By David J. Riggs

   A. We want to make a character study of two well-known men in the
      1. One is known as a very great disciple of the Lord, the other
         as a very evil man.
      2. Yet, when we compare the lives of the two men, we find that
         they had many things alike.
         a. They had many parallel opportunities and
         b. In spite of this, they were entirely different in the
            outcome or end of their lives.
   B. Perhaps you have already guessed their names--they are: Peter
      and Judas Iscariot.

   A. At the feet of Jesus.
      1. Acts 1:21-22
         a. These were lofty qualifications, but both Peter and Judas
            measured up.
         b. If we considered every hour they had under the
            tutorship of Jesus, the greatest teacher that ever lived,
            it would probably give more than the equivalent of a     
            Ph.D. degree in our time.
   B. Beholding the miracles.
      1. Matt. 9:35; 11:2-5
         a. The purpose of the miracles -- John 20:30-31
      2. Also, the twelve, Judas included, were given power to work
         miracles. Matt. 10:5-8
      3. At the judgment, Judas could truly say -- Matt. 7:22
   C. Thus, Peter and Judas had the same opportunities.

   A. Let us note some of the mistakes of Peter.
      1. On the Mount of Transfiguration he became an advocate of
         Denominationalism when he said, "Let us make three
         tabernacles..." Matt. 17:4; Mark 9:5-6
         a. This mistake was answered from heaven - Matt. 17:5
      2. As Jesus prophesied of His crucifixion -- Matt. 16:22
         a. Jesus answered, Matt. 16:23
      3. Perhaps you can think of many other mistakes that Peter
         a. He was wrong on the question of forgiveness. Matt.
         b. He drew his sword and cut off the right ear of Malcus.
            Matt. 26:51-53
         c. Paul had to withstand Peter to the face regarding his
            treatment of the Gentiles. Gal. 2:11-12
         d. He failed to walk upon the water due to fear and doubt.
            Matt. 14:28-31
         e. And the crowning mistake of all, he denied the Lord
            three times. Matt. 26:69-75
   B. Let's look at the mistakes of Judas.
      1. Judas stole from the money bag of the disciples. John 12:3-6
         a. No doubt this was only small amounts; otherwise, the
            disciples would have noticed it.
         b. Sometimes we, like Judas, take no account of "little
            sins." They are so small; they appear so insignificant.
         c. However, they soon blossom into a trap that destroys us
            just as it did Judas.
      2. Judas saw a way to make some fast easy money. Matt.
         a. He probably thought, "I'll point him out to them, but
            they won't be able to take him. After all, he had escaped
            them many times before."
   C. Peter and Judas were equally guilty.
      1. It is not "he who sins," but "what we do with our sins" that
         counts. Do we repent and change?
      2. In secular history, when we read of the great achievements  
         of successful people, we are seldom told about their        
         a. For example, we read of the amazing record of Babe
            Ruth, a total of 851 home runs. But there is another
            record that is buried and never mentioned. Babe Ruth
            struck out more than any other man in history -- 1,300
            times. Thus, 1,300 times he suffered the humiliation of
            walking back to the dugout, but he never allowed failure
            to slow him down or weaken his effort.
         b. Here's another example: A young man ran for the
            legislature in Illinois, and was badly defeated. He then
            entered business and failed and spent 17 years of his    
            life paying up the debts. He was in love with a beautiful
            young woman to whom he became engaged--then she
            died. He re-entered politics, ran for congress, and was
            badly defeated. He then tried to get an appointment to
            the U.S. Land Office, but failed. He became a candidate
            for the U.S. Senate and was badly defeated. Two years
            later he was defeated by Douglas. One failure after
            another, bad failures, great setbacks, but in the face of
            all this he kept on trying and became one of the greatest
            men in history. His name was Abraham Lincoln.

   A. Matt. 26:21-25
   B. Luke 22:31-34
   C. We would like to say, "How can these men be so dumb--after
      Jesus said it would happen, and they went on and did it?"
      1. However, how many head his warnings today? Luke 21:34-

   A. Matt. 27:1-5
      1. One strong lesson here is, "just being sorry for one's sins 
         is not enough." 2 Cor. 7:10
         a. Many are not sorry for their sins, they are only sorry
            that they got caught.
         b. This kind of sorrow does not produce a change of heart
            and life. It merely makes the sinner more cunning--
            careful not to get caught next time.
      2. Judas became a coward by taking his own life. Suicide is
         truly the unpardonable sin.
         a. He should have stood his ground and tried to make
            amends. Many, instead of confessing, try to hide or
            excuse their sins.
         b. I have heard "public confessions" that were no
            confessions at all. A brother had been caught in
            something he's said or done, and he gets up and tries to
            explain it all away as a big misunderstanding. He does
            not say, "I have sinned." See Prov. 28:13; Luke 18:13
   B. Matt. 26:75
      1. Herein is where we find the vast difference between these
         two men. They had many similarities, but there's one great
         difference. Peter was sorry enough for his sins to turn from
      2. There is nothing in the Scripture which gives the least ray 
         of hope for Judas.
         a. As a matter of fact, Jesus said, "It was better for him  
            not to have been born." Also, Acts 1:18-20, 25
      3. However, Peter went on to be a great disciple of the Lord.
         a. He preached the first gospel sermon wherein 3,000 were
         b. He worked great miracles including raising Dorcas from
            the dead.
         c. He was the first to open the way for the Gentiles.
         d. By inspiration, he left two marvelous epistles.
         e. He died as a martyr. 2 Pet. 1:13-14; John 21:18-19

   A. What a difference in the destiny of these two men!
      1. They had many thing that were similar.
         a. They heard the same teaching from Jesus; they saw the
         b. They were warned; they made mistakes; they were
            guilty; they had remorse.
   B. Regardless of this, Peter was saved; Judas was lost.
      1. The answer to this complexity is simple. Peter turned to
         God. Judas attempted his own way.
      2. God is looking today for more good people like Peter. Will
         you turn to God? Acts 3:19; 26:19-20