1998-01-15 - Club Christianity
The Cross Series, Part 23
Luke 22:47 While He was still speaking, behold, a multitude came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him.
Back in Luke 6:13-16, we see Jesus call, or select, His disciples. One of the twelve that was selected was Judas. In a way, Jesus literally picked the knife that would stab Him. Of course, Jesus knew before time began who would betray Him. And in the same breath, it was Judas' free choice to betray the Lord. Jesus' foreknowledge did not preclude Judas' free will. This chapter six reference to Judas' call is the last time Luke mentions by name him until now.
The phrase "one of the twelve" caught my eye. We know from other scriptures that Judas was the groups treasurer. He carried the money bag. This may indicate that he had more of an education than the other men. There is no indication that Judas did not also heal the sick, cast out demons, etc. as the disciples recount in Luke chapter nine.
Luke 9:1-2 And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons, and to heal diseases. 2 And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God, and to perform healing. (NAS)
In fact, this gives us every indication that Judas was indeed granted the same authority as the other disciples. Judas lived the life some of us think would make us better Christians. He lived with Jesus for three years. They ate together, walked together, watched over each other. He heard the Master teach for three years. He saw and performed undeniable miracles, things that would blow our minds, routinely. And yet we find Judas here leading the enemy party, ready to betray his Master.
Was Judas trying to force Jesus hand? To make Him take the Throne of David and throw off the Roman yoke of oppression? Perhaps. But the point here is that Judas had been immersed in the life and teaching of Jesus for three years and did not understand that Jesus was not going to do what Judas was expecting Him to do. Judas wanted to see King Jesus, literally. Perhaps Judas was hoping for an appointment to the cabinet. After all, he was a member of the inside crowd. Who knows. The fact is that Judas so badly missed the direction that Jesus is going in that he ends up bringing the wrong cavalry.
The price the Sanhedrin had paid for Judas' betrayal was 30 pieces of silver. The price of a slave. It was a lot of money in that day. It cost Judas more than he could have imagined in the end.
Not unlike Judas, we have people today who go to church every Sunday. They may serve on committee, or sing in the choir, or serve as an usher. They may have a regular pew slot or chair they take up every week. They love the songs, they pray for the sick. They know the right verses, the buzzwords and the sayings.
This is social Christianity, or Club Christianity. It is a deadly deception. It can give someone the false sense of security of eternal life in Heaven. They have a head understanding of Jesus, without knowing the Lord in their hearts. You and I can not know the heart of another for sure. Our own hearts are treacherous enough for us to handle. Prayer is the greatest weapon against this ill. Humble, honest prayer to keep close to the Lord and be a witness to anyone in need. The greatest need we all have as humans is salvation. There are people caught in Club Christianity and know that empty feeling inside, dying while serving. You might be that humble servant they feel they can trust with the fears of their heart. There is one door out of the club. Jesus stands at the door of their hearts. If they feel they can trust you, they may ask you, "You seem so at peace all the time. How do you do it?" Then you have the opportunity to lead them to the door and out of the trap.
Judas had all the outward trappings of being prepared for the kingdom of God and a child of God. Jesus examines the heart, not the husk. He reached out to Judas to the very end. He left the door open even when Judas betrayed Him with a kiss. You and I can close the door on someone with an answer that did not hear the real question being asked. Be sensitive to the seeking heart where you might not expect it.
If you find yourself trapped in Club Christianity and are looking for the way out, please ask one of us for help if you need it. If you are afraid of being laughed at by a friend, or fear appearing foolish in their eyes, think again. The tears in their eyes as you are denied entrance to the New Jerusalem for all eternity will leave them wondering why you didn't ask for help. A true friend will be honored that you trusted them, and honored to serve Jesus on your behalf.
John 6:37 "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
The rich, young ruler knew he was missing something. He came to Jesus seeking what it might be. In his pride, he could not accept the command of Jesus. Jesus has your very best interests at heart. Come and see.
Lord Jesus, Give us sensitive hearts and ears to hear the vague question of a hurting soul. Give us your words of love and acceptance to the one who trusts us enough to ask. Give them that need it the courage to reach out to find out more about you. Help them find the desire and the courage to escape from the Club Christianity trap. All for your glory Lord, Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.