This would be the title of my message if I were speaking today. It is not yet 5:00 a.m. and I was shaken awake by the sound of a mighty clasp of thunder within my spirit. I tried to open my eyes and shake my mind to perceive what the Holy Spirit was speaking in my heart.
I heard the words of the title of this writing clearly in my spirit. As I waited and silently conversed with God, He pointed out to me there will be millions gather today into churches across this land and around the world, who will be near God this morning, but do not know God. They will sing the worship songs, listen to a message from the Word of God and watch as others are gathered all around them. They will be as Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples who walked with Jesus for some three years and yet went into eternity – lost!
The sound of the voice of God speaking this message into my spirit was frightening. His voice was like the thunder of a horrible storm. I was in the very presence of Almighty God. It is a sobering thought that I cannot wrap my mind around as I write this message for someone to read who needs Christ to break through all the veneer of their soul and awaken their spirit to their desperate need for salvation.
There will be millions today who will rise to the dawn of morning, prepare for church, clothing themselves in threads of goodly garments, drive to a building called a church and will hear the Word of God preached, perhaps hundreds or thousands of time in their life, and leave the doors of the church with their soul completely barren and dry – lost and without the hope of salvation given by Jesus Christ. They are good people, hold respectable jobs, are good citizens in the community, are good spouses, parents, grandparents and more, but their soul and heart has never been touched by the presence of God and they are totally lost!
This thought should make every servant of Jesus Christ tremble. Christians should be shaken to the core with the thought that anyone, let alone millions, will live their life in close proximity to the person and presence of Christ and go through the motions of being a Christian and yet remain unfazed by the Good News of Jesus Christ. Is it possible? Yes, read about Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve who listened to Jesus, walked with Jesus, ate with Jesus and spent much time in the presence of the Savior, yet portrayed Him in the garden of Gethsemane. We have this awful, dreadful, shocking and terrifying narrative recorded in the Bible about a man who actually listened, saw and touched the physical Word of God and yet failed to yield his heart to the Master. He lived his life on the face of this earth in the very presence of God Himself and went into eternity –lost!
“Now when morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus to put Him to death; and they bound Him, and led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate the governor.
Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself”. Matthew 27:1-5 NASB
What a sobering and dreadful epitaph! Judas was filled with remorse, not with repentance.
Friend, this may not be you – it may be a father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, grandchild, relative or friend – there are millions playing church and marching straight down the path of selfishness into eternity without Christ. This should cause us to stop and realize Christianity is a not a Sunday morning event to appease an angry God. Christianity is a sobering, sincere, humbling and holy life with total faith in Jesus Christ and devotion to Him.
Jesus was speaking with the Jews who were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” (John 6:41 NASB) The disciples were listening to the conversation that was taking place and were having trouble understanding what Jesus was saying to the argumentative, religious Jewish leaders about the true bread of heaven and the acceptance of the son of God by the religious establishment of the day. When Jesus finished speaking with the Jewish leaders, He turned to his disciples and the conversation continued – in the presence of Judas Iscariot:
“Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” for Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”
As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?” Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him.” John 60:60-71 NASB
Why did Jesus choose Judas Iscariot as a disciple if he knew he was going to betray him? The answer is that Jesus selected him because this was part of God’s plan. Jesus dropped the first hint that He would be betrayed in the narrative above. It was done so that the prophecies of old would be fulfilled.
In Psalm 41:9, the psalmist prophesied the son of God would be betrayed: “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”
Judas was such an evil man that John 17:12 tells us that Judas is the son of perdition. He was a servant of the devil who walked daily with the Master and never repented – lost!
“While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.” John 17:12
Here is another instance of fulfilled prophecy. Judas Iscariot did not lose his spiritual life; he never had it. This is not a picture of a swan becoming dirty, but of a pig that never left the mud. This next passage is hard to understand for one who had been so close to Jesus, but it shows how sinful a person can be – even people in the church.
“And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them. They were glad and agreed to give him money. So he consented, and began seeking a good opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the crowd.” Luke 22:3-6
We should not be surprised when churches have problems and supposed “Christians” leave the faith. We must also be aware there are impassioned pastors or speakers who fill many pulpits on Sunday mornings who are without Christ living in their heart, attempting to speak as a servant of God, preaching a false gospel – and lost!
This is an important lesson for Christians. Just because someone says they are a Christian does not make them a Christian. We will know true Christians by the fruit they bear for Christ. No fruit indicates there is no life – lost!
We should pray for each other that we will be continually devoted to Christ and bear much fruit for the King!