March 05, 2024

Dear Church family, 

Yesterday’s message from John 13:18-30 should have felt both (1) happy & (2) heavy…

happy that God through Christ would show such kindness to His ‘frenemy’ named Judas, and knowing it ahead of time, Jesus still loved Him faithfully to the end! What unconditional love and service we see God showing because that’s how He loves…& that is how He loves us! & that is how we ought to love others! That should be a happy thought for us & a motivational one. 

But the message was also heavy as we see Judas walking out on the Light of the world into darkness (13:30). And I tried to bring out the application of both (1) God and (2) us as a Church through that scene: 

Godif one walks out on His gracious love like Judas, a terrifying reality of darkness exists. Romans 2:4-5 strikes the balance of God’s gracious kindness & fearful wrath at the same time, to which John 13:18-30 exemplifies wonderfully. We ought not to eliminate either attribute of God in our understanding of Him. All of us are prone to lean towards God’s love or wrath. Unfortunately, we often lean away from one in an effort to emphasize the other. That should not be. We should know that wrath exists for those who reject God’s kind love. So wrath is the result of those who reject God’s love. Love comes first, as I understand it, wrath comes second. It would be a reactionary attribute of God. Love, though, is an intrinsic attribute. God is love, (1 John 4:8), never is it said that God is wrath! Therefore, the recipients of God’s wrath are those who have rejected His kind love (Notice Ps. 145:8-9 & how God is ‘kind/good to all,’ which is universal. God’s wrath is the result of humans rejecting God’s common grace).

Us as a Church: Look at Romans 11:22 Hebrews 10:26-31 for an application of God’s loving grace & stern punishment. I’ll let you look them up, and if you do, the important element to see is how it’s addressing us as the Church. They are hard passages to read and accept, but even more so with the understanding that they are written to us! Nevertheless, the clear point is this through these warning statements: let’s not be a Judas and fall into that category! God warns us like we could be a Judas and we apparently need the warning!

As I said yesterday, we ought not to think, “who is the Judas around me?” but “could it be me?” Oh, it could be without the grace of God!  As the disciples said in Matthew 26:22 pertaining to betrayal, “Is it I Lord?” Yes, it could be! 

Now here is the good news: at the end of John 13, Jesus tells Peter that he too will deny/betray Him 3 times! BUT Jesus will restore Peter (John 21:15-19). This speaks of how us true Christians will continue to repent/maintain it (2 Tim. 2:19 & 25) by God’s grace. As John the Baptist preached in Matthew 3:8: “bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” That’s continual. 

That’s how we are to live and we can continue confidently in our walk with God knowing that He the Holy Spirit will empower us to repent of our Judas & Peter tendencies.

(Notice how Hebrews 10:39 gives us the benefit of the doubt to that end: “But we are not those who shrink back & are destroyed, but those who have faith and preserve their souls.”)

I know that this is hard for us to understand, but I hope that the Lord gives you light on this, and if you have any questions on the issue, I am glad to talk! 

With love in Christ, 

Aaron

From Pastor Aaron

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