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A Tale of Two Preachers B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
June 8, 2023 4:00 am

A Tale of Two Preachers B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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Grace To You
John MacArthur

Two preachers, indistinguishable to their close friends, Judas and Peter. Judas belonged to Satan, Peter belonged to the Savior.

I love this benediction in Ephesians, grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an incorruptible love. They were taught by the same teacher, they lived three years with the same small group of friends, yet they turned down two very different paths. One became a pillar of the early church, the other history's most notorious villain. Today on Grace to You, John MacArthur will show you why Peter stayed loyal to Christ, while Judas betrayed the Lord. Along the way, you're going to see the profound change that can happen when you, like Peter, understand what it means to love Christ more than yourself. The lesson you're about to hear is part of John's study titled, Lessons for a Modern Day Disciple.

And now here's John MacArthur with today's lesson. I think you know that there has been a very disturbing reality in my life through all of the years of my ministry and that is the fact that the church is occupied by people who aren't really saved. I have addressed that so many ways, I can't even count them.

I have written so many books on the gospel according to Jesus, the gospel according to the Apostles, ashamed of the gospel, and beyond and beyond, and books that don't have the gospel in the title that are addressed at the same subject. The Truth War, you know them all, Hard to Believe. And they all are really driven at the same reality that the church is full of people who are on their way to hell. And if we are going to throw our bodies in front of them and make them go over us to get there, it has to start in the church.

We can't make assumptions. Tonight I want to tell you the tale of two preachers, tale of two preachers. These two you know.

You know them very well. Both were called by Jesus personally. Both answered the call, forsook everything, and followed Him. Both declared repeatedly their personal devotion to Him. Both were personally taught, personally trained by Jesus specifically for preaching ministry. Both were intimately acquainted with Him 24-7, every hour of the day, every day of the week for years. Both of them in the end betrayed Jesus boldly, emphatically, openly, publicly, resolutely and they did it, both of them, at the end of all their training and experience and just before He was crucified.

And both of them were completely devastated by what they had done. One of them, in spite of his wicked betrayal of the Savior, is considered so honorable, so noble, such a grand figure that millions of people have been named after him. Some of you are named after him. The other man, not so much. The other man is considered so dishonorable, so despicable, and though his name means praised, nobody in this building has his name. Your dog doesn't have his name. You don't know anybody who has his name.

His name is hated and reviled. One of them, we who belong to Christ will all meet because that betrayer of Jesus Christ is in heaven. The other one, those who reject Christ may meet. To see these two preachers in bold relief, turn in your Bible to Matthew 26. Then we pick up Judas, verse 3. 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. The chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, it's not lawful to put them into the temple treasury. By the way, it wasn't lawful to do what they did to Jesus.

That didn't bother them. It's the price of blood. They conferred together and with the money bought, Potter's Field is a burial place for strangers. For this reason that field has been called the field of blood to this day and that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled and they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one whose price had been set by the sons of Israel, gave them for the Potter's Field as the Lord directed me. It identifies Jeremiah as the source of that. It's actually Zachariah but the reason Jeremiah is identified is because the Old Testament was divided into three sections.

You had the Law and you had the Writings and you had the Prophets and Jeremiah was the first book in the Prophets in the Hebrew text and so Jeremiah became a title for that section. So what do you have in that section, verses 3, in following the horrible tragedy of Judas, the horrible tragedy of Judas? He hangs himself. He couldn't even do that very well.

The first chapter of Acts says that he died by having his bowels bashed on the rocks which means either the rope broke, the knot slipped, or the branch broke, the horrible unparalleled tragedy of Judas. Greatest tragedy in human history because he had the greatest opportunity, unparalleled privilege, the ultimate in waste. He's greedy. He's a materialist. He's a money mover.

He's earthy. He's marked by avarice, motivated by personal ambition, desire for riches. So strong is Judas' selfish greed that he ignores the truth when it's in his face. He went to hell on purpose. He knew there was a hell.

He sent himself there. His downfall came cause he loved himself too much. He rejected salvation too easily. He resented Jesus too strongly.

And the same sun that melts the wax hardens the clay. Let's look at Peter, back to chapter 26. And we'll go back to verse 17, the first day of the unleavened bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover? And he said, go to the city to a certain man and say to him, the teacher says, the time is near, I'm going to keep the Passover at your house with my disciples. The disciples did as Jesus had directed them and they prepared the Passover. Jesus set this up in a way that Judas didn't know where it was going to be so that he wouldn't lead people there. Verse 26, while they were eating, Jesus took some bread after a blessing, broke it, gave to the disciples, said, take, eat, this is my body. And he transitions the Passover into the Lord's Supper, His table. Back to verse 30, where we were, they went to the Mount of Olives. Now let's follow Peter. Jesus said to them, they'll all fall away because of Me this night, you will, for it's written I'll strike down the shepherd and the sheep and the flock will be scattered back in Zechariah.

But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee. But Peter said to him, even though all may fall away because of you, I will never fall away. I like His Spirit.

I like His Spirit. He just said they would all defect. Peter thinks more highly of himself than he ought to think. Jesus said to him in verse 34, truly I say to you that this very night before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times. Peter said to him, even if I have to die with you, I will not deny you. And all the disciples said the same thing.

He was a leader, wasn't he? He could get the group to follow him, even in a foolish confession. Well we all know what Peter did. He denied Christ. His act was as evil as Judas. His crime was as heinous as the crime of Judas. It was as bold, it was as resolute, it was as open and public as Judas. But he wouldn't know it until the cock road. Well, jump in the story to verse 69. Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard and a servant girl came to him and said this, you too were with Jesus the Galilean.

Trials going on. But he denied it before the mall saying, I do not know what you're talking about. Whoa!

It's really dramatic to follow the very careful steps here, I don't have time to do that. But he shuffles off to somewhere else near the door, the entrance to the courtyard. When he had gone to the gateway, another servant saw him and said to him, said to those who were there as well, this man was with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied it with an oath.

I do not know the man. And he added an oath, swore by something. A little later, the bystanders came up as he shuffled off somewhere else and said to him, surely you two are one of them for even the way you talk gives you away.

You've got a northern accent. And he began to curse. You know what that means? He pronounced a death curse on himself if he was lying. He pronounced a death curse on himself if he was lying and swore, I do not know the man. When you swear, that's a positive affirmation, I swear by this, by that. To curse yourself is a negative affirmation.

If I'm lying, kill me. I mean, that is about as bold as you can get. There are elements of that that exceed Judas. Verse 74, and immediately a rooster crowed. It was 3 A.M. That's the time, the rooster crow.

And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said before a rooster crows. Mark adds, you remember, twice, you will deny me three times, you will deny me three times. Whoa, what did he do? Kill himself? What did he do? Hang himself? He had pronounced a death sentence on himself.

Take my life if I'm lying. And then he lied. What did he do?

He went out and what? Wept bitterly. There's an amazing moment here that Luke adds for us. When the rooster crowed, Luke 22, 61 says this, and the Lord turned and looked at Peter. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. When Judas and Jesus' eyes met in the Garden, Judas kissed him with the hatred of a hypocrite. When Peter looked into the eyes of Jesus, Peter crashed in tears. Crushing sadness led Judas to suicide without repentance.

Crushing sadness led Peter to restoration with repentance. Both had a vision of Christ. Judas looked him in the face, embraced him, put his cheek against his cheek.

That close. Peter saw him from a distance. It brought Judas to suicide. It brought Peter to repentance. How did Peter get into this situation? How could he do that? How could he do that after three years?

Well, I'll give you a little idea. Go back to verse 33. Peter said, even though all may fall away because of you, I will never fall away. Verse 35, even if I die with you, I will not deny you. He boasted too much.

He boasted too much. Go to verse 40. He came to the disciples and found them sleeping and said to Peter, you men couldn't keep watch with me for one hour? Second, he prayed too little. Verse 51, one of those who were with Jesus in the Garden and it was Peter when he was being arrested, preached and drew out his sword and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear.

Jesus said, put your sword back into its place or they have a right to take your life. He boasted too much. He prayed too little. He acted too fast. And verse 69 to 74, he followed too far. He boasted too much. He prayed too little. He acted too fast. He followed too far. Now you've heard enough of the drama. What was the difference? What was the difference? Turn to the last chapter of the gospel of John, verses 15 to 17.

Do you know the account, right? Jesus showed up in Galilee and Peter had gone back fishing which he wasn't supposed to do. He was supposed to go to Galilee and wait for Jesus to appear after they had met in the Upper Room after the resurrection.

Go to Galilee and wait. Peter had gone back, gotten his old boat, his old nets, gone back to his old ways. Jesus shows up, confronts Peter. What does he ask him three times? Do you what?

Right now you've touched the reality. What is the difference between Judas and Peter? It's an attitude toward Jesus.

And what is Peter's attitude toward Jesus? It is clearly indicated here. He loved him. Do you love me? Yes, I love you. Yes, Lord, you know I love you. He calls on omniscience. Why would he call on omniscience?

Because it wasn't obvious. You know I love you. You know I love you. You know everything. You know I love you.

Can I make it as simple as I can possibly imagine? The difference between Judas and Peter was Peter truly loved Christ. Paul loved Christ. The love of Christ controls us, he said. Paul also said in 1 Corinthians 16, 22, if any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be damned...let him be damned. John says we love him because he first loved us. You know, they were both there in that upper room, John 14, when Jesus said, if you love Me, you keep My commandments.

If you love Me, verse 21, he who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father and I will love him and disclose Myself to him. Jesus talked to them about loving him that night. Judas hated him.

He hated him for dashing his ambitions. Jesus keeps talking about loving him. Verse 23, Jesus said, if anyone loves Me, he'll keep My Word. My Father will love him and will come to him and make our abode with him. He who doesn't love Me, doesn't keep My words and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me. It's all about loving him. Verse 28, you heard that I said to you, I go away and I'll come to you. If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father for the Father is greater than I. He just keeps talking about the fact that they have to love him and love him and love him. Is that some sentiment?

Are you waiting for a buzz? No. How is that love defined? Whoever loves Me keeps My commandments. It's a disciplined act of obedience. But I'll tell you, the more you know about Christ, the more you love Him, the more irresistible He is. John 6, some of the disciples walked away. Jesus says to the Twelve, do you want to go away also? Peter says, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

We have believed and come to know that You're the Holy One of God. Peter had the potential for disastrous betrayal. But he was very different than Judas because he loved Christ.

Let me tell you something. God picked up Peter, as you well know, lifted him up, made him a powerhouse for the first half of the book of Acts, essentially the first third, more than that. Let me give you a principle to think about. Sin and guilt do not produce true repentance. Sin and guilt do not produce true repentance. You can have powerful guilt, overwhelming remorse, agonizing regret and kill yourself. You can have an awareness of your sin, you can understand it fully.

Let me tell you something. I've been in prisons where people don't hide their sins because they've all been on the front page. And acknowledging your sin and feeling the remorse and the stinging conscience of what you have done and bearing the full temporal punishment for that crime doesn't necessarily produce repentance. The horror of Judas' sin did not make him repent. The horror of Peter's sin did not make him repent. And the ugliness of your sin and my sin is not enough to make the sinner repent. It can be enough to break you, to make you cry, to make you kill yourself, but it's not enough to make you repent. What is required to make you repent is a vision of Christ that elicits love, captivating love. Peter loved Jesus.

He loved Him. When their eyes met in that deep night in the garden, he was crushed into deep sadness and he was driven to tears in that Garden of the High Priest. This is the mind, may I say, this is the mind of the true believer. And I will tell you as a pastor what I've learned all these years. What I'm looking for in my people is real salvation. And when I see it, it shows up in love for Christ that causes delight in obedience.

My responsibility begins And that's one thing that I must know as a shepherd the best that I can possibly know, is what is the true spiritual condition of my people? A personal testimony from Peter is given in his epistle, chapter 1, 1 Peter, blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while if necessary you've been distressed by various trials so that the proof of your faith being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ and though you have not seen Him, you love love Him. I just hold up Christ all the time...all the time...all the time.

The most lovely, the most winsome, the most beautiful, the most glorious, the most magnificent, most perfect, the perfect. I can't give them anything better. It's His beauty that overwhelms them. He's the one they love. They like Paul. They like Peter. They love Christ. You can't have a greater joy than to have a congregation that loves Christ because when they love Christ, they long to honor Him and serve Him. Not waiting for some emotional, sentimental buzz, they love the Christ revealed on the pages of Scripture.

It is both a duty and a privilege and an unrestrained reality. You haven't seen Him, but you love Him. Two preachers, indistinguishable to their close friends, Judas and Peter. Judas belonged to Satan.

Peter belonged to the Savior. I love this benediction in Ephesians, grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an incorruptible love. Father, we thank You for the beauty of Scripture, its power, its clarity. We are so blessed.

This book is overwhelming in its power. Thank You for the tale of two preachers. One day we want to gather with all those preachers who are around Peter.

May no one in this place, no one ever meet Judas. And may You help us to lift up Christ's people so they can see the One to whom they can give all their love forever. We thank You. We love You. We don't love You as we should. Help us to love You more, O Lord. Amen. This is Grace to You with John MacArthur.

Thanks for being with us. John's current series pulls together some of the most practical messages from the annual shepherds' conferences at Grace Community Church. This series is titled Lessons for a Modern-Day Disciple. Now today John turned his attention to Peter, an example of a man who stumbled often spiritually, but who endured in the faith and in ministry to the end of his life. And speaking of enduring ministry, John, you've been pastoring the same church for more than 54 years. What would you say is the key to a long and enduring ministry?

Not getting fired. You know, there were plenty of times when I'm sure that— I don't think you ever faced the risk of that. I worry about that. But you have no reason to. It's a survival.

You have to survive all the relationships. And who doesn't offend with his tongue the same is a perfect man, the Bible says. So you're going to offend people. Your preaching is going to irritate certain people. You're going to have conflict in the church. I think being 54 years at a church is more a testimony to your attitude toward the church than your preaching. I tell young pastors frequently that they can survive bad sermons. They can't survive pride, a lack of kindness, tenderheartedness, patience with people, goodness. But on the other hand, if those virtues are the marks of your life, the people will give you some errors that you can recover from.

We are all really just very ordinary people. And whatever success we have in ministry is dependent on our submission to Christ and to the power of the Holy Spirit. And along that line, I want to mention a book called Twelve Ordinary Men. It looks at all twelve of Jesus' disciples. It looks at everything that scripture says about their individual traits, how ordinary they were and why, their faults.

And I think we can identify with them because they're just like us. So the Lord used these somewhat nondescript men in mighty ways to establish his church, and they were changed as they walked side by side with Jesus. As you study their lives, you will benefit from what they learned. I can say the Lord would want to do in your life what he did in the lives of these twelve ordinary men. Twelve Ordinary Men available from Grace To You, reasonably priced, free shipping on U.S. orders. Yes, and friend, it's a great time to get this book. Until midnight tonight, it's available at 25% off the normal price.

Twelve Ordinary Men will show you how Christ transformed the disciples and how he can transform you. Take advantage of the sale price. Order your copy today. During the sale, Twelve Ordinary Men is available for $7.50, and shipping is free. To purchase your copy, visit our website,

Or you can speak to an operator today between 7.30 and 4 o'clock Pacific Time. Our phone number, 800-55-GRACE. And note that Twelve Ordinary Men is also available in Spanish.

Again, to pick up Twelve Ordinary Men in English or Spanish, call 800-55-GRACE or visit And at the website, be sure to check out all of the sale prices. You can order the MacArthur Study Bible, books like The Gospel According to Jesus, Anxious for Nothing, The Glory of Heaven, and more for 25% off the normal price.

These could be ideal gifts to put into the hands of those whom you've been talking to about the gospel. To place your order, call 800-55-GRACE or shop online at And remember, the sale ends at $11.59 and a half tonight.

So order right away. Our web address again, Now for John MacArthur and the staff, I'm Phil Johnson. Thanks for tuning in today and come back tomorrow as John explains how you can have a closer relationship with Christ than even the Twelve Apostles did. Join us for another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-08 05:59:40 / 2023-06-08 06:09:22 / 10

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