Calvary Road Baptist Church


Luke 21.16


Betrayal. It is the worst form of disloyalty, the most destructive kind of failure to fulfill your obligations to be your brother’s keeper. Though Simon Peter wept bitterly after denying the Lord Jesus Christ three times, it will always be Judas Iscariot who will be remembered as the man who betrayed the Lord Jesus Christ with a kiss.[1] Betrayal even sounds bad. The message this evening from God’s Word is about betrayal.

We understand that God cannot lie. Titus 1.2 declares, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” Therefore, since the Bible is God’s Word, and God cannot lie, the message of the Bible is rightly understood to be completely truthful. As well, we know the Lord Jesus Christ cannot lie. I preached this morning about the sinlessness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, since Jesus is without sin, and since lying would be a violation of the ninth commandment and a sin, we understand that He speaks the truth. John 1.14 declares that Jesus is full of truth. John 1.17 indicates that truth came by Jesus Christ. In John 8.45 and John 16.7, Jesus proclaimed that He tells the truth. And in John 14.6, He disclosed to His disciples that He is the truth. Can we, therefore, rely on what Jesus taught? Can we believe what Jesus declared? Are we in good shape if we embrace His teachings and pay heed to His warnings? I think we have established that beyond doubt, don’t you?

The truthfulness of God, of God’s Word, and of God’s Son solidly established, turn with me to our text for this evening, Luke 21.16. When you find that verse in your Bible, stand for the reading of scripture. Jesus said, “And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.” That verse is a stunning comment from the mouth of the Savior. My generation has raised their children to embrace the importance of family, to honor family, to rely on family, to stress family, to have family outings, to schedule family time, to imbibe family traditions, and to attend family gatherings. In short, family trumps all, they so oftentimes seem to say.

Interesting, is it not, that the same generation that makes so much of family turned against their own families in so many ways when they were young people? During the late 1960s and early 1970s, a major portion of this nation’s young rebelled against their parents for supposedly lying to them, for supposedly deceiving them, for supposedly misleading them, and for a whole host of other perceived wrongs. Not everyone in my generation went as far as some did, but it cannot be claimed by my generation that any were unaffected.

The point that I seek to make is that my generation grew up with the basic assumption that they had been betrayed by their parents, betrayed by their elders, betrayed by their government, betrayed by the authority figures, and generally betrayed by just about everyone to some extent. This left my generation typically suspicious of everyone in authority and distrustful of both their families and existing institutions. Yet, I will bet beans to buckshot that the same generation that has so many who felt betrayed and who insisted they had been betrayed, will find it difficult to deal with this prediction of betrayal from the lips of the truth-telling Son of the God Who cannot lie. You see, it is one thing to rebel against your parents, but quite another to be rebelled against as a parent. It is one thing to claim you have been betrayed, and another thing to admit betraying.

Jesus said, “And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.” This seems to be a blanket indictment of everyone you have dealings with, or at least everyone you actually care about. Mindful of the context in which this statement was uttered, we know from Luke 21.7 that Jesus was speaking to His disciples the night before He was crucified, and that they were asking about future events: “And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?” Dropping your gaze down to Luke 21.20, it is clear that this prediction Jesus makes will be ultimately fulfilled during the Tribulation, just before Christ’s second coming: “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” Thus, the betrayal of people by their parents, by their brothers and sisters, by their relatives, and even by their friends, is one of those characteristic end time signs of Christ’s return.

However, do not think that such a thing will suddenly appear where it was never before seen. Betrayal of children, family members, and friends has always been with us, to some extent. However, it is a problem that will increase in its seriousness and frequency as the spiritual decline leading up to the very end worsens. In Romans 1.28-31, we see that this problem is not only a sign of Christ’s soon return, but that it is also a sign of a reprobate mind. Read along with me and notice how God’s judgment of sin, being turned over to a reprobate mind, leads to the condition that causes the betrayal of family and friends:


28     And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29     Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30     Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31     Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.


The difference between our present day and the time Christ’s prophecy will be fulfilled is a difference in intensity, a difference in the numbers of those “betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends.” That such betrayals have always existed, and that it is an increasing problem in our day, simply cannot be denied, even though such betrayals typically come as a surprise to the victims who were led to believe that their parents, brothers and sisters, relatives, and even close friends are somehow trustworthy.

“Pastor, are you trying to shake my confidence in my mom and dad? Are you trying to take away my belief that I can trust my brothers and sisters, no matter what? Are you suggesting that I cannot rely upon my best friend?” I am suggesting nothing of the kind. I am flat out telling you that there is only one person you can trust, the Lord Jesus Christ. Only He is worthy of your trust, and it is He who insists that those so many people think they can trust will end up betraying them.

Three considerations to help you deal with this troubling prediction:




The Greek word translated “betrayed” is pronounced paradidwmi, with the future tense used to predict that you will be delivered over. What Peter did was to simply deny that he knew Jesus, a terrible sin in itself. However, what Judas Iscariot did was so much worse, in that he delivered Jesus over to His enemies. That delivering of someone is the essence of the wickedness of betrayal. Thus, my Lord Jesus Christ has predicted a day when your unsaved parents, your non-Christian brothers and sisters, and your unbelieving friends, will give you up for converting to Christ, in some cases doing so even when their betrayal of you means certain death.

That this is already occurring is clearly evidenced. When I was a young Christian, one of our church members, a very nice man named Rahana Nasir, shared with me that he had turned to Christ from an ultra strict Muslim family while living in Pakistan when he was only nineteen years old. When he failed to go to the minaret to call the faithful to their morning prayers, he was taken into custody, interrogated, and he confessed to being a new Christian. When that happened, his father turned him over to an uncle across the border in Afghanistan to kill him. Though he survived, it was his father’s design to have him killed by his uncle for becoming a Christian. He emigrated to the United States to escape certain death at the hands of his own father.

Many of you know the history of Saleema. This is a picture of the young Christian girl who guided her friend to Christ. The parents of Saleema’s new Christian friend murdered their daughter when she told them she had come to Christ, and reported thirteen year old Saleema to the police. The police then arrested her and took her into custody, where the jail guards repeatedly sexually assaulted her for a period of months before pressure from around the world resulted in a stay of execution and her release. Though Saleema was brutalized for her Christian witness, her young friend was martyred by her own parents for no worse a crime that trusting Jesus Christ as her savior.

However, that is only one kind of betrayal, the betrayal of someone for becoming a Christian. What about the betrayals that prevent someone from coming to Christ? These are not betrayals where anyone is reported to authorities or delivered up to any persecutors. I am referring to the kind of betrayal whereby a mom or a dad, a brother or a sister, or even a good friend, delivers you up to temptations and influences that will lure and entice you away from the gospel. Such betrayal never results in persecution for becoming a Christian, but rather works effectively to prevent a young person from ever seriously considering the claims of Christ in the first place, so that you go your own way until you die and end up in Hell.

Disregard for someone’s soul can be evidenced in a variety of ways. Aborting an unborn child is certainly one way to show one’s disregard. Adulteries that can ruin families, and divorces that actually break up families, are also ways children can be betrayed. However, there are even more common, though far less obvious, ways in which parents, siblings, and even friends, betray young people. How about when they display apathy toward spiritual concerns? How about when they exhibit antagonism toward spiritual concerns? Children are very tender branches, that will tend to grow in the direction they are bent. Therefore, when those around them deliver them up to their own devices, or turn them over to the influences of worldliness and godlessness, they only fool themselves if they think they are letting the children make up their own minds. People don’t make up their own minds about anything, ordinarily, but are subtly influenced by the forces around them to go along with the crowd, regardless of the rightness or the wrongness of the crowd, and regardless of the ultimate destiny such a direction leads to.

Thus, there is a kind of betrayal that is obvious. It occurs when you come to Christ and someone near to you, be it mom or dad, be it brother or sister, or be it friend, turns you over, or sells you out for persecution. Another kind of betrayal is more subtle. It is a turning over to bad influences by those who should look after the best interests of a child. It is a neglect, an apathy, or even an antagonism toward the gospel, and it occurs before the child comes to Christ. The fact of betrayal.




It is quite obvious that the prophetic betrayal, as I shall refer to it, will usually end up in the Christian being persecuted. Why else would the family member or friend betray the Christian, except for greed or perhaps fear for his own life? It may even be that misguided people think it is wrong to come to Christ. Thus, the Christian ends up suffering for Christ’s sake, and possibly even dying for the Savior as a martyr. However, the betrayal of a Christian does not in any way interfere in God’s plan for his life. He is still saved from his sins. He still goes to heaven when he dies. And he will still be with Christ in glory forever.

The same cannot be said about that more subtle kind of betrayal whereby an unsaved child is delivered up to the influences of the world, given over to an apathy toward spiritual things adopted from his mom, his dad, his brother, his sister, or his friend. The Spirit of God worked powerfully in the pastor’s life during the week and the result was a particular message from God’s Word that would be especially useful in sparking an interest in Christ, if that young person had been in church. However, that weekend they were all off pursuing a hobby somewhere, and the life-changing sermon was simply not heard. But even more than that, the young lad noticed that his dad so much more enjoys himself away from the house of God than when attending church that he decides church is really not for him. When he grows up he is going to have fun . . . on his way to Hell. This subtle form of betrayal can even occur while you are at church. How is this done? Simple. Come to church with people whose conduct shows that church is not special to them, and they are neither expecting to receive a blessing nor planning to be a blessing. Won’t that prepare you for the preaching? When you arrive, sit with people who display resistant attitudes and defiant body language, who think only about themselves in church, and have no interest in ministry to others. Since about 80% of all communication is nonverbal, those sitting to each side of you, as well as those sitting in front of you, can easily drown out the message of even the most dynamic preacher. With this kind of betrayal, there is no awareness of disloyalty, no idea that anything bad has happened. Subtle influences and psychological nudges very effectively drown out the gospel message without the sinner ever knowing what happened. However, by such a betrayal the subject will not be persecuted for the cause of Christ, has no chance of being martyred for the cause of Christ, because not ever seriously considering the Gospel message, he will just live his life and go to Hell without fanfare, betrayed without ever realizing it. “Betrayed how, pastor?” Betrayed by those who have no awareness of their responsibility to be their brother’s keeper, who have no concern for the souls of their children, and who never plead with God for the souls of their friends. For them, church is all about them, their own feelings, their own comfort, their own resistance to being useful. They betray you by taking no care to be an instrument in God’s hands, to encourage you listen to the sermon God will use to impart faith to you to come to Christ. Sometimes those who betray are fathers. Sometimes they are mothers. Some are brothers and sisters who think their rejection of the gospel is their own business and no one else’s. Still others who betray are friends who are strangely at odds with the church’s efforts to bring you to Christ.




What do you do to prevent the prophesied betrayal Jesus spoke about in our text? Obviously, the way you prevent the betrayal is by rejecting the gospel and refusing Christ. In addition, if a new Christian is betrayed, he can quash the persecution and stave off the effects of the betrayal by compromising and denying Christ. Of course, that would show him to not really be a Christian after all. For the real Christian, there is no way to prevent betrayal. You will come to the attention of your family and friends, because you have to witness to them. A non-witnessing Christian is a contradiction in terms. Therefore, you must witness, and you will be discovered and betrayed. The question is, what does the real Christian do when the betrayal takes place, when he is given up by his beloved family and friends? In Mark 13.11, Jesus told His disciples, “But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.” First Peter 4.16 tells us, “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” My friends, suffering is a part of the Christian life, and betrayal even by those close to you is something that happens . . . more often as the day approaches.

On the other hand, what is to be done to prevent the more subtle betrayals, such as when parents and siblings and friends fail in their holy obligation do to all in their power not only to urge you to Christ, but also communicate with their lives the glory and joy that will be yours when your sins are forgiven? I must admit that speaking to them about this matter will almost certainly provoke a very negative response by them. I would never advise a child to accuse his mom or dad, or even his brothers, of dropping the ball in their duties toward him. That would provoke an outrage that would likely make matters worse. My advice would be for you to understand that you may be on your own in your tight circle of family and friends. You may have indifferent parents, self-absorbed brothers and sisters, and careless friends. Regardless of your surroundings, understand that you are without excuse. If you do not come to Christ, you will perish. That should prompt you to seriously consider Christ right now. Figure out a way to sit where there are few interruptions. Avoid distractions coming from people in front of you who constantly move around, and people around you making noise by continual talking or by the rustle of pages as they play with their Bibles. Unlike some preachers, my goal is not to entertain you with jokes and humor during a sermon. Sermons are serious business, and souls are at stake. Therefore, I will never object to you standing from where you are, and quietly moving to a place in the auditorium where you will not be distracted. Perhaps that will convince the people sitting near you to be quiet, and will gently remind them of what is at stake in our services. The people in your life do not have to be concerned about your soul for you to be saved from your sins. It is sufficient for you that Jesus is concerned for your soul. It is sufficient that He wants you to be saved from your sins. It is sufficient that He needs no one’s help or cooperation to save you from your sins. Simply come to Him.


There are two kinds of betrayals. There is the betrayal of someone after he becomes a Christian, which is the kind of betrayal our Lord specifically predicted in our text. Then there is a more subtle betrayal, whereby a sinner is given over by those around him so that he misses opportunities he should have, he is not encouraged as he might be, and the importance of his conversion is neglected even by those who love him and who should know enough to work hard, pray fervently, and counsel with the pastor to plan a strategy for the benefit of his soul, but who do not.

With respect to the more obvious kind of betrayal, the kind Saleema and her martyred friend endured, there is really nothing you can do to prevent it. You have to be true to who you are as a Christian. You cannot betray the One who died for you to avoid being betrayed yourself. Just understand that God will give you much needed grace should you experience such a betrayal. In your hour of need, God will come through.

As to the more subtle kind of betrayal, you may be pretty much on your own, young fella. Inside that tight circle of close friends and family, there may be not one person who does what he ought to do to encourage you to listen to the preaching of the Gospel and consider the claims of Christ. So, you have to take responsibility for your own sins, and your own condition.

Be comforted by the fact that no one can stop you from coming to Christ if you want to come to Christ. As well, understand that the obstacles to your conversion are astounding. There is your spiritual deadness. Then there is the inclination of your sinful heart and mind away from God. Then there are the distractions, all the distractions that I have mentioned. Finally, you have to contend with Christians like us, who are not all that spiritual, not all that attentive, and not always exercising the kind of wisdom that you would find so helpful to come to Christ.

That is why this entire matter of your soul’s salvation requires that a great miracle be worked by God. That is why salvation can only result from God’s wonderful grace. That is why so few who hear the Gospel actually come to Christ and are saved. However, you must come to Christ, or you will perish.

Folks, turn with me to a place in the Bible where Paul discussed what it ought to be like in a church service, and can be like when God’s Word is preached, when those of us present are as attendant to the preaching and the lost that are present, as we ought to be. First Corinthians 14.24-25:


24     But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:

25     And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.


Prophesy refers to preaching. Imagine what would happen to our children, with our visitors and friends, when those unsaved among us are convinced of all, when they are judged of all, and not just by the preacher? They would fall down on their faces and worship, and report that God is in you of a truth.

[1] Luke 22.47-48

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