The Bite of the Serpent (2 of 12)

Mike Connell

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The Bite of the Serpent (2 of 12) In Numbers 21, the children of Israel became bitter in their heart and started complaining against Moses. Their sin released fiery serpents which bit the people and released poison into their system. Their was only one remedy for the bite of the serpent - fixing their eyes, with faith in their heart, on God's provision.The same power is available to you today -the power of the cross for curses.
I want to read from the gospel of John. So the Bible reveals to us God’s plan to help us. It’s made up of two books – the Old Testament and the New Testament, who would set all people free. Now, we’ll read in verse 14 of John chapter 3, these wonderful verses. It starts with a picture and we’re going to look at the picture in a moment.

It says: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” So Jesus is speaking about a situation that happened hundreds of years before, with Moses in the wilderness with the people of Israel. He says it’s like a prophetic picture of his death on the cross.

So He says: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man – that’s Jesus, be lifted up so whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

You notice the heart of God. God doesn’t want you to perish, He wants you to be saved. The Bible’s very clear – the nature of God is love. God is a loving God. People have many different pictures of God. The picture you have of Him, what you believe about Him, will affect how you relate to Him. So, if you have distorted or wrong pictures of God, you won’t relate to Him properly.

The Bible says God loved the world. He loved the world this much, that He sent His son from heaven to come into the world to reveal what the kingdom of heaven is like, and to invite us to become part of that; to invite us back into relationship with God.

Jesus demonstrated God’s love in a number of ways. One, in His teaching. Two, in how He related to people. Three, in the miracles, the way He helped people overcome problems. But number four, most of all, by dying on the cross and then rising again from the dead. The fundamental problem that people have, is we are separated in our heart from God.

The Bible says – the consequences of that separation is death. So, Jesus came into this world to break the power of sin and to put His spirit or life into us again. We were designed to live in relationship with God. But separated from God, we just live out of our natural senses. God wants to change your life. Change your heart. Put His spirit inside you so you can live a different kind of life. God has no desire to judge you. He desires to set you free.

So whatever problem you have in your life, whatever bondage you have in your life, God does not blame you, does not condemn you. His desire is to help you. Jesus said – “I didn’t come to condemn people. I didn’t come to point out what is wrong. I came to save people.”

I want to show you a story in the Old Testament. The Old Testament contains many stories of people and their encounters with God. Sometimes we don’t understand spiritual matters easily. Sometimes we don’t understand things that are spiritual. So God gives many examples, many pictures in the Old Testament to help us understand spiritual things. So we’re going to look at a picture. We’re going to look at a story. We’re going to look at a real event. We’re going to show God’s love touching people. What God did to help them and what was required of people.

So, we look in Numbers chapter 21. We start in verse 4 and read through to verse 9.

“Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” 6 So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.