· Sin – any rebellion against God’s law of love is very serious and can lead to the death of our personal spirit and soul
· God is holy and pure and nothing unholy can survive in His presence
· Spiritual dimension specific & legalistic – sin must be paid for by death
· Good news is God allows Jesus to pay the price for our specific sins
The First Reading (Numbers 21.4-9) is an example of how we can fail to respond to God’s love and put ourselves in the spiritual prison of covetousness – wanting more, i/e. Materialism. They were in the desert. There was no food other than the manna that God provided daily. They became bored and restless. They rebelled – sinned against God’s love.
- Did not realize that God was testing them and molding them into a religious nation, a kingdom of priests. Psalm 107 says "…they became fools through their rebellious ways…" (v.17).
- They forgot about the miraculous things God had done for them. They forgot they depended on God for everything and rebelled.
- Instead of focusing on God, they began to focus on what they did not have. They remembered some of the good things about their time of slavery, particularly the food.
- Became more self-centered and less God-centered.
· This is a ‘before statement’ – the original, normal state of human life
· They were dead spiritually in their sin – separated from God
· No hope of eternal spiritual life with God – these are good Jews!
· They were (unwittingly) under the spiritual power of Satan
· They were ruled by their desires – materialism, power, control
- Like us they had put themselves in the prison of their own desires.
In the Old Testament Reading, we read about the consequences of the desire of the Hebrew people for better food. God removed His protection and they were attacked and bitten by poisonous snakes. The penalty for rebellion is always death. In this case the people repented, came to Moses and God arranged for a way to save them from the consequence of death. They were to go and look at a pole with a bronze snake on it. This is the same symbol used by medical people in our time. The point was that the Hebrew people had to repent – die to their desire for rebellion; and recognize the authority of God in the form of the snake on the pole. We can think of the snake as evil; and evil being put to death on a pole. This is of course a foreshadowing of Jesus on the Cross – dying for our personal sins out of love for us personally..
· We are made alive “with Christ “– not apart from relationship with Him
· Relationship depends on knowing about Jesus through Bible Study
· Relationship depends on coming to know Him through public worship, personal prayer and experience of the Holy Spirit
· Baptism is our entry into this relationship
· Baptism requires renunciation of Satan and our rebellion and turning to Jesus Christ in faith as our personal Saviour – saved individually
· Baptism requires continuing in the prayers and fellowship of church
· We are not saved by works – we are totally dependent on grace