Scripture: Matthew 26:14-16, NLT
14 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests 15 and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
I am not a five point Calvinist, thus I do believe that Judas had a choice, he simply made the wrong choice. If he was predestined to betray Jesus, if God put it in his DNA, then obviously, he had no choice. He was programed by God to betray Jesus. To be honest, I think the crucifixion would have happened with or without Judas. The truth is, there is a cloud of mystery surrounding Judas. Why did Jesus choose him as a disciple? Was Judas just a pawn on God’s chess board? Was Judas trying to force Jesus to defend Himself and establish an earthly kingdom? If Judas was only motivated by greed, why did he return the money?
Let’s view the scripture in chapter 27…
Very early in the morning the leading priests and the elders of the people met again to lay plans for putting Jesus to death. 2 Then they bound him, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor. 3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” 5 Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself.
The KJV states that Judas repented but the word is me-tä-me’-lo-mī and it means to have remorse. The word for repentance is me-tä-no-e’-ō [to have a change of mind]. The words look alike and even sound similar but mean different things. We feel remorse when we get caught doing something embarrassing. We are sorry for getting caught but not sorry for our sins. Remorse is toward ourselves and repentance is toward God. Judas had remorse and he confessed his sin but to the wrong people. The priest did not care anything about Judas; they simply used him as a pawn.
My conviction is that Jesus loved Judas and that God did not program him to betray Jesus. I think Judas made a very bad decision and he suffered horrible consequences. I think the message for us today is to be careful about the decisions we make because our decisions will eventually make us.
I can tell you with assurance, if you make bad choices, you will suffer bad consequences. The law of retribution is woven into the fabric of the universe. Its takes no faith for me to believe this law: I see it in operation everyday. Some of you made some bad decision that are public in nature, everyone knows you made a mistake and that you are paying dearly but I have news for you: there are some that were smooth operators and they never got caught, they covered all their tracks but not a one of them can get up here today and look you in the eye and say, “There were no consequences for my sin.”
I repeat, today’s message is to be careful about the decisions you make.
What are the three most important decisions you will make in your life time? Where you go to college is not one of them. According Adrian Rogers and hundreds of others, the three biggest decisions of life are choosing you MASTER, your MATE and your MISSION.
Let’s start with the most important one first: LIFE’S MASTER.
The proud would respond with, “I don’t need a master, I am my own master.” Everyone has a master. Something controls you. To say they you control yourself is to admit that you are under the bondage of sin. Nothing describes sin more than selfishness. The essence of sin is that we do things our way. Isaiah 53:6 sums it up, All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Jesus said in John 8:34, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” Something or someone is going to control your life. Plus there is going to be a dominant master in your life. Jesus told the Pharisees, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Today I want to encourage you to make Jesus your MASTER. Give Him the reins, surrender control to Him. You cannot make Him LORD, He is LORD but you can make Him the LORD of your life. The bible says, If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. [Romans 10:9-10, Holman]
The second major decision is LIFE’S MATE
Choosing Life’s Master is a big decision and second to it is choosing life’s MATE. You want to be careful on this one. If you make a mistake, you are going to have to live with it, live with her/him as the case may be. You say, “I want have to live with it, I will get a divorce.” Then you have to live with two mistakes. Trust me on this one, take your time and pray, pray, pray. My wife hates this story but I tell folks that I called her and ask her to marry me over the phone…I said, “June do you want to get married and she said, “Yes, who is this.”
My mother was ultra Victorian and she operated on rules and principles. She taught me three things about girls and boys you may not like them.  Every girl is someone sister or daughter [I had four sisters]  Never date someone you would not marry.  Never date some one you are ashamed to bring home and introduce to your parents.  Never date and unbeliever. There is a rule to marriage–happy wife, happy life. You get a miserable wife and you’ll have a miserable life.
The third major decision is LIFE’S MISSION
Not everyone can be a pastor. Hey, I would have to step down to be the president of the U.S. There is no higher calling and God may be calling some of you to be pastors, teachers, missionaries, and evangelist. Your only concern right now is to SURRENDER YOUR LIFE. God will direct you into what He has for you.
Being a parent is a high calling. I love Psalm 127…Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.4 Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.5 How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! Did you catch that, children are like arrows in the hand of a warrior. The warrior directs the arrow and project it to heights he cannot reach. The arrow can go places the warrior cannot go.
Charles and John Wesley had 17 other siblings beside themselves. Their mom, Suzanne, spent one hour a week with each child. Doesn’t sound like much but when you have 19 children you cannot possible spend one hour alone with each per day. She pointed those boys in the right direction and they accomplished things Suzanne never dreamed.
You don’t have to be a Doctor, Lawyer, Rocket Scientist or congressman to count; all you have to do is be committed to Christ, He will see that you count. Don’t be afraid to trust Him. You would jump at His will if you had His foreknowledge. What if He calls me to Africa? Let me ask you a question: how many miserable Missionaries do you know. They are the happiest people on planet earth. Where ever He calls you to go, He will grace you to go and make you excited to be there.
Judas made a real bad decision and it ruined his life. His decision was so horrible that he did not recover. It cost him his life and his legacy. How many boys do you know named Judas. It was a popular name until Judas tarnished it with the deceitful betrayal of Christ.