THE LIFTING UP OF CHRIST
JOHN 3:14-15; NUMBERS 21:4-9
The FIRST MESSAGE of this series was about the “Nature of Sin,” how it is OF A DESTRUCTIVE AND DEADLY NATURE, Jeremiah 17:9, “The HEART is DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS, and DESPERATELY WICKED: who can know it?”
This is shown by the reaction of the Hebrews in their wilderness journey in Numbers 21:5, And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.”
I. This message is about the Remedy that God had provided for the sin of mankind.
1. Israel was guilty and that was without dispute.
2. They had blasphemed the name of God and His servant Moses.
3. God sent judgment, vv. 6-7, “And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 7- Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.”
a. Moses had PRAYED for the people and God HONORED THAT PRAYER.
b. The Lord proposed a REMEDY BASED ON A LOOK OF FAITH, v. 9.
c. In this we see God’s great MERCY, Psalms 145:8, “The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and OF GREAT MERCY.”
II. A STRONG REMEDY PROVIDED
A. The WONDERFUL PROVISION that God made for their relief, Numbers 21:4-9.
1. God made Moses the INSTRUMENT in which Israel would obtain relief, vv. 7-9;
2. The REMEMDYwas SIMILAR to the punishment, a fiery [brass, the color of fire] serpent, v. 7a;
3. The proposal was: “LOOK AND LIVE,” v. 7b;
a. Jesus is the One with the words of life, John 6:68, “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”
b. There is NO OTHER NAME whereby we may gain salvation, Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
B. The Son of God, John 3:14-15.
1. God sent His Son in the LIKENESS of sinful flesh, Romans 8:3, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:”
2. Christ DID NOT KNOW SIN, 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
3. He was LIFTED UP on the CROSS, John 3:14, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:”
a. He was crucified, John 19:17-18, “And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: 18 Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.”
b. He is the propitiation for our sins, 1 John 2:2, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Note: “The propitiation does not procure his love or make him loving; it only renders it consistent for him to exercise his love towards sinners.” Easton’s Bible Dict.
4. All who LOOK IN FAITH, v. 8; John 3:15, “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
a. EVERY PERSON on the earth has been bitten by the serpent, Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
b. The condemnation is UNIVERSAL, Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
c. The offer is to WHOSOEVER will LOOK, v. 8;
1) Jesus was LIFTED UP, John 12:32, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33- This he said, signifying what death he should die.”
2) He is DRAWING MEN after Him, John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
3) He is DRAWING men TO LIFE, Romans 5:18, “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
The Lord is GATHERING His people, Genesis 49:10, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”