Summary: Look to Jesus
In April 1988 the evening news reported on a photographer who was a skydiver. He had jumped from a plane along with numerous other skydivers and filmed the group as they fell and opened their parachutes. On the film shown on the TV, as the final skydiver opened his chute, the picture went berserk. The announcer reported that the cameraman had fallen to his death, having jumped out of the plane without his parachute. It wasn’t until he reached for the absent ripcord that he realized he was freefalling without a parachute. Until that point, the jump probably seemed exciting and fun. But tragically, he had acted with thoughtless haste and deadly foolishness. Nothing could save him, for his faith was in a parachute never buckled on. Faith in the wrong thing is as dangerous as no faith at all.
We are looking this morning at the need for genuine, saving faith in the right thing.
If you have never been to Bulgaria, then the only things that you know about the country are what you hear from others – what if no one is ever allowed out of the country? Impossible to know anything!
We cannot know heavenly things –
We only know heavenly things when God reveals them to us –
That is why when we think about God, about salvation about spiritual things then we do through the Bible. Jesus has come from heaven and has told many things about it. He has been in heaven with God, He is God and we must listen to Him about what we are to believe and do.
Faith in the wrong thing is as dangerous as no faith at all.
1. The Problem
The Israelites in Numbers 21 –
Tell the story of Numbers – Israelites were in the wilderness – been saved from Egypt – they were complaining against Moses – we would have been better off dying in Egypt – it would have been better if God had not saved us – God punishes His people by sending poisonous snakes – people were dying – the Israelites came to Moses and confessed their sin – then Moses prayed to the Lord God – God answer was a strange one – make a bronze serpent and put it onto a pole – whoever had been bitten only had to look at the bronze serpent and they lived – they were saved from death by looking.
That was the problem that the Israelites faced. They were sinning against God and God was punishing them for it.
The teacher of Israel, the member of the Sanhedrin – even he was in the same position as the Israelites. He was a sinner who faced God’s punishment. V10 you do not receive our witness. You have not listened to God Jesus told him. Nicodemus needed to be born again because of the problem of his sin. He needed regeneration. A brand new nature. He needed to be born from above.
Us today –
We are in the same position as Nicodemus – we are all sinners – all facing Gods punishment for sin – death came into this world because of sin – we need to be born from above as well as Nicodemus. We are in the same position as the Israelites. This nation is under the judgement of God. Romans 1+2 explain to us how God judges us. He gives us what more of what we desire. He surrounds us with biting serpents. We desire to sin and God takes some of the restraints away. To use an easy illustration, a man gets drunk a lot. He is sinning. God judges him and takes the restraints away- the serpent bites – he cannot stop getting drunk. That is God’s judgement. A woman flirts and makes inappropriate comments at work – she then has a one night affair with a work colleague – she is sinning – God judges her and takes the restraint away – the serpent bites - the one night stand becomes an affair that she can’t and won’t stop – her marriage crumbles and she loses her family. That is Gods judgement.
Wales is under the judgement of God – the problem of sin is all around us just as the serpents were all around the people of Israel. You have been bitten by sin we all have. We need the remedy that God has provided.
Remember faith in the wrong thing is as dangerous as no faith at all.
2. The Remedy
There was a wrong way which led to death –
God did not say:
Make some ointment – God could have commanded them to find some special plant and extract the pollen and make a special ointment. That would have seemed reasonable to them. It would have relied on the Israelites working to be saved. The type would have been ruined.