Monday, March 23, 2009

What's Poisoning You?

Some of you may have heard this question, “What’s your poison?” You were probably being asked what you wanted to drink, usually. Today I want to ask you a little different question, “What’s Poisoning You?”
The people who were following Moses in their trek through the wilderness began complaining about not having things as comfy as they had them in Egypt. They wondered why God had brought them out here to die. God sent poisonous snakes to bite them. Many died before they realized they had sinned when they talked against God. And so they asked Moses to intercede for them before God to take the snakes away.
God told Moses to make a snake of copper and hoist it up on pole. Anyone who looked up at the snake would be cured of the snake bite and they would live.
In the same way all mankind has sinned against God and complained about the mess God has gotten them into. Everyone who has complained and sinned against God has been bitten by the poisonous snakes of the world. Some have died.
And so we come to Jesus and ask him to intercede for us before God. And our benevolent God already has the answer. Look up at the One on the cross. Look up and be saved!
How is it possible that the people were saved by looking at the fiery copper snake on the pole? How could looking at an image of the thing that had made them deathly ill in the first place make them well? It’s not logical.
By the same token how can looking at this cruel instrument of Roman torture save us from the poisonous sin in our lives? It’s not logical. It doesn’t make any sense. How could a cross save us?
Friends, it’s not the cross but the One who went to the cross for us who saves us. And it’s a free gift from God. We’ve done nothing to earn this salvation. Paul says in Ephesians all we have to do is trust. It’s grace through faith. And even faith is a gift from God.
How could anyone believe that they could be saved by one person dying for them on a cross? How could anyone believe that anyone could be killed on a cross, buried in a tomb, and rise again? It’s just not logical.
But friends, it did happen. It’s real. God came into the world not to condemn the world but to save it. And he came not just for his own chosen people but for all his creation.
So what’s poisoning you? Have you figured out what you need to do? This is the hard part to understand. There’s nothing we can do. God wants all of us to be cured of the poison in our lives. He wants all of his children to be in an intimate relationship with him.
But God doesn’t force himself on anyone. He leaves it up to us to find the light. And some just can’t believe that there can be a God who loves them so much that he will accept them just the way they are with all their sins, with all the darkness in their lives, with all the evil poison that is coursing through their brain. God will take us, any of us, just the way we are. All we really have to do is turn to the light. Come out of the darkness. Look up at the cross. This is a symbol of foolishness to some but it is the only thing that will save us.
God has prepared the way. We have all messed it up. We have all been poisoned by the things of the world. God came into the world to save us. Look up and gaze into the eyes of Jesus. Let him cleanse your soul with his gracious love light.
It’s so easy but it’s so hard to admit that we can’t fix ourselves. Jesus is the way. God has prepared the way. Are you ready to trust in the crucified Christ who rose again to save us from death? Come to the cross and look up at the One who will save you.
Friends, God loves you and so do I.
Thanks be to God. Amen.

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