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2012-02-05 The Salvation Snake

Time: 2012-02-12 Click:

By Stephen
05 Feb 2012 Sunday

 

 

 

 

Worship song: Lamb Upon the Throne坐在宝座上圣洁羔羊

Verse 1 Lamb upon the Throne who is Holy !
We bow down and worship You!
Who is, who was, and who is to come,
The only True and Almighty God!
Lamb upon the Throne who is Worthy!
We bow down and worship You!
Blessing, honor, glory and power,
All unto You forever more !
Chorus The King of kings !
The Lord of lords !
You are worthy of all praises and honor !
The King of kings !
The Lord of lords!
We exalt Your Name on high forever more!
Verse CN 坐 在 宝 座 上圣 洁 羔 羊 ,
Zuo zai bao zuo shang sheng jie gao yang
我 们 俯 伏 敬 拜 祢 !
Wo men fu fu jing bai ni
昔 在, 今 在, 以 后 永 在,
Xi zai jin zai yi hou yong zai
唯 有 祢 是 全 能 真 神!
wei you ni shi quan neng zhen shen
坐 在 宝 座 上圣 洁 羔 羊 ,
Zuo zai bao zuo shang sheng jie gao yang
我 们 俯 伏 敬 拜 祢 !
Wo men fu fu jing bai ni
颂 赞、尊 贵、荣 耀、权 势
Song zan zun gui rong yao quan shi
都 归 给 你 直 到 永 远!
Dou gui gei ni zhi dao yong yuan
Chorus CN 万 王 之 王 ! 万 主 之 主 !
Wan wang zhi wang wan zhu zhi zhu
唯 有 祢 配 得 敬 拜 和 尊 崇 !
Wei you ni pei de jing bai he zun chong

 


 

Scripture Reading: Numbers 21:4-9
4 They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way;
5 they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!"
6 Then the lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.
7 The people came to Moses and said, "We sinned when we spoke against the lord and against you. Pray that the lord will take the snakes away from us." So Moses prayed for the people.
8 The lord said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live."
9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

 

Sermon:

 

Good Morning. Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, You are the Almighty God and no one can compare to You. We join our voices with the heavenly host singing ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, Worthy, Worthy, Worthy is the Lord God Almighty who sits on the throne’. All power, all majesty, all worship, all wealth, all wisdom, belong to you. Forever and forever you reign. Your kingdom is without end. Your scepter is righteousness, justice, goodness, love, mercy and grace. And You reign forever and ever in heaven above, on earth below and in our hearts. Please speak to us by the power of Your Holy Spirit, fill each of us at Your holy temples with Your holy presence. May Your holy words transform us, change us, make us more like Jesus. We pray this in the heavenly name of Jesus our Savior. Amen.

 

 

 
 

 

 

Introduction to Numbers and Moses

 

       I asked my children what’s the most poisonous snake in the world. They told me it’s a sea snake. I did some research and it said there was a snake called the belcher’s sea snake. And it is so poisonous that its venom, it’s known, estimated to be able to kill a thousand people. That is impressive. But someone told me, no, it’s a land snake. In India, there is a cobra and that has much more poison. I don’t know whether it’s the land snake or whether it is the sea snake (that is more poisonous). But I know one snake, a spiritual snake, that is very deadly. And all of us, because we have been bitten by Satan, we have been bitten by the ancient serpent, we know he is the deadliest of all snakes—the spiritual snake.

 

Today’s story is about snakes. The author of the book called Numbers, his name is Moses. Moses wrote the five books, the first five books of the Bible. And he is the author of this book Numbers. The name Numbers comes from the Greek and Latin translation of the Old Testament. The reason for this is because there is a census in the first four chapters and there is a census in the Chapter 26. So this is very appropriate. The Hebrews, they call this book “In the Wilderness”, which I also think is very appropriate, because it describes the wilderness wonderings of the people of God.

 

       And all of us can relate to wilderness experiences. Moses is known as a great leader of Israel, a great leader, a great liberator, a great law-giver. He was God’s man to bring His people out of Egypt, out of slavery into freedom. God’s man—a great man. How do you know he is great? The Scripture tells us a lot of things about Moses. One, he gave up everything. He gave up living in the Palace of the Pharaoh. He gave up the chance of becoming a prince of Egypt. He gave up everything to be God’s man, to be associated with God’s people, and to face suffering and persecution, to lead the people out of slavery into the glorious freedom. Another thing that tells us that he is great: twice God told Moses, “These people are making me very weary. Their rebellion is making me very angry. I would like to wipe them out and start afresh. I will make a new nation out of you Moses, a great nation. What do you think?” Moses replied, “Lord, forgive these people, forgive them their sin. Do not do this. Instead, block me out of your book and let them live. Let them live.” This is a man of the God’s heart, willing to give up everything, even life, so that the people of God and the reputation of God will be honored and glorified. He is a great man, not because of his position, but because God is in his life.

 

Our book, the book of Numbers, can be divided into three sections.

 

       The first 10 chapters will be divided and called “Directions for the Desert.” 11-25, “Discontent and Death in the Desert.” And the last section, “Departure from the Desert,” their preparations to depart from the desert. Chapter 21 can be also divided, but this time into 4 divisions. The first 1-3. Destruction, the destruction of King Arad. We have Death in our next section. And verses 10-20, Desert wondering continues. And then 21-35 Defeat of other enemies. Our section verses 4-9 will be divided into three. Verses 4 – 5, we call it Discontent. Verses 6-7, we call it Discipline and verses 8-9 we call it Deliverance. Discontent, Discipline and Deliverance in the Desert.

 

 

 

First Section: Discontent

 

       Our verse 4 reads,

“They traveled from Mount Hor to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom. And they grew impatient on the way.”

We may jump and say, “Those people are so ungrateful. God just delivered them from a mighty nation called Egypt. God just freed them and did a wonderful miracle. Why is it that they become so impatient?” We have to understand we are in the last leg of their journey. It has been approximately 40 years. That’s a life time for some of you. 40 years of being in a desert, in the wilderness. No comfort, just the shifting sun, the burning heat and no decent food, very uncomfortable. Everything is very temporary, lonely. These people have just won a victory against King Arad. And they were just a short distance away from the Promised land, when Edom, their own brothers, denied them entry through the land. “Why can’t we go straight in? Why do we have to delay?” A journey that should or could have taken 11 days has prolonged because of disobedience and disbelieve into a 40 - year testing, 40 - year trial. And these people were tired. This last delay, the last detour discouraged them greatly.

 

       And they went on and said in verse 5, they spoke against God and against Moses, and they said,

“Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die, to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is nothing to drink, and this food that we have been eating, manna, for 40 years. I'm tired of it. I want steak, I want lobster, I want a banquet, I want a shelter, I want some comfort.”

 

       I believe that we can all empathize with these people about being in the wilderness situation. A wilderness where things are going our way, things are not happening fast enough. I am not getting the right answer to my prayers. Things just are too dark, too difficult to see the end. I'm dry nothing gives me joy; I'm thirsty, nothing satisfies me; I'm hungry, nothing seems to be substantial, purposeful. Where are you? Oh, God! Where are you? I'm in such a wilderness. They are very much like us when we say to God,

 

“I will be happy if… I will be happy when you change my circumstances; I will be happy when you make me rich; I will be happy when you make me successful; I will be happy when you give me bread; I will be happy when things start to working faster and better.”

 

       That's when we become discontent, when our plans and the future that we envisaged for ourselves do not happen. These people are just like us—discontent.

 

 

 

Principle and Question for the First Section

 

       The principle that I have for you today for this section is “when all you have left is Jesus, you will discover that Jesus is all you ever need”. Honestly, my friends, you may seek all earthly treasures, all earthly prestige, you may seek social position, and you may seek prosperity. But as a song said, all is stripped away, and everything will be stripped away ultimately. What are we going to have? What is left? What remains? Jesus! Jesus tells us that heaven and earth will pass away. Unbelievable, isn't it? This earth and heaven, can it really pass away? It is so solid. But you know that God cannot lie. It's impossible for God to lie. And so He says that when everything is gone, all you have is me. And you know what I’ve discovered is that when all I have is Jesus, and then I actually have more than I’ve ever wanted. When I have Jesus, I have discovered that I have more—infinitely more—than I ever desire or want.

 

So my question for you is, “Are you in a wilderness today? And how are you going to handle discouragement?”

 

       I’d like to quote Lamentations chapter 3 as a very quick reminder of how I would handle discouragement. Lamentations 3:22 says:

 

“Because of the LORD’s great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

 

       If you memorize this verse, and you tell yourself everyday, at the beginning of your day, “God, your love is so great, so infinite, so unconditional. God you are so compassionate, no one understands me like you do, no one cares for me like you do. God you are so unfailing, you never forget, you never forsake, you are so unfailing, you are so faithful. God, everyday you have something brand new for me, for you, you are indeed that faithful God, who is my God.”

 

       I have been also learning another principle. And I’d like to share that with you. It’s our Application Prayer. We read this together,

 

“I adore you, bread of life, my sole satisfier. I confess and I am sorry for being a complainer. Thank you for everlasting, indwelling life. I pray for willingness to change to your plans.”

 

 

 

 

Second Section: Discipline

 

       Our second division is “Discipline.” I think you will agree with me that when we hear the word discipline, it is a very negative word. When I was growing up in the good old days at my school, my teacher had a very long stick, a very thick, long stick. And this stick was reserved for the disobedient. And I’m sad to say I’ve experienced the stick, the terror of the stick. I remember one day, my teacher grabbed by my pants and he pulled me in. And I saw the eyes of this man, the raging anger in this man. And then I saw him pulled down this huge, long, wide, thick stick that was destined for me. And I trembled like the mightiest earthquake. I screamed and shouted so loud that it gave my teacher a headache. So it reduced the ferocity and severity of my beating, Thank goodness!

 

       But you know, I’ve learned a lesson. I would not from that day on disobey my teacher. It was painful, but it was corrective. My teacher got what he desired to achieve in me: complete obedience. I was a model student. I sat at my desk whenever I saw him, because that stick reminded me of my place. He was the boss, and I was the student.

 

       So what’s going to happen with our discontent, complaining people? Well, verse 6 tells us, God sends a discipline. It said, He

 

“sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.”

 

       God is not seeking to destroy us through discipline, but he is seeking to correct us, he is seeking to help us have a correct view of who He is, who we are, and what is the right relationship we must have with him.

 

       This is a good picture of salvation, isn’t it? We are all bitten by the serpent Satan. Sin is that ugly poison that has infected all of us, and all of us are destined to die, some earlier, some later. What is the right response to this? Well, in verse 7, we see

 

“The people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray the LORD will take the snakes away from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people.”

 

       They begged Moses: “Please change our situation!” You must give them credit that they were sorry, very sorry, just like I was very sorry. You must also acknowledge that they admitted that their sin was against God and against others. So you must give them that for credit. And yes, their prayer was to change their circumstances. But God knows what they mean, and He would change their hearts. In fact, he would change not only their hearts, but he would change our hearts. All of us who confess that we have hurt Jesus and want Jesus to be our savior, and want Jesus to be our Lord, He understands, He knows your heart, and He will answer that prayer.

 

Principle and Question for the Second Section     

 

Our principle in this section here is that life is like a university. So in God’s university of life, discipline can either be your mentor or tormentor. Discipline can either be your teacher or your trainer, or it could be your tormentor or your torturer. As a child of God, you should be learning, you should think, “God, what is it that you have to teach me in my current circumstances? Teach me quickly, teach me clearly, and give me the power to understand and do what you want me to do, so that I could please you.”

 

       My question for you, from 2 Timothy 3:16, “What is God seeking to teach you? What truth is He trying to teach you? Why is God rebuking you? What is wrong in your life that He is saying, ‘That is wrong?’ What is God correcting? What is God saying that there is something that you are doing that is wrong and this is what is right? And then what is God training you for in your life?” We know that His purpose is loving and His purpose is eternal, to make us grow in holiness. Holy oneness with Himself; holy, pure, blameless, spotless; a bride adorned for Him.

 

We will pray our application prayer:

 

I adore you my All-gracious, All-wise Father

I Confess I have loved my will above Your Will

Thank You for Your loving, purposeful discipline

I pray for humility to learn from all You alone

I pray for all of us that we will become students in God’s university.

I pray that all of us will learn and graduate with great honors in God’s sight.

 

 

 

Third Section: Deliverance

 

       Our last division is called Deliverance and it starts in verse 8 and it is God’s solution;

 

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.’”

 

       Look and live. God says that we all have a problem. We all have a broken relationship with Him. But God says there is only one solution. God says you need to look at this bronze snake, and you need to believe that my promise that you will live, and you need to trust that I can do what I say I will do. And that is what God tells us, Jesus is the solution to that poison of sin that is so deadly to our lives. If we want to live, we must look at the Savior. Our principle for this section is verse in Acts 4:12. And let’s read it together,

 

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

 

And this name is the lovely name of Jesus. Jesus says,

 

“I am the way, the truth and the life.”

 

       He didn’t say that there are many ways; he didn’t say that many different things you can do. He says I AM the way. If you want to know God, the Father, you’ve got to know Jesus, and no one else. If you want to be saved, you’ve got to trust and believe in Jesus. There is no other way.

 

Principle and Question for the Third Section

 

       You and I have committed a crime against God, and God has the right to set the solution. His chosen solution is that we look to Jesus Christ. My question to you is, “How will you respond today to Christ becoming sin for you?”

 

Let’s pray our application prayer together,

 

“I Adore you my Rock, Redeemer & Refuge

I Confess I have believed in myself, not You

Thank You for saving me from eternal death

I pray for love for the lost & courage to witness”

 

 

 

Conclusion: Jesus’ Image in this Passage

 

       When we take a look at this passage, remember we have three divisions: Discontent, Discipline and Deliverance. Can we see Jesus in these divisions? Yes, in the first division, we see that they said I am tired of this food, referring to the manna. Jesus says I am the bread of life. Whoever partakes of me, or eats my flesh and drinks my blood will not die but have eternal life.

 

       In the second division of Discipline, the people pray and ask Moses, “Please, pray for us.” Jesus is our Mediator. He stands at the right hand side of the Majesty and God’s right-hand side. And He is intercedes, He says: “Father, our daughters are in trouble. Father, your child is in trouble. Help them. Father, send your power, send your angels, send your Holy Spirit. Send your inspirations. Send your wisdom. Send your strength. Send your peace.” He is interceding when you are so discouraged; when you are so tired, when you are so beaten down and you cannot pray for yourself, just know that God, the Son is your mediator. Praying ceaselessly, He who watches over you neither sleeps nor slumbers. He does not need sleep, He knows the number of hairs on your head and he is praying ceaselessly for you.

 

       Finally, in the last division, where is Jesus? He is our Deliverer. Believe it or not, He is the salvation snake, the Messiah, the one whom the Bible described as the servant of God, the Lamb of God, the pure, holy Lamb of God, who would die in your spot, in my place, so that we would not have to die. He tasted the full cup of God’s wrath, so that we would not have to taste it ourselves. He died at the most terrible and horrifying death so that you can have heaven, so that you and I could live with Him forever.

So where are you looking? I would like to end with this,

 

If you look inward, you will be depressed

If you look backward, you will be defeated

If you look wayward around you, you will be distracted

If you look upward, you will be delivered.

 

       Are you suffering? Are you sorrowing? Are you going through a wilderness time in your life? And you think no one will understand; no one knows how much pain I am going through. No one knows the loneliness, is it a wilderness of death, a wilderness of disability, a wilderness of depression, a wilderness of darkness? A wilderness of debt…is it so painful for you?

 

       God has a word for you today. He says, “Look up. Look up to Jesus Christ.” My God, my God, I give to you my life, I give to you my all. Something very small. When I had been going through a bit of difficult time, I said: “Lord, today I am trembling so much before you. Please be with me in some tangible manner because I am so scared. I just don’t know.” You know the Lord is so humorous. He provided me with one of the tallest brothers I ever could meet. You may see him after the service today. Of course I looked up, so instead of looking at my dirty shoes and trembling, so scared and worried, I had to look up to my tall brother. The brother accompanied me to the church up the stairs and down the stairs to the sanctuary. His smile, his gentleness, and his love and faith in Jesus Christ, was a great comfort to me.

       Then God kept me looking up. I pray that the God will help you to look up this week and see the beauty, the majesty, and the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ who would come again to take you home, to be with Him forever and ever. Jesus Christ, sits on the throne, He is our salvation. God bless you.

 

 

 

 

Media Resources:

 

Sermon: The Salvation Snake video audio ppt
doc
Worship song: Lame Upon The Throne video audio lyric
Worship song: The Heart Of Worship video audio lyric
Worship song: Seek Ye First video audio lyric
Worship song: Still video audio lyric

 

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