07-13-2014 The Disciples: The Responsible One

A big “thank you” to all of you who helped out with and prayed for our annual Vacation Bible School this past week.  Yes, everyone who worked all week was a pack of shambling zombies this Sunday, but it was totally worth it.  We hosted more than 60 kids this year -- 10 households of which were completely unchurched families -- and we saw eight children make a decision to follow Christ.  If even one child had done so, it would’ve been worth all of the work, so I figure that our church family was blessed seven times over.

It was also the first year for several of our FCC teens to step up into leadership positions, and we were very proud of the work that each of them did.  Seriously, that’s not just a tritism to put in the weekly Update -- they really did all rise to the occasion and do a great job of being “mini-pastors” this week to the VBS kids.  Remind them to show you the cheers that each crew came up with to show solidarity and team spirit (my personal favorite has got to be the Tribe of Reuben...).

I would appreciate your prayers for a few of our older FCCers.  Del Cripe had a blood clot in his arm and had surgery this week, and is home resting comfortably and doing great.  Both Janet and Harry McClure have fallen in the past week or so, and Harry tore his rotator cuff in the process -- he’s on the mend, but Janet’s other physical needs are kinda making it hard for her to bounce back as easily.  And Marge Beal is going in for some surgery on her eyelids here soon.  All of them would really appreciate your prayers, as would the rest of our senior FCCers, I’m sure.

In our message this week, we looked at a complicated disciple -- Judas Iscariot.  Was he an outsider from the Deep South?  Was he a former assassin with the Zealots?  Either is a possibility, depending on how you interpret the meaning of the odd word, “Iscariot.”  But what we do know about Judas is that he betrayed Christ to those who wanted to kill Him.

But why did he do it?  Was it simply because Satan induced him to?  Even if so, then how did Satan get that foothold in his life?  Every Gospel writer clarifies that he sought out the opportunity to betray Jesus immediately following Christ’s raising of Lazarus in Bethany, and Mary’s subsequent washing of His feet with expensive perfume.  So was it that outsider Judas was convicted of his continual stealing from the disciples’ money purse, responding to that conviction with indignation rather than repentance?  Or was it that Zealot Judas hoped that turning Jesus in would spur the kingdom of God into military action against the Romans?  We just don’t know.

But no matter what it was that motivated him, we know that he felt justified in his sin at that moment, only to fee guilty about it later.  He didn’t seek God’s strength to be pure to begin with, and he didn’t seek God’s grace to be forgiven afterwards.  He did what he felt was best and ignored God in the process -- both in his betrayal of Jesus, and in his later suicide.  He did what struck him to do, when it struck him to do it -- and that left him empty and alone.  It left him hopeless and thrashing around for answers that he didn’t have on his own.

So have you ever run ahead of God?  

Have you ever sought to nudge God into doing what you thought He should do?  

Have you ever responded to Godly conviction with a self-righteous indignation instead of a genuinely righteous repentance?

If so, what disciple do you think that your life is mirroring?  And which one do you want it to mirror today...?