Summary: Jesus Christ stated as recorded in John 12:32, that if He were lifted up He would draw all peoples to Himself. In John 3, we see the Lord giving Nicodemus an Old Testament picture of this truth calling for the focus of our faith to be fixed on Calvary.
Lifted Up John 3:14-18
Paul in speaking to the Corinthian church declares that his sole focus is upon Jesus Christ and His work on the cross. Jesus Christ stated as recorded in John 12:32, that if He were lifted up He would draw all peoples to Himself. In John 3, we see the Lord giving Nicodemus an Old Testament picture of this truth calling for the focus of our faith to be fixed on Calvary. It would do us good to look at this account. Please turn to Numbers 21…
I. The Sin of Israel –
• Numbers 21:4-5 “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. 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.”
A. Sin is rebellion against God. The people became impatient because things were not going the way THEY want. They began to complain and murmur. They spoke against God’s appointed leadership and against God.
B. Isaiah 30:1 "Woe to the rebellious children," says the LORD, "Who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, That they may add sin to sin.”
C. Sin is a willful rejection of God’s will and God’s direction.
D. James 4:17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
E. Sin is the greatest evil in all the world, 'tis the only thing that God abhors, and that brought Jesus Christ to the cross, that damns souls, that shuts heaven, and that has laid the foundation of hell.
F. One sin, even one! - is the "dead fly, that makes the apothecary's ointment to stink"
II. The Consequence of their Sin –
• Numbers 21:6 “And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.”
A. The Wrath of God
1. Romans 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men...”
2. Romans 6:23a “For the wages of sin is death...”
3. Years ago, the Hollywood figure who perhaps was most closely identified with God was Charlton Heston, whose commanding portrayal of godly men in The Ten Commandments and Ben Hur evoked images of a powerful, sovereign God who reigns with a mighty hand and perfect justice. Today, it’s people like Touched By An Angel’s Roma Downey, whose angelic words, "God loves you," transform down-and-out TV characters’ lives each week. The change is telling, isn't it? We have moved far away from any understanding of God as just, powerful, and righteous.. We have focused on God's forgiveness—but we've forgotten the fact that God's righteousness demands that sin be condemned.
4. Ezekiel 18:4 “…The soul who sins shall die.”
5. Sin is the antithesis of everything that God is. Sin is repugnant to a holy God. As a holy God, He must punish sin.
B. Separation from God
1. Numbers 21:7 “…pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us…”
2. Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.”
3. Sin builds a barrier between us and God, and prevents us from having a relationship with Him, robbing us of joy and contentment and keeps us under the impending judgment of God.
4. Romans 3:9, 22b-23 “... Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin... For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
C. A number of years ago a woman named Anna was electrocuted at the Ohio, Penitentiary in Columbus. A last minute appeals had failed. The final moment came, and she slowly stood up and was led to the electric chair. As she passed through the death house corridor, twelve men who were soon to be electrocuted stood at the front of their cells, watching her. She said to them, "Good-bye, all of you." As she came to the door of the execution chamber she collapsed, and was picked up by the guards, and placed in the chair. As she revived, she pleaded with the warden, "Mr. Woodard, don't let them do this to me. Think of my boy. Can't you think of my baby?" Then she cried, "Isn't there anyone who will help me? Is nobody going to help me?" The warden said, "I'm sorry, but we have to do it." At that moment the current was turned on and she went into eternity. Sin will place us where our best friends can't help us. – adapted from W. M. Tidwell, "Pointed Illustrations."