LOOK UP AND LIVE.
Jno. 3:13-21; Num. 21:4-9.
1. In our text, Jesus has been discussing matters of salvation with Nicodemus.
2. This passage in John, especially 3:16, is a favorite of the "faith only" advocates.
A. But false teaching must be refuted. 1 Tim. 4:1-7.
3. Many today are like Nicodemus, they are sincere but ignorant.
I. THE JEWS NEEDED TO LOOK UP IN ORDER TO LIVE. Num. 21: 4-9.
A. As we look back through the Book of Numbers, we find, the men of war had been numbered.
1. The duties of all had been set forth. The laws had been given. Numbers chapters 1-10.
B. The tribes marched away from Sinai under the leadership of Moses and the priesthood of Aaron. Num. 10:33-36.
C. But very soon, the people began to murmur and to grieve Moses.
1. Seventy elders were chosen to help Moses. Num. 11.
D. Even Aaron and Miriam became jealous and envious against Moses.
1. God rectified this matter in no uncertain terms. Num. 12.
E. Twelve spies were sent to spy out the land of Canaan.
1. Ten of them brought back discouraging reports. Num. 13.
a. Two of them, Joshua and Caleb brought back encouraging reports
F. But the people listened to the majority, the ten spies, and rebelled.
1. God threatened to destroy the people but Moses interceded for them. Num. 14.
G. Later on, Korah led a rebellion against Moses.
1. God consumed the rebels into the heart of the earth. Num. 16.
H. Once again, the people began to murmur against Moses.
1. After the death of Miriam and Aaron, God sent fiery serpents into the midst of the people because of their wrong doings. Num. 21.
I. Note the condition of these people as is mentioned in Num. 21:5,6.
1. When did they become sick? Not until bitten.
2. They were bitten because of their own unbelief. 1 Cor. 10:1-10; Heb. 3:16-19.
3. Death was certain. They were beyond human aid.
4. The Lord made provision for their healing. Num. 21:8.
a. Only one way was provided. There was no choice of different ways.
b. It was not a rational way, one that man would have thought of.
1) But they did not criticize nor insult Moses whenever he told them of the way.
2) They recognized that the power wasn't resident in the brazen serpent, but in God. (Even though later on in Israel's activities, that same brazen serpent was looked upon as an idol to be bowed down before. The people called it "Nehustan".).
5. The serpent was made and raised upon a pole where all could see it and be healed.
a. God was not partial to anyone. All who would could look.
6. The conditions of healing were stated.
a. Man was responsible for his part; to look upon the serpent.
b. God did not remove the serpents in order to heal.
7. The ill ones had to believe and obey.
a. They thereby had to save themselves through obedience, even though God supplied the remedy.
b. They had prayed before the provisions were made.
c. But the prayers did not remove the serpents nor the sickness.
d. Obedience on the part of Moses in preparing the serpent, and obedience on the part of the ones bitten; in looking upon the brazen serpent, brought about the cure.
II. LET US NOW COMPARE CHRIST, AS HE WAS RAISED UP ON THE CROSS OF CALVARY, TO THE SERPENT RAISED UP ON A POLE IN THE WILDERNESS. Lk. 23:33.
A. Notice the main resemblance:
1. The world was in sin -- Rom. 3:9-12, 23.
a. How did they become sinners? Through unbelief. Not through inheritance. Ezk. 18:20.
b. Spiritual death was certain. Rom. 6:23.
c. All were beyond human help. Eph. 2:1-10.
2. But provision was made. Jno. 3:16.
a. Only one way was provided. Jno. 14:6; Acts 4:12.
1) Yet the way provided was a matter of grace. Rom. 5:8; Titus 2:11- 14.
b. This was not a rational way, men would not have considered or arranged such. 1 Cor. 1:18.
c. Christ was offered up as a sin offering for all. Rom. 8:3; 2 Cor. 5:21 Isa. 53:3-12.
3. Yes, Christ was lifted up. Jno. 12:31-33; Mt. 27.
a. Our view of Christ is by faith. Jno. 20:30,31; 2 Cor. 5:7.
b. The opportunity to see Christ by faith is one offered to all. Mt. 11: 28-30; Acts 10:34,35; Rev. 22:17.
4. All sinners must look upon Christ through the eye of faith if they are to be healed. Jno. 8:24; Acts 4:12.
a. Salvation and healing is in Christ. 2 Tim. 2:10; Eph. 1:3.
b. We must believe and accept and apply the provision that has been made for our salvation. Rom. 6:16-18.
5. When does this healing take place?
a. Denominational preachers say at the point of believing the provision has been made.
b. But just as sure as the children of Israel had to look upon the brazen serpent for the cure, we must look upon Christ through faith and obedience in order to be saved. Heb. 5:7-9.
III. THE PLAN OF SALVATION MUST BE APPLIED TO OUR LIVES.
A. What does it mean to look to Christ?
1. Look to His commands.
a. We can't look without love -- Jno. 14:15.
b. Without hearing Him -- Acts 3:22,23.
c. Without faith -- Rom. 10:11-17; Heb. 11:6.
2. Must be drawn to Him. Jno. 12:32.
a. We are drawn by His word. Jno. 6:44,45.
b. Can't accept Christ without accepting His word. Jno. 12:48.
3. Something must be done by all. Titus 2:11-14.
a. Commands are to be obeyed. Acts 2:37-41.
b. We are to view Him through an active faith. Jas. 2:14-26; Lk. 6:46- 49.
4. But, what is to be done?
a. As Israel had to believe and obey God's word through Moses, we must obey the gospel. Mk. 16:15,16; Mt. 28:18-20.
b. As Israel had to turn and look in order to be cured of the bites of the serpents, we must turn and look unto Christ that our sins may be blotted out. Acts 2:38; 3:19.
c. As we become sinful by disobedience, we must be cleansed from sin by obedience. Rom. 6:16-18; 1 Pet. 1:22.
5. We don't need to pray for the provision, it has already been made.
a. Cornelius prayed, but the existing provision had to be obeyed. Acts 10:2, 30; 11:14.
b. Why not look upon Jesus that you might live?
c. You can do this by obeying His will.
Yes, we must look unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith.
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