We’re continuing our series of ‘One’. In 2021 in January, we talked about the ‘One Body’, in February we talked about the ‘One Spirit’, in March we talked about ‘One Hope’ and in April, we’re dedicating it to ‘One Lord’. And what I want to talk about today is that Jesus has to be Lord, not just of our behavior, not just of our actions, not just of our outward appearance, but Jesus needs to be placed as Lord over our hearts and our minds.
And if you’re anything like me to try to wrestle your thoughts and to try to wrestle your hearts and to grab onto those two wild stallions and break them and make them submissive to the lordship of Christ is very difficult. It’s actually much easier to just make Jesus Lord over my external behaviors. It’s much more easy to make Jesus Lord over my Sundays and Lord over my midweeks and Lord over my outward appearance. But to let Jesus be Lord over my thoughts, the thoughts of my heart, the thoughts of my mind, my attitudes, that is very, very difficult.
And so we’re going to use as a basis of studying this. Judas, the one disciple of Jesus’s 12 that he chose that really failed to remain faithful to Christ as Lord. And yet when Judas agreed to betray Jesus and when Jesus revealed on that eve of the Last Supper, not one of the disciples knew that Judas was the betrayer. They all began to ask each other, who is Jesus talking about?
When Jesus said there is a betrayer in our midst, which means that Judas was able to have the appearance of Lordship while there was a battle going on internally. And so in John 13 we’re taken to this Last Supper and it says Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave the world to go to the father, having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. The evening meal was being served and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus.
Now, that’s an interesting phrase there, that Satan had prompted Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus. So Judas had not yet betrayed him. Now we’re going to look at a timeline here showing that Judas had already begun to make arrangements to betray Jesus, but now there was still a shot and that word prompted means to throw, to toss or to cast. So it’s the same word that would be used later in John as as the Peter and John were casting their net into the Sea of Galilee to catch fish.
So it is like a fishing turn. So what was Satan doing with Judas? He was fishing for him. He was casting a net. He was casting a lure, something shiny to dance in front of Judas’ face to see if he would bite. He was trying to catch him. Now, again, in our timeline here, there’s a few events that that led up to this point. What’s interesting is if you harmonize, Matthew, twenty five and twenty six and also, John, 12 and 13, there is an amazing and very convicting sermon given by Jesus in Matthew Chapter twenty five, all about taking care of the poor.
It’s where Jesus talks about I will separate from my left and my right those who took care of the least of these, those who have a heart for the poor and the needy in this world. The very next night, as Matthew harmonizes it. Matthew, chapter twenty five as it goes into Matthew, chapter twenty six. There’s this scene where Mary anoints Jesus with expensive perfume and it is Judas that objects. And in a sense, his objection is really based off of the last sermon that he just heard Jesus preach, which was all about taking care of the poor.
And so Judas says, what a waste. We could have sold this and given the money for the poor and rather than getting a pat on the back for Jesus saying, oh, you remember my lesson about taking care of the poor. Jesus, corrects Judas and the others for their thinking, and right after that, Judas meets with the chief priests and begins to figure out a way for them to arrest Jesus and then the next day after that is the triumphal entry where Jesus is now worshiped as king, and here’s my own personal opinion of what was happening with Judas. Judas was kind of a revolutionary. And I think like many of the Pharisees and even the teachers of the law, they desired a king, a messiah that would come and overthrow Rome and really liberate Israel from the oppression that they were under, that they would really be raised up as a marginalized people and that that Christ, their messiah, would triumph and overthrow Rome.
Of course, we know that that’s not the kingdom that Jesus came to establish. It was more of a messianic figure where we would worship Jesus and Lord, but he was not going to overthrow anybody.
He was actually going to take a crown of thorns and the throne in heaven. And I think that Judas began to struggle with this idea that the kingdom was going to be a spiritual one and not the revolution that perhaps he and many other Jews had hoped for. I think Judas also began to struggle with Jesus beginning to accept worship near the end of his life early on in Jesus life Jesus would silence those who said, you are the son of God, you’re the son of David, heal us, and even demons who recognized you are the son of God, Jesus would silence them.
And I think that was just a practical reason that Jesus wanted to keep his ministry going, because as soon as Jesus begins to claim one ship with God and divinity and being the son of God, he is almost immediately thereafter crucified and brought before the Sanhedrin on trial for blasphemy. And so I think early on, Jesus kept under wraps. It was the Messiah, the son of God, and would not accept that kind of worship, but would send people out of respect to the priests as a testimony to them.
But near the end of Jesus’s life, that begins to change. And so Mary’s anointing of him was a clear display of worship. And Jesus said that that was proper for her to be worshiping him, for her to anoint him and prepare his body. And then as Jesus rides into the city of Jerusalem, he was fulfilling the prophecy in Zechariah is clearly a messianic prophecy. So Jesus is now getting more and more comfortable with receiving worship and claiming sonship and divinity and unity with God, which and Jesus was right.
His ministry ended very soon. Within a week, he would be crucified. But I think Judas struggled also with this idea of Jesus’s divinity and his true unity with God, the father. And so Satan knew this. And where was this battle taking place? It was all inside Judas, his heart and mind. None of the disciples figured out that Judas was going through this battle, even as Jesus sets Judas up to betray him in John thirteen twenty six or twenty seven, it says, dipping this piece of bread. He gave it to Judas set of Simon. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan did what entered into him. What you’re about to do, do quickly. Jesus told him, so that was now the point of no return.
It seems like up to that point Satan was just bashing Satan knew that that in his mind and in his heart, there was a real battle going on. There was a battle going on in Judas heart and in Judas mind. And that battle was tearing him apart inside. But no one knew that battle was taking place. And I’m here to tell you, brothers and sisters in Christ.
This describes many of us, many of us have an internal struggle making Jesus the true lord of our lives, and we know how to fool people and we develop the same talent that Judas developed and we look good on the outside. So if Jesus were to say, hey, there are some in here who will betray me, who will walk away from me, who are going to tap out from following me, we may not be able to identify who those people are.
Well, who is it? It’s surely not me. And that’s what happened with Judas. This battle was going on inside its heart and inside his mind. In Second Corinthians, Paul talks about this battle and he actually uses a lot of military terms when he talks about where these battles take place. In second Corinthians, 10 verses, three through five. It says:
Though we live in the world, we don’t wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. And we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.
Do you see all the military terminology that Paul is using here? He’s saying, guys, it is a battle. It is a war. If you’re like me, your brain is at war all the time.
Your heart is at war all the time. You know, I’ve been a Christian long enough to where I know what a Christian should look like and act like, and I can usually do that. But it’s it’s in my mind and it’s in my heart that sometimes these strongholds begin to develop. And what is a stronghold? The Greek use their term is oxyroma, which this is the only passage in the New Testament where this military term is used and it is like a fortress of fortified military stronghold. It’s like a base with walls and guards and guns and nobody’s getting in. Why? Because we are protecting this fortress. And where do these things exist? They exist sometimes in our hearts, in our minds. And, you know, the definition goes on. It’s this fortified containment figuratively used here in Second Corinthians of this false argument in which a person seeks shelter or a safe place to escape reality. Now, doesn’t that sound like our world today?
There are so many people that are out of touch with the biblical reality, with God’s reality, with the truth of God’s word. And so within their minds, they have these escapes. They have these places that they can retreat and escape reality. A lot of sin is just that. It is an escape. You know, our impurity is an escape. Maybe that is your strong hold. Maybe that is your fortress, just a place that you could look forward to.
And you’re guarding that fortress. You’re guarding those times where you sin, where you lust or fantasize or impure. Maybe it’s just things that are going on that nobody knows about. And you have built a stronghold, that is your fortress, that is your safe place, that’s your retreat from the lordship of Christ. And everything else is open up to God. Yeah, I’m available to God. But this is my stronghold. This is my fortress. If that is you, that’s really who Judas was.
And Satan knew. I’ve got this guy. I know he’s my way of getting to Jesus. I know if I throw enough lures in front of him, he’s going to bite because I know he’s got doubts. I know he’s got greed. I know he’s disillusioned. And so I’m going to just keep fishing and fishing and fishing until finally Judas takes the bait and Satan did it and Judas eventually took that bait.
What strongholds have you built up in your heart? What are you protecting? What are areas that are off limits to God? Maybe it is that God has got a hold of you, even financially. And you just I’m not going to give only a part of everything. I’m not giving. Man, that was also Judas as hard as well is that greed and dishonesty with his wealth was also a stronghold that Satan knew. And for 30 pieces of silver, he sold out the Messiah.
Is your finances. Is that off limits to God? Is that totally off limits to the Lordship of Christ? To where you are holding back financially or even dishonest financially? I think for many of us as disciples, there’s not an openness about our finances. There’s not a real trust in God in this area. Maybe that is your stronghold. Maybe that’s off limits to the Lord Jesus Christ. And there are more scriptures about that and wealth and what that will do to your heart then maybe any other topic that Jesus speaks on the New Testament.
There’s certainly quite a bit in there about the worries of this world and what that will do to your heart. Maybe that is your stronghold. What about your mind? What fortresses have you set up in your mind? What are the doubts? What are the subtle things that you just say, you know what, I’m in charge. I’ll give this much to God, but I’m still holding back in my mind these doubts, these disappointments.
And these are the things that in my mind, I’m just not going to be open about. I’m not going to bring these things out into the light, into the lordship of Christ. How do we deal with these strongholds? Well, Paul’s advice is demolish them, destroy them. But I think you’d be surprised what that word really translates to. It’s it’s the word kathairesis in Greek. Now, that does mean demolish or take down or to destroy, but it’s also in English where we get the word catharsis or cathartic, which actually means more of a purification or a cleansing or a clarifying.
It’s a it’s a purification of our emotions, even if your fear through the art of an extreme change that results in renewal and restoration. So when Paul says demolish these strongholds, what he’s saying is he plans to be purified of these fortresses in your heart and mind that are unavailable to God, unavailable to the lordship of Christ. The truth is, is when we expose and demolish these strongholds, it is cathartic. It’s a purification. It is a cleansing.
The war is over. The war for my mind. The war for my heart is over. Christ has been allowed into this area. I let down my walls. I let down the things that I was guarding. I let down my hurts and my disappointments and my doubts and my fears and my attitudes and my unconfessed sin. I let all of those walls down. I demolished them. There is a battle going on for your heart and for your mind.
Are you willing to make Jesus, Lord, over those two areas? Are you willing to purify and cleanse your heart and mind and lower your defenses and let those things down so that the lordship of Christ can come in?
It is cathartic. It is cleansing. It is purifying. We’re going to take communion as we read Philippians four, four through seven it says:
The Lord is in hand. Don’t be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with Thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which passes all understanding will Guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
So you think that you’re guarding against I don’t know what, but by setting a fortress up against the Lordship of Christ it’s now you guarding it. And a lot of us that’s where we get anxious, is those areas that are not under the Lordship of Christ are the things that are stressing us out. If it’s our finances, they are stressing us out. It’s our purity that stresses us out. If it’s our doubts and our fears and our disappointments that our past hurts, those are the areas that we are anxious about.
And yet, if we’re able to make Jesus Lord over these areas through prayer and supplication, Thanksgiving and lowering of our walls, then who moves in and guards your hearts and minds? Well, it’s Christ now. Now, you no longer have to build these strongholds in your mind. You no longer have to build up this fortress in your heart that we think is protecting us, which is really destroying us and making us anxious when we let down those walls now Christ and his lordship moves into our hearts and it moves into our minds.
And now it guards against anxiety and worry and stress and sin, gosh, I really want that in my life. I don’t want to be Lord of my heart and Lord of my mind. I don’t want to build fortresses and try to guard those things against the lordship of Christ. I want to let down those walls and let Christ move in so that he might guard my heart and mind. I hope that you will do the same as you take communion today, break down those walls, make a decision to demolish those strongholds.
And a lot of that is, yes, through prayer and supplication. But obviously a lot of it, too, is a trusted brother, sister in Christ to help you dismantle those strongholds and really reach out and have a time of catharsis, a time of cleansing and purification with your brother and sister in Christ, that we can demolish these guys. We are at war, even if it looks really good on the outside. Don’t let your internal battles make you fall prey to Satan and his lures.
Let’s pray as we take communion, Father. We do. Thank you so much for Christ Jesus. As we pray. As we supplicate this morning, we ask that you would search our hearts and minds and find those strongholds and let the Spirit prompt us today. Not that Satan and his prompting and his tent, but let the Spirit prompt us to take down our walls, to let go of the places that we are protecting, and to let Christ into our hearts and minds and sit on the throne truly as Lord, let us demolish those strongholds and let that be a cathartic time for us to really be cleansed and purified as we truly open up our heart and mind to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
We thank you for his death and resurrection. We thank you that he demolished all these strongholds and that he submitted himself unto death, under your Lordship God. And we trust him completely with our hearts and minds in the name of Jesus. Amen.