(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
Matthew 26:14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
How could he?
Was 30 pieces of silver all Jesus’ was worth?
Why did he not change his mind?
Whenever we see “big” sins on the news or experience them in our lives or even commit them in our lives, we maybe ask, “How could they do that?” Or, “How could I do that?”
People don’t just wake up one day and decide to have an affair. People don’t just on a whim decide, “I’m going to rob that convenience store.” Individuals don’t just randomly take steps to kill masses of people.
When sin manifests, it is often big and ugly. It often affects people that are closest to us. It often is much bigger than we could imagine.
Self-control is about understanding how sin works.
Judas didn’t just hit a low point of desperation and found an opportunity to make a quick buck, Satan had been working on his heart for a long time.
John 12:4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
Judas’ betrayal didn’t start during Holy Week. His heart was captivated by the love of money for a long time. As keeper of the purse for Jesus and his disciples, every time a gift was given he was tempted to keep some for himself. Every time he said “No” to the love of money, he practiced self-control. However, it seems that it became easier and easier for him to say “Yes” to taking some and let go of any power over his sinful nature.
An ongoing lack of self-control led to a heart that was Satan-controlled.
John 13:27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”
So Judas is a sobering reminder to us of what happens when we allow our sinful nature to win the temptations that are presented to us. Every lack of self-control is a step farther down the path of the manifestation of evil.
James puts it this way:
1:13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Jesus put it this way:
Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
And this is exactly why we need Jesus.
Because we need his forgiveness and grace to teach us to say “No” to sin and to lead self-controlled, upright and godly lives.
Because we need his strength to do as Joseph did when presented with temptation, Genesis 39:9 “No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”
And so we need the strength God gives to flee from sin before a lack of self-control becomes Satan-control.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Apply: What is a temptation that Satan gets you to easily fall for? What is the promise and power of God you can memorize, rely on and throw in Satan’s face when this temptation comes again?
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we praise you for walking with resoluteness to the cross. We need your grace to forgive us when we fall and we need your strength to practice self-control as you did so we never become Satan-controlled. In your mercy forgive us and strengthen us! AMEN.