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  • 1. Poison is a lot like sin.
  • 2.  Sin tastes so sweet.
  • 3.  Sin tastes so sweet. › When Eve was tempted by the serpent in the Garden, she saw that “the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise” (Gn 3:6, ESV).
  • 4.  Sin tastes so sweet. › Gn 3:6. › Moses chose “to be mistreated with the people of God [rather] than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Heb 11:25, ESV).
  • 5.  Sin tastes so sweet. › Gn 3:6. › Moses chose “to be mistreated with the people of God [rather] than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Heb 11:25, ESV). There is pleasure in sin!
  • 6.  However sweet sin may taste, sin brings death.
  • 7.  However sweet sin may taste, sin brings death. › “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezek 18:4, ESV).
  • 8.  However sweet sin may taste, sin brings death. › “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezek 18:4, ESV). › “You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked” (Eph 2:1-2, ESV).
  • 9.  In tonight‟s text, the Israelites learn just how much death sin can bring.
  • 10.  The Israelites sin against God & God judges them with death.
  • 11.  The Israelites sin against God & God judges them with death.  But, the people can “Look & Live.”
  • 12.  SIN SPEAKS.  SERPENTS SLAY.  A SAVIOR SAVES.
  • 13. Sin Speaks vv 4-5
  • 14.  “From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. 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 we loathe this worthless food‟” (vv 4- 5, ESV).
  • 15.  The people set out to the Promised Land on quite a “scenic route.”
  • 16.  The people set out to the Promised Land on quite a “scenic route.” › It is clear that the Israelites were wandering aimlessly at this point.
  • 17.  The people set out to the Promised Land on quite a “scenic route.” › It is clear that the Israelites were wandering aimlessly at this point. › The people wander aimlessly because of sin against God.
  • 18.  The people set out to the Promised Land on quite a “scenic route.” › It is clear that the Israelites were wandering aimlessly at this point. › The people wander aimlessly because of sin against God.  Of the 12 spies sent into Canaan, only Joshua & Caleb believed that the people could take the land.
  • 19.  “None of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers. And none of those who despised me shall see it” (Num 14:22-23, ESV).
  • 20.  Because they are wandering aimlessly in the wilderness, the people become impatient.
  • 21.  Because they are wandering aimlessly in the wilderness, the people become impatient. › On one hand, this frustration is quite understandable—God could have just landed his people in the Promised Land.
  • 22.  Because they are wandering aimlessly in the wilderness, the people become impatient. › On one hand, this frustration is quite understandable—God could have just landed his people in the Promised Land. › But, there are other factors involved.
  • 23.  In the wilderness, God was testing his people.
  • 24.  In the wilderness, God was testing his people. › “You shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not” (Deut 8:2, ESV).
  • 25.  In the wilderness, God was testing his people. › “You shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not” (Deut 8:2, ESV). › Some failed miserably, while others—e.g., Joshua & Caleb—rose to the challenge.
  • 26.  In the wilderness, God was testing his people.  The people wandered 40 years because of their sin.
  • 27.  We need to be a patient people.
  • 28.  We need to be a patient people. › The Holy Spirit produces patience in our lives (Gal 5:22).
  • 29.  We need to be a patient people. › The Holy Spirit produces patience in our lives (Gal 5:22). › We are to clothe ourselves with patience (Col 3:12).
  • 30. Why does Scripture urge us to be patient?
  • 31.  God still tests us.
  • 32.  God still tests us. › “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (Js 1:2-3, ESV).
  • 33.  God still tests us. › “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (Js 1:2-3, ESV). › God tests us to make us stronger, to make us more like him, & to allow Jesus to shine through us.
  • 34.  It may also be that we struggle because of our own sins.
  • 35.  It may also be that we struggle because of our own sins. › There are real consequences of sin in this life.
  • 36.  It may also be that we struggle because of our own sins. › There are real consequences of sin in this life. › If we suffer because of the consequences of our sin, we have no reason to become impatient.
  • 37.  The people really get into trouble when they open their mouths.
  • 38.  The people really get into trouble when they open their mouths.  “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 we loathe this worthless food‟” (v 5, ESV).
  • 39.  Why would I talk about the people‟s impatience before I talk about their speech?
  • 40.  Why would I talk about the people‟s impatience before I talk about their speech? › Because it was the people‟s impatience that led to their corrupt speech.
  • 41.  Why would I talk about the people‟s impatience before I talk about their speech? › Because it was the people‟s impatience that led to their corrupt speech. Evil speech comes from our hearts.
  • 42.  Why would I talk about the people‟s impatience before I talk about their speech? › Because it was the people‟s impatience that led to their corrupt speech. Evil speech comes from our hearts. › “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart” (Mt 15:18, ESV).
  • 43.  The text says that the people spoke against God & Moses.
  • 44.  The text says that the people spoke against God & Moses. › Granted, speaking against God is wrong.
  • 45.  The text says that the people spoke against God & Moses. › Granted, speaking against God is wrong. › “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain” (Ex 20:7, ESV).
  • 46.  The text says that the people spoke against God & Moses. › Granted, speaking against God is wrong. › “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain” (Ex 20:7, ESV). › The beast out of the sea blasphemed God (Rv 13:6).
  • 47. But, why would it be wrong to speak against Moses?
  • 48.  Blaspheming a leader of God‟s people is the same as blaspheming God.
  • 49.  Blaspheming a leader of God‟s people is the same as blaspheming God. › Elisha “went up from there to Bethel, and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, „Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!‟ And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys” (2 Ki 2:23- 24, ESV).
  • 50.  Blaspheming a leader of God‟s people is the same as blaspheming God. › 2 Ki 2:23-24. › “Paul said, „I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, “You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people”‟” (Acts 23:5, ESV).
  • 51.  Blaspheming a leader of God‟s people is the same as blaspheming God. › 2 Ki 2:23-24. › Acts 23:5. › Timothy was not to accept an accusation against an elder except on the testimony of two or three witnesses (1 Tm 5:19).
  • 52.  Blaspheming a leader of God‟s people is the same as blaspheming God. › 2 Ki 2:23-24. › Acts 23:5. › 1 Tm 5:19.  God takes leadership seriously & we dare not speak against God‟s leaders.
  • 53.  The point of all this is that we need to be extremely careful with our tongues.
  • 54.  The point of all this is that we need to be extremely careful with our tongues. › If we aren‟t careful with our tongues, we can suffer greatly like the Israelites.
  • 55.  The point of all this is that we need to be extremely careful with our tongues. › If we aren‟t careful with our tongues, we can suffer greatly like the Israelites.  “The tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (Js 3:6-8, ESV).
  • 56.  The point of all this is that we need to be extremely careful with our tongues. › If we aren‟t careful with our tongues, we can suffer greatly like the Israelites.  Js 3:6-8.  Publius, a Greek sage: “I have often regretted my speech, never my silence.”
  • 57. Do we regret our speech, or are we careful with what we say?
  • 58. Serpents Slay v6
  • 59.  “Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died” (Num 21:6, ESV).
  • 60.  “Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died” (Num 21:6, ESV).  God is here punishing the Israelites because of their sin.
  • 61.  God has a long history of punishing because of sin.
  • 62.  God has a long history of punishing because of sin.  Adam & Eve were cast out of the Garden because they sinned.
  • 63.  God has a long history of punishing because of sin.  Adam & Eve were cast out of the Garden because they sinned. › Eve‟s pain in childbearing would be greatly increased & her husband would rule over her (Gn 3:16).
  • 64.  God has a long history of punishing because of sin.  Adam & Eve were cast out of the Garden because they sinned. › Eve‟s pain in childbearing would be greatly increased & her husband would rule over her (Gn 3:16). › Adam would eat from the ground with great toil & he would return to the dust from which he was taken (Gn 3:17-19).
  • 65.  God has a long history of punishing because of sin.  Adam & Eve were cast out of the Garden because they sinned.  Because David had an affair with Bathsheba & then killed her husband, › The sword would never depart from David‟s house (2 Sm 12:10).
  • 66.  God has a long history of punishing because of sin.  Adam & Eve were cast out of the Garden because they sinned.  Because David had an affair with Bathsheba & then killed her husband, › The sword would never depart from David‟s house (2 Sm 12:10). › One of his sons would lie with one of his wives in the sight of all Israel (2 Sm 12:11).
  • 67.  God has a long history of punishing because of sin.  Adam & Eve were cast out of the Garden because they sinned.  Because David had an affair with Bathsheba & then killed her husband, › The son conceived in the adulterous relationship would die (2 Sm 12:14).
  • 68.  God continues to punish sin.
  • 69.  God continues to punish sin. › “The wages of sin is death” (Rm 3:23, ESV).
  • 70.  God continues to punish sin. › “The wages of sin is death” (Rm 3:23, ESV). › “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Rv 21:8, ESV).
  • 71. Will God judge you because of your sins?
  • 72. A Savior Saves vv 7-9
  • 73.  “And the people came to Moses and said, „We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.‟ So Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said to Moses, „Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.‟ So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live” (vv 7-9, ESV).
  • 74.  The people came to Moses with a penitent attitude.
  • 75.  The people came to Moses with a penitent attitude. › They say, “We have sinned.”
  • 76.  The people came to Moses with a penitent attitude. › They say, “We have sinned.” › They did not make excuses.
  • 77.  Confessing sin is important.
  • 78.  Confessing sin is important. › “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, „I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,‟ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Ps 32:5, ESV).
  • 79.  Confessing sin is important. › “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, „I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,‟ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Ps 32:5, ESV). › “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn 1:9, ESV).
  • 80.  The people asks Moses to pray that God might take away the serpents.
  • 81.  The people asks Moses to pray that God might take away the serpents. › There is nothing wrong in asking people to pray for us.
  • 82.  The people asks Moses to pray that God might take away the serpents. › There is nothing wrong in asking people to pray for us. › Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8).
  • 83.  The people asks Moses to pray that God might take away the serpents. › There is nothing wrong in asking people to pray for us. › Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8).  “Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you” (v 22, ESV).
  • 84.  The people asks Moses to pray that God might take away the serpents. › There is nothing wrong in asking people to pray for us. › Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8).  v 22.  Simon could pray for himself!
  • 85.  The people asks Moses to pray that God might take away the serpents. › There is nothing wrong in asking people to pray for us. › Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8).  v 22.  Simon could pray for himself!  Of course, Simon asks Peter & John to pray for him (v 24).
  • 86.  Paul often asked churches to pray for him.
  • 87.  Paul often asked churches to pray for him. › “You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many” (2 Cor 1:11, ESV).
  • 88.  Paul often asked churches to pray for him. › “You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many” (2 Cor 1:11, ESV). › “At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison” (Col 4:3, ESV).
  • 89. Do you need to ask for prayers tonight?
  • 90.  Moses prays for the people & the Lord tells him to make a serpent and set it on a pole. Everyone who sees the serpent will live.
  • 91.  Moses prays for the people & the Lord tells him to make a serpent and set it on a pole. Everyone who sees the serpent will live.  This passage has three intriguing aspects.
  • 92.  First, God offers salvation in the midst of judgment.
  • 93.  First, God offers salvation in the midst of judgment. › Before God curses Adam & Eve, he says to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gn 3:15, ESV).
  • 94.  First, God offers salvation in the midst of judgment. › Gn 3:15. › In Lamentations, Jeremiah describes the state of Jerusalem after the Babylonian siege.
  • 95.  First, God offers salvation in the midst of judgment. › Gn 3:15. › In Lamentations, Jeremiah describes the state of Jerusalem after the Babylonian siege.  The book is one lament (hence the name) after another of the destruction of Jerusalem.
  • 96.  First, God offers salvation in the midst of judgment. › Gn 3:15. › In Lamentations, Jeremiah describes the state of Jerusalem after the Babylonian siege.  The book is one lament (hence the name) after another of the destruction of Jerusalem.  But, God still offers hope & pardon: “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lam 3:22-23, ESV).
  • 97. In the midst of this evil world, God offers salvation.
  • 98.  Second, Jesus uses this text to speak of his dying on the cross.
  • 99.  Second, Jesus uses this text to speak of his dying on the cross.  “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (Jn 3:14-15, ESV).
  • 100.  Third, the Israelites were forced to look upon a representation of their judgment to be saved.
  • 101.  Third, the Israelites were forced to look upon a representation of their judgment to be saved. › The Hebrew word traditionally translated “bronze” can be translated “copper.”
  • 102.  Third, the Israelites were forced to look upon a representation of their judgment to be saved. › The Hebrew word traditionally translated “bronze” can be translated “copper.” › This was probably a copper serpent, for copper would have been closer to the color of the real serpents.
  • 103. In order to be saved from a snake bite, the Israelites had to look at something that would have looked a lot like the snake that bit them!
  • 104. For us to escape God’s wrath, we need to look our judgment right in the eye.
  • 105.  The cross of Jesus saves me from my sin.
  • 106.  The cross of Jesus saves me from my sin.  God was pleased through Jesus “to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col 1:20, ESV).
  • 107.  Yet, the cross of Jesus stands as a reminder of my sin.
  • 108.  Yet, the cross of Jesus stands as a reminder of my sin. › “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Is 53:5-6, ESV).
  • 109.  Yet, the cross of Jesus stands as a reminder of my sin. › Is 53:5-6. › “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, „Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree‟” (Gal 3:13, ESV).
  • 110.  Yet, the cross of Jesus stands as a reminder of my sin. › Is 53:5-6. › Gal 3:13. › “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Pt 2:24, ESV).
  • 111.  To be a disciple of Jesus, we must follow him with our crosses.
  • 112.  To be a disciple of Jesus, we must follow him with our crosses. › “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:27, ESV).
  • 113.  To be a disciple of Jesus, we must follow him with our crosses. › “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:27, ESV). › We must, in other words, crucify our flesh & follow the pattern of our Master.
  • 114. Have you crucified your flesh?
  • 115. Have you crucified your flesh? Are you following the Master?