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Summary: The purpose of this sermon is to motivate the hearers to affirm to others that the Bronze Serpent on the Pole symbolically represents the death of the Ultimate Sinner; therefore believers that look to the BRONZE SERPENT in obedience and by faith shall be

22 March 2009

Fourth Sunday in Lent

U.S. Army Chaplain (MAJ) Ken Harris

Fortress Chapel

Contingency Operation Site (C.O.S.) Sykes

Tall-afar, Iraq

BIG IDEA: The bronze serpent on the pole and Jesus Christ on the Cross both symbolically represents the Ultimate Sinner.

REFERENCES: Numbers 20:28 ESV (And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son. And Aaron died there on the top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain); Numbers 21:4-9 ESV (The Bronze Serpent); John 3:14-21 ESV (Jesus sharing with Nicodemus the story of Moses lifting up the bronze serpent in the wilderness); Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths; Proverbs 14:12 (ESV) There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death; John 7:50-51 (ESV) Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, Does our law judge a man without first giving hima hearing and learning what he does?”; John 19:39 (ESV) Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight; Ephesians 2:1-3 (ESV) And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind;

I. ANNOUNCE THE PERICOPE: Numbers 21:4-9 (ESV)

II. READ THE PERICOPE: Numbers 21:4-9 (ESV)

III. READ THE TEXT: Numbers 21:8-9 (ESV) 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.”

IV. PURPOSE: To motivate the hearers to affirm to others that the Bronze Serpent on the Pole symbolically represents the death of the Ultimate Sinner; therefore believers that look to the BRONZE SERPENT in obedience and by faith shall be saved.

V. SERMONIC THEME: “The Bronze Serpent”

VI. INTRODUCTION: The Proverbial Writer says in Proverbs 14:12 (English Standard Version) “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death”. In other words, “It’s very possible that many of us , in here today, could very much believe that we’re “spiritually” okay. We are good people. We don’t intentionally cause harm on others.

We are patriotic. We represent less than one percent of our Western Culture by serving in the Armed Forces for the good of our Country and its values.

We are Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines serving in Iraq to provide freedom and opportunities to a nation of people that have been barred from enjoying liberty, democracy and justice.

We are family in uniform. We look after one another both in the States and abroad. Still, the Proverbial Writer says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Quintessentially (or in essence), we could be morally be right and still have it “spiritually” wrong.

******* TAKE 5 BEATS *******

MOVE 1: For who can ever forget the incident of the religious leader by the name of Nicodemus …

a. (A Pharisee - someone who was highly esteem by both his community of faith and the socio-political leaders of his day) coming to Jesus by night.

b. It has been said that Pharisees were “religious fanatics”.

c. In our day and time, the Pharisees might resemble the religious group called Pentecostals.

d. This is because Pentecostals are known throughout their faith communities for taking their faith seriously.

e. As a Pentecostal, myself, I can talk about Pentecostals a little bit.

f. In fact, True Pentecostals watch what they do and say daily.

******** TAKE 5 BEATS *******

MOVE 2: Likewise, Pharisees devoted their entire life to keeping the “Deca-Logue” (the 10 Commandment) or the 10 Words (in Latin) as a way of pleasing God.

a. But, there were also members of the Pharisees that were called Scribes.

b. Scribes were members who spent their lives studying the Ten Words and writing or inscribing HOW to Best Apply the 10 Words to their life …

c. … and situational circumstances so the Pharisees could also apply them.

c. As a matter of fact, the Scribes (whom were the writers of the law) compiled a very thick book, which the Jews (to this day) call the Mishnah;

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