on God, and want Him to hurry up and do something. If He doesn't, I'm gonna take things in my own hands. Some of you are doing that. Some of you right now have decided that God's timing is off, and yours is right. We must let God be God, and trust Him and His timing for our lives.
Number six. Boy, what a powerful lesson this is right here now. This point. Judas teaches us the priceless lesson from his life. The Bible said that when he told the soldiers he was gonna take them to where Jesus was to be arrested that he said, you wait here and hide. And the way you'll know which one He is, is I'll kiss Him on the cheek. And the one whom I kiss, that is He. And then he said these powerful words. And when you get your hands on Him, hold Him fast. Some translations say don't let Him go. Judas teaches us that if you ever get your hands on Jesus, never let Him go.
I don't care how far you fall. I don't care how bad you mess up. I don't care if you have a relapse. I don't care if you bring shame and disgrace. Don't you ever let Him go if you ever get your hands on Jesus. I promise you He'll never let you go if you won't let Him go. And even when your hand is getting loose, and your grip is getting separated, He will go the extra effort to never, ever... people in religion will let you go, but Jesus will never let you go. And Judas teaches us, if you ever get your hands on Jesus, don't let Him go. Don't let anything shake you loose. Don't let anything sever the grip that you have on Jesus. Don't let serving Him so long cause you to loosen your grip on Jesus in these years of your life. Hold on to Him.
Judas teaches us this powerful lesson. That if you ever get freedom, don't let it go. If you ever get liberated from alcoholism, and drug addiction, and perversion, don't let it go. Because there's seven more spirits that are waiting out there to take you deeper and further than you've ever been before. The bondage will be even greater. The latter end will be more than the former. Keep coming back to Jesus. Broken. Sometimes messed up. Sometimes ashamed. Sometimes afraid. But keep coming back to Jesus. If you've ever laid hands on Him, don't let Him go.
Somebody' watching me by television, and you've almost felt like taking your life this week. But I'm here to tell you that what you had when you were a little child, it's been a long journey, and the enemy's taken you to the depths of sin and bondage. But you know that Jesus you touched when you were a child? You don't have to let Him go because He hasn't let you go. Come back home to Him. Come back to Him. His love and mercy is everlasting. Come back to Him. Come back to Him. At all of our campuses, don't ever let Him go. Turn to somebody and say, I'm never gonna let Him go. I've touched Him. I've experienced Him. His love is too great. It won't let me go, and I'm never gonna let Him go. Hallelujah.
And lastly, the seventh priceless lesson from the life of Judas, oh, this is so important. This is the one that hit me the greatest. Judas teaches us, if you don't finish your assignment, somebody will. For the Bible said that when Judas betrayed Jesus and saw Him taken away, and then they began to beat Him, and they began to torture Him, it began to torment Judas so much that he took the 30 pieces of silver, the thing that he was willing to give in exchange for his relationship with Jesus, and he threw it on the floor of the temple.
Notice that the thing that you're willing to take in exchange for your relationship with Jesus, you'll ultimately lose. And you'll lose your relationship with Him if you're not careful. Watch this. The Bible said that he went out and tragically hung himself. Took his own life. And the scripture said the apostles gathered, in Acts. I think it's the first chapter. And they chose another apostle to take his place. His name was Matthias. And the Bible said that they had two names that they considered, and they chose Matthias.
Now I want you to imagine the 12 foundations of Heaven, according to Revelation. One foundation for each of the apostles, and it has their name on one of those foundations. And there's one of those foundations where Judas' name has been scratched out, and Matthias' name has been carved into. Because one of the priceless lessons of Judas' life is if you don't finish your assignment, God will raise somebody else up to do what He called you to do. Because here's the big lesson. Oh, this is a big one. God does not need me. I need God. God can find somebody to do the assignment that you're doing from under a bridge, or living in a crack house, or sitting on a bar stool somewhere getting drunk. He can save 'em. He can set 'em free. And if you don't finish your assignment, they will come up and take your place.
That's why the Book of Revelation said let no man take your crown. What an admonishment. Let no man take your crown. That means it's possible for somebody to get your reward in Heaven because you didn't finish strong. You started out, but then you lost your way. And as a minister, as a pastor, as a preacher, if I don't finish my assignment, somebody else will. Because God does not have to have me. I have to have God.
So I say to you today that there are priceless lessons. Judas refused to change. Judas would give Jesus something, but not everything. Judas called worship waste. Judas knew about Jesus, but he didn't really know Him. Judas had incorrect timing and got ahead of God. If you ever get, Judas said if you ever get your hands on Jesus, don't let Him go. But he let Him go. And if you don't finish your assignment, somebody else will. Would you stand to your feet very reverently?
Would you bow your head, and close your eyes, and listen intently to what I'm saying? I know that I know that I know that this is the right message. And somebody and your future is gonna be determined. There are many somebodies. Your future is going to be determined right here today. You're either gonna walk down that same road with Judas and waste your life, or you're gonna turn around, and you're gonna come to the altar. And you're gonna find forgiveness. You're gonna find acceptance. You're gonna find your purpose, your assignment, your calling. You're gonna find a vibrant, real relationship with Jesus Christ. You're gonna be changed in a moment. But you must come today.
I feel an urgency about this service. I don't feel like that I can just do this. I feel an urgency that futures are going to be determined right here today. Change is everything. With every head bowed and every eye closed at every campus. If you're in the overflow, I'm talking to you. Pastor Franklin, you're talking to me. I'm so far from the Lord. I've done things, and I've sinned. Self. I need a change in my life. I'm falling. I'm broken. I need Jesus to be Lord. I know about Him, but I really need to know Him, Pastor. I need Him to change me. And I know my future is being determined by whether or not I say yes today to the lordship of Jesus Christ.
If you know I'm preaching to you today and something keeps kinda just hitting you in your heart, I'm telling you what that is. That's the sweet, tender voice of the Holy Spirit and His conviction, saying come to the altar. Pastor, pray for me. I wanna get right with God. Today is my day. And you know it. Be bold now, and lift up your hand, and say that's me. I wanna get right with God.
Let me see your hand all over this room. Hands going up. Beautiful. At every campus, lift your hand high if God's speaking to you. If God's speaking to you, and you know that you must respond, keep it up in the air just another moment. Pray this prayer, everybody, at every campus. Say these words out loud. Let's just raise our hands toward Heaven. Everybody in the room. Everybody at every house. Every campus.
Those of you watching by television, right there in your home or wherever you're watching, pray this prayer with these thousands that are gathered here. Say these words.
Lord Jesus, I surrender my life to you. I've learned priceless lessons from the life of Judas. I don't want my life to end that way. I want to finish my assignment. I want to be changed. I want to value worship. I want to know you, Jesus, not just know about you. So today, I receive the gift of salvation. Forgiveness. The blood of Jesus cleanses me of all unrighteousness. I lay my hands on you, Jesus, and I'll never let you go. From this day forward, I am yours, and you are mine. I am saved. In Jesus' mighty name.
Can we give Jesus the biggest praise of the day?